I'm probably going to move early August. I have to drive my car across the country... ugh! Not sure yet where I'm going to be living... probably search for an off-campus 1-bedroom or efficiency.
I would NOT wait until August to look for a place to live. If you do, expect to pay a ton of money for a place that is barely above the minimum standard of habitability. Examples of my friends who waited until late summer to look for housing: one lives in a dining room (no kidding!) of a 2 bd apt. and pays 700 dollars; another buddy pays 1200 for a 300 sq. foot mother-in-law. It would be well worth your while to take a trip to Berkeley in June or July to look at housing options and sign a lease to begin in August. Before you go out, search the listings on www.craigslist.org to have some idea of typical accomodations, prices, etc. Unless you are coming from NYC you will probably be shocked by the prices. Berkeley is known for slumlording and sub-standard housing. When I moved last year, a Berkeley native suggested that I out on "Berkeley goggles" when I look for a place to stay -- if it looks decent to a reasonable person, it is probably a phenomenal find for Berkeley.
I'm a bit nervous about the clique-ish-ness and gossip that everyone talks about. But Berkeley sounds like it (hopfully) attracts a more diverse, unique type of student. So hopefully it'll be a blast. Personally, I'm ignoring these messageboards and am assuming that my fellow classmates are going to be fun, friendly, and cool
You are right on target with this one. There are cliques everywhere, but I think they are probably less prevalent in a student body that is generally friendly, cooperative and laid-back.
Congrats on your acceptance!