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Cal Poly SLO vs. UCR?

TheShowGoes0nTheShowGoes0n Registered User Posts: 87 Junior Member
edited April 2013 in Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
I already SIRed to Cal Poly SLO, but now I am having second thoughts. This is in large part due to the fact that I am an asian american who grew up in a community largely populated with asians. I have never been a minority in my life. Cal Poly SLO is not diverse at all and is pre-dominantly white... would I be able to fit in here? I know SLO is the better school for my major (business administration) but I am also looking to have a good time in college. Is this the right school for me or should I go to UCR instead? If I go to UCR, I would try to transfer to USC after a year or 2.
Post edited by TheShowGoes0n on

Replies to: Cal Poly SLO vs. UCR?

  • jreneejrenee Registered User Posts: 34 Junior Member
    I understand your reasons for having second thoughts. I grew up in the bay area, particularly a place that was probably the most ethnically diverse. I have a friend who is Vietnamese and attends CP. Her roommate is Asian-American as well. I'm sure there are many Asian-Americans on campus and ways to get connected with others through clubs on campus. There are a lot of clubs on campus for many ethnic groups such as Asian American Christian Fellowship club, Chinese Cultural Club, Pilipino Cultural Exchange, Thai Vietnamese Student Association, Persian Students of Cal Poly, Muslim Students Association, Korean American Student Association, Asian Pacific Islanders Association, American Indian Student Association, Latino club, African American clubs... etc. The school may be pre-dominantly white but there are many minorities represented on campus. Whereever you decide, make sure it makes you happy and helps you in getting where you want to go career-wise.
  • NewMustangNewMustang Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    Hi TheShowGoesOn,

    I agree with jrenee in that you need to be happy wherever you go. Being born and raised on the central coast, I can tell you that racism is not a huge problem around here. If I am being honest, for the majority of the people around here who are prone to racial judgments, their prejudice would likely be towards Hispanics due to the fairly large immigrant population. This is predominately a rural area, so the flag-waving country hicks do exist but they are few and far between. And, even at that, they are probably much older and won't have much bearing on those you will meet around campus.

    That being said, I am white, but my best friend that I grew up with here is an American-born, full-blooded Japanese guy. He did tell me after many years of friendship that, as a kid, he felt awkward at times being a minority but he never really had any run-ins with true prejudice. (Unless you count the couple of times when some ignoramus' asked him if he knew karate.)

    Again, go to whichever school you think you will be most comfortable at & whichever one you think will give you the best chance of success in life. Racism should not be a problem, and I'm truly sorry that we still live in a world where people have to worry about such things.

    Best of luck to you, whatever you decide.
  • OsakaDadOsakaDad Registered User Posts: 1,200 Senior Member
    @The ShowGoesOn:

    We are an Asian mixed race family and I can respond to your questions with authority.
    Cal Poly SLO is not diverse at all and is pre-dominantly white... would I be able to fit in here? I know SLO is the better school for my major (business administration) but I am also looking to have a good time in college. Is this the right school for me or should I go to UCR instead?
    First of all Cal Poly SLO is not as "White" as you think. The school's total enrollment is 61% White which means that 39% of the school is minority. Compared to other states this is incredibly diverse. Only in California do we see schools like UCI and Berkeley that are 45% Asian or higher. The predominant ethnic categories other than White at Cal Poly are 10.9% Asian; 5.8% Multi-Racial which includes students from families like ours; 13.7% Hispanic and 5.1% Unknown/Other (page 12 of the Factbook). The entering 2012 freshman class is even more diverse with 11.9% Asian students. The only truly underrepresented group is African Americans which sadly is below 1%. However, this is not the school's fault. Cal Poly is famous for STEM majors, business and agriculture and regrettably too few African Americans pursue these fields (business excluded). Here is the Cal Poly Factbook that will give you all the statistics: http://www.ipa.calpoly.edu/sites/ir.wcms.calpoly.edu/files/publications_reports/factbook/fbfall12.pdf

    Now, let me tell you about our personal experience. We live in a mixed race area with a predominately Asian population. My son went to a high school that was mostly Asian and Hispanic with a minority of white students. We are a bilingual, Japanese dual citizenship holding family and also fall into a religious minority.

