I currently live in northern california bay area, and for the life of me cannot decide between UW and UC Irvine. Both are great schools and are similarly ranked academically, but at the same time are completely different in terms of what they offer and what kind of environment I will be in (physical and social environment). Any insight as to which school you guys think I should go to?
Irvines social life is rumored to be sub-par. From what I've heard, the campus is dead on the weekends, and there isn't much to do.
Orange County, in my opinion, doesnt really have much to offer, but that could be my San Diego bias talking. Of course it does have that SoCal appeal, which might be tempting. I think Seattle, on the other hand, is a hip, diverse city. If you want to be surrounded by upper-middle class squares, then go to the OC.
Also, academically, i think UW might have more of an edge, atleast by the virtue of it's name.
If I was in your position, I would probably choose UW, but it depends on your preferences really.
In my opinion the social life wasn't sub-par at irvine, it just wasnt outstanding. I would most likely be forced to join greek life (not necessarily a bad thing) if I chose to go to UCI. I agree that OC doesnt have much to offer, but as a california native coming from suburban norcal its definitely an improvement going off to college in general.
I actually love seattle, bellevue, etc, but found the area immediately surrounding UW to be a little underwhelming. It reminded me a lot of the area surrounding UC berkeley, which I do not like too much. Full of homeless and hippies, trashy street scene. For the most part it was clean and wasnt a huge deal. I do agree that academically UW has the edge especially in my field of specialty. I plan on going into business administration with a minor in environmental policy which would be suited perfectly at washington.
I also don't mind the squares at OC, seeing as im a little nerdy myself, as well as any of the kids getting into these more competitive colleges. I do find the social aspect of college very important thats why I am so curious.
Also, I am taking into account future internship possibilities. I know I can probably work anywhere with a decent background, but I would actually prefer to go back to california for an internship, and then off to a california graduate school. I am worried that going to washington will hurt my chances of returning to california for an internship or grad school.
I've never actually been to UCI, so needless to say I'm no authority figure. I am, however, very familar with Orange County. I think realistically you will have amazing social opportunities at either school, and regardless of which school you choose, going off and being independent will be exciting in itself.
By squares I meant people that aren't particularly interesting or unique. Of course, this is a generalization and should be taken with a grain of salt . I think that UCI generally attracts average students, where as UW probably has a more diverse student population. But both schools are relatively big, so I don't think you'd have a problem finding a group of people that you fit in with.
Aside from all that social life jazz (after all college isnt about fun ), I think if you are considering business, especially with that enviromental policy minor, UW would be a great academic fit. I don't think going to UW would limit your internship or job opportunities in California, only because UW is generally highly regarded in the west. You could also do alot of networking while in Seattle, which might be useful later down the line...
As someone who works in LA right now, I'd go to UW. California has sooooo many state schools (and privates as well), that Irvine just isn't top tier in this state. However, UW seems to clearly be the best school in Washington. So while it's a bit of a wierd way to compare, a UC Irvine grad is seen as lesser than someone who went to UCLA, UCB, USC, Stanford, while a UW grad is seen as someone who went to a very good school elsewhere, and would probably be seen as more comparable to UCLA than UCI would be.
Ugly. U Dub is hands down a nicer campus. UCI is excellent in the sciences for sure. But for me Washington is the complete package. Academics plus big time college experience. I know CA kids get scared of Washington weather... that's a drawback.
"So while it's a bit of a wierd way to compare, a UC Irvine grad is seen as lesser than someone who went to UCLA, UCB, USC, Stanford, while a UW grad is seen as someone who went to a very good school elsewhere"
While that may be true, I was not allowed to apply to private schools and there was no way I could receive any financial aid if I did apply to these schools. If you take the private schools off the list, UCI is easily one of the top schools available in the public domain. It is ranked 44th in the nation between private and public schools and it is part of the renown UC system. I do agree that washington has a slightly better reputation, but for the immediate southern california area, I think getting a job at one of the big 4 firms might be easier in the short and long run. Also, I am trying not to factor cost into my choice but I would like to justify the additional 12k spent going to UW yearly.
To the poster who thought Irvine was an urban jungle. You are basically right, all the buildings are concrete structures with little to no character. These buildings are also devoid of mold, mildew, weird smells, and have all the amenities of a modern school. I didnt have a huge problem with the architecture at irvine, as it was very functional. I do agree that washington wins the aesthetic beauty hands down.
I am just defending it because there are more apparent "negatives" to many students. In the UCI forum I am defending washington easily as much as I am defending UCI here because I want to hear a balanced opinion. If I was leaning towards a particular school, I would have the slightest idea of where I might want to spend my next 4 years. Unfortunately, I am still completely torn between both of them.
My dd is a frosh at UW from California. She choose UW over Davis and San Diego for several reasons. She wanted to go to a school with some school spirit...a school that felt like a big time college campus (ala Pac 10, etc). She thinks the "Ave" is like Berkeley somewhat, but not nearly as intimidating. She loves the area near UVillage. She doesn't know what she is going to major in but is enjoying dabbling and taking some great classes.
I think the thing that strikes me most is that every so often I get a phone call just to tell me she loves it there. She's happy and couldn't be happier with her decision. And I was there just last weekend and it is stunningly beautiful. Maybe that is not what one should base a decision on, but it does help.
"While that may be true, I was not allowed to apply to private schools and there was no way I could receive any financial aid if I did apply to these schools. If you take the private schools off the list, UCI is easily one of the top schools available in the public domain."
I completely understand this, but you have to remember that you will still be competing for jobs against the people from those private schools. Even taking them away, UCLA and UCB grads have an enormous edge over UCI grads in terms of the weight their degree carries.