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"***OMG. You're going to UC Merced?!?"

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Replies to: "***OMG. You're going to UC Merced?!?"

  • joylovejoylove Registered User Posts: 84 Junior Member
    I'm not saying go to the university that has your major without doing any research on the school.

    I'm just saying consider it a viable option and one well above the rest because its one of the few that has your major.

    Then next I'd consider the school that fits me the best, personally.
  • drcowboy86drcowboy86 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    Last I checked UCM was actually more selective than UCR for the first time this year. Trust me I dated someone at UCR for a bit, so ive spent a fair amount of time there, even gone to classes, UCM is a way way better deal than UCR. UCM has top notch faculty, several of my professors are former professors from Stanford and Berkley, heck one of them teaches at Berkley and UCM. You dont get faculty like that at a jc or a CSU very often. Non of my classes have ever been taught by a TA or some newly minted PHD that only wants to talk about his disertation topic.

    I think alot of people underestimate the importance of small class size. Getting letters or recommendation, really good ones from really top notch professors is relatively easy at UCM, and extremely difficult at every other UC. For those not looking at med school, its honestly all about knowing your professors. You want to get into a science grad program, having a professor you know talk to a professor they know in that program is what gets you in. I have a friend that graduated from Dartmouth that couldnt get into a single PHD program in chemistry, why? Cause non of her professors would go to bat for her. You get that at UCM like no other school in the country. You want to got to med school or law school it might not be the best school for you, but you want to do anything else, its damn hard to beat.
  • nguyendanguyenda Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    Wow @ drcowboy86. I came to this thread to see how bad it is but the academics you talked about really is persuading me to reconsider applying. But I really am concerned about UCM social life. I really want to meet a lot of new people. Also is there much to do on campus or in the city of Merced?
  • CalPolyEngineerCalPolyEngineer Registered User Posts: 182 Junior Member
    I used to live in the central valley (Turlock), and the guys at UCM were begging locals to apply. I honestly wouldn't shell out the same for UCM as for Berkeley or UCLA. Heck, I know people who chose Cal State Stanislaus over UCM. It's just not worth the price.

    Bear in mind that the Central Calley was disproportionally hit by the home bubble burst. Unemployment in Merced is over 22% and crime is rampant.

    Merced's unemployment rate hits 22.1 percent - Local - MercedSun-Star.com

    Let's put it this way, in our lifetime we won't see the city of Merced expanding out to where UC Merced is currently located. There.
  • r31ncarnat3dr31ncarnat3d Registered User Posts: 452 Member
    And all this is based on your experience as a student here?

    Just as you know people who've turned down UCM for Sanislaus, I personally know people who turned down Davis, LA, Berkeley, and in one case, Stanford for UCM.

    Right off the bat, I will just say what everyone already knows: UCM is one of the least selective UCs out there.

    That doesn't mean, however, that the quality of education is crap. In fact, UCM prepared me very well for my summer internship at a well-known private research lab, and the lab courses were much more structured and detailed at UCM to the point where I had an advantage over UCD and UCB interns. And keep in mind this was the summer right after my freshman year. I can only think of two other friends of mine from other UCs who were able to find legitimate lab internship positions right after their freshman year.

    UCM courses are rigorous, especially in the sciences. I was able to study with my high school friends at UCB online. There was none of that perceived disparity between the two schools. If you don't believe me, feel free to come over and try the organic chemistry courses then, and compare it to UC Berkeley's if you'd like. It's simple: Anyone who believes that UCM's courses are easier than the other UCs either don't go here or is a complete moron.

    So yes, the city is pretty small, it is nothing like the Bay Area where I came from, and unemployment is high, but it has nothing to do with how good or bad a school UCM is. If your friends chose Stanislaus over UCM, that's their own prerogative. Just don't be stupid enough to assume that just because they did so, UCM isn't "worth the money".
  • CSUChopefulCSUChopeful Registered User Posts: 93 Junior Member
    r31ncarnat3d, you can argue the same for a community college because quality of education is such a relative thing. What happens is that some people think that a UC is worth attending because "it's a UC". That's not true particularly for undergraduates. There are a handful of CSUs that a stronger academic reputation than the lower-tier UCs (M, R, SC). One CSU (Cal Poly-SLO) is as good as the mid-tier UCs (D, SB, I). What no one says is that a lot of kids graduating from UCs don't cut it for grad school. They are left with hefty loans. Would you pay twice as much for UCM as for Cal Poly-SLO?
  • r31ncarnat3dr31ncarnat3d Registered User Posts: 452 Member
    r31ncarnat3d, you can argue the same for a community college because quality of education is such a relative thing. What happens is that some people think that a UC is worth attending because "it's a UC". That's not true particularly for undergraduates. There are a handful of CSUs that a stronger academic reputation than the lower-tier UCs (M, R, SC). One CSU (Cal Poly-SLO) is as good as the mid-tier UCs (D, SB, I). What no one says is that a lot of kids graduating from UCs don't cut it for grad school. They are left with hefty loans. Would you pay twice as much for UCM as for Cal Poly-SLO?

