Berkeley, CA
University of California-Berkeley


425 Ratings

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Recent Reviews

Tara
What is your overall opinion of this school?

I love love love the Cal campus. The buildings like Doe Library, Wheeler Hall, VLSB and the Campanile are beautiful and feel ...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

I love love love the Cal campus. The buildings like Doe Library, Wheeler Hall, VLSB and the Campanile are beautiful and feel so majestic. It's great to have a clear view across the bay of the Golden Gate Bridge when you exit the library after studying to go to class or go home. The bells that play from the Campanile at noon and 6:00pm are also really cool. The students are all very proud of our beautiful campus, location, history, academics, and especially the athletic program. The fall football season is so exciting, and year round, "Go Bears" functions more like "Aloha" than a cheer.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

A lot of people like to get involved, and the extreme ones do stand out, but there are a lot of people who are just chilling with friends and studying at school. I would say that there is a slight overall feeling of trying to do things for the good of society and "changing the world," but whatever you are, at Cal, it's cool. :)

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

A lot of people think that everyone at Cal is a hippie and a revolutionary, which is definitely not true.

Stephanie
What is your overall opinion of this school?

The Berkeley name is impressive, especially where I come from. Whenever I want to make a good impression or get out of a spee...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

The Berkeley name is impressive, especially where I come from. Whenever I want to make a good impression or get out of a speeding ticket, I mention that I go here. And it usually works. Cal is not as politically active as it once was, but every time something like that comes up, like when people start taking to the trees to prevent the development of a new athletic facility, I swell up with pride. Most students, though, cannot be bothered and simply find it a waste of their time.

Describe the students at your school.

Berkeley's campus is large enough such that everyone will find some sort of place, but will constantly feel alone. Most Berkeley students come from California; I don't know if that's a good thing. It is so difficult to get into Cal from out of state that it seems out-of-state students are automatically of a higher caliber than California students. If only Berkeley would admit students based on merit and not where their parents pay taxes, I feel like we would have a more intellectually equal campus. Most Cal students are pretty liberal, but I've heard rumors about a strong conservative uprising. I've found that depending on major, students don't really talk about how much they will earn one day. The only exceptions are Haas douchebags.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

This is mostly true. There are overwhelming amounts of Asians on this campus. Not everyone is intensely studious, though most Asians are. From what I've encountered, out-of-state students are the most intelligent, transfer students work the hardest, and Californians (who make up most of the campus) are mediocre.

What are the academics like at your school?

I am double majoring in Conservation and Resources Studies, and Molecular and Cell Biology. In my biology classes I find that students are competitive and study really hard. These students do not have intellectual conversations outside of class, and they are usually Asian. In my CRS classes, students are less competitive, they're usually pretty chill. These classes are undoubtedly my favorite; they have given me chance to learn something I, on the premed track, would normally have not. Coming from a strictly science background, it has been eye-opening to study the social aspects of what I thought would be a science-heavy major. It has also introduced me to people completely different from what I am used to. I find that in the CRS major, and in many Berkeley classes in general, students are taught to challenge the institutional norms, and that many of these institutions, including even the UC Regents, have not been looking out for our best interests.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

The prevalent stereotype is that everyone is Asian and intensely studious.

Jordan
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Berkeley is pretty fucking enormous. At first that was a little disconcerting, but after a while I started to really like tha...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Berkeley is pretty fucking enormous. At first that was a little disconcerting, but after a while I started to really like that. I found a lot of people I really liked, and I feel that at a smaller school it would be difficult to find so many people that I enjoy and like to be around. People are generally pretty impressed when they find out I go to Berkeley. Not sure if it's warranted, but whatever, it makes me feel cool. I spend a lot of time at cafes. Especially Free Speech Movement Cafe in Moffitt Library. I sit around and talk to people and I've met some of my best friends just sitting there bugging them about what they're reading.

Describe the students at your school.

There are a lot of people. Honestly, most of them are total assholes. Most people at Berkeley were socially awkward losers in high school. A lot of them try to compensate and turn into cool people in college. A lot of them do this by joining frats. This is a failing strategy. In general I would recommend staying away from people in frats because they're generally losers and assholes. A lot of people are anti-social, too. There are a large group of very social cool people though. Give me a call and I'll tell you where the party's at.

What are the academics like at your school?

Pretty big classes. Usually kinda hard. I feel like I learn a lot.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

My friends and I go to shows and house parties and get super fucked up. It's the life.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

It's crazy liberal and hippie. Lots of people do drugs. There are also a lot of ultra-nerdy Asian science majors.

Julia
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Berkeley has grown on me. I went through a period when I hated it, but now that I've finally gotten into the groove of thing...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Berkeley has grown on me. I went through a period when I hated it, but now that I've finally gotten into the groove of things, I've come to love it. It's a good size, walkable, accessible, surrounded by tons of great eateries and stores. It's a quick BART ride to SF. It has a rich and ecclectic history and character, which I found to be really edifying. I have a love affair with Doe library. It began innocently enough with my first research paper. Then I declared a History major, and it has been a whirlwind romance ever since. Oh, the many nights we have spent together! Seriously, I literally spent the night there once during finals week. There are these really great cushy chairs in the Main Stacks that are the perfect makeshift bed. I love the North Reading Room, too. It's long wooden tables, bookshelf-lined walls, and high ceiling feel like something out of a Harry Potter book. One thing I'll never forget is the night my friends and I explored the many charming little areas of campus. It was during homecoming week my freshman year, and the campus was all did up. Two things about that night stand out clearly in my mind's eye: the fabulous view from the top of Barrow's, and my perfectly sober serenade to a statue near Morrison. Maybe you've heard of the tree people. They are sitting in some old oaks as I write these very words, in an attempt to save the trees from getting cut down.

