Every year, bright Chinese students come to us and tell us about their hopes and dreams for college. At the very top of these dreams for most students is getting accepted to UCLA or UC-Berkeley. In fact, among international students at UCLA, Chinese represent around 48% of the entire international student body. And at UCB, 17.8% of the entire student body were of Chinese ethnicity (American or Chinese citizens). Wow!
The truth is harsh, but for most students, UC-Berkeley and UCLA are not within reach. In fact, you could be totally qualified in every way (SAT, TOEFL, GPA, extracurricular) and still not get accepted by these two schools because they receive so many applications from international students every year.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was some hidden path for getting accepted to UCLA and Berkeley? Actually, there is! And although it won’t guarantee admission, your chances of being accepted can increase dramatically.
For UCLA, your path could be a little-known feature called the Transfer Alliance Program (TAP), and students who use it can see as high as a 77-98% chance of being admitted. And while TAP is not available for Berkeley, it is possible to use a similar method to significantly increase your chances. We’ll talk about that later.
All University of California campuses have transfer agreements with California community colleges, but UCLA’s TAP program is unique because it’s a little more complicated and not as well known. To qualify for TAP, you’ll need to first enroll at one of the participating community colleges. Once you’ve completed the course and GPA requirements for transfer under the TAP guidelines (approximately two years with normal progress), you can apply to transfer.
The reason the TAP program exists is simple: to boost student enrollment in majors within the College of Letters & Science. With TAP, your earned GPA will automatically be upgraded which may help your application rise to the top. If your answers on the Personal Insights section are great too, you’ll have a great chance of being accepted.
So, if your number one priority is to get some kind of bachelor’s degree from UCLA, the TAP program is your best shortcut. And to boost your application even more, you could choose from a list of less competitive majors and significantly increase your chances of being accepted.
Alternatively, the TAG (Transfer Admissions Guarantee) program can significantly increase your chances of being accepted at UC-Berkeley as long as you choose from a list of less competitive majors.
Both of these methods are a lot easier than applying directly for UCLA or UCB as a freshman, but it takes more time, and there will be certain small steps (forms to complete, objectives to meet) you’ll need to take along the way to maximize your chances, but we’re happy to be your guides.
Hidden benefits of starting at a community college
It’s well known among American students that community colleges often provide a better first and second year education than big universities. Why? Smaller class sizes, fewer distractions, and more time with your professors. For international students, this information is not well known.
But the significantly cheaper price of community colleges is maybe the biggest advantage. At UCLA for example, tuition and fees for international students can be nearly $64,000 a year. At a community college, your total cost might be more like $14,000 per year. Many of our students who choose the TAP method will take a portion of the money they save by going to a community college for two years and use it to pay for additional mentoring, or even to attend some important academic conferences throughout the year.
Is it right for you?
The number one concern we hear from parents is about the study environment of community colleges. It’s true that the average academic ability of community college students will be less than the average 4-year university student. However, students can increase the quality of their education and the students around them by joining an honors program—which will also increase your chances for successful admission to a university later on.
So, are you convinced that UCLA’s TAP program might be right for you? We’re currently interviewing interested students for a new service we’re offering this year that’s tailored for TAP and TAG applicants. Contact us for details by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!