Student Quotes

More than 2,320 seniors – approximately 50 percent of all survey participants – responded to the following question: What was your most meaningful learning experience at UCLA? The majority of responses to this question fell into one or more of 11 themes (based on 3,254 codes), presented below and accompanied by select responses.

Curriculum & Coursework
Personal Growth
Faculty/TAs
Intellectual Gains
Interactions Outside the Classroom
Extracurricular Involvement
Academic Programs
Research Experience
UCLA General
Non-Academic Programming
Work & Internships

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Curriculum & Coursework (30.2%, 703 Responses)

The rigorous and challenging courses at UCLA helped me grow and cultivate my mind. I had the opportunity to take courses in different fields to learn about different areas that applied to my area of study. I appreciate that UCLA has a diverse range of classes and many different organizations to choose from. I learned a great deal of information from all of my different experiences in the past two years.

Each quarter I attempted to choose a class that was completely outside of my experience and expectations. Whether it was Linguistic Anthropology or Japanese Art History or Asian American Literature, I was able to pepper my more traditional learning experiences with courses that broke outside of the canon and taught me about people I had never learned about in any previous schooling experience. UCLA has enough opportunity, though I wish I had more, to take these extra courses while still completing my requirements. Diversity is what we should be teaching people. Not just simple history, either – real engaging material about cultures different from the Anglo-American viewpoint. It has helped me develop empathy and bolster my resolve in being a lifelong learner of all things that cross my way.

Quite honestly through labor law, immigration law, and mental disability law. Two classes within labor and workplace studies, and one class in disability studies. I, without a single doubt in my mind, learned the most from those classes. I was even able to participate in hands-on work in organizing spaces through the labor law course. These are topics, especially mental disability law, that everyone should be better educated on. I hold these classes near to me for truly pushing the bounds of understanding the world around me.

I took Soc Gen 188: Science and Society during my senior year. As a life science major, I understood the hard science and difficult topics that I learned in my lower and upper division courses. But, I didn’t realize the implications and applicability of this science until I took this course. It was really eye-opening to see how science affected the real world, and how politicized science often is. It also gave me the opportunity to interact with people from all other majors. I think I was the only life science major in that class and that astounded me. I think this course or a course similar to this (applications of science in the real world) should be absolutely required for STEM majors. It really transformed the way I think about and conduct science and allowed me to think more broadly about the science I am involved in and its possible positive and negative implications on the real world.

Musicology – History of Rock and Roll was a class that changed my entire academic trajectory. This class made me realize and feel confident in my decision to pursue a career in the music industry. I learned so much about my race as an African American woman and felt welcomed and encouraged the entire class. Everything I learned stuck with me.

Honors seminar on the interaction of science and society. Excellent course content, excellent professor, and excellent classmates of an incredibly diverse and interesting background in all of the following: undergraduate majors, countries of birth, socioeconomic status, political perspectives, and plans for after graduation. The reason I know all of this is because [the instructor] made a point of emphasizing discussion between the 20 students in the class; we all got to know each other very well. It made for the highlight of my UCLA experience and I still keep in touch with many of the students from that class.

When I took MCDB60, we learned about several debatable things from different ideologies, such as abortion, ethics in medicine, etc. Being extremely liberal, I never understood what the right was even thinking on some aspects. But, I liked this class because it presented information from both sides making me open my eyes to a lot of things, which I was hoping other people in the class felt as well. I was able to pass this knowledge to my friends during discussions on the matter. It also helped me learn how to properly structure an argument which I carried with me through the rest of college.

One of my favorite classes that I took at UCLA was a class I took for the diversity requirement. It was an L&WS class about farmworkers and their struggles. I feel like I now understand the different kinds of struggles that people face because I was able to learn a lot in that class and was even able to meet someone who had first-hand experience with these issues.

Personal Growth (22.3%, 519 Responses)

My most meaningful learning outcome at UCLA was the development of life skills. Through situations that required perseverance, determination, and adaptation, I learned to become a more resilient individual. During my first year, the transition from moving away from home to UCLA was a difficult transition as I learned to create a support network away from my close-knit family network.

I think that learning the skills to keep an open mind, be more accepting, and work with/learn from my peers have all been extremely important. Both in my major and outside of it, I felt challenged in the best ways. I learned so much about myself and felt that I not only got an academic education but a social education as well. Every single one of my professors taught me something new and caused me to think outside the box in both class and rehearsal. Also, working alongside people who quickly became some of my best friends taught me so much about playing my instrument and about being the best friend I could be. Overall, I would not trade my experiences at UCLA for anything.

