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UCLA or cal poly slo for electrical engineering? HELP!!

person415person415 Registered User Posts: 67 Junior Member
I cannot decide between UCLA and cal poly slo.... So I was wondering if some people could clear some things up for me?
1. I want to go to grad school after undergrad, will that be easier at ucla because I hear they try to prepare you for that better or cal poly maybe I would be able to get a better gpa?
2. What kind of personality types tend to go to both schools? I am a pretty shy person and I am afraid of there being too many people at UCLA that I may not be able to find people I fit in with.
3. Ucla is about $5,000 a year cheaper for me than cal poly slo, so that comes into my mind a lot and I know that UCLA has a higher four year graduation rate.....
4. At this point I do believe I want to be an electrical engineer, but I am not 100% sure and I want the opportunity to switch majors if I choose too. Specifically to computer science if I find that I like it, and I know ucla said that it is very easy to switch majors within the engineering school if you want to. I did not go to the cal poly slo open house but I heard it's at the very least easier to switch into another engineering major from the engineering school than from outside it.

I'm pretty lost and I cannot make up my mind... Any opinions would be appreciated!

Replies to: UCLA or cal poly slo for electrical engineering? HELP!!

  • RoysGoin2CollegeRoysGoin2College Registered User Posts: 558 Member
    Go to UCLA
    Easy decision based on what you've stated
  • MarkBoogieMarkBoogie Registered User Posts: 19 New Member
    Agreed. ^ The cheaper part was the deal breaker.
  • CPspacemanCPspaceman Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    Don’t discount Cal Poly until you have visited the campus and asked your questions.

    Go on the general campus tour in order to get the campus overview.

    Cal Poly General College Tours
    http://admissions.calpoly.edu/visit/guided.html

    Arrange also to go on the College of Engineering tour. Be sure to have all your questions ready.

    Cal Poly College of Engineering Tours
    http://ceng.calpoly.edu/tours/

    Contact one of the IEEE officers to hear their experience.

    Cal Poly IEEE Student Branch Officers
    http://www.calpolyieee.org/officers/

    Below is the CP EE home page if you have not already investigated.

    Cal Poly EE Home Page
    http://www.ee.calpoly.edu/

    Below are some general student responses to their Cal Poly experience

    Cal Poly Student Reviews
    https://www.****/colleges/Cal-Poly/reviews

    I grew up in the San Fernando Valley (Sun Valley, Poly High School). Fell in love with both Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo.

    Again, do not discount Cal Poly until you have visited the campus and asked your questions to both the EE staff and EE students.

    Best Wishes
  • eyemgheyemgh Registered User Posts: 5,346 Senior Member
    It's BS that other schools prepare you for grad school better than Poly. They place students into TOP programs all the time. Many join the workforce simply because they are fully prepared.
  • eduparenteduparent Registered User Posts: 124 Junior Member
    We visited both campuses and S immediately did not like the feel of the UCLA surrounding local community. Too busy and too big. Some might like the fast city life because there is so much to do, but S was overwhelmed. He also liked the friendly student camaraderie feel and small class size at Cal Poly. The idea of a school being $5,000 cheaper per year is pretty compelling, but, if you change your major, you might extend your stay beyond 4 years. Good luck with your decision as you have two great choices.
  • OsakaDadOsakaDad Registered User Posts: 1,200 Senior Member
    Let me chime in as my kid turned down UCLA (and four other UC's) for Cal Poly.

    Q: 1. I want to go to grad school after undergrad, will that be easier at ucla because I hear they try to prepare you for that better or cal poly maybe I would be able to get a better gpa?

    A: As eyemgh said above, if you do well at Cal Poly you can get into any grad school you want. Also, you can do the 4+1 program at Cal Poly and get both your undergrad and graduate degree at Cal Poly together. Do not assume that you can get a better GPA at Cal Poly because it is not a UC. Cal Poly is very challenging and kids flunk out every year just like at UCLA.

    Q: 2. What kind of personality types tend to go to both schools? I am a pretty shy person and I am afraid of there being too many people at UCLA that I may not be able to find people I fit in with.

    A: UCLA is a metropolis with as many as 60,000 people on campus if you add everyone up from students and profs to the cleaning crew. So, there will be all types and it can get lonely. UCLA really is a sink or swim situation. Cal Poly is also diverse, but the atmosphere is much more laid back. Cal Poly seems to be more relaxed and very open and friendly. This is my opinion and completely anecdotal. My kid is very introverted and easily found his peeps. WOW week really made a difference and integrated him into the school form day one.

    Q: 3. Ucla is about $5,000 a year cheaper for me than cal poly slo, so that comes into my mind a lot and I know that UCLA has a higher four year graduation rate.....

    A: $5,000 a year cheaper is a very big deal. You must take that into consideration in your choice. Cal Poly takes longer to graduate because it is intense and often because students do internships and often take on extended PAID co-ops. These often lead to job offers. I know kids that got internships at Cal Poly that paid $10,000 over a summer and co-ops that paid over $20,000.

