Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.
We want your feedback! Complete our survey and enter to win one of four $25 gift cards.

Ask a UCM Student!

r31ncarnat3dr31ncarnat3d Registered User Posts: 452 Member
Allow me to introduce myself:

I am a first year Sophomore at UC Merced, and am currently a Molecular and Cellular Biology major planning to either go into medicine (MD) or research (PhD). Some things I've noticed about this forum is that there is a serious dearth of information compared to the other UC threads, so I hope to fix that!



Some common questions/comments about UCM:


I heard that UCM students aren't smart/hard workers
After spending my first semester in both freshmen and sophomore classes, I can say this rumor is absolutely not true. While UCM undoubtedly isn't as prestigous as UC Berkeley or UCLA, it is still a UC. Everyone who goes to this school still met the UC eligibility standards, and throughout my first semester at UCM I've met plenty of hard workers here. While there are flakes, it's not exclusive to UCM or the "lower" UCs. No matter which school you go to, there will always be a few slackers, but that does not mean that the school in general is lazy.

That said, students at UCM tend to start at a lower academic level compared to other UCs. While myself and my friends at other UCs started Calculus II or Chem II (due to AP credits), many started off at Calc I or Chem I with a few taking Precalculus or General Chemistry.

This still does not mean, however, that the students are lazy. If anything, many of the people I've met are some of the hardest workers I've come across. While UC Merced isn't prestigious, it definitely does not deserve the bad reputation as a "dropout UC" it gets.


What's the environment at UC Merced like?
As many of you know, Merced is in the middle of nowhere. Merced itself is a very small city. I'm a city boy myself, so my opinion is a bit biased, but quite frankly I find the city boring. The mall is much too small for my taste with the stores poorly stocked. The selection of restaurants is lacking, and the only real place to hang out is the one block downtown where the movie theater is located.

The school itself though is amazing. Almost every night, there's a club event put on to keep the students occupied. We've had activities from Wii game night in the cafe to an outdoor screening of Kill Bill to dances. If you make the effort to venture outside of the dorm halls, you definitely will not be bored.

Nearby the school is Yosemite Lake. It's about a 15 minute walk from the dorms, and it is absolutely beautiful. If you've a free weekend and the weather is great, you definitely should make the trip. The place is a well-maintained park alongside pristine waters, and students do everything from swimming to picnics here. And while the park officially closes at sundown, an unrepaired hole in the fence (apparently there for years now) admits students in after hours. The stargazers here need to pay this place a visit after hours.

Finally, because of how close the school is to Yosemite, clubs at UCM like to schedule trips to Yosemite National Park. They charge a relatively cheap (if memory serves, ~$30) for two nights of camping at Yosemite. YARTs, a direct bus line to Yosemite, comes to the school and picks students up, and almost everything but the sleeping bag is provided to you. These trips happen at all times of the year, and is definitely worth trying out.

What's special about the school?
UC Merced is a much smaller school than the other UCs, but truthfully that's what I love about it. The school is small enough that you can walk to your classes from the dorms or parking lot within five minutes. Everything is close enough so that you don't need to take a bus simply to get to the other side of school.

The biggest highlight of this school though is the level of professor-student interaction. At UCM, professors take the time to help out their undergrads, something many of my friends at other UCs find out of the ordinary. The professors themselves, not TAs, teach the courses, and it's normal to see professors stay back after lectures and help out students one-on-one. Even in a high-stress weeder classes like my organic chemistry class, my professor makes it a point to help out any student who needs it, to the point where he'd pause lecture to better explain a point if someone doesn't understand. From what my friends at other UCs tell me, it's extremely hard to find this level of attention from your professors.

Professors at UCM are also top notch like any other UC. Many come from schools with familiar names: Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA, Yale, Columbia, and Cambridge. This year, UCM even joined a select group of UCs with a Nobel Laureate on the faculty.