Describe the students at your school.

There's a little something for everyone at Berkeley, I feel. We're just a big, diverse jumble. We're suspiciously short on black students, given that the Bay area has a pretty high population of African Americans. But we have yellow students aplenty, which makes sense given that the Bay area has a pretty high population of Asian Americans. I should probably note here that I've become more free with my racism since coming to Cal. The liberal bent to humanities and social science classes here can have that effect on people. If they keep telling you that society is whack, and has been since forever, you start to feel like nothing you do really matters in the end. Racism, war, whatever. there will always be hate. And then you start getting loose with your racial slurs and stereotypes...you start to accept war as part of human nature, and maybe even support it because it helps keep our population in check...you start to think that maybe all you can hope to do is look out for your own self interests. Well, if you choose to take the jaded route instead of the blind idealist route. But you have to pick one or the other, or else life'll just start getting to you. The world will just start to get to you. That's the thing I had so much trouble with initially. Berkeley forces you to think long and hard about things, forces you to think really critically about them. If you're not careful, it can get you down. Wow, didn't mean to digress quite so far... Nutshell answer: if you're the sort of person who can get into Berkeley, and who wants to go to Berekeley, you'll find people to hang with.

Here's your chance: Say anything about your college!

I can't believe I considered going to Davis. Berkeley has challenged me, changed me, and left me with some of the best friendships I will ever have. I can't imagine any other campus that could have offered me so much. I will be graduating with high honors at the end of this semester. My senior thesis is getting published in Clio's Scroll, Cal's student-run undergraduate history journal. I have accomplished things and grown in ways that I never dreamed I would be capable of before I came here. This school has inspired and empowered me. And I will will forever cherish the time I spent here.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Well, the Bay Area is generally a fairly liberal place, but it is also really diverse. Berkeley has its fair share of stoners and bleeding hearts, but it also has a number of conservative students who come for the oustanding acedemic programs and post-graduation job prospects. The acedemic atmosphere is just as diverse. Although certain majors can be really difficult (EECS, MCB, etc.), I didn't encounter much difficulty as a History major. Same deal with the student body. Some will blow your mind with their intellegence and the ease with which they accomplish things. Others seem to be in a constant battle to keep their head above water...or have just stopped trying.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

I come from a more conservative area, and a lot of people I know think Berkeley students are a bunch of pot-smoking, uber-liberals. Several people from my hometown warned me "not to get to crazy" when they found out I was going to Cal. As for me, I was afriad that the classes would be really difficult and all the students would be really smart. I was a little intimidated by the fact that UC Berkeley is basically the top-ranked public university in the nation.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Pretty much the only lasting friends I've made have been from the dorms and University Chorus. I lived in Unit 3 for my first two years, and I had some really great floormates both years, several of whom I still keep in touch with. Note: leave your door open, and they will come. My roommate and I got a lot of visitors simply because we kept our door open all year. This could have been bad if our floormates sucked, but they didn't. I'm pretty sure I had the best RA in the history of RAs my freshman year, and we still get together to catch up from time to time. I also had the good fortune of being paired with an awesome roommate freshman year, and she's become one of my dearest friends. University Chorus was the only extra curricular I've really participated in at Cal, and it's been such a positive experience. Everyone is there because they love singing choral music, and it gave me a chance to meet like-minded people who share one of my passions. I regret that I never got the chance to sing in one of the a cappella groups on campus, because I LOVE them. I highly recommend that prospective students who like vocal music should look into groups like the UC Men's Octet, the Golden Overtones, and Artists in Resonance. Watching these groups sing at Sather Gate are one of my fondest memories of Cal. Language classes are another great place to meet people. Well, Japanese was, anyway. You spend five days a week with the same people, and are basically obligated to spend the class period talking. You have group skits, which allows you to get to know some of your classmates a little better. The senseis are super encouraging and adorable, which helps create an even more comfortable and social setting. As a freshman, you have to take advantage of free home games! I still don't get how to play football, but I remember having such a blast sitting in the student section and cheering on our team just the same. Even if you aren't into sports, you'll love the experience of the frenzy. The Cal Band is also pretty prolific, and they always put together an awesome halftime show. I hear Cal also has a good basketball team, and the ticket prices for those games are pretty resonable. Other sporting events, like gymnastic and swim meets are free, if I remember correctly. All good things to look into. If you're a fan of free or cheap entertainment, you'll love all shows put on by student groups and performing arts departments. There are theater groups like Theater Rice, Theater Charity, and BareStage that put on skits and plays and have fairly cheap ticket prices. The Dance department puts on a free show each semester in Hearst Gym. The Music department has free concerts at noon in Hertz Hall. On Fridays at Wheeler Auditorim, Superb has cheap showings of movies that are no longer running in regular theatres. There's stuff like that going on all the time; you just have to look into it. Again, if you're into SWAG, don't miss out on the vendors that fill the RSF for Caltopia. This event, held at the beginning of each fall term, is a great opportunity to stock up on free office supplies and snacks. Even though this event is generally for freshmen, I never miss it. It's the reason I haven't had to buy a single pen or pencil since coming to Cal. Every year during finals week a bunch of students go streaking through the library at midnight. Don't let it catch you unawares. I found out about this tradition when I got caught in the corridor between Moffitt and Doe libraries as this mass of sweaty, smelly, naked kids came running through.

