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UCLA vs Cornell: A Comprehensive Look 

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

A woman writing on a table next to a large glass window.

Are you looking to join one of the top universities in the United States? If so, you may have already come across UCLA and Cornell, two of the most prestigious universities in the country. But how do they differ? Which one is better suited for your academic needs? In this article, we will compare the features of UCLA vs Cornell, so you can make an informed decision when choosing your future educational institution.

Introduction: Brief Overview of UCLA and Cornell

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public research university located in Los Angeles, California. It was founded in 1919 and is known for its academic excellence in various fields of study, including engineering, social sciences, and the arts. On the other hand, Cornell University is a private Ivy League research university located in Ithaca, New York. It was founded in 1865 and is known for its diverse academic programs that range from architecture to medicine.

Despite their differences in location and history, both UCLA and Cornell share a commitment to research and innovation. UCLA is home to numerous research centers and institutes, including the California NanoSystems Institute and the Institute for Society and Genetics. Similarly, Cornell has a strong research focus, with notable centers such as the Cornell Center for Materials Research and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Both universities also prioritize community engagement and offer a variety of programs and initiatives to promote social responsibility and civic engagement among their students.

Location and Campus Size Comparison of UCLA vs Cornell

The two universities have significant geographical differences. UCLA is located in Los Angeles, California, one of the largest and most culturally diverse cities in the world. The campus covers an area of 419 acres and is near various cultural institutions and attractions.

Cornell University, on the other hand, is situated in Ithaca, New York, a small college town with a population of fewer than 31,000 people. The campus covers an area of 745 acres.

Cornell University campus

Despite the differences in size and location, both universities offer unique opportunities for students. UCLA’s location in Los Angeles provides students with access to internships and job opportunities in various industries, including entertainment, technology, and healthcare. Cornell’s large campus size allows for extensive research facilities and outdoor recreational activities, such as hiking and skiing in the nearby Finger Lakes region.

Admission Criteria for UCLA vs Cornell

The admission process for both universities is competitive, with acceptance rates of around 11% for UCLA and 9% for Cornell. UCLA evaluates applicants based on their academic performance, test scores, essays, extracurricular activities, and interviews (if they are selected for one). Cornell emphasizes a holistic approach to admissions, looking for students who have diverse backgrounds and skills and are likely to contribute positively to the university community.

It is important to note that both universities also consider factors such as demonstrated leadership, community service, and personal qualities when evaluating applicants. UCLA values applicants who have shown leadership in their extracurricular activities or community service, while Cornell looks for students who have demonstrated a commitment to making a positive impact in their communities. Additionally, both universities offer need-based financial aid to eligible students and encourage applicants to apply for scholarships and grants to help offset the cost of attendance.

Tuition Fees and Financial Aid at UCLA vs Cornell

The cost of attending UCLA and Cornell varies depending on the program of study, financial need, and residency status. The estimated tuition and fees for in-state students attending UCLA are around $13,804 per year, while out-of-state students pay around $44,830 per year. Cornell’s tuition and fees are $63,200. However, both universities offer various financial aid packages, including scholarships, grants, and loans, to help students finance their education and make it more affordable.

In addition to financial aid packages, both universities also offer work-study programs that allow students to earn money while gaining valuable work experience. These programs provide students with part-time jobs on campus or in the local community, and the earnings can be used to pay for tuition, fees, and other educational expenses.

It’s important to note that the cost of attending a university goes beyond just tuition and fees. Students also need to consider the cost of housing, food, textbooks, and other living expenses. UCLA and Cornell both offer on-campus housing options, as well as resources to help students find off-campus housing. Additionally, both universities have dining plans and food options available to students, with varying costs depending on the plan chosen.

Academic Programs Offered at UCLA vs Cornell

Both universities offer a wide range of academic programs, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. At UCLA, some of the most popular undergraduate majors are in the fields of engineering, social sciences, and the arts. The university also hosts several schools and institutes, including the Anderson School of Management, the Luskin School of Public Affairs, and the Herb Alpert School of Music.

Cornell University has 14 colleges and schools, including the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering, and the School of Hotel Administration. The university also has a highly reputed medical school, Weill Cornell Medicine, and a law school that consistently ranks among the top 15 in the country.

Close up of students smiling at the camera.

In addition to these programs, both universities offer a variety of research opportunities for students. UCLA has several research centers, including the California NanoSystems Institute and the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. Cornell University is also known for its research, with projects ranging from sustainable energy to biomedical engineering. Students at both universities have the opportunity to work alongside faculty members on cutting-edge research projects, gaining valuable experience and contributing to the advancement of their fields.

Faculty and Student Ratio at UCLA vs Cornell

The faculty and student ratio at both universities is relatively low, ensuring that students receive personal attention and can engage with their professors. UCLA has a student-to-faculty ratio of 18:1, while Cornell’s ratio is 9:1, making it one of the smallest among top research universities in the US.

