Hi, I’m an international student hopefully making it through the preliminary selection at my home university to attend UC. If I want to apply, I need to fill out three campus preferences, however, being international I cannot visit prior to sending in the application. I’ve read the campus atmospheres are really different so I was hoping someone could help
My current number one (based purely on rankings/academics and location) is Berkeley, followed by UCLA and UCSD. I recently met someone attending UCSB and they really loved that so I’m kind of keeping that one in mind too.
The UC system seems really great to study, however, some things that worry me are the cutthroat environment and curved grading I read about. I’m an all right student (3.0 GPA alongside five committees, one board function and a pretty active (student association) social life the past 2.5 years) and willing to work hard but reading about sabotaging peers was just mind-boggling and I’m not sure I want to be in that kind of environment. Another thing that worries me is housing and getting into the classes I want since I’ve heard local students are prioritized over exchange students.
The environment I am in now is a 12,000 student university in a small town where everyone has at least one mutual other friend. It’s quiet but there’s lots to do if you take initiative and the teachers will always help you (after class) and we’re (almost) always on first-name basis. I’m a biotechnology major looking for a place to take upper-class biology classes, preferably micro-, cellular and genetic biology. I want to learn new things but also have time to experience the culture, see places and be socially active (very cliche, I know). I want to move to a more urban area than the 40,000-person town I am in now which is what attracts me to LA and the Bay. I like a chill friendly atmosphere and easy-going people who work hard but also know how to have fun and attend the occasional party. I also don’t have a car so a place where a car is not necessary would be great (although otherwise I’ll just have to befriend people who do have cars haha) and cycling is not life-threatening.
Based on this do you have any suggestions for my applications? I know all campuses will provide a great experience but I’m curious as to what you think based on the above. Sorry for the long story and thanks in advance!