The most meaningful experience I will take away from UCLA is self-validation. Too often do we as young people require some sort of validation for anything in life (our looks, our career choices, et.) and being able to validate myself is something I think I only could have learned at UCLA.

You will fail at things. But that doesn’t make you stupid. It doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t make you any less of a person. Failing is something you do, not something you are. I wish I had learned earlier the importance of failing, just being absolutely terrible at something, especially the first time you do it. Many people who go to UCLA are perfectionists, terrified of failing (I got an 88% on my first test at UCLA, I had gotten straight A’s all through high school, I thought a B+ was failing). I learned that to get something 100% right the first time is unnatural, it’s not human. Fear of failing causes you to live in your comfort zone and to avoid risk. This stops you from reaching your full potential. Failing something and realizing that the whole world won’t come crashing around you is a liberating experience. It allows you to give yourself permission to be just good enough, not the best every time. UCLA has taught me that no matter how smart you are, someone is always smarter and that you should swallow your pride and learn from these incredibly diverse and intelligent people because it will make you a better more well-rounded person. You can acknowledge and appreciate someone else’s intelligence/talents without questioning your own.

My most meaningful learning experience at UCLA would have to be all the times I failed at something I really wanted to succeed or do well in. I believe that my failures and learning to deal with failure have led me to become the strong, hard-working, and resilient woman I am today. Being at a school as competitive as UCLA in all aspects of education and campus life, you learn that in order to reach success you have to put the work in and be able to adapt to new environments. I am proud of myself for overcoming obstacles during my time at UCLA more than anything and plan on taking what I learned here into my future.

My most meaningful experience was realizing that I was surrounded by so many smart people that challenged me. UCLA has given me this motor and the wings that I needed to know that if I could get this far as an undocumented non-traditional student with a child and a family, then I could do anything. Everyone at UCLA has plans, plans to be someone in the world and UCLA made me not be as afraid to admit to myself that I could have those plans too. UCLA has changed my life.

My first two years at UCLA helped me to fully understand my failings, capabilities, and learning ability. I was a “big shot” from a large school… Compared to the rigorous curriculum at UCLA, my high school did not adequately prepare me for the challenges I would face. I had to throw out all of my learning habits from my high school years to re-focus and revise my learning habits to be more effective and more personalized. All of the courses I’ve taken have taught me something invaluable, both about the topic addressed in class and about myself. Whether it was an evaluation of my own personal biases, the way I respond to criticism, or simply new information about different subjects, I was always left with something meaningful.

Faculty/TAs (16.9%, 393 Responses)

On the first day of my senior year, I attended classes I wasn’t thrilled about because spaces filled so quickly during enrollment over the summer. When the dullness of those courses confirmed my gut feelings, I was despondent to find other options. By some miracle I found a spot on the waitlist for a queer literature class, coincidentally the last English course I needed to finish my degree. The professor was so warm and inviting, and his enthusiasm so contagious, that I immediately felt a wave of relief and excitement flood through me. I was so grateful to be sitting in his classroom and getting the opportunity to learn from him, and it felt all the more poignant being my very last English course to complete. A similar sensation passed over me the next day in [professor’s] Shakespeare course. Both of those professors made an incredible impact on my UCLA education overall, and have forever changed the way I read literature. Their intelligence and passion for teaching were infectious and made my Fall 2019 quarter the best one yet, and has only made my coming graduation more bittersweet. The ability to learn from professors like them, so talented and distinguished in their field, is the best thing about my time at UCLA.

Learning German with [my TAs] was truly a pleasure. They were engaging and refreshing. They had enthusiasm every time they came to class, and they made the environment comfortable; they eliminated that awful power dynamic that is based on instilling fear in students (most of UCLA classes are like this). They were the best.   They had versatile assignments, which allowed students with different learning styles to have a chance at doing well. I had no interest in German before taking the class, and I came out absolutely loving it. I believe that teachers at UCLA should watch both of these TAs to learn from their methods of creating an active learning environment.

My most meaningful learning experience was actually in a class that was for my minor. My professor invested so much of her time and energy in her classes and really cared for us all. Her engagement in the class and her passion made a huge impact on me because it really showed what a difference it makes to actually care for and actively interact with your students, which many science professors do not do.

