Studying in Los Angeles

Los Angeles
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Updated 2021-08-04 09:01

Los Angeles is a city that probably needs no introduction. Home to all things Hollywood, vibrant and diverse culture and a number of famous universities, it is a great place to study, live and work. With that, as it is a highly desirable location, be ready for tougher competition and a higher cost of living. 

Why study in Los Angeles?

California is one of the most popular destinations for international students. And, according to QS Top Universities, Los Angeles is the third best city for students in the US (after Boston and New York). Naturally, you probably have your own set of reasons for why you have chosen LA as your study destination. But here are some more:

First, Los Angeles is one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Plus, it has some of the most immigrant-friendly laws in the whole country. There are over 85 different languages spoken in the city and you will find lots of ethnic communities like Koreatown and Boyle Heights.

Los Angeles is the centre of business, trade and technology. It is home to 25 Fortune 500 corporations, famous tech companies, new startups and more. This means that as a new graduate in the city, you will have lots of employment and internship options — though competition can get tough.

Networking is a benefit that comes with studying in a lot of places in the United States and is definitely not reserved exclusively for Los Angeles. With that, this city is driven by ideas, creativity and the search for something new — and networking is second nature to most LA residents. Putting yourself out there and getting acquainted with new people in your future line of work can prove to be very helpful. It is also a good idea to keep your eyes open for internship opportunities and potential job offers upon graduation.

Put yourself out there, introduce yourself by your name and what you do (or wish to do) and let the magic happen. This was a bit uncomfortable for me at first, but it's really all about how you do it,

This city is known for its great climate. The temperature here rarely goes below 6°C or above 28°C, which is a very comfortable setting to live, study and work in. Plus, Los Angeles is home to some great beaches where you can unwind after a busy day at college.

Los Angeles is one of the most entertaining cities in the world. Some of the best movies, TV shows and music are produced here. There are always lots of interesting activities to explore in LA: from visiting Universal Studios, the Hollywood Walk of Fame and television show tapings to discovering the city's nightlife and restaurant scene.

While there are lots of advantages that come with living in LA, the most important thing to consider is the quality of education that you will receive. This is why it is essential to do some research on universities and colleges in Los Angeles so as to make an informed decision.

Best universities in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is known for its international student population. There are lots of great universities in the city to choose from in the city itself. Plus, the state of California is home to eight Ivy League colleges: Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Pomona College, University of Southern California, Claremont McKenna College and Hurley Mudd College.

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

UCLA is the most popular university in LA and one of the best institutions in the world — ranking 36th in the QS Top Universities ranking in 2021.

UCLA prides itself on being “the birthplace of the Internet”: it was here where the first ARPANET transmission was made.

The university offers over 125 majors and 80 minors. Some of the most popular fields of study include business and economics, biology, psychology, political science and others. There are several undergraduate colleges: college of letters and science, school of theater, film and television, Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science and the school of the arts and architecture, and school of nursing. The university also has seven schools for postgraduate study and four postgraduate health schools.

The cost of tuition at UCLA is $42,994 and the admission rate stands at 12.3%.

University of California has 9 other campuses in California located in Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz.

University of Southern California

The University of Southern California consistently ranks as one of the best universities in the world — in the QS University Rankings of 2021, it occupies the 120th spot. The University of Southern California was the first private university in LA and dates all the way back to 1880.

The university has 21 schools — the oldest and most popular being the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences. This school alone has over 139 different majors.

An interesting fact about the University of Southern California is that it has more Oscar winning alumni than any other institution in the United States.

It will cost you around $58,000 per year to study here and the admission rate to the university is 11.4%.

California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Caltech is another famous institution. It ranked 4th in the QS Ranking of Top Universities in 2021 and is one of the most prestigious establishments not only in the United States but also in the world.

Caltech is a rather small private university with a total undergraduate enrollment of under 1,000. It is an elite establishment and studying here will cost you $54,600 per year. Getting into Caltech is also a demanding enterprise with the admission rate at the university standing at 6.4%.

The most popular majors at the university include engineering, computer and information sciences and support services, physical sciences, biology and biomedical sciences and mathematics and statistics.

Occidental College (Oxy)

Occidental College is a small liberal arts college in the Los Angeles area. The institution dates back to 1887 and is one of the oldest colleges in liberal arts on the West Coast of the US. The college offers 34 majors and nine minor-only programs.

Studying at Occidental College costs $56,576 per year and the acceptance rate is 36.7%. The college is sometimes referred to as “Princeton of the West” and is considered to be an elite institution.

Interesting fact: due to its proximity to Hollywood, Occidental College is often used as a filming location for movies and TV shows.

Pomona College

Pomona College is another liberal arts school in Los Angeles where students can benefit from a more personal approach and smaller classes.

Some of the most popular subjects to major in Pomona College are social sciences, interdisciplinary studies, mathematics and statistics, physical sciences and more.

The cost of tuition at Pomona college is $54,762 and the admission rate stands at 7.4%.

Applying for a student visa to study in Los Angeles

To study in the United States, you need to obtain a student visa. If you plan to study in an American university full time, you will need to apply for the F-1 student visa. Once you have received the visa, you will need to stay enrolled in the university and to keep up good grades in order for your visa to stay valid.

If you are in the United States on an F-1 visa, you can also get an on-campus job — up to 20 hours a week. There are also options for working off-campus — but doing this is a bit more complicated and you will first need to file an application with USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services).

There are two other types of student visas you can apply for are J-1 and M-1.

J-1 visas are intended for individuals doing an internship, working on research projects or involved in similar activity in the US. Note that a J-1 visa is only valid for the length of the program you are enrolled in.

M-1 visas are meant for those who at enrolled in technical or specialized study programs that are not held at academic institutions. Generally, as an M-1 visa holder, you are not allowed to work while in the US.

To apply for a student visa in the United States, you will first need to be accepted into your chosen university. You will also need to show proof of financial capacity: you should be able to pay for tuition and be able to support yourself throughout your stay in the US.

For more information on student visas to the US, refer to this article: Study in the USA.

General requirements for entry to a university or college in Los Angeles

Different colleges and universities in Los Angeles accept students under different conditions. This is why you should check the admission rate at your desired university/college to evaluate your chances objectively.

The general requirements for applying to a university in Los Angeles are as follows:

You will need good grades from your previous study place and your grades should be equivalent to the GPA (Grade Point Average) requirement at the university you are applying to.

If there is a big academic gap between your previous educational establishment and the university you are applying to in the U, you can take a pathway program. Pathway programs are preparatory courses designed specifically for international students to help them catch up on the curriculum of American colleges and universities. Taking a preparatory course can help you significantly increase your chance of a successful application to a university in the US.

Another important requirement for applying to a university in the US is a good knowledge of the English language. In most cases, you will need to present proof of your English language proficiency (in the form of a TOEFL or IELTS test) if you are not a native English speaker. If you want to improve your language skills prior to applying, you can take a preparatory language course. It may also be a good idea to take a language course to help you prepare for a specific exam like TOEFL or IELTS.

In conclusion, studying in Los Angeles can be a fantastic experience. The city offers a stimulating academic environment and a vibrant culture to immerse in and benefit from. To make sure you make the most out of your time in LA, take the time to do more research on student life in the city.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.