entrance gate to the campus of UC Berkeley
These days are quite exciting in our home - perhaps "exciting" is not the super accurate term as it is also tense, filled with doubts, and many times the question "what should I do?" is asked. Kaefer is going through the process of choosing a college. She got accepted in all but one of the colleges she applied to - Colorado University in Boulder, University of Oregon in Eugene, University of Washington in Seattle, Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, UC Davis and UC Berkeley. The only college she is on a waiting list (because she applied on the very last possible day...) is the School of Mines in Golden, CO.
checking out the campus map on her cell phone
What does a girl do? Parental advice is not always welcome, but in the end she has to at least listen to it and contemplate what the "oldies" have to say.
We started the decision process by eliminating. Out-of-state tuition is hideously high, so all colleges outside of California were dropped from the list. This leaves Cal Poly, UC Davis and UC Berkeley as the only contenders. Still too many...
Berkeley School of Law
She looked at the School of Environmental Design which houses the architecture department (this would be her major at UC Berkeley). Probably the ugliest building on campus (during our visits to colleges over the past 5 months we found that the architecture building often is the least attractive building with the exception of the University of Washington). We walked the campus which in some parts is quite nice and others... not so much.
Of course there's the famous Campanile which you can see from far away (the campus stretches up a hill).
The Campanile is open at certain times and I guess that the view over the Bay from up there must be stunning. It rings its bell every full hour and we also heard some wonderful chimes at 2:00 playing beautiful little melodies. That was quite charming.
And somehow this was the only charming thing about the UC Berkeley campus. Oh, and of course these guys:
They weren't shy at all and very used to people. I wonder whether the students feed them...
There were lots of trees on the campus, some nice buildings,
and a great stadium hidden behind older houses, home of the Golden Bears.
We even discovered some goofiness.
Apparently it's a tobacco-free campus...
The mascot is Oski the bear (yeah, Cal Bears), whom you could even find as a door opener.
While Kaefer kind of liked the campus and could see herself here, the Geek and I had our doubts. We thought the atmosphere rather tense and highly competitive. Even on a bright sunny and warm Sunday we didn't see many happy faces. There wasn't any laughter or cheerfulness. We were wondering whether these young people ever have fun. I just can't see my goofball daughter thrive here.
In the end SHE has to decide. Of course UC Berkeley is a name with a high level of recognition. It certainly is an excellent school. I don't lie - we were all thrilled when she got accepted because we know how difficult that is. But she also has to feel comfortable. We will go down to San Luis Obispo again and take another look at Cal Poly - and then she finally has to make her choice.
Whatever she decides - it will be a good school. She can't really go wrong with any of these three colleges.