University of California-Berkeley Top Questions

Describe the students at your school.

adam

intense

Martha Reuben

A salad of individuals.

Jasmine

I've found that the one thing that my classmates have in common is that they're all fundamentally interesting people--everyone comes from different backgrounds and everyone is pursuing vastly diverse dreams, but every single one of them is motivated and passionate about those dreams. What inspires me the most about the school is seeing all of those people interact, share their stories and their ideas, and collaborate in the social and intellectual environment that Berkeley provides.

Nicole

People are super competitive, but at the same time supportive.

Holly

Berkeley students are intelligent and intensely enthusiastic about all of their many interests. We’re driven to pursue whatever catches our interest with all of our energy, throwing ourselves completely into projects, sometimes many simultaneously. One of my friends went to France for a few months, and ended up staying for a year, speaking French like a native. When she came back, she resumed working on her Linguistics degree and learning computer programming. I learned about insects for my job at the insect museum and Italian clays for a professor’s research project every moment I wasn’t in class.

Nihari

My classmates can be described as: motivated go-getters, helpful, outgoing, passionate, busy, involved, stressed, and brilliant.

Ilana

Berkeley students are the most intelligent, kind, well-versed, cultured, well-read, determined, dynamic and stimulating bunch !

Shalini

They are all extremely smart. Many are focused on their studies and their future. Many are involved on campus or off campus and balance crazy schedules. However, there are a few students who are not very active.

Isaiah

Determined

Sylvie

Everyone at Cal has a story and something that they are passionate about and they are also some of the warmest and most welcoming people you will ever meet; being peers with people like this motivates yourself to do better and leaves you with an irreplaceable college experience.

Ethan

Half are lazy, half are nerds, and everyone has a passion to learn more than what they know already.

Trevor

Students here tend to be extremely liberal/left in their ideology. An extremely large proportion of the Berkeley population is LGBT. 70% of the campus population comes from ethnic minorities. The ethical doctrine of cultural relativism is generally held in high-esteem. Students at this school are typically study/workaholics and very political. Those coming from Judeo-Christian backgrounds are typically seen as "oppressors."

Mallory

Take a walk through Sproul Plaza on any weekday, and you'll find a club that caters to every demographic. Among these groups: Conservatives at Cal, Ski Club, New Christian Fellowship, Alpha Rho Chi (a co-ed fraternity for architecture students), Tikvah - Students for Israel, Queer Straight Alliance, Foresight Pre-Optometry Club, Unicycle Basketball Club, Hermanos Unidos (a Latino, all-male social group), Dance Marathon (an event whose proceeds benefit the fight against pediatric AIDS), and Cal Ballroom (a dance club). Most students are politically aware, but political alliances vary greatly. Many are from California, and a fairly large proportion are international students. Because Berkeley is academically prestigious, most students are competitive, highly motivated, and very ambitious Monday through Friday, but you won't have to look very far to find a good time when you're unwinding over the weekend! Come Monday morning, you'd better be ready to head back to the grindstone.

Annette

My classmates at the University of California, Berkeley, were determined to improve their social and political environments, determined to consider challenging concepts on a profound level, determined to discover themselves, and determined to make the world a more inclusive and loving place.

Emily

Berkeley students are definitely diverse. Though racial minorities are underrepresented (like in most schools), they are definitely present. Since Berkeley's a public school, we tend to get more people from the lower end of the socio-economic scale than other schools. There's an active LGBT community - we're generally ranked in the top 10 schools for LGBT students, due to a supportive community and many student groups. Though there are multiple religious and conservative student groups on campus, it's by and large a pretty secular and liberal bubble. Vocal conservative or fundamentalist students are likely to feel somewhat out of place among the general campus community. Most people are from California, and there's a large international community as well. People from other states within the US seem to be the minority, though I don't know if that's actually true. It's hard to classify how people generally interact, just because there are so many. Everything's pretty chill, so most people just wear jeans or sweats to class - although you'll always see a handful of people dressed to impress. There's a significant number of women who wear head coverings or men in yarmulkes. I even knew a guy who wore a handmade chainmail shirt everyday. Berkeley gets all types.

