University of California - Berkeley, more commonly known as Cal, is a top public university in the nation because of its academics. Having attended two semesters at Cal, I can see that the students and faculty place a lot of value on academics both in and out of the classroom setting. Aside from this, there is a lot of school spirit (Go Bears!) and activities to get involved in. However, safety is always a concern along with the high priced, mediocre housing and dining. Despite that, I have no regrets choosing Cal as my new home.
Hello my name is Benjamin! I am a current incoming Junior at Berkeley. I have been around Berkeley for a long enough time to know that the students there know their purpose for why they go to school. The peer pressures are obviously there like any college but about 7% students on the campus drink which says a lot about the overall culture of the school. Huge homeless problem is one of the downsides to the campus.
It makes up for its poor facilities through its academic reputation. Although the professors are renowned and the education is known around the word, the pressure and stress at UC Berkeley can certainly overwhelm even the brightest students. Be prepared to fail and come out stronger.
The University of California-Berkeley is a great place to meet a diverse group of people whose beliefs may challenge your own. You get a new perspective on things through conversations with different people. The academic atmosphere is rigorous and competitive for the first two years as an undergraduate as many majors are impacted but once pursuing your declared major, it becomes easier as people are more willing to work together. The university provides a multitude of resources for its students and staff pertaining to academic, professional and social fields. There is always something going on at campus and with over 1,200 student organizations and clubs, you can always find something you love. I really enjoy my time at the University of California-Berkeley and hope other students have similar experiences. Go Bears!
I am currently a summer bridge student and will be an incoming freshmen in the fall. I have already taken 60 college credits during my high school years at a community college so navigating around what classes to take in the fall is more difficult. The college of L&S everyone comes in "undeclared", I feel the college adviser hasn't been the most helpful but you can reach out to people here, this school is more about you finding opportunities and opening doors for yourself. Overall yes there is a lot of homelessness but the learning environment is very different here, its intense and mind blowing but you have to know the things you like first I would suggest.
GO BEARS! University of California-Berkeley is ranked as the top public university in the world for a reason. The beautiful campus, Nobel laureate winning professors and great community are just some of the reasons why this school is amazing. The campus is located in sunny California across the bay from San Francisco. Beautiful historic buildings, large libraries located throughout campus and amazing food all in one space. If you're not a fan of on campus food, there are plenty of restaurants to eat at around campus (like the infamous Ippudo Ramen that just opened across the street from the main campus). If you love learning, you will love learning even more from the professors at Berkeley. Professors at Berkeley are not only experts in their field but some of them are even Nobel laureates and have won awards for excellence in their field. Their passion for their fields really shines through when they are teaching and it really motivates and inspires you as a student. Not only is it a school that focuses on education, it also has a great athletic programs that brings the community together. There is a little bit of something for everyone and everyone takes great pride in attending. If you're looking for a school that will hold your hand and give you answers then this is not the school for you. What was great about UC Berkeley was that you are given as much help as you ASK for but no one is there to chase you down through the process (if you're looking for a school that has grade inflation, this is definitely not a school that will do that). I found that not only did the curriculum prepare me for life, the experiences and life lessons I learned were more important.
Overall Berkeley is a really good school. The academics are amazing and the over all culture is just what you would expect at any other competitive college. However, I do wish there were more African Americans admitted. There is not enough of a black presence on the campus and it truly shows.
UC Berkeley is an academically prestigious university that is unparalleled when it comes to research, especially in the fields of science and mathematics. Students are encouraged to research and excel in their classes rigorously with the numerous resources the university provides. I mostly enjoyed my stay at Berkeley for the academic opportunity and prestige. The intellectual environment here is satisfactory, with students being hardworking and dedicated in their studies, and the university is remarkably and notoriously known for its politically liberal large-scale protests, such as the latest ones with Anti-Trump protesters on campus, as of this writing. The students are noble and adamant about what they believe and bring great diversity to the university, although they are less tolerant of people who do not share their sames sociopolitical views.
