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My final thoughts on UCR

thisislifethisislife Registered User Posts: 301 Member
NOTE : THIS ONLY APPLIES TO CHASS MAJORS

I transfered in as Poli Sci major last fall and this will be my final quarter .
Before I get started I have to say that I'm a non-traditional student, as in self supporting( had my own apartment before coming here , and its going to be very hard for me to get my life back since I don't really have any family to depend on, etc . )

Now with that out of the way I'd like to speak a bit about the school .

The good, very high ranked engineering and science programs . - These programs tend to actually graduate their students within 4 years , or maybe a little more .
This is just what i've heard from my friends in these programs .

The bad - First off , the quality of life here is among the lowest in the nation . If you don't have a car( like me ) and you tend to just do whats around , your going to have a very hard time here . As far as finding a job - forget about it , unemployment's outrageous in riverside . I applied to every workstudy job I could , and the one that called me for an interview told me I didn't have the needed experience - Yeah , experience needed for a minimum wage job ! - Of course apart of the reason I'm ****ed is I was pulling about 2k a month from my job back in LA before quitting , giving up my sweat apartment too , to come here .

Now I could rant about how riverside is depressing or whatever, but in this day and age you can lock yourself in your room, play LOL and only come out when friends call to party - I actually found time to teach myself programming.

But the real reason I'm so upset with this school , and why I wont be returning next spring is something you all need to look up before moving out here - freshmen especially since Jerry Brown's likely to cut the UC budget again .... YOU CAN'T GET THE CLASSES YOU NEED . I didn't get ONE class for my major this quarter , NOT ONE - theirs no way I'd be able to graduate on time , and unlike a Cal-State which would let me drop to part time and get a job , since I'm not making much progress towards my degree anyway, your stuck full time here . I'm not one to run to an adviser and beg for a spot in a class, but still I should be able to register for the classes I need . Last summer I originally planed to do summer school to get ahead( on being ahead if your a CNASS major and your coming in with like 30 units from AP classes, then you should be ok ) but I happened to have a sweat job at the time. While I really wanted to go to summer school, it would of cost me about 4k even with aid . This combined with the fact I wouldn't of had a home in between the end of summer session and the start of Fall made me decide not to attend .

Before coming here make sure that you can actually graduate within 4, aid isn't guaranteed for year 5 and tuition is going up ever single year .
I consider myself a bit lucky since I came as a transfer and thus my debt isn't too bad - not like theirs a bunch of high paying Poli Sci jobs out their anyway .

At least to me, all this crap about happiness, atmosphere, or having fun ( ohh boy theirs 3 concerts a year) takes a major backseat to if you'll actually be able to get your degree . UCR has the lowest graduation rate of any UC aside from Merced , I suspect that many students see their aid cut after year 4 and they drop out since they simply can't afford it . This is more or less just a personal vent, since at this point most of you are too deadset on coming out here to reconsider your college choice even if you know you wont get the classes you need - I sure was last summer when I seriously considered not coming here, but instead assumed I'd figure it out once I got here .
Post edited by thisislife on
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Replies to: My final thoughts on UCR

  • kyokolocokyokoloco Registered User Posts: 71 Junior Member
    id like some more students to post their experiences.
  • thisislifethisislife Registered User Posts: 301 Member
    Just about everyone i've talked to in my major has problems getting classes .
    - This isn't really UCR's fault since the budgets are getting cut every year, the end result to an incoming freshman is still the same- 5 year plan that you may have trouble affording .
    Science and Engineering are really where UCR shines though , so everything I said doesn't apply to students in those majors .

    A big plus though is a cheaper cost of living compared to UCLA or Santa Cruz
  • ConsiderConsider Registered User Posts: 169 Junior Member
    I wouldn't be so easy on schools, including UCR. Costs are going up, UC and Cal State executive pay is going up, and service is going down. Students are paying more for less. You can absolutely blame these schools for not being able to provide the service being paid for. If you went and paid for a car and the dealer said, "Sorry, we don't have the car and we are not returning your money" what would you do?

