The following reviews are the views of students or alumni at this school and are unrelated to the school data and other editorial content on usnews.com. These reviews neither reflect nor impact a school's position within the Best Colleges rankings.
UCR is a school where you can experience a lot of opportunities as well as learn in the classroom in that UCR in comparison to UCLA or UCB has Latinos and African Americans beyond just lip service and because of the multi-culturalism there is a great feeling of community and unity in my opinion. The school is nice and Riverside a good place, but it is not a huge city like LA but it is very close to Irvine and LA if you want to do other things on the weekends. School Pride is very low-Number 1 reason is no football team, and the feeling that this is an ok school by many especially the upper tier students as many have scholarships-this leads many to seek transfers. Also our mascot the Highlander-is really a bear so ....not exactly a clear idea for everyone to take pride in, there are many buildings with Scottish names. I would say the worst thing about Riverside is the lack of social community in that many go home for the weekend and don't stay and have fun like during the week; they could really make a cool place I believe. Controversy came lately with the Chancellor leaving for another school, but she got the UCR medical school on track and that will raise or visibility quite a bit especially in the region. We have as of yet had not replacement. There are many groups on campus that you can get involved with Mecha, Student Govt(ASUCR), frats, sororities, professional societies, Honors(one of the best funded in the country), all kinds of groups even jugglers, Dems, Republicans, ASPB-they have 10 million budget and put concerts and other event on campus. We have a Wednesday concert every week called a nooner and this is the best day of the week for culture and students as there are many vendors that come on campus and it is a cool vibe.
The City of Riverside will try to tell you that it's a college town...don't be fooled, it's not! In reality, Riverside has four colleges in the city: Cal Baptist U., La Sierra U., Riverside Community College (a respectable JC), and UCR. In actuality, the only college in this town is UCR. The campus and student body are huge; compared to the others, UCR is closest to what most think of when they think "college." Academics at UCR is legit and respectable, whereas at LSU and Cal Bap. it's a joke...I'm being dead serious when I tell you that those who spend the outrageous $$ to attend these two private universities WASTED their time and money. As for the City of Riverside, if you're from SoCal, you may already know this, but Riverside is not for the majority of college kids. The town is run by old-timers whose favorite dream is to turn Riverside into little "OC" (that's Orange County for those of you in the Mid-West living under rocks). There are only five bars, three of which can, on occasion, be fairly dangerous; there is only one (yeah 1!) club that shamefully charges a 20$ entry fee; as for letting lose after exams at a college party, forget it! The cops here are run by those same old-timers, your party will be shut down before 10pm...I'm not kidding. BIG PICTURE: UCR good school for academics, although you will hear different from other students. The City, quite frankly, sucks...my best advice is to work or smooch from mom&dad so you can afford to escape to Palm Springs, the LA area, or San Diego.
I have loved my experience at UCR because there are so many ways to get involved on campus, and there are so many genuine people here. The only reason people try to put Riverside down is just because it is not a college town, but other then that most people can't complain. Our campus is constantly growing with new buildings like our new commons and Interdisciplinary building. Also our ASPBoard continues to provide us with either free or low costing concerts like Chris Brown, Ludacris, E-40 and others. They also give oppurtunities to upcoming bands to show their stuff on Wednesdays, which is called Wednesday Nooners. Student life also funds programs on Thursday Night for Organizations on Campus who want to have events, but who don't have all the funds needed. There is usually so many events happening that it is hard to keep up, and I would say that that is one of the best things about my campus, There is always something to do.
Honestly, for those people with cars or friends with cars, UCR is located right in the middle of some nice spots. You've got Big Bear to the East, Los Angeles/Hollywood/Santa Monica/etc... to the West, Various theme parks... Disneyland/Knotts Berry Farm/Raging Waters (for when it's hot), Theatres (I mean plays, not movies. movies are everywhere, like starbucks is everywhere) like the Pantages in Hollywood, Amphitheatres (Staples Center downtown Los Angeles). The only down side right now is gas prices, so carpooling is a must and everyone has to chip in about ten bucks a tank no matter where you're heading to. I like the size of the school, it's one of the smallest UC campuses so while you still don't get all the classes you want because the honor students and upperclassmen stole them first, when you do hit junior year you pretty much can take whatever you want. So by the time you hit Senior year, if you haven't messed around your first three years, you suddenly have most of your requirements for you major done and all these extra class slots to take fun stuff. If you had asked me two years ago where I spent all my time, I would've replied "my room" because there wasn't really a hang out on campus. Then they built this huge Commons building with all sorts of shiny rooms and TV areas and food spots... so whenever I'm stuck on campus for a few hours between classes, you can usually find me up in one of the lounges watching TV. Unless it's finals week, then I'm in the Library with everyone else.
The best thing about UC Riverside is the people. UCR has a very dynamic group of students, faculty, and staff which provide academic and social stimulation. If I could change anything about UCR I would build a bubble around the school and blast air conditioning, it is HOT! The campus population was the perfect size for me, it allows for the sense of family without everyone knowing your business. Even better than being the right size the campus population is very diverse. At the end of the day UC-Riverside is still a UC, one of the leading research universities in the nation. Which leads me to this statement, who cares what other people think! A degree is a degree is a degree, UC-Riverside has so much more to offer than so many other schools. Go Highlanders! the UCR campus has changed so much in the last several years, in particular the school developed and built a new commons. The new commons is pretty sweet, much better than what we had when I was going there. I spent a lot of time at the Starbucks in the University Village, which is part of campus "kinda." The city of Riverside is unique in that it has 3 universities within city limits, which you would think would make it a college town, but it is not yet. The city is making a number of improvements and slowly this is changing. The administration on campus is like the administration on every campus, a bunch of suits who are so worried about money nothing else matters. That is a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the gist. School pride at UCR is climbing. Part of the reason students are so apathetic is that they have been told over and over UCR is the reject UC and this is just not true! UCR is far superior to any number of the universities in California and across the globe, it is just in the middle of the desert. All UC campuses offer the UCDC program, which is something I participated in and would recommend to any student interested in exploring the nation's capital. Also, UCR offers a number of study abroad opportunities, which are less competitive because of the smaller population.
The school's size is just about perfect. The social opportunities are slim but are there. You must seek them out. Riverside (the city) is pretty much a dump, think "Reno 911!". Classes are pretty easy and standard.
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