UCs vs. Cal States: What’s the Better Option?

April Cuarenta , Features Reporter

Seniors often think that getting into a UC (University of California) is probably the hardest and most expensive obstacle they will face. Students settle on community colleges and going to Cal States just because it’s cheaper. The estimate for 2017-2018 tuition at a UC is $13,900 and for a Cal State it is $5,742 a year. The reason being is that Cal States are able to keep their costs lower, due to large state funding. But you should not limit your options solely on the fact that a school is less expensive.

The requirements for a UC are students must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, four personal insight questions and SAT/ACT with writing scores, whereas Cal States require a minimum GPA of a 2.00, however the SAT score has to be 1350, and the ACT has to be 30 with that GPA.

UCs aren’t for everyone. As individuals, our brains are wired differently, so it all depends on what a person’s learning style is. For instance, UC classes are much larger and are usually conducted by TAs (teachers assistants) whereas Cal States focus more on maintaining small class sizes and professors are more hands-on.

There is a certain reputation that precedes UCs and it’s a good one because people are going to a school where they will be surrounded by people who have higher academic skills. Cal States may offer the same academic curriculum, but there’s a reason as to why people transfer into UCs after they are done with the basics in Cal States. Overall reputations are opinions and not facts, but students who attend UCs are more highly regarded. When employers see that one’s degree is from a UC, they are more likely to hire that student.

What a lot of people fail to recognize is that there are many ways that one can pay for a UC . For instance, many scholarships are offered such as the “Blue and Gold Opportunity plan.” This plan allows families whose income is below $80,000, to fully cover fees by gift aid (grants and scholarships) for all four years.

Students who are also first generation are eligible for a program called the “Educational Opportunity Program (EOP). All that is needed is for the student’s family to be low income and for the student to be a permanent resident in California. So high school students shouldn’t feel like UCs are out of reach. Students must live up to their potential. Sure, college may be expensive but it is definitely worth its cost. Money comes and goes, one’s education does not.

Perhaps, after reading this you will make a conscious decision and weigh all your options before choosing the easier route.