    You might not be able to blame UCR any more than you can blame other schools, but you can blame them all equally. And very harshly, too.
  • elisebearelisebear Registered User Posts: 146 Junior Member
    Let me tear you down in a systematic fashion.

    "First off , the quality of life here is among the lowest in the nation . If you don't have a car( like me ) and you tend to just do whats around , your going to have a very hard time here ."

    The quality of life is "among the lowest in the nation?" As a poli sci major, I would have hoped you'd avoid such sweeping generalizations without any statistical support. What were you expecting? Clubs and women and beer to flood into your apartment each time you woke up? The city of Riverside isn't a college town, but it's a major metropolitan city and we've got tons of stuff to do. Within walking distance, we've got shopping, restaurants, an iconic bar, hiking, botanic gardens, and lectures/cultural events/performances/comedy shows/concerts every week on campus (a lot of them are free, too).

    We also have FREE PUBLIC TRANSIT, which means that the bus and train system can take you within a 50 mile radius of campus for free. Hop on the bus for 15 - 20 minutes and you'll be in downtown Riverside, where you can go to a movie screening, visit museums, shop, eat, party, and stuff your face with cupcakes from Casey's Cupcakes. Those cupcakes are bomb.

    Honestly, I don't understand when people complain that there's nothing to do at UCR unless you have a car. Join a club! The Ski and Snowboard club goes to up Big Bear all the time during Fall/Winter quarter. Get some friends! Riding the bus over to Tyler Mall or the Riverside Plaza is even more fun when you've got a group going. If you can't find something to do in a major city like Riverside, you're not looking hard enough.

    "As far as finding a job - forget about it , unemployment's outrageous in riverside . I applied to every workstudy job I could , and the one that called me for an interview told me I didn't have the needed experience - Yeah , experience needed for a minimum wage job ! - Of course apart of the reason I'm ****ed is I was pulling about 2k a month from my job back in LA before quitting , giving up my sweat apartment too , to come here ."

    Even minimum wage jobs require a certain level of experience. You were probably not completely qualified. Don't blame the job if they're looking for a person with a specific set of skills. Anyway - if you're having trouble finding a job, you weren't using your resources enough. Did you use the career center (http://careers.ucr.edu/Pages/default.aspx)? Job fairs? Resume workshops? Meet with a career counselor? We've got individual plans for students to help them find jobs and develop the skills they need to succeed. Just because you couldn't find a job doesn't mean that "unemployment's outrageous in Riverside." We have so many options for students who want to work, even if they're coming from a "sweat apartment."

    "Now I could rant about how riverside is depressing or whatever, but in this day and age you can lock yourself in your room, play LOL and only come out when friends call to party - I actually found time to teach myself programming."

    Playing LOL all day sounds depressing. Riverside? Not depressing. Why didn't you meet with any of the student orgs on campus? We've got gaming clubs and computer science clubs, all of which would have loved to have played LOL with you or talk about programming together over some drinks.

    "YOU CAN'T GET THE CLASSES YOU NEED . I didn't get ONE class for my major this quarter , NOT ONE - theirs no way I'd be able to graduate on time , and unlike a Cal-State which would let me drop to part time and get a job , since I'm not making much progress towards my degree anyway, your stuck full time here . I'm not one to run to an adviser and beg for a spot in a class, but still I should be able to register for the classes I need ."

    This is the only point grounded in some sort of truth. Getting classes is notoriously difficult. Just like it is at ANY PUBLIC UNIVERSITY. We've got approximately 20,000 students. Do you really think getting classes is going to be easy? If anyone wants easy class registration, become a student athlete or join the Honors program if you have high grades. Aside from that, EVERYONE at ANY public school with a big population and major budget cuts from the state has trouble registering for classes. Registration gets easier once you accumulate more credits. This is why things like AP Tests, summer classes, IB exams, etc. are really helpful for incoming freshmen. More credits = earlier registration dates = more access to classes.

