Berkeley vs. Brown

<p>How sure are you that you want to major in physics? One of my sons thought he did, but after taking some college level physics has changed his mind. I only mention this because a lot of the reasoning for Berkeley seems based on majoring in physics. What if you change your mind? Would Berkeley still be the best place for you then?</p>

<p>Just a couple of things. Berkeley is the opposite of snobby. It is not like San Jose. So even though you will be close to home, you will be in a different environment. Berkeley is unique. I live not that far from Berkeley and feel like I live in a completely different world from Berkeley. If you are liberal and like nature and are mellow, you should like it there.</p>

<p>hey, realgeneric (and anyone else in this situation) have you decided yet? which one did you pick??</p>

<p>Hey guys,</p>

<p>I haven't posted in a while, so now I'm making up. No, unfortunately I have not made my decision yet. Last week (my spring break) I went to Brown's ADOCH program for a day, visited campus and stayed in a dorm. I loved it. The only thing I had a problem with was the fact that the campus was immersed in the city of Providence. I like campuses that are isolated from the rest of the world, and Berkeley appeals to me in that sense.</p>

<p>Unfortunately time is running out and I haven't had a chance yet to visit Berkeley. I'm going to try to take a day off from school this week and make a visit so I can have a more informed view. I heard from friends that the dorms are small and crowded at Berkeley, and you only have one bathroom/shower room per floor?! (every two rooms at Brown gets a shower :)</p>

<p>My parents and I have quarreled back and forth and ultimately they are still upholding the "we will pay a maximum of $25,000 per year no matter what school you go to, BUT you can go to which ever school you choose."</p>

<p>So yeah that would be $100,000 in debt over four years...</p>

<p>Also -- does anyone know where I can find average Brown undergrad starting salaries? I'd like to just see how much money I would be making as a physics major and how long it would take to pay back $100k.</p>

<p>"(every two rooms at Brown gets a shower"
That is if you are lucky and get the better dorms.
"the campus was immersed in the city of Providence."
Err.... I don't think so. You would be surprised to find out that the majority of the Brown students seldom/rarely leave the college hill. The hill itself poses a major inconvenience to get downtown and the fact that most underclassmen do not own a car does not help either. It is, in fact, kind of isolated</p>

<p>the hill poses a major inconvenience to get downtown? are you kidding? put on your walking shoes!</p>

<p>my experience was that downcity is very accessible and i walked down and up the hill every weekend. </p>

<p>the campus is well integrated into the city i think. the greens and courtyards are serene and quiet. there is less hustle and bustle on the streets than say stepping out of yale courtyard into new haven. and having thayer transect the campus adds a bit of eclectic flair.</p>

<p>realgeneric, the starting salary of graduates varies tremendously depending on what you want to do. if you go to graduate school you can defer paying your loans. if a high salary is important to you immediately you can join a banking or consulting firm, making up to six figures at the high end (though as you might imagine, jobs that pay 22 year olds $100,000 are competitive). mckinsey and a few others offer these and recruit on campus.</p>

<p>Your best bet would be to look at what people who study physics make after 4 years (probably not much without a PhD unless they go into some kind of engineering) and realize that you will be competitive for at least the median salary type jobs.</p>

<p>Brown's integration with Providence while retaining great green space like Patriot's Court, Wriston, the Quiet Green, Lincoln Field, the Main Green, and Pembroke is one of the best things about this place, IMO. Realize that being here in the cold rain as opposed to the next day (sunny and mid 60s) makes a huge difference as to how much you feel you're on the greens or inside/in the city. If it's nice, I rarely see anything but Brown and green...</p>

<p>Plus, with the new Walk we're constructing from Lincoln Field to Pembroke one of hte most "city" like parts of campus will be converted to green space. That'll be largely done over the next year or two from my understanding.</p>

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.


just curious--what are the other 2 or 3? :P</p>

<p>If I were in state for UofMichigan, UVA, or UNC in addition to UC Berkeley, I'd at least consider it, though Berkeley is probably the only place I'd think for sure I'd have gone to, the others would just be strong considerations.</p>