What are the academics like at your school?

My professors have all been pretty great. Some of them aren't the best teachers, but almost all of them care about their students and want to do what they can to help students learn. One of my professors even met with my study group at the dining hall and offered to attend any student-organized review session for his class. But my favorite professor would probably have to be Dr. David Henkin of the History department, if I were forced to choose. He's so personable, and you can tell he really cares about his students. He makes an effort to learn everyone's name, and will remember you if you never spoke in class or went to his office hours. I also loved the two courses I took with him. The first was a cultural history of Broadway and NYC, and the second was a history of antebellum America. He always delves into really interesting popular culture and assigns interesting primary source readings. GSIs (Graduate Student Instructors) are more of a mixed bag. Some are really nice and helpful. Some are nice, but not very helpful. Some are arrogant assholes AND they don't offer useful help. I've liked my GSIs, though. Most of them identify with us undergrads pretty well, and one even gave me a day's extension for my final paper just because I asked for it. The History department is definitely geared toward historical research rather than getting you a job. The courses aren't even certified for accaptence into teaching credential programs, and you have to take subject tests before applying to a credential program. Many history undergraduates go on to grad school or law school. It's a pretty acedemic environment, and I've had my fair share of intellectual conversations outside of the classroom setting. Office hours and tutorial sessions can be really useful if you can force yourself to go to them...which I generally didn't. But most of my professors encouraged students to discuss things with them at office hours. As many of them have mentioned, they have to be there regardless of whether or not students come, so they'd rather just have students come.

Torry
What is your overall opinion of this school?

-The best thing about UC Berkeley is the campus. I just get a great feeling inside whenever I walk around it. -The thing I w...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

-The best thing about UC Berkeley is the campus. I just get a great feeling inside whenever I walk around it. -The thing I would change about Berkeley is the class sizes. I prefer small classes where students are able to interact one on one with the professor. There are not many classes like that here. -Again, I think the school is too large. I prefer a more intimate environment where the professor can call the student by name and the student is personally held accountable for doing their work from day to day. -Reaction "Wow, you must be really smart." -I spend most of my time on campus in my place of residence off campus. -I would say college town--but at the same time, not really, because everything closes so darn early that there is nothing to do after 10--even on weekends. -The Administration is okay. It is very large and somewhat impersonal, but my dealings with it have been fine. -I would say the people living in the trees by memorial stadium, just because it had been going on for so long. I , and most everyone I know, are against teh tree people and on the side of the university.(the Marine recruiting center is a possible answer, but I would consider that off-campus) -I am in Cal Band, so I am exposed to a lot of school pride. I cheer at games, say "go bears" and where a lot of Cal clothing. However, I have some friends who only own one piece of Cal clothing or have never even stepped foot into an athletic event. I would say that there is a lot of school pride, definitely for the academic side of Berkeley, but pride for sporting events and things like that is limited to certain kinds of people or student groups. -Unusual: The the campus of Berkeley is very nice, the city of Berkeley is terrible: dirty, ridden with homeless and generally unsafe at late hours of the night. -One experience I will always remember is getting back my first graded assignment ever here at Berkeley. I got a B and I was thrilled because I felt like I could make it here academically. I find this funny because now I would cringe at getting a B on an essay or test! -Seriously, the most frequent student complaint is lack of sleep OR too much homework.

Describe the students at your school.

-I have many male gay friends and I feel like there is a large gay presence here at Berkeley that I hardly even take notice of anymore. I have noticed that I can walk around Berkeley and hear people speaking 10 different languages within the course of a day. I feel like a lot of students here are from middle to upper middle class background, but I do know a very small few that are from poorer homes. -I honestly really cannot think of anyone that would feel out of place here. I think there is something for everyone here and that everyone has a niche. There are people from all backgrounds, nationalities, with all different tastes and personalities that I cannot imagine someone not finding a group they fit into or a class they didn't like. I guess the type of person who wouldn't fit in is someone intolerant of diversity or someone who does not like to study hard! -Wear: Jeans plus a Berkeley/Cal sweatshirt or north face jacket and some Rainbow sandals or running shoes or ugg boots, with a north face backpack, no joke. - Different types of students interact all the time, it is impossible not to. -Four tables: well, i guess that there are the athletics who sort of give me the impression like they feel somewhat superior to us regular students. there are the business majors who all they think about is how they can get into Haas school of business (or recruit you into their club). There are the radicals. And then there is everyone else. really, the first three are minorities though. -Most Berkeley students are from California. -Financial backgrounds most prevalent are middle to upper middle class. -Yes, we are politically aware. Definitely left. I was conservative before I came here and now I consider myself very liberal. -Earn one day: I am a history major, so we mostly talk about how poor we are going to be!