    I see that you're "not one to run to an adviser and beg for a spot in a class," but maybe that's why you had such a hard time with your schedule. Advisers are there to help you out. Your adviser could have suggested alternative classes you could take for your major to stay full-time. And students *can* become part-time, you just get reduced financial aid. But, you can return to full-time status after working things out with the financial aid department. Obviously your aid won't be super stellar, but it's still possible if worst comes to worst.

    Summer school isn't super cheap, but we have aid options and if those don't work out, then we have joint programs with community colleges in the area (like RCC). Those summer sessions are significantly cheaper and you can TALK TO YOUR ADVISER to see which classes will help you out the most. Honestly, I think everyone should do summer school at least one quarter if you can swing the cost and find housing because it's such a big help for class registration and graduating on time.

    "This is more or less just a personal vent, since at this point most of you are too deadset on coming out here to reconsider your college choice even if you know you wont get the classes you need - I sure was last summer when I seriously considered not coming here, but instead assumed I'd figure it out once I got here ."

    You know, I'm really sorry you had such a tough time here. I may have had a fun time pointing out some facts of my own, but I really feel for you because I know how frustrating it is to have trouble paying for school and figuring out classes. But your experiences really aren't hugely unique; almost any UC student is dealing with many of the same issues you're dealing with now. UCR isn't unique in that regard. But we have resources, and that's my biggest advice for incoming freshmen and transfers (and current students):

    No matter what you're dealing with, whether it's financial woes, career issues, class trouble, or you just need a friend, UCR has resources you can use to make your college experience better. Use those resources. Most of them are free, and nobody is out to get you. We're all in this big struggle together, and the best way to deal with it is to reach out and talk to others who can help make your student life much, much easier.
  • thisislifethisislife Registered User Posts: 301 Member
    YEAH a 15K a year struggle , with tuition almost guaranteed to rise every single year.
    The problem is worse at UCR then other UC's since the graduation rate is so low - Berkeley doesn't even allow 5th year transfers just to make sure new students can get their classes .

    The problem with UCR is that your still paying that 15k even when you can't get your classes , if this was CSULB I could just drop to part time . Here you have to petition and go though a process to get part time status .

    Ohh, but the fact I didn't run to an adviser, who can't do much , to whine about my classes means I'm not trying . The fact is UCR SHOULD NOT ADMIT more students then they can graduate on time -

    I just need a friend ??? Ironically this is one of the things this school has going for it , its really not hard to find your own social group to hang with( my crew made this crap far more pleasant ) . Plus I bumped into friends from community college . Now saying that i'm some type of loner really means that you missed the point - this school fails at its primary purpose, getting students the classes that they need so they can graduate on time . I'm not here to have fun , I'm here to get a degree , and since that's impossible to do here within a reasonable time I'm done with this school . ( I also want to change my major )

    If you don't think a constant stream of homeless- low air quality , and the occasional armed robbery near campus isn't a sign of a low quality of life , then i don't know what to say .

    If you think these "resources " are worth wasting 15k when your not making progress towards your degree then fine- Keep in mind the classes students have trouble getting are UPPER DIVISION, meaning you can't really take them at another school .

    I already said its not UCR's fault - but this is still a horrible choice for anyone who wants to get out in 4 . This isn't an opinion its a fact . Here ya go College Navigator - University of California-Riverside
    That has the 4 year graduation rate for UCR . 46%

    Here's the 4 year graduation rate for UCLA
    College Navigator - University of California-Los Angeles
    68%
  • elisebearelisebear Registered User Posts: 146 Junior Member
    I'm going to start my reply with an apology. I was really excited to prove you wrong when I first replied, and I wasn't very polite. You're a fellow student and you deserve basic respect, so I'll frame my answer in a less combative fashion because my previous tone was uncalled for. Sorry about that. Moving on.

