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University of California-Riverside

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The most Unique aspect about UCR is the racial diversity. And how everyone still seems to get along so well. And it's relatively affordable standard of living. Big Picture.. "UCR Icons" -the Belltower.. tell anyone to meet there, and they will all know. -the "C". I really wish I had taken advantage of this more.. One must hike to the C once during their UCR life.. but I wish I had made it a goal with a group of close friends to go once a month.. such a good work out!!! -Science Library and Rivera.. I personally liked Science more, it was cleaner, organized and newer. -Lot 30.. the infamous 'Disneyland parking lot'.. It's really not THAT far of a walk to campus.. but in comparison to how big the whole campus is.. I suppose I can see where that comes from. -Rite Aid on Big Springs.. That's where the sales for alcohol is.. every night you go there, even during the day, is a massive reunion of all the partiers in town.. socializing on what's 'happening tonight'.. getting their handle of Bacardi, Vodka, Captain Mo for the night.. along with some bags of Sunflower seeds.. and 40's (please lay low from that.. it's what got me massively fat) -Cask & Cleavers.. always happening on Thursday nights! Our most quaint memory is the whole bar singing to "Don't stop believing" by Journey played by the Piano man at Cask.. -Denny's on University... drunk food at 2 am -Del Taco. As tempting as it is to resort there in the middle of a study night.. that's how I gained my sophomore 30!!!!! -I loved running on the track outside the gym.. around the tennis courts..... 3 laps to a mile! -the Commons!! New restaurants have been built.. but it's the one stop shop for food! The best thing about UC Riverside is that most people that have newly arrived wonder how they'll survive their next 4 years of college in this boring, desert land.. Theres no ocean, there's no river (as implied in the name), no attraction in the city.. unlike the sister schools (UCLA, UCI, UCSD.. etc).. but the fact of the matter is.. ask any UCR Alum, they had more fun their 4 years of college there than anybody else in the other schools.. Ask most the UCSD alums, they will say that their years were incredibly boring.. yet they were given all the resources to make it the best.. the beach, the city, shopping, etc.. It's because when you're given not a lot.. it is human survival method to make the most of it.. as proven in the Neanderthals.. "Poverty stimulates one's wisdom" - of course an exaggeration but gets the point across. But the experience at UCR is one that could only be understood by an insider.. We'll call it 'California's best kept secret'.. Since I've been back to UCR, I know that they have built A LOT OF new buildings.. and i feel that the campus was just right in size.. one may get across the campus within 15 minutes tops! The College town around UCR is really what has made the city of Riverside boom in economics.. because past Chicago ave (which intersects University) is where the hookers and pimps start.. So word of advice: don't go roaming down there on your peds past 8 pm!!! but within the boundaries are beautifully built apts such as Sterling, Grand Marc.. at the University Village.. is AMC where classes are held during the day, a few restaurants.. a real real ghetto bar/club, not sure if it's still called BB, but definitely Cheap drinks..

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This in the perspective of a computer science major so take this in mind if you are a humanities major. If there is one word that describes this school, it would be "under-rated". What this school lacks in prestige, it makes up in heart and opportunity. If you find yourself being "rejected" from the other UCs and ending up here, don't think it is the end of the world. You learn the same things as the other UCs and have basically the same opportunities. Remember, it doesn't matter where you start out. It matters where you finish. I absolutely adore this school. At first, I thought I would not like it, but UCR grows on you. I credit UCR for building me as a person when the other UCs told me "no". The professors are accessible and the class sizes tend to be smaller than other UCs. However, in only three years, our reputation as the "reject" UCR is quickly disappearing. The campus is quickly growing, despite budget cuts, and people now say to me, "UCR, good school." If this has changed in only three years, I can't wait to see how UCR improves in a decade. I am going to be a proud alumni. The best thing about this school is the friendly down-to-earth atmosphere. Everyone here is so non-judgemental. We are exposed to so much diversity that one learns what really connects human beings together. The school has a nice size. It isn't too big or too small. There is a sense of community among the engineering school. Faculty and professors often have BBQs with students. If you apply yourself, you can go far. It is easy for science and engineering majors especially to get into research. There isn't a college town feeling to this university. The night life is virtually non-existent if you don't have a car. If you do have a car, you can go down-town to do some nice activities. There are museums, restaurants, and a night club. Drugs and alcohol can be found but one needs to actually look for them. If I could change one thing about this university, it would be to have more people live closer to and on campus. We are a "commuter" school where 70% of people commute. Mostly, they do it to save money on living expenses. Also, I would make our humanities program stronger. Our best strengths have to be in the STEM subjects. The humanities buildings and classrooms are in disarray. It is depressing to be a humanities major here. I also heard our physics program isn't the best. Little known facts about UCR is that we have the best place to study insects. If you take the hill upward and go in one of the buildings, there are lots of insects to look at in display. The UCR Rivera library is home to the largest science fiction section in the world; the Eaton collection. The physics building has a pendulum that sways back and forth. They also have a globe you can play with.