Here's your chance: Say anything about your college!

I love UC Berkeley! These have probably been some of the hardest years of my life, but I still think they have been the most rewarding. I have grown so much as a person.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Some are, yes, but usually not completely. -Many of the students are very smart, but I have encountered my fair share of people who are not. Sadly, many of these, in my experience, have been athletes who did not get into to this school based on intelligence. Based on the performances of others (and myself) there are times when I ask myself "How did I get in here?" times when I ask "How did they get in here?" and times when I think I could have gone somewhere better. All in all, however, the students at Berkeley are very hard working and smart. It is not as easy to get an A on a test or paper as it was in high school! -While a large part of the student population is Asian, there are people of all sorts of races and backgrounds, and no one person is the same. I feel lucky that I have been exposed to all different kinds of people. It is easy to lump people together into groups, but I have found that everyone brings their own, unique experience regardless of ethnicity or nationality. -I don't think Berkeley students are any more radical or liberal than a lot of large universities. I think that the history of activism on behalf of students (I am thinking of the Free Speech Movement and Vietnam war protests in particular), along with activism on the part of Berkeley residents (not so much students) is why this stereotype lives on. With some exceptions, I usually find that people are just like me-- liberally minded, yes, but not to an extreme. I also know a fair share of conservative people, who I am glad to call my friends. -As for there not being very many attractive students, I have to say that this one might have some validity. If you visit a private school in Southern California, you are bound to see more physically "attractive" people. However, I have found that that is not a very important factor in determining the worth of a person. Besides, in my experience I have noticed that the theory of a negative correlation between attractiveness and intelligence is actually true, but I would rather be surrounded by smart, average-looking people, than not-so-smart beautiful people.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

-Berkeley attracts liberally minded or radical thinking students. -Students are very competitive and hard working. -People who get accepted here are smart. -There is a large Asian population. -There aren't very many attractive students.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

-There are so many organizations and teams it is hard to say! I am just going to say Cal Band, Rally Comm, and the Asian American Business Association. Plus all athletic teams, of course. -Cal Band is amazing, but a big time commitment. I am so glad I did it. -I never lived in dorms -Athletic events like football, basketball and Rugby are very popular, the others have scarce attendance. More people come when we are playing Stanfurd. -I met my closest friends through band and through classes. -If I am awake at 2pm on a Tuesday I am either cramming for an exam (because I never stay up that late to do homework), or goofing off watching tv/hanging out with friends. -Too many to name! Big game week is a big deal though. -Partying? I think it happens more in the fall because of football. Hard to say, i don't party. -To me, Frats and sororities are not important at all, but for others they may be. -Last weekend I had some friends visit from my hometown. I showed them the campus (including the tree people and memorial stadium) and we also went to San Francisco for a day. -You can do a lot on a Saturday night that doesn't involve drinking. Go get food, stay in with friends, go to SF...i wish more people would realize this. -Off campus: shopping, eating at any of Berkeley's awesome eateries, go to SF, hiking, swimming, exploring the city...so many things...

What are the academics like at your school?

-Professors usually only know a student's name if the class is small (15-20 people) or if they frequently attend office hours or ask a lot of questions in lecture. -My favorite class ever was a reading seminar, History 103: the Sixties. I loved it because it was a small class, 15 people, and all we did was read a book a week and discuss it for two hours. It was actually a lot of work, and the paper assignments were challenging, but I loved the material. It was led by a professor, Professor Frydl (one of my favorites, and I feel like I really got to know her and my fellow students because the class was so small. I still go to that professor for advice in other classes. -Worst class ever: American Studies 101: The Atomic Age with Prof. Christine Palmer. The topic sounds interesting, but the reading material was odd and the lectures disorganized. The professor did not rely information well, and the assignments were very confusing. I found Professor highly incompetent and, above all that, very rude in office hours. -Students study a lot. I mean, a lot. I use my weekend to get a bulk of my homework done, rather than relax, and I feel guilty when I am not doing homework or something productive. -Class participation is common, and required, if the class is small. Other than that, participation is always limited to a hand-full of students who ask questions in lectures. -UC Berkeley students definitely have intellectual conversations outside of class, at least I know my friends and I do! -Competitiveness depends on the major. Hard sciences and engineering, yes, humanities and social sciences, not so much. Those in humanities and social sciences usually don't have to worry about a grading curve, and students in these classes are usually more friendly and eager to help each other. -The most unique class I have taken is actually a class I took over summer: The social history of the US. The professor was a visiting professor from SF state and incorporated field trips and interesting projects into the class that made it very enjoyable. -The history department is great. Leah, the history adviser is always very friendly, helpful and available. There are always so many interesting classes offered I find it hard to decide upon which ones I want to take! The history requirements are not too terrible, but most history classes require a lot of reading and fairly good writing skills. The department also offers great events like speakers or workshops, and Leah always sends email updates of these events or job opportunities. What turns most people away from the history major is the required research seminar where students have to produce a 35-120 page thesis in a semester. I am in the class right now, and it is a lot of work, but I am learning a lot and I am really enjoying exploring a topic in such depth. -I only spend time with my professors outside of class when I go to office hours. -UC Berkeley's academic requirements are reasonable. -For me, I feel like my education has been geared towards learning for its own sake. However, in the process I realize I have gained excellent writing and analytical skills. Plus, going away to college has made me a more independent and confident person.