    And all of this is based off of what exactly?

    In response to academic reputation: What are you basing this off of? UCM is too new to be ranked, and most CSUs are omitted from rankings, so it can't be based off of that. Word of mouth? Unfortunately that is relative to each person, so one person's Davis is another's Berkeley, so that's not a concrete scientific standard either. Employment rates? That also is not a definitive standard, as different employers and positions have different desires. So really, I don't see where you're getting this statement from other than "I heard, he said". Schools people turned down to be there? Just as how you can name people that turned down UCM, UCSC, and UCR to go to a CSU, I can personally name people who turned down UCB, UCD, and in one case, Stanford to be here, all of which are definitely bigger names than the one you brought up, yet I still fail to see how this is relevent at all to the reputation of the school.

    In response to "worth": You can't compare the two systems. A CSU's primary purpose is to teach students how to do. This ties in well if the student is just looking for a career out of undergrad, or is interested in the technical careers. A UC's primary purpose, on the other hand, is to research, not to teach. This is heavily reflected in the teaching methods, as professors focus on the "why" much more than the "what" or "how", esp when compared to a CSU or a JC/CC.

    The relevence of all this depends on the person. To the technical career-oriented person, you're right, there's probably no need to go to a UC over a CSU. If you want to go into IT, engineering, or accounting, you don't need to learn how to think like a scientist, hence why the CSU would be better. However, if you're like me and you want to go into research, the UCs are definitely the far better choice, because in research the questioning and detailed mindset of the scientist is much more important than the technical skills itself. This is where the UCs excel compared to UCs; they much better prepare you for a life in academia. And while scientists do graduate from CSUs, the same fact exists for them as IT specialists from UCs: it works and it's definitely possible, but there are better fits for them.

    So while a UC may not be for you, you shouldn't make a blanket statement about it's worth without understanding the nature of these different school systems or the varying needs of different students. Just as how trade school is a better fit for a mechanic than a CSU or a CSU is a better fit for an engineer than a UC, the UC system is a better fit for researchers than a CSU.

    And to answer your question, yes, I would pay twice as much for UCM than Cal Poly-SLO. It may be one of the least selective UCs in the system, but it doesn't mean the quality of education is any less. We've Nobel Laureates, Ivy League graduates, world-renowned scientists, and the like all teaching here. And the thinking processes I've learned from UCM to me are invaluable and definitely worth the extra cost. Truthfully speaking, if I went to a CSU, sure I'd know the same lab techniques I do now, but I don't think I'd have the same mindset as I do now, where I would be taken into a research lab as a freshman or be able to converse with postdocs on the research project and be viewed as an equal within the lab and not purely as a lab tech.
  • ickglueickglue Registered User Posts: 283 Junior Member
    hmmmm......engineers don't have think like scientists? That's something new...and if you think that's true, you shouldn't risk your life flying on an airplane, or do any of your most critical computation on computers, or make a life saving call on a cell phone, etc....

    And to top that off, all world class engineering schools like Caltech, MIT, Stanford, etc. they should just convert them to pure science research departments; hey why deal with vocational training? I heard DeVry or ITT does that.

    Is that what they are REALLY teaching you at UCM?

    If so, that's a breathtaking education.
  • r31ncarnat3dr31ncarnat3d Registered User Posts: 452 Member
    hmmmm......engineers don't have think like scientists? That's something new...and if you think that's true, you shouldn't risk your life flying on an airplane, or do any of your most critical computation on computers, or make a life saving call on a cell phone, etc....

    And to top that off, all world class engineering schools like Caltech, MIT, Stanford, etc. they should just convert them to pure science research departments; hey why deal with vocational training? I heard DeVry or ITT does that.

    Is that what they are REALLY teaching you at UCM?

    If so, that's a breathtaking education.