Should I go to UC Merced?
UC Merced, like every other university, will not suit everyone's needs. I'd definitely recommend this school to you if:

-You like a small, liberal arts-sized school
-You place a high priority on attention from your professors
-You like a small city in a rural setting

Those I think should reconsider attending UC Merced are those who:
-Are city boys (like me)
-Prefer a large university
-Place a high priority on prestige


I hope this post answers most of your questions. If you have anymore, feel free to post them here or private message me, and I'll try my best to answer them :)
Post edited by r31ncarnat3d on
«134

Replies to: Ask a UCM Student!

  • Socal70Socal70 Registered User Posts: 326 Member
    I'll start off with the first questions.lol


    1) As a pre-med student, how are you doing gpa-wish with all the med school prerequisites?


    2) How is the competition like for those bio majors for A's and B's?


    3) I heard many people living in the dorms leave for the weekend, what do you do for fun?


    4) What is the Korean community at UCM like? Obviously, I'm Korean but I live in a mainly white and hispanic community and I want to learn some of my heritage by getting to know other Koreans.


    5) I don't like to drink/party or do drugs, is it doable for me to stay out of those situations?


    Thanks
  • r31ncarnat3dr31ncarnat3d Registered User Posts: 452 Member
    Thanks for your questions :)

    1) As a pre-med student, how are you doing gpa-wish with all the med school prerequisites?

    I managed a 3.75 my first semester. My courses were:
    Biology I (First Semester)
    Calculus of a Single Variable (Second Semester)
    Chemistry (Second Semester)
    College Writing & Composition (Single Semester Course)

    2) How is the competition like for those bio majors for A's and B's?

    There actually is no competition, from what I've seen. Biology operates on a point-based scale, so there is no motivation for competing against other students. My second semester chemistry class, however, was graded based on a normal distribution, but even then there was no competition. If anything there is an extremely strong sense of camaraderie between the students. We'd organize our own study groups, invite all our friends to come, and would help each other with any gaps or concepts we can't understand on our own.

    All in all, it's an extremely friendly atmosphere in the natural science courses.

    3) I heard many people living in the dorms leave for the weekend, what do you do for fun?
    I actually live off campus myself, because I'm financially strapped and it's cheaper to get an apartment than a dorm. But on the weekends, I'd like to go to friends' houses and hang out, attend the school events, or have a little LAN party in one of the lounges. Like I've said, the student clubs do an amazing job of planning activities and events to keep us busy. All this month, there's going to be movie nights with films like "Precious" and "V for Vendetta" that I'm looking forward to :)

    4) What is the Korean community at UCM like? Obviously, I'm Korean but I live in a mainly white and hispanic community and I want to learn some of my heritage by getting to know other Koreans.

    Unfortunately, I don't really know the answer to this, because I haven't paid particular attention here. However, I do have a friend that might be able to answer for me, so I'll update this answer then.


    5) I don't like to drink/party or do drugs, is it doable for me to stay out of those situations?

    Definitely. I myself don't party, get wasted, or do drugs, and I've been clean so far. Of course, there will always be parties, but they are definitely not a social requirement. If you choose not to go, you can do so, and no one will look down on you for doing so.
  • Socal70Socal70 Registered User Posts: 326 Member
    1) How much do you study for your classes to get a decent gpa? (3.5+)

    2) How are the members of the opposite sex? lol.
  • r31ncarnat3dr31ncarnat3d Registered User Posts: 452 Member
    1) How much do you study for your classes to get a decent gpa? (3.5+)
    Personally, I studied about 1-2 hours/day for my "easy" courses, 2-4 hours/day for my hard courses. My study process includes printing out lecture slides, taping to my notebook, taking my own supplementary notes on the side, and flash card memorization for many concepts/details. Of course, how much you study will depend on how much time you're willing to put in and how easily you understand the material.

