Timothy Peck 5 min read 12th Grade, Campus Life

What is UCLA Student Life Like?

Located in Los Angeles, California, UCLA is the crown jewel of the University of California (UC) public university system, placing two spots ahead of UC Berkeley in US News & World Report’s rankings of national public universities

 

Home to 31,568 undergraduate students, UCLA also has the distinction of receiving the most applications in the nation. For the class of 2024, it received more than 100,000 freshman applications. With acceptance rates of only 12% for in-state students and 16% for out-of-state students, admission is very competitive (keep in mind that there are more in-state student applicants, leading to a lower acceptance rate than that of out-of-state applicants). 

 

Wondering what a typical UCLA student is like? Hear from these real students!

 

 

UCLA Housing

 

At UCLA, campus life is an essential part of the college experience. That is why UCLA guarantees three years of housing to incoming freshmen, and 97% of freshmen choose to live on campus. The school is also working on achieving a long-term goal of guaranteeing housing to freshmen for all four years of their college careers. 

 

The heart of the university, all of the school’s residence halls are within a short, walkable distance from one another and located conveniently close to classrooms, laboratories, libraries, and sports facilities. 

 

There are a variety of housing accommodations available to UCLA students, ranging from traditional residence halls and suites to on-campus apartments; however, the majority of students live in triple rooms during their first two to three years on campus. Because so many students share living space, UCLA works to pair roommates by preference, making the “Lifestyle Preferences” section of the housing application extremely important. 

 

An alternative to traditional on-campus housing are the numerous living-learning communities on UCLA’s campus, which are places where students with similar interests live together and participate in programs that cater to their academic, social, and personal needs. Living-learning communities are open to all UCLA students regardless of major, identity, and background. Living-learning communities at UCLA include: 

 

  • Afrikan Diaspora  
  • Chicanx/Latinx  
  • Creative Collective  
  • First to Go  
  • Gender, Sexuality, & Society  
  • Global Health  
  • Pilipinx  
  • Public Service & Civic Engagement  
  • Sustainability  
  • Technology & Innovation 
  • Transfer Experience 

 

UCLA Dining

 

There’s a lot to love about UCLA’s dining halls. UCLA is ranked as offering some of the best college dining halls in the country. Keeping UCLA’s student body fed and fueled, there is something for all tastes and diets, including those striving to eat locally sourced foods, or who are keeping a kosher, halal, vegetarian, vegan, or flexitarian diet. 

 

For diners who value sustainability, five of the university’s dining options are “Green Restaurant Certified.” To become Green Restaurant Certified, a food service provider must meet environmental accomplishments in seven categories: water efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, sustainable furnishings and building materials, sustainable food, energy, disposables, and chemical and pollution reduction.

 

The foundation of UCLA dining is its four residential restaurants, which serve up to ten different entrée options at every meal that are served all-you-can-eat buffet style. The four residential restaurants are all uniquely themed and inspired, giving UCLA students choices ranging from healthy to Mediterranean to Asian to American street food. Additionally, there are four quick-service restaurants that deliver casual and to-go meals to the UCLA student body. 

Discover your chances at hundreds of schools

Our free chancing engine takes into account your history, background, test scores, and extracurricular activities to show you your real chances of admission—and how to improve them.

UCLA Extracurriculars

 

Athletics: Sports play a large role in the lives of many UCLA students. The school has a storied history—it has won 118 NCAA titles in 20 different sports, behind only Stanford (which has won 123 titles). This includes a historic run in basketball, where the UCLA men’s team won seven straight national championships, and 10 titles in 12 years—going undefeated four times. UCLA participates in the Pac-12 Conference, fielding 23 Division I teams (13 women’s and 10 men’s). There is also a wide variety of club sports available to the UCLA student body, including crew, lacrosse, skiing, rugby, and martial arts. 

 

Clubs and Organizations: The extracurricular opportunities available to UCLA students exceeds just sports, with over 1,000 groups and student organizations on campus encompassing a broad spectrum of interests and activities. In addition to traditional extracurriculars like working at the student newspaper or participating in student government, popular clubs include playing the Harry Potter-inspired sport of Quidditch, taking Latin dance classes, or promoting literacy in greater LA as a member of the Milk and Bookies.  

 

Greek Life: Fraternities and sororities play a considerable role in UCLA student life; about 15% of the undergraduate student population is Greek affiliated. There are 71 national and local Greek organizations on UCLA’s campus—37 fraternities and 34 sororities—including organizations with specific cultural focuses. 

 

UCLA Student Support 

 

UCLA believes that students shouldn’t feel alone, even if they’re far from home, which is why they’ve created an extensive support network. The New Student Orientation program is intended to provide incoming students a comprehensive introduction to UCLA campus life while the First-Year Experience (FYE) program equips new college students with the skills, tools, and knowledge to transition to college life.

 

For students needing academic assistance, both formal and informal tutoring is available through the school’s individual departments. A highlight of UCLA’s support programs is the Student Retention Center (SRC)—the first student-initiated, student-run, and student-funded retention center in the nation. The SRC serves communities that have historically suffered lower retention and graduation rates at UCLA and oversees six projects: 

 

 

The UCLA career center ensures students’ academic goals align with their career goals beginning on the first day of freshman year. A variety of programs are available to students, helping them prepare for everything from graduate school to their first job. For those curious about their investment in college at UCLA, according to the website College Simply, UCLA students earn an average salary of $70,700 ten years after graduation—106% higher than the national median salary. 

 

Life in Los Angeles, California

 

UCLA’s campus is surrounded by notable neighborhoods such as Bel Air, Brentwood, and Beverly Hills. Los Angeles is best known for being the entertainment capital of the world, thanks to its Hollywood neighborhood. The city has hosted the Olympics twice (and is slated to hold them again in 2028), and is home to two NFL teams, two NBA teams, one MLB team, and one NHL team. 

 

Los Angeles is a global city that offers exceptional opportunities in addition to what is found on campus and further enriches UCLA student life. In Los Angeles, students will find world-class restaurants, museums, and theaters. For students who want to travel, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is one of the busiest airports in the world—offering 737 daily nonstop flights to 100 domestic cities, and 1,386 weekly nonstop flights to 88 cities in 44 countries. 

 

Curious about your chances of acceptance to UCLA? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!

Want more tips on improving your academic profile?

We'll send valuable information to help you strengthen your profile and get ready for college admissions.


Timothy Peck
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.