University of California - Berkeley

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Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges
American Bar Association
Type: Public
Established: 1868
200 California Hall
Berkeley 94720
United States
Phone: 510-642-6000


Be Resourceful

Berkeley is a great school, but a big one. There are an infinite number of resources, you just actually have to seek them out. If you are motivated and self-sufficient, you will be successful here. It is a very competitive environment--I enjoyed it. If you have a definite direction, Berkeley is a good school for you. It is not a good school for those who are looking to "find themselves" or don't have a clear academic path. No one is going to hold your hand and guide you through your time at Berkeley; that's just the way it is.

Pros: good academic reputation, challenging courses

Cons: expensive, unhelpful advisors

I would recommend to a friend!

University of California - Berkeley

Berkeley easily rests on its reputation as being an elite research school and one of the best public universities in the United States. While its reputation holds true, the problem is that some students aren't here just for the theoretical and research aspect of things. The academic quality is very good, but some classes have too much emphasis on theory. One big downfall of Berkeley is its massive size. I understand that it is a huge university, but the school is very misleading about the class size. While I am sure it depends on you major, the atmosphere can be very impersonal. I've had very few classes with less than 25 people. You do not get the same kind of personal attention you would at a smaller school. I found it difficult to be seen as anything but a number. Even getting a letter of recommendation is a difficult feat because a) most professors don't know who their students are and b) the professors are too busy with research to write letters of recommendation. While they may be impersonal, they professors offer a wealth of knowledge and classes are mostly stimulating. Overall, the faculty is great, but the administration is not to be praised. I don't know what is wrong with the advisers, but they do not do their job well. My advice to future students: Be sure and take advantage of the vast resources Berkeley has to offer. Getting involved is also really important to getting the most valuable education. A lot of what you will learn happens outside of class and the students can be as interesting as some professors.

Pros: good academic reputation, affordable tuition, beautiful campus, great networking opportunities

Cons: unhelpful advisors, Unsafe city at night

I would recommend to a friend!

More Theoretical than Practical

Obviously this is a reputable school. The academics are rewarding and challenging, but I would say the school is much more cultivating for "thinkers". If you are looking to go into academia or become a professor, Berkeley is definitely for you. I was a media studies major and I would complain that most of the classes were theoretical and don't necessarily have a lot of practical application. As with any large, public university, class sizes at Berkeley can be considerable. One way to avoid this would be getting your gen eds out of the way at a community college and then transferring (this will also save you $$). You will meet a lot of interesting and intelligent people at Berkeley and the athletics and school spirit are great. The student body is vibrant and obviously very large. Besides a large Asian population, there is not much diversity. The actual campus is very beautiful. Living in the right place makes a big difference in your experience and I would recommend taking the time to shop around. The quieter areas are north of campus. Keep in mind the campus is situated in an Urban setting. You can easily take BART to Pleasant Hill or Walnut Creek for a quick escape. I've heard some pretty negative things about the career center. I've never personally dealt with them, but some friends and acquaintances have apparently had some really horrible experiences.

Pros: good academic reputation, knowledgeable faculty, beautiful campus, great networking opportunities, challenging courses

Cons: unhelpful advisors, Impersonal, Career Center

I would recommend to a friend!

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