Saturday, February 09, 2013

Everyone wants to go to a UC

Someone has figured out that skills and knowledge equal income, and that one of the best places in the world to acquire that skill or knowledge is the University of California system.

“The University of California has again received a record number of applications for undergraduate admission, attracting strong interest from inside and outside the state….”

Budget woes be damned, it looks like more and more people still see opportunity in the Golden State, even with tuition increases, a campus in Merced, and this guy:

It my job to analyze this phenomenon with a clear mind, a steady heart, and a rich cabernet. For instance, Latinos were the largest group ethnicity to apply for California residency admission as freshmen. If you are involved in public education in California this should surprise no one. In my classes, women dominate academia, and Latinas are quickly becoming a powerful force in the realm of intellectual capital.

But what about the actual schools themselves? Why the massive increase in the number of applicants to the U.C. system at specific universities? A few thoughts….

Everyone wants to go to UCLA because it’s UCLA. Look at all the freshmen who applied, most of whom don’t even realize that UCLA is located in Los Angeles. Actually Westwood might not be Los Angeles, just a little Lost style island where occasionally there are time jumps that remind you that Bill Walton once actually sat down in the street and blocked traffic. Very few students from Ukiah get accepted to UCLA, and most come from families that are second or third generation immigrants that realize that hard work is harder than trolling Facebook while half-assing your English paper.

Berkeley is considered by many to be the best public university on the planet. This is horribly unfortunate because it’s located near one of the nastier neighborhoods on the planet. Staying on campus will allow you to feel safe and secure in the knowledge that you won’t be accosted by stoned vagrants that inhabit Telegraph Avenue. It’s a little safer to walk out in Berkeley during home football games because then everybody is acting like drunk vagrants, only most are wearing Blue and Gold thus making them easily identifiable. Few students from Ukiah get into Berkeley, and those that do usually come from families that have Mafioso type connections to the Cal-Berkeley elite, who in turn enjoy fooling everyone into believing that they are really a progressive university (see Haas Business School, and the crazy salaries the Deans receive).

Look, it’s U.C. San Diego! Those people that actually want to excel in high-level academia while sitting on the beach in somewhere not as shitty as Los Angeles go to UCSD. While Westwood has things like basketball, Beverly Hills, and it’s name; San Diego is one of the leading schools in medicine and engineering. And it’s not Los Angeles. Very few students get accepted into San Diego from Ukiah, and those that do are usually very serious about their academic rigor and future job prospects, which they focus on right after a summer trip to Tijuana that usually involves mas cerveza and a donkey.

Bwahahahaha! I bet you honestly thought that kids apply to U.C. Santa Barbara because of the academic programs. Yeah, right. And Isla Vista is actually a man-made island off the coast of Newfoundland that’s owned by a skinny Samoan named Reginald. Kids that apply to UCSB are thinking beach, ragers, and the possibility that at least one time in their life they might get a bang one of those girls that the Beach Boys always talk about. Or was it Katy Perry? I see a whole lot of kids apply to UCSB and a decent amount are accepted. Usually about half return because their arms are too sore from keg stands or the local suppliers found a better connection for NorCal Kush.

U.C. Irvine is a university that no one wants to go to because A) the name sounds like a Grandpa from the 1930’s, and B) the mascot is the Anteater. Those that do their homework find that U.C. Irvine might possibly be one of the most underrated universities in the country. They have strong academics, friendly students, a safe location, all a bunch of other things that make it totally unassuming and therefore to many college students, boring. Very few students even bother applying to U.C. Irvine because U.C. Irvine just doesn’t sound cool. It would be cooler to rage in Isla Vista, or bike around the cow pastures of Davis.

If you want to go to U.C. Davis you probably want to become a veterinarian, wine maker, or you have a real strong pull back to the comforting womb that is Northern California. The former is unlikely because most people that want to be a vet will have to take organic chemistry, and that alone will make a person question their life choices. The second is also unlikely because you don’t need to spend your life’s fortune living in a dull valley to learn about wine. You can go to Walla Walla instead. No, most people (including those from Ukiah) apply to U.C. Davis as their “back-up choice”, which in reality is their first choice because they can stay close to home while partying with old high school friends and mooching off of parents. It’s a good school except for the fact that you will forever have to deal with the UCLA and Cal elitists that will insist that they are more intelligent because they are better, for some reason.

Yes, that is a banana slug.  So U.C. Santa Cruz has been getting a large influx of Ukiah grads as of late. The reason for that is that UCSC is a lot like the “progressive” population that resides in Ukiah. Students that go to Santa Cruz will adore the campus (the most beautiful in the UC system), smoke a lot of weed, engage in a few protests, and then wake up one morning and realize that they are spending a whole lot of money things they can do without going to U.C. Santa Cruz. This is why I’ve seen more students leave UCSC than any other UC. Students are looking to go to college, not demonstrate in a permanent Occupy Movement. This is not to say that the college is bad by any means. It’s just not the epitome of the “college experience”, unless your idea of the college experience is really progressive. Note: Berkeley students hate UCSC because Santa Cruz is actually progressive, not “Couture Progressive” that includes necessary trips to trendy outlet malls before protesting at Sproul Hall.

U.C. Riverside’s motto is “College is what you make of it.” This is especially true for the students that have decided to go to a university that is well versed in smog and poverty, and that is located in the desert. If you can get by the fact that U.C. Riverside sits in a community that could be considered one of the most impacted by the 2008 Great Recession, then you’ll probably do ok. The university does have a very good engineering program and the business program is supposed to be up and coming. And apparently the prospects of getting a job right out of Riverside are pretty darn good. Of course, that means you must actually attend Riverside. I think one or two students went to Riverside over my tenure at Ukiah, and I really hope they are ok.

The main reason someone drives to Merced is to go through it on their way to somewhere else; whether that be Los Angeles, Sacramento, Yosemite, or anywhere. I’m still trying to figure out why the U.C. system chose Merced as a location to build a university. I’m thinking that it had to do with a lost bet, or a practical joke gone wrong, or something having to do with Ashton Kutcher all of the sudden screaming “YOU’VE BEEN PUNKED!” from behind a building. Guess what. If you are going to Merced you’ll find really new and cool buildings. And rice. I’ve had students apply and get accepted to U.C. Merced. I think I’ve seen their faces on the back of milk cartons but I can’t confirm that just yet.

Now much of this review is done tongue-in-cheek, unless it really isn’t and I’m just a Chico State graduate with a really low self-esteem problem. Nah. I’m still of the opinion that the “where” you go to college is more inconsequential than what you actually do with college when you attend. The amount of serious research that students do for their college choices is actually tiny, and usually is word of mouth from friends that already attend a certain institution. For the cost of the investment, I recommend that parents get a hold of themselves when considering “the college experience” for their kids, because the debt load on the other end really isn’t worth the rager on Isla Vista. You can rage anywhere, and often get just as much out of the academic end as well if you actually look around.

blog comments powered by Disqus