University of California-Berkeley Top Questions

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


Try to imagine yourself living somewhere for 4 or more years. If you can't see it, then maybe it is not the school for you


Give every college you visit a second chance. When I first visited UC Berkeley as a high school freshman, I was put off. I remember drawing close to my parents as we strolled down Telegraph Avenue, unused to and uncomfortable with the profligate homelessness, secretly appalled by the state of the sidewalks and wear of the walls. The place seemed too outlandish, too eclectic--and it basked in the light of its own difference. It was an attitude I couldn't comprehend, let alone share in. But five years later I am a proud student at Cal, and I know I have never made a better decision. First impressions should not be your last. Visit once, early; then come back after a few years and look again, with eyes altered by time and experience. You may find that the very place you could never attend is, in fact, the only place where you belong. A final note: consider college rankings, but don't allow them to rule you. If you aren't happy with the color of the sky you wake under and the culture of the community you walk through, "number one in [blank]" will mean nothing at all.


I would say that the choice is really up to the student and not really so much the concern of the parents in the end. The student should make their choice based on a number of things. First off the academic excellence of the institution is important. Do they have a good program for what you wish to study? Its not so much about prestige as it is about having options. I would consider who the faculty are and what type of institution it is, reasearch or teaching. If the person is family oriented they might want to stay closer to home, or it might be a good experience to be on their own far away. Climate is also important, particularly for people with physical disabilities. Consider the demographics of the university, do your "type" of people attend this school? What about the surrounding area? Will you be happy there with the entertainment available or will your social life suffer? Financial aid packages are also a big consideration. I think the most important thing is to do a campus visit. Try to stay a couple of days to get a sense of the campus atmosphere.


Make sure to think about the social aspects of the school as well as the academic fit for you. A school might be very prestigous but it doesnt mean it will be a fun place to be.


Aim high and take in all that you can.


It has been said more than once that "you only get out what you put in" and this is something to seriously consider when selecting a college. There is not a school on Earth that will bring you success in the larger scheme of things if you arrive expecting it to be handed to you. Do not select a college on the basis of reputation but rather discover a college where you (in all your personal idiosyncrasy) can feel inspired, where you can grow as a human being, where you can wake up every day excited to be alive and party to such a rich experience - both academically and personally. Then, when you arrive on campus, take responsibility for yourself. This is not high school any longer. You are now the sole arbiter AND inheritor of your own destiny. Your education is ultimately your own and no one will value it if you yourself do not. So get out there and make it all worthwhile! Lastly, befriend your department's coordinator. They have the ability to truly help or truly hinder in a way no single professor does. Cookies and other baked goods can assist greatly in this endeavor.


Going to college isnt about prestige. Intelligence and creativity can be found anywhere you go. Confidence, courage, and the ability to communicate and inspire others is what is most important when getting a job. School is to learn and to learn to love life -- you, everyone, and everything around you.


Visit the college(s) you are considering and ask questions during the orientation. Find out about financial aid and scholarships if you are financially disadvantaged. Consider the affordability of off-campus housing surrounding the college. Read professors' bios, and if you are into research, explore whether there are programs and positions available for students to work in a lab. Look at the types of student groups available to join. Apply to a range of different colleges and consider your career aspirations and academic goals. Parents: don't make the decision for your child, but help them to explore options, offer advice and help them keep track of deadlines.


Go with your instincts. If you feel at all hostile toward a place when you visit, you should not attend it. Also, go to a school with a strong department in whatever your field of interest is. I think that the professors are what make any class great or awful, no matter how interesting or boring the subject matter. If you can, do lots of internships while you are in school because they look great on a resume, they give you real experience and you get awesome references. This can be really important because once you graduate you won't necessarily have the time or money to be able to work for free. My last piece of advice is to wait it out if you don't enjoy you first year of college, especially if you are going somewhere far from home. It can take a while to adjust, but once you find your friends (and you will), school will be lots of fun!


To those looking for the right college, I would advise students to actually visit schools and staying there for a few days to see how they like it, or at least driving around campus. Even if you don't like the school at first glance, it's surprising what eating, sleeping, and walking around in a new school will do for you. Also, I would suggest looking into schools that will specialize in what you want to study, if you've already decided that for yourself- the big name schools may not have the best program for what you want to major in. To make the best of the college experience, make lots of friends and even if you're not involved in campus activities, at least take an interest in what your school does- it builds pride in your school's achievements and you'll feel proud to be a part of that. Talk to students and professors since they will not only help you in your academic endeavors but they will also shed new light on the topics your class covers and make you appreciate them a lot more.


