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Why should I pick UCLA over USC?

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Replies to: Why should I pick UCLA over USC?

  • vc08vc08 Registered User Posts: 3,340 Senior Member
    Haha, sorry, I thought 13-9 was the USC over Cal football score from last season, but it wasn't, that'd be 22-9. My bad.
  • infearandfaithinfearandfaith Registered User Posts: 65 Junior Member
    vc08, i don't think i was even replying to your post haha. I didn't even realize what you were talking about at first. I would have referred to your directly if I had meant to question something you had said, so sorry if you misunderstood my post. I also agree with UCLAri in regard to Cal, and with issues ranging from a less than pleasant college town to a crunch on housing... it definitely seems like a rebuilding era by Cal standards. When I applied to Cal, I was really impressed by its academics but there were just so many issues. I also wasn't impressed with a lot of kids I knew to be going to Cal, which isn't to be critical, merely to point out that in my mind there isn't much difference between Cal and LA.
  • j_shirley08j_shirley08 Registered User Posts: 69 Junior Member
    I don't know much about cal, where is berkeley?
  • vc08vc08 Registered User Posts: 3,340 Senior Member
    infearandfaith: sorry about misinterpreting your post :D. well I've been to all three schools, and IMO Cal definitely has the nicest campus. Plus, I'd take the streets of Berkeley over those of South Central LA any day. Also, again, 44 NL compared to 9 at the other schools should say a lot. I mean, they have around 4.5 times as many. Not that prestige is everything by any means, but I'm just saying that after spending a considerable amt. of time at each campus, I think Berkeley is IT. As far as it's issues, well, every school has them. It just depends on if you want to help solve or avoid them.
  • UCLAriUCLAri Registered User Posts: 14,740 Senior Member
    44 Nobel Laureates is misleading.

    Should we count the Nobelists that didn't get it at Berkeley? If you do that, UCLA has a few more than most list. How about the Nobelists who only were at Cal for a short while? The ones who only go their BAs there?

    And so what? Does a Nobel Laureate mean that you'll learn anything there? Most of the laureates aren't teaching, and even if they do, who says they really want to focus on undergrads?

    By the way, did you know that City College of New York claims around 10 Nobelists? Would you consider City College of New York to be a better university than Brown or Dartmouth?
  • vc08vc08 Registered User Posts: 3,340 Senior Member
    "Not that prestige is everything by any means"< ok, i said this originally. obviously there is more to a campus than NLs.

    Also, fyi, I have a close relative who's going into his junior year at Cal (so he IS an undergraduate), and he's already had two Nobel Laureate professors, and worked closely on research with one. So the whole "Most of the laureates aren't teaching, and even if they do, who says they really want to focus on undergrads?" thing is absolute bs in my opinion. If you want to learn from them, the opportunity is there.

    As far as CCNY, it would depend on what discipline. You made a comment earlier on how great UCSD is, and I agreed. I would choose UCSD engineering over Harvard because it has a better program. Which is also why I said it depends on what you're looking for as far as UCLA, USC, and UCB are concerned. You don't have to get all mad bc Cal has more Laureates than UCLA. I was responding to someone else's question about prestige, and that's just one factor of it.
  • UCLAriUCLAri Registered User Posts: 14,740 Senior Member
    vc08,

    You're missing my point.

    Many many more Nobelists are going to be able to avoid teaching. Also, Nobel Prize doesn't mean "good teacher" by fiat. It's an award for research, not teaching.

    And don't assume that I'm "mad" that Berkeley has more Nobelists than UCLA. I couldn't care less. I'm trying to get you to understand that Nobelists are not necessarily a measure of a school's quality as far as undergrads are concerned. Most people are going to enter undergrad not knowing what they want with their future, and many are going to bounce around majors for a bit. The majority will change majors at least once. What difference does it make if CCNY has had 10 Nobelists if you're majoring in something no Nobel is awarded?

    I majored in poli sci. There's no such award for political scientists. What does it matter to me if the physics department at UCSB has a good number of Nobels in its trophy case?

