Why Study in Los Angeles as an International Student?

Last updated: 26 February 2024 Study in LA

Los Angeles is a vibrant city known for its sunny skies, palm-lined streets, and a dazzling mix of cultures, offering a multicultural environment for international students.

Los Angeles stands out as an enticing destination for students from all around the globe with its blend of glamour, arts, and academic excellence. Los Angeles presents a wide array of technology, science, arts, and language programs catering to students at all higher education levels with over 200 colleges and universities; studying in LA is an opportunity to immerse yourself in a city at the forefront of change, creativity, and diversity.

Learn more below about leading universities and colleges in LA, and if you want to apply to study in Los Angeles, arrange a free consultation with SI-USA today.

why study in LA

Three Reasons to Study in Los Angeles

1. World-renowned academic institutions

Los Angeles is home to several prestigious universities that consistently rank among the best in the world. For instance, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is ranked 1st public university in the U.S. according to U.S. News & World Report 2024 rankings. Colleges and universities in Los Angeles offer diverse programs with solid research opportunities, facilities with highly developed technologies, and faculty leaders in their fields. The university stands out for its leading-edge research in different domains, often ranking among the top globally.

In Los Angeles, students can study various subjects, including film, architecture, fashion design, medicine, science, and the arts. This variety and the chance to study in a city known for Hollywood and its vibrant culture make LA a fantastic educational place.

2. Incredible student experience and atmosphere

Los Angeles isn't just a place to study; it's a city where culture and creativity come alive, making student life here incredibly rich and diverse. It is known as a hub for arts and entertainment. LA offers students access to famous museums like The Getty and various galleries and theatres. This cultural wealth isn't just for leisure; it's woven into the academic experience, offering students a broad perspective essential in today's global society.

The city's diverse neighborhoods, such as Koreatown and Little Tokyo, offer authentic cultural experiences right on your doorstep. Plus, with LA's famous sunny weather, you can enjoy outdoor activities year-round, from relaxing beach days to exploring the hills around the city. LA's trendy cafés and scenic outdoor spots like Silver Lake Reservoir provide perfect settings for studying or enjoying a break. UCLA’s Powell Library is another gem, welcoming all visitors and offering a quiet space for study amidst the hustle and bustle of student life. The opportunities for learning, exploring, and growing in LA are as vast as the city.

3. International networking opportunities

Los Angeles's position as a global city attracts students, academics, and professionals worldwide. The multicultural environment fosters various networking opportunities, allowing students to build connections that span industries and continents. The proximity to Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and numerous Fortune 500 companies means students can engage in internships and collaborative projects that enhance their learning and career prospects. The Vice Provost for International Studies and Global Engagement is the university's international relations leader. It helps students to work globally by planning trips abroad for university leaders and partnering with schools and researchers in other countries. The goal is to ensure students understand the world better and become global citizens, ready to take on international challenges. It encourages students to study in other countries, learn new languages, and get to know people from different cultures. 

4. Innovative technology and startup scene

Los Angeles quickly becomes a hotspot for technology and innovation, rivaling even Silicon Valley. The city's tech sector, dubbed "Silicon Beach," is home to many startups and tech giants, offering computer science, digital media, and engineering students. The vibrant tech scene in LA provides a fertile ground for innovation, collaboration, and career development. Students in LA benefit from direct access to internships and job opportunities in this dynamic tech scene, offering them a unique advantage in building careers in technology. Networking events, hackathons, and tech meetups are regular occurrences, facilitating connections between students and industry professionals. The thriving tech community makes Los Angeles an ideal city for students looking to immerse themselves in innovation and entrepreneurship, setting the stage for a promising career in the tech industry.

Popular Universities and Colleges in LA

1. University of California - Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley is a public research university founded in 1868. It is known for its significant academic contributions, including around 100 Nobel laureates among its alumni and faculty. It ranks highly globally, offering a vibrant campus life in Berkeley, California, with extensive support for international students and a wide range of accommodation options.

