Is UCLA a Party School? Clubs, Student Life, and More

When deciding what college to go to, there are a number of important factors to take into consideration. 

These include course offerings, university resources and facilities, major and minor degree programs, and other serious academic considerations. 

On the other hand, we all know that there is more to college than just studying. 

When you think of the word “college,” a whole slew of pop culture images of red solo cups, frat house basements, and kegs may immediately arise in your mind.  

Although the purpose of pursuing an undergraduate degree is to gain valuable knowledge and to have proof of your vast knowledge of a field, the social aspect of college is also important for many reasons. 

Making friends, socializing, and establishing good relationships with the people you meet are crucial elements of becoming truly embedded in your campus community. 

There is no shame in wanting to go to a university with an active party scene. The social environment of a given college is an essential element of what your student experience will be like. 

You should make the most of the small handful of years it will take to earn your undergraduate degree, not just by graduating with honors and trying your hardest, but also by interacting with new people, making friends, and — after you have finished your coursework, of course — partying, if that is your cup of tea. 

It is good to do your research and find out what others have to say about partying at UCLA, so that you can make an informed decision for your undergraduate experience. 

If you have questions or concerns about whether or not UCLA  is a party school, then this article is for you. Read on to have all your questions answered, and to learn more about UCLA’s party culture, information about Greek life at the school, and more. 

Is UCLA a Party School?

Alboychenko08, UCLA lawn, CC BY-SA 4.0

UCLA certainly has a positive reputation as an excellent party school.

In fact, it is known as one of the top party schools in the state of California. 

Although UCLA has certainly earned its reputation as a party school, it is important to keep in mind that it has also earned a reputation as an elite institution of higher education. 

According to US News and World Report’s annual ranked list of the best universities in the United States, UCLA is ranked among the top 20 schools. 

This means that although UCLA students are known to party, they can also be counted on to buckle down and study even more. 

By being both a party school and a highly-ranked academic institution, UCLA encourages students to find a way to maintain the right balance between their fun social activities and their more serious academic responsibilities. 

In other words, it seems UCLA students have to know how to work hard, and party even harder.

What Kinds of Clubs are at UCLA?

The University of California Los Angeles offers over 1200 different clubs and student organizations, only a few dozen of which are fraternities or sororities. 

In fact, a 74% majority of undergraduate students at UCLA participate in at least one of the many different clubs or organizations on campus. 

Thus, it is safe to say that no matter what your interests happen to be, you will be able to find a great extracurricular activity to participate in at UCLA. 

The single largest student organization at UCLA is the Undergraduate Business Society, with an annual membership of over 5,000 students. 

The UBS is known for attracting sponsorships from significant Fortune 500 companies, providing members with many opportunities for recruitment and networking.  

UCLA Sororities

The UCLA Panhellenic Association is made up of 13 different sororities, including 11 member chapters and 2 associate member chapters. It is the largest student organization specifically for women on campus. 

All of UCLA’s sororities are involved in a number of philanthropy and community engagement efforts. 

For example, each year, UCLA’s Alpha Chi Beta Delta Chapter puts on the Red Dress Gala, which includes dinner, silent and live auctions, and casino tables.  

All net proceeds from the event go toward supporting women’s heart health. In past years, this event has been able to provide funding for research about coronary microvascular disease in women.

Each year, on October 19 — which is founder Bettie Locke Hamilton’s birthday — UCLA’s Beta Xi Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority takes part in the worldwide Day of Service

On this day, theta members engage in various community service activities, like picking up litter in public areas or volunteering at local charitable organizations.

Beyond philanthropic events, sorority members at UCLA can also enjoy a number of recreational activities. These include outdoor experiential learning events, outings, and a challenge course.

Additionally, all students involved in sorority life have access to leadership conferences, many networking opportunities, and even on-demand career workshops. Many former sorority member alumni offer leadership mentoring for current sorority students. 

UCLA Fraternities 

The University of California Los Angeles is home to 22 different fraternity chapters on campus, made up of over 1,600 undergraduate students. 

One of these fraternities is Phi Alpha Delta, a unique, co-ed pre-law fraternity with over 650 different chapters and 330,000 members, making it the biggest international professional pre-law fraternity in the world. 

Contrary to what one may expect of a fraternity, fraternities at UCLA do not host parties. In fact, as of January 2018, the UCLA Interfraternity Council announced that they had decided to ban fraternities from hosting in-house events.

In lieu of house parties, UCLA fraternities host a number of philanthropic events, leadership and career development workshops, and other activities. For example, for the past decade, the Eta Chapter of the Gamma Zeta Alpha fraternity — a fraternity intended primarily for Latino students — has run the Youth Peace Project.

Intended as part of the group’s dedication to community service, this project is an event where fraternity brothers host students from underrepresented communities and encourage them to pursue higher education. The program includes a speaker series, as well as meaningful workshop events. 

RECAP – What is the Party Scene at UCLA Like?

UCLA Student Activities Center
Josh Lee, UCLA Student Activities Center, CC BY-SA 3.0

If you are wondering whether or not the University of California Los Angeles is a party school, then the short answer is yes. The college has a long-standing reputation for precisely this. 

This may come as no surprise, given that the school is located in Los Angeles, one of the world’s most prominent hubs for the entertainment industry. On the other hand, however, partying is not the be-all and end-all of attending UCLA. 

Additionally, it is important to remember that no matter how important party culture is at UCLA, the school is first and foremost an elite institution of higher academics. 

For example, consider that the middle 25-75% of accepted first-year students at UCLA in 2019 has a high school GPA of 4.18 to 4.32 — meaning that they earned nearly straight As in challenging courses, including IB or AP classes.

In light of this data, as well as the school’s acceptance rate of only 14% as of the fall of 2020, it is safe to say that those whose primary focus is partying will also have to work considerably hard to be accepted to the school.

In short, UCLA is a party school, but at the end of the day, it is more of an educational institution than anything else. 

With rigorous courses, stringent admissions, and a competitive campus environment, it is unlikely that the majority of UCLA students would even have the time to party, assuming that the priority is to maintain a high level of academic achievement. 

Still, it should be noted that there is nothing wrong with wanting to go to a college that has a robust party scene. The expression “party school” may be laden with negative connotations, but partying can be a way to establish value, meaningful social connections. 

Ultimately, the important thing is that your undergraduate experience at whatever school you end up at is enjoyable — having fun is important, perhaps even nearly as important as studying. Fortunately, UCLA offers both lively parties and enriching academic opportunities.