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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.
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.