UCLA vs NYU: Which University is Right For You? 

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a female student understanding how to start a college application essay

UCLA vs NYU: Which University is Right For You?

As students begin the daunting task of selecting a college or university to attend, it’s important to consider all the factors that make up a quality education. In this article, we will conduct a thorough comparison of two prestigious institutions: the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) vs New York University (NYU). By analyzing various aspects of these universities side by side, we will help you determine which university is the better choice for you.

Academic Programs and Majors at UCLA vs NYU

Both UCLA and NYU offer a range of academic programs and majors for students to choose from. At NYU, the undergraduate program is organized into four schools: the College of Arts and Science, the Tisch School of the Arts, the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, and the Silver School of Social Work. Meanwhile, UCLA has more than 125 undergraduate majors in seven academic divisions. For students looking for a large number of options, UCLA may be the ideal choice.

a group of college students walking forward

However, NYU has a strong reputation for its programs in the arts, particularly in film and performing arts. The Tisch School of the Arts is one of the most prestigious schools for film and television in the world, and NYU’s theater program is also highly regarded. Students interested in pursuing a career in the arts may find NYU to be a better fit.

On the other hand, UCLA has a strong focus on research and innovation. The university is home to numerous research centers and institutes, and students have the opportunity to work alongside faculty members on cutting-edge research projects. Additionally, UCLA has a strong emphasis on community service and social justice, with many programs and initiatives aimed at making a positive impact on society. Students who are passionate about research and making a difference in their communities may find UCLA to be the better choice.

Student Body Diversity at UCLA vs NYU

When it comes to diversity, both UCLA and NYU pride themselves on their commitment to fostering a welcoming and inclusive community. At NYU, over 24% of undergraduate students are international, and the university has been recognized as one of the most diverse colleges in the United States. Similarly, UCLA has been noted for its diversity, with students from all 50 states and over 100 countries represented on campus. Students seeking a diverse community will find both universities to be excellent options.

However, while both universities have a diverse student body, there are some differences in the types of diversity represented. At NYU, there is a strong emphasis on cultural diversity, with students from a wide range of ethnic and religious backgrounds. UCLA, on the other hand, has a strong focus on socioeconomic diversity, with a significant number of students coming from low-income backgrounds.

Another factor to consider is the diversity within specific academic programs. For example, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts is known for its diverse student body, with students from all over the world studying film, theater, and other creative arts. UCLA’s School of Engineering, on the other hand, has a strong focus on gender diversity, with a higher percentage of female students than many other engineering programs.

Faculty and Teaching Quality at UCLA vs NYU

Both UCLA and NYU are renowned for the quality of their faculty and teaching resources. UCLA has almost 4,000 full-time faculty members, while NYU has close to 5,000. At NYU, the faculty includes world-renowned scholars and industry-leading professionals, offering students access to cutting-edge research and real-world expertise. Meanwhile, at UCLA, the faculty are among the most respected in their fields, with many winning major awards and accolades for their research and teaching excellence.

Despite the similarities in the size and quality of their faculty, there are some notable differences between UCLA and NYU in terms of teaching methods. At NYU, there is a strong emphasis on experiential learning, with many courses incorporating hands-on projects and internships. UCLA, on the other hand, places a greater emphasis on traditional classroom instruction, with a focus on theoretical concepts and critical thinking skills.

Another factor that sets these two universities apart is their approach to diversity and inclusion. NYU has a long-standing commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity, with a range of programs and initiatives aimed at creating a welcoming and supportive environment for students from all backgrounds. UCLA has also made strides in this area, with several initiatives focused on promoting diversity and equity, including the establishment of a new Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Cost of Attendance: Which University is More Affordable?

For many students, the cost of attendance is a major consideration when selecting a university. While both UCLA and NYU are prestigious institutions, the cost of attendance can differ significantly. At NYU, the estimated cost of attendance is $58,168. Meanwhile, at UCLA, the estimated cost of attendance is $$13,804 for in-state students and $$44,830 for out-of-state students. Students looking for an affordable option may find UCLA to be the more feasible choice.

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It’s important to note that the cost of attendance includes not only tuition and fees, but also room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses. Students should carefully consider their financial situation and needs when comparing the cost of attendance at different universities. Additionally, both UCLA and NYU offer financial aid and scholarships to eligible students, which can significantly reduce the overall cost of attendance.

