Tdubs wrote: ↑
Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:17 pm
Choose Berkeley, because there is no place else like it. He will live an interesting life.
I was affiliated with Berkeley and know several professors in both the CS and OR department. I have worked on hiring in Bay Area high tech, and I agree with this.
Berkeley is a magical place. There is a tangible scale to people's ambitions that isn't as present at Irvine/Davis/Austin. Furthermore Austin is a great city but Davis/Irvine are not that interesting in my humble opinion.
However, the scale of people's ambitions around you will most likely be more heavily determined by your micro environment, who you choose to surround yourself first. So you can make your experience what you want to make of it.
Berkeley IEOR can be very floofy, it can be the least rigorous of any of the engineering options at Berkeley.
However, it can also be very rigorous if you choose to make it so.
Furthermore, the weight of Berkeley's name shouldn't be underestimated.
If the student is ambitious and wants to leave open as many doors as possible down the line, it's an easy decision, Berkeley. Even Berkeley is right on the cusp of schools that elite high tech companies will consider. McKinsey for example won't even recruit at Berkeley. I've been at yuppie parties where my Harvard/Princeton friends get confused looks when they introduce our Berkeley friend. I agree it's crazy pretentious but I'm just reporting the truth, there are a lot of circles like that.
If ambition is the most important thing, he/she can't go wrong with Berkeley. Especially if he/she wants to work in Bay Area tech. Then again, I know several people who did Davis -> Stanford Masters, which is another route to getting name recognition. Masters programs are much easier to get into because top tier students don't bother with them and they generate a lot of cash for universities.
If life happiness is the most important thing, go where he/she feels he/she will be happiest. This has the side benefit that you will probably be most successful wherever you are happiest (contradicts earlier point). The other semi contradiction is that some people will only be happiest if they're on the most ambitious path for themselves.
I won't sugar coat it, Berkeley does have a suffering culture and is quite stressful. Premed is especially bad, but so is CS. If he/she were premed I would actually recommend Irvine or Davis because they're considerably easier and GPA is very important for med school apps.
Another thing not to sugar coat, Berkeley in-state students are generally less qualified compared to out-of-state students, *on average*. As a result, it is the in-state students who suffer the most from the rigor because (again, on average), they are less qualified.
The flip side of Berkeley's toughness is that Davis and Irvine are incredibly plain compared to Berkeley, so pick your poison. What I wanted most in my life was to improve and test myself, so I chose the most difficult path. It hasn't always been fun but I don't think I would look back on College as fondly if I had taken an easier choice (this is personal and shouldn't be construed as a value judgement, one has to have their own values).
Sorry for the mess of writing above, I don't have time to edit it into a clear point, but I hope there's something there that helps. Feel free to PM me if you want more in depth details, like I said I was affiliated with Berkeley and know the engineering programs there well.