University of California-Berkeley Top Questions

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?


It is crucial for a student not only to focus on finding the institution with the best academics, but also to enjoy the environment in which the institution is located in. It is important for a student to have a social life and enjoy where they go to school. College is not just about homework, reading, and tests. College is also about friendship, helping the community, and enjoying recreational activities.


I will never know how different my college experience would be at another university. Maybe this school was the wrong choice. I just don't know. However, I am making the most of the opportunities offerred here. I remember in high school stressing over getting into the top ranked school. But to be honest, its not the name of the school that makes a student successful. Many students fear their own success or have too many ghosts wrecking their will to enjoy college and do schoolwork. Employers and graduate schools won't look kindly on a failed out student from an Ivy school. For students looking for the right college to attend, I suggest you look for schools that are in a place you want to live and offer activities that you enjoy. You should look for schools that make it easy for you to make a social network that will keep you possitive and not shut away. Success in college is finding neutrality between burning out from studying and partying your way the hospital. First find what motivates you and can give you happiness. Then you can find that ballance to make the most out of your college experience.


Be sure to visit the campus before you make a decision. You don't know how important finding a college with the right atmosphere in, especially if you will be going far away from home. A college that feels friendly, welcome, cozy, and inviting will make your college years go a lot more smoother.


My advice to students is to do everything you can to interact with other students when you visit a potential college. Everyone who is drawn to a college has something in common, a certain story that they feel they can best convey with the education of the college of their choice. When considering a particular college, consider if the individuals you meet are the kinds of people that not only are interesting and stimulating, but are also the kinds of minds you want to surround yourself with to help tell your story. Fostering an environment that is both comfortable and challenging is a difficult equilibrium to come by, but these two criteria are necessities of the optimal college experience. To parents, try to understand this is the first major decision most adolescents make. It is a decision that may lead to irritability and conflict at home. The best course of action a parent can take is to step back and be ready to give advice only when it is sought from them. Be supportive regardless of the final decision- the right college isn't the most prestigious or practical, it's the one that feels like a new home.


College is a unique experience in every person's life. Sometimes finding the right college is not necessarily dependent on just the college but also how well you or your child adapts to an environment. Every student applies to many different colleges that they would like to attend and not every student will be accepted into every college they apply to so it is very important to apply to colleges and choose the colleges that have an environment that is comfortable for you or your child. Being comfortable in an environment is probably the biggest factor in enjoying the college experience. The next piece of advice is to be open. A student that is open to changing and adapting to their new college will better enjoy their experience. It can be disappointing when certain experiences are missing from a college but worrying over such things will get a student nowhere. Learning to experience new things and really go out there and experience everything to the highest degree will reward the student in a much healtier and better college experience.


Be yourself and don't be afriad to chase your passion when it comes to love, education, and money.


In order to find the right college, I think you really need to know what interests you. From there, you can make a list of schools that share your interest and are in a location that you love or would love to live in for some time. This list should be no more than 5 schools; for, when the time comes for applying to these school, not only will you save yourself time from applying elsewhere, but you'll also limit how much money you spend when applying. And if you don't know what interests you, then you should still research schools that are in a prime location. Because when you get there, you don't want to be somewhere where you don't like the weather. So really, when it comes to making the most of your college experience, the key is to be well-prepared.


When you're accepted into your potential colleges, make sure to visit because campuses are different than how they're presented in catalogs and pictures. Choose based on not only aesthetics, but whether or not you can see yourself spending the next 4 years at the given college or university. When you get to college, it is important to balance the your academic life with your social life. In college, it's also important to take risks, live in the now, and do things you'd never thought you do. This applies to both social and academic aspects of college. Take classes you never thought you'd take and make friends with people you normally wouldn't befriend. You'd be suprised about how much you end up liking something. Come to college with an open mind, and you will surely make the most of your college experience.


Visit the college and trust your instincts from the feeling you get when you step on that campus. Ask yourself if you really could see yourself spending the next four years there. Research student groups you may want to join, and get involved before it gets too late, especially when concerning honor societies and study abroad programs.


