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The University of California - Berkeley

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I will begin by saying this: Berkeley isSuper BrilliantMechanical Engineering
I will begin by saying this: Berkeley is HARD. You will be challenged on a daily basis to stretch the boundaries of your understanding, and there will be little time to sit on your laurels and rest. That being said, if you maintain a reasonable courseload and a reasonable set of study habits, you can succeed. Berkeley engineering, specifically, has friendly, understanding advisers, and in general you can find research positions, clubs, study groups, etc. quite easily. I have never felt more at home, nor happier, anywhere else.

There is, however, a dark side. Berkeley students are all bright, hardworking, and in many cases driven by GPA. Because of this, students who receive poor grades can feel cheated and disheartened. In too many cases, students saw admission to Cal as an endgame, which is simply not the proper mindset to take. See every class as an opportunity, force yourself (sometimes) to go, even if you don't think it will help/you don't want to. It will pay off in the end.

The school has limited funding, and as such some of the older buildings (Wheeler, Dwinelle, and LeConte come to mind) are less than ideal for lab, or discussion, but this does not detract from the quality of professors and academic rigor inherent to the school.

If you feel that you are willing to accept the downsides of a public university, which are real, and are willing to devote yourself to your studies and to advancing your career, coming to Cal is a decision you will never regret. As always, Go Bears!

1st Year Male -- Class 2019
Innovation: A+, Campus Maintenance: C
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It's a great school.Not so brightOther
It's a great school. The curricula are rigorous and relevant, career paths are well delineated based on a student's background, and opportunities to excel abound. If you're interested in doing academic work, UCB is a great place to study. If you're interested partying and just getting by, it's the last place you want to go. Most importantly, if you're independent and not interested in being coddled, intellectually or otherwise, UCB will make you feel right at home. Be prepared to question everything you know, how well you think you know it, and have some assumptions stomped on, and you'll be just fine. Culturally, it is very broad and exclusive, which is to say, you will find people who share your interests quickly, but becoming part of the social circle requires effort and dedication. The city of Berkeley is a very transient place, you will meet some people who you will never see again, some you will see regularly but never have cause to interact, and some that will remain part of your life for a long time. UCB itself is a huge bureaucracy, so be prepared to learn how to maneuver and master heirarchies, chains of command, and the art of persuasion. Take time to woo those professors, staff, and community members from which you would like letters of recommendation, those come in handy. Live off campus, partake in the nightlife, spend a few weekends in the city. There's very little in the world you can't do or try that you won't find in Berkeley.
4th Year Male -- Class 2000
Scholastic Success: A+, Individual Value: D-
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History/Histories (art history/etc.)
Great background academically and socially.
Alumnus Male -- Class 2000
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The University of California - Berkeley
The University of California - Berkeley
The University of California - Berkeley
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