The Pros and Cons of UCLA: What You Need to Know Before Applying

Last Updated on May 2, 2023 by Lily Connel

Academic reputation, Wide range of programs, and Research opportunities are some common pros of The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). On the other hand, higher education costs and large class sizes are the two common disadvantages of UCLA.

Brief Overview of UCLA

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public research university located in Los Angeles, California, United States. Founded in 1919, UCLA is one of the most respected and highly-ranked universities in the world. With over 45,000 students enrolled, UCLA offers a wide range of academic programs, including undergraduate majors, graduate and professional programs, and research opportunities. The campus is known for its beautiful architecture, state-of-the-art facilities, and active student life, with numerous clubs, organizations, and events for students to get involved in. UCLA is also known for its successful athletic program, with 118 NCAA championships in various sports. As a major research university, UCLA is home to many research centers, institutes, and labs, and its faculty includes numerous Nobel laureates, Fields Medalists, and other distinguished scholars.

Overview of UCLA

NameUniversity of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
TypePublic research university
LocationLos Angeles, California, United States
EnrollmentOver 45,000 students
Academic ProgramsOver 125 undergraduate majors, 150+ graduate and professional programs
Campus LifeActive student body, clubs, organizations, and events
ResearchNumerous research centers, institutes, and labs
FacultyNumerous Nobel laureates, Fields Medalists, and other distinguished scholars

Pros of UCLA

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a highly respected public research university located in Los Angeles, California. With a long history of academic excellence and a reputation for innovation, UCLA offers students a wealth of opportunities for personal and intellectual growth. Here are some of the key pros of attending UCLA:

  • Strong academic reputation: UCLA is consistently ranked among the top public universities in the United States and is known for its excellent academic programs and world-class faculty. UCLA has a strong reputation in fields such as engineering, business, law, medicine, and the arts and humanities.
  • The diverse range of programs: With over 125 undergraduate majors and more than 150 graduate and professional programs, UCLA offers a wide range of academic disciplines to choose from. Students can explore everything from the humanities and social sciences to engineering and computer science, as well as numerous interdisciplinary programs.
  • Location: Located in Los Angeles, one of the largest and most dynamic cities in the United States, UCLA offers students a vibrant and diverse environment in which to learn and grow. Los Angeles is home to a wide range of industries, including entertainment, technology, and finance, making it an ideal location for internships, networking, and career opportunities.
  • Campus life: With over 1,000 clubs and organizations, a wide range of athletic programs, and numerous cultural events and performances, UCLA offers a rich and varied campus life experience. Students can explore their interests, connect with others who share their passions, and develop new skills and experiences outside the classroom.
  • Research opportunities: As a major research university, UCLA offers students numerous opportunities to engage in cutting-edge research in a variety of fields. From science and engineering to the social sciences and humanities, UCLA faculty members are engaged in a wide range of innovative research projects, and students can work alongside them in labs, research centers, and other settings.
  • Diversity and inclusion: UCLA is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive community, and offers numerous resources and programs to support students from a wide range of backgrounds. UCLA’s student body is diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation, creating a rich and dynamic learning environment that prepares students to thrive in a global society.

Cons of UCLA

While UCLA is a highly respected institution with many strengths, there are also some potential downsides to consider. Here are some of the key cons of attending UCLA:

  • High cost of attendance: Like many top universities, UCLA can be expensive to attend, with high tuition costs and a high cost of living in Los Angeles. While UCLA does offer financial aid and scholarships to help make college more affordable, some students may still find it challenging to cover the full cost of attendance.
  • Large class sizes: With over 45,000 students enrolled, UCLA is a large university, and many classes can be quite large as well. This can make it difficult for students to get to know their professors or to receive individualized attention and support. Some students may also find it challenging to navigate the bureaucracy of a large institution.
  • Competitive environment: Because UCLA is a highly respected university, the academic environment can be quite competitive, with many students vying for top grades and prestigious opportunities. Some students may find this pressure to excel stressful or overwhelming.
  • Housing shortages: Los Angeles is a popular and expensive city, and finding affordable housing can be a challenge. UCLA offers on-campus housing options, but demand is high and space is limited, so not all students may be able to secure housing on campus. Off-campus housing can also be expensive and competitive.
  • Traffic and parking: Los Angeles is known for its traffic congestion, and commuting to and from campus can be a challenge. Parking on campus can also be expensive and difficult to find, which can be frustrating for students who need to drive to campus.
  • Limited social scene: While UCLA does offer a wide range of clubs and organizations, some students may find that the social scene on campus is somewhat limited. The campus is large and spread out, and it can be challenging to connect with others outside of one’s immediate circle of friends.


What is the acceptance rate at UCLA?

The acceptance rate at UCLA varies depending on the program or major. For undergraduate admissions in Fall 2021, the acceptance rate was 12.3%.

How much does it cost to attend UCLA?

The cost of attending UCLA varies depending on several factors, such as whether a student is a resident of California or not, the program of study, and living arrangements. For undergraduate students in 2021-2022, the estimated cost of attendance for a California resident was around $36,000 per year, while for non-residents, the estimated cost was around $64,000 per year.

What majors and programs is UCLA known for?

UCLA is known for its strong programs in a variety of fields, including engineering, computer science, psychology, biology, political science, and business. The university also has a highly regarded arts and architecture program, as well as a renowned film and television program.

What is campus life like at UCLA?

UCLA has a diverse and vibrant campus life, with over 1,000 student organizations, a thriving arts and cultural scene, and numerous opportunities for community service and civic engagement. The campus is also home to a range of athletic teams and facilities, as well as several on-campus dining options and a variety of student services.

How safe is the UCLA campus and surrounding area?

UCLA is located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, which is generally considered to be a safe and affluent area. The campus itself is patrolled by a dedicated police force, and the university provides a range of safety resources and services for students.

What support services are available for students at UCLA?

UCLA offers a wide range of support services and resources for students, including academic advising, tutoring and study groups, mental health and wellness services, career counseling, and financial aid and scholarship assistance.


Overall, UCLA is an excellent university with many strengths and a few potential drawbacks, and whether it’s the right fit for you will depend on your individual preferences, priorities, and goals.