StudentsReview :: The University of California - Berkeley - Extra Detail about the Comment
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The University of California - Berkeley

How this student rated the school
Educational QualityA- Faculty AccessibilityC
Useful SchoolworkB+ Excess CompetitionC
Academic SuccessB+ Creativity/ InnovationB+
Individual ValueF University Resource UseA-
Campus Aesthetics/ BeautyA+ FriendlinessC
Campus MaintenanceA- Social LifeA-
Surrounding CityA Extra CurricularsA-
Describes the student body as:
Friendly, Approachable

Describes the faculty as:

Quite Bright
Lowest Rating
Individual Value
Highest Rating
Campus Aesthetics/ Beauty
He cares more about Individual Value than the average student.
Date: Nov 23 2009
Major: Psychology (This Major's Salary over time)
THE GOOD: The biggest reason to go to UC Berkeley is the degree. Berkeley is known around the world and a degree from here has prestige and can sometimes open doors. The quality of the education here isn't bad, either. It's a vibrant and stimulating intellectual community, with fine educational resources, and a fairly high percentage of the undergrad classes I took here were really pretty good. Some (not all) of the professors really try to make their classes worth taking. If you're a smart, motivated student it is possible to acquire a decent education here and get decent grades (if you're lazy or not a good student, don't come here-you won't make it). It's an amazingly beautiful campus, too.

THE BAD: Berkeley is overcrowded. Classes are often huge (don't believe the "official" student/faculty ratio, which is a joke). Some students are not able to get into their desired major or program. Even if you do get into the major you want, you will find that overcrowded classes will often mean you are waitlisted for classes you really need-sometimes for weeks after the semester begins-and may ultimately not get in at all. I was one of countless students who had this problem, and it was stressful to the max. The bureaucracy is awful here, too: when you have a problem like this don't expect any sympathy from the bureaucracy or advising staff because all you'll get is catch-22's and administrative run-arounds. Berkeley is huge and very impersonal, so forget about any personal attention for anything else, also. Letters of recommendation for grad school are difficult to get from faculty, because professors spend so much time on their research and their grad students that there isn't much time left over to get to know any of the hundreds of (low-priority) undergrads in their classes. Real help for preparing for grad school or a career is almost nonexistent. This is another critical area in which Berkeley fails almost completely, and this is quite serious considering it's the reason you are going to school in the first place. Berkeley rests on its reputation as a research university and evidently thinks you (the insignificant undergraduate) are lucky they let you come here at all. Don't ask for anything or expect any concern for yourself as a human being or for your future, when you are an undergrad here. You are just a number (your Student Identification Number, to be exact).

THE UGLY: Older, non-traditionally aged students comprise only a small percentage of the college student population, but IF YOU ARE AN OLDER STUDENT returning to school, like I was, DO NOT GO HERE. The administration and advising bureaucracy, unfriendly enough for the regular student, becomes cruel and intolerable. The rules stipulate that they cannot discriminate against students on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, etc. and this leaves-for this huge, unkind bureaucracy with its shadow side-the older student to harass and belittle. Upon being readmitted, one L&S adviser told me that I

had not done anything with [my] life to justify being admitted and didn't deserve to go to school here.
The Psych student services director (since retired) welcomed me with jokes about my age and gave me patently wrong information that, had I followed it, would have kept me out of the major entirely. I was excluded from the honors program on a technicality (after being advised by a Psych student services advisor that I'd meet the requirements, and after working on it for many months)-goodbye research experience for my grad applications! Every step of the way, someone in administration was waiting with ageist comments and to try to kick my feet out from under me, right up to graduation: someone in the Registrar's office tried to block my graduation by not giving me credit for university requirements I met way back in high school. I must stress that this awful treatment came from administration and not faculty (faculty were generally quite good about everything). But listen: if you are a non-traditionally aged student the disgraceful, uncaring administration at Berkeley makes this one MEAN place to go to school. Don't go here. Period.

This review is not influenced by my grades. I earned a 3.97 GPA in Psychology as a returning student at UC Berkeley. I graduated in May 2009.

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