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Any physics students from Berkeley or UCLA here?

  1. May 6, 2006 #1
    I got accepted to UC Berkeley and Los Angeles. I would like to know what being a physics student at these 2 schools is like. Were the professors enthusiastic? In general, were the students in this major helpful to eachother? How about the availability of the professors and/or someone else from which to get help if none of my friends can help me? I'm not looking for a "ranking" of the schools, just some information based on personal experience.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 6, 2006 #2

    eep

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    I'm a community college transfer student about to finish up my second semester at Berkeley, and I've had a great experience. My professors have definately been enthuasistic and easy to talk to, and you should have no problem meeting the other students. Just hang out in the physics reading room and you're bound to run into someone from your classes. I had heard horror stories of people waiting in line to speak to their professors during office hours, but this is most definately not the case. All my professors are really laid-back and have no problem helping you get started on the homework. The graduate student instructors who run the discussion sections are also very helpful. If you can't make it to office hours or discussion sections, everyone is quick to respond to their e-mail. If you're stuck, you should have no problem finding the help you need. I'm not sure if you're coming straight out of highschool, but the physics program is pretty intense. Being a transfer student, I've had a hard time making the adjustment to what's expected of me, but now I'm doing fine. To give you an idea of how nice the professors are, my first semester my fiance gave birth to our daughter about 2 weeks before finals, and all my physics professors offered to give me incompletes which I could make up without me even needing to ask. Of course, this means I have twice as many finals this semester! :) I think you'd have a great time at Berkeley, although I know nothing about UCLA. Congratulations, these aren't the easiest of schools to get accepted to!
     
  4. May 7, 2006 #3
    Wow that's exactly the the kind of information I was looking for.

    Exactly like you, I'm coming from a community college. It's good to hear that you're experience has been positive there. Your story is kindof funny because it's similar to mine. At my community college there's a couple of teachers who are notorious for being really difficult (in terms of exams), but they're all very helpful. I also spend most of my time in the physics study room where most of my friends hang out to study. If I do end up going to Berkeley, it seems like the transition would be a smooth one.

    Thanks again :)
     
  5. May 7, 2006 #4

    eep

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    Just don't feel bad if you don't do as well as you'd hope your first couple of semesters. Pretty much every transfer student I've talked to has gone from A's to C's their first semester or two, but then they start getting A's again once they get the hang of it. Be prepared to study your ass off.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2006
  6. May 8, 2006 #5
    I went from Santa Monica CC to UCLA (entered in 2000, finished 2003). My guess is that UCLA is no different from other schools. There are professors who are more helpful than others. The main thing is to get a good advisor and to work on physics problems as a group.
    The professors know that a lot of students get stuck on various concepts. Spend time with a few professors that you like, even if it isn't for help on homework problems. Expand upon what was said in class. At UCLA, the best professors for this are Fronsdal (even though he will frequently speak above your level), Geckelman, Gelmini, and Tomboulis. I'm sure there are others who like it when students want to learn more than just what is required; I just didn't have any of their classes.
    My grades improved dramatically when I started going to the physics lounge to work on homework problems. With all of us working together (but doing our own work), I learned so much more by helping out others who were stuck than just working on my own.
     
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