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As I quickly approach my last quarter here at UCR, there are many things that I loved about the school as well as many things that could have been better. One thing that I'll always cherish about this school is the friends and faculty that I've met here. Being a school of such diversity, its really difficult to find people only hanging out in cliques of their own ethnicity. You'll never hear people say that our school is dominated by one certain ethnicity. Personally, I've become acquainted with all sorts of people here on campus. Students here are generally very open and friendly and the variety of friends that I've made during my times in the dorm are actually some of my closest friends even now. The professors here also share that friendly characteristic, well most at least. They are always open to talking to student about anything whether it be class material or life decisions; you name it, they'll talk to you about it. During your time at our campus, you'll find that most outings will be centered around you and some friends getting some awesome food at one of the many awesome restaurants here in Riverside. We have a phenomenal all you can eat sushi place and an all you can korean bbq place about 15 miles away from here. Not only is the food super awesome, but the price is super cheap for what you're getting. Its definitely the best place to go after a hard midterm in the afternoon. Just make sure you get to know someone with a car considering that most of the fun in Riverside is located somewhere off campus. My biggest complaint about our campus is the lack in sports teams. We do have a decent basketball team as well as a volleyball team, however I really wish we had some sort of football team going. I honestly feel school spirit will increase drastically if we could get a football team going on campus. However, this isn't a humongous concern because we do get some awesome performers for our various school events. During my time here, I've seen big bands such as N*E*R*D, Common, Kid Cudi, J.Cole, Taking Back Sunday, Shiny Toy Guns, Crystal Method, Wale, and much more ALL FOR FREE. Another humongous complaint I have for our school is parking. There is one major lot for our campus as well as some other smaller lots that you can park your car. But during rush hours from around 11am - 1pm, parking can become a nightmare. It definitely requires you to leave your house or apartment a bit earlier than you would have actually liked. This could be an easy fix though if the school just allowed students to park in some of the restricted lots on campus.

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I overall like UC Riverside because of the people, what activities/clubs are offered and the overall vibe of the school. The first thing I noticed during my first week of school was that everyone was extremely friendly. I felt like I could talk to anyone and they would be just as enthusiastic to talk to me as I to them. The second thing I noticed about the students was how diverse everyone was. I came from a school where it was predominantly Asian and White. It was nice to see a large population of African-Americans, Hispanics, and other races. There were even a lot of foreign exchange students who were just as social as anyone else on campus. Second is the large amount of activities and clubs that are offered. I was very excited to find out that they had intramural sports like softball, volleyball, basketball, etc. I ended up joining a volleyball team and so far I have been very pleased with the organization of the games and the competitiveness. There are also a lot of classes offered at the recreation center like martial arts, dance, and work out classes. There is even a wide variety of clubs from science to art and even cultural clubs. The general vibe of the school is open, social, and laid back. There isn’t this high academic atmosphere like my high school. My friends from UCLA have told me that in the dorms, it is usually quiet because students spend an incredible amount of time studying. My dorm experience was very social and fun but at the same time there were still some students who did care about academics. There is a lot of diversity at UC Riverside. Not just race, but personality, work ethics, and wealth. Some things I wish there was more of and the most frequent student complaints I have heard of is there is not much to do off campus and not a lot of school spirit. There are a few food places near campus and a movie theatre. But to get to the mall you have to take a bus or have a car. Many students feel bored on campus, especially on weekends because there is nothing to do. There aren’t many events, clubs, or malls that are fairly close and there isn’t a wide selection of things to do. Most of the weekends are spent going to parties. Lastly, UCR doesn’t have a lot school pride. A lot of people do not attend sporting events or wear or buy UCR sweatshirts and products compared to other colleges like USC or UCLA. This has more to do with people’s attitude towards the school. A lot of students that attend UCR are those who were rejected from the other UC’s. This definitely has an affect of the school’s spirit.