There were many, but due to the recency effect I think what tops the cake was taking a class with [Professor] in my senior year this year, last quarter. [She] was the most passionate professor I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing lecture. She ended our time together at the end of the school quarter TEARFULLY imploring us to go out there and do good in the world, to be good researchers, and just in general to influence policy-making for the better. I deeply appreciate this moment and am glad I was able to experience her enthusiasm and passion for her craft and for us, the future generation.

My first physics course. Best class ever—the sense of community and emotion created by an engaged professor that could bring together 200 students in an hour and get us to lose track of time. Unforgettable. Thank you.

Rather than one experience, I believe the ability to learn from some of the brightest minds in the field of History about a plethora of times and places in the past has been very meaningful. It helped me expand my horizons to different cultures across different periods and also interact with people that are extremely successful in the field.

Woman in Power in the Ancient World was the best class I have ever had in my life. [The professor] reminded me why I love archeology and why understanding past culture is extraordinarily important to understanding our own.

[Professor] taught a course on Nationalism in 19th Century Germany and he was without a doubt, the best professor I have encountered at UCLA. He made each student attend office hours regarding a term paper topic; however, when he asked how I was doing, I gave him an honest answer. I was struggling a bit at the time and he took the time to talk with me not as a [professor], but more so as a mentor. Oftentimes, office hours feel as though I am wasting the professor’s time even if it is their job to answer any question I have. But [he] went above and beyond to make students feel comfortable and encouraged. He provided positive feedback and criticism on all assignments during the course. I was thankful to have a professor make me feel that I am not just a student at UCLA, but that I mattered simply by taking a few minutes to ask me how I was doing.

The professors that I actually got to know were very helpful. These relationships have brought me learning outside of the classroom and are a great supplement to my education. My teacher for ECON 106M was the most influential instructor I had at UCLA. He’s provided me with academic and career support that I wish more people could also find at UCLA.

My most meaningful experience had to have been with [Professor]. Besides just being an amazing professor at what he teaches, he took time out of his life to talk to me one on one as I struggled with my mental health. He accommodated me, listened to me, and helped me through the darkest time of my life and I will forever be grateful for that. I learned a lot from his class (Soc102), and before his class I really, really struggled with caring about my grades and wanting to do well. I just had no interest in it. Taking his class jumpstarted me to caring about my future and caring about me because he so very obviously cared about me as well! He changed my life.

My most meaningful learning experience was taking a class with [Professor], Public Policy 105. For UCLA being one of the most well-known colleges in the US, I only had one class that made me feel like this is what UCLA is supposed to be like. I was not only academically pushed in his class. He also took the time for personal development amongst his students. He didn’t leave his work for a TA to look over; he was a part of your growth. Every student could tell he personally invested his time into his class, which is rare, sadly at UCLA. He didn’t recycle his course work; each class is crafted towards what is going on in the world. He also took the time to learn from his students and what their backgrounds were. Books from his class are of those I will never stop learning from, and lessons learned from him as an instructor have made my UCLA experience. His leadership and teaching style should be an example to both professors and TAs of UCLA who are struggling to connect with their students.

Intellectual Gains (13.3%, 308 responses)

My most meaningful learning experience at UCLA was the interaction with fellow students in classrooms. The student body is probably one of my favorite parts of UCLA. Most are just as engaged as I am in the subjects that I love, so it was great to be surrounded by them and working with them.

The most meaningful learning experience at UCLA actually comes from the highly intellectual and motivated students that I get to surround myself with every day. Though it is no question that there is extreme competition in classes, the people that I interact with in other clubs and activities are some of my closest friends now. I learned a lot from their backgrounds and experiences, and [“those” or “these”] have made me self-reflect very frequently. Since I lived most of my life outside the US, there was a lot to learn about the culture and customs living in the United States, and I have come to terms with a lot of things that I was troubled with. I also enjoy that students would come together to challenge the institution if we felt that we were wronged or neglected. The student body at UCLA can quickly forget their differences and come together to fight against the injustices we experience on campus.

My most meaningful learning experience at UCLA was experiencing diversity. My major permitted me to increase the breadth of my knowledge by studying a diverse range of subjects across all times and places. In my classes and social circles, I was also able to meet many people from diverse backgrounds and learn from them as well. Both of these had a tremendous impact on me, and these are the experiences that will follow me for the rest of my life.

