StudentsReview :: The University of California - Los Angeles - Extra Detail about the Comment
Search for Schools by Region

or within distance of city

Similar Schools
University of California -- Berkeley, CA
University of Southern Colorado -- Pueblo, CO
Stanford University -- Stanford, CA

  Who's got the Best?

Perceptual Rankings:
You Make 'Em.
We Post 'Em.
You Vote 'Em Up.
You Vote 'Em Down.
Aww yeah.

The University of California - Los Angeles

How this student rated the school
Educational QualityA+ Faculty AccessibilityA-
Useful SchoolworkA+ Excess CompetitionA+
Academic SuccessA+ Creativity/ InnovationA+
Individual ValueB University Resource UseA-
Campus Aesthetics/ BeautyA+ FriendlinessA-
Campus MaintenanceA+ Social LifeB+
Surrounding CityA+ Extra CurricularsB+
Describes the student body as:

Describes the faculty as:

Lowest Rating
Individual Value
Highest Rating
Educational Quality
She rated most things higher than other students did.
Date: Nov 21 2003
Major: Economics (This Major's Salary over time)
Overwhelmed? The dizzying array is intimidating and it may just come down to them sucking you in, no matter how much you try to fight it. You think high school was bad? You ain't seen nothin' yet, kid.

Oh, Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore.

Okay, so maybe the quote isn't exact, and I'm not suggesting anything negative towards Kansas, but college, and UCLA specifically, is not what you expect. Maybe you did attend a HUGE high school with thousands of students (one of the largest I've heard of is San Jose's Independence High School, a public school with around 4,000 students). Maybe you had the privilege of a private or charter school education where you took Ethnomusicology courses, did DNA sequencing in your science lab, and played rugby. But have you produced your own radio show for an audience of over 10,000 people, led 3000 students across campus to shut down Wilshire Ave at the peak of rush hour, or played a sport on national television?

All right, so maybe you've done some of this before UCLA (especially if you're Michelle Kwan, a current UCLA student!), but for the most part, I'm assuming few students have had the opportunity to try such amazing activities! The beauty of attending a large university located in a metropolis like Los Angeles is the fabulous extracurricular activities! So let's dive right in and dissect the extracurricular scene at UCLA.

Academic/research-related organizations & activities

The UCLA Student Research Program (SRP) is a formal research program that awards a transcript notation each quarter a student is "enrolled" in the program. Other than administering the end-of-the-quarter evaluation where faculty researchers and the student "interns" evaluate each other, the SRP program publishes a booklet listing faculty researchers and their areas of research. It is the student's responsibility to set up interviews and apply for research positions, as well as to submit the appropriate paperwork. The SRP office, as of 1998, was located in the basement of Murphy Hall on the opposite end of the building from Financial Aid (they're near the Letters & Science counseling office).

SRPs are available in many different departments, though most are concentrated in the sciences. I think that almost every pre-med student arranged an SRP to beef up their medical school applications. Others who did SRPs chose to do it for graduate school or career reasons—at a large school like UCLA, you may not get to know a professor who can write a substantial letter of recommendation unless you do a one-on-one research project.

Personally, I did not learn of the SRP program until one quarter after I had already started research for the UCLA Television Violence Project with the UCLA Center for Communication Policy. However, I was also getting paid, so I viewed the transcript notation as a bonus. I would highly recommend everyone pursue an SRP because it can be a source of income, a resume-builder activity, as well as a potential reference for graduate school or job references. And if you're lucky, you'll love what you do! I was paid to watch TV, write reports, and make oral presentations—three things I love doing!

Community service/Greek/Other Identity groups

This is a very diverse group of organizations whose primary goals may vary, but they still share many similarities. For instance, there is the Greek community that is a ubiquitous fixture on many campuses. Fraternities and sororities are not easily categorized as a group other than very general characteristics, as some have distinct traditions focused on community service, on particular academic subjects (like the Political Science honors fraternity), or on another identity (religion, race, etc.). At UCLA, the Greek community is fairly strong, though not vital for a student to have a social life. It's true that some have invite-only parties, but many fraternities do throw "open" parties if you're willing to stand in line. And the Inter-Fraternity Council and Pan-Hellenic Council have both been active in campus activities, though I don't know what the current climate is like.

note I was not a formal member of this community, but I have written an epinion describing in more detail my interactions with Greek life at UCLA.

