Berkeley, CA: Aside from its many Nobel Laureates (who get parking spaces especially for them), the really low numbers (26.6 percent acceptance rate), and the really high numbers (GPA, SAT, ACT), which apply to many excellent schools, the University of California, Berkeley, or Cal, has many other important qualities for students.
When I toured Cal, aside from its strong programs, the most obvious plus to me was the location. Berkeley is an exciting, stimulating college city, perfect for the liberal-minded, independent student. It seems a smaller, Western alternative to New York City. However, the campus itself is not small. It spreads across thousands of acres sprinkled with shockingly beautiful greenery, buildings, and sunshine.
A gentle wind is a common visitor, gracing the large student population. During the leisurely tour, as we made our way over small hills and hidden pathways, everyone joked about how our student guide had promised that the tour would remain on flat ground.
After our guide plowed through many facts about the various buildings and oodles of books at Cal, he spoke with sincerity about the friendships he made and kept during his freshman year living in the dorms. That, more than anything, reminded me that it’s the people you meet in college that enhance your experience. And Cal certainly has a diverse student body.
With approximately 24,000 undergraduates, Cal’s large size could be a downside because of the lack of individual attention. However, as our tour guide explained, taking initiative to talk with professors and getting involved in the plethora of activities can make up for that.
Another negative could be that for nonresidents of California, this university is very expensive. Is it worth it? Go find out for yourself! If you are at all interested in life at Cal, check out berkeley.edu. It’s a good tour too.