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Living in Berkeley

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APRIL 30, 2012


Dorms are a fantastic place for new students to get their first taste of the diversity of our student body. In order to live in the dorms, you have to apply and will receive a housing offer which shows you which dorm you’ve been placed in. You are able to request specific dorms, single-sex floors, or themed floors which cater to specific needs or community interests. Although the rent is pretty steep, (anywhere from $12,174 to $17,419) you’re guaranteed housing for two years and get access to a variety of resources such as tutoring, exercise facilities, health advice and more. Resident assistants are perhaps your greatest dorm resource as they help you manage the transition to university living and, as people who were in your shoes not too long ago, they have a great perspective and a passion for Cal.

Freshmen admitted in the fall receive a two-year housing guarantee. There are many different types of dorms, including high rise residence halls, suites, theme programs and single sex floors. Dorm living also gives you access to tutoring, exercise facilities and activities sponsored by the residence hall.


If you are looking for peace to study then renting may your best option. Whether you’re renting a room, an apartment or a house with all your friends, renting gives you the freedom to decide what you need to make your house a home. Choosing an independent path has its difficulties however. Buying furniture, finding roommates, and dealing with landlords makes renting a commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Speaking of roommates, nothing makes or breaks a good rental situation like a good roommate. This is the person who will get on your case about the dirty dishes, party cleanups, and laundry woes, so choose well. Renting is also attractive because with an application, a little luck, and a security deposit, you could have the keys to your first apartment. You get to choose your street address, who you live with, and what you’re paying to live there. Other off-campus options include private dorms such as Telegraph Commons, Wesley House, International House and Westminster House. Most of these options require an application and the singing of a lease.


If you’ve walked down Piedmont Avenue, then you’re bound to have seen the lines of fraternities and sororities that make up Cal’s Frat Row. For many of you, joining the Greek system means that one of those colossal houses could become your new home. If your dream is living it up in one of our 65 recognized houses, then there are a few things you need to do first. The most important thing you have to do is rush. Fall Rush for sororities is a week-long event where you can see the different houses, meet the chapter, go to events and find the house that fits you. Fall Rush for fraternities is a bit different. During Rush Week, fraternities hold social events which hopeful pledges can attend and meet the chapter. Bids are given out on an individual basis. After the stress of rush week, you usually get placed in a certain room type, and then can choose your roommates from there.

Awesome amenities include meals during the week, common area cleaning, social events and more. So if you are looking up at those lines of houses and see your future in one of them, get ready to rush and begin the ride of a lifetime.


The Berkeley Student Cooperative (BSC) is a collection of 20 distinct housing properties located around the Berkeley campus. BSC is built on a cooperative model, meaning that while you get awesome benefits like healthy homemade meals, and house-wide social events, you are also expected to give back through five hours of cleaning, cooking, or general house upkeep (known as workshifts). The co-ops themselves are all unique and incredibly Berkeley. Co-ops are filled with engaging murals, friendly people, and a laid-back environment. I would recommend visiting first. The BSC hosts tours each semester where you can get a whirlwind visit of all the co-ops and see which one tickles your fancy. Ask a friend, acquaintance, or complete stranger if you can come to a house dinner.

If you decide to join, all you need to do is fill out an application with a $50 fee and hope you’ll get a spot. Whether you’re a Clone in sprawling Cloyne, or one of the Euclidians in compact Euclid House, the co-ops will provide you with one helluva year. Rent starts at $3,354 per semester for the houses.

Contact Carli Baker at 


APRIL 30, 2012