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Friday, December 4, 2020

Berkeley accepts growing number of Pierce students

An increased number of Pierce transfer students will attend the University of California, Berkeley, beginning in fall 2015.

Sunday Salter, transfer center director, said 70 out of the 245 students who applied for admission were accepted for the upcoming fall and spring semesters, compared to 45 out of 218 last year.

“We’re looking at 45 admits versus 70,” Salter said. “That’s a huge jump. It’s almost double the number of admits.”

According to Salter, students usually apply to more than one school, and for many L.A. natives, the University of California, Los Angeles, is preferred.

“Growing up in Los Angeles, most of our students want to go to UCLA,” Salter said. “Typically, the students who are admitted to Berkeley are often admitted to UCLA as well, and then they have to make a choice.”

Rushan KanKanan Panbiphage, a mathematics major, was accepted to both schools and chose to attend Berkeley.

“I’m going to Berkeley, but I was debating between Berkeley and UCLA,” said Panbiphage. “Sunday Salter nominated me for the Fly to Berkeley program, and I was selected to go on the trip.”

The Fly to Berkeley program gave 40 prospective students the opportunity to visit the campus.

“It’s an all-expenses-paid trip.

They fly them out, let them see the campus and let them decide for themselves,” Salter said. “We were lucky enough to send one student.”

The visit secured Berkeley as the future campus for Panbiphage.

“We stayed overnight, they took us around the campus, and answered all of our questions,” Panbiphage said. “They showed me everything and then I made the decision to go to Berkeley.”

Salter believes that the trip is able to persuade students who haven’t figured out which school they’ll attend.

“The program probably has a 100 percent effective experience for those who go,” Salter said.

The tour was a big factor, but Panbiphage’s decision to go to Berkeley was also rooted in the school’s educational support of his major.

“It’s the number one public school in the world, and it’s also number one for my major,” he said. “I’m going for my Ph.D., and it’s a great school for that too.”

WORLDMAKER, 45, who is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society at Pierce, changed his name to reflect his passion in life.

“My name change came as a result of my lifelong calling for humanity,” WORLDMAKER said. “It came from my strong passion to design and build large scale societies.”

Although his education will continue through the College of Environmental Design at Berkeley, after talking to officials at the university, he was told that a new major would need to be created.

“There is no degree that fits what I’m trying to accomplish, so they’re going to create a new Individual Major Program, which allows me to name my major,” WORLDMAKER said. “I’m calling it Civil and Environmental Systems.”

He knows that there are a lot of schools to choose from but recognizes that the choices are slim for what he’s trying to accomplish.

“If I went to a California State University and said I had the solution to solve the water crisis, nobody would take me serious,” WORLDMAKER said. “ They would wonder why I wasn’t at Berkeley. It’s like being a player in the minor leagues and saying you’re better than a professional NFL player. They don’t equate.”

He said the only two schools that specialize in his field of study are Berkeley and MIT.  He said he applied to Berkeley because of MIT’s limit on lower division credits.

“There are only two institutions in the world that really specialize in designing and building societies, and those schools are Berkeley and MIT,” WORLDMAKER said. “You really need to have a big name behind you when you’re doing something on a scale as large as this for people to take you seriously.”

Not all students have made their final decisions when it comes to the next step in their educational journeys.

Alex Oloo, political science major and president of the Associated Student Organization, hasn’t made his final choice because he is waiting to hear from other schools he applied to before he decides.

“I’m not sure if I’m going to Berkeley,” Oloo said.  “I’ve yet to make my decision because I’m waiting to hear from some private schools, but I’ll make a decision before June 1.”

Oloo grew up hearing that Berkeley is a great school to go to, and his family and friends were happy to hear about his acceptance to the university.

“I come from Kenya and growing up, you hear a lot about Berkeley,” Oloo said. “My mom was the first person I told about being accepted and the whole village knew within a few minutes. The news spread like a bonfire. They definitely want me to go there.”

Oloo was honored to be accepted into Berkeley but wants to make the best decision for his education.

“I wanted to have the feeling of being accepted at Berkeley, but with my major, political science, I don’t think it’s my top choice,” Oloo said. “Berkeley is actually number three behind UC Davis and UCLA.”

Salter said one of the highlights of the job is when students go to see her after they’ve been accepted to a university, and that she feels satisfied that she’s done a good job.

“Speaking to students after they received their acceptance letters is the best part of my job,” Salter said. “I’m really optimistic that our students are getting in this year, it makes feel good. I feel like I’m doing something right.”

According to Salter, it’s the students who have made the difference in their educations because they have taken advantage of resources available to them.

“It’s the student who makes the difference. It’s the dedication to themselves, their studies, and coming in and getting the right advice,” Salter said. “ If the student does those things, they’re going to transfer no matter what college they go to.”

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