[FAQ #1] Choosing Berkeley vs Other Schools

Thought I’d do an FAQ for all the unsure prospective Cal Bears out there! Here are links to the other FAQs here: FAQ #2 | FAQ #3 | FAQ #4 | RFAQ

Why did you choose Berkeley?
Since I come from LA, out-of-state schools (even the ones I was accepted to) were a no from the start because my mom wanted me to stay in-state, and they were too expensive. So it all came down to be between either UCLA or UC Berkeley. My family wanted me to go to UCLA because it was nice and new and close to home, but I wanted Berkeley because it’s located closest to the bustling tech hub of Silicon Valley, has one of the world’s best computer science and business programs (perfect for my personal career goals), and in a new place I’ve never explored.

Of course, I’m also biased because I attend Berkeley, but I did a lot of research on UCLA and Cal before coming here, and when it comes down to it, it’s just how much you want to be close to home, what you plan for your future career, and where you want to define yourself.

Is there grade deflation and low-key constant depression?
Yes, there definitely is grade deflation that we like to meme about and complain about all the time, but it’s all part of the Berkeley experience. Personally I found myself happier at Cal than I was in high school, but I can understand why you might have heard so many rumors and jokes about the overall happiness levels here. It’s mostly because it can be stressful at times, but I think it’s totally worth it! It depends on how much work you put on yourself and how much effort you want to put in for good grades and a social life.

IMG_2101How is the job search for business students after graduating from Berkeley?
I can guarantee that many, many companies look for Cal grads and especially search for Berkeley students in jobs for business as well! Even if you don’t get into Haas, the economics program here is really great – it’s just a matter of whether you like the classes and decide to major in it or not.

How were you so prepared for Berkeley before even coming here?
I attended many different Berkeley welcome events and an ASUC conference over the summer to meet new friends, talked to Berkeley first-year friends, and researched a bit myself to find out more about the overall culture of Cal! I especially learned a lot during welcome week, the few days before we officially started the fall semester, because I wanted to start school with the mindset of at least an experienced second-year student and so I could write more blogs for other people in my class too.

What are your favorite parts about Cal and what sets it apart from other schools?
I think that some of my favorite parts of Cal are also relatable to all colleges in general – the freedom to do whatever I want, and the almost countless number of clubs/activities to join! Additionally, since it’s the #1 public university in the world, what sets Berkeley apart from other schools is the atmosphere here – as students at the #1 public university in the world, everyone tries his or her hardest to achieve great things.

Because the grade deflation and hard curves here also makes it slightly more difficult to get good grades as compared to that of other schools, students who come out alive and go on to graduate are beyond prepared to join the workforce. Many of the professors and faculty here are well-renowned – in fact, Berkeley is one of the top five or so universities in the world associated with the most Nobel prizes! Honestly, I could go on and on about how amazing Cal is, but I just want to end it with this: as soon as I arrived on campus, I felt as if I were born to be a student at Berkeley – I never felt like I’ve belonged more.

This will consistently be updated as I get more questions related to this blog topic, so keep checking back!

-Melanie 🌸


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