2. California Institute of Technology

The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is a globally acclaimed research university in Pasadena, California. It is known for its significant contributions to sustainability science, quantum physics, and more, with a legacy marked by 79 Nobel laureates.

3. University of California, Los Angeles

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a prestigious institution in the vibrant Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, offering diverse programs across various disciplines. It ranks 15th in the U.S. News National Universities Ranking 2024, highlighting its commitment to academic excellence and research.

4. University of California - Irvine

The University of California, Irvine (UCI) is a prominent public research institution in Irvine, California. It is known for its significant research activities and diverse academic offerings across undergraduate and graduate programs. It ranks 33rd in the U.S. News National Universities Ranking for 2024, highlighting its status as a leading higher education and research center.

5. University of Southern California

The University of Southern California, ranked 28th among National Universities for 2024, is an esteemed private institution known for its comprehensive programs across various fields, including a top-ranked 8 position in Business Programs. In the heart of Los Angeles, USC offers a vibrant campus life within its urban setting, extensive extracurricular activities, and a solid academic and athletic tradition.

6. American Collegiate LA

American Collegiate LA, situated in Westwood Village, Los Angeles, is a private institution affiliated with the American University, offering transfer programs in various disciplines designed to prepare undergraduates for top universities. The college collaborates with UCLA Extension, providing students with certifications from UCLA, access to the UCLA Alumni Association, and job opportunities via the UCLA Career Center, alongside comprehensive support for international students.

7. Whittier College

Whittier College is a private liberal arts college founded in 1887 in a suburban setting, offering a personalized educational experience with a student-faculty ratio of 10:1 and 65.6% of classes having fewer than 20 students. Ranked 93rd in National Liberal Arts Colleges for 2024, it provides a diverse range of popular majors, including Social Sciences and Business, with a tuition of $49,864 and an average freshman retention rate of 76%, indicating high student satisfaction.

8. University of the Pacific

The University of the Pacific, established in 1851 as California's first independent co-educational campus, is a distinguished private institution in Stockton, with graduate campuses in San Francisco and Sacramento, offering over 80 undergraduate and 30 graduate programs across ten schools and colleges in fields like business, health sciences, and engineering. It provides comprehensive services for international students, boasts rankings like 151st in National Universities by US News, and offers on-campus housing to foster a supportive educational environment.

9. Stanford University

Stanford University, located in the heart of California's Silicon Valley, is a prestigious private research institution known for its strong emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields and its entrepreneurial spirit. It boasts a sprawling campus, distinguished faculty, and a rich history of academic excellence, innovation, and contributions to the advancement of numerous industries worldwide.

10. University of Utah

The University of Utah, established in 1850 and located in Salt Lake City, is a prestigious public research institution and the oldest higher education establishment in Utah. It offers a broad spectrum of over 150 academic programs through its 17 schools and colleges. It provides comprehensive services for international students, boasts rankings such as 105th in National Universities by US News, and offers diverse on-campus housing options in a city rich with cultural and outdoor recreational opportunities.

11. Western Oregon University

Western Oregon University (WOU), a public institution established in 1856 in Monmouth, Oregon, offers a range of undergraduate and graduate programs through its College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and College of Education, including degrees in Education, Criminal Justice, Music, Rehabilitation Counseling, and Management and Information Systems. WOU provides comprehensive services for international students, ranks notably in several US News National Universities Rankings categories, and offers furnished residence halls for a supportive living and learning environment.

12. University of Portland

The University of Portland offers a comprehensive academic and experiential learning environment on a scenic 150-acre campus with a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio for personalized education. The university emphasizes hands-on learning through internships, research, and community service, complemented by strong support for international students and a vibrant campus life within the culturally rich and environmentally conscious city of Portland, Oregon.

13. University of California - San Diego

The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) is a leading public research university in San Diego, California, offering over 200 undergraduate and graduate programs to a diverse student body. It is recognized for its high research activity and notable biological sciences and computer science departments. It provides comprehensive services for international students, boasts a range of student accommodation options, and has stunning Pacific coastline views, close to urban attractions and natural reserves.

