There's a lot of star power at UCLA. There are professors like computer science pioneer Leonard Kleinrock, who sent the first message over the internet; Pulitzer Prize-winning geographer Jared Diamond; and astrophysicist Andrea Ghez, who won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2020 for research on black holes.

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With such a stellar reputation, it's no surprise that UCLA is the most applied-to university in the country, receiving over 173,000 applications for undergraduate admission in 2024. It's highly selective, accepting just 9% of first-year applicants.

Compared to other selective schools, UCLA is relatively affordable, and most students are able to graduate without debt. (More than 70% of the Class of 2023 was debt-free, the university says.) California residents with a household income under $80,000 are guaranteed grants to cover all tuition and fees through the UCLA Blue + Gold Opportunity Plan.

The university offers more than 130 majors, with psychology, business, economics and political science being the most common. UCLA also boasts more than 1,000 clubs and organizations, including the Daily Bruin newspaper and Campus Events Commission, which programs free sneak previews of films on campus. Students looking to escape the bubble of Westwood Village are only a short drive away from both Beverly Hills and the beach in Santa Monica.