    You're correct to state that UCR has a low graduation rate when compared to UCLA. As of 2010, UCR's 4-year grad rate was around 46%, according to most sources. However, grad rates have been improving across the UC system for the past several years. UCR specifically has experienced a dramatic increase in graduation rates over the past few years, which you can see here: College Results Online

    Change the selected year to 2009. In 2009, the 4-year grad rate was 39.3%. This number jumped to 45.5% the following year. I'm having trouble finding more recent data, but within the UC system, that's a huge jump in percentage points and a big improvement for UCR.

    Now, let's look at CSULB, which you mentioned in your post. Cal State Long Beach's 4-year graduation rate is 12.3%. You can see that here: College Results Online Even though UCR's graduation rate is low compared to a school like UCLA, UCR's graduation rate is still among the top percentages in the state.

    Also, UCLA's graduation rate isn't entirely unique. Boston University's 4-year grad rate is 78.9%. New York University's grad rate is 79.3%. Now *that* is impressive.

    "If you don't think a constant stream of homeless- low air quality , and the occasional armed robbery near campus isn't a sign of a low quality of life , then i don't know what to say . "

    People who complain about UCR often bring up homeless folk. Where are they seeing these homeless people? I've never seen a homeless person on campus or in the surrounding area. Am I just missing them? Anyway, campus crime is not unique to UCR. Your argument could also be applied to schools like UCLA and USC (especially the low air quality bit - blegh, LA smog). Are people expecting to be chauffeured everywhere? If you're going to live in a major city, you're going to deal with major city problems. I'd say that our events, cultural offerings, and low cost of living can improve a student's quality of life. Then again, "quality of life" is very subjective, so I'm rambling on this point. In any case, major schools in big cities deal with the same problems you've mentioned above.

    "Now saying that i'm some type of loner really means that you missed the point - this school fails at its primary purpose, getting students the classes that they need so they can graduate on time . ...If you think these "resources " are worth wasting 15k when your not making progress towards your degree then fine- Keep in mind the classes students have trouble getting are UPPER DIVISION, meaning you can't really take them at another school . "

    I was wrong to suggest you were a loner. I meant to expand on my point that there are lots of things to do in the city of Riverside and on campus. Where are you pulling 15k from? Tuition and fees are around 13k. Of course, in a few years, that number will probably be 15k because of stupid UC budget cuts. Anyway, the resources I mentioned are there to help you work around the lack of upper division classes. Did you ever chat with the Chair of your department? Or specifically address your problems with your adviser? I'm not saying that classes aren't difficult to get into - they are, and it's unfair if you're having trouble getting into upper divs. But my point is that there are ways around issues like these.

    For instance, a classmate was able to meet with her department Chair and figure out a way to substitute a full class for an open one and still meet her major requirements. Furthermore, my adviser has been able to suggest alternative classes that help satisfy my major requirements without having to worry about delving into part-time status. Not to say this is the norm - ideally, classes should be easy to enroll into, but in California, that's not the case. But, there are ways to address many common difficulties in registering for classes. I can't speak from personal experience regarding your major, though. Maybe the Political Science major is exceptionally impacted.

    In any case, I do think UCR's resources are worthy of our attention. The career opportunities, academic advising options, and individualized approaches many professors and staff take are really quite helpful. I really think one must use all of the resources available to him or her before declaring them totally wasteful.
  • UCRUCRUCRUCR Registered User Posts: 120 Junior Member
    Ohh, but the fact I didn't run to an adviser, who can't do much , to whine about my classes means I'm not trying.

    In my experience, seeing an adviser always helps. She can provide an alternative way of taking classes. You didn't see an adviser and you are here whining?
  • thisislifethisislife Registered User Posts: 301 Member
    "Ohh, but the fact I didn't run to an adviser, who can't do much , to whine about my classes means I'm not trying.

