The University of California, Los Angeles
Seriously spirited yet highly chill.
What it feels like to go here
LA is one of the most energetic cities ever, so you should expect to find that vibe on campus as well. Besides that, you’ll get that typical “college” feel, thanks to the huge diversity, beautiful brick buildings, crazy amounts of hard work required and competition. Fun fact: the school has north and south campus majors. The north campuses houses social sciences, arts and humanities classes while the south campus holds the math and science majors. “So it basically is this whole thing where north campus majors use the typical freshman, sophomore, etc. and south campus majors tend to refer to themselves as first, second, etc.,” said junior Emily Suani. Add some serious school spirit and that laid back California weather (hello year-round sun and palm trees) and you’ve got UCLA in a nutshell.
You already know that this school resides in LA, AKA the star capital of the world. So really it’s no surprise that many of your favorite actors and other celebrities once called themselves Bruins. Fans of The Flash should recognize Danielle Panabaker, for instance, and you might also know Milo Ventimiglia or Lo Bosworth. Besides Hollywood stars, singer Sara Bareilles, the basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Myspace’s Tom also went to UCLA. The list goes on and on.
Where we hang
Don’t expect students to lie around bored all day. UCLA almost has too many hangout spots. The grassy hills by the Janss Steps, the Ackerman Student Union or the Kerckhoff Coffee House are all popular spots. Besides that, campus hangouts include the café in the Anderson building or in the ever-popular libraries. Although some students live close enough to go home on the weekends, the ones who do stay hit up places like Santa Monica (home to the Santa Monica Beach) or Westwood (which has more bars or coffee shops than you could imagine). After all, LA lies at their fingertips, so why not take advantage of it?
1. How much are students partying?
“I would say students are still partying pretty hard. I think that everyone has their own balance when it comes to play and work ethic. I live in the apartments now and I always hear parties going on every Thursday,” said senior Zehra Abbas.
2. What will get you in trouble at your school?
“I only lived in the dorms for one year, and in that time drinking was a part of the experience. Rarely did anyone actually get in trouble for drinking by their RA. But if the situation got out of hand, or you get caught too many times, then you will get written up. Nobody I know was ever severely punished for drinking. It’s college and everybody from the staff to the RAs know that there will be copious amounts of drinking on a college campus. At UCLA, they emphasize safe drinking practices through a first-year software course on drinking, drugs and sex, more than reprimanding people harshly because it’s inevitable,” said senior Kevin Thaddeus Brown.
3. How much sex are students having?
“I would say there is a strong casual hookup culture within Greek life, as well as at parties (more so among freshmen and sophomores),” said senior Laurel Shoop.
4. What would you tell incoming freshmen about your school?
“Get organized, get involved and acquire good friends. UCLA is an incredible place, teeming with opportunity and intellectuals. We have research opportunities all around us, but it is easy to be idle or caught up in other things. I also would not recommend buying the DEN pass that the school always tries to push you to buy. It is a pass that lets you go to all games for free I think, but honestly it’s really expensive and people usually buy it and then go to one game and the money is wasted. It isn’t worth it unless you really are going to go to every game,” said junior Emily Suani.
5. What’s the one thing that you found surprising about your school?
“UCLA is a huge campus and everyone always says how big it is… but one thing that surprised me is that it does not feel so big to me. I feel like I can’t walk to a dining hall without bumping into someone I know. It’s a big campus and there is a large sense of community,” said sophomore Sara Zaghi.
