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California State University - Los Angeles

How this student rated the school
Educational QualityF Faculty AccessibilityA+
Useful SchoolworkD- Excess CompetitionA-
Academic SuccessD Creativity/ InnovationD-
Individual ValueF University Resource UseB+
Campus Aesthetics/ BeautyC+ FriendlinessB
Campus MaintenanceB Social LifeF
Surrounding CityA+ Extra CurricularsD
Describes the student body as:
Friendly, Approachable

Describes the faculty as:
Friendly, Helpful

Super Brilliant
Lowest Rating
Educational Quality
Highest Rating
Faculty Accessibility
He cares more about Educational Quality than the average student.
Date: Mar 16 2015
Major: Telecommunications (This Major's Salary over time)
A glorified community college sandwiched betwixt East LA and Alhambra. The proximity to East LA and high number of commuters gave this school the highest number of car break-ins in America when I was a student at CSULA. The school is on a hill between two highways, meaning there is plenty of smog drifting up for you to breathe in. Yay for lung cancer!

I'm being kind when I describe the campus as minimalist. This is not the place you go for the

fun college experience
you see in movies. Most of the students lived off campus and there wasn't a whole lot to do on campus at night other than drink and throw pebbles at a lamp post for recreation. I'm serious. Nonetheless, at the end of the day, the college experience anywhere is largely what you make of it and there is plenty to do in the surrounding greater Los Angeles area. Avail yourself of the beaches, the mountains and the diverse array of restaurants and art exhibits. There is plenty to experience and much of it good.

Moving on to more important bits, the quality of education here—at least, in general ed. classes—was surprisingly high. I was amazed to see so many highly intelligent, well educated and incredibly selfless professors working at a dump like Cal State LA for little money and less recognition in the academic world. My political science professor was educated at Columbia and my philosophy professor was educated at Stanford and Berkeley. My business professor was a Stanford MBA with 30 years of experience in the private sector, working primarily for Fortune 500 companies in high ranking executive positions. Now he's a millionaire real estate investor and teaches at Cal State LA not because he couldn't teach at a much more prestigious private school, but because he wants to work with students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds as a way of giving back. A number of professors in the chemistry and engineering departments were alumni of Yale and Harvard. Almost all of my professors were extremely kind, down to earth people who made themselves as accessible as possible at all times. It was obvious to me that they really cared about making a difference in the world and I'm honestly incredibly touched by their selflessness and altruism. Well, except for my history professor. She had an utterly repulsive personality and clearly hated her job but you'll meet people like that everywhere you go in life and she was the rare exception. Even my TAs were bright and kind people made themselves available to students and worked hard to make their classes of exceptional quality, though I did have two TAs (one in math, one in lab biology) who were incredibly disinterested in the work and basically useless.

With all of that said, the administration here was exceptionally incompetent. They lost my transcripts no less than three times. I had to stay on the phone (long distance) for hours at a time to get through to their financial aid office and once through, was transferred around and treated very poorly by rude and not very bright office staff. Sophomore year they dropped me from all my classes due to some stupid computer error and it was up to me to re-enroll in all my classes. I still haven't gotten credit for those 16 units on my official transcript despite being billed in full. I ought to sue and come to think of it, maybe I will.

Moving on to the student body. The students ranged from dim to unmotivated. If you are at all intelligent or hard working, you did something very, very wrong to end up at "Alhambra Community College", as we used to call it. The intelligent and industrious students from my incoming freshman class (all three of them) transferred to USC by the end of my sophomore year. I eventually dropped out of Cal State LA to move back east and now I'm attending a slightly more prestigious university in Cambridge, MA named after some guy named John. Why didn't I just come here in the first place? I wanted to move to LA to get my feet wet with an internship somewhere in Hollywood on an actual movie set before realizing film school is a racket. The film professors you meet here are basically the same as the film professors you meet at any film school—failed industry professionals who gave up on their dreams 30 years ago and now teach you useless junk like "film theory" that makes you about as employable or empowered as a trained chimp. Oh well. At least Cal State LA doesn't charge 60k a year for a degree as valuable as a used sheet of toilet paper, unlike USC. If you are a film major, please do yourself a favor and literally major in anything else. It is far and away one of the most useless degrees you can have despite requiring a lot of time and money to obtain.

I was one of six white students living on campus, which wasn't an issue to me and no one else ever made an issue of it. If you are a racial separatist, this isn't the place for you as the ethnic body is very diverse. The students living on campus were mostly black kids from Inglewood, Compton, et cetera. The commuter students were mostly Mexican and Asian. Vive la diff?rence!

Would I come here again? No, but then again, I only came here in the first place for a major I wouldn't choose again and besides, I was paying out of state tuition and still paid less than a third of what I would have paid at USC. If you are living in state and eligible for financial aid, this school is better than free. With a Pell Grant, Cal Grant and any kind of work study gig, you actually get paid to receive a free education. What you choose to study and what you do with your education is entirely up to you. Even though I'm attending what I believe to be a much better school now, I do believe that if one is motivated enough, one can receive an amazing education almost anywhere. In college, as in life, you get out what you put in. Remember that.

responseAs a point of clarification, I listed the educational quality as "F" for my chose major of Television and Film. The general education classes were taught by exceptional educators who cared a lot about their jobs and truly wanted to be of service to their students. I really admire them.
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