Make sure it you attend a college or university where you will be able to fit in, yet where you have the ability to expand your horizons. College is about learning to think about academics and learning to think about yourself. The university should blend the social and academic aspects of this stage of your life seamlessly. Whether you are studying with friends at a cafe or laughing over at a party about a book you're reading in class -- it should all be fun. Most of all go to a place where you won't be judged and where you'll feel comfortable. Whatever school you go to should make you feel good about yourself.


To find the right college: 1)Apply to ?target?, ?reach? AND ?backup" colleges. You don?t want to receive a slew of rejection letters from ?reach? schools nor do you want to receive acceptance letters solely from ?backup? colleges. To avoid this, research schools' acceptance statistics and compare your GPA & scores to them. 2) Ask yourself what kind of environment you like. Urban or rural? The big school or small intimate setting? Can you stand cold weather or rain? 3) Make sure the colleges you apply to have strong departments in those academic areas you're interested in. To make the most out of the college experience: 1)Don?t slack off during the 1st year of college or underestimate a course's workload. Bad grades from freshman year can significantly affect your GPA. 2)GO TO YOUR INSTRUCTOR?S OFFICE HOURS & GET ON HIS/HER GOOD SIDE (!!!) because you might need a letter of recommendation later on or you might want to ask for a grade reconsideration/change after the course is over. 3)Get involved in extra-curricular activities on campus! This is a GREAT way to meet people with similar interests and form strong friendships!


I would tell students to make sure they pick a school where they feel they can grow both as a person and with their academics. I would also recommend that they join clubs or activities that can help them be involved with their community both on and off campus. College is a very personal experience, so make sure you visit the campus before you decided on it, When you find the right school, you know and just feel it in your gut. It's not about college rankings, it's about how YOU feel the college will benefit you.


The right college is not always your top choice or "dream school." For some folks, a school that is big on sports is prime. School spirit means a lot to certain people. Others prefer research oriented schools that have access and resources to leading developments and technologies. Still others look into other factors like weather and school population size. My point is that you really cannot make one big generalization for finding the right college. My best advice would be to visit the college and see what kind of vibes you feel. Whatever decision you make, make sure you can see yourself there for the next 2 or 4 years. Just because US News says the school is good does not mean the school is good for you.


Make sure you visit the college before choosing it. Go into college hoping to not only get a good education but to make lots of new friends.


Really think about what you want to do after college. If medical school is really that important to you, then grades matter, then go to a school where you can get those good grades that isn't so cut-throat!


My advice is this: The right college is not something preordained. Whatever school you choose becomes the place that fits you just right - for some that might be influened by the environment of the university and for others by the social circle you adopt. Nothing about me screamed UC Berkeley when I arrived as a freshman, but with an open mind and an eagerness to grow, I fit Berkeley and it fit me. I had no expectations going into college, which was the best thing I could have ever done. I didn't think it would be life changing and didn't know I would meet the best friends I've ever had, but because I didn't plan that out for myself ahead of time, it was even more than I ever expected. It wasn't my imaginary first choice, but it became my true home because I learned to go with the flow. College is an amazing place - not matter what school you attend - it all depends on your attitude and willingness to let life (and college) change you for the better.


Make sure the campus population is a good fit for you! If you are outgoing and ready to be independent and seize opportunities, then a big school may be for you. In my experience, being at a large university meant having every conceivable opportunity available to me, but I had to go out and seek them. With a small school it may be easier to make contacts and build relationships with professors and potential job networks. An intimate classroom= easier to get to know the professor and have good references at hand for when you go on to grad school or out into the real world. Also, don't try to plow through your classes and take on huge work loads if you don't have to. Get a job and enjoy your time at school, so you can be building your resume and setting yourself up for an easier transition after you graduate. Get involved in study groups and extracurriculars. Don't let studying (or partying for that matter) be your only focus. Life's so much fuller when it's well rounded! P.S. Go BEARS!!!


Visit the campus to get a real feel of what the environment is like, and if possible, talk to students or alumni of the college. Keep in mind the kind of education and experience you want from your college experience; don't go to a school just because it has a prestigious reputation. If you don't have a "dream college," then consider what your different choice of schools has to offer you, and when you go to the school of your choice, remember to keep an open mind. Go check out clubs and events; try to get involved in your major department or residence hall. Making the most of your college experience is about trying different things and exploring the campus and its surrounding areas.