I know that it can be a difficult process when it comes time to decide which college is the right one to go to, but there are many ways in chich the process can be made easier and a more pleasant experience. To get started, one can talk to teachers, counselor or older friends that go to a prospective college. One can also research the college using one of many online resources to get an idea of what the college has to offer. After making a list of prospective colleges, arranging a trip to see the school is a great idea to get an idea of the environment and the people that are associated with that college. Once at college


Based on my personal experience, you have to trust your instinct and remember that there's nothing wrong with changing your mind. Going to college is a huge step and an honorable one in itself, so worring if you're going to make a wrong decision shouldn't stop you from pursuing your goals. Also, never let the cost of college dissuade you from following your dream! There are so many opportunities for financial aid and many people willing to help! Just take time to fill out applications, and start early! There's money out there for YOU. And remember, college should be fun as well as academic. Find a school that will fulfill your needs scholastically, socially, culturally, even aesthetically. For me, Berkeley's fun surrounding area and beautiful campus won it for me! And of course, don't stress too much about your major just yet. It's normal to change your mind or feel lost. Just remember to keep your head up and have an open mind, your major will find you! So good luck finding that perfect fit and get ready for the time of your life!


Research the social culture of the campus that you or your child will be applying for, and make sure that the culture is synonymous to the students character.


Visit a school before you decide that you love it. While academics and reputation are important factors when choosing a school, another important aspect to a school is its spirit. While the feeling of one school might be great for one person, that same school might not be the right environment for you. In order to make the most of your college experience, you have to be at a school where you feel safe, challenged, and inspired. For me, UC Berkeley has inspired me to grow as an active member of my generation. I am motivated by the knowledge that we all have gifts that we can use to affect change, and as a student, I am already taking part in a movement of our generation to make changes politically, socially, and culturally. While college is about getting an education, do not forget that besides an academic education, college is where you get educated in the ways of the world, as we will be thrown into it when we graduate. Everyone learns in a different way and in different environments, so in order to achieve a worldly education, one must be in the right educational climate.


Ideally, the best college for anyone to attend is the one that feels right: whether it?s the people, campus or surrounding area, the college you choose should be the one you are most comfortable with, hands down ? after all, you?ll probably spend four years studying for your degree there. The best way to consider the ?feel? of a campus is to visit ??you?ll be surprised to see how a campus visit can change how you feel about a school (for reference, I used to hate UC Berkeley; after visiting, I fell in love with the campus and am currently a undergrad). On more practical terms, it?s extremely important to consider financial viability, proximity from home, travel expenses, academic and work-related opportunities, housing on- or off-campus, familiarity with people at or around school, grading statistics, and the university?s academic prestige. Most importantly, consider whether or not you see yourself enjoying your experience at a certain college, and whether you?ll be able to focus intently on your schoolwork at the same time ? if you can ?work hard, play hard? at a particular university, then it?s probably the best choice in the long run.


Go visit the college. If you have a gut feeling of being comfortable when you are there, that is the right fit for you. Don't be afraid to try new things- college is different than high school in that you will do different things from your friends, which is great.


Spend a few days at that college. Check out on campus life and off-campus life. Check out the public transit, nearby stores, distance from home, and if the school provides desired studies and extracurricular activities.


Listen to your gut. In the end, the student makes what he or she wants out of the school, the school does not create the student. Every college is unique and students should remember that they will find positive aspects at everyone of them. When finding the right college, make sure to look at key elements such as location, campus life, school spirit, and programs that the college offers. There is no one perfect college for everyone so students should be willing to apply to several in order to make a final decision. I know from personal experience that Berkeley was the right place for me because of the free, easy-going spirit on campus and the location was phenomenal in the California Bay Area. The moment I stepped onto campus, I knew this was the place for me. Everyone will get their 'aw ah' moment from their own college...I would say be patient and the right school will come looking for you. Don't get discouraged because college will be a great experience no matter where you are accepted in the end. Once at college, get involved in student groups and take unique and interesting classes!


I think the biggest piece of advice I could give students is to be positive, stay open minded, and keep your options open. Admissions are ridiculously competitive these days (and they're only going to get more competitive and demanding over the years), so though one may not get accepted to his/her first, second, or third choice, he/she will realize that a college experience is really what you make of it. If a prospective student attends a large university (as I did), it's important to get involved socially and within the academic and surrounding communities to establish networks and make the school seem smaller. I believe if you work hard, you can play hard, but prioritizing is key. I would advise parents to simply love and support their children. College is a critical developmental period in an individual's life, and though the child/student is relishing in their independence, he/she will also need parental guidance along the way.


