UCLA has become my home away from home. The majority of students here are very ambitious, studious, smart, involved, and social. My first year was a little rough because of the transition away from home and just adjusting to how the professors taught the classes here. Additionally, being a science major, your first year classes are lecture halls (200-400 students a class!). It was very overwhelming and stressful because I had to learn to develop new study skills, accepting the fact that professors will not know your name by the end of the quarter, and adjust to living in the dorms. The big classes were a turn-off for me and so was walking down the hill every morning to go to class. However, it was something that I got used to and it doesn't bother me anymore. I always thought UCLA was an intelligent bubble--you literally live where you go to school and everyone is very smart, which can be discouraging sometimes because I feel that I had to work extra extra extra hard just to meet the standards. Again, this is something that you get used to and learn to grow from. You definitely have to work harder here than at most other universities, because mostly everyone that got accepted here were in the top of their high school classes. My progress here has dramatically improved since freshman year and I'm much better at staying on top of my priorities and academic workload. There's definitely a lot of UCLA school pride here! Especially around the time when the football team plays against USC (our school rival). There's occasional student protests, mainly over tuition increases (as far as I've noticed), and many other events happening on campus ALL THE TIME. Living in the dorms can be a hit or miss. My experience of living in the dorms has been phenomenal! It was the first place where I made my first friends (and our friendship has grown since then!). I definitely recommend living in the dorms the first two years of college; it really gives you a chance to meet many other students the same age (and many of them will happen to be taking the same classes too).
UCLA, is well, in Southern California. We enjoy great weather (which seems really important to most of the students here, who are extremely sensitive to clouds or rain) and a lovely campus with plenty of bright green grass and large trees. UCLA is also located in LA - so there is always plenty to do - if you make the effort. If you like stalking stars, they are reportedly seen at the Whole Foods Market, or the Starbucks, or you can always attend a movie premiere because many are held right here in Westwood. There are always movies to go watch, whether you enjoy the mainstream or the obscure. There are plenty of restaurants to try out and bars/clubs to go to. Hollywood is not that far away, and neither is Universal Studios. Driving around to get to these places is one of the biggest problems though. Parking spots are expensive (and so is gas) and the traffic can be atrocious. UCLA is huge. It is the most applied to school in the United States, and as a consequence, you tend to end up being your 9-digit student ID number. In addition, instead of mingling, the students tend to fall into smaller cliques or join student groups (more often than not arranged by racial background) so there's not much interaction. Moreover, the campus is geographically divided into South and North campuses, which also creates bubbles and does not make mingling easy. UCLA students generally have a lot of school pride. We like to support out phenomenal basketball team and go to sporting events with a blue wig on, or apply blue and yellow paint to our bodies to show school spirit. We also like to remind everyone that we're the first establishment to have 100 NCAA titles and celebrate it at every basketball and football game. Others, who don't care for athletics much, show their school pride by boasting about UCLA academics, which is less subtle but no less effective (my roommate does this).
The best thing about UCLA is the diversity and the academics. Next quarter I'm taking a class with General Wesley Clark!!! How col is that??? UCLA is HUUUUUGE, but thats a good thing and bad thing. It might take you a while (maybe a whole year or 2) to find out what you are into, or find some friends, or discover good professors, but once you do, UCLA is a great place. When I tell people I go to UCLA the usual response usually has to do with Asians and the difficulty of the school and people assume I'm smart. If I am stuck on campus, I usually spend my time at 1 or the numerous north campus coffee houses. They are relaxed, play nice music, and I always run into a friendly face. There are south campus spots too, but since my major is north campus, i dont go south. South is also relatively ugly compared to N. campus. Westwood isnt really a college town. It is really expensive and the bar, late night scene isnt so bumping. The biggest "scene", I guess is the nook of apartments around UCLA or the dorms. I guess frats are a thing too, but not my thing. I have no opinion of administration, except that getting classes is a bitch the first 2 years and there is always a lot of red-tape if you need to do something. BY FAR, the biggest controversy was the tazering incident last year. There is a ton of school pride, especially whenever UCLA plays USC...the entire campus gets really into it and there are decorations and you basicaly cant hide from it. Its difficult to pin down one experience, but I have had certain professors an classes that will stick with me forever. Also, freshman year welcome week was a blast. The most frequent complaints havbe to do with freshman and sophmore diffulties in enrolling in classes. Also, lecture size and overall size in general. Also, there are a lot of bad, boring, research-interested professors at UCLA...you have to know how to avoid them.
UCLA is a very prestigious school, both here and abroad. I feel that it is one of the few universities that you can mention in another part of the world, and people will know what you are talking about. When people from my area find out that I go to UCLA, they are usually pretty impressed. The campus is pretty large, depending on how quickly you like to get around it can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes to get from one side of campus to another, but there is lots of great architecture and even a sculpture garden to make the walks more enjoyable. Things are a lot more relaxed on North Campus, where the social sciences and humanities are. South Campus is the territory of all of the competitive pre-med science majors. Being a double major in sociology and psychology, I have spent some time in both sides of campus, but the university also encourages well-roundedness in your studies and meeting people with different educational interests through the general education courses you take here. UCLA is located in Westwood - it's almost like UCLA's own little town, with four one-screen movie theaters, dozens of restaurants, and some stores like bebe and Anne Taylor. It's a pretty relaxed atmosphere. UCLA shares a rivalry with USC and during football season, you can see the school spirit. Although football has never been my thing, it's still fun to have some competition with the other "neighborhood" university. This has resulted in all kinds of pranks between the two, such as when USC poured red-dyed laundry detergent in one of our fountains that ended up flooded Franz Hall, our psychology building.