Being around so many intelligent people made me realize that I don’t ever have to stop learning.

I came in as a high school student from a small boarding school in the British countryside and I come out a UCLA graduate with a unique outlook on the world. I have met incredible people, brilliant students, and unbelievably knowledgeable professors. UCLA has shaped my way of thinking, of approaching problems, of connecting with people so different from me. It has defined my scientific thinking, and I owe my ability to do research to this school. I have had many opportunities to study whatever interested me, regardless of my major, and has given me a very broad knowledge.

My psychology courses were super impactful in teaching me that just because someone thinks differently from me doesn’t make them any more or less right or wrong and that it is these differing values that make us unique.

I think the most meaningful learning experience I have had at UCLA really occurred in almost every single class I have taken on campus: the fact that I was always welcome and encouraged to give my own and form my own academic opinions regarding complex issues/topics. I feel that as I graduate UCLA, I can truly have an “intellectual” conversation with other scholars, and I enjoy being a part of that community.

I have learned so much as a UCLA undergrad. The most meaningful part was enrolling in classes that broadened my horizons and helped shape my perspective of the world. I feel as though I have a more realistic interpretation of inherent systems in which I have a drive to improve moving forward.

The most meaningful learning experience I have had here was interacting with a diverse population of students as a Learning Assistant; I was able to hear so many stories, meet so many new people, and improve upon skills such as communication and critical thinking more so than I ever thought was possible. I was able to find an interest in teaching, and, with that, I was able to do things such as teaching a lesson about physics to over 160 students, which I would have never thought I would be able to do coming into UCLA. It is incredible how large of a role UCLA has played on my personal growth over the last 4 years.

Coming to UCLA, I had never really left my bubble of a small conservative town that really had no diversity. Everyone was white, and there was no diversity in race, sexuality, gender, or culture that I was experienced to. Coming to UCLA really opened my eyes, and I learned so much about how diverse the world and other people really are. I learned about fluidity among all people. I feel like I have such a better understanding of people and way more acceptance in my heart than when I came to UCLA.

Interactions Outside the Classroom (12.2%, 285 responses)

Outside of academics, my most meaningful learning experience might just be when I was placed in the same room as my African American roommate in the first year. She was the first black person I’ve ever met. I used to be more apprehensive of people from different races and only stuck with my own race. She immediately opened my world that humans are actually not that different from one another.

I feel that my most meaningful learning experiences at UCLA did not come from a classroom, but rather my interactions with the community/student body of this campus. I found myself doing the most growth by conversing with people of different backgrounds, views, and opinions. I feel like these interactions shaped the way I see the world now and continue to impact how I treat people moving forward. I feel that the diversity of our student body has enabled me to expand my horizons and be more open-minded to the diversity of the world around us. I feel that my interactions with our community at UCLA have impacted me the most and prepared me the most for future endeavors.

The most meaningful learning experience I had was the diversity of people that I have met during my time here at UCLA. There have been so many different people I have met with extremely diverse backgrounds, cultures, countries, etc. and that has really broadened my perspective on life and myself. I really appreciate UCLA for allowing me the opportunity to meet and befriend such a wide range of different people, as I would not have had the opportunity anywhere else.

Everyone that goes here has an amazing backstory of how they ended up at UCLA, and it’s been so inspiring to see how successful people can be even if their situation isn’t ideal. I have found that every student I have come in contact with has been so kind and willing to help, and it’s an amazing environment to be in because of how friendly everyone is. I also like how supportive everyone is to each other; it’s never a competition but instead a place where people help/push each other to do their best. I love it.

I believe that my most meaningful learning experience was not only the academic environment but the amazing community that UCLA has been able to foster during my time as a student here. As a freshman, I was able to immediately jump into opportunities for friendship and support, and this college has never felt too large for me. Through each person I have met– whether my friends, professors, or even the department counselors– I have learned a new perspective and a new lesson for my own self-development and growth.

My most meaningful learning experiences came through the interactions I have had with many different groups of people. I feel that the diversity of the student body and faculty here at UCLA has truly enlightened me and allowed me to learn about different cultures and improve myself in many aspects.

Looking back to when I first started UCLA, I would have to say my most meaningful experience at UCLA is coming across all kinds of different people with different backgrounds and cultures than my own. Being a Jewish individual, we often are learning about our own experiences and lack education regarding the different ethnic groups. Therefore, I am so very grateful for UCLA in giving me the ability to gain an education on different backgrounds and cultures outside of my own.

