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UC Berkeley Computer Science and Engineering The Real Story by Students. Sevan Tutunciyan - [email protected] Vitaliy Bondar – [email protected] Jinhui Li - [email protected] Outline. Transfer from CSM to UC Berkeley Survive and succeed at UC Berkeley Find and keep your job Questions.

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  • Transfer from CSM to UC Berkeley
  • Survive and succeed at UC Berkeley
  • Find and keep your job
  • Questions
part i transfer from csm to berkeley
Part ITransfer from CSM to Berkeley
  • Before Applying
  • Preparing Transfer Application
  • Appealing
  • After Get Accepted
before applying
Before Applying
  • Don’t put all eggs in one basket, aim for multiple schools (check www.assist.org)
  • Take as many CS and science courses as possible
    • Unix, Shell scripting, C, C++, Java
    • Physics, Engineering
  • Take hard classes at CSM (helps with both admission and preparation for Berkeley classes)
before applying continued
Before Applying (continued)
  • Take summer courses (61 series) in Berkeley
    • Get a taste of the school life there
    • Get used to the style and the computer system
    • Work with partners, get to know some UCB students and transfer students from other colleges
    • Prepare yourself for upper-division classes
    • Good grades might be helpful for admission
    • Will help to finish in 2 years and take upper-division classes earlier
before applying continued6
Before Applying (continued)
  • Get to know your professors, get your professors to know you (recommendations)
  • Get involved in extracurricular activities
    • Join student government
    • Join a club or start your own club
    • Help a professor with a project, research or publication
  • Get a co-op or an internship
    • Cooperative Education helps even international students with a job related to major
    • Internship may be easier to get than a full-time job
preparing transfer application
Preparing Transfer Application
  • Talk to advisors and university representatives (but don’t get discouraged)
  • Check online for helpful tips on writing your application and personal statement (www.collegeboard.com)
  • Personal statement is very important
preparing transfer application8
Preparing Transfer Application
  • Personal Statement is your only chance to express and distinguish yourself
    • Get sample essays
    • The essay should be persuasive, so have a point, state a special quality of yours
    • Be confident and use simple and straightforward language
    • Get several people to proof-read the essay. Make sure it is smooth and error-free
    • Get free help with your essay in ENGL 850
  • Follow the appeal guidelines
  • Might need recommendation letters from professors
after get accepted
After Get Accepted
  • Talk to Barbara Hightower

[email protected]

