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Corinne Massiah
Corinne Massiah
Life > Academics

Top Reasons Why You Should And Shouldn’t Come to UCLA

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

As the date for high school seniors to enroll in college approaches, I can’t help but be transported back to this time last year, where I was going through the same process. For me, UCLA was an easy choice — I had just gotten off the waitlist the day I begrudgingly decided I was going to enroll at Berkeley, a college I was not particularly excited about (no hate, it’s a great school!) and I knew it was a sign. Besides, UCLA was one of my top choices from the start and I fell in love as soon as I toured it. Still, I can’t count how many times I scoured the internet for information from students about their college, UCLA or not, and could never quite find what I was looking for. As an alternative to scrolling through Reddit, TikTok, and College Confidential, I want to offer this article for all seniors making a decision about where to attend or anyone in high school who has started thinking about college to decide whether UCLA is for you. Here is an honest review of why you should, and shouldn’t, come to UCLA.

Walking back from class at sunset
Original photo by Hannah Bains

Should: Academics

I don’t need to spend a lot of time talking about academics because I think it is a given. UCLA is the #1 Public University in the U.S, if not one of the best in the world, and undoubtedly offers a sound college education in any major of your choice (and there are over 125). If you’re looking to attend an academically rigorous and prestigious institution, UCLA fits your needs. UCLA hosts an impressive list of professors, endless opportunities for research, and top ranked academic programs in all fields of study. I wouldn’t say there is one particular academic program that stands out, so if you’re uncertain about what you want to major in, this is also a great place to explore.  

Shouldn’t: Course and housing enrollment

Probably the biggest things any UCLA student will complain about will be first, enrollment in classes, and second, enrollment in housing. I’ve often heard enrolling in classes being compared to the Hunger Games. Since there are so many students and certain classes that you need to take as a GE or for a major requirement, people are constantly vying for the same class. Everyone gets a random enrollment appointment time based on their year in college, and that determines when they can enroll. Classes close quickly and graduating on time can often rely on pure luck. It’s simply a bad system. The housing process is the same exact thing. It can be hard to get the dorm you want to be in and people regularly feel screwed over just because it is complicated and messy.

Should: Campus and Location

If you have ever visited UCLA, you know that our campus is beautiful. It feels like the quintessential college campus (albeit not on the East Coast): gorgeous architecture and red brick buildings, fields of grass and nature everywhere you look, and certainly some of the best weather you can get in the U.S. As a California kid, I can’t stress how grateful I am to still be in a place that’s sunny and warm. Being in Los Angeles is not only a simply gorgeous place to be, but it also offers you so much to do and experience. Westwood is just a walk away and has everything you could need as a college student, while the broader city is filled with attractions, museums, restaurants, clubs, movie premiers, and activities to explore. You really could never get bored here, but that’s no surprise — it’s L.A, after all! The best part of it all is that UCLA feels like a real college campus, yet the city and the beach are both incredibly accessible. In terms of location, I honestly could not ask for anything better. 

Shouldn’t: Need a small school with personal support

UCLA is not a small school, and the consequences of it being exceptionally large spill over into basically the only issues I see here. Lecture halls often have hundreds of people, meaning you rarely communicate with professors 1:1, with most interaction coming from your TA’s during discussion sessions. You also don’t have an academic advisor holding your hand through the college process, while many other universities do. This means you have to stand up for yourself and be independent at times (which I think can be a good thing). If you think a smaller liberal arts school that can give you more personal attention would be a better fit for you, stick to your gut! It’s a very different experience here.

Should: Food

I’m not sure if you’ve seen as many UCLA dining hall food TikToks as I did senior year, but they’re certainly not lying. UCLA has ranked #1 for Niche.com’s “Best College Food in America” list for a while now. Although food options certainly should not be a major factor when deciding what college to attend, it’s a great plus!  UCLA has multiple dining halls that offer new cuisine choices every day, a diverse range of cultural foods offered everywhere on campus, regular food trucks (my personal favorite), coffee shops, and real restaurants on campus that are a part of the meal plan (from acai bowls to Panda Express, we really have it all)! I rarely get bored of the food considering how many options there are, and I almost always have a great meal. No complaints.

Shouldn’t: Crowds and lines

While UCLA’s campus is quite big, it still does not comfortably accommodate every single student that goes here. Most likely, you will spend your freshman year in a triple dorm that is either small or smaller than small. I have been living in a triple plaza, one of the bigger room options, and it’s still really tight. It can be the biggest challenge to find a spot to sit in a cafe or even in the library during exam weeks. Another big thing: lines, lines, lines! The food truck lines sometimes seem to go for miles, and you will often have to wait quite a while to get food if you order it online. You will almost always see a line on campus. It’s a struggle, for sure!

picture of UCLA Dykstra Hall classic triple dorm room
Original photo by Maia Hull

Should: Resources and Communities

Being as large of a university as it is, it means that UCLA really has endless resources. From career advancement to mental health support, you can find whatever you need here as long as you look for it. On top of that, there are endless communities to join and get involved in on campus. In terms of clubs, we go from professional fraternities to silly clubs, to cultural associations, to club sports — whatever your interests are, you can find a club for you (and if not, you can make it)! You can find your people here. For example, I’ve found great communities that are specific to my hobbies: I ride for the Equestrian team and write for Her Campus at UCLA! As just a freshman, there are still so many clubs and resources I am excited to explore in future years. 

Shouldn’t: Too much walking!

Oh boy is there a lot of walking at this school. If you’re not prepared to get over 10K steps every single day or to traverse up hills to get to both the dorms and to class, absolutely do not come here! I will say, walking seemed like my worst nightmare at first until I got used to it. While the Hill is my greatest enemy, I’m grateful for the exercise it forces me into!

Should: Social Scene

If you want to take advantage of the college experience to the max, UCLA is the right place for you. While the L.A. area is bustling with places for the perfect college student night-out experience, there are frats and clubs throwing parties every week right by campus. If you want to go out from Thursday to Sunday, you absolutely can. Additionally, every finals week has something called the Undie Run, a staple UCLA experience that you’ll have to discover yourself. However, I think any type of person, including introverts, can have a good social experience here. You don’t need to go out to parties to have fun; there’s always something to do on campus, like going to flea markets, watching band performances, or simply tanning with a book on the grass. While the social scene is certainly active, it’s not overpowering enough to discourage chill or quiet people from enjoying school.

All in all, there are pros and cons to every university and it’s important to weigh all of them. I love UCLA and am happy here, but other people definitely have different experiences! Be thoughtful about your decision and you’ll end up in the right place, even if it’s not UCLA. With that said… GO BRUINS!! 

Maile Smith is a first-year Global Studies major from Palo Alto, California. She loves horseback riding, traveling the world, painting, reading on the beach, and her dogs!