Berkeley Changemakers vs Davis Regents

I just got off the waitlist (yay!) for Berkeley into the nutritional sciences major into the Changemakers program. I SIR’d to Davis as a pharmaceutical chemistry major. I plan on attending medical/pharmacy school later, and right now I am deciding between Berkeley and Davis Regents.

Berkeley is clearly higher in ranking, academics, prestige, faculty, research, and resources, but Davis I got regents at (30k, priority class registration, UHP, etc).
Some of my concerns about Berkeley are:

  1. Grade deflation; Berkeley is infamous for grade deflation, and a low GPA is horrible for applying for med/pharm school.
  2. Nutrition sciences major; I am in the Rausser College of Natural Resources want to change my major, but isn’t it hard to change majors at UCs?
  3. Changemakers program; I am skeptical because it is a new program and don’t know if it’s better or worse than the original pathway.
  4. Environment; Oakland can be a lot more dangerous in comparison to Davis.

Do you guys have any ideas or insights about my situation? Will Berkeley be more worth it than Davis in the long-run? Thank you!

$30K, major in pharmacy vs. nutrition…no brainer. Grad school won’t care UCB or UCD. They’ll care what you did at the school.


Take the money. Professional schools could care less where you did undergrad as long as you have the grades, prerequisites, test scores, volunteer hours etc. Priority registration will be huge. Congrats!


Another vote for Davis and Regents. So many perks with Regents at UCD including priority registration (a biggie for UC campuses) along with networking and research opportunities to further enhance your resume for Pharmacy school.

Best of luck.


Another vote for Davis. Good luck!


Another vote for Davis. $30K + cheaper housing will go a long way if you are considering grad school.

I had to Google Changemakers since I had never heard of it before. Does it sound like it is the former “spring admit” program?

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Apparently it’s a new program they’re implementing this year where they offer a “liberal-arts” style, residential education at Mills college for first years I believe.

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Ok! Thank you guys for all of the feedback. There is an overwhelming preference for Davis because of its perks so I’ll make sure to think about this carefully. :slight_smile:

Will Changemaker students be allowed back at the Berkeley main campus for their sophomore year and beyond? If it is indeed a 4-year program at the Oakland Mills campus, with the option of taking classes at Berkeley, then I would definitely go to Davis. Mills is not far from Berkeley, and not unsafe; however, shuttling back and forth is not good for learning. Davis is very strong in the sciences. Looking ahead, the Pharmaceutical Chemistry department at UCSF is one of the best in the country, and they offer dual Pharm D-Ph.D degree. Congratulations on your college admissions!

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My D was just accepted to Cal and Changemakers. Only the first year is at Mills; in the first year, students are allowed to take one class per semester on the main campus. After the first year, they are required to fully integrate into the main campus (i.e., no option to stay at Mills). The advantage of Changemakers is a small cohort of 200 students, guaranteed housing in single rooms, smaller class sizes (and since only cohort students are allowed to enroll, no problem getting courses–although limited selection). It’s perfect for students who need a bit of time to acclimate to a large university.

BTW: I agree with everyone else; Davis is a no-brainer.


Thank you for the info on Changemakers. Wishing your daughter great success at Cal and what Changemakers offer.

Has your daughter decided? My daughter also was just admitted off the waitlist to the Berkeley Changemakers program. She SIR’d to Davis (but without Regents/money!) The program sounds like it has its benefits but I am concerned that it is so small (200 students) and that Changemaker students will never really feel a part of Berkeley since they were kind of “excluded” their first year. Yes, I know they can take a class at Berkeley each semester. But in reality how easy will it be to go back and forth between campuses? How difficult will it be to be involved in clubs/activities at the Berkeley campus? Will the outsider feeling linger beyond the first year? I’m kind of envisioning my daughter holed up in her single room 10 miles away from campus not really feeling like a Bear. We are considering trekking out to Davis/Oakland from So Cal this weekend so she can get a feel for those environments, and maybe even drive out to Davis afterward so she can remember how much she liked it there? I will support whatever she chooses but I have my hesitations about her choosing Berkeley/Changemaker program.

Here is the list of courses available at the Changemaker site at Mills:

This list is obviously more limited than at the main campus.

Commuting to the main campus for one class would be done by shuttle: . Note that historically, UCB has rented dorm space from Mills before, but having some classes on the Mills site (the Changemaker program) is a new thing (previously, UCB students in Mills dorms commuted by the shuttle to the UCB campus for all of their classes). There are pluses (less commuting needed) and minuses (less contact with the main campus, including campus-based extracurriculars) compared to the old situation of UCB students living in Mills dorms.

My D is still trying to decide. She committed to UCSD (no scholarship) already. We visited the campus–everything there is extremely nice. She’s also been assigned to Sixth College, which has brand new facilities overlooking the ocean.

This said, I guess I’m not really concerned with her not being able to feel a part of Cal, especially after the first year. I think you’re right that participating in clubs, etc. will be more difficult (especially since Cal is notorious for it exclusionary club culture), but I want her to use the first year to get acclimated to the demands of an academically rigorous university. At the same time, being in small cohort off campus may compel the Changemaker students to be more proactive. I can easily envision groups of students deciding to embrace being a “Bear” even more strongly in virtue of the fact that they aren’t living on campus. (Also, remember, a whole lot of college students commute but still find a way to feel closely connected to whatever school they’re attending.)

While Changemakers will be brand new, students in other pathway programs have face the same issues. Here’s a video that provides some perspective: WAITLISTED TO UC BERKELEY? Alternate Pathway Advice: FPF, Global Edge, Spring Admission - YouTube

Honestly, I have no hesitations about Changemakers for my daughter. It think it provides an ideal transition to huge and largely impersonal university. As I said, though, she still hasn’t decided. Right now, it’s 50-50 between Cal and UCSD.

Wow, I’m in a really similar scenario as your daughter. I would love to get into contact with her and get more perspective on the Berkeley Changemakers program, it is certainly overwhelming since it is new and unknown.

Yay congrats! I’m in almost the exact same situation; waitlisted then accepted as a Nutritional Science Major at the Changemaker program. I also want to potentially switch my major and have my own doubts about the program. Now, I’m searching the internet for answers. If you do end up going there I would love to connect :slight_smile:

I’ll let you know what my daughter decides. I think she’s leaning toward UCSD, but she has some unique advantages in going to Cal (e.g., her grandmother and aunt live in Berkeley just a few minutes walk from campus), which make it a difficult choice.

We have events going on until Sat evening so we are driving up to Berkeley on Sunday and will take a look around both Berkeley and Oakland on Sunday/Monday. I guess my daughter will have to decide by Monday at midnight! I emailed someone at the Changemaker program with some questions. They acknowledged that the program is new but their intention is to create a closely bonded group of students at the Mills Campus who are still fully Cal students. They will have access to all the Cal campus has to offer, but their home base will be Mills. The areas of Davis and Berkeley/Oakland are very different so I’m hoping my daughter will somehow get a feel of where she’d rather be. This is actually unexpected as she/we didn’t expect her to get off the waitlist. She did not write the optional essay when opting into the waitlist and she can’t even remember if she checked the Changemaker option box!

It may not be surprising if the Changemaker program expands in the future. Mills is closing as a college, but apparently continuing as a think tank type of organization. But it will have dorm and classroom space to rent out, and Changemaker seems like a ready-made customer for that, while giving UCB some ability to expand enrollment beyond the limits of its main campus.