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The University of California Berkeley

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Berkeley is an outstanding college town

Apr 29 2014History/Histories (art history/etc.)
Berkeley is an outstanding college town. Great to be young and living in Berkeley and exploring your personal, political, and social identity. Students are interesting. Compact campus is easy to navigate. Great restaurants and neighborhoods in every direction. Student body is huge and, despite attempts to skew the truth, class sizes are enormous or if small then taught be grad students. You are a number and you will not be coddled. Little emphasis on teaching and learning because teachers have too many students. Very little individual feedback on writing, for example. In hindsight, I would have learned much better academic skills at a small liberal arts school. But, I met great friends and enjoyed the experience. And when I went it was only $650.00 per semester, so it was a good value.
4th Year Male -- Class 1988
Surrounding City: A, Faculty Accessibility: C

I started off as engineering, intending to go

Sep 09 2013Criminal
I started off as engineering, intending to go into EECS. You are given 40 hours of studying a week, be prepared to sacrifice sleep, socializing, fun things. You will find that Engineering is quite different than other majors and things going on campus, I would say take it seriously and be very independent, self-motivated, and don't rely on help to be given. A lot of students here know how to game the system and get good grades, be prepared for a major deflating of your ego and I would say don't try to stand out. You will get 30s/100s on exams, they will be curved. Math classes and science classes will be hard first two years, SERIOUSLY, to make it at Cal, you have to be one huge ASSHOLE. That's good advice, to put up with a lot of GSIs, fellow students,

Crowded lectures, lines at the RSF, and . DONT DO ANYTHING DIFFERENT, wear the same clothes as everyone else, don't ask questions, Cal doesn't like people who ruffle up feathers, you're going to have to deal with a lot of hierarchy and bureaucracy here, a lot of time you see things are not indicative of ability, but ability to BS and navigate resources, win social approval, dress nice, be good looking, and athletic. That will win you points, don't smoke.

If you want girls, you have to be tall, good-looking, rich, and thin. If you are in Engineering, forget about it. I would say get that degree and focus on making money, seriously you are wasting your time trying to find a girl at Cal, wrong school. You have to be memorizing content, solving problems, doing problem-sets, that the next thing on your mind is to eat or sleep after 48 hours. Do things for yourself and don't rely on other people. Expect people to be rude and douchey big time at parties or even playing sports, I'll be honest Cal is very elitist, students from very rich families, high socioeconomic status, priviledged. If it doesn't seem like a cultural fit, you're going to suffer. There are some cool, open-minded friendly people now and then, but very self-absorbed and status-seeking in my personal opinion. You wont make much conversations out of the blue, and this is discouraged even.

People that come to Cal are focused on the prestige and want to get a job at Google, Goldman Sachs, McKinsey. Or to a medical school or good law school.

I don't know if people come here on this board to rant or if they had bad experiences, the "losers" of Cal. Oh yeah, and there are a lot of gay people here, no offense.

Focus on getting a good GPA (which is hard), securing research, and internships. If your family has money, a private school would be better off for you.

5th Year Male -- Class 2007
Useful Schoolwork: A, Faculty Accessibility: D

I'm a transfer student and this is my

Oct 31 2014Biology
I'm a transfer student and this is my second semester at Cal (Spring admit). I don't have a lot of time to finish my work and I've been taking a very long time anyway. I'm a non traditional student in terms of age (i turned 25 this year because I took 3 years off after high school and took 3 years to finish my schoolwork at my community college) and in terms of having a learning disability (born with ADHD).

I was excited to start my Fall semester since I had already been here for a semester and I was determined to turn things around for myself--it's always been incredibly difficult for me to make friends because although I want to be sociable and feel like I'm extrovert, I can't handle social situations properly. Last semester I spent all day every day by myself, barely talking to anyone and being overwhelmed by how unfriendly people were in this city and school. My hometown is in southern California so it's not like I'm from a different country, but I had pretty bad culture shock when I got here.

I don't know why this school is so racially segregated and why everyone seems to only make friends with you if it would benefit them in some way. People would jostle you while walking around campus and not even say sorry, they would not even hold the door open for you even if you're walking 2mm behind them into the same building, and people are all in their own self absorbed world doing their own thing. It's like they have no common decency and seriously don't give a f*** if they think you're not worth their time.

I tried joining an organization and the people were still hostile and aloof, nobody ever wants to hang out or study together, and I'm literally going insane.

Aside from the campus, this city is run by horrible greedy people who only care about giving citations to starving students. What do they do with all that money? Renovate the homeless-ridden, run down, never-been-renovated-since-its-creation buildings and streets maybe? Nope. They hire 500 parking citation officers from morning till night to drive up and down the streets surrounding the campus.

Do the policemen ever control the amount of marijuana smoke wafting through the air 24/7 or try to control the crime rates? Nope. People could be blowing smoke at their faces and they just smile and walk past them, and forget controlling the muggings that go on. They have to make time to smoke the pot that they confiscated from the homeless. If you're reading this, take my advice and steer clear from this school. It's only ranked #3 because of the great research that they do here but the education/atmosphere/environment SUCKS. I feel like my soul is being ripped to shreds with every waking moment at UC berkeley. If I weren't a transfer student and I had more time, I would transfer out of here in a heartbeat.

1st Year Female -- Class 2016
Friendliness: A, Education Quality: F
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