Foo - University of California, Los Angeles
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I need to make a decision by next week. I'm interested in biochemistry, But I may choose to pursue a pre-med liberal arts-ish education. I am accepted into UCLA, and I was wondering if any of you can weigh in and give any insight about what the school and/or the area is like. I'm out of state, (international, actually ,canadian), and so I would be paying around 46K a year for it.
I have other options, like University of Washington, McGill University, University of Toronto, and University of Western Ontario. So if anyone has anything to say about those, I'd appreciate that too.
04-23-09, 09:29 PM
Its in a decent area (West L.A.-ish in the Westwood area, near Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Culver City), a nice campus in the Hollywood foothills, and the winters will be REALLY mild compared to Canada.
I'm puzzled as to why you want to go to UCLA but have never seen the place nor its surroundings. Deciding on a school by the "brand-name" doesn't sound like you've thought this through. You might want to visit UCLA and the surrounding area first before dropping $46K/year on education. Gotta ask, whats wrong with the other schools in Canada; maybe being local you don't associate them with quality reputation ("familiarity breeds contempt", of something like that?)? I've heard good things about McGill, and heard of the others, too. If they are good schools, why not choose one of those? Just posing the questions so you'll make sure you've though this through before making a decision. Good luck with whatever you choose.
I'm Canadian, but I'm actually living in Bellevue, Washington.
And I have considered the place and the surroundings. I've read lots, but I haven't, and don't plan to visit, which is why I thought there might be some locals here who could give some other points of view.
04-23-09, 10:45 PM
O hai! Congrats on your acceptance to UCLA! As a Bruin who is about to graduate I can tell you a lot about it. The UCLA area is pretty darn awesome. There's lots of stuff to do, decent public transport between the area to around downtown LA, and it's freaking CA. What more can you say?. I love the campus, I love the area, I love the people.
That said, being a Bruin is HARD. A lot is expected of you, and you need to give 20000000% effort all the time, or else you will be lost in the tide. You will have to fight for grades--no easy coasting along in here. Competition is stiff because almost everyone is brilliant in some way, but the good thing is that there are a lot of opportunities for you to prove yourself. Lots of scholarships, internships, research assistantships, etc. You just have to seek them out and be aggressive in pursuing them. There are also a lot of extracurricular activities in a whole range of areas, which is great for being well-rounded.
If research interests you UCLA is an amazing place to be, as we are on the cutting edge of it. If not, then you will be better going to another school that focuses on teaching more than research. There are some amazing professors at UCLA, but a lot of them are more invested in their research than in teaching.
Graduation from UCLA will open a lot of doors for you, both for jobs and grad school. That said, if you plan on applying to UCLA for grad/med/law/whatever-post-BA school, DO NOT go to UCLA for undergrad. Academic incest is highly discouraged here, and although it is posible to get into those if you are a Bruin undergrad, they measure you by much much tougher criteria than if you graduated from elsewhere.
I really encourage you to come visit the campus. If finances are a problem there are certain travel grants you can apply for. You will really not know if you will be happy here unless you visit. Good luck with your decision, and you can always pm me if you have any more questions.
04-24-09, 02:46 PM
When I graduated High School I was strongly advised not to attend UCLA, at least for the first 2 years. Bit school big classes. BTW that included my mom, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of UCLA.
I went to Occidental undergrad, had a 3.1 GPA. Went to UCLA for grad school, 3.9 GPA. I did not find UCLA at all difficult.
Westwood is a wonderful area. That means you pay the wonderful money to live there.
You can surely get an excellent education. That is the way the school pushes you. But you can also easily yeild to temptation and spend too much time enjoying the area. Know yourself.
"Hey ucla! How does it feel to be redirected?"
[Sorry, had to throw that in. Go Bears!]
UCLA used to be a big name in research, or at least in Ecology....it's been pretty silent in the field. Maybe it's different for your field.
04-25-09, 04:11 PM
I think 46K a year is absolutely preposterous! Unless you get some SERIOUS financial aid, stay far far away from UCLA. Do not spend boatloads of dough on an undergrad degree. You will spend a significant portion of the remainder of your life paying for it. Find something much less expensive but decent, do well, and get yourself in to a good graduate school or professional school.
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