  • Check out CS/EE department websites



  • Check out the CS Handbook


part ii survive and succeed at berkeley
Part IISurvive and Succeed at Berkeley
  • Overview of CS Program
  • Class and Course Planning Info
  • Resources and More Class Details
  • Opportunities Outside of Class
cs undergraduate program
CS Undergraduate Program
  • One of top 5 CS programs in the nation
  • Very theoretical, teaches how to learn specifics from abstract
  • CS at Cal is research-oriented, undergrads are underdogs.
  • Social, sleep, academic (you can only have two of these at any given time)
cs classes
CS Classes
  • Class website
  • Grades: use glookup (your best pal)
  • Other resources (TA, reader, lecture notes)
  • Not there to teach you C++ or Java (that’s just a side effect)
  • Front-loaded, back-loaded, balanced classes
  • Class admission
teacher assistants
Teacher Assistants
  • Make use of them, they are your guardian angels
  • They run their own sessions; helps to attend multiple TA sessions
  • Grad students are often better
  • Watch for their hints (might reveal exam and project goodies)
  • Will provide their own notes, good!
  • Their door is open to you (more than you think!)
  • But you aren’t their first priority
  • Interact with them but be prepared
course planning
Course Planning
  • Use course plan templates as a guide
  • Admission is tough, so what ?
    • Over-enroll, then drop
    • Have a backup plan
  • Mix front-loaded classes with back-loaded ones
  • Generally don’t take more than 2 CS courses in one semester
course planning ii
Course Planning II
  • Lower division
    • Take CS in the summer to expedite graduation
  • Junior Year
    • Take less-impacted courses
    • Take industry related courses (CS186, CS162, CS122, CS170)
  • Senior Year
    • Take more-impacted courses (since now you have priority to get into them)
course planning iii
Course Planning III
  • General Education (GE) classes
    • Easy ones help you get through CS
    • Hard ones help you grow and take your mind off of CS
    • Take advantage of the departments that Berkeley is famous for (Philosophy, English, Political Science, Math, Economics, etc.)
computer labs and accounts
Computer labs and accounts
  • Mostly Unix and some NT
  • Permanent named accounts
  • Class accounts
  • Computers crash and slow down
  • During projects, hog a computer
cs projects
CS Projects
  • Choose your partner(s) carefully (bad partner -> bad project grade)
  • Pay close attention to project specs and to the newsgroup
  • Design first, code later (Cathleen Kennedy’s teachings)
  • Didn’t start yesterday? Too late!
cs projects ii
CS Projects II
  • Slip days, save them for later
  • Do project at school, not at home, talk to people
  • Backup your work, and test it (horror story)
  • Use tools (debugger, bug-submit, etc.)
  • Paper-based projects
  • Balance review and practice
  • Practice exams
  • Partial answers
  • Attend review sessions!
study habits
Study Habits
  • Do not study alone
  • Form a study group, practice this while at CSM!
  • Ask to learn, teach to learn
    • Your friend may know an easier solution
    • Review for others, be questioned
  • Hang around Soda to study
    • Central point for finding classmates
  • If you can get one before Berkeley, that’s great ! (ask Vitaliy)
  • At Cal, try to get one in Junior year
  • At Cal, 2 ways of getting an internship
    • Good GPA -> get into EECS internship program
    • Search independently
internship ii
Internship II
  • EECS internship program
    • Apply around February
    • If get in, you’ll be placed in a company
  • Independent
    • Use Career Center’s BearTraks to search for internships
    • Attend an internship career fair
  • Good for grad school and work experience
  • Often need a good GPA and class experience (better in senior year)
  • Preview ongoing CS research using CS website
  • Ask your teachers if they need a research assistant
  • Knock on each teacher’s door, read about their research in ADVANCE!
how to get into cs cs only not eecs
How to Get into CS?(CS only, not EECS)
  • How bad is it?
  • General info
  • Academic preparation
  • Other factors
  • Unwritten rules (the real deal)
  • Didn’t get in (use Plan B)
how tough is admission
How Tough is Admission?
  • Admission to School of Engineering == admission to EECS major
  • Admission to School of Letters and Science != admission to CS major
  • Your chances of getting in are…
    • Pick heads or tails, flip the coin
  • First time around, on average half of you won’t make it!
general info on cs
General Info on CS
  • Applications are taken 3 times a year
  • Need personal statement, good grades, recommendation letters (if any)
  • Can apply twice (this isn’t true!)
  • Can’t apply too late
    • (in your last semester when you have 120 units!)
  • Can appeal if denied, maybe get minor if not major
academic preparation
Academic Preparation
  • Lower-division CS
    • Take one class, but get a good grade
    • Take 2 classes in a semester, but get fair grades, that will impress them
  • You are not in the movie Matrix!
    • Don’t try to dodge the bullet by taking hard courses or hard teachers all at once
other factors
Other factors
  • Personal Statement
    • Indicate extenuating circumstances
  • Recommendation Letters
    • Should be from CS-related persons
    • One from Cal’s CS teacher is SUPERB!
  • Understanding your options
    • Make sure to talk to Barbara and get advice on how to get in
unwritten rules the real deal
Unwritten Rules / The Real Deal
  • They don’t even look at your statement until you appeal
    • Because too easy to eliminate by GPA
    • But ask them if they looked at it during appeal
  • If you feel the decision is not fair
    • Request to speak with a deciding faculty member
    • Face to face, you might impress them!
unwritten rules ii
Unwritten Rules II
  • Minor
    • When appealing, make noise
    • Sometime you’ll get a minor instead of a rejection
  • Being rejected does not mean...
    • You cannot apply
    • And yes you can apply more than 2 times!
plan b
Plan B
  • The CS door didn’t work out, let’s try the window!
  • If you at least have a CS Minor
    • At least you have more priority than general public in class admission
  • Either way
    • Choose related major (Cognitive science or Applied Math)
    • Then keep taking upper division CS and reapply with better grades.
plan b section ii
Plan B (Section II)
  • Cognitive Science
    • Easier classes, more AI-related
    • You get highest priority to get admission to the AI course (CS188)
  • Applied Math
    • Admission to Math is easy
    • Harder route, GPA may go down
    • But better CS-related skills
plan b section iii
Plan B (Section III)
  • Recommended Math Route
    • Can take 3 CS as math requirements
    • Also can use Stat 134 (Probability), good for CS
    • Must take 5 Math courses to graduate from Math
  • But if get into CS, abandon it!
  • So best is to take CS-related Math first!
    • Numerical Analysis and Linear Algebra
plan b section iv
Plan B (Section IV)
    • Do research and get a recommendation letter, that may get you in!
  • If that doesn’t work or can’t do it
    • Just take as much CS as you can
    • Point is to learn, not to get a label
    • My friend took 6-7 CS classes and had a Math major => got a job at NSA
part iii find and keep your job
Part IIIFind and keep your job
  • Prepare to get a job
  • Get a job
  • Succeed at work
prepare to get a job
Prepare to get a job
  • Keep summaries of all your projects (do something extra that you can talk about)
  • Keep class outlines
  • Take important industry classes (Operating Systems, Databases, Algorithms) before interview season
  • Get an internship or a co-op
  • Learn how to learn (often more important that knowledge itself)
get a job
Get a job
  • Start looking early
  • Be flexible in your expectations
  • Have a backup plan
    • Graduate school
      • take GMAT or GRE early
      • establish a close relationship with at least one professor
      • do research
    • Non-corporate jobs (research, government, non-profit)
  • Don’t give up!
to do s to succeed at work
“To-Do’s” to succeed at work
  • Ask questions (no more lectures, you have to learn the system yourself)
  • Be positive and optimistic (would you want to work with yourself?)
  • Help others and they will help you (your team is your working family)
  • Volunteer to solve problems (gain knowledge, recognition, contacts)
  • Be prepared to work extra hours (since you want to!)
  • Take initiative (you have more power than you think)
  • Think of possible solutions before bringing up a problem
to do s to succeed at work ii
“To-Do’s” to succeed at work II
  • Be proactive: don’t say “I don’t know”; say “I don’t know at the moment, but I’ll get back to you by tomorrow morning”
  • Give realistic estimates and live up to your word (now you get to decide)
  • Protect yourself and your manager (if you think your project will be late by X days, let your manager know 2X days ahead)
  • Get a mentor (perspective, encouragement, networking)
  • Keep learning (books, courses, subscriptions)
  • Have a life outside of office, or at least try to ;-)
brief summary
Brief Summary
  • Start preparing for transfer early (go to www.assist.org and visit your advisors)
  • UC Berkeley is challenging, fun, diverse, and definitely worth your efforts
  • With smart preparation and a degree from UC Berkeley, you should be able to find and succeed in a good job
part iv questions
Part IVQuestions?
  • Feel free to contact us by email:

Sevan Tutunciyan - [email protected]

Vitaliy Bondar – [email protected]

Jinhui Li - [email protected]