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| I attended U.C. Berkeley starting the fall of 2004. It's been three years now, and without a doubt, if I built a time machine to go back in time, I would still choose Cal over the other schools (UCLA, USC, UCSD) I was accepted to. So what's the scoop? |
The academics will tantalize your mind. Most of classes require you to have a profound understanding of the subject in order for you to get an A. Although it is a small hurdle for some, if you keep it up, you will be amazed at what you can do- helping prepare you for life's future challenges.
The faculty are absorbed in their work, but they are helpful if you show up at their office hours. I have never seen a professor not do his job splendidly during office hours, and most are even okay with setting up additional individual meetings. Occasionally, they will even offer you work, or an internship. The key here is to explore and utilize opportunities immediately, without delay, and without apprehension.
Sure, there are those who sit back and do nothing, and whine at the lack of resources or social life. This isn't high school anymore. You really have to ask and probe around in order to find a niche in the Cal community, probably more so than at other schools. But those who complain- it isn't because the opportunities they look for don't exist.
Many students here are also engrossed in schoolwork or some other unusual subject. Many others are unfriendly and thus a permanent friend like one in high school can be difficult to find. Like always, the antidote is to look around. Also, luckily, the women at this school have improved dramatically since I was here in 2004. So if you're ready to step out into the macrocosm, this is it. The one and only...
|Jul 21 2007|| 3rd Year Male --
Class 2008 |
| I read through most of the negative reviews and on some level or another, I would have to agree with the majority of the comments. I believe Berkeley is well worth the in-state tuition, however it is not worth the 40,000 for an out-of-state or international student. |
Yes, there is a very low "good looking girls to guys" ratio, there are athletes who scored 800 on their combined SAT scores (old SATs format), and few professors actually grade tests and papers themselves or are available outside of class. Do not be fooled by the ratios that Berkeley claims: 15:1 student:faculty ratio. In four years as a PEIS major, fewer than 10% of my classes met that ratio. Discussion sections with a TA does not count in my book as fulfilling that ratio. Professors in the Political Science department are much more concerned with assisting grad students than their own undergrad students. Finally, due to the sheer size of Berkeley, the bureaucratic system can be difficult at times to navigate... not knowing who to contact for specific questions about applications, financial issues, registration issues, academic conflicts, graduation procedures, etc...
I choose Berkeley over UVA, Columbia, Princeton and Yale. I choose Berkeley because I thought it would proove to be the best environment in terms of exchange of ideas/free thinking. Few opportunities are given to the passionate undergrad who wants to graple with peers over contemporary debates in our society. Another reason for choosing Berkeley was to leave New England for a few years, and I did thoroughly enjoy everything San Francisco has to offer.
The campus is beautiful, Strawberry Canyon, the hills above campus over looking the Bay and the San Francisco Skyline are amazing... However, as others have stated... one only needs to venture off campus to have to step over bums sleeping in the streets, smell the aroma of bodily fluids, and fear for one's life. Even as a guy, at times when walking home from the bars alone at 2AM it can be worrisome. In four years, three of my male friends were assaulted, one ending up at Alta Bates. Berkeley police seem to be overwhelmingly more concerned about underage drinking than about the physical safety of the students.
For 40 grand, I would have gone to any of the other schools over Berkeley, perhaps even a school with less prestige such as Notre Dame, BC, Hamilton, etc... would have been better.
Good luck with your decision.
|Jul 11 2007|| 4th Year Male --
Class 2007 |
| Cal is an amazing school. No matter who you are, you can find a place to belong. There are so many activites going on and clubs to join. You just have to be proactive and make things happen for yourself - there are SO many opportunities out there waiting to be found - I wish I knew about them all while I was there. Take advantage of the career center, calcorps, all of the volunteer and research opportunities. I loved every second of my time at Cal. Warm, liberal laid back people side by side with conservative overachievers and everyone in between. Plus, you will never find a shortage of delicious cheap food - especially Thai. |
|Jun 25 2007|| 4th Year Female --
Class 2007 |