Within the UC Berkeley community, there seems to be a two way stereotype -- that berkeley students who are science/engineering are intense, overzealous and antisocial, and that humanities majors tend to be apathetic slackers who just want to party. At other colleges I've visited I've definitely picked up on the feeling that berkeley students are "too good" for other schools, and not that smart anyway, though they believe they are. In the larger world, Berkeley students are seen as intelligent, but super-liberal and football oriented. I can't think of many emails from my relatives in Iowa that didn't include several lines about how hurt I must have been at the loss of the Golden Bears to some other team.
I think that many people still believe that UC Berkeley is full of hippies or that it's still as radical as it once was. While there are probably more "free-spirited" people here than I have encountered anywhere else, overall Berkeley is pretty tame. I would say there is a good mix of differently minded individuals, and that nearly everyone could find a group here to identify with. In terms of UC Berkeley students, there are a lot of ethnic and racial stereotypes, as well as stereotypes concerning athletes, fraternity/sorority types, hipsters, and co-opers.
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.
There are two primary stereotypes of a UC Berkeley student. 1. The Hippie Stoner: Because of our history in the 60's, when you say "I go to Berkeley", many people think you are an active protester, smoke pot all day, and only eat tree bark. 2. The Over-Achiever: This type of student has virtually no social life and keeps their nose in a book, so they can become a Doctor/Lawyer/I-Banker.
There are, of course, the historical stereotypes that portray Berkeley as a politically charged campus: protesting, hippiedom, togetherness, liberalism, nature, drugs, the whole shebang. In addition, there are two other stereotypes that I find important. 2a.) Everyone who goes to Berkeley is Asian. 2b.) Everyone at Berkeley is smart.
-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.
Asians are studious and antisocial. MCB majors suck. English majors are egoists. History majors wear glasses. If you're in a band called TNT, you're probably a douchebag. UC Berkeley is full of hippies.
UC Berkeley has always been associated with the 1960s and the student activism of that era. The typical image of the Berkeley student is a glasses-wearing, studious, and socially inept Asian student.
Most people tend to think of UC Berkeley and the students here as crazy, ultra liberal, outspoken hippies who rant and rave about everything.
Some stereotypes are that Berkeley is an extremely liberal place where everyone is very politically active.