Stanford or University of California?

I'm applying for both schools and if I'm accepted to both which school should I choose? I will be studying Geology up to Masters level. I know both schools are good and I would be happy at both of them however from your own personal experience which school did you think was best? I live in New Zealand and would be an International student so there is both the cost factor (not really concerned as I will have a loan to pay school fees) and there is a high chance that I won't be accepted by either of them. I have good grades and I'm a hard worker.

5 Answers

  • Tom
    Lv 7
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    It kind of depends on preferences and financial situation. For all but low income and high income students, Stanford is a lot less costly than Berkeley. Berkeley is essentially free for California state residents (and illegal aliens who have graduated from a California high school) from families with incomes less than $80,000 per year, though Berkeley has just started providing financial assistance to California state residents from families making up to $120,000 per year. Stanford provides financial support to students from families making up to around $250,00 per year regardless of the student's resident status.

    With the exception of the most competitive Engineering majors at Berkeley- EECS, Bio-Engineering and Engineering Undeclared- Stanford is a lot more selective in admissions than Berkeley. To have a good chance of admission to Stanford for a student who is not being recruited for athletics, diversity, special talent and who is not a wealthy legacy, typically requires 750+ scores on each section of the Sat Exam and several Sat Subject Exams as well as high scores on several AP Exams, no different than the ivy league colleges:

    Assuming a student is admitted to both and the cost is approximately the same, the choice then comes down to preferences. The education is largely the same. It honestly doesn't really matter if an Economics 1 lecture at Berkeley has 800 students and at Stanford has only 350, it is still a lecture class with discussion sections led by graduate student instructors. The difference is in the grading policies which tend to be far more lax at Stanford where it is impossible to fail a class since failing grades simply do not exist. There simply is no record of a class that was failed. Way before a student ever reaches that point, his advisor would have asked him over for coffee to discuss any issues and something would be worked out. This just does not happen at Berkeley. Students definitely fail and a significant percentage of students, particularly those from less competitive high schools(low API) who are given massive preference in admissions by discounting low Sat/Act scores, find themselves on academic probation during the first year. Even so, Berkeley students have the highest Gpa in the UC system.

    This is due to Berkeley being on the semester system when the other UC's are on the quarter system. The semester system allows a dead week, more like ten days, so students can prepare for finals. Berkeley also has three hour finals that typically only take around 2.5 hours as do all the other UC schools except Davis, Irvine and Riverside which have two hour finals that take two hours and also have the lowest grades in the UC system.

    Might be helpful:

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    As far as the two campuses go, Berkeley is more an urban campus where town and gown meet while Stanford is a large suburban campus where the town of Palo Alto is somewhat separated from the University. Berkeley is an urban campus like no other as a student can walk a block from the campus on the west and board a subway in downtown Berkeley and be in downtown San Francisco in twenty minutes. On the east, the campus has a very large wilderness area that extends to the top of the Berkeley Hills. There is a popular running trail that winds up Strawberry Canyon with spectacular bay views....

    ... and where one may come upon deer; occasional mountain lion sightings/warnings. The round trip is 7.3 miles. At the top of the trail one can connect with miles of trails through Tilden Park and the rest of the parklands and open spaces that ring San Francisco Bay.

    Palo Alto is a wealthy suburban enclave but does not have the diversity of offerings of Berkeley and is further from San Francisco and also from the Sierra for those who want to ski. San Mateo County Beaches are not too far of a drive. There is sailing and windsurfing in the Bay at the Berkeley Marina. Both campuses have a lot to offer.

    Good Luck!

  • 8 years ago

    Here in the States, you generally don't go to the same school for undergrad and graduate school. International students have a much better chance of getting into US graduate schools then undergrad. UCB and Stanford are night and day in regards to campus environments so it really depends on what type of experience you are looking for. Stanford is a lot more expensive since UC is a state school. Overall, Stanford is better school but it depends on your area of study.

  • 8 years ago

    In the QS World Top 700 University Ranking by Subject: Earth Sciences, UC-Berkely is ranked #6 in the world academically, and Stanford is ranked #12.

    Obviously, any of the top 25 school would be amazing to get into, and, you will need very top grades for both schools. Perhaps this will assist you in your decision.

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    I would choose STANFORD because they are in the same conversation as the ivy-league schools.

    They are one of the best schools in the nation

    but it also depends on what your heart wants.

    don't take anybodies thoughts but your own

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  • 8 years ago

    I would take a look at how campuses look like. Sport activities and party life are very important factor for me.

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