UCLA (OOS) OR University of Alabama at Birmingham?

The “good story” is that many community college students are non-traditional students who actually are financially independent of their parents, both by the FAFSA test and in actuality, so the barrier to establishing California residency is lower (i.e. does not require the parents to establish California residency or the student to pass difficult tests of financial independence from them). Of course, those same non-traditional students who transfer to UCs find the barrier to establishing California residency at UCs to be lower than for students going to college immediately out of high school.

@bennty It doesn’t mean “no money”. It means the majority of your support has to be self-generated.

UC says:

You must also provide objective documentation demonstrating that you have sufficient financial resources, earned through your own employment and/or credit, to cover all of your living and educational expenses for the current calendar year, and for each of the two calendar years immediately prior to the term for which classification as a resident is requested.

Loans or gifts from parents, regardless of the terms, during any period for which a claim of self-sufficiency is made are considered financial assistance and cannot be considered as student income. Non-institutional loans or gifts from a friend or family member other than a parent, made at or near the time of enrollment in a post-secondary institution, will also be considered financial assistance

well doh!, there are “many” non-trads at community college and, thus by definition, many who are not. That the non-trads have a much easier time establishing financial independence doesn’t mean that the trads don’t also have a good story to tell.

The hard part with trying to gain residency is it’s a gamble - so are you willing to roll the dice and over spend, etc.

Who is to say that UCLA will be a better experience than UAB? Is it higher pedigree - yes. Does it mean your experience will be better?

Anyway, your opportunity for grad school is the same.

If you’re trying to game the system to get residency, you’re going to lose.


UPDATE: thank you everyone.

I’ll be entering UAB with a full merit scholarship and will be graduating in 4 years with a bachelors AND a masters in biology and philosophy. Then, hopefully, i’ll be off to a T-10 Law School. I feel like this is the right decision ( better than 100K debt for undergrad) and although I’m upset I won’t get a prestigious education, I’ll try to get over it.


I don’t get why UAB rather than UA Tuscaloosa Honors. Are your parents graduates of Auburn or something?
Your current choices cannot just be UAB or UCLA, a commuter school or an unaffordable school, something you don’t want or something you can’t have. It doesn’t make sense.

Why biology? It’s useless for law school and largely unemployable.

1 Like
  1. He obviously didn’t apply to Alabama - or at least it’s not in his consideration set. My son goes to UA and is in Honors - which there everyone is - it’s the largest in the country - ok, like 35%. Maybe he likes the campus at Bham or city vs. suburban. Nothing wrong with UAB.

  2. Biology is not largely unemployable. Many “majors” don’t correlate specific to the job market. I work for an auto OEM and I have a history and journalism degree with marketing masters. My teammate is bio. So I would not say it’s unemployable - but yes, it’s not a degree that typically leads to high paying jobs.

  3. Everyone says they want to go to law school or med school. I would disagree that bio is useless for law school. While poli sci is the most frequent major, in many ways, it’s also the worst in that- they want diversity of thought, of schooling, so they will be excited to see a bio major.

In short, I’d ask you one question - why are you such a hater?

To the student, congrats on your wise, fully paid decision and enjoy your less stressful (thanks to your finances) next four years.


1st of all, I applied to UAB over UA because I did not want to be at a party school and appreciated a lot of the research opportunities available to me at UAB.

2nd, are you are lawyer or expert because how else would you know that “biology is largely unemployable”? After consulting with actual lawyers, I was told that my undergrad major will not matter while applying to law school and that having a STEM heavy major will help develop my analytical skills for the LSAT.

3rd of all, UAB wouldn’t be a commuter school. And clearly, since i’ll be attending with a full merit scholarship, UAB is an option I DO want.

Have a great day :slight_smile:


They probably mean math rather than biology in terms of practicing logical thinking that may help with the LSAT. Philosophy also includes practice in logical thinking.

However, if you want to go into patent law, an undergraduate degree in engineering or science (including biology but not math) is helpful.