Despite the difference in ratios, both universities have a strong commitment to providing quality education and fostering a supportive learning environment. UCLA has implemented various programs and initiatives to ensure that students receive individualized attention, such as small discussion groups and one-on-one meetings with professors. Similarly, Cornell offers a range of resources to support student success, including academic advising, tutoring services, and research opportunities.

Furthermore, the low faculty and student ratio at both universities allow for more opportunities for research and collaboration. Students at UCLA and Cornell have the chance to work closely with faculty members on research projects, which can lead to valuable experiences and opportunities for publication or presentation at conferences. Additionally, the small class sizes at both universities allow for more meaningful discussions and interactions among students, creating a dynamic and engaging learning environment.

Campus Life: Extracurricular Activities at UCLA and Cornell

Both universities offer a vibrant campus life, with numerous extracurricular activities, including clubs, organizations, and sports teams. UCLA is known for its competitive athletics program, with popular sports such as basketball and gymnastics. It also hosts several cultural events, music festivals, and theater performances throughout the year.

Cornell also offers a diverse range of extracurricular activities, including over 1,000 student organizations and 36 varsity sports teams. The university is also home to several museums, including the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, as well as several student-run media outlets such as the Cornell Daily Sun.

Group of students talking in a room.

Aside from sports and cultural events, UCLA also offers a variety of academic clubs and organizations, such as the Pre-Law Society and the Entrepreneur Association. These clubs provide students with opportunities to network with professionals in their field of interest and gain valuable experience outside of the classroom.

Cornell, on the other hand, is known for its strong commitment to sustainability and environmentalism. The university offers several sustainability-focused clubs and organizations, such as the Cornell Sustainable Campus Initiative and the Environmental Law Society. Cornell also has a student-run organic farm, which provides fresh produce to the campus community and serves as a hub for sustainable agriculture research.

Accommodation at UCLA vs Cornell

Both universities offer various housing options for students, including dormitories, apartments, and off-campus residences. At UCLA, students can choose to live on campus or off campus, with various meal plan options available. The university also offers a Residential Life program, which offers academic support, community-building opportunities, and diverse programming for students living on campus.

Cornell’s housing options include traditional residence halls, apartments, and cooperative houses. The university also provides a Residential Education program, which offers various learning opportunities to students living on campus, such as faculty-led programs, mentorship programs, and leadership training.

It is important to note that the cost of housing at both universities varies depending on the type of accommodation chosen. At UCLA, the cost of living on campus ranges from $13,239 to $17,599 per academic year, while off-campus housing can cost anywhere from $800 to $2,500 per month. Similarly, at Cornell, the cost of living on campus ranges from $9,856 to $12,836 per academic year, while off-campus housing can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,500 per month. It is recommended that students carefully consider their budget and housing preferences before making a decision.

Campus Safety Measures at UCLA and Cornell

Both universities prioritize campus safety and security, providing various measures to ensure the safety of their students and faculty. UCLA has a 24-hour police department that patrols the campus and collaborates with local law enforcement agencies to maintain campus safety. The university also has several emergency response systems in place to address crises and provide timely alerts to the campus community.

Cornell also has a comprehensive campus safety program, which includes a police department, emergency response teams, and various safety programs and initiatives. The university also has a network of blue light emergency phones strategically placed across the campus, providing direct access to the Cornell Police.

In addition to these measures, UCLA has implemented a safety escort program, which provides students and staff with a safe way to travel around campus at night. The program is available seven days a week and can be accessed by calling the UCLA Police Department. The university also offers self-defense classes and safety workshops to educate students on how to stay safe on and off campus.

Cornell has also taken steps to address sexual assault and harassment on campus. The office provides support and resources to survivors of sexual violence and works to prevent future incidents through education and awareness campaigns. The university also has a bystander intervention program, which trains students and staff to recognize and intervene in potentially dangerous situations.

Athletics Programs Offered at UCLA and Cornell

Both universities have notable athletics programs, with competitive teams in various sports. UCLA is famous for its basketball and gymnastics teams, which have won numerous national championships. Cornell’s athletics program includes 36 varsity sports teams, comprising 15 men’s teams, 16 women’s teams, and 5 coed teams. The university’s ice hockey team is particularly noteworthy, having won several Ivy League championships and the national championship in 1967 and 1970.

A ball thrown on a basket in a covered court.

In addition to their varsity sports teams, both UCLA and Cornell offer a range of intramural and club sports for students to participate in. At UCLA, students can join clubs for sports such as ultimate frisbee, soccer, and volleyball. Cornell offers a variety of intramural sports leagues, including flag football, dodgeball, and table tennis. These programs provide opportunities for students to stay active and engaged in sports, even if they are not part of the varsity teams.

