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UMD or Cal?

barroobarroo Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
Well, I have a week left to decide where I will be spending the next four years of my life. I have narrowed it down to either University of Maryland College Park or University of California Berkeley.

Here are a couple stats:
--My major at both colleges would be engineering, specifically mechanical engineering.
--I live in-state for Maryland, so the total cost per year evens out to around $20,000 with a small engineering scholarship. Also, I am in the Honors Program at UMD.
--For Cal, my family and I will be paying approximately $55,000 per year.
--Two of my favorite hobbies are surfing and skiing.

--Money really isn't an issue, and my parents have told me not to base my decision off of the cost.

I visited Berkeley and returned today actually. I fell in love with the area, it supports my two hobbies almost better than any other area in the United States. I have been to Maryland three times in the past couple months, and I also really like the campus. I feel like the honors program will open up a lot more opportunities than just the college alone.

So here's the question. In the long-run, will I benefit more from graduating from the top (or #2 behind MIT) engineering school in the country: Berkeley, or will I be better off going to Maryland with honors? The areas are completely different and both have a lot to offer. Do you think there are more engineering opportunities around the Virginia/DC area or in the Silicon Valley/Bay Area?

Thanks alot CC!
Post edited by barroo on

Replies to: UMD or Cal?

  • astrophysicsmomastrophysicsmom Registered User Posts: 4,326 Senior Member
    D1 is graduating from UMD this year (not in engineering tho...) She initially was going to apply to Cal for grad school, but heard horror stories re: California state's budget crises. Any public school faces this risk, but with the size of the Cal univ system, it would be a concern for me....

    If you are going to grad school, excelling at UMD and getting into research ASAP (and taking advantage of all the additional programs that the Engineering school offers) would pave your way to grad school, as well.

    Neither would be a bad choice...as long as you get good grades at Cal, transferring to UMD if the "other stuff" isn't what you expect is also a likely option.
  • 33dmjjm33dmjjm Registered User Posts: 375 Member
    I am from San Diego and I had the same decision to make. The major difference between us is money. The UC system is so impacted and the California budget is in such a bad state they are predicting all UC's will go up by 10% each year. For the surfing you had better not mind surfing in freezing water. The skiing is relatively close and great. For academics Cal is more theoretical and UMD is more hands on. I was told over and over again that if I select Cal I should be prepared to go on to graduate school. I love the San Fransisco area but once again for me the cost to live off campus is very expensive. The other thing that I thought about was did I want to be in the bottom 25% of the engineering dept or do I want to go to a school where I would be in the top 25% of the department. The brightest of the bright go to Cal They are the students who do well without studying much. We all know them. I am not slamming UMD. I know very bright students go there but there is a difference. I also did not want to spend all my time studying. My two engineering friends at Cal spend 95% of their time studying. UMD also has better sports. I think UMD will give you more rounded college experience
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