UCLA is obviously a world-renowned university. I would say the best thing about the school is its broad offerings in every area, from academics to sports to extracurricular activity. Academically, UCLA excels in every subject from political science to electrical engineering, and has provides ample opportunity for students to get involved in research. Ignoring the whole U$C football thing, UCLA does fairly well in sports and students are pretty active. UCLA also has nearly 1000 student organizations dedicated to leadership, personal interests, and volunteering. In sum UCLA offers each person in the large student body the ability to chart their own path. (And one more note: in a recent NY Times study UCLA was ranked #11 in terms of college recruiting http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2011/10/20/education/20iht-SReducEmploy20-graphic.html?ref=education...something to consider in this economy.)
As might be expected at a top-ranking school, UCLA is not a cake-walk academically. While you might get used to large class sizes, often times the professors are incomprehensible when they lecture because they are more focused on research than on student learning. Students are ultimately on their own, which I suppose teaches independence. There is also little time to explore and determine your major. In addition, there is a large disparity in terms of difficulty between what is called North Campus (humanities, social sciences, arts) and South Campus (life sciences, math, engineering), which I think might be bigger than it normally might be. Student life can therefore be very different depending on your major (needless to say the NC majors have a little more fun), but then again SC majors are highly valued by employers.
Yes, I have my reservations, but the most valuable aspect to me is summed up in one of UCLA's buzz phrases: "No one keeps track of who you are. They just want to see what you do." A double-edged sword, but this kind of experience teaches you a lot.
Biggest influence when choosing this school Reputation
Professors are generally Challenging
Currently a Sophomore
I wish I knew My Major