Academics at my school is at a comfortable level for me. I have classes that challenge me to put in all of my effort. I have some classes that are very easy for me and thus provide an easier workload and an outlet to have fun while learning. Most of my professors do not know my name because I do not visit them as much as I visit my teacher aids. My favorite class has been my English classes because I am an English major. I love the sizes of my English classes and I like that I can participate and have a relationship with my English professors. All of my English professors know my name because I visit their office hours or I participate in class a lot. I love that I can easily reach them and have a friendship with them. I feel like it's not particularly difficult to get into UCR in comparison to other Universities of California but it is definitely not an easy breezing passage throughout college. The courses are challenging and you have to work to get the grades you want.
I'm very happy to see the wide range of subjects that the school has to offer. The major requirements employ that you take units from different areas so you really get a good feel of what you want to do before declaring a concentration. I've taken a dance class, painting class, language class, astronomy class, creative writing class and have enjoyed all of these. There are very competitive students, those who set the curve, so by all means school is not easy! Those kind of students are the ones I know will be very successful after school, because they utilize their education here. As for the professors, there are some great ones here who show that they're concerned with your progress, and really make an effort to connect with you. On the other hand, there are certain professors who students have not liked, and I can see why (not following the course guide line, unprepared in lecture, etc). But I suppose every school has that.
I am a Creative Writing major at the University of California, Riverside, and I have had an enriching experience with this department. Many of the creative writing courses I have taken have had no more than twenty students, thus allowing for close interaction with professors and peers. All the professors from the smaller sized classes know their students by name, and highly encourage class participation. I have found that because of the small sized classes many students know each other better, and engage in intellectual conversations in relation to their major both in and out of class. I feel that the education within this department is geared towards learning for its own sake, but some of the professors have been very useful in providing information about actually working in this field. The acadmeic counselor within this department also provides information on internships, and employment opportunities within this field.
Professors are always swamped with work but without a doubt going to their office hours makes things much better, knowing a professor has never hurt anyone. They will know you and they like feedback, nobody wants to have a bad class. As far as the content outside of class, just like high school you can tell who puts the time in and without a doubt the ones who put the time in know more when it counts on exams. That being said Professors are usually around to help and students can usually find a group or partner to work with come exam time. Teachers do teach a curriculum but they are always willing to talk about work in the field and getting a job. Each school of study is different depending on requirements but each has a diverse curriculum. Im in the Creative Writing department and all the teachers are published authors or have degrees and experience in the field and will talk with students about their work.
for CHASS: classes are a joke. Upper division business classes are even easier than the business classes some well-funded high schools offer. The business school is still recovering from the nuke that the Provost dropped on them a few years back, although the new Dean hired from USC does have very ambitious plans to correct all the wrongs. The only positive aspect of being a CHASS student is the fact that students who either actually study or are smart can easily get 3.75+ GPA and transfer the heck out of this desolate wasteland after two years. UC intercampus transfers (outgoing) are extremely typical. Many students get offers from UCLA, UCSD, and UCSB. Once you get to May of your second year, you'll most likely bid farewell to 70% of the competent students on campus that you've gotten to know, because they'll all be transferring out... no one wants a lifetime association with a disgusting city like Riverside.
I'm currently a Creative Writing major and my school is actually the only UC that offers the major. The major is designed to be different than traditional lectures and is not very difficult beyond the fact that it demands a lot of reading and writing, but you still grow remarkably in your writing skills. And it's really helpful in my other classes since I'm planning on a double major in History, which is a lot of essays. In both departments the faculty are friendly and genuinely interested in helping the students as long as you put in the effort and also go to office hours. As for my other classes, since you're required to take several different lower-division breadth or general eds., they are much larger with typically hundreds of students, but there are smaller discussions/labs that you concurrently enroll in. But overall there's a lot of support, and just as much expectation of you as any other UC.
As an unstated rule, Lower Division classes are huge and the only way a Professor will know your name is if s/he sees you outside of class at least three times for various reasons. (Unless you're my friend who sits in the front and asks obnoxious questions and has the Professor so annoyed that they start throwing chalk at him, I don't recommend this route) My favorite class is one that's unique to UCR, Natural Hazards and Disasters. I took it, I got a high grade, I would take it again just because it was such a fun class. It is tag teamed by two professors who switch off lecture days and the class project is to put together a report over the course of the quarter that shows all the possible hazards to your own home. You get to see lots of videos and learn about various weather patterns and such, it's kind of like taking a class right off the Discovery Channel.
As a Creative Writing major, the teachers in the department are great. They are interesting, passionate and really connect with students. They remember your name, they remember your writing, and they can help you through all of your doubts and problems with writing. The students in the workshops are also great. They're talented, some them are definitely going to get big. But you don't get jealous, because everyone is so warm and humble that it builds community. The most unique class I've taken is called Rondalla Ensemble. It is a small class, once a week, that teaches you the instruments in a Rondalla Ensemble, a Philippine musical group. These are fourteen-string guitars, about as small as a ukelele (some have long necks), focused on tremolos. No other school offers such a cool, specific, cultural instrument on a reliable basis.
UCR is a big campus, It is one of the most diverse UC's so of course there are going to be a lot of students. When it comes to academics, UCR is like any other big campus. You have big lecture halls with close to 3 to 4 hundred people in there. You'll be lucky if the professor knows your name in there. However, you also have discussions led by the TA. This is where you get in depth learning and can ask specific questions. In discussion you have a class of about 20 people. The TA's actually take the time to learn your name and give you the attention needed to learn the material. If you still feel that is not enough, professors and TA's always hold office hours. This is basically your chance to get a one on one session with the professor or TA. In my opinion, GO TO OFFICE HOURS because they honestly do help a lot.
I think it depends on you major, i often hear students talking in class or outside of class about what they learn and they apply it to everyday life. Most students participate in class and there are some debated which i think adds to the class room environment. You can always go to a class mate for help. And you shouldn't be afraid to talk to your T.A's of Professors is you have a question, they will more then likely help you to answer it. As a freshman it is difficult to get the classes that you want but if you wait until the first week of december of so there should be a few more openings, but don't get discouraged if you don't get the class you want. Also Study study study, the last think you want is to fall behind in readings and have to cram a quarters work of information in your head during finals