The Bruin Bear statue received extra attention Saturday as admitted students and their families lined up to take pictures with the icon of their potential new home. Though many already committed to UCLA, some said they are considering the university’s drawbacks.
Bruin Day, an annual event for prospective students, showcased the opportunities, academic programs and student life at UCLA to about 16,000 prospective students and their family members.
Many attendees started their day with Chancellor Gene Block’s annual University Welcome speech, then participated in campus or housing tours and visited booths for academics and clubs.
Many admitted students said UCLA’s prestige, campus environment and the Los Angeles weather are some factors that appeal to them. However, some worry about the campus’ size.
Eric Wang, a prospective student from El Monte, California, said he is deciding between UCLA and University of California, Berkeley. He said the large UCLA population was welcoming, but also makes him hesitant to commit to the university.
“The school’s so big,” said Wang, “I heard there’s a problem with (class) enrollment.”
Reyna Olivas, a prospective student from Long Beach, California, also said she was concerned about class sizes and that she might not be able to enroll in the classes necessary for her major.
Incoming students will be entering a more crowded university, since UCLA increased its enrollment by 750 students this year. Officials have also proposed adding more residential halls on the Hill in response to the increased enrollment.
Nandhini Gopikrishna, a prospective student from Hawthorne, California, said she is leaning toward committing to UCLA, but added she was disappointed by the lack of diversity she saw on campus on Bruin Day.
“Diversity is (a problem) even now,” Gopikrishna said. “Yes, I do see people of color, but I expected to see more.”
Asian-American and white students make up more than half of the UCLA undergraduate population and African-American students only make up 4.8 percent of the student body. The UC also recently decided to cap the enrollment of international and out-of-state students at 20 percent.
Despite the potential drawbacks, the majority of admitted students said they were pleased with what UCLA has to offer.
Olivia Robertson, a prospective student from Aliso Viejo, California, has already committed to UCLA. She said she looks forward to being able to benefit from both the familiarity of the small UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and the wide range of classes she can take from departments all over campus.
Emily Surrell, a prospective student from Temecula, California, said the surrounding Westwood neighborhood and the school’s location in a big city appealed to her. She added she thought the campus was beautiful and was surprised by the cleanliness of the bathrooms.
Olivas said despite the large class size, she will probably attend UCLA in the fall.
“I like that (UCLA) is really spirited,” she said. “It’s also the second best public university (in the country).”