The professors are incredibly intelligent and distinguished in their own research fields, many of them being very kind and patient towards their students. They hold regular office hours, including their TAs, and will be nice enough to answer any questions should one come prepared and well-versed in the material. Interestingly enough, my professor for introductory economics happened to be Chairwoman of the Obama Administration’s Council of Economic Advisors, Dr. Romer, and was knowledgeable about the factors that led to the Great Depression and the Great Recession of 2008, which she was in charge of fixing. My science and mathematics professors were also knowledgeable, while challenging the students academically.
The urban environment around Berkeley is full of life and entertaining to go around on Friday nights with friends. Everything is nearby - grocery stores, movie theaters, the school exercise facility, and great (although at times a little expensive) restaurants.
Greek life and sports are not as popular in Berkeley, although one can occasionally see the frat and sorority houses having plenty of fun outside south of campus.
Regardless of UC Berkeley’s rank as the world’s best public university, however, it has numerous flaws that retract from the experience. The most blatant one is the fact that some classes (STEM courses are the biggest culprits) are notoriously difficult. UC Berkeley has the infamous reputation of having grade deflation, and as such students’ GPAs suffer tremendously, which can be a heavy burden for those that are trying to get into grad school. The problem is that some of the exams, as I have seen it, are too specific with the material and often professors cram the material, particularly towards the end of the semester. Additionally, some of the professors are not effective at teaching (a pervasive issue) and students need to use more of their time to dedicate to study when the professor should be distilling the information presented. Because of this, there is an atmosphere in Berkeley of stressful competition and anxiety.
As someone majoring in Molecular Biology, I can attest to these intensely difficult conditions. For instance, for chemistry, one is required to sketch diagrams of abstract molecular orbitals of several simple molecules (H2, HCl, etc.). However, in one midterm, which was worth 20% of my grade, the professor asked us to sketch the molecular orbital diagram of a complex biological molecule. The problem is that this is an introductory course, and what he was asking us belongs in an organic chemistry class. Difficult, or at times unfair, courses such as this one make UC Berkeley a mentally exhausting place.
Berkeley has a housing problem as well, given that it lies on the Bay Area, where unaffordable housing is a considerable problem. The on-campus dorms include room and dining (average at best), but are densely packed and average around $1,700 in monthly rent. The dorms are so dense that the housing office had to cram students even in lounges (on every floor where you’re supposed to have tables and whiteboards to study or relax). The rent for a single off-campus bedroom (or living room) can skyrocket from $750 to even $2,000.
Overall, UC Berkeley has the reputation of academic excellency, yet of having one of the most stressed student populations across the country. I would recommend to attend for upper division or grad school, although for undergrad is pretty brutal.
It will break you and tear you to your bones, but will also build you up to become a competitive, active and innovative member of society.
I was scared going in because of all the rumors of the competition, but I have found that I love it! The academics are tough, but it's the people that really make the school shine. Joining extracurriculars is a must because they really give you a family.
I loved it and plan to attend there next year. The student body is very intense but in a way that is motivating and supportive. The professors are world class and the education and atmosphere make up for its faults. Everyone I met was kind, accepting and helpful.
There is a lot of diversity. The classes can be difficult due to curves because they become competitive for who will get an A in the class. There is a lot of grade deflation too, getting a B or C in some classes is a big feat in itself at times. Overall the community and activities available here are what makes this an amazing school! Greek life is a great way to find your niche if you want a constant stream of activities to participate in, but there are also a ton of clubs as well that serve the same purpose. The food, outside of the cafeterias, is fantastic with a diverse selection of foods from so many different cultures. Pick Cal if you want a challenge academically while also being close to all of the action. The world is a block away in all directions here in Berkeley.
I absolutely love attending Cal. Above all, the rigorous academics are what brought me here, but since arriving the experience has become so much more. There are so many student clubs to join, and an abundance of research opportunities to apply for. Most importantly, however, are the people. I have met my best friend here, talked late into the night about the meaning of life itself, and engaged in jovial scholarly arguments. The level of intelligence is astounding, and I wouldn't want to spend college anywhere else.
