University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) is considered one of the best public universities in the world. It is ranked as a Top 25 university nationally, and was named as one of the Top Ten global universities in U.S. News and World Report’s inaugural Best Global Universities survey. What gives it this strong reputation?
UCLA is known for its outstanding psychology, mathematics, computer science and film programs. The UCLA experience features an incredibly diverse student body and more than 1,000 clubs and service groups that keep the energy and team spirit high. UCLA’s beautiful campus is located in one of the greatest college towns in America.
What UCLA is Known For
You probably already know that UCLA is a Pac-12 school with strong school spirit, a large Greek system and a storied rivalry with a private university across town. As a highly-ranked national research university, UCLA has strong academics university-wide, but some programs are worth highlighting:
- UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television (TFT) recently transitioned from a two-year program (final 2 years of college after spending the first 2 years taking general ed classes, or transfers from community colleges) to a full four-year program that admits students as freshmen.
- UCLA’s School of Engineering is highly-respected, rigorous and cross-disciplinary, preparing engineers in the fields of bioengineering, civil & environmental, chemical & biomolecular, materials, mechanical & aerospace and computer engineering. The Samueli School of Engineering has about 3,200 undergraduates and another 2,000 graduate students, creating a smaller community within the larger UCLA student body.
- UCLA’s College of Letters and Sciences is the largest undergraduate school, with more than 85% of the undergraduate population majoring in one of the College’s 100+ majors. It’s important to note that UCLA considers all applicants to Letters and Science equally, not separated by major, so there is no advantage to selecting one major or another, within the College of Letters and Science, on the UCLA application.
Schools and Majors at UCLA
UCLA offers over 125 undergraduate majors in six academic divisions:
- The College of Letters and Sciences
- School of the Arts and Architecture
- School of Engineering and Applied Science
- School of Music
- School of Theater, Film and Television
- School of Nursing
UCLA demonstrates overall excellence in a number of majors that prepare you for graduate school, including pre-professional guidance for those who are pre-med and pre-law.
UCLA’s Westwood campus hasrolling hills, brick buildings, and green, expansive campus quads. Wear your walking shoes when you visit, because the hilly campus will challenge your calves!
At the north end are the underclassmen dorms, the world-renowned Anderson School of Business, the Luskin School of Public Policy and UCLA Law School. Central campus is the home to Royce Hall and the Janss Steps, which lead you to lower campus – Ackerman Union, Pauley Pavilion and a host of buildings that serve as home to undergraduate academic departments.
Despite being so close to the excitement of Los Angeles, the university has a defined campus, with ample green space and a sculpture garden.
Off Campus Near UCLA
Westwood is the quintessential college town. Westwood Village is walking distance and offers tons of food and shopping options for students. Diddy Reese is a must-visit – it’s worth the wait in line. Bring a friend or two – the cookies are 50 cents each, but three for $1.25!
Clubs and Organizations at UCLA
Greek life is an important segment of the extra-curricular activity at UCLA, but the 4,000 students who are members of the 60 fraternities and sororities make up about 13% of the entire undergraduate population. This means that if you’re not involved in Greek life at UCLA, you will still have a social life!
There are more than 1,000 clubs and organizations at UCLA. No matter your interest, you can probably find a great club to join at the campus — there are clubs for ethnic interests, film, politics, science fiction, and even Disney! If you have an interest, you can explore it and meet like-minded people at a UCLA organization.
Inside Info About UCLA
The College of Letters and Sciences does not consider the applicant’s major during the application process. However, the School of Engineering and Applied Science will only admit students by declared major. The School of the Arts and Architecture and the School of Theater, Film and Television only admit students by declared major (within the school). As a result, students must be able to demonstrate particular talents through auditions and portfolio reviews. In fact, admissions counselors say that the most significant factors for those schools are the portfolio and auditions.
For students serious about pursuing careers in the arts, it is essential to have a dynamic portfolio demonstrating your aptitude in these areas.
The UCLA mascot is Joe Bruin, a brown grizzly bear. Before athletic events, there is friendly competition between UCLA and its crosstown rival, USC, as students try to steal and deface each other’s mascot. The winner of the UCLA-USC football game is awarded the Victory Bell.
UCLA has an amazing Inverted Fountain, where the water flows inward. The Inverted Fountain is the scene of many UCLA’s traditions, including graduating seniors wading into the fountain with water guns in tow after their final exams.
Getting into UCLA
UCLA focuses first and foremost on academics. The factors weighed by Admissions include:
- The applicant’s full record of achievement in college preparatory work in high school
- Personal qualities of the applicant
- Likely contributions to the intellectual and cultural vitality of the campus
- Performance on standardized tests
- Achievement in academic enrichment programs
- Opportunities and challenges
As UCLA has climbed higher in the rankings, their acceptance rate has declined. UCLA receives around 100,000 applications for freshman admission – more than any other college – and admits about 1 in 5 students, with GPAs averaging about 4.1 on a weighted scale. So we generally advise students who are interested in UCLA to apply broadly within the UC system.
UCLA looks for a strong personal statement, academic record and, a stellar portfolio for arts programs. That’s why it is so important to begin the preparation process as early as possible.
Is UCLA Right For Me?
How do you know if UCLA is right for you? The best way to start to find this out is to visit. Visiting the libraries, laboratories, classrooms and dorms will help you determine if UCLA is the right fit for you.
You’ll feel the school spirit – you may learn the 8-clap during your tour. Class sizes are large, at least for the first two years, so students who fit well at UCLA are go-getters who are able to learn in that type of environment. One excellent opportunity to get a feel for class size is the Lecture Experience, which allows prospective students to sit in on a lecture in their preferred school and major.
If you want to be a large city but enjoy the excitement of a traditional college town, you may find yourself falling in love with UCLA.