Just being exposed to so many different types of people from various backgrounds really opened my eyes to so many new things. I believe I am a much better and more accepting person because of my experiences at UCLA. I learned so much about other cultures, identities, and overall how the world functions. This helped me tremendously, as I came from a quite sheltered high school.

My most meaningful learning experience was getting to talk to people from diverse backgrounds. Talking to other people about their race, religion, etc., was far more meaningful than any lectures I ever attended because those interactions allowed me to have a deeper and more personal connection with the material we learned in class.

Seeing a lot of diversity on campus made me feel safe and welcomed; it made me feel more okay to be who I am.

Extracurricular Involvement (10.6%, 248 responses)

Holding a leadership position in my pre-law organization at UCLA. While I have always actively sought out learning experiences in the classroom, I have found that hands-on leadership experience outside of the classroom has been extremely effective in allowing me to grow socially and professionally.

Being able to be a part of so many diverse organizations. From UCLA Radio to Sustainability Action Research, I was able to pursue activities both in environmental work and music/art, which I love. Curating an environmental art show at UCLA would have to be my fondest memory and learning experience.

I think getting involved in different clubs and organizations at UCLA proved to not only be fun but also a great learning experience overall. I was able to expose myself to different things, learn about different fields (like tech, film, fashion, etc.) and meet wonderful people! I love the diverse set of clubs that UCLA has to offer, and getting involved in a lot of clubs was definitely an enriching experience.

I think joining a professional fraternity such as AXS helped me a lot as a transfer student. This opportunity is where I gained most of my friends, and these people are whom I plan on keeping in touch with after I graduate as well.

All of my most meaningful experiences came from working with the Afrikan Student Union; this is where I learned about the ways in which Blackness is diverse and how I can better support all Black people. I support everyone; I really do, as I had not come from a primarily Black environment prior to UCLA, but I know that my community is my focus more than anything else as anti-Blackness is globally pervasive and needs to be addressed.

I believe being a part of the Community Programs Office’s SPACE program, where I was the only non-Filipino member of the group, was a super meaningful learning experience. I learned much about a different culture, on top of learning how to empower marginalized students.

My most meaningful experiences came from the community I found in Asian American Christian Fellowship. Through these relationships, I learned what it meant to be loved and to love. I learned how to love people who were different than me (with or without faith background, different upbringings, etc.) and even like-minded people who were difficult to love. These relationships grew a perseverance that I never knew was possible (and honestly still think I could work on), and the lessons learned along the way will stick with me beyond my undergraduate career.

The most meaningful learning experience I had at UCLA was being involved in MEChA de UCLA. This organization provided me with a home away from home. In addition, it allowed me to put praxis what I was learning in my Gender and Chicano/a Studies courses.

Being a part of the Vietnamese Student Association and all the roles and positions I have held in programs meant to not only serve my community but allow me to grow and learn more about myself. I think it has provided me with the most opportunity and experience that I will be able to utilize in my professional career.

My most meaningful learning experience at UCLA was being an editor at Daily Bruin. It pushed me to grow in ways I never have before as a leader, student, photographer, and journalist. It influenced what I plan to study in my future (social psych or communications).

My most meaningful learning experience at UCLA was in my activities beyond the classroom – immersed in the organizations I had the opportunity to be a part of throughout my undergraduate career. I met people from all walks of life. It opened my eyes to a whole world beyond what I had grown up in and been exposed to during my childhood and allowed me to strengthen my political views, life experiences, and moral compass.

My most meaningful learning experience was from volunteering with the Community Service Commission and Student Wellness Commission organizations that helped me understand the intersections of race and class in medicine, and have helped me learn about what I want to pursue in life.

The most meaningful experience I have had, apart from being a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, is the transfer student community I had the chance to be a part of and the wonderful people I have met from different backgrounds. I made a number of friends who are international students or studied abroad, and the transfer community made my insecurities melt away.

The most meaningful experience was joining Greek Life, specifically under the Asian Greek Council. I found community, friendship, and identity, and strengthened my leadership, verbal, organizational/time management skills through my Greek community. Without my Greek organization, I would not have a sense of home at UCLA.

It wasn’t in an academic setting, but I had gone camping with the Outdoor Adventures group from the UCLA Rec, and that was rather impactful because it was nice to know LA had so much to offer other than just city life.