When you walk on to the Berkeley campus you enter a place of equal opportunity; a place where women, minorities and people of all sexual backgrounds have a seat at the table. The Free Speech Movement is deeply engrained in the history and identity of the school, which prides itself on being a place of open dialogue and social justice. However, if you think this means that everyone who goes to Berkeley is a hippie, you may be surprised. UC Berkeley was the first public university founded in California and its founding in the public domain plays a major role in the personality of the school. Berkeley fosters an environment where people of varying backgrounds and beliefs can interact openly and learn from each other; conservatives and liberals alike. My professors were of such a high caliber and my classes in the Film and English departments were so engaging that I never skipped a lecture. In fact, it was normal for other students to audit classes just for the added enrichment. Berkeley is the kind of place where the faculty encourages a creative approach to the curriculum and will inspire you to develop original research, even as an undergraduate. The city of Berkeley is also famous for its food. The vibrant café scene is pervasive, which fits in to the overall culture of the school. People are generally friendly, so if you are sitting by yourself in a café, be prepared for a complete stranger to share your table and strike up an intellectual conversation. There are some drawbacks to living in an inner-city environment: finding affordable housing can be difficult and it’s important to stay vigilant when walking the campus at night. However, the quality of the school far outweighs these considerations in my mind. Berkeley will expand your world view and help you develop critical thinking skills that are invaluable to your life beyond college.
I love Berkeley. There are very few things I would change. For the most part, the students are very intelligent and interesting people. I've met so many different people from different backgrounds. It's very diverse and everyone is so accepting of differences. My professors are all extremely passionate about what they teach, and while I don't always agree with the logistics of courses, I know that my professors care about the subject and their students.
All in all, I am a fan of UC Berkeley. Admittedly, it's not the school for everyone; some classes are enormous, the neighborhood is definitely more city-like (with the pros and cons that come with it), and, of course, the academics are rigorous. However, the school is an excellent place to get inspired. There are opportunities and challenges everywhere that you choose to look for them, and there's always a fantastic person to talk to, whether that be the professors or fellow students.
This is a great college, filled with many intelligent students. I really like the Student Learning Center that is available to the students because it is where I receive the most help with math. Students are generally very helpful and open to discuss homework problems with each other.
Overall great R1 school! It has great staff, students and an overall academic, yet semi-suspectful, feel. Being a student in such a big school, it seems daunting but due to its size, there is so many people that share your interests that make Cal go round.
The hustle and bustle of downtown Berkeley one street over, the chiming bells of the Campanile at the top of every hour, the student organizations tabling on Sproul Plaza promoting their cause, the rigor of academics, the research and innovation going on within every department on campus. These are all things that make Berkeley, Berkeley. There really is no one way to describe the campus, or the community that inhabits it. Everyone at Berkeley has a unique story and path of life that brought them here, and everyone has their own goals and aspirations for life after Berkeley. I believe that this is the ideal school to come and find yourself and discover who you truly are and what you want in life, as there are new opinions and opportunities around every corner. The school itself provides the means to do so, as long as you go out and search for it. From the dedicated professors and faculty, to the numerous student services and organizations, to the sheer number of resources available to students at such a large research institution, there is something for everybody here at Berkeley.
I just finished my freshman year at Berkeley and I love it! Downfalls of a huge school are that class sizes are large for first years... and they're tough too! Benefits of a huge school, though, are that there are endless opportunities. Definitely a great school if you are outgoing and proactive.
UC Berkeley is highly regarded as an institution for high education in the professional sphere, and in social context it is regarded as a "hippie school" due to its portrayal in movies. I left to Berkeley with those stereotypes in mind and was pleased to find them to be true, but they only scratch the surface and what's even more perplexing is how they work hand in hand. The academics at Berkeley are extremely rigorous and it's not surprising to hear a lot of people worrying about failing one or more classes every semester. I know because in my three semesters at Berkeley so far I even lost weight from forgetting to eat or simply not having enough time to eat because I was afraid of failing. Yet, every semester I managed to pass and it seemed miraculous to me every time. What blows my mind though is that there is a strong party vibe with ambulance sirens blaring from Thursday night to Sunday night. Student life is very active, surely because everyone is trying to build connections and resumes, but it's nice to be in a competitive environment because you can always find someone who can give you advice whether you need it academically, socially, or for your physical well-being. I love going to Cal even though I feel like I'm drowning in stress all the time, at least I'm not alone in it.
