Impressions Of
University of California at Los Angeles

Academic Experience

Male Psychology Major C/O 2021

Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
I’d like the Psychology program to reach out more often to undergraduate students about research opportunities. I know a lot of pre-med students do research pretty easily. For a Psychology major, I feel like they aren’t as accessible.

How would you describe the learning environment? Is it particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s not as competitive as I thought it would be when I got into UCLA. The typical learning environment includes big lecture halls, and there are some discussion classes under 30 people. I don’t have any outstanding observations about the learning environment.

How accessible are your professors?
They have office hours once a week, so they are kind of accessible. Some of them say to email the TAs before them, so maybe they don’t want to be as accessible as they are. In general, if you desperately need something from them, you can contact them.

Female Undeclared on Major C/O 2022

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly collaborative or competitive?
There is obviously a little bit of competitiveness here, but it’s never right in your face because the collaborative aspect of it is overwhelming. None of my classes have a set number of A’s or something that sets the curve for everyone else. There are always study groups, or someone will post a Google Document discussion on the website. It’s very collaborative.

How does the quarter system impact your coursework?
I really enjoy having the quarter system. If you have a class you enjoy, then you don’t have to divide your attention as much. Students typically take three or four classes, so it’s easier to balance their time and study. On the semester system, people are taking four or five classes which makes it harder to juggle. It’s also nice if you have a class you don’t like because it’ll be over in 10 weeks.

Male Economics Major C/O 2020

Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
The lecturers in the department are very homogenous. They are more or less the same. I know that at some schools you’re supposed to take certain professors for certain classes, but, from my experience, all the professors here are the same. Their teaching styles are very similar, they’re knowledgeable about the course, and they’re not very engaging. Whether that’s a good thing or bad thing, I don’t know, it’s just something to get used to. [In terms of demographics, about 64% of the Economics department faculty is White and about 80% is male.]

How accessible have your professors been?
Not accessible at all. I go find the T.A.’s when I need help. The T.A.’s have been a lot more helpful and they convey the material more eloquently than the professors. I love the T.A.’s.

How do you like the quarter system?
It’s tough. If you miss a class you’re a lot farther behind. It’s a lot more unforgiving, but you learn a lot more as well. In general, I prefer the semester system, but the quarter system is not bad as well.

Social Opportunities

Male Psychology Major C/O 2021

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you like to participate in?
Aside from typical college apartment parties, I don’t really do much. There is a bus that goes straight from here to Santa Monica Pier, and that’s definitely a popular nighttime activity. Also, a lot of people go out into Westwood to Rocco’s, which is a bar. There’s a lot of food directly off-campus, which people indulge in on the weekends.

What are your favorite events or activities?
We’re all busy people, so just getting food or being in each other’s presence doing homework or watching TV.

What’s an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out?
There are a lot of campus clubs that have events. Also, in LA there are a lot of concerts going on all the time, and there is a lot of food in Westwood. I feel like there’s an endless opportunity of things to do directly off campus.

Female Statistics Major C/O 2021

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in?
Freshman year I pretty much went to frat parties on Thursdays and Saturdays. There are dorm parties, but they are not as popular because of how strict they are. So far during my sophomore year I go to bars more. There is a bar in Westwood called Rocco’s Tavern that all the students go to. I don’t feel the need to go out as much now that I’m a sophomore.

What nights of the week do you regularly do things?
Usually Thursdays, or the weekend. Friday’s are usually a quiet night when people just do their own thing.

What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
You meet more people through Greek life, which has had a big impact on my life. You start to know more people when you go out, and the parties are not that exclusive.

Female Undeclared on Major C/O 2022

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in?
There are lots of things facilitated by our residential halls. Yesterday, since midterms are going on, they had a break with painting and coffee. Sometimes I’ll just watch movies with my roommates. The nightlife isn’t super big here, but you definitely have access to fraternities if that’s something you’re interested in. Different organizations will have Fund-ragers, which are fundraisers in more of a party environment. Since the Fund-ragers are fundraisers, you have to pay money to get in, so my friends and I tend to go to frats with a larger group because it’s easier for everybody.

What nights of the week do you regularly do things?
Usually Thursday and Friday.

What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
While Fund-ragers are present, I think frats are the most common things people go to.

Campus Culture

Male Psychology Major C/O 2021

To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
All the time. In fact, my immediate friend group is racially diverse. There’s a fair amount of racial diversity on this campus, and that’s really cool. [UCLA is 3% African American, 28% Asian, 22% Hispanic, and 27% White.]

How do you like the size of your school? How has the size of your school influenced your social experience?
With the hills, we have a lot of stairs on the campus. It’s impacted my social life in the way that when I’m talking to people, I’m probably a little bit out of breath immediately after the stairs. It’s one of the smaller UC campuses, and I like that because I don’t have to walk hours to get somewhere or take the bus to get to class or anything. Even though it takes me 20-25 minutes to get to class, everything is very centralized, and I can get used to that.

