Selecting Between UC Berkeley, UCSD, and UCSB Transfer from UCR

Hi everyone! I’m currently a second year Business Administration major at UC Riverside. I applied to some of the other UC schools for transfer and ended up getting into UC Berkeley for Economics, UCSD for Economics, and UCSB for Economics and Accounting. I’m having trouble deciding which college I should commit to / whether I should continue at UCR. I know UC Berkeley is ranked #1 for Economics, but I’m a little worried considering I still have to declare my major there upon transferring. I’m also concerned about grade deflation, impact on grad school admissions, social life, and overall atmosphere. I have plans on attending grad school either for an MBA or Law School, which I’m still undecided about.

I have till June 1st to commit to one of these UC schools. What should I do? Which school would be the best option considering all the factors?

If any of you have experience transferring to UCB, how was your overall experience/would you recommend it?

Here is the page for incoming transfer students to UCB who intend economics:

Congrats! They’re all great schools.

Which school do YOU want to attend? You will do well with a degree from any of them. They’re all really different. What field of business do you want to be in?

If you are planning on getting a law degree, your grades and test scores matter most. For an MBA, grades, test scores, and work experience count. All three schools have a great reputation so that shouldn’t be a factor.

Social life, I would rank UCSB > UC Berkeley > UCSD. I also like the atmosphere better in Santa Barbara, but if you are more into your studies, then UCSD or Berkeley might be better.

Thank you!!

Thank you so much!!

I have it narrowed down to between SB and Berkeley at this point, but I’m just wondering whether Berkeley’s prestige would also be factored into grad school admissions at all? Or is it only based on grades/test score etc? I’m also interested in the Finance as well as Marketing sides of business. I’m not too sure how Econ meshes with those fields either.

For law school, admission is mostly about LSAT score and (recalculated) college GPA (from all colleges attended).

For MBA programs, good work experience after BA/BS degree is preferred. So consider your job and career options with a BA/BS degree.

For PhD programs in economics, choose the most math heavy economics courses and take additional math and statistics courses like upper division linear algebra, real analysis, and probability theory.


There won’t be much, if any, preference given to Berkeley over UCSB. If a Top MBA program looks at two candidates, one from Berkeley with a less impressive work history, to one from UCSB with a more impressive work history, with GPA and test scores being equal, I think they’ll take the UCSB candidate.

I got my MBA more than 25 years ago. My school is and was Top 25-30. It had students from all types of schools, including higher ranked and lower ranked. Most MBA programs will look for all types of diversity in their class, including which undergraduate schools they draw from. I doubt it has changed much from then to now.

Some programs, like Kellogg, want liberal arts majors over business majors. Econ is a good major for an MBA. I was a history major.

Go where you would be happiest and don’t worry about the future that you can’t predict anyway.

Thank you so much!

Thank you so much! I’m just wondering if the work experience/opportunities I’d receive from UC Berkeley would be better than those I’d get from UCSB?

Does anyone know if UC Berkeley tends to make students retake any general education courses if you come in without UC Reciprocity? I’m worried my classes won’t transfer over. I’m finishing up the Letters and Sciences Essential Skills requirements this quarter.

Degree Requirements | L&S Advising says that “IGETC Certification and UC Reciprocity satisfies both Essential Skills and Seven-Course Breadth.” (IGETC is for students transferring from California community colleges, while UC Reciprocity is for students transferring from other UCs.)

If you do not have either, then courses you have taken at your prior college may fulfill individual UCB L&S requirements as listed on that page.

Not sure about opportunities but I wouldn’t rule out the composition of the student body as a factor. Basically, how do you want to see yourself and who do you want to be around?

Have you had the chance to visit all these places?

Hard to say. Of course, Berkeley has a stellar reputation. But so much of your opportunity is based on whether you click with the interviewer. IMHO, with two goods schools represented, employers will hire someone with a personality that fits well with their team and has the needed skillset they are looking for. I don’t know too many people that will automatically hire someone just because they went to a particular school if they aren’t a good fit.

If Berkeley has more of what you want, go there. Same with Santa Barbara.

Berkeley and UCSB are pretty different wrt culture and vibe, UCB is more academic, suburban, UCSB more social, beach. Assuming you’re from CA, did you get a chance to visit the campuses, maybe pre-covid? I don’t know if grade deflation happens a lot in jr and sr years, @ucbalumnus would probably know more about upper-level econ or L&S courses having a tough curve.

Grade distributions for UCB classes can be found at

Thank you so much!

Yeah, this is the main dilemma I’m currently facing. I like the laid back nature of Santa Barbara but I like the prestige of Berkeley. I have visited UCB but I haven’t gotten a chance to visit SB, since I’m in Norcal

At UCSB, you are in the Econ and Accounting major. How much does the accounting part interest you?

You should visit UCSB before making a decision.


UCSB 100%. You will find plenty of good opportunities.