I have so many mixed feelings about Cal. It's a school I never thought I would get into, so when I did receive my acceptance letter I was overjoyed. But the past two years of my undergraduate experience haven't been quite so full of joy. There have been plenty of moments where I wanted to transfer or I questioned my sanity for putting up with abysmal housing, food and student inclusivity in ever more exclusive clubs and organizations. But each day I'm learning fascinating ideas from people in the top of their respective fields. I'm being given consideration for jobs without even having to interview. I've found a supportive, funny, quirky, albeit small group of people I genuinely enjoy spending time with, which has helped significantly. Cal is many things, but above all it is an unforgettable experience and you'll come out of your time there tougher, smarter and stronger than you came in.
UC Berkeley is one of the most academically rigorous institutions in the United States. The culture is very competitive across many major and, for that reason, students seem to always either studying, applying to jobs and programs, or participating in extracurricular activities. I believe UC Berkeley is a place that offers students a wide range of opportunities to grow and develop both socially and professionally. Though UC Berkeley is also known for being a stressful place, I am thankful for the opportunities offered to my colleagues and I. I do think that the University needs to expand student facilities such as the Recreational Sports Facility and find a way to improve student housing as it is very expensive in the Bay Area.
Amazing school with tons of opportunities available for students. The Professors are truly amazing with incredible lectures each day. There are tons of research opportunities and many students willing to help each other out. The academics can be challenging, but that only teaches students to go above and beyond and feel even more satisfied with the education they are getting.
I love the school. the attitudes, aura, the environment is overrall an amazing setting. Everyone I met has been able to leave an impact on me due to their own personal expirences they have had at UC Berkeley. Going to this school would be an honor and privilege.
An amazing university in terms of academics, student involvement, school spirit, and employment opportunities, but seriously lacking in the quality of residential facilities and campus safety. The campus itself is beautiful and pristine, a hub of intellectual thought and political action that is all at once inspiring as well as overwhelming. There is a great variety of student backgrounds and interests that creates a diverse atmosphere where students may interact with peers from all walks of life. Yet, as a liberal arts major, the presence of STEM at Berkeley does at times feel a bit overpowering, as the engineering and computer science programs are ever popular and somewhat dominating. But despite this, the English program is top rated among American colleges, as are many other sects of the college of letters and sciences. Overall, the academic climate at Berkeley is pleasantly stimulating and inspiring, a true honor to take part in. If only residential campus accommodations were so appealing. The on-campus living options leave much to be desired in way of space and good food, as many rooms in the typical units are glorified closets and the food is often bland and repetitive.
UC Berkeley has its flaws. We (the students) don't always have the best relationship with the administration. Getting into classes is a struggle; getting your voice heard when you're one of tens of thousands is even more of a struggle. However, at the end of the day, I wouldn't trade this school for any other. It's a public school, so it doesn't baby you. I've met so many different and inspiring people here. Most of all, the bay area is such a great place to be, in so many ways. I always feel like the campus is alive.
Berkeley is hard. There's a lot of homework, but it's good. There are so many people advertising on Sproul Plaza and the Songwriting group is singing so it's easy to know what's going on. So many academically famous people. Giant underground library. Food is average. Area gets you out of your suburbia bubble. People from all over the world, but if you're a californian, usually about 3 people from your school too. Clark Kerr rooms are giant. Coed bathrooms aren't bad
UC Berkeley is an incredible atmosphere for learning and growth. It provides the perfect balance between academics, sports, art, and social opportunities. At Berkeley, everyone has a strong point of view that they want to share with the world, and they have opinions on everything. You could walk up to a random student and start a debate on social welfare policy or the opioid crisis. Berkeley is a rich cultural environment where there are incredible educational opportunities in every major. It's the number one public university in the world for a reason.
Great school for those who want to be pushing their educational limits and self growth. Lots of opportunities and abundant resources for people to succeed. A place that calls for proactive thinking and learning. Culture is strongly educational but there is a lot of social and art resources.