Outside of the Greek community, there are other groups committed to community service such as the Watts Tutorial Program and the Asian Education Project, two tutorial programs that I personally participated in that involved volunteering in the larger community beyond UCLA's borders. UCLA also has the Bruin Belles program, an all-female community service organization where you must apply for membership. I don't know much about this organization, but I faintly recall reading about how these women have served as UCLA "dignitaries" for many decades, so it's an old school tradition. And I'm sure there are more community-service oriented clubs.

In addition, there are what I loosely term "Identity" groups, such as Christian fellowship groups (too many to name-some are specific such as the Korean Christian Fellowship or the dorm-based InterVarsity Fellowship, while others target general population Christians), the Muslim Students Association, the UCLA MEChA (a Chicana/o organization whose acronym stands for el Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlan), the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered) coalition, and the International students' organization. These organizations have been very strong and many receive student government funding. In addition, I know that there were new groups formed while I was at UCLA, so I believe it is not too difficult to start groups to meet unaddressed needs.

Athletic opportunities

UCLA is an athletic powerhouse, as most people know. Talk about a sports fan's paradise! UCLA is nationally ranked in a large number of sports, and the admission is often free (with the exception of men's basketball & football events). I watched UCLA's 1995 NCAA basketball championship on TV, and then ran down to celebrate in Westwood with other students only to get frightened off by gun-toting, tear-gas-throwing, riot-gear-clad LAPD officers. Talk about a real-life lesson in facing off with the LAPD!

I was never a major sports fan—I've always preferred playing rather than watching. Maybe it has something to do with hating sitting on the bench, as no one voluntarily chooses to be a benchwarmer! So I pretty much told myself my basketball "career" was over. But wait! As I soon learned , even if you aren't a top-notch athlete capable of playing on the NCAA team, there are a myriad of other athletic opportunities.

Let's take my favorite sport, basketball, as an example. You can choose the lowest commitment possible and go play pick-up at the Men's Gym, Wooden Center, or the courts near the dorms. I believe the Dykstra courts have been demolished for the dorm expansion (that was the plan when I graduated in 1998), but Rieber has courts that were packed all day until the lights were turned off. Or, you can join an Intramural team that plays in a tournament about once a quarter. See my epinion on IM basketball for more information on IMs. There are also leagues sponsored outside of UCLA, as I had friends who played for the college division of an LA Japanese American league called the Tigers, and I'm sure there are other city-wide leagues. All in all, if you have the will, there's a way to get a game on!

Career-oriented activities

This is a somewhat nebulous category, since writing for the school newspaper, running for student government, or acting in a play may not fit into everyone's definition of pre-career preparations. But I thought this category could include activities that will help students with picking careers, without being as abstract as a research position.

Again, for the umpteenth time, UCLA's huge size enables one to fulfill one's most obscure interests! Say you're interested in accounting—you can apply for the Budget Review Director's position within student government and earn a stipend. Say you want to be a writer—you can be a news reporter for the Daily Bruin or a columnist for one of the newsmagazines (targeted to specific readerships, such as Ha'Am, the Jewish newsmagazine, or Fem, the feminist newsmagazine). Say you want to be a musician but aren't a music major—you can try out for one of UCLA's bands or orchestras. I had a non-music major friend who auditioned and was selected to play in one of the bands (the Symphonic Band, I think) and he loved it. Regardless, there are many forums for students to express themselves in different capacities!

The Final Advice

You cannot enjoy any of these activities if you do not know how to manage your time. This reflects back to what I said in the intro—you may be sucked in even if you don't want to participate. You need to determine if you can handle it. That's why I would advise holding off until 2nd quarter, so you can make a smooth adjustment to college before getting too overwhelmed. I know some friends put on Academic probation because they spent too much time on extracurricular activities, and most have seen their grades drop because of commitments to so many different organizations. So beware—balance is the key!

Ask a Question or add a response!
Compare UCLA/UC-Los AngelesSave UCLA/UC-Los Angeles