The usual "UC concern" (big classes, lack of personal attention) at UCD for bio students?

<p>My daughter is currently choosing between UCD (College of Bio Sciences) and NEU (Honors program). The cost is about the same for us (she got a merit scholarship to NEU). As parents, we strongly favor the UCD option - no hassle with air travel, the overall academic ratings are stronger (especially, it seems, in biology). Our daughter sees those advantages, too, but she is concerned about the commonly known problems of UCs - huge classes, lack of personal attention, possibly, unapproachable professors … and overcrowded EVERYTHING. :-)</p>

<p>Could anyone comment on to what extent would those concerns really affect the life of an aspiring bio student (especially, in the first couple of years)? How big are the introductory classes? How much of them taught by TAs (rather than professors)? How hard it is to get academic help when it is needed? How hard/easily summer or school year research positions are obtained by undergraduates? What kinds of research opportunities are available for bio undergrads at UCD?</p>

<p>Also, to what extent could the AP courses taken in high school help to get required GE and introductory/prerequisite classes out of the way at UCD? Could it help to avoid the most crowded classes and “weed-out” courses? My daughter had taken 6 APs: AP Bio, AP Calc BC, AP Stats, AP LaC, AP Lit, and AP French (the latter one would certainly get her, at least, out of foreign language requirement, but she is actually interested in continuing it rather than avoiding it. ;-)).</p>

<p>My son is a current freshman at UCD and I can answer some of your questions although not specially BIO.

  1. Largest class my son has had freshman year was Cultural Anthropology with 200 in lecture taught by the Professor, but 25 in the discussion section taught by a TA. The smallest class was 15 for a Freshman Seminar. All his classes so far have been taught by the Professors. TA’s are used for the discussion groups.
  2. He has gone to many Professor’s office hours for help. He has also gone to the tutoring center and the academic advising center (found in each freshman housing area) for help.
  3. He has not gotten to the point of looking for research positions, but he gets emails constantly from his College (Agriculture and Environmental Sciences) for volunteer and internship positions. Most require Sophomore standing.
  4. He received credit for his 7 AP classes but none of the GE/Pre-Req classes were waived due to those classes. Usually the CSU’s will allow to waive GE’s or Prereq, not the UC’s. Depending upon her scores, she maybe able to skip 1 Calculus class, but that is probably all. For French, she would have to take a placement test to see if she can move to a higher level. Language placement tests are given during Orientation.
  5. BIS 2A and CHE 2A are the “weed out” classes for the Bio/Pre-Med majors. Most Bio majors will take these 2 classes Fall Quarter, so to avoid the really competitive students, waiting till Winter Quarter may be a suggestion.
    :slight_smile: Just a personal note, the UC’s are research driven and as such, these brilliant researchers (Professors) are not always the best lecturers so you end up relying on the TA’s a lot for a better understanding of the material.</p>

<p>Good Luck to your daughter.</p>