Sherry
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Located at a distance which allows for frequent trips to the cities of Oakland and San Francisco but at the same time allows ...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Located at a distance which allows for frequent trips to the cities of Oakland and San Francisco but at the same time allows for quiet nights dozing on the couch, UC Berkeley is a college perfectly situated in the suburbs of two major cities. While the adventurous can explore the bustling cityscape of San Francisco, the studious can spend weekends studying at the library without the noise of city life. For local attractions, Telegraph and Shattuck, the two streets running perpendicular to the Berkeley campus, offer various small boutiques and specialty restaurants, as well as street vendors promoting their wares. However, if you are looking for the nearest Denny’s or California Pizza Kitchen, be prepared to drive to the neighboring cities, as the reduction of large scale commercial chain stores in Berkeley city has been enforced by the city council in order to maintain Berkeley’s unique atmosphere. That said, only at Berkeley can you find an institution of such high academic standing and extreme school spirit. Athletic events are an integral part of the social life at Berkeley, not only for the current students, but also for returning alumni who can be seen milling around at football tailgating events with their families or grabbing “froyo” at Yogurt Park before late night basketball games. Every year, the Big Game against our rival Stanford bring more and more students and alumni together in hopes of winning “The Axe” and re-establishing our dominance over the Stanford football team. Through the annual Bonfire Rally and other school-wide events, the Rally Committee – a student organization similar to a spirit commission - provides an opportunity for students to bond together and to incite a sense of school pride which reverberates to the core of the student body. Although one of the many stereotypes people have of Berkeley students is that they would rather study than eat or sleep, I have found that to be a great exaggeration. Even if there are the few students who live from midterm to midterm, here, most students swear by the phrase: “study hard, party hard” - working hard during the weekdays to catch up on readings and assignments, and loosening up on weekends in celebration of the end of a long week. This equilibrium between academia is very refreshing, and keeps the stress of schoolwork from becoming a constant and debilitating aspect of student life. However, as much as I love Berkeley, I would have to say that it could use great improvements to its bureaucratic system. Every semester, come time to schedule classes, complaints of long waitlists and full classes can be heard all around campus. Scheduling and requesting classes are a hassle, and often depend on class standing, so that while seniors have priority when it comes to signing-up for classes, freshmen and sophomore have to fight for a position on the class roster. Still, the system is pretty lenient, and “crashing” courses allows both wait-listed and non wait-listed students to attempt to add a class. Although most students end up getting into the classes that they want at the discrepancy of the instructors, some students are not as lucky. Most of the time, instructors do make exceptions for students who need a certain course to fulfill a major requirement, but many students still end up having to diverge off their major track in order to accommodate the designated number of seats in a class. If Berkeley could create a scheduling system which is easier for students to navigate, I think it would be positively received by the student body.

Describe the students at your school.

As a college, Berkeley is one of the best places to learn about yourself and of students of other cultural and ethnic backgrounds. While there are sure to be student groups geared towards hobbies and cultures that you identify strongly with, there are also students groups which differ greatly from your political and social viewpoints. That is the beauty of Berkeley. Thus, compared to other well-established institutions, I would say that Berkeley has a reasonably well-rounded student body. There are currently more than 650 student groups on campus, ranging from The Rubber Band Club to the recently re-established third world Liberation Front, covering issues which span the political scale from the very liberal left to the very conservative right. There is such a range of eccentric people roaming around campus, student or not, that it is impossible to feel out of place at Berkeley. From “emo-rocker” to “grunge bohemian,” fashion is a common way for Berkeley students to make a statement. Although most students don a pair of blue jeans and a Cal sweatshirt for class, at Berkeley, no one would take a second glance if you were going to class in a bright orange bathing suit. However, the Northern Californian weather is a huge factor in deciding what to wear to class, and even into late spring, the crisp cool weather keeps most students in jackets and sweatshirts. Especially for Southern Californian residents, who are accustomed to t-shirts and tank tops, San Francisco/Bay Area weather proves to be much more temperamental, with surprise showers and the occasional foggy mornings. What I appreciate most about Berkeley is the diversity among students, and the strong emphasis which these students themselves place on embracing multiculturalism. Most recently, a strong desire to establish a permanent space for a multicultural center has prompted various student protests as well as emergency sit-ins against the university. Students from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds participated in this movement together, working towards a goal which may represent different things to each of them, but together means a substantial shift towards a desired change on campus. Thus, cultural student groups have a strong influence on the atmosphere of Berkeley student life. However, although culturally diverse, the Berkeley student population is not as geographically diverse as most other college populations. While there are a handful of students from out of state, there are few to none full-time international students. Although it is great meeting people from all over California, I would have hoped that my college experience would expose me to students from different states and countries. Still, it would be wrong to assume that because most Berkeley students are from California, that they are homogenous representation of the democratic state of California. Instead, the students are a reflection of the general American population, reflecting stances regarding social and political issues similar to that of the general population curve, with moderates in the majority, and a few on the far left or far right.

Here's your chance: Say anything about your college!

