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University of California–Berkeley

the basics
Location
110 Sproul Hall
San Francisco CA 94720
Undergrad Enrollment
23,000
Type
Public
Setting
Urban
In-State Tuition
$ 8,000
Out-of-State Tuition
$ 14,000
Room & Board
$ 14,000
5 reasons it’s cool
  • Berkeley is the oldest university in the University of California system and one of the nation’s most prestigious public universities.
  • It’s all about academic balance: Berkeley has produced as many leaders in the humanities as it has leaders in science and technology.
  • Hard work is a way of life for students in all disciplines.
  • Since its activist heyday in the sixties, the campus has been a home to radical activism and a force for social change.
  • What’s not to love about the Bay Area, with its combination of natural beauty and urban activities?

Looking for a “radically” good education?

The Cal Challenge

Berkeley is arguably the most prestigious public research university in the nation, and it enjoys the rep of being the best and most selective of the ten universities in the University of California system. Admitted students can expect to encounter tough academics (and tough grading), diverse areas of study, and professors who have reached the tops of their fields. Students select their majors from within the College of Chemistry, the College of Engineering, the College of Environmental Design, the College of Letters and Science, the College of Natural Resources, and the Haas School of Business (open only to juniors). Popular majors include biology, psychology, electrical engineering and computer science, and those in the physical sciences. Many students go abroad with the UC Education Abroad Program, work on independent research projects, or join the projects of their professors.

Give ’Em the Axe

Each year, the winner of the Big Game (the annual football game between die-hard rivals Berkley and Stanford) gets the axe—not in the getting-fired sense. It’s an actual axe that originally belonged to Stanford over one hundred years ago and was used as part of their cheering section. In 1899, after a basketball game between the two schools, Berkeley students stole the axe from Stanford, whose students finally stole it back in 1930. A few years later, both schools agreed to make the Axe into a symbol of football victory, and it’s passed back and forth as the schools continue their rivalry.

From Hipsters to Hippies

The atmosphere at Berkeley might be described as a combination of contemporary counterculture, hippie vibes (which have long found a home on this campus), and serious studiousness. The extent to which students fall into a single category varies widely, and there are certainly students at Berkeley who defy categorization. The campus and its surroundings are constantly buzzing with activity. The focal point is Telegraph Avenue, which has quick eats, shopping, and lots of those hippie vibes. Parties (frat, apartment, co-op, and otherwise) are in abundance, but many students choose to keep it low key. Dorm life and dining options vary greatly, and if you’re planning to live in an apartment, you may face quite a hunt when it comes to finding reasonably priced housing options. The Cal Golden Bears’ rivalry with the Stanford Cardinals peaks during the Big Game between the schools’ two football teams. Rallies of the political and sports-oriented variety prove that Berkeley students, as antiestablishment as they can be, also thrive on tradition.

The Best of the Bay Area

Berkeley’s lovely campus offers a distinct urban yet natural feel, with lots of trees and creeks, and a combination of early twentieth-century architecture mixed with more modern buildings. Natural beauty also surrounds the campus: The Berkeley Rose Garden, home to over 250 varieties of roses, and the woodsy Tilden Regional Park are just short walks away. Redwoods, Marin County, and some of the state’s most beautiful shores can easily be reached by car. On campus, the campanile (or Sather Tower) and Sather Gate are the most recognizable landmarks; it’s worth a trip up the campanile to take beautiful views of the Bay Area. San Francisco has all of the nightlife, arts, and diversions that a college student could want, and BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) is an economical (if slightly unreliable) way to get around.