Female Statistics Major C/O 2021

How would you describe the overall social scene at UCLA?
It has a pretty nice social scene. Freshman year there is a lot of going out, but when you don’t want to go out, it’s hard to find stuff to do. Aside from parties, it feels like there are not many options. As a sophomore, I enjoy hanging out with my friends at bars. Overall, it’s pretty easy to meet people here because it’s a big school.

Is there a big difference between people in Greek life and those not in Greek life?
It’s great for meeting people. Depending on your schedule, Greek life presents a lot more opportunities for events to go to during the week. My best friends are in different sororities, or not in one at all, so joining Greek life didn’t make that big of a difference for me.

Female Undeclared on Major C/O 2022

How has the size of your school influenced your social experience?
In my opinion, it’s not super big. You see lots of familiar faces around campus from my classes, and it’s really diverse. I like the bigger class sizes because when you have a bigger group of people, there is a better chance you’ll find someone you relate to. It’s nice to meet people from different backgrounds and perspectives. Meeting more people gives you a better look at things that are outside your direct bubble. [UCLA’s undergraduate population is 31,002, and 70% of UCLA’s undergraduate classes have 30 or fewer students.]

To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
There is a good mix of diversity in every group. It’s never super explicit in terms of what group of people you’re hanging out with. [UCLA is 3% African American, 28% Asian, 22% Hispanic, and 27% White.]

How would you describe the student body?
It’s nice because as a whole it’s so diverse. You get different characteristics of people, passions, and things valued by others. I came from a relatively big high school, so it wasn’t super overwhelming for me to go to a school with a large population size. It’s nice to have access to different things in terms of people and activities.

Los Angeles, CA

Pros of

  • “Westwood is a pretty large town with restaurants and stores. There is also a huge movie theatre where they have movie premiers that celebrities come to.”
  • “For the most part, there is everything you’d need here. There is a Walmart, Target, restaurants, and there are dessert places.”
  • “It’s very safe and self-contained.” [See Westwood crime map.]

Cons of

  • “It’s kind of far away from the city, and public transportation isn’t that effective from here.”
  • “The apartment rent is high.”
  • “It’s very hard to get around to different places without a car. If I want to go to Hollywood or Santa Monica I have to take an Uber there.”

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

Male Psychology Major C/O 2021

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The food. We have an outrageously unnecessary amount of food options at this school. We have four regular dining halls, then three or four take-out dining places. I did not realize the extent to which I would be spoiled food-wise. Other than that, I’d say the stairs are going to be a problem in the beginning. They stop people from going to class, but they are easy to get used to.

Female Statistics Major C/O 2021

What is something you wish you knew about UCLA before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew it was kind of hard to get involved on campus. A lot of applications are due within a few weeks of starting, so I missed a lot of deadlines. You have to prepare early because the clubs are competitive. [Female students started Bruin Women in Business in 2017 as a noncompetitive club for aspiring female entrepreneurs in response to the competitive culture of business clubs.]

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The range of majors and minors that are offered. When I looked into UCLA, I was pretty set on Biology, but when I went to switch to Statistics, I found that a ton of other options were available.

Male Economics Major C/O 2020

What is something you wish you knew about UCLA before entering as a freshman?
It requires a very high level of independence and discipline to excel in this system. You’re in charge of finding things for yourself at UCLA, nobody’s going to find something for you. You have to want to do it, and then only will the resources open up to you.

Reasons to attend and not to attend University of California at Los Angeles

To Attend

  • “The quarter system. It’s helpful and I personally love it.”
  • “It has international prestige, which is very important. A UCLA degree makes you very employable, even back in Asia.”
  • “I enjoy the social life. It taught me a lot, made me more confident and a better conversationalist, and I think that will add a lot of value when I go back home.”
  • “Academic rigor. You learn a lot from the professors, assuming you choose the right ones. I’ve had some really amazing professors and T.A.’s.”
  • “The campus is gorgeous.”

To Not Attend

  • “You definitely have to reach out into social groups, organizations, or whatever you want to do. If you don’t make an effort to reach out a little bit, you’re going to be left doing nothing. There are always people handing out flyers and stuff, but if you don’t take the time to show up to a meeting, nothing will come to you. You have to go for it yourself.”
  • “If you don’t have a car, it can be really unbearable. I am lucky to make friends who have cars and drive around. Public transportation is pretty bad.”
  • “It can be hard to get involved in clubs.”
  • “The classes themselves can be really big, therefore making the professors less accessible.” [70% of UCLA’s undergraduate classes have 30 or fewer students.]
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