Gifted and talented students from around the globe flourish at the University of California, Los Angeles. If that describes you, try to learn everything you can about UCLA when contemplating which is the best college for you. Although rigorous and highly selective, this internationally acclaimed school is anything but stuffy. UCLA strives to disrupt the status quo and introduce new innovations to the world. Furthermore, the beautiful 419-acre campus is located in exciting West Los Angeles, an area that offers plenty to do when you need a break from studying. For instance, you might enjoy hiking in the Santa Monica mountains, relaxing on local beaches, stopping by the Los Angeles Museum of Art or visiting Chinatown.

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World-renowned University of California, Los Angeles is a highly selective public postsecondary institution located in West Los Angeles with over 45,000 diverse students involved in cutting-edge research with innovative applications.

Learning About UCLA

University of California, Los Angeles boasts some of the top academic programs in the country. The student body is culturally diverse with students from all 50 states and over 100 different countries. Intellectuals from around the world come to study, teach and undertake groundbreaking research at UCLA’s modern facilities. Even undergraduate students can participate in research projects led by world-renowned faculty, including many Fulbright Scholars and Nobel Laureates. Many alumni highly distinguish themselves in their fields. School colors are blue and gold, and UCLA sports teams are called the Bruins. UCLA student-athletes excel in the classroom and in athletic competitions.

College Facts and Stats about University of California-Los Angeles

History of UCLA

University of California, Los Angeles dates back to 1881 when the Los Angeles Normal School for aspiring teachers was founded. In 1919, the school was designated by the governor as the University of California Southern Branch, and in 1927, the name was changed to the University of California at Los Angeles.

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UCLA’s mission focused on research along with providing affordable, quality public education, which is still the vision of UCLA today. UCLA has always aspired to recognize high potential in bright students from underprivileged backgrounds motivated by a desire to change the world.

Enrollment grew as the school gained visibility and recognition for research, graduate education, medical breakthroughs at the UCLA Medical Center and record toppling athletes. In the fall of 2017, UCLA enrollment totaled 45,428 students, including 13,025 graduate students. The mission and history of UCLA helps explain the school’s steady growth as a top institution of higher learning.

Best Things About UCLA

You may be asking yourself, “Is UCLA an Ivy League school, or what major is UCLA best known for?” These are important questions to answer when choosing where to spend the next four years of your life. East coast Ivy Leagues schools like Harvard are steeped in tradition. East coast Ivies are highly sought after schools as evidenced by the number of high school applicants each year. But you should also know that UCLA is a powerful magnet for the best and the brightest students in the world. For instance, 102,232 students applied for fall 2017 admission and only 16,494 were accepted. UCLA offers well over 100 majors, including unique UCLA majors such as ethnomusicology, francophone studies and oceanic studies. UCLA majors in business, economics, political science, biology, psychobiology and psychology are especially well-known.

What Is a Bruin?

Even before Orientation, incoming freshmen should know that a bruin is a brown bear, and the school mascots are Joe and Josie Bruin. The Bruins are not distinguished founders of UCLA or generous benefactors. The original mascots, Joe and Josie Bruin, were live brown bears that served as school mascots during UCLA games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The bears grew too large to safely handle, so they were replaced in the mid-1960s with students dressed in bruin costumes. Bruins teams have enjoyed considerable tournament action. In 2007, UCLA became the first university to win 100 NCAA championships.

Commitment to Active Learning

UCLA faculty skillfully juggle their time between teaching, advising, researching, publishing and traveling. The typical UCLA professor takes a genuine interest in students. Most classes have 30 or fewer students, which supports faculty and student bonding. Students who accept an offer of admission to UCLA can expect to be rigorously challenged but supported by staff and faculty invested in student success. Class discussions are robust and students often work alongside distinguished professors engaged in cutting edge research.

About 3,800 courses are offered in 109 academic departments affording students an opportunity to deepen their passions and cultivate new interests. Internship experiences help students hone practical skills that will give them an edge when looking for a job or applying to competitive graduate programs.

UCLA Campus Centers and Institutes

Students on the UCLA campus are encouraged to get involved with one or more of the hundreds of UCLA research centers and institutes that invite interdisciplinary collaboration. For instance, scholars in the field of science, engineering and medicine collaborate on projects taking place at the the nanosystems institute. Commercial applications of scientific discoveries can lead to rapid advances in science, medicine and technology. Examples of other timely topics being studied include renewable energy, sustainability and stem cell therapies.

Opportunities for research also abound in arts, culture, humanities, social science and the performing arts, for instance. The volunteer center supports the True Bruin value of public service by annually placing thousands of students in community service roles in the Los Angeles area.

About UCL Student Life

Narrowing down all the possible ways you can participate in student events and activities may be tricky. With over 1,000 student organizations, including 60 Greek fraternities and sororities, UCLA offers plenty of options. Greek life is big on the UCLA campus, around 13 percent of the students are active members of Greek chapters. Many sports are offered, such as basketball, golf, soccer, gymnastics, swimming and water polo.