14. Hult International Business School - San Francisco

Hult International Business School San Francisco is a premier destination for students aiming to excel in the dynamic tech and business sectors. The campus in Silicon Valley provides unparalleled access to the world's leading tech companies and startups and a vibrant entrepreneurial environment, ensuring students are well-positioned for success in the global marketplace.

15. University of California - Santa Barbara

The University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) is a prominent public research university on an ocean-front campus in Santa Barbara, California, offering over 200 degrees across three undergraduate colleges and two graduate schools. UCSB provides comprehensive support services for international students, including visa assistance, academic tutoring, mental health support, and cultural exchange programs, and is recognized for its educational excellence with rankings such as 35th in U.S. News National Universities Ranking 2024 and 69th in THE World University Rankings 2024.

16. Gonzaga University

Gonzaga University, a private Jesuit institution in Spokane, Washington, offers a comprehensive education through bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees across various fields, emphasizing a liberal arts education to develop the whole person. Ranked 83rd nationally by US News and recognized for its strong sense of community, exceptional undergraduate teaching, and diverse accommodation options, Gonzaga provides an enriching environment for students amidst Spokane's highly-rated urban setting.

17. Utah Tech University

Utah Tech University, established in 1911 in St. George, Utah, offers a comprehensive education through more than 240 programs across seven academic colleges, focusing on real-world opportunities to enhance student learning. The university provides extensive support for international students, including the Student Success Program and on-campus housing. It is recognized for its affordability and conducive living and learning environment in a city known for its warm climate and outdoor activities.

18. University Of Nevada, Reno

The University of Nevada, Reno, established in 1874, is a prominent institution known for its vital programs in engineering, business, science, and health sciences and a commitment to research, including the Desert Research Institute. It offers a vibrant campus life and comprehensive support for international students, including English language programs and cultural integration initiatives. It is ranked within the top 200 in the 2024 US News National Universities ranking, reflecting its academic excellence and value.

19. American Collegiate DC

American Collegiate DC, associated with American University in Washington, D.C., offers international students transfer programs to facilitate their entry into top universities nationally and globally through a curriculum delivered by internationally recognized faculty. The institution prepares students for university life in the U.S. with various academic disciplines and professional development opportunities. It supports them with personalized counseling, visa services, and university transfer guidance, all within the nation's capital's dynamic and culturally rich environment.

20. Georgetown University

Georgetown University, established in 1789 as the oldest Catholic and Jesuit institution in the U.S., hosts 17,500 students from over 135 countries in its eleven schools, including the distinguished McDonough School of Business and Law Center, on a historic campus by the Potomac River. The university is celebrated for its academic excellence, notable alumni, two U.S. Presidents and Supreme Court Justices, and a comprehensive support system for international students.

Living Cost for International Students in LA

Deciding where to study involves looking closely at the cost of living, including expenses beyond tuition fees, like housing and food, and enjoying the city's social scene. Los Angeles, known for its vibrant lifestyle and educational opportunities, has a cost of living index score of 78.41. International students' tuition fees at Los Angeles universities and colleges can range between $25,000 to $55,000 annually, varying by institution and program.

Additionally, living costs can differ significantly based on your lifestyle and where you decide to live in the city. While Los Angeles offers a rich mix of academic excellence and entertainment, students should consider its moderately high living expenses as part of their planning process.

Study in LA

If you want to study at one of the above LA institutions, contact SI-USA today for a free consultation.

Universities featured in this article:

  • American Collegiate DC
  • American Collegiate LA
  • Gonzaga University
  • University of the Pacific
  • University of Utah
  • Utah Tech University
  • Western Oregon University
  • University of California - Berkeley
  • Stanford University
  • California Institute of Technology
  • University of California - Los Angeles
  • Georgetown University
  • University of Southern California
  • University of California - Santa Barbara
  • University of California - San Diego
  • University of California - Irvine
  • Hult International Business School - San Francisco
  • Whittier College
  • University Of Nevada, Reno
  • University of Portland
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