For exchange student - UCD or UIUC?

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Discus: College Search and Selection: August 2004 Archive: For exchange student - UCD or UIUC?
By Fishy (Fishy) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 09:38 am: Edit

I'm a student in Australia and I'm thinking of going on exchange to US next year.

Because I can only attend a university that has formed a partnership with my uni here and actually have the course I'm currently doing, I'm pretty much left with either UC Davis or University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign.

(UCLA does have the course, but since it's quite competitive and the living cost in LA is quite high, I'm putting that aside right now.)

In terms of its location and atmosphere, which uni would be a better choice?


By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 10:01 am: Edit

You cannot compare the two schools. They are complete opposites. What do you study and what do you want to get out of your visit?

Illinois: One of the top 5 Engineering universities in the US. Also tops in sciences. It is a prototypical American state university: HUGE, witch great school spirit and a lively party scene. Academically, Illinois is a legitimate top 30 university in America and has a very respectable name both nationally and internationally. Illinois has very cold winters. Although the towns of Urbana Champaign aren't small (combined 100,000) and they are certainly fun and lively, you must realize that the area around the university is rather rural and not that exciting. Even then, the University is located a mere 3 hour drive/train ride from Chicago, one of the nicest cities in the US, so if you ever feel like spending a weekend in a big city, you won't have to go very far.

UC Davis: Huge and beautiful campus in sunny California. It has good academics and a decent campus environment, but not as good as Illinois from the point of view of academics or school spirit.

Overall, I recommend UIUC, but you really need to study those two completely different schools before deciding which one to go to.

By Fishy (Fishy) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 10:37 pm: Edit

Thanks for the response.

I am currently studying design, triple majors in graphic, object, and spatial.

Do you mind explaining me further why they're complete opposites?

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 10:43 pm: Edit

I would check the web sites. I have no idea which school is better for your major. Davis is a nice college town where students bike everywhere. SF is less than an hour and a half away. Tahoe is less than 2 hours away and is a great place to ski or snowboard. I don't know Illinois' web site. Here is Davis.

By Bettina (Bettina) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 11:11 pm: Edit

UCDavis and UCIC are very closely ranked in US news. Fiske gives UCIC and extra academic star, but gives Davis an extra Q of Life star.

I'd pick Davis for the great Calif weather, and access to the Bay Area. The eating is good here (including in the dorms) too, you will have access to an amaxing array of year round farm fresh produce--right now the peaches are divine.

I don't know about design, but they do have a strong IDEA lab electronic interdisciplinary program and good studio arts. Other than that it's pre-med and agriculture.
there are 20,000 undergrads vs UCIC 28,000. I'm sure either will be a great experience for you.

By Anxious_Mom (Anxious_Mom) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 11:25 pm: Edit

UCD's design department is very highly regarded, and the faculty are world-renowned.

Check out the design major web-site:

I'm not familiar with UI-UC.

By Barrons (Barrons) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 11:52 pm: Edit

UI is a much better school overall than UC Davis. QOL is about even and Chicago is more fun on a college budget than SF.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 11:58 pm: Edit

Davis is not near enough SF to worry abour rhe prices!! You should know that Davis, near Saxramento, is not exactly a CA hotspot. Very hot in the summer and colder than people think of CA in winter. Not near any beach! It is pretty though, but far from The OC!

By Fishy (Fishy) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 12:13 am: Edit

How far is actually Davis from SF?
Because I have relatives in SF and I'm leaning towards Davis primarily for that reason, whereas I know no one in Chicago/Illinois.

And I was quite surprised to hear about the ski slopes, I thought snow doesn't exist in Cali.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 12:23 am: Edit

Driving it would be 75 to 90 minutes. Understand that Davis is rural, it was all farmland. The nearest city is Sacramento, CA's capital, not much else going on there. The typical Davis student does not hang out in SF, but you wouldn't be too far to go some weekends. Don't know what public transportation exists though. In California, weather can change dramatically every few miles. There are snow flurries in the Davis area occassionally, but you are hours from skiing.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 12:55 am: Edit

You are only 2 hours from skiing. I have a very good friend that went to Davis and he went skiing all the time. He liked the school very much. In fact, I know many people that have gone there and liked it. The students that go there are down to earth and they work hard. I am not sure why Barrons says Illinois is a much better school. Why? Chicago is a great city. I grew up in SF so I can't look at the city objectively.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 01:01 am: Edit

Fishy, UIUC is very highly regarded in Graphic Design (#7 according to the US News and World Report). I would recommend UIUC over UCD, but you really need to go online, look over the two schools and decide on your own. Like I said, UIUC is slightly better than UCD academically, but they are polar opposites in most respects. And Chicago rocks! LOL

By Anxious_Mom (Anxious_Mom) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 01:07 am: Edit

UCD is ranked nearly neck-and-neck with UI-UC by most ranking authorities.

From the UCD Campus to downtown San Francisco is almost exactly 65 miles - easily driven in an hour, as long as you don't drive during rush hour traffic.

Amtrak (America's train system) stops in Davis many times a day, and it is a popular means of transportation to Berkeley or by connection with Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to San Francisco. There is also bus service.

Brief snow flurries occur in Davis every seven to ten years, but to down-hill ski you could head towards Tahoe. The closet resort (Boreal Ridge) is one and a half hours away from Davis. There are many resorts within a 2 hour drive.

True, Davis is an oasis in the middle of farmland, but there is a lot to do on the Davis campus. Lots of students also like the fact that it is centrally located - close enough for day trips to the mountains, beaches, San Francisco, etc.

By Bettina (Bettina) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 01:45 am: Edit

Fishy - you need to do your homework. You can ski here in the sunshine.

"The Sierra Nevada constitute the longest mountain range in the United States and contain the highest peaks in the contiguous 48 states."

Clearly the posters are partisan to their own state here, but that is good to know they like where they are. I don't live in Davis, however, and have never been to IL.

By Barrons (Barrons) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 02:36 pm: Edit

Not neck and neck in my book

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Saturday, August 07, 2004 - 09:55 pm: Edit

Davis has a very strong design program. I'd go with Davis, myself personally. It has a very welcoming campus and Calif. is beautiful. Unless, of course, you have an urge to experience cold and snow---then choose UI.

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