Supporting Your Third-Year Student
Making the most of the UCLA experience.
During the third year, students begin to reap the rewards of their investment in academics and in the community at UCLA. Bruins have usually declared major(s) and minor(s) and typically take classes that interest and challenge them. They know the campus, have established a set of extracurricular activities, and they have learned the routines that work. They have also usually developed meaningful and rewarding relationships on campus.
Students often seem to be more mature and in control of their lives, and they have a renewed sense of self. During their junior year, students further develop their knowledge, skills and abilities in and outside of the classroom, as well as a more nuanced ability to acknowledge their own strengths, weaknesses and values.
The third year, as with the first and second years, can still present challenges with which your student may need help. Though your student is getting older, you can still be of great support to your Bruin during this time.
The Third-Year Roller Coaster | What to Expect
Third-year Bruins often face a new set of challenges when starting the second half of the UCLA career.
Academic and career challenges
- Pressure to declare a major; possibly declaring a minor or additional major
- Beginning upper division classes with more required in-class participation, more focused subject matter, and a more intense work load
- Preparing for the graduate school application process including the graduate admissions tests
- Gaining experience in area of interest through internships, volunteering, summer jobs and/or research with professors
- Exploring and seeking out leadership and community service activities
- For students who do not go abroad, they are often faced with developing new relationships at UCLA as many of their friends may be out of the country
- Stronger social groups form within extracurricular activities as students move out of the residence halls
- Romantic relationships may become more monogamous and committed
Personal and other concerns
- Possible move off campus or into an on-campus apartment may mean maintaining their own household for the first time
- Many students choose not to return home the summer after junior year, even if they have been returning home for summers in past years
The stress of being a senior and worrying about what’s going to happen in the “real world” hasn’t hit yet. Students still have time to have fun and take advantage of all the opportunities that come with being a college student.
At the same time, it’s time to start planning. No, college juniors don’t need to know yet how they will spend the rest of their lives. However, some thoughtful planning for the future can go a long way at this point, and take some of the pressure off from the senior year.
Support for Third-Year Students
How can I help? How can UCLA be there for my student?
While the junior year is typically one of the best (your Bruin has settled in, but graduation isn’t looming quite yet), many students will still look to you for support.
If you need guidance in any of these areas, you can reach out to Counseling and Psychological Services or our office, UCLA Parent & Family Programs. Sometimes it just takes someone to point you and your student in the right direction.
Additionally, feel free to gently remind your Bruin of the supportive community surrounding them on campus. They can meet with a counselor at Counseling and Psychological Services, speak with an academic adviser, a Resident Assistant (RA) in their residence hall, student organization advisers, professors and teaching assistants and – of course – friends.
Bruin Family Weekend (October)
Can third-year families still attend?
Yes! Our Parent & Family Weekend, in the middle of fall quarter, is an opportunity for all families to see students in their new community, learn more about the University’s curriculum and traditions, attend lectures and workshops, and ask questions about programs and services. You can meet the Chancellor, the deans, academic advisers, and other faculty and staff that work with our undergraduates in their educational endeavors. You will discover more about your student’s life at the University as you participate in various receptions, open houses and information sessions.
While attendance is not mandatory, we hope that you will visit us in October to take a look inside UCLA, its beautiful buildings and scenic campus, as well as the academic life, resources, research, and opportunities that shape your student’s college experience. Visit Bruin Family Weekend online to learn more.
Moving off Campus
Transitioning from on-campus resident to Westwood neighbor
While housing is guaranteed for three consecutive years on-campus (for students adhering to deadlines and regulations), UCLA students have historically moved off campus during the third year. With this transition, students will now learn to cook for themselves, negotiate living situations with potentially new roommates and live in a community without noise policies, formal support systems, or planned events.
For assistance finding an apartment close to campus, the Community Housing Office (CHO) provides non-University owned rental listings and rental resources to the entire UCLA community. Additionally, CHO’s site provides a run-down of local neighborhoods. Generally, the closer to campus your Bruin lives, the more they will pay; Westwood is most certainly a bit pricey. Often students simply walk around to appealing apartment buildings to survey availability and rental rates, usually signing a one-year lease up to three months ahead of the planned move-in date.
A time away can be quite a shock.
Studying abroad is an experience that many UCLA students embark upon during the junior year. If your son or daughter goes abroad, they will experience cultural and emotional upheavals analogous to when they first went away to college. They will need to learn how to navigate an entirely new culture, obtain new skills, and meet new people. Your student will have to go through all of this again, but with the additional challenge of different social norms and customs. Additionally, students often run into difficulties readjusting to their daily routines when they return to U.S. culture and to their families. This “reverse culture shock” has to do with the fact that, while away, they have matured and changed a great deal.
For more information on studying abroad, visit the International Education Office online.
Work, Research and Internships
Preparing for the next step means getting experience and making connections while still in college.
Working part-time is a quintessential part of the college experience for many Bruins, and the opportunities to work on campus are plentiful. The most popular on-campus employer for undergraduate students is Associated Students of UCLA (ASUCLA). ASUCLA job boards are located in at 219 Kerckhoff Hall and Ackerman Student Union (A-level).
Meanwhile, many students explore for-credit, often unpaid, internships throughout the academic year or in the summer. The Center for Community Learning and Career Center both have internship listings and supportive staff to help your Bruin find an internship, enroll in an internship course, and guide them through meeting any other requirements.
Additionally, UCLA has one of the most robust undergraduate research programs in the nation. The Undergraduate Research Centers provide guidance for students interested in all fields from literature to biology. If your Bruin is interested in graduate programs or research as a career, they should definitely plan on spending at least some of their UCLA career participating in the incredible research happening across campus.
It’s never too early to begin planning for life after college.
Third-year students are definitely beginning to think about life after college. What’s next? Graduate school? Fellowship? Work?
Most third-years know a professional or academic direction and are beginning to think seriously about next steps. Meetings with academic departmental counselors and advisers at the UCLA Career Center can provide your Bruin with the necessary foundation to continue a more directed process of searching. And if your student does not have a career goal in mind, the Career Center can help with that, as well!
Encourage your Bruin to take advantage of Career Week, which is usually held in the spring of each year. Students get the opportunity to develop special strategies through one-of-a-kind workshops, meet presenters from various industries, network, and listen to stimulating presentations.
Additionally, the Student Alumni Association offers professional preparation and career networking events throughout the year.