Alyssa

Berkeley is incredibly diverse. As a public school, several programs are offered to generate inclusiveness of many groups of students. The school is LGBT and ADA friendly, and is racially diverse as well. Although some groups of students do band together because of their identity, most groups of students on campus are diverse in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, political views and socioeconomic background.

Marilyn

My classmates are interactive, thoughtful, eloquent, and engaging.

ToneeRose

Students at this school are very diverse and very welcoming. There are plenty of groups on campus and if you find you don't fit in with one group, just try again with another one. There are plenty of activities available on campus that students can get involved in to expand the their network or make new friends.

Marston

Diverse people are very amicable in general. Pretty much anyone is ready and willing to talk to you. Those who have very conservative values would feel out of place, because of the feel of the crowd and the views that many hold in common. There are, however, places for conservatives to congregate and share their beliefs. Business students proliferate with suits while campus casual abides elsewhere. It all depends on what image you are trying to show. Students are from all over the world. What really makes this campus is the range of people you can interact with. Just yesterday, I met a water polo from Montenegro -- never would have imagined meeting someone like that. I cannot stress enough that this is a left-wing school.

Lauren

DIVERSITY. The only word I can think of to characterize the entire Berkeley student body is "smart". Everyone at Berkeley is smart, talented, and has so much to offer. Other than that, the students are all so different and come from all walks of life. I have seen every type of religion, economical status, political stance, race, stereotype, etc. There is truly something for everyone here at Cal. If you're smart enough to get in, then you will definitely find your place here. There are so many clubs and organizations to get involved in its crazy. Every day these clubs sit out on our main walk way tabling and flying, trying to get people to join their group. There are endless opportunities and ways to get involved in whatever it is that you are interested in. And if you can't find what you're looking for, you can always start your own club!! And surely, there will be many more people who will join you. No need to worry about fitting in here. Berkeley is a cultural place, where everyone is accepted. Politically active/aware?? YESSS! People are always protesting in Berkeley. Instead of snow days, we have strike days. Sometimes classes are cancelled because there is a strike.

Michelle

Diverse and Competitive. Usually more liberal than not, but you also have many students who were attracted to the school because of the name and the prestige, and who only care about making "hella bank". These students tend to be either conservative or headed towards a very conservative lifestyle. Most students are from California, though this is changing as state funding disappears. Many students tend to be from upper-middle class families, but not all.

Michelle

Diverse and Competitive. Usually more liberal than not, but you also have many students who were attracted to the school because of the name and the prestige, and who only care about making "hella bank". These students tend to be either conservative or headed towards a very conservative lifestyle. Most students are from California, though this is changing as state funding disappears. Many students tend to be from upper-middle class families, but not all.

Melissa

As a top-ranked public school, Cal does draw certain archetypes. Almost everyone here is very academically driven. Finding "slackers" in your classes is very rare, but you will not necessarily be intimidated by the students who raise their hands and comment in lecture. Do not confuse the term "academically driven" with "intelligent" or "wise". Students generally fit either into the category of "naturally gifted" or "hardworking", and while both succeed, it is obviously easier for one than the other. On a daily basis, the students dress with much more effort than they do at, say, UC Davis, or even here when my sister was at Cal 5 years ago. There is a greater emphasis on self expression and, despite being from the area, I have never seen such liberal accessorizing anywhere else. While you can get away with wearing pretty much anything here (see: shirtless, shoeless), there is something of a uniform. Hundreds of girls roam the campus in knee-high riding boots, skinny jeans, and wool coats in the winter time. Every classroom has at least a half-dozen plaid shirts in it and every other one of those plaid shirts is topped by a pair of thick-rimmed retro-wayfarer spectacles. On the whole, other students tend to be friendly, helpful, and eager to connect on common ground. Depending upon the classes you choose to take, you may be surrounded by impressively well-read and intelligent individuals, or "normal" people. Largely because of the diversity, the school itself tries to foster a very open and accepting environment in which students are able to comfortably share their opinions. There are a few drawbacks to this, however. First of all, students are encouraged to speak freely and often. This means that some very sheltered students will sometimes share what they consider to be valuable (if irrelevant) opinions with the entire lecture hall...at length. We like to casually refer to this as the "Special Snowflake" complex. 2 years ago, The Atlantic reported counselors at east-coast universities have exasperatedly referred to them as "teacups" for their fragility. These people exist everywhere, but feel more comfortable expressing themselves at Cal than they might at the type of east-coast school that would openly frown upon them and label them "teacups". There will be at least two in every class. .