    2) How are the members of the opposite sex? lol.
    Honestly, I'd say about 6/10, but I'm a bit biased here because I'm still with my girlfriend of more than two years, so I haven't really been interested in checking women out. Sorry :)
  • Socal70Socal70 Registered User Posts: 326 Member
    How's the new dorm constructions coming along? lol.
  • KoreanBoi92KoreanBoi92 Registered User Posts: 1,248 Member
    Hows the computer science program like? And do computer science majors spend a lot of their time studying?(from your standpoint)
  • fusionallfusionall Registered User Posts: 169 Junior Member
    Another Bobcat reporting in. Sophomore, Bio-E major. Let's get these misconceptions out of there.

    How's the new dorm constructions coming along? lol.

    It's coming along great. The new housing complex, the Summits, will be opened Fall 2010. It will be a combination of the current dorms available. Right now, there are suite style rooms and the traditional floor style rooms that we all picture "college" to be. The Summits will have suite style rooms, but with 4 floors. However, there are community bathrooms in the Summits.

    Hows the computer science program like? And do computer science majors spend a lot of their time studying?(from your standpoint)

    What happened to pre-med? ;)

    Anyways, being an engineering major, I have taken only 1 CSE course so far. The CSE program seems to switch out professors often. The most notorious CSE professor at UCM in recent memory was rumored to play WoW more than actually teach, even having cancelled class last year the day Wrath of the Lich King came out so she could purchase it and level her character early.

    The computer science majors that I know do not spend that much time studying. Not to call you out personally, but it's useless to ask questions concerning how much time is needed to earn a decent grade. For one thing, everyone is different. Different in the sense that we all have different priorities, different goals, and different methods of internalizing information.

    Also, this sort of question raises my own questions about your will and desire to do well. I translate this question to mean, "how lazy can I be in order to pass?" That's probably not what you meant, but after a couple semesters in college, after hearing similar questions being asked in lecture ("How much of this do we need to know for the test?"), you get a sense for who really just wants to succeed and those who will really work for it.

    You know yourself and you know (I hope) how much studying you need to commit in order to understand the course material. Do enough for the grade that you want.
  • engiousengious Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    i think you will find city boys and girls attending next year.Merced is going to be the school of choice for many soon Smart as they come attending in the fall. small city girl
  • lyndsithlyndsith Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    I am from Escondido (12 hours from Merced) and I'll be graduating in a few months. I am taking a look at Merced for the first time now and am planning to tour it this week. Would you reccomend it as a school? I will be a pre-med major and want the full college experience. My other option is the University of Oregon, but it's a little out of my price range. Thanks!
  • lebouquetinlebouquetin Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    I see that you obviously aren't looking at any type of history major, but do you know what the history professors are like? Do you have any friends who really like/dislike the program?

    I'm interested in a history major emphasizing in U.S.
    Thanks for any help you can give me!
  • fusionallfusionall Registered User Posts: 169 Junior Member
    @lyndsith: Define "full college experience." If it involves traversing over a large campus in order to get to your huge lecture hall barely on time, rarely seeing your professors because graduate students teach the course, or having curves dramatically hurt your grade, then Merced isn't for you.

    What Merced offers is a simplified, bare-bones college experience. There's a building for classes, one for labs, a few fraternities and sororities. Enough for you to get an education with some distractions along the way. After all, we're all here for our degrees, right?

    I would recommend UC Merced to any Pre-Med student. The attention by faculty is amazing, research opportunities are ample, and facilities are brand new. It's also in the middle of a corn-field, far from distractions, which is good since if you're pre-med, your studies have to be your life.


    @lebouquetin

    I only hear good things about the history professors here. I have some friends who really love the program, but I suppose you'd have to really love history in order to major in it. I would highly recommend going to the department's website. A google search will help you out much better than I could.
  • r31ncarnat3dr31ncarnat3d Registered User Posts: 452 Member
    Oh snap, I completely forgot to maintain this thread. Major apologies, everyone!

    How's the new dorm constructions coming along? lol.

    They're finishing up now. There was an article in the paper stating it'd be ready for incoming freshmen next year. Honestly, I liked the dorms. From what I could gather, they're singles, doubles, triples, and quads with communal bathrooms on each floor. There's its own dining complex in the dorm buildings, and honestly the dorms look brilliant. It's also on the opposite side of school from the classrooms, but given how small UCM is, that's really only a seven minute walk. The bathrooms are the only downsides I could spot with that, but if you can get past that, it really isn't a bad place to live.

