Dam sakky! I stop posting on this site and you go from being the most hated man on CC and to some kind of super hero. I think I need to start another debate with you and beat you up again for old times sake. Maybe then I can enjoy super duper hero or perhaps super villian status.
Na, I think I'll just sit back and enjoy my retirement. Nice to see that your legend has grown so much.
Berkeley still is among the top 5 best schools in the US and UCLA is still approximately number 15.
Well, I hate to say it, but I only see Berkeley as only being at maximum the 3rd best school to go for undergrad in the state of California, behind Stanford and Caltech, never mind the rest of the US. Even that #3 rating is dicey when you consider Harvey-Mudd and Claremont.
Now, if we are talking about graduate school, then that's a totally different story. I could see the case being made that Berkeley may well be the very best school in the whole country. In fact, I myself have made that case on CC. But that's graduate school, mind you. Undergrad and grad are two entirely different things. The Berkeley undergraduate program ought to be more like the Berkeley graduate programs.
"Well, I hate to say it, but I only see Berkeley as only being at maximum the 3rd best school to go for undergrad in the state of California, behind Stanford and Caltech, never mind the rest of the US. Even that #3 rating is dicey when you consider Harvey-Mudd and Claremont."
Well, I respect your opinion but I only partially agree with your statement. I have a very hard time swallowing the notion that Caltech is a better school to go for undergrad than Berkeley. For the sciences, perhaps you have a point but only by a tiny margin. For just about anything else Berkeley is the clear winner. Caltech offers only a small percentage of the majors that Berkeley does. That would mean that they only beat Berkeley at a MAXIMUM at only those majors (and we both know that obtaining that maximum is quite a stretch). Thats the problem with your comment. Berkeley has more majors to choose from so is "better" for more people. It is very hard for the person who wants to study sociology to choose Caltech over Cal. For this person, Berkeley would be a better place to study.
I agree with shyboy13. Sakky, perhaps you could define what you mean by best? I would hate caltech because of multiple reasons, including that it's probably too intesne and i am not interested in any science enough to major in one. Also, the location doesn't seem appealing. The Claremonts have their advantages and disadvantages, too, as does every school. But again, clarify what you meant when you said "I only see Berkeley as only being at maximum the 3rd best school to go for undergrad in the state of California." Perhaps your "best" is not other people's "best?"
I'll put it to you this way. Take a person who got admitted to both Berkeley and Caltech. Honestly, what is that person probably going to choose? Note - I didn't say what school that person is guaranteed to choose. I said what school is that person likely to choose? I think we can agree that that person is likely to choose Caltech, unless money is a problem. In general, a person who is admitted to both Caltech and Berkeley will probably choose Berkeley only to save money. It's unlikely (possible but unlikely) that that person would choose Berkeley over Caltech for any other reason.
So now you might say that I have unfairly skewed the question because you might say that a person who is admitted to Caltech must obviously be somebody who is interested in science (otherwise that person would not even apply to Caltech in the first place). Well, yes and no. So let's consider those people who might be good enough to get into Caltech but aren't interested in science so they don't apply to Caltech. It would seem to me that these people (who are good enough to get into Caltech) are probably good enough to get into Stanford. Again, I didn't say it was guaranteed (there are no guarantees), I said it was probable. So these people, if they are admitted to Stanford (which is probable) will probably choose Stanford over Berkeley. Hence, the point is, when talking about cross-admits, most Caltech/Berkeley cross-admits choose Caltech, and most Stanford/Berkeley cross-admits choose Stanford (again, except to save money), and yet rarely are any of those cross-admits going to choose Berkeley.
I'll put it to you another way. I would submit that there are more undergrads at Berkeley who would rather be at Caltech, but didn't get in, than there are undergrads at Caltech who would rather be at Berkeley, but didn't get in. Or consider this thought exercise. Let's say that Berkeley and Caltech instituted a free transfer process - any undergrad at Berkeley who wants to transfer to Caltech, and vice versa, can automatically do so. I think it is probable that more Berkeley students would transfer to Caltech than vice versa.
Hence, on an overall basis, I think you can say that Berkeley is probably 3rd. I agree that there are differences in measurement between Caltech and Berkeley, but considering the cross-admit issue, I have to give the edge to Caltech. Hence, Berkeley = 3rd.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not happy about this fact. In fact, I point it out with some sadness. The fact is, Berkeley needs to make its undergraduate program better. I am tired of losing cross-admits to Caltech and Stanford. If Berkeley could make its undergraduate program better, than people would clearly be choosing it over Caltech, Stanford, or anybody else, and we would no longer have anything to argue about.