Melissa

As a top-ranked public school, Cal does draw certain archetypes. Almost everyone here is very academically driven. Finding "slackers" in your classes is very rare, but you will not necessarily be intimidated by the students who raise their hands and comment in lecture. Do not confuse the term "academically driven" with "intelligent" or "wise". Students generally fit either into the category of "naturally gifted" or "hardworking", and while both succeed, it is obviously easier for one than the other. On a daily basis, the students dress much better than they do at, say, UC Davis, or even here when my sister was at Cal 5 years ago. There is a greater emphasis on self expression and, despite being from the area, I have never seen such liberal accessorizing anywhere else. While you can get away with wearing pretty much anything here (see: shirtless, shoeless), there is something of a uniform. Hundreds of girls roam the campus in knee-high riding boots, skinny jeans, and wool coats in the winter time. Every classroom has at least a half-dozen plaid shirts in it and every other one of those plaid shirts is topped by a pair of thick-rimmed retro-wayfarer spectacles. There seem to be fairly diverse and equally distributed financial backgrounds within the student body, and many students are on full rides due to financial "need". If approved, the financial aid here is very generous and those students who benefit from it live far from meager lifestyles. On the whole, other students tend to be friendly, helpful, and eager to connect on common ground. Depending upon the classes you choose to take, you may be surrounded by impressively well-read and intelligent individuals, or "normal" people. The extremely intelligent ones tend to be quiet listeners, and can be intimidating to approach, but have always been warm once I've introduced myself to them, in my experience. .Largely because of the diversity, the school itself tries to foster a very open and accepting environment in which students are able to comfortably share their opinions. There are a few drawbacks to this, however. First of all, students are encouraged to speak freely and often. This means that students who have lived very sheltered lives and have very little life experience will nevertheless enthusiastically take up your class time to share their oh-so-valuable opinions with the entire lecture hall...at length. We like to casually refer to this as the "Special Snowflake" complex. Counselors at east-coast universities have exasperatedly referred to them as "teacups" for their fragility. Most professors here awkwardly tolerate or even encourage it, but a precious few will call out the shocked and flushed student by pointing out that there are, in fact, such things as "arbitrary and irrelevant" statements and 'stupid" questions. In any event, these people exist everywhere, but feel more comfortable expressing themselves at Cal than they might at the type of east-coast school that would openly frown upon them and label them "teacups". There will be at least two in every class. This overly-sensitive mentality also translates to the political scene of the school. Earlier this year the Republican club at Cal staged a very tongue-in-cheek sham bake sale in protest of the proposed consideration of race for financial aid and admission. Berkeley tends to be a hyper politically-correct campus, and the club took a lot of flak for their stunt, particularly because many of the more liberal students misunderstood their message, and were content to if it helped them slam the opposition harder. I would have to say that students at extremely liberal schools like Cal can go so far as to be "belligerently" liberal, banning together in automatic opposition to conservative stances without researching what they are. Personally, I tend to lie on the more liberal side of moderate, but I was deeply disappointed in how under-educated some of the students and faculty that chose to speak out against the Republican club were about the issue. Most of these types of events at Cal, such as the more recent "Occupy Cal" about which homemade videos of alleged police brutality were leaked, receive national media coverage for their controversy, and the media inevitably sides with the liberal majority of students at the school. Needless to say, it is very easy to get caught up in the "mob mentality" with the excitement and energy and gossip on campus during these demonstrations. Should you end up here, I strongly urge you to try to keep a level and objective head and gather as much information on issues as possible before attempting to participate. For all of these reasons, the very conservative, easily annoyed, or highly judgmental individual might find life at Cal a challenge.

Davin

The people I've met here are intelligent and open-minded. They come from Oakland, San Francisco, San Diego, really all over the west coast. I've met several international students. I've even had a class with a fellow east-coaster.

Sherry

Nerds.

Alanah

One of the first things I noticed when I started at Cal was the student diversity. My new friends were from different racial backgrounds, religious groups, and sexual orientations. It was refreshing to see that I had so much in common mentally with people that grew up so differently from me. Berkeley does an amazing job at making its students feel comfortable with who they are, regardless of any categorizing. Students for the most part dress very casually at school, there is no social pressure to be a certain way and I have found it to be very liberating. Being a UC, the majority of the students are from California, from a middle-upper middle class background.