UC Berkeley is really hard to get in and at the same time, is really hard to get out.
You have to work really hard to survive. The professors are tough.
Don't get lazy yourself. Do your best. We have to go forward. I believe UCB is really nice place to go, but sometimes I wanted to drop or I regretted not to go to another college.
UC Berkeley may be the best college for some people, but a poor choice for others. If you want a rural setting, lots of parking, and everyone to look the same, it would not be a good choice for you. However, if you want to be challenged academically, have a urban setting where you can walk everywhere, and enjoy a variety of coffee shops and food, UC Berkeley may be the best choice for you!
I am a transfer student so my opinion may not apply to those lucky enough to be accepted as Freshman. I am a Women's Studies major so I also won't have the same experience as an Engineer or Biology major. Of course on campus housing is crazy expensive, small, outdated and not very safe. Off campus housing is also crazy expensive and many students have been preaching about the housing crisis for students. This has forced me to still live at home and drive over an hour almost every day. It's still not affordable even when splitting a room with a person. I've never been to a Cal game but they are very intense. In all honesty, I haven't felt incredibly included on campus and I haven't really made any friends which also has to do with not living closer to campus. As a female I don't feel safe enough on or near campus to hang around the area. There have been a lot of campus violence and break ins for me to stay after the sunset. The campus has not really acted on the homeless coming on campus from the city after dark. Most professors are really understanding of situations and are very easy to reach.
Facilities wise, it's a public school so you get what you pay for (in-state). There's so many great options for vegetarians and vegans, which I love. Yes, there are a lot of protests and this year a lot of police and militarized-y campus which is...interesting. It's a very STEM-oriented school so I am surrounded by a lot of pre-med, engineering, and math/physics majors, which is cool but also I have yet to run into more than 3 English majors. Overall, great bang for your in-state buck.
Attending the University of California, Berkeley, is a once in a lifetime experience. Not only is it the number 1 public university in the world but the amount of resources, connections, and relationships that you are able to build by the time you graduate is priceless. There is nothing that you can not achieve while attending Berkeley, as this school give you the opportunity to explore anything that you want. It is one of the top protesting schools and allows for minorities to stand of what is right and fight for their equality. As any college student there will be difficult and challenging times but I wouldn't want to face them at any other school except the number one public university in the world, UC Berkeley.
UC Berkeley is a very socially and ethically diverse school which allows students to feel comfortable on campus. In addition, the facilities and professors are easily accessible, which makes learning on campus much easier. Moreover, there are plenty of restaurants on campus or near the school. Furthermore, as a regular visitor of the campus, it can be seen that the atmosphere is always lively, providing a great learning environment. Overall, UC Berkeley is an excellent school to attend.
It is a solid school.
Although it may not be the most prestigious school and opportunities may not be handed to you, the academics are top notch and you can pursue almost any passion in great depth. This is a school that promotes proactivity, independence, and hard work--and that's part of what makes it such a solid school.
After attending my first year at the University of California, Berkeley, I can say that I adore this school. It has an incredible amount of diversity that allows for a plethora of knowledge from anyone you could encounter. While the administration of the school has issues to sort out regarding housing and recognizing underrepresented students, the knowledge and power the school has to offer allows students to demand their rights from the board. I am proud to attend such a prestigious school that is giving me the life skills I need to be a strong, educated woman of color.
UC Berkeley is an amazing school. It is challenging and exciting, especially in the academics. It can get exhausting at points, but overall the teachers are great. They are passionate about what they teach and it is really shown through lecture. There are a vast number of opportunities to find what one is truly passionate about.
The University of California Berkeley has been a great aid in my personal development both as a student inside and outside of the classroom. The amazingly diverse student body, world-renowned professors, and close proximity to many of the tech world's greatest company makes this university one of the best in the world.
The University of California - Berkeley is a great school: its academics are amazing and once you find your group you will be set. But, it's not the safest place to be (there are a lot of hobos), the food is not that great (it is buffet style though), the housing situation is terrible (10% of students experience homelessness), and it can be extremely stressful and competitive here. Overall, like all schools, it has its pros and cons.