<p>Wow, that was the worst constructed sentence ever. The thing is, I wouldn't want to stay in UVA or UNC because I'm not a Southerner and don't think I'd do well in those environment (and I know people at both schools to move past the stereotype), and UofMichigan would be great, but having a good friend who grew up in Michigan, he wanted to go anywhere but just because it's not that difficult to get into and feels like a let down after working so hard in HS to end up with the same kids he took all his classes with before. I don't know about that sense, because the SUNY system is not nearly good enough for me to have considered versus Brown.</p>

<p>Where are you considering and what's driving you there?</p>

<p>I would also argue that Berkeley is not anymore isolated from the rest of the world than Brown is. Several of Berkeley's dorms are located several blocks from campus, and downtown Berkeley is as accessible if not more than downtown Providence from campus.</p>

<p>well, i've been agonizing for a month now and i've decided that i'm going to go for it! brown has been my dream school for three years and I think that research opportunities (especially as an underclassman) are far more available at brown. not to mention the smaller size of the school as a whole, the amazing people, beautiful campus, great availability of interesting interdisciplinary courses, and of course the incredible freedom. now my only problem is going to be coming up with 20 grand a year to cover what my parents wont...</p>

<p>congrats smv :)</p>

<p>thanks! im really excited about all this...let me know of your decisions realgeneric and others, i'd be curious to know!</p>

<p>Well, I've made up my mind. I submitted my intent to register at UC Berkeley yesterday night, after a long couple of weeks of debating.</p>

<p>I concluded that I just wouldn't be able to handle the extra $100,000 I would have to pay off over the course of pretty much half my remaining life.</p>

<p>Also, an education at Berkeley is better in terms of physics as compared to Brown, although Brown may have smaller class sizes and a generally elevated feel in its classrooms. Those are just some of the sacrifices I will have to make.</p>

<p>Thank you for all who have contributed to this discussion and those who have helped me see both schools in different lights. For now, I can at least say I'm optimistic to be going to the best public school in the nation, with some of the brightest professors instructing me.</p>


<p>congrats on making the decision! my parents would be proud of you for taking the rational approach, unlike yours truly :)</p>

<p>If it's not too late go to Brown. I'm a student at Berkeley and I cannot stand it here. What you said about the physics department might be true but it is not worth it. "Good" departments at Berkeley DO NOT EQUAL GOOD TEACHING. And you have to deal with the crazy curves of intro science classes and what that does to students. I wouldn't bother with this if it didn't sound like you were a perfect match for Brown.</p>

<p>I suggest you read some of the comments on this site as there are alot of informative posts. <a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>I agree with most of what was posted below. Especially about the student body. YES there are some amazing kids here, but it is hard to interact and form bonds with people due to the huge campus size and everybody finding an apartment after one year.</p>

<p>"I spent 4 years of my life here and regret the experience as a whole. There were some good days. The weather is nice most days and there are places nearby to seek quiet solitude. There were some excellent professors here and good TA's that cared about students, but in general Berkeley was not the college experience I was expecting, especially for the price I paid as an out-of-state student.</p>

<p>The worst part of Berkeley is the student-student interaction. Many, if not most of your peers are pretty low quality. Berkeley has the 11th most selective student body according to USNews but this statistic ignores the huge numbers of transfer students which get in on a much lower standard than average admits. For the most part, you will meet many weird, obnoxious people that it defies reason. FOr example, my roommate the first year was obssessed with boy bands and played the music obssessively 24/7. My 2nd roommate was a passive aggressive engineering freak who cursed up storms the few times he did speak. After joining many clubs, I've met nothing but mostly bubble heads or conceited, self-involved jerks only interested in improving their own resume.</p>

<p>Yes, they are nice people, but in general you will not have opportunities to do things with them enough to really get to know them. The semester is only 16 weeks or so long anyways and there is no continuous dorm system to develop relationships like at other schools.</p>