    You and I both know that there are a multitude of engineers with many different job descriptions, and not all engineers are researchers. Apply the same thing to biology: You can be a biologist and be anything from the PI of a lab to a lab tech to a professor, each with its own qualifications, job requirements, and expectations. If you want to be nitpicky, completely miss the point of my post, misinterpret everything, and just whine and cry because I misused one word, go ahead, be my guest. It speaks volumes about your own education.
  • ickglueickglue Registered User Posts: 283 Junior Member
    Firstly, I want to apologize for being overly harsh in my tone.

    As a practicing engineer, I take pride in my work and study and hence I felt a bit offended by your earlier comments. But upon reflection, I was wrong to be so combative in my tone.

    I actually read everything you wrote and I understood where you argument might need fixing.

    From your post, I suspect you lack a clear idea what today's engineers actually do on the job. Due to the complexity of today's technologies, there is no distinct cut off between pure research and development, it is rather a spectrum of continuation; with the exception of pure basic research fields like cosmology, theoretical physics, and developmental immunology, etc. All well trained engineers are now expected to be partially responsible for pushing scientific knowledge forward in their thinking and designs.

    In leading technology corporations (e.g. Google, Rambus, Pfizer) and top engineering institutions (e.g. MIT, Caltech), all engineers wear AT least 2 hats, the role of a technology development thought leaders (turning theories into commercial applications), and the role of "research scientist", applying (and even inventing) foundational (cutting edge or otherwise) scientific research theories to solve existing technologies challenges, and feeding back that "learning/research" to research institutes.

    You simply can't have all the progress that we have witnessed in technology fields such as information search technology (e.g. Google), cell phone technology (e.g. Qualcomm), semiconductor technologies (e.g. Intel), without engineers from the entire technology value chain contributing, one form or another, to the advancement of basic scientific research knowledge either via introducing new breakthrough designs/processes or publishing scientific papers.

    The central issue is that I think there is a misunderstanding of what modern engineering is. The days of pure research scientists and pure nuts and bolts engineers are long gone, and the demarcation is now a spectrum of continuation and not a clear hand-off.

    So with respect to UCM, I don't have any issue with you taking great pride in your school and its scientific research efforts.

    But please remember that engineering has evolved to the point now that it is applied science/applied scientific research. And hence, most good engineering schools such as MIT, Caltech, Stanford, and even more modest names such as Cal Poly, have to put out graduates that are very strong and well versed in basic science and research techniques.

    As for the quality of my education, I went to Harvard.
  • r31ncarnat3dr31ncarnat3d Registered User Posts: 452 Member
    I have to apologize for my tone too. Looking back, it was undeserved.

    I admit, I was a bit irritated still at those who bring up baseless statements about a school's "worth", and focus on rankings and prestige rather than the fit of the school to the student, and part of that spilled into my response to you and I apologize. I too take great pride in my work, and now regularly working in a private molecular bio research lab researching a current hot-button political issue, I see a lot of people either skewing or attacking a research field they know nothing about, so I understand why you felt offended by my statements.

    I do have to admit that I didn't know much about what you wrote. I'm in molecular biology, so the extent of my knowledge of engineering comes from what my friends tell me (including one at Harvard, coincidentally).

    If I could edit my post, I would, but unfortunately CC has a 20 minute editing window.

    I just hope you understand that the point of my post wasn't to knock engineering, but to make a point that every person has unique needs based off of their career of choice, intended field of study, what degree they want to end up with, their own personalities, and the like, and that simply because a school isn't a good fit for one person doesn't mean it's not a great school for someone else. Additionally, I don't believe in the idea of a school's "worth", and I just find it to be an immature and irrelevant look at the academic community.

    Again, I apologize and want to convey one last time I meant no offense by my original post.
  • ickglueickglue Registered User Posts: 283 Junior Member
    No worries. It's all cool. Good luck with your studies.
  • juice650juice650 Registered User Posts: 208 Junior Member
    I'm a CCC transfer student. My admission status is still pending, but I received an invitation email for Bobcat day to visit campus and learn about the opportunities UC Merced has to offer. Does that mean I've been accepted?
  • DarthRadec09DarthRadec09 Registered User Posts: 77 Junior Member
    ^^^ I'm not sure. I received mine as well but I was already accepted in the beginning of March and I am a high school senior. However since you are a transfer student it may take longer for your decision to come out.
  • prayforthebestprayforthebest Registered User Posts: 40 Junior Member
    @Leviathan08 umm I know this is an eight-year-old thread, so I'm not ecpecting you to reply to this. But it's not impossible, so I still want to ask this question: which grad school did you get in? Harvard or Yale? Or others? You said it's not impossible, right?
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