Life as an Out of State Student

My name is Sachi Cooper, and I am a second year Geography major with a minor in Public Affairs and Urban & Regional Studies. I’m from Arlington, Virginia, and I am so thankful that I have had the opportunity to attend UCLA as an out of state student.

When I first began drafting lists of which colleges I would apply to, I knew that I wanted to go out-of-state. This wasn’t because I disliked where I grew up, or because I didn’t have a good in state school option. It was because I knew that college was an opportunity to expand my knowledge about the country I live in and meet people with widely different backgrounds than myself.

UCLA was my dream school from the first time I visited, even if I hadn’t admitted to myself yet. When I first toured UCLA, the thing that stuck out to me most was how happy every student looked. I saw so many students smiling, wearing UCLA gear, and looking genuinely at home. However, just getting into UCLA did not mean I was immediately able to attend. As an out of state student, there were many things to consider, such as tuition, being far from home, and not knowing anyone else attending.

To discuss these fears, I reached out to other out-of-state students. I connected with my host at Bruin Overnight and really grilled her on her decision to attend UCLA from out of state. I contacted the one other person from my high school who attended UCLA via Instagram to ask about her decision to attend. These connections solidified my decision that going so far from home would be worth it.

Adjusting not only to life in college but life in Los Angeles was harder than I had expected. However, once I grounded myself in my identity as an out of state student, I felt at home.

I got involved in student advocacy surrounding nonresident tuition at UCLA, which made me feel heard and empowered. Along with other amazing out of state students, I became Co-President of UCLA’s first Out of State Student Association (OSSA). OSSA is a beautiful space where out-of-state students bond over struggles like homesickness but also fun memories like our favorite local grocery stores and local slang. I’ve even connected with many in-state students who are interested to learn about the differences in our upbringings.

UCLA has broadened my knowledge of my world, through living in a new place and through the amazing people I’ve met. Deciding to attend was one of the best decisions of my life, and I hope that you’ll also decide to attend and join our amazing community of students from all over the country and the world.