Sunday, February 11, 2018

Why Berkeley Engineering??

Why choose Berkeley Engineering over a private liberal arts college or university?

1)  Berkeley maintains a strong reputation as one of the best engineering programs in the U.S.  A Berkeley B.S. really means something on the job market.
2) With its eight undergraduate departments: Bioengineering, Civil & Environmental, Electrical & Computer Sciences, Engineering Science, Industrial & Operations Research, Materials Science , Mechanical, and Nuclear, the program is comprehensive and well-run.  It’s direct entry, so students don’t have to compete for coveted spots once admitted; it has its own engineering advisors so students don’t have to wait weeks for appointments
3) The engineering school boasts excellent facilities, specialized labs and libraries, up to date lecture halls: lecture halls have rotating stages and web cams for live streaming; the engineering library is a collaborative space for project work. Plus, the campus is beautiful, with many lovely, tucked away places for studying or just enjoying the scenery.
4) Berkeley students are active and involved.  At Sproul Plaza you can browse over 1,000 clubs and organizations to join from academic to service to performing arts; the LEAD Center is dedicated to developing student involvement and leadership, and students can choose living and social options from fraternities and sororities (12% of students) to co-ops (17 houses.)
5) A Berkeley undergraduate education costs roughly half that of a private school (roughly $36,000 cost of attendance).  The value is unbeatable!

Why not?
1) Class sizes are huge—500 or more for the first two years and upper division classes are still around 100 students.  TAs or grad students lead all the sectionals so contact with faculty can be rare.
2) As a result of the large classes and overall enrollment, students may have difficulty establishing close relationships with professors and may lack mentors to support them towards graduate school.
3) Housing can be a hassle.  While over 90% of freshmen live in campus residences, housing is not guaranteed, and after freshman year, finding affordable and safe housing can be tricky.
4) The city of Berkeley can seem overwhelming and “gritty” to students raised in the suburbs.  Not everyone loves Berkeley’s quirky, liberal vibe.
5) Berkeley Engineering is highly selective.  Because direct admission rates are so low (about 8% for the whole school and 4-5% percent for EECs and Bio-Engineering applying to an engineering major at Berkeley may mean a rejection over applying to a less impacted major.  It is very difficult, and not recommended to try to transfer in to engineering after matriculating.

*A final note: Students selected as Regent Scholars can access the best of both public and private educations: faculty mentoring, special research opportunities, 4 years of guaranteed housing, and priority registration.  If selected as a Regent, definitely go for it!

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