I love UC Berkeley. I am very proud to be a part of such an amazing and prestigious university. I love participating in all of the extra-curricular activities and sporting events. The city of Berkeley is great and I am super happy with everything about this great university.
While Berkeley boasts tons of great restaurants and shops perfect for the average college student, my experience here has been anything but perfect. Grade deflation minimizes any effort you put into your studies. You could be working on a final paper for several weeks and meet with your professor several times to discuss it and get the same grade as another student who wrote it the night before, never read, and didn't meet the page requirement. (This happened to me). Grade deflation causes all grades to fall on a bell curve, so even if you do an A's worth of work, you could receive a B+ because of the bell curve. Students here are sometimes manipulative and condescending, because they for the most part all come from the top 10% of their high schools. And if they're not, then they're most likely adopting a pessimistic attitude all of the time. I'm an out of state student and looking to transfer after my freshman year because my experience here has been that unpleasant. Paying out-of-state tuition at a public university is not worth it; the class sizes are so large, teachers aren't that readily available, and there is not much guidance with course selection. There is an obvious disparity between private school and public schools, as public schools like Berkeley really do not have the resources to pour into its students' happiness, even though they have out-of-state students like me paying huge amounts of money without much financial help. The school doesn't care so much about each individual student as it does maintaining a certain reputation. I love the group of friends I've made here, so my reasons for disliking this school are not hidden in an outcast perspective or the like, but for the most part people have some type of superiority complex and get super competitive. As a female, I don't feel safe walking around Berkeley alone - even in the daytime - because strangers will catcall and follow you. I think my experience at Berkeley has been very eye-opening and I have learned a lot about what I want out of a college experience, and unfortunately Berkeley is not that. There are those that love it and those that can excel in this environment, but if you don't like others constantly trying to do better than you just for their resumes and large class sizes with minimal attention from the school, then look into other options. I emailed my academic advisor two months ago and have yet to receive a response. The pure size of Berkeley makes this school a living nightmare. After moving from a city to living in a small town for my last two years of high school, I thought that this environment would be a nice change. But Berkeley is too big. Even my friends from NY and LA dislike its size. Berkeley may have great global recognition and amazing research, but the school is not great for the desired undergrad experience, especially with class wait lists and the difficulty of trying to graduate in four years.
The school can be very overwhelming at first glance. There are over 40,000 students at this university, meaning that there will be countless new faces- some of whom you will remember and become good friends with, but many of whom you will never see again. The academics are very challenging, as there is severe grade deflation, meaning that an A at Berkeley is much harder than a 4.0 at Harvard or Stanford. All in all- Fuck Berkeley, but Go Bears!
One should consider when choosing his or her college the many factors that will be involved in their college experience aside from school prestige alone. While UC Berkeley has the top public University ranking to boast, there are many shortcomings.
Very competitive, extremely stressful, but overall fulfilling. Many interesting students, professors, events, and resources on campus. There are many things to do when not in school such as going on hikes, trips to San Francisco, or playing sports. I am very proud to have graduated from the University of California, Berkeley.
Uc Berkeley is a great institution to attend. The staff and students are very nice and approachable, and there are a huge variety of clubs and sports to be a part of. And the location is amazing; you can go shopping to nearby stores or catch Bart to San Francisco. And if you are an outdoor person go on a hike to the big C which has an amazing view of the Bay.
University of California - Berkeley is a academically rigorous university, which is the number one university in the nation. The student body is diverse from across the nations and other countries. There are many opportunities on campus for students to explore.
It is a great school, however academics are extremely difficult to excel in, especially in lower division courses due to grade deflation and giant class sizes. However, the people here tend to be really nice especially once you integrate in yourself in organization. People are bright and motivated which is amazing, but it can feel very daunting lonely without a solid support system.
My university has a reputation for not taking care of its own students - somewhat deservedly, but there are visible efforts being made to change. It's a place that does not hold your hand, and those who aren't proactive will not succeed. However, students learn from incredibly passionate and respected professors, and everyone on campus has a lot of pride.
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