Dear parents and prospective college students, it is wonderful to look at rankings and the overall prestige of different schools to find the best college for you, but you really should weigh other factors to see if this school is a perfect fit. Do you blossom in more personal settings, urban cities, really diverse peers, and a wealth of social opportunities? Do you prefer to be in a large population, in a small town, with people who look and think like you? These are all very important questions that you must ask yourself before you choose a college. Your college needs to be a perfect fit for you, because your experience can either be one that can only come once a lifetime or something akin to pure hell. College is like the transitioning of your life from child to adult and you need a great springboard into the working pool. So pick one that will make you happy.


Visit the college before hand to really see if its the right fit.


go somewhere with funding


As the college application season looms closer, students may find themselves forgetting that applying is more than simply letting Admissions pick a resume from a mountain of papers ? it?s about discovering if a school is right for you. I encourage students and parents to not only visit target schools, but also find out what students are like by visiting the school in session. Sit on a bench, take in the atmosphere, and observe the people that walk past, as well as their interactions with each other. Ask yourself, would the environment provide the best opportunity for academic success? Take a tour around the campus and peek inside classes to get a taste of how it would feel being a student there. If possible, ask the guide questions, like what they enjoy the least about this school and what they enjoy the most. Finally, relax and enjoy the college experience. Once you?ve settled down in a school, take advantage of all that college has to offer. Take interesting courses, join clubs, attend campus events, and make new friends, but don?t forget to manage your time efficiently. After all, college is all about learning to balance your life.


Know your style. Are you someone who gets bored with material quickly? If so pick a school that operates on a quarter system not a semester system. Do you require a lot of individual attention? Pick a small school with access to professors, not a large institution. Take chances and make the most of your time, it goes really fast. Get involved, the worst that can happen is that the activity you choose is not for you, but if you don't try a thing you'll never know. Talk to people, don't wait for them to talk to you, your networks will become extremely valuable once you are gone. Seek diversity in the people that you talk to, you wil learn the most from those who aren't like you. Talk to your professors- go to office hours, they do want to see you.


To make the most of the college experience, it is essential that students find the perfect balance between a life of work (academic or not) and a life of enjoyment (socializing with friends, volunteering, etc.).


The college must have great academics, but it must also have a fraternity/sorority system, otherwise college social likfe will be boring.


I would encourage youth and adults to research the college, especially the programs. The program is the first priority because it must match up well with the student's personal goals and intrests. As I think there are too many people that attend schools for the prestige and because of parental pressure, I strongly encourage students to examine their heart to focus in on what excites them, what they're passionate about--even since childhood. I would then encourage them to seek the program that best connects with their heart and apply for that. There may be two or three colleges that have similar programs; in that case, there may be a first, second, or third choice, the order being determined by convenient housing, financial package, and academic and social support programs present at and near the school. In regards to making the best out of the school experience, I strongly encourage a student building a strong support system for themselves. This is done by way of being proactive with meeting/interacting with professors, staff, and students--not waiting for people to aproach, but doing the approaching, anywhere and at anytime. Talking to strangers potentially yields friends, access, and success.


Be very clear in what you want out of the experience and what that college will do to fulfill that. You're not checking boxes, its a more organic process. You probably won't know that you chose the right college until you are already there, or you may never know, you might question it even as you hold your diploma. You might find that you really like the location, parts of the academics, but the social life doesn't live up to your expectations, but you can work around those and it shouldn't ruin your college experience if EVERYTHING doesn't check out. A lot of students seem to get bogged in the details, fretting about the potential major classes or why its so hard to meet friends outside of class--well there has to be some way members of graduating class are all celebrating out together--they made friends, they finished their course work. Talk to other students, even if it might seem awkward, even if you don't know if anything will come out of it, but you have to figure out the mechanics. And use any sort of campus advisor you can find.


Talk to students and alumni of the school and find out their thoughts. Visit the campus and surrounding areas and soak up as much information as you can. Make sure you like the climate of the location. Audit a class. Find student groups that you are interested in.


You'll have to really think about your personal preferences and not exactly which school is, persay, the most prestigious. Where do you think you'll really enjoy yourself? Where do you think you'll really develop and find what you like? Where do you think you'll have a worthwhile experience and acquire the skills for success?


After three years at college, I've felt appreciative, frustrated, exasperated, and proud of my school. I've often considered what it would have been like if I had chosen a different school. At one point I thought I'd made the wrong choice after seeing how much my friend was enjoying herself at another school. I had also been accepted into that very same school and was very close to choosing that one. However, I realized that she and I are different people, and so it would have been impossible for us to have identical experiences, even if we attended the same school. I think that it is the individual that makes the difference in what kind of college experience you have. It's my impression that college is where you meet people from all different walks of life, and as a result, there are many possibilities to learn and grow. If I've ever felt dissatisfied with my college experience, I have ultimately discovered that it's not the situation that is limiting, but myself. In the end, the opportunities are always out there, but it's up to you to do what you will with them.