    Q: 4. At this point I do believe I want to be an electrical engineer, but I am not 100% sure and I want the opportunity to switch majors if I choose too. Specifically to computer science if I find that I like it, and I know ucla said that it is very easy to switch majors within the engineering school if you want to. I did not go to the cal poly slo open house but I heard it's at the very least easier to switch into another engineering major from the engineering school than from outside it.

    A: No worries, at Cal Poly EE and CS are both in the College of Engineering http://ceng.calpoly.edu/departments/ and changing majors is not that big of a deal at Cal Poly. My kid did and did not miss a beat.

    Good luck!!
  • c172pilotc172pilot Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    I am actually in the same situation right now and have done some of my own extensive research to decide between UCLA and Cal Poly.

    In terms of what UCLA offers, everything screams UCLA as opposed to Cal Poly - but I'm still set on Cal Poly.

    1) UCLA is covering my entire tuition costs up to about $14,000. This leaves me with just the housing costs along with the other incidentals. Compare this with Cal Poly which is offering me $12,500 in just loans. Why such a huge difference in the financial aid package? I'm assuming it is due to the fact UCLA has a bigger pot of money (And from visiting there it appears most who attend also have a pot of money).

    2) UCLA restricts Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan transfer student recipients to TWO years on the program. I completed my entire GE breadth and almost all of my support courses, yet I have three years left at either Cal Poly and UCLA. What happens after that period? I've e-mailed UCLA Financial Aid for some answers, but it looks like I'll be footing the entire tuition cost my last year.

    If you are getting similar amounts of aid in the form of a Cal Grant, be aware of its delimiting dates. If you change majors and end up staying longer you could find yourself out of aid besides loans.

    What have you taken into account for determining that UCLA is $5,000 cheaper? Personally, I feel that isn't a huge difference considering the opportunity you will find during and after Cal Poly. As OsakaDad mentioned, you may make that money back over the summer in an internship.

    I know this is more geared towards my situation, but hopefully it'll help you examine other aspects and determine which college is a better fit.

    So knowing that A) my last year at UCLA I will be paying everything out of pocket, and B) I will be there for three years, I've come up with a rough estimated cost of $40,221. That one year of tuition sky rockets the costs of attendance.

    Currently I am looking at a cost of $53,973 to attend Cal Poly on my own dime. However, I expect to be receiving the Cal Grant A award as I have been selected for a National Guard scholarship through the state; this would bring my cost of attendance down to $43,029 possibly.

    3) Try planning out your courses at both Cal Poly and UCLA - since you are an incoming freshman it may require more work than it did for my three years. You will be surprised in the differences you find. For one, Cal Poly does not offer most major courses as often as UCLA will. This may be a problem if you miss a sequence, or do not pass a class. For myself, this was worth noting because more likely than not I will be deploying during the Fall 2015 quarter.

    4) As you pick out the classes, pay attention to instructors for your major courses. For example, I picked 5 professors for equivalent major EE classes at both Cal Poly and UCLA and read their reviews at PolyRatings.com and BruinWalk.com.

    The reviews were terrible for every professor at UCLA - in fact, they were so bad I kept reading on about other professors and they were equally as bad. As OsakaDad mentioned, it is truly sink or swim. Do not expect help from your peers, and do not expect help from your professors; once in awhile you may come across a helpful TA, but from stories I've heard personally and reading these reviews, they usually are not very helpful either.

    The grade curve at UCLA for most classes gave the majority of the students around a C. There was one class, however, that is also a requirement for EE and close to 50% of the class failed.

    When I read the Poly reviews they didn't make it sound as though the classes are necessarily easier (They aren't) but most seemed to really appreciate their professors and the effort that they put in to see every student succeed. Night and day from UCLA.

    5) Finally, I've visited both UCLA and Cal Poly. At CP I unfortunately didn't get to sit in on a class but it made a great first impression. I personally love the more "country" area - I hate cities, and the traffic that comes with it. Now on any other day besides the weekend, you will hit some good traffic on the 101 if you head down south from Cal Poly.

    The UCLA class I sat in on was EE Systems and Signals; an upper division electrical engineering course with the entire sequence of calculus, and differential equations as a prerequisite. I was shocked to see several students sleeping through the lecture, and those that were awake, on their phones or laptop browsing the internet. Maybe they are all incredibly book smart, but I certainly could not get away with that and pass a class. As for the instructor, she monotonously droned on as she scribbled notes on the tablet. She was essentially just copying equations from the textbook and mentioning what the variables meant, then telling the students to "know this."

    So take it from me, who is being offered around $28,000 to attend UCLA and nothing (So far) at Cal Poly, and I'm sticking with Cal Poly.


  • czs1994czs1994 Registered User Posts: 146 Junior Member
    What is your ultimate goal, working in the industry or research. If working Cal Poly wins, if research UCLA wins. If the $5,000 difference is because you could live at home, don't, the college experience truly requires living on campus. Cal Poly will have much smaller class sizes for lower division classes making it more friendly and more comfortable for a shy person. I don't truly know UCLA's reputation for friendliness but know that Cal Poly is amazing they are even nice to an old lady like me. Cal Poly has the vibes of a small college, but the benefits of a large college (more majors, more choice in classes, more students to fine friends from, etc.).
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