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Don’t Let Setbacks Deter You From a UC

don't freak outOne of the things I notice when I first meet students at a community college is their shock when they realize that even with a dismal start they can make it to a UC. And even with that dismal start, Berkeley and UCLA are often within reach. The UCs love a new beginning, they appreciate the grit and determination to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and they provide a lot of financial incentives for those who can’t afford an education.

Here are just a few stories I’ve encountered, a small selection out of very many.
[Note: names have been changed.]

Melissa’s story

Melissa had terrible grades all through high school and graduated with a GPA of just 1.8. However, after seeing her friends take off for 4-year colleges, she became focused, and within two years transferred to UCLA in psychology.

Joshua’s story

No one in Joshua’s family had gone to college. He lived in a high-crime, low-income area with bad schools.  He managed to get to a high school in a higher-bracket area by using his aunt’s home as his residence. Still his grades were far from stellar.  He spent three years at a community college, working and getting a bit of financial aid. He transferred to Davis in Economics, with most of his expenses fully paid via Cal Grants and other incentives.

Evan’s story

Evan never quite got it together in high school and the trend continued once he enrolled at community college. He dropped out after two semesters, receiving a series of lackluster grades of Ds, Fs and Ws. After working minimum wage jobs and kicking back for a few years, he decided this wasn’t the life he wanted.  He reapplied to another community college and went to work on fixing the bad grades (Academic Renewal to erase the grades, and repeated courses to replace the grades). By the time he applied to the UCs, he had a 3.6 GPA. He was accepted to several campuses and is now attending.

Rosie’s story

Rosie had a chaotic family life. Her dad had been in and out of prison and she felt she rarely got the support she needed for school, since she was expected to work to help the family. Through sheer grit she made it through community college after four years, and was accepted to UC Berkeley with a Leadership Scholarship and almost full financial aid.

Michael’s story

Michael did not connect with community college. He’s the first to say he was floundering and had no direction. But that changed when he entered the military. When he returned he had learned the skills to succeed. He busted his way through community college and after learning that the UCs are very committed to our former military, applied to UC Berkeley’s highly competitive Haas School of Business and was accepted.

As you can see, every one of these community college students who made it to a UC has his or her unique story. Maybe it parallels your story, maybe it’s kind of similar to your story but slightly different. Maybe your story is a wholly different one.

But the one element that they all have in common is this: They started on a downward slide and made it to a UC.

You can too.

One of the key parts to a successful transfer is how you begin. To avoid wasted time, knowing your destination and the path to it works wonders in getting you to a UC successfully and without delay. If you’ve already reached a dead-end on your first path, don’t despair. You can always redirect your energies to the path that gets you out of the maze.

Reach out HERE with any questions.

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Lindy is an independent UC admissions consultant, who works with both transfers and freshmen. She also has just completed her first novel, a supernatural thriller set in San Francisco.

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