    Hows the computer science program like? And do computer science majors spend a lot of their time studying?(from your standpoint)

    I'd listen to fusionall. He's an engineering major, I'm a bio major. He has more experience in the field!

    i think you will find city boys and girls attending next year.Merced is going to be the school of choice for many soon Smart as they come attending in the fall. small city girl

    There are already many city people here. The only problem is that the city of Merced is slow to our wants/needs. Honestly speaking, it probably won't be until at least a decade when they start building up Merced into a college town, and even then there's going to be plenty of opposition from the local population given its... Conservative roots

    I am from Escondido (12 hours from Merced) and I'll be graduating in a few months. I am taking a look at Merced for the first time now and am planning to tour it this week. Would you reccomend it as a school? I will be a pre-med major and want the full college experience. My other option is the University of Oregon, but it's a little out of my price range. Thanks!

    First off, Escondido is not 12 hours from Merced. I made the drive to Mira Mesa in 7 :P I just took Highway 99 to Highway 5 through LA to SD. And yes, I lived in SD for 9 years.

    Honestly speaking, Merced is a great school. There are many organizations on campus to help you career-wise, and my professors have all been great save one (but still, 7/8 good professors is still a great rate). The students generally are pretty great people, and the atmosphere is better than many schools I've visited. UCM is also bio and bioengineering oriented, so for a premed student (like me!), there's plenty of opportunities available for you. UCM also has a program set up with the local hospital to allow students to volunteer in the ER.

    The only downside to UCM is that the city is very underdeveloped for a college town. THE mall is, really, lame IMO (Valley Fair, I miss you so...). There aren't many places to hang out in town, and very few places are open past 10. If you want to go to UCM, be prepared to spend most of your time on campus.

    I also should add: UCM is pretty horrible when it comes to arts course. I know this won't apply to most people, but if you're like me and you love a balanced education, be prepared to be disappointed. Recent cutbacks have dropped many arts courses (and there were few to begin with) and humanities is lacking too, but if you want to be a purely science-based person, there's plenty of courses/opportunities offered to you.

    I see that you obviously aren't looking at any type of history major, but do you know what the history professors are like? Do you have any friends who really like/dislike the program?

    I'm interested in a history major emphasizing in U.S.


    Again, I'll let fusionall field this one. I haven't taken a history class and tested out with APUSH credits, so I won't have any experience whatsoever.

    @fusionall: Major thanks for taking over for me while I was gone :)
  • AbhorsonAbhorson Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    I'm planning on attending Merced this fall and was wondering about the English/Writing programs. I love Bio and Bio-engineering (among other things), but my focus has always been Creative Writing. Happiness and satisfaction quite often trump money, unfortunately. Any insight into the coursework behind those fields (even though your specialization is a bit... disparate)?
  • sonymnmssonymnms Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    So I will be attending UCM this upcoming semester and I was wondering, whats dorm life like at Merced? What have some of your experiences been like? Any tips on what to bring when moving in? Things to do? Things to avoid? How would you all describe UCM dorms? Thanks!
  • r31ncarnat3dr31ncarnat3d Registered User Posts: 452 Member
    I'm planning on attending Merced this fall and was wondering about the English/Writing programs. I love Bio and Bio-engineering (among other things), but my focus has always been Creative Writing. Happiness and satisfaction quite often trump money, unfortunately. Any insight into the coursework behind those fields (even though your specialization is a bit... disparate)?

    I honestly have to say that UCM is a bit lacking in arts and humanities. I have the exact same mindset as you where even though I'm a bio major I'd like to take up more humanities courses, but when registering for classes this semester I noticed there's a huge lack of classes offered in those fields. If I remember right, Creative Writing only has one class offered, and most of the writing classes here are geared more towards academic/scientific writing. Personally, I found this to be extremely disappointing, so I'd be a bit weary of this coming into UC Merced.