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What is most advantageous for the students at UCR is the intelligible and distinguished faculty within the various academic departments, like Reza Aslan, Chris Abani, and Laila Lalami from the Creative Writing Department. They are incredibly supportive and easily accessible. What I will value most when I finish the MFA program is their knowledge and advice. Although UCR is not known for having the grandest campus within the UC system, it is quite a beautiful campus nonetheless. There are citrus trees dispersed all throughout the campus, so, if oranges are your favorite citrus fruit, than UC Riverside is just the campus for you. Orange blossoms can be smelled from any point within the campus in the springtime; one of my favorite things to do as a student at UCR is to walk to class in the midst of that aroma. The citrus trees on campus are incomparable to elsewhere, since faculty researchers have invented numerous new types of fruits, including the Melogold grapefruit and the Golden Nugget orange. The university began as the humble and official UC Citrus Experiment Station in 1954, and part of its prestige is for that reason. What is most memorable about the campus, however, is the bell tower. Anytime students are in need of direction, they can look to the bell-tower as their guide. It is the highest building on campus, a tall and slender white tower that houses a nostalgic clock at the very top. It can be seen from almost any point within the campus. The HUB (highlander union building) is brand new, modern and attractive. The food is alright, slightly expensive, but is definitely an enjoyable environment to hang out with friends in (there is a coffee bean on campus as well). The university village is always a fun place to hang out, and is within walking distance of the campus (just down the street). There is a Starbucks, a theater, and just about every type of restaurant there is to eat at (oriental, New York style pizza, sandwiches, sushi, you name it). However, there is nothing more exciting about UCR than the fact that it is only about a half an hour from Disneyland! One disappointment about the university is that regrettably, some of the clerical and administrative faculty on campus can be discouraging and inhospitable at times. Students might have to do the extra research to resolve their concerns. Overall, however, most are supportive and welcoming. Above all, If I were to sum up my experience at UCR, I would call it an experience to remember.

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Reflecting on my first quarter as a real-live-college-student, I realized that UCR has become somewhere that feels like home, except 25 degrees hotter. I genuinely love my college and those who attend it alongside me. The 20,000 students at UCR are passionate, friendly, and more welcoming than I could have imagined. This was made clear to me my very first day to college, when I managed to get hopelessly lost on the medium-sized campus a grand total of five times. Each time, a smiling face walked me to my class, and two of them even became close friends. Alright, down to the nitty gritty specifics. Riverside is most definitely NOT a college town. Safety is an issue, though most people blow it out of proportion and as long as you use your common sense, you should be fine. However, Riverside is only an hour away from whatever activity your heart desires- Disneyland, Huntington Beach, Redlands, Big Bear, you name it. There's always something to do at UCR, and anyone who tells you otherwise simply isn't looking in the right places. Fraternities and sororities are always having socials and events, as well as the more than 200 on-campus clubs. In addition, there's an awesome Outdoor Excursions program that offers discounted group trips skiing, surfing, and more. My favorite UCR events are the weekly Wednesday concerts, or "Nooners", where local bands serenade us midday. It's a great way to see all your friends, grab some food, and unwind. I already have so many unforgettable memories here. From Block Party, the huge kickoff concert and all-campus party, to the epic USC basketball showdown, UCR kids love coming out and partying alongside their classmates. Speaking of class (notice I saved this for last, true procrastination), academics at UCR have so far been pretty rigorous, but definitely manageable. My TA's were approachable and knew their info, so it wasn't intimidating to ask for help in my crazy upper-div Poli Sci class. Registration has become a bit of a circus due to budget cuts, but that's expected at any public school in CA nowadays. Overall, I'd say a solid 80% of kids in my classes are there to learn and get a degree, an impressive chunk when I had three 8 a.m lectures.

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UCR is what you make of it. UCR students have a lot of agency, and that's what I like best about the college. There are many leadership, research, social, and personal development opportunities at UCR - to access them, you have to be proactive. If you really want to grow - professionally or personally - there are many resources at UCR for you. There are also many ways to fail your classes, abuse substances, and get kicked out. It can be easy to get lost amongst the masses (it's a pretty big school - I think about 18,500 students), but that also means that you can connect with so much more. The hugeness of UCR means that a lot of students have trouble finding their 'niche' on campus - but the opportunity will always be there. There isn't much school spirit at UCR, probably because we don't have a football team anymore. The administration is trying to increase school spirit with a "Tartan Soul" campaign that advocates Integrity, Accountability, Respect, and Discipline, but it hasn't had much effect. UCR doesn't have a "college town" feel, but it's located an hour away from the beach and the mountains. It's possible to get by with just public transportation, but its comfortable to have access to car. The budget cuts affect UCR enormously. Many services (like free trolleys that take students around Riverside) have been cut, building the medical school has been delayed, and class sizes are swelling to the point where students find it difficult to get classes. There are ways to ensure priority registration - enrolling in the Honors program, or playing for a school athletic team are a couple methods that give your first pick at classes. Incentives and disadvantages, UCR has both. Unfortunately, there will always be people who focus on the school's negative stereotypes. I remember hearing about an encounter my roommate had with an acquaintance she'd met at a party. She had told him she attended UCR, and he'd given her a surprised look, then said "Wow. Really? I never would have guessed - you sound so intelligent." It's irritating, but that reaction can also be motivating. It's up to the student to make their experience memorable.