Learning is a proactive process. In order to succeed in selecting the right college and making the most of your college experience, you have to probe yourself and the material you learn. Find out where your weaknesses, strengths, and interests lie, and be prepared to shatter certain dreams in order to reach new aspirations. People often say to choose the college that best suits your interests and personality, but I believe that the best college will push you out of your comfort zone so that you can discover your passions and build character. Don't be intimidated; take control of your college experience by taking initiative. Surround yourself with ambitious and dynamic people, and you will find yourself lifted by them. Don't be afraid to ask controversial questions or to utilize the resources available at your school. Be persistent and think critically in your endeavors, and success will likely follow. Intellect and knowledge will take you far in life, but courage and responsibility will help you make the most of it. Don't waste a moment of those precious years; college isn't just about gaining the skills and experience necessary for your carreer--discover yourself along the way!


Don't focus too much on the major because it's likely that you will change it several times. Go somewhere that will challenge you and encourage you to grow, refine your character and reflect upon both who you are as a person and how you interact with society and the world. College is more of a contained lab experiment where you can safely test your boundaries and show to the world that you can think analytically and work hard, rather than show that you have a particularly vocational skill.


I don't think that the prestige or exclusivity of a college matters one bit. Make sure you're getting a good education by all means, but don't neglect the social aspect of the college experience. Since you'll be around these people for four long years, you might want to think over the size of the campus and general disposition of the students. If you can't stand them, what's the point of spending all that money to be there?


Take a tour of the school that you are interested in; a school maybe look good on paper but its setting may not necessarily suit you. Take advantage of the overnight stay program at the school of it is possible. Lastly, be open minded, don't worry if a school may be too costly or to far away, apply anyway and if that is the school you are meant to be at, things will work out.


Choose the school that your heart yearns for the most. Your instincts are telling you that its the right school for you. But even before letting your heart choose your dream college, be sure to visit the school at least once if not twice to make sure your heart is making the right decision! Your decision in choosing the right college will determine 70% of how successful your college career is going to be. The rest is what you make of it plus or minus the hard work that you put in during those undergraduate years.


When applying for colleges I had been told that wherever I would be accepted, that college would be the colllege for me. Now having completed a year and a half of school, I can truly say that I am glad to attend the college I am attending now. When picking a college, never listen to any rumors about any college. Instead investigate for yourself; go visit campuses, ask currently attending students about college life and academics, even check out insider's guides to your colleges. If I had listened to rumors when choosing colleges, I would have never gone to the college I attend today. You may have heard that college is the best time of your life, however you shouldn't treat it as such. True, you may have unlimited freedom, but you must ask yourself what you want out of college. Go ahead, have fun, go to a few parties, make new friends, but always keep you priorities in order, use your head, and study hard. With this in mind, you can do well in college and have a great time in the process.


Don't go into college thinking it's what you've seen in the movie or what you've been told. Just expereince it for yourself and make judgements based on that. You'll be fine- don't worry everyone is scared. Oh and wear shoes in the dorm showers.


Dont give up on getting into a university, because even if it might not have been your ideal choice, you will learn to adapt to the school you do get into. Follow your heart when it comes to making decisions about school, what major you want to choose, and which friends you want to hang out with. Dont let anyone else decide for you. Try new things! You will be surprised at how much you can discover when you allow yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and take risks beyond what you thought yourself capabale of. College is a great place to challenge yourself for the first time outside of high school so if possible, go somewhere that is different from what you are used to. Whether it be different weather, a new environment, the people, anything. Also, please go with an open mind. Nothing is worse than going somewhere new with a narrow mind. You can try anything here, just as long as you learn from it.