    You can't look at one case (your relative) and extrapolate much, either. You should look at the average undergrad and ask what opportunities they will have. So I ask again: Would you choose CCNY over Brown or Dartmouth because of a few Nobelists?
  • infearandfaithinfearandfaith Registered User Posts: 65 Junior Member
    Cal has a nicer campus than UCLA?! South Central also is more like USC, UCLA is in West LA and is next door to Beverly Hills and Brentwood. UCLA has a less cramped campus in my experience. My dad spent half his life at Berkeley so I've been there many times and never thought much of the town or it's proximity to Oaktown. Different strokes for different folks I guess, I've always considered Berkeley cramped and in a less than well kept area. Not terrible by any means, but outclassed horribly by say Stanford's campus.
  • UCLAriUCLAri Registered User Posts: 14,740 Senior Member
    I like Berkeley's campus, to be honest. It has a different feel from UCLA, but it's definitely a nice place to be. The Campanille is very nice.
  • rushrules1rushrules1 - Posts: 134 Junior Member
    UCLAri wrote:
    Please don't be snide and try to condescend me. It's not like I'm some dumbdumb who doesn't know what goes on in academia-- I do have a degree with another one on the way.
    LOL...who's being condescending? Sounds to me like you're the one who's a little insecure.

    I have a degree too, wait make that five. Yup five, sounds like a good #....LOL.
  • vc08vc08 Registered User Posts: 3,340 Senior Member
    UCLAri: I agree with you about the "normal" undergraduate thing. But I think the "there aren't any research opportunities for undergrads" idea that is often posed is misleading, because a vast majority of undergrads also fail to seek them out. Similar to a professor's office hours. They are available, but often times students fail to use them.

    "I'm trying to get you to understand that Nobelists are not necessarily a measure of a school's quality as far as undergrads are concerned. Most people are going to enter undergrad not knowing what they want with their future, and many are going to bounce around majors for a bit. The majority will change majors at least once. What difference does it make if CCNY has had 10 Nobelists if you're majoring in something no Nobel is awarded?"

    ^If it is Cal's overall academic strength you are worried about, then rest easy. I posted this earlier, but for the sake of those who perhaps innocently over-read it, I'll state it again: Last year Cal had more top ranked programs than any other university in the country, including Harvard, Stanford, Yale, UCLA, MIT, Amherst, USC, and even CCNY. They are not only excellent in engineering but also English, political science, biology, etc. So even if your professor hasn't won a Nobel Prize, he's quite possible directing the best program in the country. Do UCLA and USC have some extraordinary programs as well? Sure they do. But Cal's the jack of all trades in the academia.

    To answer your question about CCNY over Dartmouth, re-read my previous one. It remains the same. If I wanted to be an engineer, I would choose Berkeley over, say, Illinois, because it has a stronger program. But if I wanted to major in library science, I'd head for the U. of Illinois. My point was that you really can't go wrong at Cal though, as with a few other schools. Is someone really going to scold you about majoring in art, a "weaker" program at Berkeley if you come out with a degree from there? Most likely not.

    infearandfaith: true about UCLA and Westwood (I knew South Central was near SC, didn't mean to put both SC and UCLA in that category). But it's hard to tell what would be more entertaining: seeing Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton in Hollywood once every four years, or listening to Pro-Choice groups, J. Witnesses, and grounded conservatives protest against each others ideals all within the same area every day on the way to class. To each his own indeed. oh yeah, and Cal's campus is prettier in my opinion. All three are beautiful, but Cal's Sather Gate, Bowles Hall, and Campinile are all such recognizable sites. My cousin had a full view of the Golden Gate Bridge from his dorm as a freshman as well. Also, I thought this conversation was about UCLA, USC, and Cal. When did Stanford factor in? I missed that post...
  • infearandfaithinfearandfaith Registered User Posts: 65 Junior Member
    I pointed out Stanford to simply make an observation (eg we're splitting hairs here), thats like me countering you by saying who brought up celebrities (or me pointing out the title of the topic has nothing to do with Cal making all of this off topic)? I try to limit my opinions on Berkeley to what I saw there as a resident, and to what I know of that school from my own acceptance.

