So, you got into Berkeley (congrats!) and are trying to decide where to go to school – Davis? Berkeley? That other school across the Bay that shall remain unnamed*? Here are 14 things you should know about Berkeley before you commit, from a Berkeley grad (that’s me! Special thanks to fellow Magoosher/Berkeley grad Ronke). 🙂
In no particular order and without further ado:
1. The weather is not always as nice as it is on Cal Day. No, it is not always 80 degrees and sunny, and no, there are not always bands and tons of free stuff all over campus. That said, the campus *is* incredibly beautiful and one of my favorite places ever.
2. Not everyone is a hippy. Really. I swear.
3. The food in the city of Berkeley is amazing. Don’t just stay within a one block radius of campus — the city has tons to offer! Although, if you’re anything like me (ahem, lazy), you won’t discover this until at least a solid year after your arrival.
4. Yes, there are a lot of homeless people. Be smart, and you won’t have any problems.
5. No one is going to baby you and hold your hand throughout your time at Cal. Berkeley is a big school with tens of thousands of students, and not many advisors. Choosing your major and finding your way is going to be up to you. That said, you will come out on the other side a much more independent person!
6. You will meet fellow students from all walks of life and from all over the world. Cliche, but true.
7. You’ll have to work hard, but in all honesty, the academics are not as tough as some people might make you believe.
8. The dorms leave a lot to be desired — get used to the idea of living in a triple room with only 2 closets…
9. …but luckily the libraries are amazing. Hello, new study room!
10. You won’t be the well known superstar you once were in high school. But that’s ok, because everyone else feels just as humbled as you do!
11. Choosing a major will be the least of your worries. There’s so much more to college than this; you’ll learn about your strengths and weaknesses, you’ll develop life-long relationships, and you’ll grow as a person.
12. Not everyone is headed for medical school. Contrary to popular belief, you’ll meet Rhetoric, Sociology or Peace and Conflict Studies students who’re just as smart and ambitious as any Pre-med student!
13. You might be a Spring Admit. Yes, there’s such a thing, but it just means you’ll need to put in a little extra effort to fit in with the rest of campus.
14. The school is HUGE. Be prepared for 800+-person lectures, claustrophobic streets, and long lines everywhere. But on the bright side, that also means lots of opportunities to make new friends! 🙂
*Stanford / Stanfurd
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About Rachel Wisuri
Rachel helps eager students find out about Magoosh. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a super helpful double major in History and French. In her free time she can be found eating peanut butter, drinking five cups of tea per day, and playing with cats.
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