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University of California-Riverside

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What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

The stereotype of students at UC Riverside is that they are students that were rejected from the other UC’s. I have even heard people say UCR stands for University of California Rejects. Sadly, there is some truth to this stereotype. Even I have to admit that out of all the UC’s I applied to, Riverside was the only one to accept me. During orientation, I was curious to see if other students were in the same situation. I asked roughly twenty students and fifteen of them told me they chose to go to UCR because it was the only university that accepted them. They explained they would much rather attend a university than a community college. The summer before college started, I was not very enthusiastic about going to UCR because I came from a competitive high school in Irvine. If you didn’t get into a “good” college, then you might as well keep your mouth shut and not tell anyone where you’re going. I even had a friend who lied to people that she was attending UCI when in fact she was actually rejected. This shows how much pressure our peers, teachers, and parents put on us to be accepted into a “good” college. There is a strong desire to be number one and with that mind set, it has lowered the esteem of students who got rejected from their dream schools. First of all, what is considered a “good” college? Why is UCLA considered better than UCR? Are there better and smarter students that go to UCLA? Are they going to be more successful? In my eyes a good college is what is best for that particular individual. Going to a college is like committing to a relationship. Sometimes you ask someone out and they reject you. Maybe it was because it was just bad timing on your part or you’re just not what that person is looking for, or you don’t meet their standards. If you really want to be in a relationship that works for you and makes you happy, then you personally need to know yourself very well. Why spend a lot of money on a college that doesn’t even have what you’re looking for? You just want to go there for the prestige or because it looks good but not because you truly believe you will be happy there. Attending college is a four or more year long relationship with that school. Some people decide to break up with it by dropping out. Others do not put enough effort and time into the relationship and the college dismisses them. But if a student does his research, spends some time with the school, gets to know it from the inside out, then he will get the feeling that this is a good fit for him. Yes, UCR students may fit the stereotype of “UC Rejects” but if we continue to have this attitude that we are not as intelligent, as hard working, and as successful as other UC students, then that attitude will spread to others. Stereotypes are not just randomly formed but are created as a result of what is commonly seen. UCR has many great opportunities for students and if they can break away from believing in this stereotype and be proud to attend this university, it will change that negative perspective.

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There are many stereotypes that are attached to the name of UC Riverside. The most popular one you'll hear is the one referring to the incredible heat. People always ask me, "Isn't it super hot over there?" That stereotype is half true and half false. Yes, during the spring and summer quarter, the heat can become quite overbearing reaching anywhere from mid 90s to low 100s. However, during the fall and winter quarter we actually experience some really nice weather ranging anywhere from high 60s to mid 70s. Contrary to popular belief, it actually does get quite cold around here. Another stereotype we are infamous for, is that we are one of the lower ranked schools among the UC system. You will find that most high school seniors apply here as a "back up" school, a school that they can use as a safety net in case they dont get accepted into anywhere else; hence the name UCR standing as an abbreviation for the University of College Rejects. However, this is not true in the slightest. You must understand that this is a school of the UC system, we are taught basically the same curriculum and we are all part of the same system. Also, the business school here is one of the best in the country. With the recent acquisition of Dr. David W. Stewart from the Marshall School of Business at USC, our business program at UCR is quickly growing to be one of the best in the nation. Also, UCR has recently been crowned as the 5th best school in America by Forbes, a highly regarded name in the business industry. With accolades such as that, can we really be stereotyped as a dummy school?

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All it took was a single Facebook status. One cheery update telling my friends I'd decided to become a UC Riverside Highlander, and the stereotypes started flowing. "UCR? I thought you got good grades.." "Isn't that, like, in the middle of nowhere?" "Good luck dude, I heard some kids there can't even read." I began second-guessing my decision, and my dreams were a montage of me sitting alone by the bell tower, completing a second-grade writing assignment and crying over my high school honors diploma. Move-in day finally arrived on September 25th, almost a full month after most of my friends had packed up their lives and shipped off to college. As part of the welcoming activities, all the awkward freshmen and I broke into groups and talked about our high school activities. My jaw dropped as those around me explained that they were valedictorian, or had won a state math competition, or were the first in their family to attend college. THESE were the "lowlifes" my peers had warned me about? It seemed like out of everyone, I was the lowlife for judging a school based on elitist opinions instead of fact. It turns out UCR is just like any other UC: chock full of super smart kids. The difference lies in the diversity, and though that sounds cliche I love being surrounded by such a unique blend of people. I would encourage anyone who judges UCR to take a campus tour and ask about all the exciting plans for the future, like our med school and the new on-campus apartments. It;s such an exciting place to go to school, so don't let Facebook comments scare you off!

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The stereotype of the students at UCR tends to be the idea that all UCR students are the rejects from other UCs. As a third year now, I realize this statement is only about half true. When you ask someone why they chose UCR the truth of the matter is, most of the time, they will respond with, "I didn't get in anywhere else." I am also included in this majority of people. When the time came for me to attend college my only choices were San Francisco State and UC Riverside (having already been rejected by UCD, UCLA, and Cal). I chose UCR because I visited SFSU and simply couldn't see myself there, thus UCR was my only option. I was a UC reject. But, in all honesty, UCR has a way of winning over everyone's hearts in this strange and truly surprising way-myself included. I planned to attend UCR in the fall of 2009 with every intention of attempting to transfer out. A month into my first quarter I knew that was never going to happen. I became submerged into a community of people from so many different backgrounds and different places. I attended classes on a beautiful campus, that was big enough but not too big that I felt forgotten. I fell in love with the dorms, the weird dining hall food, the events, the professors, the classes, the people, even that strange scottish bear. This strange love for UCR- the school you hate to love, is the consensus among the majority of everyone there. Yes UCR may not have been our first choice college, but does this make us love it any less? Of course not. Would we trade our college experience for another? OF COURSE NOT.