Try to figure out what you want to study, and go for it!


Visit the campus, the classes, various living situations. Spend some time sitting on campus and people watching to see if you like the vibe of the campus. Talk to people in your intended major and look through the classes offerred. Keep in mind that you may change your major so make sure the school offers more than one thing you are interested in and that they have the resources to support you in internships and special projects. To get the most out of college, take classes outside your field "just for fun," do a variety of extra curricular activities, and spend time exploring the area around your college.


Visit them all!!! You never know what a school is like until you see it for yourself. Keep an open mind. In all actuality any school will have its positive and negative side, so it's important to just find the one that works best for you. Once you're there try new things, look for awesome friends, and remember that this is supposed to be the best time of your life.


First, I would apply to a variety of schools because you never know how your dreams and pictures of the future may change by the time you receive your acceptance letters and must make a decision. Most importantly, though, don't worry about your future job situation when you're trying to decide a major; instead, study what you love and think about jobs later. It's important to take classes that will help you be successful in your major, but also those classes that just sound interesting. When else are you going to be able to learn about astronomy or popular culture or the politics of music? Finally, don't be afraid to be yourself, either while applying to colleges or once you finally reach your freshman year. College is the time to figure out who you are as a person, in terms of your interactions both with others on a personal basis and in the world generally.


Parents, do not force your child to go to a particular college. It should be the child's choice, for they are there for four years. Students, choose a place you feel is right for you. You're going to be nervous when making a decision. But you will feel confident about your school choice if you believe in your heart it is the school for you.


Listen to your parents and do what you feel is right and in your heart.


I think one of the most important aspects of college life is being part of a really active, socially encouraging student body. We're all there to study, but sometimes it's easy to get caught up in classes and a narrow personal routein. It is important to be rememinded that there is a whole world out there, with lots of people and ideas to consider, not just what's written in that Calculus text. On that note, it's also really great if you can be around your true academic peers - it makes a really big difference in how much you'll challenge yourself.


Go with your gut.


Even if you pay for it, you don't own your kid or their experience. Let them try and fail. Watch them succeed. But it's their life, and your kindness that has brought them to this opportunity. Let your child have free reign over their courses and education. Failure makes a stronger, more knowledgeable person; success, individually motivated, is the greatest reward. No one needs extra stress in college. Especially when they're already trying to show their parent how worthy they are, and trying to utilize the gift of an education.


Don't go to a big school unless you're positve you'll like it/love sports and being just another face in the crowd, make an effort to meet but also follow up with cool people because you might never see them again at a bit school unless you call them often


There is much more to a school than beneath its surface. I found that school promotion days, while accurate in their portrayal of the school in certain areas, do not give a comprehensive review of the school as a whole. Preferably, I would ask many of the questions I've been asked here to friends, family, or even online acquaintances about their experiences at candidate schools. Promotion days are exactly that: promotions. Every school has its own quirks and atmosphere; you just have to find the right one for you. And since most likely, you'll be spending your next four years there, so you can never know too much about it before you make your choice.


There are so many things to consider when making your decision, but what did it for me was picking a college that would fit my personality. One great indicator of which college is best for you is simply looking at the people attending--how they dress, what they do for fun. These things give much indication to what kind of people they are. At other UCs I visited, I noticed that many people dressed the same and they just partied. I knew I couldn't fit in with that kind of lifestyle, with people who cared a little too much about what others thought of them. I needed somewhere I could be free of those restrictions, so I chose a more liberal type of college. Also, finding somewhere with some semblance to home is a big help because it helps you adjust that much quicker. It could be anything, like the weather, the kinds of food there, buildings, etc. There's so much more to deciding which college you decide on, but just remember that wherever you may choose, make the best of your situation and live it up because it should be the best four years of your life!


Parents: Be ready to pay for a good education, it's worth it. Also, don't feel sad about letting your son or daughter go to a far away school, it might be beneficial after all. Trust is key. Students: Please visit different colleges and Universities before accepting admission. Brochures are not the best ways to know a campus. Do college tours and talking to faculty and students. I would even suggest to spend a night at the campus during the school year so you know how school life looks like.


Don't listen to anyone else but yourself because you're the only one that knows yourself well enough to make this big decision. Your decision will take you on a journey of a lifetime.