Employment Opportunities Post Graduation from UCLA vs Cornell

UCLA and Cornell are both highly reputed universities, with graduates who go on to successful careers. UCLA graduates often find employment in the fields of entertainment, technology, and finance in the Los Angeles area. Cornell graduates, on the other hand, find employment in various industries across the US, including consulting, finance, law, and research.

However, it is important to note that the employment opportunities for graduates from both universities are not limited to these specific industries. Many UCLA graduates have also found success in fields such as healthcare, education, and non-profit organizations. Similarly, Cornell graduates have also pursued careers in fields such as engineering, marketing, and entrepreneurship.

Furthermore, the location of the university can also play a significant role in post-graduation employment opportunities. While UCLA is located in the heart of Los Angeles, which is known for its thriving entertainment and technology industries, Cornell is located in Ithaca, a small town in upstate New York. This may make it easier for UCLA graduates to find employment in these specific industries, while Cornell graduates may have to look further afield for job opportunities.

Student Diversity at Both Universities

Both UCLA and Cornell have diverse student populations, with students from multiple ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Approximately 32% of UCLA’s undergraduate students are from underrepresented minority groups, while Cornell has a diverse student body that includes international and first-generation students.

Furthermore, both universities have active student organizations and clubs that celebrate and promote diversity. UCLA has over 1,000 student organizations, including cultural and identity-based groups such as the Asian Pacific Coalition and the Black Student Union. Similarly, Cornell has over 1,000 student organizations, including the Multicultural Greek Letter Council and the First-Generation Student Union.

Group of students walking together and smiling.

In addition, both universities offer resources and support for students from diverse backgrounds. UCLA has the Bruin Resource Center, which provides services and programs for first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented minority students. Cornell has the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives, which offers academic and personal support for students from underrepresented backgrounds, as well as the International Students and Scholars Office, which provides resources for international students.

Alumni Network of UCLA vs Cornell

UCLA and Cornell have vast alumni networks, providing graduates with access to networking opportunities and career resources. UCLA’s alumni network includes over 500,000 members, with notable alumni such as actors James Franco and Mindy Kaling, as well as former US Senator Kamala Harris. Cornell’s alumni network is also extensive, with over 250,000 members spread across the globe. The university’s notable alumni include former US Vice President Joe Biden and billionaire investor Seth Klarman.

Both universities have active alumni associations that organize events and provide career support to their members. UCLA’s alumni association offers a range of services, including career counseling, job postings, and networking events. The association also hosts social events, such as happy hours and sporting events, to help alumni connect. Similarly, Cornell’s alumni association provides career services, such as resume reviews and job search advice, as well as networking events and educational programs. The association also has regional chapters around the world, allowing alumni to connect no matter where they live.

Research Opportunities Available at Both Universities

Both universities offer extensive research opportunities, enabling students to engage in cutting-edge research projects in various fields. UCLA is home to several research centers and institutes, including the California NanoSystems Institute, the UCLA Brain Mapping Center, and the Southern California Earthquake Center. Cornell’s research initiatives cover a wide range of fields, including agriculture, engineering, social sciences, and the arts. The university has several research centers and institutes, including the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.

one person holding a pen to point and the other person typing on a wireless keyboard plus an inlay art of line and bar graphs

At UCLA, students have the opportunity to work with renowned faculty members who are leaders in their respective fields. The university also offers research funding and resources to support student research projects. Additionally, UCLA has partnerships with various research institutions and organizations, providing students with access to even more research opportunities.

Cornell’s research initiatives are focused on addressing real-world problems and finding innovative solutions. The university encourages interdisciplinary research, allowing students to collaborate with experts from different fields. Cornell also has a strong commitment to sustainability and has several research centers dedicated to studying environmental issues and promoting sustainable practices.

Conclusion: Which University is Better Suited for You?

When considering your academic interests, it is important to research the specific programs and departments offered at each university. For example, if you are interested in pursuing a degree in engineering, Cornell may be the better choice due to its highly-ranked engineering program. On the other hand, if you are interested in film or television production, UCLA’s School of Theater, Film, and Television may be the better fit.

Additionally, personal preferences such as location, campus culture, and extracurricular activities should also be taken into account. UCLA is located in the bustling city of Los Angeles, while Cornell is situated in the small town of Ithaca. UCLA has a reputation for its vibrant campus life and diverse student body, while Cornell is known for its strong sense of community and emphasis on tradition.

Ultimately, the decision of which university to attend depends on your academic interests, personal preferences, and career goals. Both UCLA and Cornell are highly reputed universities, with distinctive features that make them unique. We hope that this article has provided you with a comprehensive overview of the differences between the two universities, enabling you to make a more informed decision when choosing your future educational institution.

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