Just Graduated from UCLA with a Degree in Electrical Engineering: ASK ME ANYTHING!

@10s4life just graduated from UCLA last month with a degree in electrical engineering. When he was applying to colleges, UCLA was always near the top of his list and he is glad he got to spend the past 4 years there. He is excited to be able to help answer some of your questions and share his experience being a Bruin.

In high school he knew he wanted to stay in California and pretty much applied to most of the UC’s, a CSU, one out of state school, and one private school. Coming out of high school, @10s4life didn’t have the best academic stats (nor was he in academic clubs) but he was heavily involved in ASB and was a recruited athlete for schools outside of CA. When choosing his major, he decided he didn’t like writing all that much but did pretty well in the E&M part of physics so he chose to apply as an electrical engineering major. He wanted to attend a large school that had a great balance of social life, sports, school spirit, and academics. After admission decisions were released, there wasn’t any doubt in his mind: UCLA was the perfect choice.

He had high expectations going into his freshman year and over the next four years wasn’t disappointed. While being an engineering major was rigorous, it was extremely rewarding and he met some of his best friends in college. On campus he was an Engineering Ambassador (you might’ve had a campus tour from him) and involved with the Freshman Engineering Mentor Program. He also rushed and ended up joining a fraternity his first quarter on campus; being a part of Greek life was a huge part of his campus experience. And while the football and basketball programs haven’t been the best since he became a student, games were all still a lot of fun and all the students really rally around game day.

@10s4life will be our Guest Student of the Week so make sure to ask him about his experience at UCLA or the college admissions process.

Hi @10s4life -

Can you talk a bit about your recruiting process? I am a rising junior and with the lingering pandemic, I will definitely be lacking in-person exposure as well as good video. What are some things you did that worked, that can be done without games/camps, etc. ?

I’ve sent out some introductory emails and have gotten a few replies, but that’s about it. I am looking at out-of-state schools as well for sports.


To which schools were you accepted ?

Do you plan on earning an MBA after working for several years ? (I ask because all of my EE relatives–Georgia Tech grads including two top 5% & one who was #1 in EE major–hit an earnings plateau in well under 10 years post undergraduate degree, and earned MBAs part-time & stopped practice as EE engineers.)

The pandemic is definitely going to change how recruiting happens (no games, tournaments, visits, etc). I was a D3 recruit which is very different than D1 (no scholarships, smaller schools, technically it can help you get in but u still gotta be academically qualified to get in as a normal student). I was initially contacted by a coach after seeing me play in a tournament. He had also seen a video as well as checked my results from a recruiting website for my sport. Same process from a few other D3 schools. The process (mid-late 2015) was pretty simple but ultimately wasn’t the right move for me since the schools were expensive and not very good academically.

What I would do I try your best to make “homemade” footage. Try and show your fundamental skills and depending on the sport, try and do some scrimmages or practices to at least get some kind of video of you playing. Or if your state allows it, film your official practices since I’m pretty sure most games are cancelled due to covid.

I would also keep emailing. Sometimes cold emailing a coach or even calling can be good so you can get some dialogue going. Be prepared to show some results and even if it’s not professional video at least something. Especially if it’s D3 or D2 there isn’t as much pressure. Hope that helps and feel free to ask more specific questions.

@Publisher I was accepted to UCLA, UCSB, UCSD, UCD, UNR, Sac State, and Wittenberg (for tennis).

I am considering an MBA since the goal is to switch to the business development side of a company after spending some time on the technical side. I definitely do not want to be technical my whole life. I would prefer to do it part time and if my company won’t pay all of it I’d also consider part time MS in Engineering Management programs which offer similar coursework for a lot lower price. I like the industry I’m going into (aerospace) and don’t want to necessarily pivot which is part of the draw of an MBA I won’t get to take advantage of.

@10s4life - Thanks so much for the ideas. I will definitely try to make a skills video and maybe get some practice footage as well.

I’m from the east coast and I’m thinking about applying to UCLA and UC Berkeley for CS. How much work is the UC application on top of the Common App, and do you think it is worth for only two schools?

@shredd Its not too bad! I would think of it as like the school specific supplemental essays you do for schools that use the common app. The uc app is the same for all the ucs and involves the basic questions plus 5 short answer ones you pick from out of a list (couple hundred words each). It’s not too hard and for both cal and UCLA I think it’s worth it. Just keep in mind if you are OOS, both those schools don’t give FA to OOS students even if your EFC is 0.

For cal there is EECS which is in the college of engineering (single digit admit rates) and you are directly admitted to the Major right away. They also have CS in the college of Letters and Science. But you are not admitted to the Major right away. In fact major decision for L&S has no bearing on your admission chances. After you are admitted you need a 3.3 gpa in the prep courses to get into the major.

Ucla only has CS in HSSEAS which is the engineering school. There is linguistics and CS in L&S but that’s more of a liberal arts focused major with come coding. Like Cal, L&S at UCLA is the same where major isn’t factored into admission and everyone is a pre major. Engineering majors are direct admits.

@10s4life Hi, could you share any of your job search experiences, what you did to find your job, and any difficulties related to the current (COVID) pandemic? My kid will be graduating from UCLA next June, I expect it will be a difficult job market.

@aggies1989 Congrats to your kid! Hopefully graduation will be able to happen next spring.

Covid has definitely made job searching much more difficult. I personally did seriously recruit my senior year as I accepted a job offer from the company I was interning for the summer prior to my senior year. What I would have done though is attend all the fall recruiting events on campus that I could go to and interested me. Although classes are not in person, there will still be university recruiting done virtually. Have your kid go into “ucla Handshake” which is the ucla online career site. It has jobs, recruiting events, and info sessions all on there in one place. It’s extremely useful and most people I know found jobs there. You also get access to handshake one year post grad. Going to the events is a big deal since recruiters will be more likely to hire off of an “in person” event than just a resume online.

@10s4life Thanks, that is helpful. I’ll check if he knows about UCLA Handshake yet. He’s attending fall quarter at home remotely, but if any career events happen on campus, which is doubtful considering the pandemic, he could drive down to SoCal to attend.