Current Undergrads

The 2014 Summer Program will start taking applications on May 1st. Stay tuned for updates (we will announce them on the front page).

Programs available to Undergrads through Compass

  • Summer Program
    Build a community and learn about science immediately before the start of the freshman fall semester.
  • Physics 98
    A course sequence to give you a sense of what it’s like to do research in physics, astronomy, or earth and planetary science.
  • Mentoring Program
    One-on-one mentorship from current graduate students and useful workshops on topics like dealing with stress and writing resumes. Workshops are open to you with or without a mentor, and are a great place to find a mentor.
  • Compass Office Hours
  • Compass Lecture Series
  • Phys 198, Frontiers of Physics
    A Q&A seminar that gets professors, post-docs, and graduate students into the classroom to explain the big picture in their field of study. Also a great networking opportunity!

How to get involved as a Compass volunteer

Many of our Undergrads love Compass so much that they want to volunteer with Compass in addition to using the services that Compass offers. It’s a great opportunity to practice leadership and to work with some great graduate student role models as peers. Some of the best opportunities for undergrads involve high school outreach, the mentoring program, and our design team.

Take a look at the current opportunities in Compass and see if anything specific strikes your fancy. Either way, send us an email, then come to our weekly meeting (Mondays, 6-8PM in 396 LeConte) and start making cool things happen.

About Compass

Compass provides an invaluable educational and social experience for undergraduates in the physical sciences at Berkeley. During their first year in college, undergraduates face challenges that can dissuade them from continuing to study the physical sciences: the size and pace of introductory classes, the lack of introduction to research, and the lack of focus on developing the scientific thinking skills necessary for success as a scientist. Some students feel the impact of these challenges more than others, but Compass believes that no student should decide to leave the physical sciences due to lack of intellectual and social support in completing a physical science degree. Compass provides a network of programs and opportunities to help mitigate these challenges by supporting the whole student, both inside and outside of the classroom.

The typical path for an undergraduate through Compass starts with the summer program. Incoming freshmen with an interest in the physical sciences may apply for the summer program around June each year (send us a message using the tool below if you want to apply!). Around 16-20 students are accepted into the program, which runs for one or two weeks right before classes start in the fall. After the summer program, Compass students transition into the Physics 98 courses for their fall and spring semesters. Each student is paired with a mentor for their freshman year, though these relationships often continue until graduation.

Finally, one of Compass’s many strengths as an organization is that undergraduates take an active and important role in designing and implementing Compass’s many programs. We find that input invaluable; instead of Compass guessing what undergrads need, the undergrads themselves can just make it happen!