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UCR stereotypes: the campus/city is boring; the students are only here because they were rejected from other UCs; it's easy to be admitted. The truth: UCR and the surrounding city are far from boring if you enjoy the arts, nature, music, and becoming a more well-rounded individual. The campus offers tons of events, concerts, and guest lectures throughout the year. We're also centrally located to tons of hiking destinations, including the Box Springs Mountains, Mt. Rubidoux, and the C trail behind campus. There are also tons of student organizations and sports clubs, which means that if you have an interest or hobby, you'll find like-minded students who want to meet you and have fun together. Honestly, people who say that UCR/Riverside is boring must expect events to fall into their lap. We're a bit more real here - you have to go out and find what makes you happy. As for the rejected students/easy admissions stereotype, that's old news. Before 2010, students were offered admission to UCR if they were rejected from other UC campuses. That way, students were still given the opportunity to receive a UC education. Now, UCR admits just 61% of applicants, and admissions criteria are becoming more competitive each year. So no, it's not easy to get into UCR. Lots of students want to come here because financial aid is generous, our location is central to many cities in the Inland Empire, and our academic programs are top-notch. Tour the campus during the school year and see for yourself if the stereotypes hold true. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

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There was a special term for University of California, Riverside at my high school. UCRejects. They used to say that UCR was the place you attend after being turned down from every other UC. "Only stupid people go to UCR." This definitely isn't the case. I've meet all types of people at UCR - some students will have a passion for writing, some for mathematics, and others will be dedicated to philanthropy. Some students at UCR go on to medical school and law school, some become writers and researchers, and each experience is different. There are all sorts of 'types' at UCR, and labeling it as a University for "rejects" is like stating that every college student outside of UCR has never been rejected. Here's the reality: everyone has failed at some point. When you think about UCR, think about the majors it offers, the type of campus life that exists there, the professors who are engaged in research you might be interested in, whether you like the food or hate it - don't think about it like it's a "reject" school. Yes, there are fools at UCR who think they can get by without trying - just like any other college. But those fools aren't all there is to UCR.

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Generally UCR is notoriously known as the ugly step-child of the other, more prestigious UC's. Students here are not really taken seriously, they don't take themselves seriously, and neither do the teachers. In many ways, this stereotype is undeniably true; a self-fulfilling prophecy presents itself here by infecting the mindsets of many insecure, confused and discouraged students. Also, because UCR is a big "party" school, complete with a busy partying scene, easy access to alcohol and other substances, and a thriving Greek fraternity/sorority system, it is even easier to look down on the students here. In addition to this, another group that is largely prevalent in UCR's campus is the Asians. Lots of them. Statistically, UCR is one of the most diverse campuses in the U.S. and is home to many races and cultures. However, some sort of fetish and stereotype of the erotic Asian girls and the hipster Asian guys have been established. Especially because there are so many Asian sororities and fraternities, which require many of their members to consistently look and present themselves at their best, UCR is also known as the "hot Asian school".

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If there was to be a common stereotype of the students at UC-Riverside, it would not be the usual stereotype that you came across in high school such as the jocks, frats, stoners, geeks, etc. At UCR, those stereotypes fail to reign supreme on campus because there seems to be a pretty even number of people in each of these stereotypes so one stereotype is not more noticeable than the other. However, if UCR had to have a main stereotype, that stereotype would be the strong Asian/Asian-American presence on campus. With 40% of the UCR campus being of Asian/Asian-American race (Source: diversity.ucr.edu), UCR being a strong Asian-populated campus is not unheard of. However, with UC Riverside being one of the most racially diverse universities in the nation, this demographic is no surprise! The students of UCR take pride in our racially diverse and accepting campus.

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As a university with an unusually high rate of commuters, as well as a location in a not-super-fancy-city, UC Riverside is often deemed a "ghetto" school. They say that it takes three UCR students to screw in a lightbulb: one to steal the lightbulb, one to screw it in, and one to drive the getaway car... But personally, we like to consider ourselves "ghetto fabulous." We take pride in the fact that we're from varying socio-economic backgrounds, and it's these experiences that make each & every student unique. We've got our hood rats, our sorority girls, our Honors brainiacs, and everything else in between. UC Riverside is an exceptional university because of its melting pot of people, all mixing together to create an outstanding education.

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The stereotype of students at the University of California, Riverside is quite an intriguing one. Being that UCR is considered to be one of the lower schools in the UC system (which is a stereotype within itself), students at the university are considered to be less intelligent, even lazier than some of the other UCs. This stereotype is far from accurate and UCR is currently making a name for themselves within the UC system and the United States by adding a medical school and law school. The recreation center is being redone and the entire campus is in the process of a makeover. It is difficult to stereotype a campus or the occupants of a campus. Nevertheless, UCR can be considered that underdog that will soon win the championship.

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