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The University of California - Irvine

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Date: Jul 08 2004
Major: Sociology (This Major's Salary over time)
It's been almost eight years since I graduated from UC Irvine with a B.A. in Sociology. I must say that my four years at UC Irvine were filled with fond and not so fond memories.

For those of you who are seriously thinking about going to Irvine for your higher education. Let me give you both the Pros and Cons of going there.

PROS:

  • For those of you who prefer going to small school, Irvine is definitely for you. Compared to my graduate studies at U of Washington (Seattle), with over 35,000 students, Irvine was relatively small. You won't feel like a small fish in a big pond.
  • If you are an Asian American and you want to be in tune with your Asian/Asian American culture/identity, this is the place for you. From what I heard, Irvine is one of the few schools where Asian American student population is the majority (52%). Situated in Orange County (not too far from Los Angeles), Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Filipino are not the minority here. It is pretty diverse here, and you won't feel out of place whether you are a liberal, conservative, Christian, gay/lesbian, White, Asian, Hispanic, African American, etc.
  • The dorms, from what I remember, were fairly nice, compared to my graduate school (U of Washington). The food is edible, but if you get sick of dorm food (like most students do), then there are restaurants (especially Asian) nearby.
  • The best majors seem to be: Biology, Psychology (sort of), East Asian Languages & Literature (Chinese & Japanese), Computer Sciences, and Humanities (My regret is not taking more courses in Humanities which would have improved my writing style.).
  • The campus is easy to get around, and the study rooms are open all night.
  • CONS:

  • If you don't have a car (like I did during my college years), you are pretty much stuck in the campus area. If you don't plan to bring a car, then be sure to make friends who have cars.
  • Academically, it was not all that challenging, with the exception of Biology or other sciences. Social Science seems like a cake walk, compared to Biology.
  • If you are a Biology major planning to go to med school, then you are not alone. You will definitely be challenged, and many of my friends who were science majors switched to "easier" majors (ex. Economics, Social Sciences, etc.).
  • Most of the lower division courses are taught by TAs, some of them (especially in the Math and Science department)are
  • taught by grad students from foreign countries with limited English ability (I guess this applies to many schools.).

    ADVICE:

  • Don't expect to get high marks during your first year. It takes a while to get adjusted to new environment. If you don't start off well, then don't let that discourage you. Once you get used to the system, you should improve in no time.
  • If you are a "slacker" or "unmotivated," then Biology (or other sciences) may not be the best major for you. My roommate during his freshman year started off with a D- average, and he dropped out during the second year.
  • Take as many courses that involve a lot of writing (from the Humanities department), even if you hate writing. Whether you are a Bio major, computer sciences, fine arts, OR English literature, writing classes will DEFINITELY come in handy, especially if you plan to pursue a graduate/professional degree.
  • Best wishes in your future endeavor. Which ever school you decide on, always remember to make the most of your experience(s) by balancing your time between studying, making friends, and participating in all the activities your school has to offer. I'll leave my e-mail address for those who want to know more about UC Irvine.

       
    Responses
    questionYou mentioned that the science majors were difficult, does that include social science as well?
    questionWhich environment did you find more opportunities in Seattle or Irvine?
    responseSorry for the late response. In case it's not too late, I was referring to hard sciences (e.g., biology, chemistry). Social science refers to psychology, criminology, sociology, anthropology, etc. which were easy compared to the hard science majors. I also attended other schools and completed my PhD at a university in the midwest. As for opportunities in OC vs. Seattle, bear in mind that OC is not far from LA and SD where there may be more opportunities. However, I am currently a faculty at a research university in a midwestern state so my response may not be all that accurate. I will say that I attended four university (UCI for undergrad and 3 other schools for my grad), and UCI was the smallest campus, which doesn't necessarily mean it's better or worse. Hope this helps!
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