    Using "review" services is also a humorous way to advocate a school. These same services even issue disclaimers about what a poor way it is to make decisions regarding Universities. My own father, a Cal alumni, regarded many departments as being out of touch with life outside the university. Cal's politics are also quite uninteresting to me as a Brit, not because of what they concern, but rather because I think it takes a lack of dignity to discuss a private matter publicly. Surely that will be out of touch with many American opinions, but to me politics is nothing more than an ongoing debate on who gets what at whose cost.

    From my point of view, Berkeley was a lower middle class area that needed a lot of work. Crime was an issue on campus, during my tour they actually told us to leave with a buddy past 9pm. The campus has major housing issues as stated, and quoting a number of sites on campus is like throwing buzzwords out in a political debate, it does nothing but make you look like biased. Plus we sound like horribly arrogant AP students, this whole debate is needless, either school has it merits and suits the needs and desires of those who attend.
  • vc08vc08 Registered User Posts: 3,340 Senior Member
    oh my Lord. Ok, first off, I wasn't the one who brought Cal into this. If you look a page or two back, someone asked about the prestige of Cal compared to that of UCLA. Most people agreed that in a large majority of the areas, Cal was better. That wasn't a slam against other schools, it was simply many people's opinions. Now, for the four-hundred-millionth time, it depends on the person. You don't like Cal, which is probably why you're arguing with me about it. Honestly, do you even see anything in that school? You seem to be dismissing it like it is some third-tier university filled only with titles, not accomplishments. I may not think UCLA and USC are quite as good, but at least I have given them credit for being great institutions.

    Anyway, sorry for that little rant, now to move to another topic: "Review services" may be humorous to you, but how would you be able to tell how good a program is without their help? Not that one should make a decision off of them by any means, but they often prove to be a helpful resource when getting initial ideas about where to attend. Also, they boost a school's image, and that isn't just Cal. In fact, I received a brochure in the mail from UCLA last week, with "#4 Public University" plastered across the front. And it goes without saying that Harvard and Yale display their bragging rights, too. Which gets back around to the whole "it depends on the person" thing. I know people who had absolutely no interest in politics going into Cal, but are now majoring in Government and Political Science. Go figure. Besides, if you are thrown off by a simple aspect of a school, such as it's political views, (this could be any school, not just Berkeley), then perhaps you should re-think what you're looking for in an institution. Did you know that 1/3 of the student body at Cal list themselves as "Republican/conservative"? That would mean slightly more than 10,000 students. Obviously they looked past its 'liberal' stereotype. Also, I have an uncle who attended UCLA, and he said he found Berkeley's campus to be safer. Sure, the area is a little rough, but last time I checked no one had been murdered there. It's as safe as you make it. Most people who were smart enough to get in are smart enough not to walk around in the ghetto at 1 am.

    I do respect your opinions though. I don't mean to come off biased, it's just that I've spent considerable time at all three schools, and visited over 25 universities total. I truly believe Berkeley is one of the best, in all areas. But it's what you make of it. If you go in not liking it, it will be harder to appreciate it coming out. Each school has it's pros and cons.
  • infearandfaithinfearandfaith Registered User Posts: 65 Junior Member
    oh no, I don't mean to imply that I don't respect Cal. I just don't like the area, and I could possibly be biased being a former resident. Nor do I think UCLA is crime free, I think what you said up there I largely agree with :). Cal is less safe in my mind, but no nearly as bad as USC, where I have had several friends who have been mugged at gun point only a block or two from campus. It's not so much a particluar school's politics, I just was brought up to keep my politics in general private, so I'm not into soap box lectures.

    I, like most people, acknowledge Cal as perhaps the top public school, I just don't see the point in comparing as the difference in imperceptibly slim. It's not that I don't appreciate services like US News, I meant to say that I don't think you should make judgements on a #1 vs a #2 etc. It's silly.

    Again, apologies if my manner of speaking seems aggressive. I just have a blunt manner I suppose.
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