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tufts/berkeley/wellesley...can't decide

snaingsnaing Posts: 2Registered User New Member
edited April 2005 in Tufts University
I recently was accepted to tufts, UC berkeley, and wellesley, and I can't decide at ALL. I'm planning on majoring in IR, and I know Tufts has a great program for that. But berkeley and wellesley are such all/around good schools and perhaps more prestigious (tell me if i'm wrong)...so I can't make up my mind. Any opinions/imput/anything...would be great!
Post edited by snaing on

Replies to: tufts/berkeley/wellesley...can't decide

  • kj998855kj998855 Posts: 47Registered User Junior Member
    I know several people here who chose Tufts over those schools who are not even doing IR, which is reportedly Tufts best program and one of the best in the country. A lot of the kids from California I know who decided to come here over Cal liked Tufts's more intimate scale, and for undergrad at least, certainly did not think they were sacrificing anything academics-wise. One girl I know even turned down Wellesley with a large merit scholarship to come here without financial aid. If you have such a hard time justifying choosing Tufts over such "all-around good" schools even for its great IR, I encourage you to come to the April Open House to see what a great place it is.
  • snufflessnuffles Posts: 1,147Registered User Senior Member
    I personally dislike Berkeley for its large size, and plus it was very close to my home, so I really didn't want to go there. It's difficult to get the personalized attention you need, although the upper level courses might be better for IR. If you're doing IR, I don't know about the strength of Wellesley's program, but IR isn't something that jumps to my mind when I think of Berkeley.
  • juliatorgojuliatorgo Posts: 194Registered User Junior Member
    Is your name Sandy by chance? Because I just wrote several long responses to someone by that name who asked me about those same three schools on Livejournal. I suppose I'll go ahead and give you the same advice in case you are not one and the same, heh.

    To read the entire thread, go here:
    http://www.livejournal.com/community/tufts2009/12839.html

    This is my advice:
    Reputation-wise, if you are talking about well-educated people who know about colleges or about potential employers/grad school admissions people (who, believe me, are well informed of the top schools because it's in their own interest to be), all three schools are equally strong (it's even possible that Berkeley is weaker). Lots of people here in CA don't know about those NE schools but believe me, the people who really matter know. And if you ask anyone on the east coast they will most certainly know and be very impressed if you say you go to either of the two. Due to it's size, Berkeley is somewhat better known outside of the US. But again, this is only to the regular person- grad schools and employers know Tufts and Wellesley just as well.

    Now let's talk about the environment (both academic and social) at Berkeley vs. the other two. At Berkeley you will find huuuuuge classes, many of which are taught by TAs. You will have a student number and that is the number by which you will be known to most professors (unless you make a huge effort to get them to know who you are by constantly seeking them out and making sure they remember you) and to all administrators. You will have to push your way through to get anything- classes, rooming, you name it. You will have little to no advising unless you actively seek it out for yourself. Some say this is all good stuff as it is character-building. I say, why would you go to a school where you have to make such a big effort just to be noticed and advised when you can go to a school where you won't and can instead channel that energy into your actual studies?

    Socially, I have many friends who go to UCLA which unless you are a die-hard liberal is better than Berkeley socially, but is similar in terms of sheer size. And they tell me that it's just too big. Sure, that's a lot of potential friends to choose from, but in a way it's too big to foster any kinds of close friendships or relationships. Like with the professors, you really have to work to establish a circle of friends because everyone is so spread out spatially and otherwise. I'm not saying it's impossible. I'm not saying that there aren't some who love it there. I'm just saying that from what I've observed, it amounts to a lot of extra, unnecessary work and energy. At Berkeley you also have to deal with the ultra-liberal factor, which annoyed a friend of mine to the degree that he just couldn't stay there anymore. I'm liberal too, just not *that* liberal (and I know just how liberal it is there as I've been there for many MUN conferences).

    For these reasons, in my personal opinion, Tufts and Wellesley are superior (overall experience-wise) to Berkeley. Due the all-girl factor, despite the fact that I had a great experience at my school (I went to an all-girl school), I would choose Tufts because I really believe that going to single-gender institutions for college is detrimental to people. This is because it limits your options for dating (if you're straight) to the degree that it causes you to create a less fitting expectation for potential boyfriends and eventually life-partners since your selection is just severely limited. This is not true for all but my opinion still holds. And though Wellesley is near Boston, I don't think that this compensates for that problem.
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