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The University of California - Berkeley

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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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Quite BrightHistory/Histories (art history/etc.)
Great background academically and socially.
Alumnus Male -- Class 2000
Starting Job: Assistant professor ; Preparedness: A+ Reputation: A
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I've graduated for more than 10 years fromBrightChemical Engineering
I've graduated for more than 10 years from CAL and my undergrad years in chemical engineering department is the most grueling years in my life. There was very little camaraderie among students and between students and professors. The academic studies, while challenging, lacked meaning, as it was very detached from the day-to-day world. Some TAs and school administrators were jerks. Despite having no social life and feeling miserable all the time, I don't regret my experiences at CAL. I loved the fact that the program really emphasized lab work and writing lab reports. The experimental techniques I learned back then are still relevant today. It humbled me academically as I tried to survive in the pool of bright and hard-working souls. It also made me a better worker for life. The degree itself carries a lot of weight when you go look for a job, although it still took me a few months to find the first job. I would go to Berkeley again, given the chance, Don't expect to enjoy the experience, but you will look back with a lot more appreciation and insight.
5th Year Female -- Class 1999
Surrounding City: A-, Faculty Accessibility: F
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The University of California - Berkeley
The University of California - Berkeley
The University of California - Berkeley
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