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Cal Berkeley vs. USC Undergrad for Econ Grad School Aspirant?

Question: How much consideration do graduate schools give to the prestige of the undergraduate institution that an applicant attended? I am currently a high school senior deciding to attend either UC Berkeley or USC. I am aware that although UC Berkeley is ranked slightly higher and has a "better" name value, it is MUCH more prestigious and competitive than USC. Hence, I am wondering if it is worth the trouble to go through this academic challenge at UC Berkeley. I'm not saying that I won't be challenged at USC. I'm just saying that UC Berkeley academics are known to be more difficult. I want to major in economics, and I ultimately want to attend graduate school in four years, so is Berkeley the better choice for me?

For starters, you are making too much of the differences between Cal Berkeley and USC. Unless you're talking about the University of South Carolina (and I suspect that you're not) then the admission standards at the two colleges you cite are strikingly similar. I urge you to make your choice based on the campus that you feel is the best one for you now, and not that will serve as the most likely springboard to affirmative grad school verdicts down the road.

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