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WUSTL vs Berkeley?

cjeezuscjeezus Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
Hey everyone,

With the deadline to commit looming, I still haven't been able to decide between WashU and Berkeley. I would really appreciate if you guys could help me out! Here are my main deciding factors as well as pros/cons I have for each school:

1. Psychology Major - I'm planning on majoring in Psychology, and I know both schools have great Psychology programs. However, if anyone knows more about what it's like to study Psychology at WashU, I'd love to hear you insights! In particular, I really want opportunities to participate in research.

2. Academic Flexibility - On top of Psych, I also want to double major or do a major and minor, either in something business related or in a language (maybe even double major and a minor, which I know can be done at WashU!). I know WashU is really flexible academically so this is definitely a pro for WashU for me.

3. Reputation - I am an international student and plan on returning to my home country upon graduation. Unfortunately, WashU is relatively unknown here, and I am afraid that it will negatively impact my job search. In contrast, Berkeley has a great reputation, and everyone I know seemed very impressed that I had gotten into Berkeley, and were surprised that I was even considering WashU.

4. Community - Is there a strong sense of community at WashU? I guess this is a pro for WashU since it's quite a lot smaller than Berkeley, and having visited it really felt very friendly and intimate. Any more information and opinions would be appreciated. I'm kind of scared of being really lonely.

5. Study Abroad Programs - I definitely want to study abroad (probably in France), so it would be nice to learn more about study abroad. Do a lot of students do it? Are the programs run by WashU or by affiliate schools? Are credits easily transferable?

6. Credit Transfer - I did the IB Diploma and also took college courses over the last two summers at Harvard and Cornell, will I get credits for IB and will my college credits from the summer programs be transferable?

7. Location - What is there to do around the school? Is it safe? I've heard pretty negative things about safety in both St. Louis and Berkeley.

8. MATH - This is a little silly but I really despise math and I'd love to be able to opt out of doing it in college/take a really easy course. Is that possible (given my choice of major)?

9. I'd appreciate any other thoughts and opinions regarding either of the schools, and which school you think I should choose. Thanks in advance for your help!

Replies to: WUSTL vs Berkeley?

  • cjeezuscjeezus Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    One more thing (10. I guess) - Dorms and Food! I've heard dorms and food are pretty great and WashU. Also if someone could breakdown the differences/pros and cons of modern vs traditional housing that would be amazing.
  • BearCubBearCub Registered User Posts: 297 Junior Member
    May I know which country you are from? I am an international student too and I did my undergraduate at WashU, majoring in Psychology. From my experience, WashU graduates do really well when they go back to their countries. Not sure if it is because of the school's prestige or theyre just smart enough to pass the interviews. I am pretty sure you had an alumni interview before you received your acceptance letter, so did you ask him about his experience?
  • thebunnythebunny Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
    1. Psychology is absolutely ideal at WashU. There are a gazillion research opportunities for undergraduates, and there won't be as much competition for them as I imagine in Berkeley.
    2. Yep. Super easy.
    3. I've heard that, especially in East Asia, Berkeley has a lot of name recognition and WashU does not. I do not know if that extends to employers, however, or if it's just the general population. That is the case in the US.
    4. Having visited Berkeley a lot, I appreciate WashU's community much more. Freshman year, I always felt nestled in my floor community, my res college community, my class community, the WashU community. You can really get to know people around you, while always being able to meet new people as well. At Berkeley, I felt very much isolated. I was visiting initially in a dorm, and I never met the RA (they lived on a different floor and didn't even know everyone's names) or felt like I was in a university community. It's much more independent, and you're on your own to figure out how you fit into college life.
    5. A lot of students study abroad, usually junior year. I know specifically of a cool internship program in a hospital in Nice (if you know French), and there are a bunch more directly connected to the university. I believe Berkeley probably has more choices as it's a large university, but WashU doesn't largely have issues on this front.
    6. Check the WashU website. You will probably accrue at least miscellaneous Art Sci credits.
    7. It is safe around the school. Certain nearby areas I wouldn't walk around alone at midnight, but the majority of the crime in St Louis is across the river in East St Louis. Berkeley is similar in that you probably don't want to wander around at night alone in certain areas, but in both places as long as you're a tiny bit street smart you don't have to worry. They're both cities. Berkeley has a lot of homeless people, as well, most of whom are completely harmless, but just be prepared for that.
    8. For Psych, you have to take Psych Statistics, which is considered an easy math course. The general requirements say you have to take like three ish computational classes, but that's not necessarily calculus. Cognitive Psychology, for example, counts. Experimental Psychology may as well, which is mandatory for psych majors anyway. I hate math, too, and I've found it really easy to dodge.
    9. You're asking in the WashU forum, so obviously I'm partial to WashU. I'll also put in as an anecdote that my best friend goes to Berkeley (hence how I know about it so much) and they would 110% rather be here if the $ was equivalent (full in-state scholarship). Being a smaller school is an asset, I think.
    10. You literally cannot find a university with better dorms and food than WashU. Especially compared to Berkeley. In their dorms, my friend's glass window shattered in heavy winds. Also, the dorms are mostly off campus, and really far away from classes. Where I stayed, at least, had only one bathroom for the entire hall, and it was pretty gross.
    At WashU as a freshman, you have singles, doubles, and triples and modern vs traditional (both of which are really better than anything at almost any other school. There are benefits to being in the midwest). Traditional dorms don't (I think) have elevators, but they have larger rooms in comparison to moderns. There are two bathrooms on each floor (mens/womens), and a kitchenette. The story is that traditionals have more community, but I think it just depends on how big your floor is and who lives there. There are also common rooms on every floor, sometimes small balconies as well. But I lived in a modern. Everything (in both types) is heated and air conditioned in both, and everyone (I'm pretty sure) has Tempurpedic mattresses. Laundry machines are in the basements, as are the computers/printers. In the traditional I lived in briefly there was also a large common area in the basement. The rooms in moderns are somewhat smaller, though there are some legendary triples in Umrath that are immense. There are little mini kitchens on every floor, though only one in the dorm with an oven and stove (first floor.) There are common rooms in moderns, as well, and some have ping pong tables, etc. There was a television in the first floor common room. There are also a couple study rooms on each floor, separate from the common room, with enough room for maybe six people to work. Usually, the rooms are paired into suites with two doubles connected by a shared bathroom (two sinks, shower, toilet stall, under sink storage). The suites are either male or female, but they alternate (walking down the hall, every other suite will be female). In all the dorms, I think, everyone has a window and free cable.
  • TubacaflacaTubacaflaca Registered User Posts: 81 Junior Member
    I agree with the bunny. I'm an international student and I chose WashU over Berkeley among many other schools and It's been the best decision I've ever made. Many international students had to make a similar choice, and most ended up choosing WashU because of the smaller size, more resources, better quality of life, better advising and a sense of community.
  • thebunnythebunny Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
    Go to Berkeley for business when WashU has Olin? Only to save money, imho.
  • BearCubBearCub Registered User Posts: 297 Junior Member
    Compared to Olin, Haas is much better. But I dont know how flexible Haas is. At WashU, Olin students can easily do another major or degree from another school like ArtSci.
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