    In my experience, seeing an adviser always helps. She can provide an alternative way of taking classes. You didn't see an adviser and you are here whining?"

    She can't give me classes that aren't their - Its different for each major - but I've yet to meet a poli sci major to graduate in 4 . I'd rather be mild about the whole thing, and not start tripping out in the adviser office when they explain this new 5 year plan( with Blue and Gold for 4 , ohh boy !)

    Plus i've already presented some hard cold facts, this is a horrible choice for any student who wants to be on a 4 year plan to graduate . Like i said I'm mainly ticked off since I gave up a decent job for this nonsense .

    To each his own though , keep thinking that the 54% of students that DON'T graduate within 4 are lazy or something and they weren't screwed over by this place . Keep in mind the overall graduation rate is a bit above 60%, this is after 6 years , meaning many students can't afford this crap and have to drop out .
  • UCRUCRUCRUCR Registered User Posts: 120 Junior Member
    None of us is saying the 54% of students who didn't graduate in 4 years is lazy. But in your case, since you dismissed some of the good advice, you are at least partially responsible for your own situation.
  • elisebearelisebear Registered User Posts: 146 Junior Member
    The 54% of students who don't graduate in 4 years are definitely not lazy. In fact, graduating in 5 - 6 years is becoming the norm nationwide. This isn't because students aren't trying hard; rather, it's a whole host of factors like money and classes and too little time. Some of the hardest-working people I know are on track to graduate in 5 years simply because they can't (because of work, sports, or impacted majors) max out on credits each quarter/semester.

    The thing is, these students aren't limited to UCR - I'm talking about students across the country. EVERYONE is dealing with these issues. It's actually quite promising that UCR's graduation rate spiked 6 percentage points between 2009 and 2010.

    It's an epidemic, and it sucks, but it doesn't mean that UCR is specifically trying to screw anyone over.

    thisislife, I'm sorry you had such a difficult time getting classes. I hope that you have a much easier time at your future university. But I also really hope you understand that UCRUCR and I have proven you wrong. UCR is a great school and I hope you can see that the issues you encountered are a way of life at ANY California public university. Graduating from college in 4 years is still possible - you just have to work for it harder than ever before and figure out new courses of action by talking to advisers and department chairs on a regular basis. It sounds simple, but it's really the best thing to do - and you never know how much they can help you until you try.
  • thisislifethisislife Registered User Posts: 301 Member
    IDK, my sis went to an Ivy League and their 4 year graduations rates are the norm .

    Considering that the Ivy's give out more aid( under something like 80k is debt free , which is even better then here ) a student should aspire to one of those schools if they'd like to get out in time .

    The whole UC system at this point is about paying more for less, 10 years ago you would pay far less and you could still get out in 4 .

    I stand by what I said, this is a horrible school for anyone thinking they'll graduate in 4 . With a CSU you can do night and weekend school and work during the week , the UC system doesn't really allow this .

    Ignore what I was trying to say about UCR have the lowest UC grad rate( aside from Merced). You all have a right to believe what you believe .

    In all honesty i really like the people here and for a CNASS major its actually ok , CHASS just sucks
  • thisislifethisislife Registered User Posts: 301 Member
    Here's a thought, what if the UC's cut admission dramatically to force Jerry Brown to increase the budget back to a reasonable level . Students and parents would start complaing and would get Jerry Brown to do this , punishing us all with higher tuition for LESS classes isn't fair though .
  • elisebearelisebear Registered User Posts: 146 Junior Member
    "I stand by what I said, this is a horrible school for anyone thinking they'll graduate in 4 . With a CSU you can do night and weekend school and work during the week , the UC system doesn't really allow this . "

    But CSUs are heavily impacted and their graduation rates hover around and below 12%. Comparably, UCR's grad rate is 46%. I'm confused why you think CSU offers a better option for students who want to graduate in 4 years. You might be able to take night and weekend classes, but those are alternative options that generally follow a different timeline than traditional 4-5 year college grad programs and offer fewer class selections. Either way, you're more likely to be stuck at a CSU for longer than 4 years.