1. “My favorite thing about UCLA is the access I have to phenomenal faculty who are very accomplished in their field of work. I get to take classes with professors who are cited world-wide in many texts. The faculty also put together many talks, lectures, and conferences on many interesting topics outside of the classroom.”– Kevin Thaddeus Brown, Class of 2017
2. “My greatest challenge at school has been balancing all of my classes and keeping up with the readings. I’m a history major, so I usually have around 150-200+ pages a week to read. I have had to perfect my schedule by arranging all classes and work between the hours of 9-6. I meal prep for the whole week. I utilize my iCalendar app and keep a running list of to-do tasks. I set aside time after I get home to just read and do homework. This has definitely been the most productive quarter so far.”– Zehra Abbas, Class of 2017
3. “I feel that there are plenty of employees or professors in the campus and in our hospitals that really care about our well being. I have had staff go out of their way for me. We are a liberal, accepting and open minded campus. The environment within classrooms really allows students to attack difficult topics and work through them without judgment. I think the most difficult part is that you become so used to belonging at UCLA that you forget you are a part of a world-renowned network. You are afforded access to some of the best professors and material in the country. You are lucky to be there.”– Emily Suani, Class of 2018
4. “Coming from a very small, rural town, it was very overwhelming at first. The culture is much different than I’m used to, but I’ve enjoyed each year more than the last. Reflecting back on my time here, I can’t think of a better, more well-rounded place to go to school. I’ve truly loved almost all of my courses and professors, and am always telling people about my professors or what I learned in my classes to the point where it probably annoys them. The campus itself is beautiful; it’s situated in the best part of LA and within a short drive of the beach.”– Laurel Shoop, Class of 2017
5. “My experiences at UCLA have been extremely fulfilling. My favorite part about UCLA is my community. With such a large school, we are lucky to have such a closed area where we all live less than 5 minutes from each other. It has allowed me to really solidify some great relationships here at UCLA with fellow students.” – Keith Yoder, Class of 2017
Top 3 Majors
The 3 most popular student organizations
1. Undergraduate Students Association Council
If you want to get involved with student government, USAC is the way to go. “USAC consists of 14 student-run offices, which put on amazing programs and provides resources for our student body,” said publicity chair Sara Zaghi. For instance, the USAC recently organized a campaign to get Bruins registered to vote. “There are many different internship programs between all the offices which students can apply for. These programs educate new comers on how student government works at UCLA and how to get more involved,” said Zaghi. Aside from being a great resume booster, joining the USAC actually sounds fun.
2. A cappella
Aca-scuse me? The whole reason behind Pitch Perfect doubles as one of UCLA’s most popular student activities. “A Cappella is huge at UCLA. We have over 10 groups here. Many are popular, I’d say the older groups such as Bruin Harmony, Scattertones and Random Voices have really made a name for ourselves,” said Yoder. If you crave a group that you can sing your heart out with, a cappella sounds right for you. Even cooler? It’s more than just singing. “We all tend to throw quarterly parties and see each other at festivals and competitions. Any student who is interested in singing and enjoys performances should always come out and audition for as many groups as they want,” said Yoder.
School spirit is huge at UCLA. Current and future Bruins alike rock their gear with pride especially when it comes to basketball and against their rivals, the USC Trojans. “Tailgates are always a lot of fun, and school spirit is highest in the weeks leading up to the UCLA-USC game, when we have a huge rally and bonfire to pump everyone up before the game,” said Shoop. With famous alumni like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, there’s no doubt that you can’t go wrong with basketball at UCLA. After all, you got into UCLA, so why not cheer along with a thousand of your classmates?
With an 18 percent acceptance rate, future Bruins should definitely be at the top of their game, especially in terms of academics and extracurriculars. “In my case, I think they liked that I was very involved in my high school. I had a pretty high GPA, I was involved with volleyball, cross country, mock trial, debate, several student groups and I was constantly busy,” said Abbas. Most of the incoming freshmen had GPAs of around 3.75-3.86, which means if you’ll need to hit the books want to call yourself a Bruin. Besides that, make sure to get involved if you aren’t already.
Location: Los Angeles, California
Tuition & Fees: $12,918
Total cost on Campus: $34,407 (for Californians), $60,729 (nonresidents)
Undergrads enrolled: 29,585
Total enrolled: 43,301
Acceptance Percentage: 18%
Percent Admitted who Enroll: 35%
Percentage of Male Students: 44%
Percentage of Female Students: 56%
Percentage Receiving Financial Aid: 52%
Percentage Receiving Federal Grants: 38% (for Pell grants)