    From my understanding, the lack of humanities courses is mostly a result of the budget cuts, as UCM is first and foremost a scientific research institution, so classes that do not tie into that are the first on the chopping block. I'm really hoping this would change soon, because I'm interested in Creative Writing myself (among other humanities classes), but as of right now there's just a lack of options for you in this field.

    So I will be attending UCM this upcoming semester and I was wondering, whats dorm life like at Merced? What have some of your experiences been like? Any tips on what to bring when moving in? Things to do? Things to avoid? How would you all describe UCM dorms? Thanks!

    This is pretty loaded, so bear with me!

    -Dorm life is mostly what you make of it. If you and your roommates are private people who'd always leave your door closed, then of course you're not going to have many people over. Conversely, if you're the type to leave your door open, chances are people are going to wander in and you'll meet new people. Quite simply, UC Merced has some good chances to meet other people and have fun in the dorms, but you yourself have to be proactive and meet those people, not be the type of person who sits in front of your PC all day wondering why no one visits.

    During school nights, if you find yourself in the freshman dorms (Sierra Terraces), you can usually find a good amount of people in the dorm hall TV lounge or in the upstairs study lounge (each hall has one). You can also find other people visiting the local lake and, while the lake is closed off by nightfall, UC Merced students regularly find their way in every night. You didn't hear this from me!

    For all the talk of UCM being a small college, there's a good amount of parties that happen on campus. Usually, they're at the apartment dorms (Valley Terraces). On the weekends, a lot of students would leave, so my friends would in turn go off campus and try to find something to do. You can find many students hopping on the bus late at night to watch a movie in the local theater (there's only one decent one in they city), or going to one of the local cities and hanging out in their mall.

    -You probably already have most of the basics down for what you're going to bring, so I'll talk about some oddities. Some things you should consider bringing are a minifridge (talk this over with your roommates to see who has one), printer, vacuum cleaner, hygienic supplies (The school doesn't sell them and Target is an hour bus ride away), food stash (Dining Center closes at 11), sandals (for the bathroom), ink refill kits for printer, lock (for your dresser), desk lamp, fan (it can get very hot during early Fall semester), ethernet cable (wifi is unpredictable at night sometime), and a travel coffee cup (you get a discount on coffee using your own cup). Keep in mind that appliances that give off heat (toasters, mini-ovens, coffee makers) are not allowed in dorms. This pretty much limits you to only a microwave as a cooking appliance.

    As for what to bring when moving in, a dolly would be a must for all the heavy things you have to bring, but beyond that I can't think of anything else. The parking lot is about a three-four minute walk from the Sierra Terraces and a one minute walk from Valley Terraces, so plan accordingly.

    -I can't answer things to do or avoid when moving in, since I live off campus myself, so I didn't have to go through the whole process. Hopefully someone else can answer this part for me.

    -Honestly, UCM dorms are extremely nice. Being brand new, they're pretty spacious and very clean. Sierra Terraces has a suite layout, with two dorm bedrooms connected to a single bathroom (one toilet and one shower) with a sink in each dorm. Again, it's a very big room, and you will have space for everything. In the halls you have access to the downstairs study lounge, TV lounge, a third room where people just sit and talk, and an upstairs study room. Personally, I prefer the upstairs study because there's usually less people there at night.

    The apartment dorms, Valley Terraces, are even nicer. They're two dorm bedrooms in an apartment-style suite complete with a bathroom and living room. These honestly are the best dorms I've ever seen. You don't have access to a study lounge like Sierra Terrace has, but living in these dorms is simply awesome. The living room has space for couches and a TV should you want to, and big glass windows along all the walls of the living room. The bedroom themselves are doubles, with each person having a bed, desk, and dresser on their own side of the room.

    As for the new dorms, The Summits, I can't say how they are because they're still under construction, so I guess that'll have to be a wild card for you.

    I hope this answers your questions, let me know if you need anything else!
«134
This discussion has been closed.