This school year, there has been a great surge of activism on the Berkeley campus, from the throngs of the third world Liberation Front fighting for the establishment of a permanent multicultural center on campus, to the lone tree-sitter positioned in a tree between Dwinelle and Wheeler protesting the UC Regents. Playing witness to these events which will no doubt be an integral part of UC Berkeley history incites a sense of empowerment even in the most cynical, and once again reminds me of why I chose this university over many others.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

It is not until you step on campus during a school day and walk into a lecture hall full of students as diverse and as large as the ones here at Berkeley, do you realize that Berkeley is a lot more than the stereotypes make it out to be. As with any school, although the Berkeley student body has its extremities, a large majority of us fall in between these categories. I wouldn?t say that the stereotypes about Berkeley are inaccurate, but that these stereotypes only barely scrape the surface of what Berkeley truly is. Berkeley is much more than the hippies and the activists of the sixties; it is a continuously progressing forefront of technological, social, and political change.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

Most people recognize Berkeley for its stellar academics and its reputation as the starting ground for student movements. At the same time, Berkeley students are often believed to be very eccentric, albeit brilliant, misfits. Recently however, Berkeley has been known for its predominantly Asian student population, and the academic competition which has increased with this flux in ethnic representation.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Berkeley is a school that never sleeps. From “chalking sidewalks” early in the morning to Taiko drum practices which run late at night, there are student groups ranging from the Freshman Sophomore Business Club to Danceworx holding meetings and events at every hour of the day. While most clubs and student organizations hold events on campus, there is the thriving night-life of fraternities and sororities off campus as well. A stroll down ‘frat-row’ on any weekend will turn-up more than a few themed frat-parties, planned to help fellow students distress or just to get the partying out of their systems. Thus, Greek life is a huge part of the academic and social life at Berkeley, with more than 30% of the student population at Berkeley involved with the Greek system. Although exclusive, benefits of the Greek system include guaranteed housing, a strong support system, and a great way to network and meet alumni. However, if social fraternities or sororities aren’t your thing, there are professional fraternities and sororities as well. Although professional fraternities and sororities do not offer housing for its members, many of the other benefits are included. Housing for students is generally dispersed through five residence halls. However unlike other college campuses, the Berkeley campus does not include on-campus housing sites. This is one aspect of Berkeley that I really enjoy, because it removes definitive campus boundaries, and instead, extends the Berkeley campus into the surrounding neighborhood. This unique characteristic of the Berkeley residence halls allows for greater interaction between students and the surrounding neighborhood, further incorporating the Berkeley community into the college campus. Although some students might find the neighborhood intimidating, as part of the Berkeley city community, learning to respect and interact with the diverse members of the surrounding neighborhood is a priceless experience. The residence halls are a wonderful way to meet people and a great transition between life at home and life on your own, and the wide range of residential options available to students takes into consideration academic vocations, studying habits, and social habits. While there are the residence halls infamous for residents big on partying, there are also residential options directed towards those who prefer studying on the weekends. For them, there are the options of the dormitories further detached from campus, which allow for quiet and privacy, or the entirely substance-free building in one of the residential units where any sort of alcohol or drug is prohibited. Now, if anyone knows anything about college students, it is their largely abnormal sleep cycle. Just as the Telegraph shops are closing up and the restaurants are cleaning up, the night life of the Berkeley students begins. Even at odd hours in the morning, you are bound to find people relaxing after a long night of studying in the main lounge, or crazed-midterm-crammers stressing out in their rooms. For those who develop midnight cravings, or were too busy to grab a bite to eat for dinner, late night meals are available at the dining commons until as late (or as early) as two o’clock in the morning. Many of the neighborhood diners are open twenty-four hours a day to cater to hungry college students as well.

What are the academics like at your school?

Berkeley, as well as any other public institution, is known for intimidating class sizes and large student to professor ratios. Of course this comes with the good and the bad. The good? Sleeping in lecture does not constitute embarrassment in front of the other 499 students in class. The bad? Falling asleep and not paying attention to the professor could really put a damper on your academic edge. Since lecture style teaching is a huge part of the college learning experience, it is generally hard to avoid large 500 person lectures, especially with science and math courses. However, for those who prefer learning in smaller groups with a greater focus on the students, many lectures run concurrently with discussion groups. These discussion groups are usually a required component of the course, and are run by graduate student instructors (GSIs) who supply complimentary information and give students the chance to receive one-on-one attention. Furthermore, these discussion groups offset the large lectures and provide students with a more intimate learning environment. For the students who are really struggling with a certain class, there are a great number of tutoring centers available on campus and in the residential halls which are open five days a week for drop-in tutoring. Besides these resources, office hours are great opportunities for students to interact with GSIs and get help with difficult concepts. Professors hold office hours as well, which give students a chance to converse with them about research opportunities or issues they may be having with the class. Many people wrongly assume that professors at Berkeley are largely detached from their students (or from the rest of the world in general), but this is entirely false. Although Berkeley is mainly a research institution, many professors genuinely care about their students, and are willing to take time out of his/her research to ensure the success of students who are truly willing to learn. Not only have I been pleased with the quality of the professors here at Berkeley, I have also found the required coursework to be exciting and rewarding. As a freshman intended for a Molecular and Cell Biology and Business Administration simultaneous degree, I am part of the College of Letters and Science, the largest college on campus. This college awards Bachelors of Arts degrees to its students, whether they are science majors or history majors. Although many science majors are disgruntled by this, and would prefer to take more specialized courses in lieu of the nine required breadth courses, I believe that taking breadth courses is a great opportunity for students to become more knowledgeable in fields outside of their own, and to promote appreciation for the other majors offered on campus. The required breadth courses are more than just a wonderful way for those uncertain about their career paths to explore a variety of other majors. They are also a way for the College of Letters and Science to balance learning to gain experience for a job and learning just for the sake of learning. In effect, a Berkeley degree prepares students for more than just a career and provides students with a standard of achievement and academic experience hard to find anywhere else. This sentiment, which is echoed by many Berkeley alumni who are currently working or in graduate school, goes to show that Berkeley truly prepares its students for life outside of college.