Academic Programs (8.4%, 194 responses)

UCLA summer travel study with other students and UCLA professors was the most memorable and eye-opening experience I’ve had through UCLA. I think this learning experience is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that all students should try to take advantage of. Being able to gain a UCLA education across the globe, while being surrounded with fellow students, yet submerged in a drastically different culture challenged me and my way of thinking in ways I never thought would have been possible. I am so glad to have been part of that trip and will carry on this experience in the future.

In the fall of my junior year, I studied abroad in Florence, Italy. I was exposed to a new culture and had the opportunity to travel to many other countries and experience various different cultures first-hand. My time at UCLA would not have been the same had I not made the decision to study abroad. I was able to interact with the Italian community first-hand as an English Language Teaching Assistant in a kindergarten class in Florence (an opportunity I was presented with at the UCEAP ACCENT Center). I would highly recommend studying abroad to anyone who has the opportunity to.

The most meaningful learning experiences I had were my service-learning courses that were offered. Requiring me to work off campus as part of the curriculum really put me into the community rather than the insular bubble of Westwood. While it was a challenging quarter going 45 minutes each way to do this work, I really got the most for my education here.

Studying abroad at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art, while not technically at UCLA, the program was through UCLA. This program provided me with more than just a deeper understanding of the art world but made me better understand what I want to do as part of it.

I think the Freshman Summer Program taught me the most in terms of navigating higher education as a student of color. Where my high school failed to teach me about how my socio-economic and racial background influenced my ability to mobilize in the real world, FSP was able to. They really understood our disadvantages and did the best they could to give us the tools we needed to compete and try to succeed at UCLA.

Studying in Ghana was the most meaningful experience I’ve ever had. I will never look at the world the way that I did before living in Accra. I now know how best to culturally adapt to life-ways that are different from my own, and my experience in Ghana has given me the confidence to go into any field with confidence and poise.

Being a part of AAP helped me create a community before my “official” start at UCLA. I am grateful for being able to be a part of the Transfer Summer Program. This community helped me navigate the UCLA system and allowed me to learn about all the events/opportunities that can be found on campus.

My most meaningful learning experience was probably my honors contracts, which have allowed me to grow as a person and develop great writing and research abilities. It also allowed [me] to develop a meaningful relationship with my professors.

My most meaningful learning experience was doing the Quarter in Washington Program because it opened the doors to more career options and offered me a diverse viewpoint on society by placing me in a distinct, new city and allowing me to view the workplace through an internship lens.

The most meaningful learning experience I had at UCLA was when I participated in the UCDC program in the Spring of 2019. Through this, I was able to gain valuable experience in research and working in the field of policy through my internship with the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. The individual research I did showed me how not all questions you have may have a clear-cut answer and it showed me the difficulties of trying to perform predictive research. My internship helped show me a possible career path that I may take in the future as I continue to consider a career working in policy.

Research Experience (7.3%, 171 responses)

I ABSOLUTELY recommend undergraduate research at UCLA. Hands down, it was my favorite experience! Having the ability to work in a community of people who share the same interests as you has helped me to appreciate the efforts that everyone in the research field puts into gaining more knowledge. I have grown intellectually and socially, and it would have never been possible if I had not done so. I have built lifelong relationships with these people and will definitely have connections with them after graduation. For anyone reading this, put yourself out there and try undergraduate research!

The MBQ to Mo’orea was my most meaningful learning experience. Conducting field research is so immersive and important to learn as an undergrad. It also set me up to publish my research, which has been a challenging but rewarding learning experience within itself. Additionally, I loved the field trips I attended for my major, such as EEB 109L field trips and EEB 101 camping and algae collection. It creates a personal connection with your professor and TAs and immerses you in to your field of study rather than just being confined to the classroom.

The opportunity to work so closely with faculty, developing personal research interests, helping with faculty research, and collaborating. To be a collaborator with some of the most esteemed faculty in the country is an honor and significant for graduate school applications.

Spending four years in the same research laboratory has really allowed me to develop my critical thinking skills, my problem-solving skills, and improved my interpersonal communication. I was lucky enough to be a part of a wonderful laboratory where my supervisor was very supportive and helpful, while my principal investigator was very relaxed. They taught me how to design experiments and the molecular biology techniques needed in order to do them. I really appreciate having this experience, and it is the reason why I do not regret going to UCLA.