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My first thought when I heard about UC Riverside (which happens to be a relatively common thought to others out of the Southern California area as well) is, "Where is UCR?" Well, let me tell you where UC Riverside is. UCR is an hour drive away from LA, Disneyland, Big Bear, the beaches and the snowy slopes. It's located in an ideal location for the student who likes to explore their surroundings plus the campus environment itself is the perfect level of urban living where it's not so crowded that you're shoulder to shoulder with everyone but it's not rural where you think you're the last human on earth. The campus is a perfect size for the amount of students present. The campus is large and roomy with enough space to put in huge lawns to kick back and take in the Southern California sun but small enough that going from class to class isn't an epic journey. Personally, I spend time in the Athletic Fitness Center where student-athletes at UCR go to study or relax and socialize with other student-athletes. However, when I feel like getting away from the athlete population, I hang out in the Highlander Union Building (Also known as the HUB) where I can get lunch at Panda Express on one floor, chill on a couch on another floor, or kick back on the top floor in a comfy chair watching other students walk around on campus. The "college town" feel has a bit to be desired but that comes with time. All you really need to do is take a short ten minute walk from campus to the University Village where the students of UCR eat, go to the movie theater, or just hang out with friends in between classes. It's the perfect spot to go on a date, go out with friends, or just kill time. The one experience that I'll always remember is my first Block Party. Block Party is the opening event at the start of fall quarter where UCR students go on campus to eat at food tents, meet the Greeks, hang out with the athletes, rock climb, go through obstacle courses, play games, go to the Beer Garden (if you're of age of course), and watch a pretty awesome concert. It's a great way to meet new people and just have fun.

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The best thing about UC Riverside is the people. UCR has a very dynamic group of students, faculty, and staff which provide academic and social stimulation. If I could change anything about UCR I would build a bubble around the school and blast air conditioning, it is HOT! The campus population was the perfect size for me, it allows for the sense of family without everyone knowing your business. Even better than being the right size the campus population is very diverse. At the end of the day UC-Riverside is still a UC, one of the leading research universities in the nation. Which leads me to this statement, who cares what other people think! A degree is a degree is a degree, UC-Riverside has so much more to offer than so many other schools. Go Highlanders! the UCR campus has changed so much in the last several years, in particular the school developed and built a new commons. The new commons is pretty sweet, much better than what we had when I was going there. I spent a lot of time at the Starbucks in the University Village, which is part of campus "kinda." The city of Riverside is unique in that it has 3 universities within city limits, which you would think would make it a college town, but it is not yet. The city is making a number of improvements and slowly this is changing. The administration on campus is like the administration on every campus, a bunch of suits who are so worried about money nothing else matters. That is a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the gist. School pride at UCR is climbing. Part of the reason students are so apathetic is that they have been told over and over UCR is the reject UC and this is just not true! UCR is far superior to any number of the universities in California and across the globe, it is just in the middle of the desert. All UC campuses offer the UCDC program, which is something I participated in and would recommend to any student interested in exploring the nation's capital. Also, UCR offers a number of study abroad opportunities, which are less competitive because of the smaller population.

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One of the best things about this school that I truly adore is the diversity. There are so many cultures and ethinicities within this campus that it makes me feel like I've been all around the world just from looking at different types of students. If I had to change one thing, it wouldn't be the school itself, it'd be the hot, humid weather. Since I'm from Northern California, I really had to adjust to the climate here. In my opinion, my school is the perfect size. It's not too small, and not too big. The dorms and apartments aren't too far from campus. They're a decent distance. Everything is just right. When I first told people that I was attending UCR, I got different responses. Some people were accepting of it because they were familiar with the school and others weren't. They'd compare it to the other UCs, as if it's really worth comparing. I spend most of my time at my resident hall. The school administration is very helpful and sincere when it comes to the interaction with students. They truly want to see students here succeed and go on to graduate school, or whatever else students decide to do. There is a tremendous amount of school pride, especially at sporting events. At a recent basketball game students painted their bodies blue with yellow laters spelling, "UCR." There's nothing unusual about this school, as far as I know. I will always remember my orientation experience. Everybody was so enthusiastic about this school, and the energy on campus was so refreshing. It made me feel like I made the perfect decision when I decided to enroll here, and I have. One of the most frequent student complaints would have to be some of the items offered in the dining halls. Sometimes the food is delicious, and sometimes it's bland. It honestly just depends on the day, and who cooks the food.

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