Kendall
What is your overall opinion of this school?

UC Berkeley is depressing! There is alot of school, you feel inadequate to others and yourself. Students priorities are screw...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

UC Berkeley is depressing! There is alot of school, you feel inadequate to others and yourself. Students priorities are screwed up! Most students of color put their communities before their school work, because nobody else is helping the communities of color. But students of color love what they do! We define the school claim for diversity. Students of color in coalitions like Bridges bring diversity to Cal's so called diversity.I wish people on campus would have more respect and become conscious of what's around them. Some students walk around the campus and are oblvious to the bureaucracy that is the university, events like the Freedom of Speech movement means nothing to students, who don't experience racism, sexism, etc. But in Berkeley, you are forced to grow up and think for yourself. You learn so much but with all my complaints, I won't take back this growing experience. In Berkeley you find your identity, your voice, but that is after alot of searching. I'm still putting the pieces together...

Describe the students at your school.

our student is diverse, only because students identify with so many different backgrounds, beliefs, ideals, race/ethnicity, etc. Our school is filled with rich kids that own many houses in many countries. Then there are students that are paying their tuition and their parents rent, because money is hard to come by. you would think Berkeley is full of liberals but no, there are many conservatives, they have alot of power. some students where pajamas, no clothes, hey you name it!

What are the academics like at your school?

Some instructor know your name if you make it known and go to office hours! students study all the time it's mandatory. studying your heart out will at least give a B. Students are extremely competive, if not, it won't be called UC Berkeley right? I think the American Cultures (AC classes) should be forced upon students, so they can learn about other cultures. Some students (white students) graduate from Cal, not knowing a thing about another culture than they're own. That sucks. If we can learn about Marx and Plato, we can learn about Cesar Chavez and Malcolm X, they all had philosophies right?

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

berkeley has so many things going on at once.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

Some students are ingnorant to issues that affect them everyday. Students don't know how to use their student power to effect change.

Andy
What is your overall opinion of this school?

The best thing about UC Berkeley is the sweet variety of people that go here. There's nothing quite like it, with crazies, n...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

The best thing about UC Berkeley is the sweet variety of people that go here. There's nothing quite like it, with crazies, nerds, bros, hippies, etc. all mingling together. One thing I'd change? All the ignorant people at the political extremes. Now, I'm not singling out liberals here. I'm talking about both sides of the spectrum. Good lord, just think about what you're about to say before you do. I like the size of the school. Initially, I was sorta anxious about going to such a large school (my high school had 120 people...total), but it turns out to be a great atmosphere, where every time you meet someone you know, it's a pleasant surprise. People's reactions to UC Berkeley are overwhelmingly positive. Almost every person I meet says, "Wow, you go to Berkeley?" People do seem wary of the possible political aspects, though. The Engineering buildings. I definitely spend most of my time in Evans, Bechtel, and LeConte. I do go to Morrison Library to pass out, though. Berkeley's a weird sort of town, where even though it isn't really a quintessential College Town (something I've heard said about Boston), there's a definite college vibe to it. Most of the people wandering downtown around are clearly college students, and when you go to frat row, you can feel the Bro Down. At the same time, there are a lot of random hobos and hippies that you probably wouldn't find anywhere else. Oh yes, there's plenty of school spirit to go around. Go Bears. Roll on you Bears. Golden Bears. Golden Bear Skill. And watch out if you're thinking about wearing a red shirt on Big Game days. You'll get all sorts of shit for it. I'm serious. You can avoid it if you choose to, though. Berkeley's not nearly as strange of a place as people make it out to be. I mean, sure, you'll find plenty of crazy people wandering around Sproul Plaza, and people sitting in trees so they don't get cut down, but frankly, you learn to roll with the punches and just drink it all in. I'll always remember dancing in a surging mass of 4000+ people at the Daft Punk concert at the Greek Theatre with my closest friends by me thinking, "Man, I'm glad I'm here." Most frequent complaint: this school is hard. I kid you not, there's a lot of fun to be had here, but don't slack off in your studies, 'cause you're gonna get your ass kicked. Then again, if you didn't come here to get an education, why the hell are you here?

Describe the students at your school.

As an all-encompassing statement: UC BERKELEY STUDENTS ARE SWEET. EXCEPT FOR THE DOUCHEBAGS. No seriously, there's room for everybody, and if you look hard enough you'll find your place fairly quickly. Also, don't be afraid of talking to random people. You'll find that strangers can end up being friends fairly quickly.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

If by "dorks" you mean "smart people", sure, I'd say the average person here is fairly intelligent. Then again, for there to be an average, there's always the upper half and the lower half. Also, and most importantly, it all depends on what you mean by "smart".