.

As I said before, there is something for everyone at UC Berkeley. The student body spans a wide cross-section of racial, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds which under itself, umbrellas many diverse interests, passions, and pursuits. Sproul Plaza, which leads up the Sather Gate, the main entrance of UC Berkeley, is often lined with the booths of various student organizations, ranging from SANE (Students for a Non-religious Ethos) to the Afghan Student Association. While the budget cuts and administrative responses to those cuts have made for an increasingly smaller body of middle-class students (low income students receive financial aid, and more admissions are extended to out-of-state students who pay much more, and are thus, more wealthy), the full brunt of the privatization of the UC campus has not been felt just yet; there are simply students from all walks of life (though they are, admittedly, primarily Californian).

Anthony

They are very competitive but are very engaging and willing to work together. They are the reason Berkeley is what it is.

Samantha

The people who attend UC Berkeley are motivated, opinionated individuals who are dedicated to bettering and contributing to society.

Rebecca

In my major, Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley, my classmates were the most helpful people you could find; they were extremely hardworking and would take time to review difficult concepts with classmates that were having trouble understanding the course content.

Denise

My classmates are hard working people who strive to make the most out of their education.

Aarusha

Classmates are hardworking and there's a 50/50 chance they are socially capable in science classes.

Ariane

affirmative action erodes the quality of our education.

Johnathan

Awesome.

Brian

My classmates ate brilliant, they will make the future a better place.

Yvonne

Most are very preoccupied with grades, and many are supersmart, so I guess the best thing about this school is that you get to choose which group you want to hang out with, because there is a wide spectrum of personalities.

Gregory

My fellow students at UC Berkeley are not only intelligent and talented but very involved in the world around them (charities, political advocacy, volunteerwork, student rallies and musical involvement are BIG here); out of the hundreds of people I have met and thousands that I have seen, it is obvious that everyone at Berkeley has a story to tell - there is a zest for life here at Cal that you cannot find anywhere else.

Derek

My classmates are motivated, competitive, interesting and friendly.

May

My classmates are ready to learn and well-mannered which makes the learning environment for the whole class easier and more comfortable.

Liliana

For the most part, there is a large diversity in the student populace. People from all over the place attend Berkeley, and it makes for an interesting experience. Unlike the reputation that Berkeley has supposedly earned itself, most classmates are helpful and don't sabatoge my studying by telling me the wrong things. Most of my classmates are people who want to learn and give assistance to others in a truthful manner similar to how they would like to receive assistance.

Christina

Berkeley students are goofy, brilliant, unique, diverse and will be the people we will see and hear about for decades to come, whether it be because a Berkeley alum sits on the Supreme Court or because a Berkeley alum is leading a rally protesting the latest Supreme Court decision

kia

my classmates are brilliant and hardworking

Farrah

They are all driven, hard working, and competitive.

Amoriz

My classmates are a rainbow of people, who have different backrounds, experiences, goals, loves and attributes who come together collectively to get the best education and will later be the next generation of professionals with open hearts and open minds. They are strong individuals who are willing to learn and also teach others about themseleves and their passions. All have a purpose for the world and want to make a difference.

Patricia

people here are amazing and so open to anything. as the known "hippie" school, berkeley is aptly liberal. protests and strikes are frequent here and the campus is littered with people who sit on sproul preaching who knows what. but hey, theyre harmless, and its all very entertaining. honestly, i dont think anyone could feel out of place here, everyone here is amazingly accepting in all respects, may it be religion, orientation or economic background

Maricela

My classmates usually vary from extremely chill, happy, justice seeking, hippy kids to very serious, cutthroat, get-to-the-top-at-any-cost, anti note sharing, school oriented students.

Yana

eager and very opinionated

Kifah

My classmates are some of the most intelligent people I have met in my life, and they continue to teach me, as well as the professors and graduate student instructors, about ideas within and outside of the course material.

Abel

Most of my classmates at UC Berkeley are all extremely dedicated to their educational carreers and extremely motivated to achive their maximum academic potential.

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