"Now don't get me wrong. I'm not happy about this fact. In fact, I point it out with some sadness. The fact is, Berkeley needs to make its undergraduate program better. I am tired of losing cross-admits to Caltech and Stanford. If Berkeley could make its undergraduate program better, than people would clearly be choosing it over Caltech, Stanford, or anybody else, and we would no longer have anything to argue about."
Nicely said. Although, being an English major, I favor Berkeley's humanities department. Perhaps for non-science majors, Berkeley would be a # 1 or 2 choice, rather than # 3..at least in my opinion.
sakky - i agree with most of what your saying. However, I don't think Caltech edges out Berkeley so clearly as you suggest. I believe Stanfurd on the other hand does have an edge on both Berkeley and Caltech (although I hate to admit it).
As far as the Berkeley-Caltech comparision goes, I'd argue that folks that eventually end up attending Caltech, would most likely have chosen Caltech over any other school including HYPSMB anyway. As you know, Caltech is very unique in that it is very technically-orientated while having a really small student body and campus. This is quite different from it's traditional east coast rival M.I.T. which also has a technical focus, but offers a wider selection of studies and has a bigger student population. If I can be as bold as to generalize, I think folks that attend Caltech are of a "special breed" and it takes a certain type of person to really want to attend such a school. In other words, I don't think cost or even prestige for that matter plays a huge role when someone is deciding to go to either Caltech or Berkeley. Folks who would like to have the bigger university experience with all it's glory and pitfalls, will most of the time choose Berkeley. For folks that want intense technical study in a smaller campus atmosphere with all its glory and pitfalls, will most of the time choose Caltech. In short, all I'm trying to say is, for the average cross-admit, given a choice between Cal-tech and Berkeley, the "edge" isn't so clear. Each attracts its own breed of folks.
On the other hand, I do think that given a choice between Stanfurd, Caltech, and Berkeley, most would likely choose Stanfurd - simply because it's a good "middle ground". It has a good mix of the big campus experience, without being too big and also has a good mix of the hard-core technical and non-technical. Yeah, I know, sorry fellow Bears! I still give the edge to Berkeley when it comes to charisma and character. Folks who value character and real-world experiences, will always choose Cal.
In any case, my ranking for undergraduate "preference" among these 3 schools would be as follows:
Sakky, I respect how you recognized that you skewed the question when you said:
“…you might say that a person who is admitted to Caltech must obviously be somebody who is interested in science (otherwise that person would not even apply to Caltech in the first place).”
The problem is that instead of tackling the issue head on, you decided to call in Stanford to help back-up your assertion that Caltech is better than Berkeley.
“So let's consider those people who might be good enough to get into Caltech but aren't interested in science so they don't apply to Caltech. It would seem to me that these people (who are good enough to get into Caltech) are probably good enough to get into Stanford. Again, I didn't say it was guaranteed (there are no guarantees), I said it was probable. So these people, if they are admitted to Stanford (which is probable) will probably choose Stanford over Berkeley.”
I personally never said that Berkeley was better than Stanford and I don’t recall anyone in the last few posts who did. I thought we were comparing Caltech and Berkeley? Anyway, for some subjects, I’m sure there are more Berkeley students who would rather be at Caltech. For MOST subjects however, Berkeley students would NOT want to change schools. This implies two things:
a. More Berkeley students would rather stay at Berkeley than transfer to Caltech
b. More potential students, if given the choice, would rather attend Berkeley than Caltech.
Sorry to tell you this but only a relative few students would like to attend Caltech. It is way too specialized to really attract a large number of applicants. Berkeley is the better college choice for more people. Please don’t think I am saying that more necessarily means better. NO! I am only saying that in this particular case does more necessarily mean better. Berkeley is good at just about everything it does including the sciences that Caltech also so greatly excels at. So no, I am not saying that Long Beach State is a better undergraduate school than Caltech because it has more depth in its subjects.
To finish off let me say that I think Caltech is awesome and the school has my utmost respect. It is one of the very few schools that, DESPITE its lack of academic diversity, can still compete with the Harvards, Stanfords, Berkeleys, and Chicagos of this world. The school is just too narrow in its focuses to be considered the clear-cut winner in a competition against a school like Berkeley for undergraduate superiority.
Sakky's problem is he thinks tech majors are the only major that count. You want to find people that would pick Cal over Cal Tech? Ok, go to the English, History, Philosophy, Art, Music, Business, Poli Sci, and Theater departments. You'd maybe find 1 out of 30 or 40 that would rather be at Cal Tech.