For some people, college is a time to break away from home, to try out different lifestyles, and to learn about new viewpoints. For others, college is a social experience meant to be fun and crazy. Depending on what the student wants- and this is really important, that the student be honest with him/herself, different colleges can accomodate those wishes. College can be really fantastic and a great time to grow personally as well as academically, so it's incredibly important to find a school most appropriate for the individual. Prestige and location, tuition, etc., of course have to be taken into serious consideration as well. If a student has made the effort to be able to be accepted to their choice of universities, they should then be given the opportunity to find the right fit for themselves. Once college starts, life changes in all sorts of ways. If the student is confident and driven and passionate about their education, it is easy to make the most of it. Once in college, a student has to consider school like a job: setting out time for study, setting deadlines, reading schedules, etc., and sticking to them. The fun will follow.


You hear it so often: college is one of the greatest times of your life. And the fact of the matter is that it really can be, if you make decisions with your best interests in mind. Don't be afraid to go to a prestigious school because you think it will be too tough. Shoot for the stars and go outside of your comfort zone, and you will end up learning so much about your capabilities and values. Vice versa as well, don't be embarassed to choose a lesser known college because it may provide the best learning and social environment for you. Try and gauge what school is to your liking, and follow through with that decision. Live for the future, and don't dwell on the past. Also I would like to stress how important it is to relax! Make sure that on top of studying you have time to explore the city, go out with friends, and take part in extracurricular activities; being overly focused, stressed out, and lonely is no way to enjoy life. College is only as good as you make it out to be, so make the most of it!


For those finding a new path towards their first year in college, I would advise the undergraduates to be as involved as they can in any extra-curricular activities, whether it be something to do with sports or a cooking club. As for finding the right college, once he or she steps onto the campus, she/he should get that homely feel to it. Also, crashing the classes that interest the undergrad might be a great idea, so that way he/she will get a feel to how a college course or class is like. That will also be helpful in deciding whether or not the campus is the right one for the student. But the most important thing that I would have to bring up is that the student should be encouraged to meet other students especially in the dorms and find that one activity that he or she will enjoy doing- kinda like finding one's one niche : )


What parents need to know is that THEY aren't the ones who will be going to school and possibly living near that college for about four years, so please let their children choose the right place to go. The students should understand that the right college for them is one where they feel like they fit in, with the neighborhood and the other students as well. Additionally, what I was searching for in a college was the potential to try and experience new things in order to really find out what I like. College is an experience that one will never be able to have again in their lives, but in truth, how good the experience is will depend on how much a person will try to make it lively. So realistically, any college could potentially be the right college for a person, depending on how much effort they put out to try to make it fun.


Visit the college first and make sure you fit into the environment. Don't just choose a college because it has better academic standards than other schools because 4 years is a long time to live in misery and depression. Also, make sure your kid has some strong values because there are lots of tempting vices at school like drugs, meaningless sex, alcohol, and excessive gaming.


There is no way a website or brochure can give you an accurate depiction of a college you are considering. The best way to decide whether a school is right for you is to forge personal connections- be it online and off the PR recordbooks, or in person and on campus with students and faculty. Once you make a decision however, don't pine over the school you didn't pick. Embrace your choice and realize that your undergraduate years are to be enjoyed as a path you take to your destination, not your final fate. Learn to strike a balance between giving and taking, absorbing and creating, working and playing, and these will truly be some of the best years of your life.


I would advise students to research their majors and to visit colleges before applying. They should proofread their application essays and take any offered interviews seriously. Parents should support students in their choices but also inject a good dose of reality. To make the most of the college experience one must keep an open mind and an easygoing attitude. Since learning is a good chunk of the purpose of going to college, it should be taken seriously. To be able to learn and study effectively will allow more time for the "college experience". Making friends is also a bonus since these are the people who will be with you for awhile - from late-night study groups to late-night frat parties. To get the most out of your money, take advantage of your professors. Colleges usually splurge to lure renown experts; their experience and knowledge are yours for the partaking. Last of all, if you must binge drink, choose unadulterated coffee.


Pursue something you like, not what your parents or what other people want you to do.


Be flexible and willing to give new and unexpected things a try. It can feel like the end of the world when you receive a rejection letter from your top-choice school but I promise, life does go on. The right school for you may not necessarily be the same one as the one on the flag that has been hanging over your bed since birth. If possible, definitely visit every school you are accepted to; being on campus offers an entirely different perspective from websites and books. While visiting talk to students at the school about what they think of it. Yes, it may seem intimidating asking a complete stranger for advice but the majority of college students love to talk about their school and share any advice they can. Also, be sure to check out the area around the college. Depending upon the school you could be spending alot of time in the nearby town or the city across the bay. Once you have made your choice and are at your school don't be afraid to try something you've never considered; learn italian, go skydiving, play a sport, study in Brazil, now is the time.


