One of the youngest campuses (49 years old) in the state’s public university system, Irvine is already one of the world’s most respected research institutions, with three Nobel Prize winners on the faculty.
Undergraduates also thrive: Although about 40% of students come from low-income families, 86% of freshmen go on to graduate — 15 percentage points more than the average for schools with a similar student body. And the typical Anteater (the nickname comes from the school mascot) earns about $49,000 within five years of graduation, about $9,000 more than alums of comparable colleges.
Irvine is one of the most diverse schools in the country—47% of the 22,216 students are Asian and 20% are Hispanic. It is also well located: in the suburbs, just nine miles from the Pacific Ocean. UCI doesn’t field a football team, but its baseball, basketball, soccer, and volleyball programs are strong. In one of the quainter college cheers, the “Antourage,” as UCI sports fans are called, cheer “Zot, zot, zot” to mimic the sound of an anteater sucking up ants.