Insights from Transfer Students in the Department

  1. What made you want to be a math major?

Omri: “My community college calculus professor sparked my passion for math. After taking classes with him, I knew I wanted to study it as my major.”

Wan: “I am sensitive in numbers since I was very young. I like applying logics and deduction to everything in my life. Math makes me feel precise. Also in college, math courses gave me a lot of confidence.”

Wahab: “I came in intended Statistics, but after my first semester at Berkeley, the steep GPA cutoff to declare statistics made me look at math as a potential major. As I learned more about the major, I became more drawn to the idea of being a math major. In math, you get to understand why and how things work; it really makes you think about problem solving in a new way, which is why I ultimately ended up deciding to be a math major. “


  1. Does your academic program align with your career goals – if yes, how?

Omri: “From the start I knew I didn’t know what kind of career I wanted after college. Studying math was simply a way for me to learn something I liked that is also widely applicable.”

Wan: “I want to start a small business with my friends later. I feel like I’m gonna need lots of knowledge in math, which I can apply to accounting, data science and management.”

Wahab: “Yes. I hope to go into data science, and am taking statistics classes as part of my math degree in order to make that possible”


  1. What resources on campus helped with your transition?

Omri: “I went to SLC review sessions twice a week for my math 55 class, and I make an effort to make as many office hours as I can. Working with your GSI or professor during office hours is one of the best ways to learn material in my opinion.”

Wan: “ Making study groups with friends in previous colleges helped me. Also working with GSIs, telling them the trouble is helpful. Sometimes I went back to my college to talk with my professors if I felt bad.”

Wahab:  “The Student Learning Center offers adjunct courses, those really helped during my first semester. They kind of teach you the basics that the professors expect you to know already, and give you a lot of resources for the class. Office hours always help a lot. If you go in the beginning of the semester, there are usually less students there, so you get more one on one time with the professor.”


  1. Do you feel like you’re part of the math community at Berkeley? if so, how?

Omri: “At first I did not feel like I was part of the math community, but after taking math classes for a year now, there are kids in my classes I know and who I’ve befriended. It makes it easier to identify as a math major when you know other people like you on campus.”

Wan: “Yes. As a peer advisor, I can participate in many math relevant events and help students who have concerns in math.”

Wahab: “No because I don’t really feel like there is one, but there ought to be.”


  1. What advice would you give to students who are unsure about declaring?

Omri: “I say go with your gut. I knew I wanted to study math, but even though I was scared of the idea I just went with it. It is a rewarding major to say the least.”

Wan: “I would definitely suggest people choose your favorite, the one you have most interests in. If I have a chance again, I would continue studying linguistics as my second major.”

Wahab: “Definitely talk to different people in the major to see what it’s really like, I mean math seems really hard and niche but there are so many possibilities when you actually study it. Don’t let the stereotypes get in the way of studying something. Also don’t worry if you have to retake classes that you’ve already taken in community college, that doesn’t mean that you’re not cut out for the major. It’ll help you build your foundation and be better in the long run.”