People get worried about such a big school. I certainly was. The truth is, UCLA is its own city. I came from a small high school where everyone knew each other, the teachers were personable and friendly, and spirit was kept on the DL. At UCLA, I have had a very different experience, and I couldn't be more grateful. College is supposed to bridge a gap between one world and another. Being in a big place allows you to find communities and use your own resources. Probably the main difference between the pre college and world and the post college world is that no one hands a lollipop in real life. At UCLA, I've been able to go out and find my own lollipop in a safe, encouraging environment. The school seems smaller than it is when you be yourself and go out and DO yourself...if that makes sense :) Honestly, UCLA has no weaknesses. Yes, here we go, another Bruin who likes to brag and say NOTHING bad about his school. The truth is, the only complaint that continues to poke my side is parking. Parking at UCLA blows. It's like trying to talk to Buddha about the quadratic formula; your needs simply won't be addressed. Other than that, UCLA caters to all. Bruin plaza has been host to experiences I'll never forget, like a mock wedding for a gay couple (just months before the California Supreme Court legalized it!!!), a mindblowing birthday party for Israel, a performance by someone who, in my mind is the next Marvin Gaye, etc. If you mass thousands of people who are smarter than you who then devote their every day to helping you experience something bigger than yourself, you will get my school.
UCLA is a campus that offers its students almost everything. UCLA has arguably the nation's best athletic program, an idyllic campus located in Westwood in Southern California, beautiful weather, prestigious academics and a vibrant campus community that looks after both current and future needs of students and alumni. Due to the large student population, groups can be found for almost every niche from cement-canoe engineering projects to club sports. The community on campus is enchanced by a relatively compact campus (it is the smallest of the UC system) and localized residential area that allows friendships to be nurtured seemlessly. The dining-hall food is particularly spectacular, often rumored to be rated the best in the nation, and based on personal experience, is much better than any other college food sampled including all rival UC schools. The only thing UCLA does not provide is relief from the traffic in the surrounding LA area which is particularly frustrating but rarely encountered as most students have all they need in Westwood. UCLA offers a little of everything and for the outgoing student it is a treasure-trove of options that can all be explored but might be intimidating for those less-inclined to take initiative themselves. At times dealing with such a large university can be confusing and daunting, but the campus has many programs in place to aid the overwhelmed student.
I think that the best thing about UCLA is that it's so versatile in terms of the students, talents, and quality programs offered... we have a great academic program, no matter what major you choose, and we also have a diverse range of student groups to suit everyone's needs. Although people say that UCLA is too huge and impersonal, I like that about it for the most part... it's not really as impersonal as it's made out to be, and I love the fact that even on your last day before you graduate, you have many more people to meet and become friends with. Westwood is our college town, and although parking is a huge hassle, it's an amazing place... we have big chain stores as well as many one-of-a-kind mom-and-pop places to enjoy that make Westwood unlike any other place you'll ever experience! The movie premieres are also awesome... There's a lot of school pride, especially when we have a game against 'SC or we're making a title run of any sort. The Undie Run is my most memorable experience, and so is Bruin Bash and all the concerts that I help to organize as part of USAC's Cultural Affairs Commission! I got to meet a lot of musical artists, and I'll never forget that experience!
Of course, at the mere mention of UCLA, I can impress many people, but thats not why I chose to go there. It's a great location in terms of centrality in the Los Angeles area. I'm a local, so I can accurately say that anything worth visiting in LA is of decent distance to the campus. The neighborhood is lovely, though the homeless population seems to be slowly creeping up - sometimes the homeless hang out on campus and that can be some what of a nuisance. Students on campus have an enormous amount of pride - my boyfriend, who isn't a student at UCLA, once noted how many people were wearing or carrying some sort of UCLA gear. The campus is laid out on a hill, so the trek often involves some sort of climb, but its a great workout! The campus is beautiful though and often, on a sunny day, I find myself sitting down outside Royce and taking in the views. Another minor bother are the large amount of outside groups on campus; from the campus tours for prospective students to the various field trips for local students ranging from pre-school to high school, the campus is almost constantly full of wanderers and revelers.
GET INVOLVED! The more groups and clubs you join, the more people you meet, the more networks you create, and the more you grow as a person. I joined a dance group, a sorority, and a mental awareness club. I know as a pre-med student, none of these will matter, and my instincts tell me I don't need to do these extracurriculars since in high school, most people jammed the schedules to impress colleges, but REALLY, you get what you put into this school, especially since it is a big public school. When i was looking at colleges, I was very interested in small private schools, but somehow, I ended up here (I'm from Chicago and really wanted to live in California my whole life!) and I think it really was meant to be. UCLA prepares you for the real world where no one is there to hold your hand and you need to reach out if you want any help. And as a pre-med student, the competition is fierce, just like life is outside of college! And, people know that. UCLA is a school you can be proud to go to. the only thing that stinks right now is the constantly rising tuition!
I feel UCLA is one of the top ranking schools in the country and the opportunities for success that are offered here is immense. Although we have a large student body, it does not conflict in anyway with the daily activites of being a student. I feel UCLA has built a repuation for itself as one of the west coast "Ivy League" schools and it feels great to tell people that you go here. It makes them feel that you are ranked among the top prosects in the country. UCLA is definetly a college town because Westwood is host to an immense amount of student attractions and events. There is never a dull moment in this area! In my opinion, this school has immense school pride considering we are also one of the elite athletic schools. Our rivalry with USC is second to none. The administration and faculty here are excellent and each class leaves you with a much broader sense of the world. Overall, I feel UCLA gives everyone an equal opportunity to achieve high goals and at the same time provides the student with a thrilling and adventerous journey.