The whole 199/198/196 in conjunction with all the research seminars (180/193/194/etc.) is just an amazing program. Getting credit for research allowed me to have the time in my class schedule to really spend a lot of time in a lab and helped me to develop really important scientific communication skills and learn what it actually means to be a scientist.

Working in a research laboratory for 2 years was extremely impactful. This experience helped me apply what I had learned in my major and improved my critical thinking skills.

Working in a lab as an undergraduate research experience has been the most meaningful learning experience for me at UCLA. As a top research university, research opportunities for undergraduate students are practically around every corner, if they are willing to look and get involved. In the lab, I had the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them, analyze primary literature and data, and think creatively in adjusting and designing new experiments. I had an incredible mentor who opened the door to so many opportunities that formed me into the person I am today. I am so grateful for this privilege.

Research was the most meaningful learning experience. It was a great experience being able to work with professors, faculty, graduate students, and other undergraduate students. It was an incredible opportunity to apply knowledge learned in classes to a real-world environment.

My most meaningful learning experience at UCLA was my time spent in research. Starting with Psych 100B (which introduced me to my current grad mentor and PI), to working in the lab on various projects and presenting at PURC, to doing my own research project and writing an honors thesis on it, research at UCLA has taught me how to think critically and analytically, work with a variety of people on a variety of project topics, manage my time, better my leadership skills, and better my public speaking skills. It has shown me that I want to continue to pursue research and apply to grad school for my PhD in Psychology. It has also increased my confidence in my own abilities and my comfort in interacting and collaborating with people.

The one that helped me the most was my research experience. Nothing beats having to do things with your own hands and learn the basis for what you are doing other than the grueling hours in lab. Felt like I was contributing to new learning.

UCLA General (6.9%, 160 responses)

Learning the beautiful landscape of our campus and reflecting in certain areas about my dreams and goals. There is always somewhere to sit and take in nature while studying or even a quick meditation. The quarter system was very challenging and there were times I wanted to quit, but sitting at Royce Hall looking out, seeing my dreams and possibilities that those challenges would afford me, would always bring me back to center, back in focus, and I was always able to push through. I am eternally grateful for our beautiful campus!

Prior to attending UCLA, I saw UCLA as the dream place to be. Coming here and being able to immerse myself into the culture and the academic programs made it a worthwhile experience. Every individual I have met at UCLA means so much to me, and I would not be who I am without the struggles and accomplishments that UCLA has given me.

Overall, being in a safe space where I can create works about my religion and my identity and also receive meaningful feedback with full respect was the most special experience at UCLA.

My most meaningful experience at UCLA was honestly being able to wake up each morning and walk on Bruin Walk. It’s a steep hill and can be irritating for others since it is always busy. However, I really enjoyed being able to walk up and down while I pass[ed] by clubs expressing their values and commitments. I was walking amongst the future. It is very meaningful to able to say that.

It was forming a community despite being at a huge university. Despite that, you can find a community and feel a sense of belonging here. There are many communities within UCLA that can focus on a certain ethnic group, a career path, an interest, service, resources, etc. By being in these communities, you truly get to meet wonderful people with potential. I will definitely and sincerely miss this; it will be difficult to find communities outside of UCLA.

As an older student, I learned that it doesn’t matter when you complete your degree, as long as you do it. I was treated like all the other students with respect and inclusivity by professors and students, which I really appreciate. This allows me to graduate with a bachelor’s degree at age 60!

Though UCLA is the #1 public University in the Nation, I believe that it still gave students a very comfortable and welcoming learning environment and did not put too much pressure on each individual (in my personal opinion). I loved how many communities and resources the school provided, and I felt like there was a place for everyone. I loved how each class was very challenging, but the quality of each class was very high, and I felt like my money was actually going towards something that was useful.

I entered as a little fish in a big pond, and learned that I am not scared to seek out opportunities. This school is not for people who aren’t willing to fight for themselves a bit, since it’s easy to just get lost here. But I sought out friends and groups to join, and I never ceased exploring. The school’s size allowed me to continuously explore without feeling too limited by people’s expectations here. The size means that you can learn and grow without feeling constantly watched by your peers, so I’ve really taken advantage of that. I’ve met tons of different people and have changed a lot over the years. Meeting different people has also allowed me to expand my own interests and understandings.

Non-Academic Programming (3.0%, 72 responses)

My most meaningful experience at UCLA was orientation and attending all of the events on the hill and part of the first-year experience. It was my first time away from home, but I felt welcomed here and I made new friends.

