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Undergrads Give Cal High Marks

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Everybody knows that UC Berkeley is a top-ranked research university. (The London Times recently ranked Cal number two in the world.) And everybody also knows that for Berkeley undergraduates, that means a miserably impersonal education with large lecture classes conducted by teaching assistants, since professors are locked in their labs—right? Well, no ... at least not according to the actual students.

In fact, in a massive annual survey conducted last fall, 84.3 percent of Cal students declared themselves “somewhat” to “very” satisfied with their overall academic experience at Berkeley. On question after question about the details of their education, the positive responses outweighed the negative.

Of the 9,595 undergraduates who responded to a 2004 undergraduate survey, 53.5 percent had taken classes in the past year with a professor who knew the respondent’s name. Only 16.2 percent of respondents had never been called on by name; 30.2 percent had rarely had that experience. Nor were those professors invisible outside of class: more than half of respondents—54.6 percent—said they had met with faculty members in person, either occasionally, often, or very often in the past year.

The reality is even brighter at CNR, where students enjoy a small college home, low student-to-teacher ratios, and faculty advisers who are always available.

-Bonnie Azab Powell


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