Campus residence halls
If you’re looking for a simple living situation, the campus residence halls are for you. They cost approximately $1,300 to $1,800 per month, and there is no need to clean or buy furniture and groceries, because every residence hall is prefurnished, offers extensive meal plan options and has a cleaning staff. Hungry at 1 a.m.? Head to late night at the dining halls! Dirty laundry? Never fear! Each residence hall has on-site laundry, and you can pay with your handy dandy Cal ID. The “residence hall experience” is a communal one: Meet your best friend in the laundry room, or find your soulmate while studying in the lounge.
It may be dirty, the walls may be thin, and there may be some leftover pasta growing old on the stove — but it’s your place. You now have independence and power. But remember, with great power comes great responsibility. Students can find the apartment of their dreams on Craigslist, premiumproperties.com or the campus’s Cal Rentals site. Depending on the size, quality and location of the apartment, you’ll be paying $600 to $1,300 per month to claim your freedom. There’s no resident assistant to get you in trouble, but don’t upset your neighbors or your landlord.
Private residence halls
Private residence halls — for example the Berk, Wesley House and Telegraph Commons — combine the ease and community of the residence halls with the independence of an apartment. They offer competitive pricing, and they have RAs, communal spaces and organized community events just like in the campus residence hall. Take it easy, with prefurnished rooms, a cleaning staff and on-site laundry. There are no dining halls, but some are stocked with full kitchens, and the campus dining halls are not far. Why live in a dreary concrete campus residence hall when you can get the “residence hall experience” in a beautiful house or apartment complex.
Ever have a passive aggressive fight with your roommate because he or she hasn’t cleaned the dishes? Rest easy at the co-ops, where everyone is assigned housework. After a long week, you can sit down at the dinner table and eat your friend’s famous three-bean quinoa kale casserole. The Berkeley Student Cooperative encompasses 20 diverse options — for example, Oscar Wilde, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, asexual and queer co-op, and Lothlorien, the vegetarian and vegan co-op. The coops are known for throwing elaborate parties, organizing art and music shows and promoting freedom of expression. It’s not just a house — it’s a community.
Do you want not only a roommate but a brother or sister for a lifetime? If so, living in a fraternity or a sorority house might be the best choice. Weekly exchanges, boisterous game day parties and beautiful architecture will define your experience on Piedmont Avenue’s frat row. Members pay annual membership dues for food, cleaning services, rent, social functions and merchandise. The Greek system is a community within UC Berkeley that has social and professional benefits — alumni are great for networking.