“三巨头”（“The Big Three”）传统意义上指的是美国高等教育和常春藤高校的领衔者——哈佛、耶鲁和普林斯顿这三所美国东海岸的顶尖高校。先进齐全的设施、毋庸置疑的名望以及各个领域颇有建树的诸多校友，让这三所大学成为美国高校名副其实的“三巨头”。
“The Big Three” traditionally refers to those icons of American higher education and the Ivy League: Harvard, Yale and Princeton. These three East Coast schools boast amazing facilities, resumé-making prestige, and enormously successful alumni.
Recently, however, a new three schools have been garnering attention on the opposite side of the country: the very best institutions in the University of California system, which make up the West Coast iteration of The Big Three. While this new Big Three boast a lot of the same advantages of the traditional trio, there are some notable differences – namely, that they are all public universities, and therefore much cheaper than the Ivy League schools.
In addition, the UCs have more of a range of socio-economic diversity than the Ivy League universities. Each of them also has its own unique quirks and and personality. Here's a basic guide to the best of the West:
1.）加州大学伯克利分校（University of California, Berkeley）
The original flagship university of the UC system, the University of California, Berkeley – affectionately known as “Cal” – has been an elite university for more than a century. Located in Berkeley, a city on the Eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay, “Cal” excels in fields as diverse as chemistry, sociology and engineering, and has won hundreds of academic awards. Seventy-two Nobel Laureates have been affiliated with the university as faculty, alumni or researchers, the most of any public university in the United States! Researchers at the school have discovered six elements, including one named after the school itself: Berkelium.
要想进入伯克利就读，竞争十分激烈。今年秋季，只有17.3%的高中毕业申请者顺利被录取，成为2014级的新生。另外值得一提的是伯克利的劳伦斯·伯克利国家实验室（Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory），这个实验室专门为美国能源部进行前沿研究。
Admissions for the university are very selective, with only 17.3 percent of high school seniors applying gaining admission for the Fall 2014 class. Also associated with the university is the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a facility that conducts cutting edge research for the US Department of Energy.
2.）加州大学洛杉矶分校（University of California, Los Angeles）
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), is located in metropolitan Los Angeles, but basically functions as its own city, with a daily population of 70,000 people. The school’s proximity to Hollywood and the movie industry means, more often than not, at least a few of those tens of thousands happen to be celebrities or sport stars.
Located in the West L.A. neighborhood of Westwood, UCLA is the second flagship university of the UC. Fifty years younger than its northern cousin Berkeley, UCLA has grown to become one of the premier research universities in the nation, especially in the medical field. Admission to the school is very selective, with the university receiving the most applications out of any college in the world.
体育运动是UCLA的传统之一，UCLA的学生和运动队都被称为布鲁因仙熊（Bruins，UCLA的吉祥物）。长久以来，UCLA与南加州大学（USC）都是“同城死敌”，学生们都称另外一所大学为“城那头的”（“that other school across town”），因此，两校间一年一度的橄榄球赛总能吸引数以千计的观众。UCLA累计获得全美大学体育协会（NCAA）冠军共111次，这个记录任何学校都无法比拟。
One of the largest traditions at UCLA is sports, with UCLA students and athletic teams alike being known as Bruins. UCLA has along-standing rivalry with the University of Southern California, often referred to on campus as “that other school across town”, and the annual football game between the two colleges draws thousands of fans. With 111 titles, UCLA has the most NCAA team championships out of any school in the country.
3.）加州大学圣地亚哥分校（University of California, San Diego）
加州大学圣地亚哥分校（简称UCSD）成立于1960年，是加州“三巨头”最年轻的成员。UCSD地处繁荣的拉荷亚（La Jolla，圣地亚哥市北部的度假胜地社区)，距离海滩和太平洋边的悬崖观景台仅仅几英里。学术研究方面，UCSD主打生命科学和社会科学这两大领域。UCSD的下设部门——斯克里普斯海洋研究所（The Scripps Institution of Oceanography），是全世界最大最老牌的地球和海洋研究所之一。此外，斯克里普斯海洋研究所还设立了史蒂芬波奇水族馆，面向公众开放。
Established in 1960, San Diego is the youngest member of the UC Big Three. Located in the affluent neighborhood of La Jolla, UC SanDiego is only a couple miles from the beach and the bluff lookouts over the Pacific Ocean. Academically, UCSD specializes in the life and social sciences.The Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which acts as a department of the university, is one of the oldest and largest facilities dedicated to the study of the Earth and the ocean. Besides being one of the most renowned oceanic science institutions in the world, Scripps also houses the Birch Aquarium, which is open to the public.
The undergraduate portion of the university is split into six residential colleges, each with different graduation requirements and approaches to education. UC San Diego is a very selective university that was ranked as the top university in the United States by Washington Monthly, which rated schools based on their contribution to the public good.