The school does not have a particular UCLA religious affiliation. Students are quite divergent in their views on spirituality and religion. The Student Affairs division offers comprehensive services and programs for students through offices such as parent and family programs, ADA/504 compliance office, Title IX, counseling services and the lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender resource center. The dean of students coordinates care for struggling students.

International Student Services

The Dashew Center for International Students & Scholars serves 12,000 international students and visiting scholars. Staff advise students on immigration questions, academic matters and personal concerns. The Center also provides culturally enriching programs and services open to everyone studying or working on the UCLA campus. The purpose of the Dashew Center is to promote cross-cultural understanding and lasting friendships. Popular activities include cultural talent shows, cooking lessons and speed dating. Through shared experiences, global connections are made.

Selective Admission Process

Knowing the characteristics of students admitted to UCLA offers insight into the type of student preferred. For example, in the fall of 2017, 75 percent of admitted students had straight A's in high school, an ACT score of 30 or better, minimum SAT scores of 640 in reading and writing, and at least 640 in the subject of mathematics. However, don’t read too much into these statistics because you may still be admitted even if you don’t quite fit this profile. One of the best things about UCLA is the time and effort that goes into the admissions review process. Exceptional talent in a particular area can give you a competitive edge, for instance.

Costs and Financial Aid

You may be wondering how much it costs to go to UCLA for one year. Another one of the best things about UCLA is affordability. For instance, the 2018-19 tuition for California residence is $13,260 per academic year. Out of state residents pay $28,014. Books average $1,449 per year. Housing costs vary depending on whether the student lives on-campus, in an apartment or with parents. The financial aid office answers any questions about the UCLA financial aid process and explains the many types of financial aid available to those who qualify. International students pursuing an undergraduate degree are not eligible for financial aid or scholarships awarded by UCLA unless they have established citizenship or permanent residency.

Iconic UCLA Alums

Many famous and accomplished individuals graduated from UCLA. Distinguished alums include such notables as Nobel Laureate, Randy Schekman, astronaut Taylor Wang and dancer Agnes de Mille, to name just a few. Being close to Hollywood, UCLA offers exceptional training for those interested in pursuing acting, screen writing or digital media. Carol Burnett, James Dean, George Takei and Frank Ford Coppola are among the many UCLA alums in show business. Famous sports legends like baseball great, Jackie Robbins and NBA mega star, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, are also UCLA alums. You, too, could use your UCLA education in ways that enrich society.

Top Notch Medical Programs

UCLA’s stellar medial programs and medical advances attract students and teaching scholars from around the world. For 28 years, UCLA’s medical center has made U.S. News & World Report’s honor roll of the top 20 medical facilities in the country. In 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked the Ronald Reagan Medical Center at UCLA as the seventh best hospital in the nation.

With a shared commitment to breaking new ground, medical students and faculty serve on health care teams dedicated to finding more effective treatments and cures for disease. High value is placed on compassionate patient care. UCLA also strives to increase diverse representation within the medical and health profession. For instance, DACA students are welcome to apply for admission to the UCLA medical school.

Convenient Campus Housing

Starting college will be an exciting time with much to do and learn about UCLA if you are among the entering freshman class. You will likely be among the 97 percent of new students living on campus. The residential living experience offers much more than a dormitory room and school cafeteria. Staff plan interesting activities to build a sense of community. Students who live on campus typically perform better academically and learn the ropes quicker than commuting classmates. UCLA housing is conveniently located near classroom buildings, laboratories, libraries and sports facilities.

One of the best things about the UCLA housing office is that they assign a roommate to you based on your requested roommate lifestyle preferences. Matching roommates helps reduce the potential for conflict over such things as noise level, cleanliness, frequency of visitors and sleep habits. In other words, if you cringe at the idea of living with a roommate who constantly plays loud music, makes a mess, goes to bed late and constantly invites friends over, you can specify on your roommate preference form that you prefer a neat, quiet, studious roommate who goes to bed early.

UCLA Campus Safety

Safety is taken seriously at UCLA as evidenced by a police force of approximately 64 sworn officers assisted by 42 staff and 130 student workers. The UCLA police department strives to hire personnel who reflect the cultural diversity of the UCLA campus. Duties of the UCLA police department include regular patrols of the UCLA campus buildings and grounds, taking reports and investigating incidents. The crime prevention unit offers proactive tips on staying safe and schedules regular activities to address safety needs on the UCLA campus. Calls for assistance are handled around the clock by staff who are highly trained in police, fire and medical emergencies. A campus safe ride and walking escorts are available for students starting at dusk.

About the Author

Dr. Mary Dowd is a dean of students who holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Minnesota State University. Dr. Dowd has also led many administrative offices such as affirmative action, women’s center and student conduct. She enjoys teaching, writing and advising students on how to succeed in college. Dr. Dowd's literary accomplishments include published research, training materials and hundreds of practical online articles. Her writing reflects years of professional and personal life experience, including parenting.