    "Ignore what I was trying to say about UCR have the lowest UC grad rate( aside from Merced). You all have a right to believe what you believe . "

    No, you're ignoring what I'm trying to tell you. Yes, UCR does have a low grad rate compared to other UCs. But that means little because it's improving. In the past, the school received less funding and less of a reputation because it was a fallback referral campus, among other factors. Student apathy was high. But UCR has improved dramatically in the past few years and its "low grad rate" is increasing each year.

    "In all honesty i really like the people here and for a CNASS major its actually ok , CHASS just sucks"

    Our PoliSci department is #51 in the nation, and English is #41 (University of California--Riverside | Best Social Sciences & Humanities School | US News). Our Philosophy department is #30 in the English-speaking world (The Philosophical Gourmet Report 2011 :: Overall Rankings). CHASS is kind of a big deal.

    You had a bad experience. College isn't easy when you're attending in the middle of a recession and huge budget cuts. That doesn't give you the right to say that UCR is a horrible school. If you want to complain about anything, complain about the UC system. I agree with you on your point that, 10 years ago, one could pay far less and still graduate in 4 years.

    "Here's a thought, what if the UC's cut admission dramatically to force Jerry Brown to increase the budget back to a reasonable level . Students and parents would start complaing and would get Jerry Brown to do this , punishing us all with higher tuition for LESS classes isn't fair though ."

    I have no idea what you're saying here, but you sound angry.
  • thisislifethisislife Registered User Posts: 301 Member
    This is my last post on this , since you clearly disagree with me .
    So far this weekend I've went out with friends twice , each time we just make fun of Riverside, how it seems like Fallout New Vegas , etc . That and we talk about what schools we want to transfer to . I only know what i've seen and what my friends tell me , but all in all its hard to get classes and tuition is going up each year .

    When I can work full time and do school on the side I'm really not concerned about graduating within 4( since I can make money, not take on debt and gain work experience ) .

    I get that you really want to tell yourself that this is a good school , but if you define a good school as one which allows students to graduate in a reasonable amount of time, then UCR is not a good school .

    Now if you think that some adviser telling you really nice that its ok to take an extra year makes it all better, ok think that .

    As for CSU vs UC , CSU , extra year of tuition = $5472 , UC extra year = 12,200( and its going up !)

    PS: I was saying that it would make more sense for the UC system to cut enrollment until the state restores funding - of course their not going to do that, as they'd rather keep raising tuition until it becomes un-affordable for just about everyone who actually has to pay for it . Then they'll replace those middle class students with out of state students willing to pay big cash for a UC degree .
  • elisebearelisebear Registered User Posts: 146 Junior Member
    "if you define a good school as one which allows students to graduate in a reasonable amount of time, then UCR is not a good school . "

    Neither is a CSU, then. As I've mentioned twice before, CSUs only graduate around 12% of their students in 4 years. Again, UCR has a way higher 4-year grad rate.

    "Now if you think that some adviser telling you really nice that its ok to take an extra year makes it all better, ok think that . "

    It doesn't "make it all better." Having to take an extra year is a tough decision. The point I've been making throughout this thread is that there are alternative options for students who are having trouble getting classes. Had you met with an adviser, you might have been able to learn a bit more about your options.

    You said that you're better-suited with a school that allows you to work full time and attend school on the side, and you're not worried about graduating in 4 years. Yes, in this case, I agree with you that a CSU would be a much better option because there are more part-time options at CSUs than at UCs. I don't see how this reflects poorly on UCR, though. Your argument is about UCs. In the UC system, it is difficult for students to work full-time, attend school, and expect to graduate in 4 years because full-time student status requires more of a time commitment. This is a trait that is not unique to UCR. You should be complaining in the UC General thread.

    This is the end of the argument. Best of luck to you.
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