Choosing a college shouldn't be based solely on academics. Since the surrounding city or town is essentially where you will be living, it's important to take that into consideration, especially if it's a dramatically different environment from what you are used to at home. Additionally, college is a time to really gain experience and find yourself in terms of who you are and what makes you tick. Extracurricular activities are a great way to help figure this out as well as making the most of new experiences. New adventures could be as simple as exploring the surrounding area further or something as dramatic as going skydiving with your new roommate. That said, students should make safe choices while they're entering the independent life and parents need to be able to let their children make decisions on their own and perhaps some mistakes along the way since the whole point of going to college is growing more as an individual.


Really take the time to visit campuses and talk to students. You will be able to get a better feel for what the school is really like, the things you can't find on their website or in college books. Good starting points are alumni from your high school who attend that college. Get involved early in a variety of student groups that interest you. That way, you have a chance to narrow it down to groups you truly enjoy and have time to move up to a leadership position within the organization. It's also a great way to meet people other than classmates and people who live in your dorm.


An important part of the college experience is choosing the right campus. Make sure parents and students visit the campuses to see what life is really like, how the weather is, how students behave outside of the lecture halls, how professors teach in large and small classes. Money should not be the sole reason for attending a college because there are countless financial aids to help with tuition.


Students- Just know that it's very hard to meet people in Berkeley, and it's very hard to make friends unless you are living in the dorms. A lot of people want to make friends... I think... but it's very hard to, since everyone is so driven and focused on school.


Students should explore their options and find a college that suits them socially as well as academically. I would definitely recommend visiting the campus and the surrounding area of the colleges. Find an area that you fall in love with, as I did at Berkeley. To make the most of your life at college, keep an open mind. You'll be meeting many different kinds of people that you may not have interacted with before. Try to make friends outside of your normal social circles, with the many varieties of students that you meet. That will make your college experience extremely rewarding.


The only way to properly judge if a school is right for you is to experience life there for yourself. Reading brochures, watching videos, reading statistics, and hearsay will never create a complete picture of the place you are going to spend the next four to six years of your life in. Campus visits and tours are a good start, but most colleges or off-campus organizations have programs where you can live in the dorms, or off-campus housing, or live with a host for a few days. I would recommend doing this during from Thursday to Saturday during the academic year, to get a full academic, extracurricular, and social view of the campus. Once you are accepted, the key thing is to experience everything, while not spreading yourself too thin. Try a new sport, dance, or club; something you never would have thought to try. While you don't have to become a wild partier, let go of your inhibitions a little bit, it's very important to keep socially sane. Try alternative living situations to dorms, at least after your first year. Take classes in things you're interested in, not just for your major.


Understand that a large part of your college experience is discovering new things about yourself. Arrive on your campus with an open mind. If you "know" exactly what you want to study, reassess yourself, ask the hard questions, and never close yourself off to new possibilities. Do you have any interests that you've always wanted to get involved in? Now is your chance. Put yourself out there because you may never have the same opportunities offered to you again. When you search for a college, ask yourself these questions: What kinds of extracurricular opportunities does this college have to offer for me? Will this college challenge me? Will this college help me grow and mature as a person? Why does this college interest me? Is it prestige? atmosphere? weather? location? And then ask yourself just how important each of these factors are to you. Remember you will be establishing a new life for yourself in this place, and if you can't see yourself living happily in that environment than you probably won't want to commit yourself to that place for the next four years.


I would definitely recommend visiting each university before applying - take a campus tour or come when the university has its day such as Cal day for UC Berkeley. Research its strenghts and weakness - is it prominent in the field that the student is interested in? Does it offer the major of interest? Are the facilities satisgyin? etc. Definitely make sure that it fits. Most of the students know what college feels the best by walking around the campus, taking a look at the lecture rooms, etc. To make the most of the college experience....try and do things you are interested in. Join clubs of your choice, meet new people, take classes with friends. Become involved in the community and on the campus. In order to make the most of the time in college is to do what one enjoys. Grades are important, especially when one considers applying for grad school; however, it is not everything. Its not all about transcripts but also about how one spends its free time. Four years go by so fast. You really need enjoy it.