Should spring admittance be part of my decision to TRANSFER to Cal?

<p>Hey all, I posted this in the UC Transfers and UC forums too but I figured this might be a better place to get answers to a specific problem I'm having. Namely my admission to spring instead of fall. I was accepted for Fall 2010 at UCLA, but Berkeley took me for Spring 2011. I talked to the poli sci advisor there who told me that I can take two classes during the Fall 2010 semester as a visiting student, but I wouldn't be able to take any of my upper division coursework so I'd have to settle for elective courses. This also means that to graduate by Fall 2012 like I would at UCLA I would have to take two upper division courses over summer 2011. She said there may also be some affect on my ability to graduate in that admission only guarentees four semesters, therefore by taking classes during a fifth semester (Fall 2010) I may be risking losing my Spring 2012 semster. I don't quite understand why the school would just kick me out after four semesters but I suppose it's possible? All the advice I've been able to find searching other people's posts seems geared toward freshman, suggesting extension programs or community college classes. As a transfer student, I'm already at the limit for CC credits, so that's out. Unfortunately the entire Cal staff seems to have taken today off, and I need to decide and turn in my SIR by Monday... so I now have absolutely NO WAY to get answers to these questions. So I'm throwing myself at mercy of the internet... HELP! Hah.
Also, I'm having trouble settling on a school in general, issues aside. I got accepted into UCLA, Berkeley, and Stanford. I just got back from a trip up through the bay area to check out Berkeley and Stanford, and have comfortably ruled Stanford out. It's too expensive, and according to an admissions counselor it's easier to get into the law school there from either of the UC's. Now, law school is my goal, and I've been accepted to the poli sci major at UCLA and UC, so I figure why make Stanford law harder on myself than it has to be in case I choose to go with them for my JD.
Now, all that said, I'm officially lost. I visited Cal and I love it. I also love UCLA. Financially they're about the same, I live fairly close to UCLA but I plan on moving near the campus anyway because LA traffic is hell and I just don't need the stress. So we can factor that out completely. For me it really comes down to which school is going to get me into a better law school. I've spent hours combing the internet looking for the answer, and I'm aware that Berkeley overall ranks a few spots higher than UCLA. But does that actually matter?
On a sidenote, I'm also a bit concerned in that I've heard a whole lot about Berkeley being insanely competitive and promoting teachers grading on a curve in hopes of driving students to compete. Is there any truth to this? Is the poli sci major "softer" at UCLA? If so I suppose the fact that Berkeley may be a bit better school is irrelevant in the face of higher GPA at UCLA.
I apologize if my post is a bit jumbled... I think the stress is mutilating my ability to phrase my question in anything even resembling a coherant manner. I've only got a couple of days left to choose and I'm seriously considering flipping a coin. Any input would really be appreciated, thank you so much to anyone who can help.</p>

<p>Forget about which is the "better" school. Instead, think about which is the better fit, and think also about how you work. Were you on the quarter or the semester system at community college? Will you be working part time? Your grades will be impacted by these factors. </p>

<p>For example, since UCLA is on the so-called quarter system (it really should be called trimester), the course work usually gets jammed into about 10 or so weeks of lectures. So it goes really fast. Since you've only got upper division units to complete, you will have smaller classes (for the most part), and a lot of reading and digesting. A lot of writing. So be prepared. It's almost as if they took a semester (20 week) courseload and shoved all of the info and work into a 10 week immersion program. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. Like having an 8 shoesize and walking around in a size 7 shoe all day.</p>

<p>At Berkeley, however, you get 20 weeks to ponder over the subject matter, digest it, and spit out your thoughts. You get a little more in-depth material, so you need to do a little more work. If you tend to procrastinate, with all that time you seem to have, you may get in trouble. On the quarter system, you have to break any procrastination habits you have really fast -- since you just don't have the time.</p>

<p>Poli Sci at both campuses is pretty chill. People in that major are not "insanely" competitive. Most of the work is subjective and a thought process rather than being formulaic with right and wrong answers.</p>

<p>I've found that it's no longer easy getting into any decent law school these days, but it's always, for some weird reason easier getting into UCLA law school with a degree from Cal, and getting into Boalt with a degree from UCLA. I mean there's lots of Cal/Boalt and UCLA/UCLA BA/JD's out there, but I don't think as many as there should or could be. I know a lot of Cal undergrads who end up at Stanford Law. Less UCLA to Stanford. Don't know why.</p>

<p>Anyway, something to think about. Hope it doesn't confuse you more!</p>

<p>Hah, thanks for that. It actually does help getting me thinking a bit more about semesters vs. quarters (I completely agree about calling them trimesters by the way.) I don't think I've put as much thought to that as I should. I am definitely a procrastinator and terrible with time budgetting. Maybe Berkeley being on semesters is more relevant than I thought. My CC is on semesters, and I do plan on continuing to work. Fortunately my line of work (personal training) allows me to modify my hours as I see fit. So I can always drop clients for the week if I need more study time.
Anyway, I appreciate the advice, I guess I have more to think about than I thought.</p>

