Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Why UCI?

Peter the Anteater
and I

I had the privilege this past weekend of visiting The University of California Irvine.  I was one of 22 counselors from East of the Mississippi to visit the campus and learn what they have to offer.  It was an amazing trip, not only because it was in California, but I learned so much about the campus and the University of California application process.  I am going to share with you some of the reasons that may answer the question, "Why UCI?"

Newport Beach is just a few minutes
drive from campus
One of the biggest draws to UCI is location, location, location. Students should look for a school they will be comfortable at, and for some this might just be UCI.  The school is located not far from the beach, mountains, and Disneyland.  A student could spend a Saturday skiing in the morning, on the beach in the afternoon, and close the night out at Disneyland.  It is truly a beautiful campus in one of the safest cities in the country!
Very close to Disneyland

Along with the beauty of the city, the campus also has a really unique lay out.  It is a large campus with around 23,000 undergraduates.  The campus is very diverse and is laid out in a strategic way.  It is mostly self-contained, so students are able to walk or take the shuttle everywhere on campus.  The campus has an inner and an outer circle.  On the inside of the inner circle is Aldrich Park, a popular place for students to relax and study.  There are over 11,000 trees in the park!  The unique layout gives the campus a smaller feel.
Picturesque campus

There are plenty of opportunities for students to get involved on and off campus.  One area that UCI is known for is the opportunities for undergraduate research.  The students are given opportunities to begin research starting as early as their sophomore year.  Students can seek out research through the research opportunities office or by initiating with their professors if they have an idea for research.  The school has a number of very strong research programs including a popular biological sciences program and engineering programs.  The community of Irvine is a planned community, so it is laid out strategically so people can stay near their homes.  This means that there are businesses, schools, and homes all close together.  With so many businesses close by students have ample opportunities to get involved in internships with local businesses. 

Jodaiko: a Japanese drumming ensemble
 well known on campus
UC Irvine offers a lot of support for their undergraduate students. Each program has academic advisors specializing in the specifics of the program.  These individuals are invaluable resources that are eager to help when the student seeks out the services.  There is also LARK which is a center that offers tutoring, peer academic advisors, and free study session workshops.  UCI boasts a 90% retention rate for the second year, and has a high four year graduation rate.

The Zot-N-Go an on-campus
convenience store
You may be starting to wonder "what is UC Irvine looking for in candidates?"  The University of
California is a different application than what we usually see in Michigan.  Students can fill out one application for all of the campuses, but will pay an application fee for each campus they send their information to.  Students only need to send their ACT or SAT scores to one campus, they share the scores with each other.

Some requirements include the following:

 A 3.4 GPA (this is a weighted GPA looking only at the grades in the 10th and 11th grades) along with the courses listed below.  

They call this the A-G requirements.

A. 2 years of History/Social Science
 • One year of world history, cultures and geography
 • One year of U.S. history OR a semester of U.S. history and a semester of American government/civics

B. 4 years of English

C. 3 years of Mathematics (4 years recommended)
 • Must include algebra, geometry, and advanced algebra

D. 2 years of Laboratory Science (3 years recommended)
 • Must include two of these three subjects: biology, chemistry, and physics

E. 2 years of Language other than English (3 years recommended)
 • The second year or higher of the same language must be completed to fulfill this requirement

F. 1 year of Visual and Performing Arts
 • Both courses must be from the same discipline (dance, drama/theater, music or visual arts)

G. 1 year of College Preparatory Electives   

Keep in mind that this school like many other California schools is very competitive.  Along with a solid transcript, students will also have the opportunity to tell about themselves and their experiences.  This is a time to brag and be specific.  Quantify your accomplishments and explain what you have gained through the many experiences you have had as a high school student.  You want to stand out, so let them know what makes you the right fit for their campus. 

Please feel free to come and see me if you have any questions or want to learn more about UC
Irvine or the University of California system.  It is a beautiful school with many unique opportunities. 

*Please keep in mind requirements can change from year to year, so for the most accurate and up to date information visit their webpage.  https://uci.edu/