Career Prospects and Job Opportunities at UCLA vs NYU

When it comes to securing a job after graduation, both UCLA and NYU offer students a range of resources and opportunities. NYU has a robust career services program that provides students with internship and job search assistance, as well as resume and cover letter writing workshops. Meanwhile, UCLA has a career center dedicated to helping students explore career options, find internships and jobs, and develop crucial job search skills. Ultimately, the strength of one’s job prospects after graduation will depend on a range of factors beyond the university attended.

However, it is worth noting that the location of the university can also play a significant role in job opportunities. For example, NYU is located in the heart of New York City, which is a hub for many industries such as finance, media, and technology. This proximity to various companies and organizations can provide NYU students with unique networking opportunities and access to internships and job openings. On the other hand, UCLA is located in Los Angeles, which is also a major city with a thriving entertainment industry. This can be advantageous for students interested in pursuing careers in film, television, or music.

Campus Life and Extracurricular Activities at UCLA vs NYU

For students who are interested in extracurricular activities, both UCLA and NYU offer a broad range of options to explore. NYU has over 400 clubs and organizations, including the student government and various cultural and social clubs. UCLA, on the other hand, boasts over 1,000 student organizations, including sports teams, performance groups, and leadership opportunities. As far as campus life is concerned, both universities offer a vibrant and dynamic community in which students can thrive.

Students smiling while walking in a school.

At NYU, students can also take advantage of the city’s cultural offerings, such as museums, theaters, and music venues. The university is located in the heart of Greenwich Village, which is known for its artistic and bohemian atmosphere. UCLA, on the other hand, is situated in Westwood, a neighborhood that offers a variety of restaurants, shops, and entertainment options.

Both universities also provide opportunities for students to engage in community service and volunteer work. NYU’s Center for Student Activities, Leadership, and Service offers programs and resources to help students get involved in service projects, while UCLA’s Volunteer Center connects students with local organizations and events. These experiences not only benefit the community but also allow students to develop leadership skills and make meaningful connections with others.

Housing Options and Amenities at UCLA and NYU

Another important consideration when selecting a university is the availability and quality of housing options. At NYU, students can choose from a range of residence halls in various neighborhoods throughout the city. Meanwhile, at UCLA, students live in one of the 14 residential halls on campus, which offer a range of amenities including access to dining halls and on-site academic support services. Ultimately, both universities offer comfortable and convenient housing options for their students.

However, there are some differences in the housing options and amenities offered by these two universities. For example, NYU offers a wider range of housing options, including apartment-style living for upperclassmen. In contrast, UCLA primarily offers traditional dorm-style living for all students. Additionally, NYU’s residence halls are located in various neighborhoods throughout the city, providing students with a unique opportunity to experience different parts of New York City.

On the other hand, UCLA’s residential halls offer a variety of amenities that are not available at NYU, such as on-site academic support services and access to recreational facilities like swimming pools and fitness centers. UCLA’s residential halls also provide students with a strong sense of community, as they are all located on campus and offer a range of social activities and events for residents to participate in.

Admissions Process: What are the Requirements for UCLA and NYU?

When it comes to admissions, both UCLA and NYU are highly selective institutions. NYU has an acceptance rate of around 13%, while UCLA has an acceptance rate of around 11%. To be admitted to either university, students must submit a range of materials, including transcripts, test scores, essays, and letters of recommendation. Additionally, both universities have a holistic approach to admissions, meaning that they take into consideration various factors beyond test scores and grades.

an adult man writing

For UCLA, one of the key factors that they consider in their admissions process is the applicant’s extracurricular activities and leadership experience. They want to see that students have been actively involved in their communities and have taken on leadership roles, as this demonstrates their potential to contribute to the UCLA community. NYU, on the other hand, places a strong emphasis on the applicant’s statement and their fit with the university’s values and mission. They want to see that students have a clear understanding of what NYU stands for and how they can contribute to the university’s diverse and dynamic community.

Student Support Services: Resources Available at UCLA and NYU

When it comes to student support services, both UCLA and NYU offer a range of resources for their students. At NYU, the university has a comprehensive student health center, as well as various wellness and counseling services. Meanwhile, at UCLA, the university offers both academic and personal support services, including tutoring, academic coaching, and mental health services. Ultimately, both universities prioritize the well-being and success of their students.

However, there are some differences in the specific resources offered at each university. For example, NYU has a dedicated center for students with disabilities, which provides accommodations and support services for students with physical, learning, or psychological disabilities. On the other hand, UCLA has a career center that offers resources and guidance for students seeking internships, jobs, or graduate school opportunities.

