Berkeley vs. Brown

<p>Hello all,</p>

<p>My name is Eric and I found out today via snail mail (couldn’t log onto the Brown site) that I have been accepted into Brown. This is also my first post in College Confidential.</p>

<p>I came into the whole college mix totally confused and oblivious to what schools had to offer, and before I make my decision I want to know that it wasn’t rushed.</p>

<p>I applied to a bunch of hard-to-reach schools and got either rejected or waitlisted at them. I was accepted into UC Berkeley, Washington U. in St. Louis, and now Brown.</p>

<p>Before today I was set out (like 90%) on going to Berkeley. I love science and I think I’m going to major in physics. I always thought it would be neat to be a college professor and to do research side-by-side. I am not preppy at all, I am not too competitive, and I love the East Coast’s weather/environment/feel (I live in California and I’m bored of it now).</p>

<p>Brown seems to be a perfect fit for my personality. I’m rather mild-mannered and am extremely liberal. I love community service, nature, and great in-class discussions with a small group of students who aren’t stupid.</p>


<p>Berkeley seems to fit more for my aspirations (according to my parents). I plan on getting a Ph.D in physics and what better place to get experience/the facilities than in Berkeley, one of the top notch schools in the sciences?</p>

<p>The third problem is the cost. Berkeley is about 25k per year; Brown is double that amount. My parents want me to go to Berkeley, and they’d gladly pay the whole tuition for me. If I went to Brown, they’d only pay half of it and I’d have to fetch a loan for the other 25k…it’s going to put me in debt for some time.</p>

<p>I am really strained now because before today I felt kinda glum about not getting into any schools in the East, where I want to be (away from home). The people at Berkeley seem too snobby and stressed/pressured from what I’ve heard…what do I do?</p>

<p>realgeneric...we are the EXACT SAME!! kinda. my aspirations are similar and i'm choosing between Cal and Brown as well. i am personally leaning towards brown because on top of science i enjoy art, and brown is far better for that. also i think Cal is an incredible graduate school that probably offers more than brown can at that level, but for the undergraduate level i would think the courses are comaprable. </p>

<p>as for the money parents would also rather pay for berkeley! haha. but unlike you i don't have to take out a loan for brown...just have to live with some grudge from my parents. someone else help us, and dispell any of my incorrect assumptions!!</p>

<p>I would just self-motivated are you?? I live RIGHT NEXT TO Berkeley and have so many friends who go there, and all they talk about are the huge class sizes. It's amazingly easy to lose focus if you aren't up to keeping yourself on track.</p>

<p>That said, if you do have the personal motivation, it's an amazing place. :) The people on campus are incredibly diverse, fun, and...just Berkeley-cool. And yes, science=Berkeley, haha. Not for an artsy/humanities/liberal arts junkie like me, but for a science major looking for that grungy, liberal, cosmopolitan feel of Berkeley...</p>


<p>I am a new member as well - just received my acceptance letters from a few of my top choices today. I live near Cal so I'm mostly deciding between UCLA and Brown, both of which I haven't but am planning to visit. I think once that happens, making a decision will be easier. Both have their ups and downs, but chances are I will see myself at one more than the other. Good luck to you guys and perhaps I'll see you at Providence :)</p>

<p>The money thing is tough. That makes me want to recommend that you go to Berkeley. It seems like you'd enjoy yourself more at Brown, though. In my opinion, since you're going for the eventual Ph.D. in Physics, your undergrad won't matter much. It's not like Brown's Physics is bad, and, if you'd enjoy the environment more, I believe that that would make up for any academic shortcomings.</p>

<p>So, if your parents are reasonable people, I suggest explaining to them why you would prefer Brown (assuming that you would, money aside). Be very logical and persuasive in your argument and maybe they'll agree to chip in more money. If they don't, however, I don't suggest going to Brown. Multiple $20000ish by four and you get more than $80000 - not a pretty sum for a recent graduate to owe in loans.</p>

<p>poubelle--or anyone--can you explain the academic shortcomings of maybe the physics and math department?</p>

<p>No. I don't personally have any experience, or much knowledge, of Brown's Physics and Math departments. The OP, however, has claimed that Berkeley is better suited to him in terms of Physics, which may very well be true, so my comment was only meant to reflect that, in that sense, Brown has some perceived academic shortcomings.</p>

<p>I went to Brown undergrad and Berkeley grad, so I might be able to contribute something useful to this discussion. In my opinion, Brown will give you more options. It's Ivy League, and, if you decide to do consulting or to avail yourself of Investment Banking opportunities, only a few undergraduate schools in the country provides you an in, and Brown is one of those schools. At Berkeley, you will have to work a lot harder to gain access to those opportunities. Also, should you decide to go to Medical, Business, or Law Schools, Brown will, as long as you do decently academically, get you into a better program than Berkeley. Lobby the financial aid office at Brown for more money, and let them know you've received an acceptance from Berkeley.</p>

<p>Now, for graduate school, Berkeley is the finest in the nation, bar none. Not Harvard, not Stanford, not MIT, no other school has the depth of quality at the graduate level that Berkeley has. So, if you do stick with physics at Brown, Brown's physics department is good enough that if you do very well there, you should not have a problem getting into a top flight physics graudate program, particularly if you are an American citizen. Just my .02.</p>