Most important of all is to keep your eye on the prize. You are there for an education that will lead to a J-O-B, so at least 80% of what you do in college should be geared towards this goal. There are many opportunities you should indulge in, but above all, remember to get good grades, because they count for the best jobs and grad school, and to intern, intern, intern! As competitive as the global economy is getting, lofty knowledge and a paper that says you can read and write do not make the cut anymore. Nothing makes you a stronger candidate than a strong academic record and experience. But of course, do not forget to have fun and travel abroad if you can. It does not always fit in with the number one objective, but as far as life goes, you will never forget the experience! Good luck with your endeavors!


do research, visit the schools, talk to people, know what you want or have an idea


You need to start early. Look at universities starting freshman year in high school. Decide what aspects of a school are most important to you and only apply to schools that you would go to. If you wouldn't attend the school why waste the application fee and risk getting stuck going somewhere that isn't right for you? Be honest about the type of university you are looking for- size, greek system, prestige, majors- or you may end up in a place that doesn't cater to your needs. Be as informed as possible. And once you are accepted, visit every university you are considering attending, you need to get a feel for the campus vibe.


With regards to finding the right college I can't offer much advice. Berkeley was my dream school and I got in. I didn't even consider other schools. I've had an amazing college experience and I think one of the most important parts of that is 1) introdue yourself to as many peope as possible when you first get to college. 2) Take interesting classes that have nothing to do with what you THINK you want to major in, and don't be afraid to change your major. Five times. Or design your own (if given the option)! 3) Get a job. It's a good time to learn the value of a dollar and no matter how hard your classes are, you're going to have weird chunks of free time during the day that a 8-hour a week on-campus internship will fill perfectly--and you make great connections. I started out doing data entry 5 months ago and now I help with my boss' innovative research project and attend environmental conferences as a representitive of UC Berkeley. 4) Keep a schedule of tests and paper deadlines. 5) GO TO YOUR CLASSES.


Make sure you consider every aspect of campus life- from dorm quality, housing options, social life, and extracurricular activities- in addition to academics. Although the primary focus should be on academics, everything else will affect the quality of your time at the school. Also, be sure to visit the campus. Nothing, not even reading 1000 college guide books, will give you a better idea of campus life. And, try to spend time on the campus, apart from a campus tour, and even try to sit in on a class that you think sounds interesting. It will give you a real sense of the school.


In order to decide which college is right for you, you must first determine what is the most important to you in your college experience, whether it be academics, sports, or social life. Also, deciding what field of study you will enter makes a big difference. You should probably visit the campus and think about if you can see yourself attending that college or university. Having fun at school is also important, so be sure to check out what social activities such as clubs and organizations that you could join to meet new people and make your experience the best it can be. In the end, choose the school that is best for you, not for somebody else because it is your education, not anybody elses.


If I was able to do things again, knowing what I know now, I would have paid more attention to three things. First, move as close as you can to the campus; commuting will steal precious hours and certainly limits any social activities you might like or desire. It also means that a bed and shower is just around the corner, which can mean the difference between simply surviving a project and dominating a project. Second, purchase a meal plan or prepare meals from home. Eating out with your friends is often a needed break, but its expensive and you might find yourself limiting how much food you eat just to balance your budget. Instead, home-made snacks will help keep your stomach and bank account full. Finally, invest in a good pair of comfortable shoes, because driving is often impractical. A walk is not only healthy, but it can create a gentler transition time between work and play, which does wonders for stress. Simple advice? Probably, but when you are worried about financial aid, class schedules, dating, sports, mid-terms, or the number of other things the modern student must manage. Home, Grub, and Sole will get you through.


The most important thing about a college campus is its intellectual environment. This consists of the type of classes, the quality of classes and the level of dedication displayed by the educators. However, it also includes the community, neighborhood and general ambiance of the campus. All of these factors, when combined successfully, will allow students to be comfortable in their academic lives. They will be confident that their studies are motivated by personal passion and have more drive to succeed if they choose a school with classes and professors that they find ingaging as individuals. And they will be more relaxed and self-confident if they study in a welcoming, community-oriented, and aesthetically pleasing environment. Every aspect of a school should emphasize the student's humanity and intellectual growth, rather than serving as a simple means for obtaining a degree. The value of college lies not in its ability to provide careers or degrees, but to help students become more mature, self-aware and intellectually developed.


College isn't just about academics. Get involved on campus. Join student organizations, and go to speaker events. Berkeley brought amazing speakers. We've had Jimmy Carter, George Soros, Dan Rather, and many other amazing speakers. In addition, the professors were at the top of their industry or experts in their field--they knew what they were talking about. These are just a few of the benefits of attending UC Berkeley.


Make sure you like the surrounding areas of the school and the school itself. Make most of your college experience by joining a club and getting involved. It is hard to make friends if you don't get involved in anything.


It's important to visit the schools you are interested in so you can get a feel for what they are like. Try to talk with faculty at the school as well if possible.


you should find a place that will challenge you and broader your perspective of the world.