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

We're definitely considered to be big dorks. Obviously the Engineers in particular, but the campus as a whole is theoretically packed with nerds.

What are the academics like at your school?

Personally, no, the professors do not know me. I should go to office hours more. If you go consistently (which is in fact really helpful), then they will get to know you. Although I'm an Engineer, the best class I had was probably History 162B, taught by David Wetzel. If you want to get passionately yelled at about how Napoleon Bonaparte was an INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL, then take this class. It's awesome. I hated Physics 105 with a passion. Never been quite so bored with a class or a teacher before. That in turn made it hard, and when you don't understand the material, it becomes more boring. A deadly cycle. I study every day except Fridays (maybe). I'm pretty sure a large portion of the student body studies five days a week. --- Intellectual conversations are fairly common, but people don't run around saying, "Hey man, let's have an intellectual conversation." If you're curious and thoughtful, you'll probably end up having an intellectual conversation at some point along the way. Surprisingly, the atmosphere isn't as competitive as you'd think. --- --- --- The Engineering requirements are pretty stringent, and if you don't push yourself, you'll probably end up following the exact path that they have planned out for you. That is, there are a lot of required classes, and if you plan on taking three per semester, you're probably not going to end up taking any classes by choice. The education at UC Berkeley isn't geared either way per se. I'd say that your personal approach determines whether you're learning to get a job or just for the sake of learning.

Ben
What is your overall opinion of this school?

The big picture is that Berkeley is big, so pretty much anything you want is here. This also means that anything you don't wa...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

The big picture is that Berkeley is big, so pretty much anything you want is here. This also means that anything you don't want is also here, but the beauty of the campus (which happens to include the beautiful campus itself) is that it's so big and diverse that avoiding the tools and angling your way towards the people that are cool is not too difficult an affair. The town doesn't stay out too late, and BART closes at 12:30 (which is a downright shame) but it's never hard to find a happening abode or party with which to meet people. If parties aren't your thing (as they are often overflowing with tools) there are tons of other things to do, especially in SF.

Describe the students at your school.

The students are not nearly as left as I would have liked. Eating at the Free Speech Movement cafe on campus, inspired by Mario Savio's passionate calls to action, and knowing that a huge number of my fellow students voted and support George Bush is pretty appalling to me. I can't imagine a young intelligent individual in that kind of a place supporting that kind of oppression. In CS, there is a lot of talk about the future and some of it is very financially based, but I usually steer clear of those individuals and find myself in intense conversations about crazy new internet ideas or startup plans. Those are definitely something i'll miss when i leave.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

I was surprised at how many people didn't fit the stereotypes when I came here. Honestly, I was disappointed, because I wanted more liberal-well-read types, but I quickly learned to ignore the nutty sports fans and the sleazy frat boys and without too much work found tons of the kinds of people I wanted to. The studious Asian stereotype is true in full force, but there are also plenty of people whom look like the studious type but are actually major screw ups. You never know.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

That they are liberal and well read. Or that they are Asian and incredibly studious.

What are the academics like at your school?

My favorite class was (of course) one of the introductory CS classes taught by a professor who is, in my opinion, the best teacher ever. Despite the huge size of the class, my effort to be noticed did not go unrecognized and he quickly learned my name. Now, just one year later I have a close relationship with that professor and I am now his TA for that class. However, it's not all roses at Berkeley. I came to this campus planning on studying Physics, but after 4 semesters of mediocre to awful professors I had to give up and turn to CS where the teachers cared about the kids and didn't give tests where the students averaged below 30%.

Evan
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Because I've just effectively moved out of Berkeley, two things come to mind: local bookstores, and local food. This would be...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Because I've just effectively moved out of Berkeley, two things come to mind: local bookstores, and local food. This would be places like University Press Books, Moe's and the Berkeley farmers' market. I would say that I'm proud to have gone to Cal; I feel that my degree will be worth something on the job market, but more important than that, I think I've gotten the most out of my degree.

Describe the students at your school.

I know all kinds of people from Berkeley, and I'd be tempted to say that if you want to find a particular group of people, it's there on campus. Or around campus. I know people who will discuss their future $, yes, but also I understand that the pockets of hippies are out there. Or whatever other group. There probably could be more interaction among groups; these things do tend to form cliques. But in another way, that's just part of finding one's path through college.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

These do not seem to be real. I think it's pretty silly to blame any circumstances ("There just aren't any cute guys/girls at this school") when it is dumb to do so.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

The thing about stereotypes is that I only really hear about them from other Berkeley students. Like it is supposedly populated by smart but relatively unattractive people. That is about it... there are Stanford comparisons, I hear.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Joining Theater for Charity was one of the better decisions I made toward the end of my stay at Berkeley. I did a lot of extracurricular stuff, a lot of writing clubs, etc., and they were great, they pretty much made me who I am. On the flip side, I am no where near as good at Tekken Tag Tournament as I could have been.

What are the academics like at your school?

One of my favorite classes was an English Senior seminar. It was one of my last classes before graduation, too-- but anyway, it was a serious challenge, and I think it's because of that challenge, and that class, that I am a viable candidate for graduate school, if I choose to pursue it.

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