Class of 2021’s Pathways to Success: Shivansh Baveja, UC Berkeley

After high school, I’m going to UC Berkeley and I’m not really sure what I want to study but I applied for applied mathematics, but I could end up majoring in history, or computer science, or English. All I know is that I want to teach something somewhere. As of now, I think I’ll finish my undergraduate studies, finish a PhD, and then there’s a couple of options. I think either I’ll be teaching at a local university, doing research trying to get tenure as an assistant professor, or I will just be teaching at high school or middle school or elementary school. I’m not particularly sure. I just hope to have finished some sort of upper level education, maybe working towards something else.

For the college application process, I applied to a bunch of colleges. I did a lot of the UC’s and some privates. In the end, it really just came down to cost for me. Personally, it’s a really good school for a really good price. I don’t think it’s worth spending too much money for private schools in undergrad, especially because I plan to pursue higher education, so I wanted to just get a good education at a local school. 

My sister is also at Berkeley. She’s graduating this year, so I’ve also visited the school a lot. There’s a lot of people, which means that you’ll probably be able to find some people that kind of fit your energy. There’s a lot of resources and the alumni network is huge. It’s also close to home, which makes it nice. So it’s like a close stepping stone and growing up, you don’t get fully thrown across the country.

I wrote my Common App essay on whiteboards.  I have a whole wall in my room that I painted as a whiteboard five or six years ago. I bring all my stuff there to do math or to do whatever I want on it. I taught for a long time on whiteboards. So I kind of just tied together my love for teaching, learning, and just expressing myself.

I think the main thing I’m really going to miss are my friends and my family. I think I will come back to visit every couple weeks, or once a month; whatever time allows. 

I think my biggest challenge will be finding what I like to study because at some level, I think I know what I want to study, but I also know that I really am not very sure. I haven’t explored things as much as I wanted to, so I think figuring out what I really want to do for the long term, and making some sort of plan. There are always other things like making friends and joining clubs, but I think that that’s the main thing. 

Some advice I would give to those applying to college in the future is that I would emphasize strongly on making sure to apply to UC’s and CSU’s first, and spending the most time on those applications. UC and CSU admissions have been very rough this year and they’re just getting tougher. I feel like a lot of underclassmen are very focused on privates and the prestige that comes to the privates, but when decision time comes to choose between other schools that have admitted you, price is something that we often overlook when we’re choosing schools to apply to, and it’s a pretty big deal for most families.

For underclassmen, challenge yourself and have fun. Stuff usually works out. I know it’s easy for me to say that, but in general, I think that even if you don’t want to take a lot of AP’s or not work your butt off in clubs, things will be fine as long as you do what you want, whether it’s a sport or whether that’s literally just hanging out with friends every day. Just try and keep your grades up and seek out opportunities that you might not like, just test them out.