University of California at Los Angeles
BackgroundInterview Date:December 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2021
High School Experience: Public school in Bellevue, Washington with a graduating class of 420 people. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Minors: Computer Science
Extracurricular Activities: I’m in Greek life, I work with Active Minds, and I’m a tour guide.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience? In what ways?
Being part of each organization has allowed me to meet different people, and has kept me busy. Getting more involved on campus feels really good.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for Statistics?
In the two classes I’ve taken, we have lectures every week but no labs yet. For my programming class, we have homework’s to complete.
Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
I think the professors have poor communication skills. I had to go into office hours a few times and did not get my questions answered because they either were not there or just were not helpful.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly collaborative or competitive?
It’s what you make it. It’s not that competitive and people will help each other, but you can decide to do things on your own. Some classes get curved which is the only competitive aspect.
How accessible have your professors been?
Pretty accessible. My most recent professor has had office hours every day after class and is very accessible through email. He also set up a website that is discussion based, where the class can post questions.
Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I liked statistics in high school so I was going to minor in it while majoring in Biology. I decided to just major in Statistics and drop the Biology major. I feel that it’ll be useful in the future.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Residential Plaza with two roommates and 4 suitemates
Sophomore: Same living situation with no suitemates
What was your favorite living situation?
Freshman year. Everything seemed new and exciting, and we were all able to live together. This year we are all busier so we aren’t home as much.
How was transitioning from Bellevue to Los Angeles, CA?
It wasn’t too bad honestly. Bellevue is a pretty city with a large population, and UCLA is in a good area.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
The campus itself is pretty safe, as well as the surrounding area. We are next to Beverly Hills, and we have an alert system letting us know if something happens. The worst we’ve had was about the wildfires. They also have a service you can use at night where someone will come and walk you home.
Pros and cons of being located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles?
(1) 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.
(2) There are cool and cheap places out of town that you can go to.
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.
How happy are you with the nightlife options at UCLA? Is there anything you would change if you could?
In general, I wish there were more bars and places to go out.
How did you meet your closest friends?
My roommates last year, and the guys who lived across from us. I met other friends at the airport and during orientation, but not as much through classes.
How has the size of your school influenced your social experience?
I didn’t research that much when I decided to go here, I just had a feeling. In April, they had an accepted student’s day where you can go on tours and learn through information sessions. It’s a big school but the number doesn’t really make a difference in my life. Having your friends and being in organizations is enough. [UCLA’s undergraduate population is 31,002.]
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.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I don’t think it makes a difference. My friends are a mixture of races.
How would you describe the student body?
There is a variety of people at UCLA. There isn’t really one stereotype for everyone, but there seem to be two big circles. The circles are the people who are social, and those who are not as social.
How strong is the Asian community on campus?
I’m not part of any Asian organizations, but they do have them available.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
No, not yet. I haven’t been involved with it yet so I’m not sure how it works.
What have you used the career office for? How helpful was it?
I haven’t been yet or heard anything about it.
Have you learned any computer programs or languages through your coursework that will be helpful to you professionally?
Yes definitely. Part of the first class I took freshman year involved coding. I took another class this fall that was based on coding as well, which I didn’t expect. I’ve used some of this knowledge for other classes, to make things such as graphs. I’ve learned R and Python.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
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.
Reasons to attend UCLA:
1) I’ve met the best people in my life.
2) I’ve learned more than I thought I would have.
3) There is a good combination between the people, professors, the classes offered, and the location of UCLA.
4) The campus is gorgeous.
Reasons to not attend UCLA:
1) It could be too big for a lot of people.
2) It can be hard to get involved in clubs.
3) The classes themselves can be really big, making the professors less accessible. [70% of UCLA’s undergraduate classes have 30 or fewer students.]