    My son loves the school and feels completely accepted by other students. His roommates have included, Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipino, other Asian mixed kids and his best friends are White and Asian. His club's team, classes and dorm floor neighbors consists of all races including Hispanics and African Americans. Basically, he fits in 100% and enjoys interacting with all students. Cal Poly Students in our experience are race-blind and in line with "Learn by Doing" and all that talk about a "Hands On" environment, it ends up being more about what you can do and the skills that you have rather than your race. Now, let's talk about the unspoken question. What about dating? This is really important for any college student. I've been to campus many times and have had extended stays. I've noticed quite a few Asian girls and I've also noticed a lot of mixed race couples both on campus and in town. So, if you are OK with dating within and/or across racial lines, you will be fine. My kid has a different experience. He has been dating the same girl from back home for 4 years and they are still together. Fortunately, Cal Poly recognizes you as adults and allows guests to stay overnight in all the dorms. Yes, even in the red bricks as long as you notify the RA and sign in it is totally cool. So, my son's girlfriend travels up there a couple of times a quarter and he comes home a couple of times or more and it all works out.

    To not choose Cal Poly based on racial concerns is ridiculous, especially if you know the school has your preferred major. In this case, you may want to take a deep look into your own way of thinking and ask yourself if you have racial preferences and if these attitudes have prevented you from exploring other opportunities. Getting exposure to other races may be the best thing you can do for your own development. In business you must get comfortable with a diverse client base. I have been in international business for 30 years and know this for a fact.

    I can see going somewhere else only if you truly feel that the school can not offer you the education you want. A transfer to USC is not guaranteed from UCR. If that is your true goal, I would forget UCR all together and go to a community college and then transfer from there. It will be a lot cheaper and you may even have a better chance of acceptance.

    Our experience with Cal Poly has been extraordinary positive with no racial discrimination. My son LOVES the school.
  • slolearnerslolearner Registered User Posts: 146 Junior Member
    @OsakaDad Cal Poly could not find a better spokesperson than OsakaDad and I say that with the greatest respect. I have one at SLO and one coming in the fall. Every indication I have seen is that the students at Cal Poly are really the best. My take is that racism is not part of 'The Mustang Way', culture, however you want to put it. Two of my incoming freshman's high school friends came with us to open house. One of the two happened to be Vietnamese. Although he seemed to like the school & all that goes with it he self selected to attend a school where the students looked more like him. I understand his feelings, however if URM kids self select out then this is what you get. This piece from the LA Times is almost 10 years old. Diversity Lagging at Cal Poly - Los Angeles Times
  • EVILteddieEVILteddie Registered User Posts: 49 Junior Member
    I've lived in the UCR area for a large portion of my life, and I have interacted with many people that went to the school. For the most part, the people there are pessimistic about attending UCR because of perceived notions of the school being inferior. The student population at Cal Poly were all so excited to be affiliated with the school, which was something that really struck me. Me personally, I would rather spend my college years at a school that is less diverse but incredibly high spirited and eager to participate, instead of a school full of kids that are angry to be there. I'm generalizing a bit about UCR I'm sure, but like I said, this is just my experience from hanging out and living around the area for many years.
  • OsakaDadOsakaDad Registered User Posts: 1,200 Senior Member
    Thanks slolearner!!
  • TheShowGoes0nTheShowGoes0n Registered User Posts: 87 Junior Member
    Thank you everyone for the feedback. After reading these posts, I feel a lot more comfortable about attending. In addition, I attended Open House weekend last weekend and noticed that almost everyone seemed very laidback and friendly. Also, at this point, I feel that branching out and building relationships with people of all different types of races will be very beneficial for me. I definitely get the vibe that Cal Poly SLO students have a lot of pride and are genuinely happy to go to school there, and I think I would feel the same way.
  • OsakaDadOsakaDad Registered User Posts: 1,200 Senior Member
    @TheShowGoesOn -- Smart move buddy! Best of luck and I hope your experience at Cal Poly will give you lifelong memories. It is a wonderful place and if you allow yourself to grow and be comfortable among many types of people you will only increase your success potential in business. As an international financial planner, half my business is in the Asian community and half is in the general population. Without this mix and the ability to effectively work in different cultural markets I would not have the same level of success that I have today.
This discussion has been closed.