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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

Going to Cal definitely taught me how to

May 17 2013History/Histories (art history/etc.)
Going to Cal definitely taught me how to be independent and self motivated. Because they certainly don't hold your hand, I had to take initiative when it came to looking for jobs. Sure I might not be in a job related to my major, but it's because I decided to take two years off before grad school, and no position in classical archaeology or archaeological conservation accepts anything less than a Masters degree. And in response to all the people who claim that there isn't anything to do, that's just a result of them not looking hard enough. My first year I got involved in the campus radio station, KALX, which still plays music instead of talk radio, and I made a whole bunch of friends there. I also got really involved in the small Classics Department, where most of my classes had less than 30 people in them. My final year I joined the co-ops, and managed to live in one of the many NOT drug infested ones and had a blast. You don't have to just be an athlete or in a frat to find things to do. Cal also has a great study abroad program.
Alumna Female -- Class 2000
Starting Job: Archaeological Research Assistant Preparedness: C Reputation: B+

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
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