2011-2012 Slider Student Life — 25 April 2012
Student opposes low-achieving stereotype

Oakland High student Peter Le is admitted to UC Berkeley as a junior with a full scholarship
Thanh Nguyen

Senior Peter Le

Senior Peter Le takes a photo with his Associate's Degrees from Laney college. March 27, 2012 Image credit: Julie Saechin

After much perseverance and hard work, Oakland High senior Peter Le found out that he was admitted to the University of California, Berkeley as a junior with a full scholarship!
With a strong passion for the campus, Le took a risk and only applied to UC Berkeley. UC Berkeley’s admission decisions were available on the myBerkeleyApplication student portal website on March 29. With nearly 62,000 applicants and an admission rate of 21%, Peter Le was among the 13,000 exceptional students who were offered admission, according to UCB officials. He also received the Cal Opportunity scholarship, a UC Berkeley scholarship limited to eligible San Francisco Bay Area students that meets his full financial need, according to Le.
“It’s official…,” said Le. “Not only did I get accepted to UC Berkeley, I will be entering as a junior on a full ride scholarship! I’m a triple threat!”
Another Oakland High student achieved a similar feat last school year, 2011 alumnus and ASB president Joanna Lu got into UC Berkeley and earned a full scholarship. According to Lu, she was first rejected admission to UC Berkeley and had to go through a “very depressing and sad” appeal process. It consisted of a letter of appeal stating any new information, two letters of recommendation, and a transcript including senior year grades. She also got a letter of recommendation from the bridges Multicultural Resource Center at UC Berkeley, which helped her with the appeal. The full ride she earned was paid by the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, which is a scholarship program that only selects 1,000 talented students each year, according to the Gates website.
Le chose UC Berkeley because it played a significant role in his personal high school career. As a self-described bad freshman student, he joined a mentorship at UC Berkeley to get his mentality where it needed to be. His mentor had a big influence over his academic perspective, which allowed Le to use UC Berkeley as an outlet to jump-start his motivation.
“I won’t have the full ‘Berkeley’ experience,” said Le, referring to his acceptance as a junior rather than as a freshman. “But I’m definitely looking forward to getting a head-start at life. It’s a nice feeling to know that I can become a professor by my early-20s.”
Some Oakland High school students have heard of Peter Le’s news and view him as a student role model.
“(Peter Le) is the first one I hear about doing all these things,” said junior Ida Quan. “I see him as a student role model (who) can motivate us (students) to work harder. I believe that he’s a very successful student!”

Le had some advice for his fellow peers when asked how he strived through school.

“Harness your pain to drive your passion,” said Le. “I’ve been hurt a lot through high school, but I channeled the adversity to shape my success.”
Le has mixed feelings about his accomplishments.
“With good comes bad,” said Le. “I’ve had to make some sacrifices to carry out my success. I’ve been told several times that I’m not living up to my last year of high school, but I find much more happiness at Laney so that I barely associate myself with high school!”

According to Le, he was first informed about college concurrent enrollment through a math tutor at the East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC), who sparked his interest of pursuing a higher education. Le had a hard time finding balance between high school and college courses, but the overall experience helped build him stability. Le’s high school goals ranged from getting an A in Pre-calculus to getting a 4.3 semester GPA—goals that would complement his main goal of getting into UC Berkeley. The proximity of UC Berkeley kept him motivated. Le has earned four Associate’s (AA) degrees at Laney for his own happiness and self-esteem. According to Le, his original intention was to take classes at Laney to explore the different disciplines he might be interested in pursuing, but it turned out that those classes fulfilled UC Berkeley requirements too.

Although Le hasn’t mapped out the entire process, his long-term goal is to become a biological sciences professor at Laney College.

“Don’t drag a heavy anchor into the bright lights of your future,” said Le. “You’re entitled to the life you desire. You can’t change the past, but you can let go and start your future!”

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