A hard road to campus, and a hearty welcome

A bumper class of some 100 African American, Latino and Native American transfer students received a hearty welcome to UC Berkeley on Friday, taking part in an annual gala at Stiles Hall, the off-campus center that has long devoted itself to supporting diversity on campus. The students, preparing to make the shift from community colleges statewide, were joined by state Sen. Loni Hancock, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Harry Le Grande, Assistant Vice Chancellor and director of undergraduate admissions Walter Robinson and dozens of friends and family members eager to help them celebrate their success.

The students, says Dave Stark, Stiles Hall’s director, have overcome enormous odds to make it to Berkeley. “Most were told by college counselors that ‘they are not Berkeley material,'” and advised to aim their academic sights lower, he says. Those who do earn admission here graduate at the same rate and with similar GPAs as high-school admits, he adds, “but are often more focused on what they want to get out of Cal.”

Beyond the celebration, the event featured a panel of alumni transfer students, who shared their personal stories and advice on how to make the most out of Berkeley.