Another notable difference is the availability of financial support services. At NYU, the university offers financial aid counseling and assistance with budgeting and managing student loans. At UCLA, the university has a scholarship resource center that helps students find and apply for scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid.

Athletics Programs: How Does UCLA Stack Up Against NYU?

For students interested in athletics, UCLA has been ranked as one of the top schools in the country for Division I sports. The university has over 100 NCAA national championships to its name and boasts a highly competitive athletics program. By contrast, NYU is known for its intramural athletic programs and club sports, which offer opportunities for students to engage in physical activity and competition without the intensity and commitment required of Division I sports. Ultimately, the focus on athletics will depend on the student’s interests and priorities.

However, it is important to note that both UCLA and NYU offer a wide range of physical activity options for students beyond traditional sports. UCLA has a state-of-the-art recreation center with facilities for yoga, rock climbing, and swimming, among other activities. NYU also has a recreation center with similar amenities, as well as dance and martial arts classes. Both universities prioritize the health and wellness of their students and offer resources to support a variety of interests and fitness levels.

Alumni Network and Connections: Which University Offers Better Networking Opportunities?

For many students, the alumni network and connections offered by a university can be a valuable resource when it comes to securing employment or advancing one’s career. At NYU, the alumni network is extensive, with graduates spread out across the world in various fields and industries. Similarly, UCLA boasts a large alumni network, with graduates working in various fields including entertainment, business, and academia. Ultimately, the strength of one’s alumni network will depend on their network, career goals, and individual effort to make contact with alumni.

However, it is important to note that the size of the alumni network is not the only factor to consider when evaluating networking opportunities. The quality of the connections and the level of engagement within the network are also crucial. At NYU, the alumni association offers various events and programs to facilitate networking and mentorship opportunities for students and graduates. UCLA also has a strong alumni association, with active chapters in different regions and industries.

Moreover, some universities have specialized alumni networks that cater to specific industries or professions. For example, Stanford University has a well-established alumni network in the tech industry, with many graduates working at top companies such as Google, Apple, and Facebook. Similarly, Harvard Business School has a powerful alumni network in the business world, with many graduates holding executive positions in Fortune 500 companies. Therefore, when choosing a university based on networking opportunities, it is important to consider the specific industries or fields that one is interested in and research the alumni network accordingly.

Campus Safety and Security Measures at UCLA vs NYU

Finally, when selecting a university, it’s important to consider safety and security measures. Both UCLA and NYU have taken active measures to promote safety and security on campus. NYU maintains a dedicated campus safety team, as well as a close partnership with the New York City Police Department. At UCLA, the university offers a range of safety and security services, including campus escort services and emergency alert systems. Ultimately, both universities prioritize the safety and well-being of their students.

However, there are some differences in the safety and security measures implemented by UCLA and NYU. For instance, NYU has a more extensive network of security cameras installed throughout the campus, which helps in monitoring and preventing any potential security threats. On the other hand, UCLA has a larger campus area, and therefore, has more security personnel patrolling the campus at all times.

In addition, both universities have implemented measures to ensure the safety of their students during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. NYU has implemented strict guidelines for social distancing, mask-wearing, and regular testing for students and staff. UCLA has also implemented similar measures, along with providing quarantine facilities for students who test positive for COVID-19.

Study Abroad Opportunities: Which University Offers More Study Abroad Options?

For students interested in studying abroad, both UCLA and NYU offer a range of opportunities to explore. NYU has global campuses located in Abu Dhabi, Shanghai, and Florence, as well as various study abroad programs around the world. UCLA, on the other hand, offers over 350 study-abroad programs in over 100 countries and has partnerships with universities around the world. Ultimately, both universities provide students with ample opportunities to explore different cultures, languages, and perspectives.

A female student in the background typing at a laptop while in the foreground, a vase with national flags are in focus

However, it is important to note that the study-abroad options offered by each university may differ in terms of academic focus and requirements. For example, NYU’s study abroad programs may be more geared towards certain majors or academic disciplines, while UCLA’s programs may have different language requirements or prerequisites. It is important for students to carefully research and consider their options before deciding on a study abroad program or university.


After conducting a thorough comparison of UCLA vs NYU, it’s clear that both universities have a lot to offer students who are seeking a quality education. Students looking for a large number of academic programs, a diverse community, and affordable options may find UCLA to be the better choice. Meanwhile, students seeking a culturally rich environment, access to world-class resources and networking opportunities, and the excitement of New York City may find NYU to be the ideal option. Ultimately, the choice between these two institutions will depend on one’s priorities and goals.



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