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Topic: *hmx9123* or anyone at Berkley  (Read 8615 times)

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Offline Syrius

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*hmx9123* or anyone at Berkley
« on: November 30, 2007, 04:14:14 AM »
Ok, so...

My wife is currently in here Senior year at Mercer University (Georgia).  She has a 3.9 GPA (4.0 in chemistry) Has done undergraduate research (no publications) for 2 years and has scored a 740Q/630V for her GRE scores (no scores back from subject based yet. 

She also attended some big function at UT South Western  (10 chosen out of 80 submitted) with students from Nice schools like Dartmouth and Harvard and Brown.  Her recomendation letters will be from the chemistry department head professor and her research professor and the biology department head. 

so here are my questions.

She wants to go to Berkley.....Does this resume sound good to you?
Are the admission people gonna be unfair because she is married?  Is this a factor?
Is being married a factor when it comes to stipends? 
Any good pointers for applying?
How much does it really cost to live in Berkley?  Is it really expensive?  (We live off of 30k/yr here in central GA.  Not like kings but pretty decent sized apartment etc. etc.  Berkley's Stipend is supposedly only around 30k/yr.. That seems kinda low considering how much it looks to cost living there.  Any insight?

Also I just got out of the military and want to go back to college.....Ironically enough she has sparked some intrest in a BS in chemistry or physics (thinking of teaching high school level....I dont have the brain pan for more than that lol).   

Are there any good colleges in the area (drivable area)?  Keep in mind I dropped out of Auburn University and havent been in school for 6 years, Im gonna need some community college brushing up first.

My email is

Please feel free to contact me, I got alot of questions about cali (never been there) and I dont want to cluter the forums.   

Offline SM30

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Re: *hmx9123* or anyone at Berkley
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2007, 03:48:52 PM »
well im not at berkeley but i live in the bay area and am applying there this year.  I doubt being married goes against her. Her GRE scores arent stellar (i had a friend with higher scores rejected from berkeley with a comparable GPA last year). The letters of rec might be the difference. As an earlier poster in another thread said, you should have at least one thing stand out and make you look like a rock star. Publications, for example, could do it. The name of the professor you worked with might do it. That conference might even be something important depending on who looks at the app. From the information you gave I would put her in the muddled middle area in terms of application strength. hmx will probably give you all the information you need to know though so he's you're best bet for more accurate information.

Having lived in the bay now for many years I can definitely say that Berkeley is expensive. Living comfortably on 30K for two people is highly unlikely as the cost of living in Berkeley is probably much higher than Georgia (although i dont know much about georgia). There are plenty of great community colleges in the area close to berkeley and you save a lot of money by attending and then transferring to a state or UC nearby. Working a full time job and taking night classes at a CC would probably be the best thing to do. Then again Im only 23 so take anything i say with a grain of salt.

Offline Mitch

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Re: *hmx9123* or anyone at Berkley
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2007, 07:17:19 PM »
The stipend at Berkeley is more like 25K a year and it is expensive but one can live here. Her resume sounds fine and should be very competitive.
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Offline hmx9123

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Re: *hmx9123* or anyone at Berkley
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2007, 03:50:05 AM »
I'll drop you an e-mail with more detailed information, but briefly:

When I started, the graduate stipend in chemistry was $21,324.  They have since received a $1500 raise, so it's $22,824 now.  This was done not at the behest of graduate students, the union or anything like that, but because the school was actually losing graduate students to other schools because their stipend was too low.  The university cheaps out on the stipend and the students.

The GRE scores are fine.  I don't remember if mine were even that good or not, but they weren't that much better if they were.  The recs will make the most difference.

Being married has nothing to do with things.  There are several grad students at UCB who are married.

If you move to Berkeley, bring $5000 cash.  You'll need it for an apartment, a deposit, first and last month's rent, furniture, etc.  It is exorbitantly expensive, and in my opinion, not worth it.  Using an online calculator to compare salaries between areas, my Berkeley stipend of $21,324 at the time calculated to $7,300 back home in the midwest.  $30,000 is liveable in the midwest, and actually not horrendous.  $30k out here is a joke.  Salaries here at at most about 7% higher than the same job in the midwest.

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