Out of State, Right in Place

February 15, 2023

Finding a home at UC Berkeley as an out-of-state student.

Two months ago, it started to rain as I walked back to my dorm from the Recreational Sports Facility. The raindrops were cold and heavy, and I stopped in place to watch them splatter against the sidewalk. Before I knew what was happening, I was crying my heart out through my eyelashes. Standing in the middle of Bancroft Way, I realized this was the first time in my life I’d gone more than a month without rain.

Hailing from Beaverton, Oregon, a suburb outside the capital of Portland, my childhood was colored by downpour. I longed for sunshine and applied to many of the UCs as a result, with Berkeley being my top choice. I was elated when I was accepted

Going out of state never seemed scary to me because both of my siblings had left Oregon and my father had left his home country. However, once I was actually in California, the anxiety set in. I had to navigate a brand-new environment and build a life for myself here at Berkeley.

In this article, I’ll touch on my experience as an out-of-state student — accessing financial aid, utilizing resources, and finding a community. Whether you’re a prospective out-of-state student or a current one, I hope hearing my story helps you feel more comfortable making a home somewhere new.

Navigating Financial Aid

If you’re anything like me, your biggest concern as a current or prospective out-of-state student is summed up in one word: cost. Fortunately, there are several ways to make UC Berkeley more affordable.


Scholarships are your best friend. Apply to every local scholarship you can get your hands on — and I mean every scholarship. Even if you don’t think you’ll win a given award, applying is still a great way to improve your writing skills and build connections. I’m here at Cal because of the programs that believed in me, such as the Portland Japanese American Citizens League and the Oregon School Activities Association.

Aside from local scholarships, there are also awards offered through UC Berkeley. Two examples are the Cal Alumni Scholars Program’s Leadership Award and the Jack Kent Cooke scholarship.

Berkeley Life