Maggie - UCLA - Class of 2015
student photo

I looked far and wide for a college, but the one in my own backyard turned out to be perfect for me.

When I was ten years old I went to UCLA on a field trip and someone handed me a T-shirt saying "I'm going to college at UCLA." I am not sure where that shirt is now, but that day set my fate. I loved that gorgeous campus even then. So believe it or not, I decided to apply to UCLA in the fourth grade!

Hometown: Monterey Park CA

High School: Public

GPA: 3.79 / 4.02 (weighted)

SAT: 2010

Major: Linguistics and psychology (formerly business economics)

Goal: Graduate degrees in speech pathology and psychology



University of California, Los Angeles Attending
Duke University Denied
Lafayette CollegeWaitlisted
Tufts UniversityDenied
University of California, Berkeley Denied
University of California, IrvineAccepted
University of California, San DiegoAccepted
University of Southern CaliforniaDenied
Vanderbilt UniversityDenied
Vassar CollegeWaitlisted
Washington University in St. LouisDenied
Wesleyan University Denied
Willamette UniversityAccepted
Freshman Year Update

Due to the competitive nature of the students here, I have to put a lot of time and work into my studies. Learning how to manage my time and prioritize was no easy task. I have already pulled a few all-nighters! But from meeting my roommates to being able to pick out my own schedule, I have been thoroughly enjoying it all. I feel like I fit right in at UCLA. From the diverse population to the nationally ranked dorm food, UCLA has much to offer. I have no regrets about choosing this college, and I would encourage anyone to apply here.

Sophomore Year Update

This year I worked with a graduate student on a project on autism, and my interest in disabilities and autism grew profusely. So I switched my major to linguistics and psychology, and I am thinking of getting a master's degree in speech pathology. Now my classes are fascinating and learning is less of a burden. Besides academics, I belong to a co-ed service fraternity and am training to be a counselor at Unicamp, UCLA's summer camp for children from low-income families. I also have a work-study job at a campus research facility, so I am earning my own spending money—and taking a financial burden off my parents.

Junior Year Update

The fact that I'm graduating in a year really hit me, so I began to explore the future. I'm not sure about getting a master's in speech pathology; I'd like to work for a couple of years first. Looking for an internship was stressful since I wasn't sure of my direction. I took a marketing internship but after two quarters I realized it wasn't what I wanted. Now I am a human resources intern with a large nonprofit. I know that I definitely want a job where I can interact with people. My studies are going well. I took upper division electives in my major that were more interesting, and I finally figured out how to study efficiently. I'm really happy I chose this academic path. I feel like I will be able to apply what I'm learning to whatever I end up doing.

Seeking fellow competitors

Because I am a competitive person, I like to be around driven and motivated students. I found those students at UCLA and other schools such as UC San Diego and UC Berkeley. I chose a number of highly selective private colleges for similar reasons and because many of them have extremely generous financial aid. Due to the low income of my family, I had a chance of qualifying for grants that would cover most of my tuition as well as living expenses.

Choosing which UCs to apply to was relatively easy, but I conducted hours and hours of meticulous research in choosing my private colleges. My research was mainly digging into college websites and reviewing the information that colleges sent me. I asked myself whether I found the location and nearby surroundings appealing. I looked for opportunities to study in smaller classes. I checked out opportunities to win scholarships from the college, and of course, strength in the business economics major.

Still wonderful after all these years

After I was accepted, I visited UCLA on Bruin Day, which is a campus-wide open house. I had not been there since that fourth grade visit! But I still absolutely loved it! UCLA seemed ideal not only because the campus was gorgeous, but also because the students seemed so hardworking and eager to learn. Since I was rejected by my other top choices, my decision was not hard to make. It's ironic that I looked far and wide for a college, but the one in my own backyard turned out to be perfect for me.

My ups and downs

I was disappointed at not getting into as many schools as I expected. I felt letdown when I was waitlisted or rejected by schools I was sure I would get into, such as Tufts and Wesleyan. However, I was quickly able to overcome my sorrow due to my joy at getting into UCLA. The icing on the cake was checking the UCLA admission page and finding out that many other people in my class had been accepted there as well.

What I learned

I was shocked at how much time the process took and how meticulous one had to be when filling out the application. If I had to do it over, I would have started the application process earlier. I completely underestimated how long it would take to write essays and personal statements.

The money factor

I received a federal grant and UCLA gave me a Scholarship Recognition Award. I have also won a few outside scholarships, and I am hoping to win a few more UCLA awards. I may also take out a subsidized Stafford loan if I cannot afford the rest of the tuition.