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USAC Elections 2024SJP and UC Divest Coalition Demonstrations at UCLA

Behind the ranking: How UCLA students view the No. 1 public university

(Kimi Jung/Daily Bruin staff)

By Christopher Buchanan

Oct. 23, 2023 6:05 p.m.

This post was updated Oct. 25 at 12:10 a.m.

Several students expressed their opinions on UCLA after it was ranked as a top public and national university by U.S. News & World Report.

The annual ranking uses several criteria to determine the overall quality of the university, such as graduation rates, student-faculty ratio and research outcomes, according to the report. This year, UCLA received its highest national ranking at No. 15 – moving from No. 20 last year – and was named the No. 1 public university for the seventh year in a row, tying this year with UC Berkeley.

[Related: UCLA named No. 1 public university in the US for 7th consecutive year]

Toby Britton, a third-year art student, said he was unsure of what to expect when he was admitted to UCLA, but his experience has surpassed his initial evaluation.

“I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into, and I think they’ve lived up to the immensity of what I thought the school was going to be,” he said.

As he progressed through his education at UCLA and began taking specialized upper division courses, Britton said his academic experience improved. However, he added that he started to become dissatisfied with bureaucratic administrative processes throughout his education, such as the process of getting more storage and studio space.

Joshya Gupta, a second-year music industry student, said the faculty at UCLA is a facet of the university that she felt most legitimized the national rankings.

“They’re bringing in people that are in the field that are relevant and at the top of their profession,” she said. “That’s very valuable, especially in my profession in the music industry. … I get to learn from industry top professionals.”

Some first-year students also gave their opinion on the ranking and compared their experiences to their perceptions of the university before attending.

Kayla Le, a first-year biology student, said she has had mostly positive experiences with faculty in her short time at UCLA.

“I feel like all my professors so far make a strong effort on things like office hours and times to meet with them and to get help,” Le said.

The academic rigor and opportunities provided by faculty have made for a positive initial experience, said Nathan Puopolo, a first-year global jazz studies student.

Gupta, who is also an international student, said she felt housing accommodations for students without support systems in the United States were  a significant factor that contributed to her positive UCLA experience.

“They just improved housing, … and they have guaranteed four-year housing for all students, which I think is just so incredible and specific to UCLA as an international student living on campus for all four years,” Gupta said.

Britton said improvements could be made in relations between administration and students by emphasizing a central focus on students’ academic needs and opinions of faculty.

Still, Gupta said UCLA has surpassed all of the previous expectations she had of the university.

“I came in just looking at pictures online,” she said. “I’d never been on campus. I’d never been in Los Angeles. But UCLA has definitely surpassed every expectation I had.”

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