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Tuesday, December 19, 2017


I created this posting because I saw this question in Quora:

The University of California at Berkeley versus Stanford.  Two great schools.  Cal is located just east of San Francisco and Stanford to the south.  The campuses are 31 miles apart.  If you apply to both, which one should you accept?

Numerous ways to answer this question.  First, my freshman roommate at Stanford transferred to Cal in his sophomore year, and came back in his junior year.  I'll personally ask him which school is better when I next see him.  He now teaches at Berkeley.  I think, though, that he probably would pick Stanford, as he graduated with me.  Jim is in the middle.  John to the right now lives in Texas.  That was more than 55 years ago.

That Quora question provided the following information:

Endowment: Berkeley: $4.05 billion — Stanford: $22.4 billion
# of undergrads : Berkeley: 27,126 — Stanford: 7,018
Admission rate: Berkeley: 17.5% — Stanford 4.8%
% of students from California: Berkeley: 68% — Stanford: 38%
% of students that are Asian: Berkeley: 46% — Stanford 22% 
  • Stanford is private, Cal (right, photo I took on my recent trip on a United flight from San Francisco to Vancouver) public
  • Application fee:  Stanford $90, Cal $70
  • U.S. News Ranking has Stanford at #5 and Cal at #21
  • Cal has more students:  38,189 to 16,980 (undergrads:  29,311 to 7,034)
  • Stanford is more difficult to get into:  5% vs 17% (also a photo from this trip)
  • Stanford has smarter students, at least in terms of SAT scores:  2220 vs 2075
  • Stanford has smaller class sizes:  11 vs 17
  • Cal has about half female, while Stanford is not quite that high.
  • If you're from California, the tuition is cheaper at Cal ($13,431 vs $46,320)
  • If not from California, out of state tuition and fees add up to $42,112 (fees are around $3,000)
  • Average scholarship:  Stanford $50,100 and Cal $15,053
  • Stanford students earn more after graduating:  $86,000 vs $60,800 (but later in this report, I see Stanford at $60k and Cal at $55k, so...??--and the U.S. News Ranking has Stanford starting salary at $70,300 and Cal at $61,800)
  • I would volunteer that the Cal mascot is a lot more traditional than the Stanford tree, but Stanford encourages non-traditional thinking.
I had a blog last month treating the subject of race at Stanford.  Comparing the two universities today:

Ethnicity:           Cal       Stanford

White                30%         37%
Asian                30%*        16%
Hispanic           12%          10%
African-Am       2.3%         3.2%

*Cal has a lot of international students, mostly Asian.  When included in the above, as indicated in the Quora analysis, 46% could well be more accurate.

The NCAA has something called the Learfield Director's Cup, which is awarded to the school with the greatest success in collegiate athletics.  Stanford has won every year since 1994.  I don't see Cal in the recent top ten, but it was #7 in 2008-9.  Best as I can determine, Learfield Sports links businesses and the marketplace with college athletics.

Cal is #6 of universities with the most Nobel Laureates with 69.  Stanford is #8 with 58.  Harvard is #1 with 151.  However, only 47 are official, as explained by clicking on this site.

Parchment reports that if a student is accepted at both, 89% chose Stanford and 11% Cal.  So much for the above comparison.  Parchment is a digital credential service.

Interesting to note that if a person got admitted to both Harvard and Cal, Harvard won 83% of the time.  However, if the choice was between Stanford and Harvard, the latter scored 57%.  One of the latest academic ranking has Harvard as #1, Stanford at #2 and Cambridge at #3.  (There are numerous rating services.)

If between Stanford and the following (the percentage represents those who chose that university):
  • Yale (46%)
  • Chicago (34%)
  • Princeton (27%)
  • Northwestern (27%)
  • Duke (16%)
  • Columbia (13%)
  • Cornell (12%)

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