<p>Thank you Pinderhughes! Yeah I'm thinking Brown undergrad then Berkeley grad school. I love Brown, just want to make sure it will take me to a great grad school for physics or something along those lines. Thanks again.</p>

<p>Thanks everyone for the replies! Really appreciate it.</p>

<p>My ultimate overarching question I guess, is: how important is your undergraduate education?</p>

<p>I've heard ever since I was little that college was the place to truly escape high school and to both work hard and play hard, to have fun and to be in an environment where you feel happy learning and bonding with people you love.</p>

<p>My parents' vision of college is just another step to getting a degree; I'm not saying that they don't believe in having fun, but they feel the importance in undergrad education is to excel so you can get into a good graduate school.</p>

<p>Of course the rational decision for me is to go to Berkeley because of it's superior science departments. But it's just so close to home that I'm not sure...(I live an hour away from Berkeley, and being able to see my parents every weekend is not the best feeling)</p>

<p>I think I may be able to convince my parents to pay more (or even all) of my tuition if I can convince them that Brown has an excellent physics/math/science department as well. I know that ivy leagues are excellent if you want to go into law, or medicine, or those "old-fashioned" majors. Physics is a bit tangential, and most people think Cal Tech or MIT or Berkeley is better for that path. How much is Brown really "lacking" for lack of better wording?</p>

<p>LASTLY, if I do choose Brown and cannot solve the money issue, how feasible is it for me to get through the $25,000 I have to pay each year (in terms of loans, jobs, internships, etc.)?</p>

<p><a href=""&gt;;/a> This might be of interest.</p>

<p>You could also look at specific courses for each university and show your parents how Brown has some courses that you're interested in taking which Berkeley doesn't offer (if that's true).</p>

<p>I truly do not think you should take on that $25000 of debt per year, though. If your parents will pay more money, try and convince them. If you can get more scholarships at this point, try. But, even with work, you're not going to be able to cover that cost, and that would be a lot in loans for an undergraduate degree.</p>

<p>there are surely great opportunities at both places. i doubt brown will limit you in any way. three years ago i wrote my undergrad thesis at brown with a nobel laureate in physics (the person who discovered superconductivity)</p>

<p>The nobelist is 75 to 80 years old. Long may he thrive, but the question is more about comparison of faculty, programs and students as a whole between the two schools, than pinning one's hopes on the one big professor.</p>

<p>that's a very fair point, though the IBNS (Institute for Brain and Neural Systems) that he runs is very robust. neuroscience-related physics and biophysics/nano-biophysics is particularly strong at Brown. </p>

<p>the department also has a fair share of more traditional physists who are stars in their respective fields--including fellows of the American Physical Society, etc. i have much less knowledge about this part of the department, however</p>

<p>I am in this exact situation! I started out the entire college process with my heart set on Brown--one of my top priorities is getting out of California (im from socal). But now that I've been accepted at both Brown and Berkeley i really don't know what to do. Does anybody have any insights into the academic atmosphere at Brown? I've heard its not too competitive, but I really want a school where the number one focus of the students is academia--a place where people pull all-nighters (not just to party) and discuss philosophy for fun and that kind of thing. Sounds nerdy, but that kind place would really appeal to me. How do Berkeley and Brown compare in that respect? Also, as far as "name recognition" goes, how do the two schools compare? I would really appreciate any input from you guys! Thanks! </p>


<p>Brown does both party all night and study all night. Depends on your friends and depends on the night. Both are really well known, etc.</p>

<p>While I think that Brown is hte best place by far in the world for me to study, I still would have gone to Berkeley for undergrad were I living in California. There are a few schools in the country that I can't see myself having to pay double to go to Brown, Berkeley is one of maybe 3 or 4.</p>

<p>Don't take on $100,000 in debt. That kind of pressure would outweigh the added benefits that Brown might give, at least for me.</p>

<p>The general consensus on this thread seems to be that Berkeley is stronger in math and physics than Brown. But is Brown stronger in terms of "the softer side" of physics, i.e. neuroscience, biophysics etc?</p>

<p>Well, I think that it probably doesn't matter that much for undergraduates, however, I would htink that Berkeley's program is stronger than ours for straight physics. We hvae one of the best Applied Math departments in the country but I'm not really sure where we stand for straight math. Also, it's not that we're good at the, "softer-side" it's just that we have very strong neuroscience and bio programs that have been doing physics based research for quite sometime and so we have a very strong tradition in these interdisciplinary "gap" type studies.</p>

<p>I visited both campuses. My personal opinion is that Berkeley has, in addition to a much stronger overall academic program, better school spirit, much balanced college life, and exciting campus atmosphere with NCAA Division I athletic programs. Imagine you are watching competitive PAC-10 games with Nobel price winning professors as head cheerleaders. How cool is that? The inspiration and visions you are going to gain in their top-notch learning and research facilities, especially in your senior year is not something that can be exchanged with smaller classes in small private schools.</p>

<p>Also from what I heard, Berkeley is much more well-known internationally. As you know, now the economy goes globally. It is not very difficult to figure out what each school offers you. Although you can apply to a graduate school at Berkeley later, I would have to say that going to Berkeley's graduate program is not automatic. The graduate program at Berkeley is the finest in the nation and the competition is really keen. </p>

<p>Just my two cents. Ultermately it is your decision.</p>