Perhaps a better way to put it is that biology-specific jobs are not plentiful (compared to the number of biology graduates each year) or high paying, so biology graduates need to be willing to look for the jobs in the generic bachelor’s degree job market.

1 Like

Sorry, I didn’t understand you DID want to attend UAB because you said you were upset.
In that case, congratulations :slight_smile: :grinning: :+1: Getting a full tuition or full ride scholarship is impressive and attending a university you want and like for free or nearly free is the best feeling in the world.

Since I thought you were disappointed in UAB, I was trying to figure out if there was a third way because very, very often kids present two college choices (generally, the most prestigious or desirable one and the least expensive one) and there’s a third one, sometimes even a 4th one, that end up being a good compromise – except most posters don’t bring it up till they’re asked, often repeatedly.
In addition, only 23% students live on campus, but I assume close to 100% Honors students do, you can email to check the exact percentages. I figure you might want a traditional college experience, which both have (D1 sports, city at your finger tips) with some aspects of UCLA.
UA Honors has a national reputation and it’s better for Humanities than UAB or UAH, with special programs, but it’s true that if you’d rather avoid the heavy Greek scene and party culture, UAB will be a better fit.

However, yes, I AM an expert.

It’s true your major doesn’t matter for Law school. Any major that requires a lot if reading and writing, synthesizing and discussing and analyzing and researching-- pretty much any major in the Humanities or Social Sciences- works for the first cut. Philosophy is especially good because it is known to be rigorous (and, for that reason, less commonly chosen and more likely to help you stand out at the interview stage, especially because it trains you well in reasoning and reading quickly, thoroughly, vast quantities of abstract material.)
For a more employable major, because Law Schools like applicants with 2-3 years’ experience, Philosophy+Economics is a good choice. Philosophy with a quantitative major (math, applied math, statistics, CS, even Physics) also works.
However, yes, it’s hard to find a well paid job out of college with Bio, because well paid and/or interestibg jobs often require a PHD or at least a master and some form of Biotech field. So, there are few jobs for Bio majors and their skills, but there’s also an oversupply of them due to all the premeds who don’t get into Med school.
If you love biology you could minor in it. Or combine your love of biology with stats (Biostats) or CS/IS (Bioinformatics).


On the forum people don’t want to type out lengthy responses so may give a terse response. To the point here, a lot of students think that with a Bio degree they are ready for a job in research somewhere using what they learned. Unfortunately there is a PhD glut (you can look it up) so the credential you need is typically a PhD and a nice post-doc position. So, yeah, with a BS in Biology you are largely unemployable in the field you studied at anything more than a low-level lab position without advancement. Which sits in contrast to those with degrees in accounting, nursing, engineering, etc…

There is one advantage to a science degree before law school, BTW. Depending on the degree you may be eligible for Patent Law. I’m not a lawyer but I’ve worked with patent attorneys. It seems like a lower-stress job compared to those starting out in civil practice working insane hours trying to make the few partnership positions available. And it seems to be pretty well paying.

Organic Chem is also great with teaching critical thinkings skills…of course, the downside with a STEM major/minor is that those lower division classes are usually curved and A’s are harder to come (for LS admissions) by relative to lit/hume/social science courses.

But note that biology major courses (particularly the lower level ones specified by medical schools) are filled with premeds competing intensely for A grades.

well of course, as those are the courses that a Bio major has to take.

You are comparing pre professional with a liberal art. Yet all the colleges are stating, rightly or not, that in the liberal arts you learn how to write, analyze, communicate.

I don’t disagree with your premise but to say you biology jobs are often not available let’s throw in history, psychology, English, Philosophy and more. These kids are still employable but they will discover an unknown to them industry and/or job.

Study what you love. 90%+ don’t love what they are doing. So chase your dreams!!

That’s a wise choice. Law has one of the largest debt to income ratios with student loans. Anything you save would only help.

I’m pretty sure UAB is much less of a commuter school than it used to be. Stats say last year 73 percent of freshmen lived on campus.

1 Like