<p>The 2nd worst part about Berkeley is the academics. For the 40k a year my parents spent, I got huge, impersonal classes taught by teaching aides and filled with people, who from their comments in discussion, did not do the reading or seem particularly enthused. There are smart people and professors at Berkeley but they are very diffused and it is rare that you will ever have the opportunity to meet with or work with a top professor. That being said it is just as rare to have a professor evaluate your work anyways so there aren't any doors opened by coming to class anywyas. It seems liek a general crapshoot and suckup fest to network with professors and most of the professors aren't that interested anyways. Who can blame them really? Many of the student I've met barely belong in a university period, much less someplace with Berkeley's brand name, and professors are probably weighed down by their research obligations, helping their first-rate grad students to be bothered with some mediocre college student who needs a rec for med school.</p>

<p>I hated my experience here and wish to god I had had the foresight to not come here in the first place or at least transferred before it was too late. Berkeley is a waste of time and money."</p>

<p>Having said this, if you are still considering on going definitely take a Decal your freshman year. This are student taught classes about random topics like Harry Potter and Cult Films and they are a good way to meet people.</p>

<p>wth... who leaves comments like that on MAY 2??</p>

<p>I think addy189 expressed some valid points and vented a frustration that a lot of us at Berkeley had experienced at some point or another. However, my overall experience at Berkeley was great. </p>

<p><a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Looks like the 3 posters below addy189's post had net positive experiences as well!</p>

<p>I won't lie to you: Berkeley does have a lot of students that quite frankly don't belong at Berkeley, and others who simply lack conventional social skills. Having attended both Berkeley and Stanford, and having taken/audited numerous social sciences classes at both schools, I will shameless admit that in general, the quality of education and students at Stanford is noticeably superior to the quality of education and students at Berkeley IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES. However, there are also PLENTY of social sciences folks at Berkeley who range from 'smart' to 'brilliant', and are exceptionally fun and caring people.</p>

<p>Regarding the quality of SCIENCE education at Berkeley: </p>

<p>F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C. It is definitely very challenging, and Berkeley mercilessly weeds out lower classmen that are not fit to earn a Berkeley science degree......but if you make it into the upper-div classes, you have hit a gold mine. The classes tend to be small but the larger classes are often team-taught by multiple professors (at least in Chemisty and MCB), the TAs tend to be senior PhD students, the resources and opportunities in research are plentiful, professors are very caring and helpful in terms of nurturing your career, and you will be surrounded by a cohort of exceptionally smart and dedicated classmates. My roommate was a physics major at Berkeley, and he is going to Cornell for his PhD; his study partner in physics is headed to Princeton. He told me that quite a few of his upper-div physics/math classes had less than 15-20 people in the class and that the upper-div classes have a much friendlier curve than the lower-div classes. On top of that, you have access to the plethora of graduate courses in physics if you want to become exceptional in certain areas of physics. </p>

<p>To the OP: I think you made a great choice. Physics is very challenging and your first two years are going to involve a lot of studying (and classes tend to be large for lower-div math/physics classes because ALL engineering students and many science students have the same lower-div Physics and Math requirements)......but once you cleared the lower-div classes, you will be getting the best possible education any physics major can ask for.</p>

<p>smv I assume your referring to the fact that the deadline for accepting is over? Well I'm not a senior in high school so I was unaware of the exact date. But you can always give it a shot. My friend applied to an ivy league school a week after the deadline and was accepted.</p>

<p>Anyway the reason I posted the link to that site is that there are a lot of valid pros and cons listed.
Formerly- I wish I was a science major because what you said about social sciences majors are true. There is a girl in my poli sci class of 400+ who regularly interrupts the professor to ask questions that legitimately make me think she has a some sort of mental disability. But as you said, there are plenty of brilliant social science kids. And while I feel that Berkeley offers a terrible overall undergraduate experience more than a few students have told me that they have grown to like it here after the first couple of years. Classes get smaller, you meet more people, etc.</p>

<p>OP,...just remember what happens when it is time to change a light bulb and ...choose!</p>

<p>How many Brown students does it take to change a lightbulb?
Eleven---one to change the lightbulb and ten to share the experience.</p>

<p>How many Berkeley students does it take to change a lightbulb?
Seventy-six--one to change the lightbulb, fifty to protest the lightbulb's right to not change, and twenty-five to hold a counter-protest</p>