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The University of California - Riverside

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Date: May 18 2004
Major: Political Science (This Major's Salary over time)
I have a mostly positive opinion about UCR. I didn't have trouble registering for my classes, I was able to actually have fact time with my professors, and the city is a great study environment because it doesn't have the glitz of a metropolis like LA.

People typically whine about the place because it's hot, and they say there's nothing to do and no one is around. Well, yes, it is hot out there, and compared to a world famous city like LA, there's not as much to do, and there are not as many people in that city as in LA. Get over it. You're going to college to learn, and if you wanna go out to party, pack your buddies in the car and drive out to LA for a night of fun. As for not a lot of people being around, the campus was originally a research campus for the sciences, and then around the 1950s it became and interdisciplinary campus with humanities, arts and science programs. So, it's been growing quite well in the past 50 years, but it's not gonna be a big as UCB or UCLA. Not yet. If you still hung up about these minor nuances, I guess you can stop reading and start registering to go to a JC for two years, and then you can transfer. Just sarcastically throwing out another option =)

Programs - I think the university has a strong mix of majors, and they are one of the few UC's with a Business program. Don't listen to the Bio-Med drop outs who whine about being "tricked" into anything. The Bio-Med program is VERY VERY intense and only the fittest will survive. There's a big difference between being 17 and "knowing" that you're going to be a doctor, and being 19 and "knowing" that O-Chem is kicking your butt. Many people learn the hard way that just because you Dad wants you to be a doctor, doesn't mean that you are cut out to really be one. There are a lot of strong humanities programs as well. I was a double in Political Science and Sociology, and had a challenging and rewarding experience. In addition, the have a great program to help students get teaching credentials. Also, there are a variety of Study Abroad programs, as well as the chance to spend a quarter as a UCDC intern in Washington DC). Yeah, those opportunities are also at other UC's, but remember, UCR is a smaller campus which means it's much easier to get chosen for those programs. Anyways, my overall advice is to choose the major you are going to do the best in… when it's all over, your GPA matters a lot!! At the same time, remember to be sensible and make a choice that will fit into your plan. If you're a Psych major, you can still work in Human Resources, and if you're an English major you can still work in Public Relations. Just make sure you have a plan!

Advisement - Look, in college no one is going to baby-sit you and hold your hand. Read the freakin catalogue and know what your program requires. Use your counselor/ advisor as a reference, to make sure your plan is on track, but remember: YOU ARE YOUR OWN COUNSELOR. I had positive experiences with my counselors, especially because I had a plan and knew what I was talking about when I would meet with them. And I also made an effort to get to know them, so they would refer to me on a first name basis.

Housing - Rent in CA is a nightmare for students. But I must say that UCR students get the best deals on rent!! In 2002, my friend in UCSB was paying about $450 to share a room with another person, and there were 7 people living in the house. Meanwhile, in Riverside I was paying $380 for my own master bedroom and my own bathroom in an apartment, and I only had 1 roommate. Rents have increased somewhat, but you still can't beat that kind of deal! I also lived in the dorms, which was a good experience. They have Ethernet connections, decent food, and the various dorms are very close to campus as well as to each other.

Prestige- Over the years when I would say I went to UCR, people would say, "UC Where?" or "UC… There" and point east. Now people say, "Ahh.. Riverside, yea, I have a friend who went/ goes there". So I know the name is growing. The name UCR didn't help me get a job, but the fact that I have a Bachelor's degree and a strong resume helped me sail through the competition. Look, you can go to UCLA and get a 2.0, and you're not going to get very far. You can go to UCR and get a 3.0 or a 4.0 and definitely succeed in life. It's necessarily about where you go, it's much more about what you do!

  • Post Graduation- People who are lame expect to go to college, and then find the whole job market bowing down to them, fighting to give them a job. sorry honey, but it doesn't work that way. And then when nothing is working out, they have a tantrum and blame their school for being so pathetic. The reality is that they are pathetic, but they were minimally smart enough to get into college. Just not smart enough to know how to perform in the working world. The reality is that you have to get out there and work it. I mean WORK IT. Start PLANNING on resume building during your last two years of college to get yourself looking like an attractive candidate. I did two Political Science internships, got letters of recommendation, studied abroad, and was active on campus. I had a job offer with a major film studio before I even attended graduation. "Film studio?" you wonder… well, I always wanted to work in the industry and I found an opportunity to use my degree in something I'm interested in. Maybe I don't use all 4 years of what I learned everyday in my job, but did you use all 4 years of what you learned in high school when you were in college? No. So don't expect that in life, or in college.
  • Overall - I value my time at Riverside, and have no regrets. I'm applying to go to law school, and feel that I am prepared to attend. Riverside sometimes gets snickers and jokes, but if someone is going to be so insecure that they have to define their value on the name of their university, they aren't going to get too far in life anyways. I personally know many UCR grads who are in med school, law school, and other graduate programs, and there are plenty of other friends I have that are working at great jobs. I think this is a GREAT school, and your experience is what you make it.

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