Working on my company in the Startup UCLA cohort class of 2018 was the most rewarding educational experience of my life.

One of the best experiences of my college career was my freshman year dorm. That was such an important experience because I met a number of different people who had a variety of different backgrounds and experiences.

The most meaningful experience I endured was not academic, but rather my time in Holly, the transfer student dorm. While living there, with hundreds of other students of various backgrounds, my understanding of people and the world grew vastly. Of course, there were bad times, but both the positive and negative experiences I’ve endured have helped me to strengthen my character and my understanding of myself as a member of society.

As an RA living on the hill and being exposed [to] and surrounded by so much diversity, I learned more about social issues from people than from classes. I also learned so much about different lifestyles on the hill and I’ve made lifelong friendships.

Aside from academics, living in the dorms is also one of the most meaningful learning experiences I have had at UCLA. Through the experience, I have learned to have a deeper respect for other people’s cultures, beliefs, and ideas. It has taught me to be able to communicate better and to be able to problem solve with other people.

Living with 7 roommates as a transfer student in the university apartments because it allowed me to live among other women like myself. It enabled me to be more independent but also allowed me to have a space close to school that was affordable. I worked back home on weekends for both years that I was at UCLA, and it really pushed me to organize my time as well as gain a greater work ethic than my peers who only attended classes.

Living in the transfer dorms was amazing. I was able to meet so many people from so many different walks of life. I was able to learn that everyone takes their journeys at different paces and there is beauty in taking those journeys when you feel ready. I learned that there is no timeline in fulfilling your dreams or goals.

Honestly, I had a hard time finding my social niche throughout my time here. I felt like I went from group to group, one student org to another. My learning experience came from finding resources on campus, classes, online programs, etc. I found GRIT (program at the BRC), Community Health 179 (Life Skills for College Students), visited the LGBT Campus Resource Center, and other ways to cope with my struggles.

My most meaningful learning experience at UCLA was realizing that it is okay to reach out for help. There will always be people around you that will support and help you back up on your feet. It’s okay to struggle. Struggling is what helps you grow. Also, CAPS is such a wonderful place to go to. I’d recommend people to go to CAPS, even if they think they don’t need it. There are so many things from my past that have influenced who I am now. There are also things from my past that have caused a lot of damage, and it would’ve been helpful to understand myself more to prevent these things.

I am a second-year RA at UCLA, and I believe that learning about incoming and returning students, their lives, and their hopes for the future has prepared me to look at every person in a special way and given me the ability to understand people’s perspectives and world views much better.

Living in the transfer dorms influenced me in ways I can never fully articulate. The Hill is a cultural experience. As far as courses, all the material has been interesting, but I have learned to manage my time better and take more initiative in order to adapt to a completely different and competitive system.

Being a part of UCLA’s Army ROTC program. It is easily the best program that prepares you for leadership and how to effectively do project management.

In the transfer center, where all the transfers would go to study and unwind. I realized that I wasn’t the only one that was having difficulty measuring up to the increased difficulty that UCLA offered compared to a CC. Still, that there was the communal sense of striving to succeed at UCLA and that no one was alone. That regardless of age, sex, race, religion, and sexual orientation that everyone at UCLA made it the wonderful institution it is.

Work & Internships (1.9%, 44 responses)

My most meaningful learning experience here was not academic. I work with UCLA Emergency Medical Services as an EMT, and it has been the most impactful experience I’ve had in my time here. It has allowed so much personal growth, professionally and personally, due to very high standards of practice. It’s a wonderful opportunity for undergrads, and I am so thankful the university maintains its service.

I was able to take on multiple amazing internships that have allowed me to create a professional network in the entertainment industry (due to going to UCLA and for having classes that left ample time to work throughout the week). This also includes the clubs and organizations I joined, such as a marketing team that allowed me to work on a project I am passionate about with a great group of peers who I hope will be my colleagues one day.

My most meaningful learning experience came from my work with Jumpstart UCLA, where I got to implement and see the impact that Jumpstart has on early children’s literacy.

My most meaningful learning experience as a whole was my UCLA Sports Medicine Internship, in which I was able to learn and gain clinical information and experience while having the opportunity to interact with incredible athletes.

It was the internships that I participated in, which I’m sure I got in part because of the fact that I had UCLA on my résumé, and the opportunities at UCLA that I developed.