<p>i don't have anything nearly as insightful to offer lol, but from my friends at cal i have picked up that certain majors are extremely competitive, such as mcb, and while most majors are competitive to at least some degree, the couple of polysci majors i know say they haven't really noticed it...and my own opinion is that neither is really all that much more likely to place you in a great law program than the others, i think cal, la, and stanford all offer you the same chance to get into a great law program and as ucla77 has already said, it should really come down to whichever university you like more as in "fit"...and of course, congratulations on getting accepted into stanford! that is truly a great accomplishment</p>

<p>Thanks lomkh I appreciate that. I'm glad to hear that about my major. The problem with fit is it's hard to judge. I visited Cal last weekend, everyone was already graduating and classes weren't in session. I couldn't take a tour or get any idea about the student body. I did go out while I was there to check out the bars and whatnot in the area, see what the night life was like, and while I was at it I hit random people up who looked like college students to see if they went to Cal. I think I found all of about three people who did... LoL. Guess everyone went home to celebrate the end of the semester. The students I did talk to though seemed to really like the school, which I guess speaks to the quality of professor there. UCLA I have a much better idea about, I guess the draw to Cal for me is the added prestige, the semester system, the weather (it's too damn hot down here in So Cal,) and the opportunity to go somewhere else for a while. With UCLA it's familiarity, the fact that I legitimately start in fall, all my friends being down here, an established client base for work, etc. I think you're probably both right in that there's not a whole TON of difference between the two at getting me into law school. I just wish I had some sort of clear cut factor to make this decision on.</p>

<p>I was thinking of a couple more things to consider this weekend. At Cal, the semester starts at the end of August and continues to around mid-December. Then you get about a month off to around Jan. 20th or thereabouts, start up again, and finish mid-May. Each course generally has two mid-terms and one final with papers and what not.</p>

<p>At UCLA, fall quarter starts about a month later, and you get a couple of weeks between quarters, and it ends late May/early June.</p>

<p>Now, my experience with Poli Sci at UCLA comes mostly from my husband, who graduated in '77, same as me. But we've had a load of Poli Sci majors come to our home over the years since we do the Dinner for 12 Strangers in late Feb./early March, which is an alumni thing where we host 12 undergrads for dinner, along with a professor or two. From what they've said, the program is essentially the same as it was 30 years ago. Professors very accessible, and my husband did work study. But he was good at time management and is not a procrastinator (the big diff between him and me).</p>

<p>As for Cal, my son was tutored this past semester by a Poli Sci senior, so we got to know this guy really well (he used to be a big contributor to CC before getting booted). He was about as laid back as anyone I ever met, and was able to work part time, get involved in politics, protests, and lots of partying. Really chill, really cool guy. Anyway, he did really well; even did a research project for one of the professors on free speech. URAP? I think that's what it is called. He said the professors at Cal are also really accessible.</p>

<p>I was an English major at UCLA, but took a lot of poli sci courses (my husband and I are both lawyers), and I personally thought the quarter system sucked. I hated it. </p>

<p>If I had it to do all over again, I would have gone to Cal, just because of the semester system. Personally, I love both UCs, and would have fit in at either of them. Based on what you're saying, I think you should go to Cal.</p>

<p>Wow, UCLA77 thank you so much for that post. You really gave me a much better sense of some differences between the schools that I've been overlooking. I don't think the quarter system would fit me all that well either... and the environment you're describing at Cal sounds more cohesive to keeping a high GPA while still having an outside life. I'm definitely not the buckle down and live inside a book type of student.
I do believe you've made this a bit easier for me. I really appreciate all your help. I think I'm going to sleep on it and make my pick tomorrow morning.
Also, as someone who moved on to law school, how did you feel interviewers responded to UCLA as your undergrad school if you don't mind me asking? Do you have any input on any difference in perception between the schools? In the end this is all about me getting my JD and moving into the wonderful world of politics.</p>

<p>All Law schools focus almost solely on gpa+LSAT. Among the highest of the high scorers, Stanford and Yale are even more choosy and expect awesome ECs. To be competitive for Stanford Law, you'll need a 3.8+ gpa.</p>

<p>Of the three, Stanford has the most grade inflation, so your chances of a higher gpa are Down on the Farm, regardless of what the counselor told you.</p>

<p>the problem with stanford is that it is well known to have high grade inflation...perhaps even notoriously so, and so i'm sure adcoms would take that into consideration...</p>

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so i'm sure adcoms would take that into consideration....

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<p>And you would be incorrect. For professional schools, an (inflated) 3.8 at Stanford will beat a 3.6 at Cal EVERY time (assuming everything else is similar). Harvard, Yale and particularly Brown (mean = 3.6) also have high gpa's but it doesn't seem to hurt their acceptances to Havard/Yale Law schools, for example.</p>

<p>I suppose that's something to take into account. However, with the massive price difference and the fact that I honestly just didn't like the campus, I think I'm better off with a UC. Although grade inflation and the added prestige does make it pretty tempting. Such a hard decision...</p>

<p>Curious to know what you decide. Can't go wrong with either, of course.</p>

<p>this thread is tl;dr......</p>

<p>@UCLA77: I SIR'd with Berkeley today, in no small part due to a lot of your advice. I really appreciate the time you put in responding and helping me make this decision.</p>

<p>Welcome. Go Bears!</p>

<p>Thanks! Go Bears!!</p>