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JordanJames

Riverside, CA

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I'm considering an offer from UC - Riverside's Poli Sci department.

I know it's not the greatest place to live, and I've heard about the pollution, but how expensive is it to live there. I mean is it affordable (and I don't mean CA affordable). I have a 16k stipend that will need to support 2 people for at least a couple of months. What's the job market like there? Is there anything I should know about Riverside, the university or the department? Any help would be much appreciated.

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I was also accepted to the UCR program in Political Science and am considering the offer. I was born and raised in Southern California, so my thoughts about cost of living are probably biased, but Riverside is definitely cheaper than LA (which is where I live now). I am honestly not sure how I am going to survive on a grad student stipend, but I am told that it's totally possible. With $1500 per month, my tentative budget (based on campus housing and a cheap lifestyle) is:

Rent: $700 (for a small one-bedroom)

Utilities: $200 (includes phone, internet, etc.)

Auto: $200 (includes insurance and gas - my car is paid off)

Food: $200 (enough for groceries and 1-2 cheap meals per week out of the house)

Misc: $200 (basically anything beyond the basic necessities of life)

Not sure if I will really be able to pull it off, since I have been in the working world for several years, but I am going to give it a try, since this is something I have always wanted to do. A car in Southern California is important, but you can definitely get around Riverside without one and it is very possible for a couple to share a car if you are flexible. I live in LA and, though I have a car, I take public transportation all the time because I prefer reading a book on the bus to driving in traffic. You can get from Riverside to downtown LA on the metro and can get from downtown to just about anywhere else on the bus, train, or metro. It's not the best system in the world, but it does work. I don't know much about Riverside specifically, but there is so much to see and do in LA and Riverside is only an hour away. My plan (if I go there) is to try to be in Riverside 3-4 days a week and get away on weekends as much as possible.

As for the job market, it really depends on what the person does for a living and how tolerant you are about commuting. I know lots of people who work in or near downtown LA and live in Orange County, Long Beach, Riverside, etc. There are also places to live between LA and Riverside that aren't so bad.

Have you heard yet when the visitation day is going to be? I spoke with one of the professors a couple weeks back and he said the date had not been set.

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Thanks for the info. I haven't spoken to anyone at the department at all actually. I just received the email pdf file, and then the letter with the same info. I don't know why, but I guess I just figured since the info didn't say anything, the was no official visitation day. I guess I was wrong; do you know if they're reimbursing us for all or a portion of our expenses (which I guess isn't much of a trip for you)?

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I'm not sure if they will reimburse for expenses. I got a phone call from Dr. Johnson a little over a week ago and he said that they were going to have one, but hadn't set the date yet. I'll just be driving out for the day, so I didn't ask. But I was really impressed with him and all that he told me about the department. I almost didn't apply there at all and now am seriously considering it. My options were much narrower than most people, though, because I wanted to stay in Southern California. I only applied to one school out of the area (Washington). I'm still waiting to hear from one last school (UCI) and to receive my financial packages from two places and then I will be able to start thinking clearly about making a decision. Right now, I am checking my email constantly and trying to compare known and unknown quantities, which is really not all that effective. The waiting really is the worst part . . .

I'll follow up with the grad adviser and let you know if I find out anything.

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I'm 90% sure I'll be attending UCR for grad school in political science this fall and I'm wondering if anyone familiar with the area could suggest a surrounding city to look for housing in. I'm moving from an area with a cost of living similar to that of Riverside so pricing isn't really the issue, I guess I'm just looking for the most bang for my buck. I've looked into Moreno Valley and San Bernardino and I'm wondering what the commute times could be like for cities farther away (e.g. San Jacinto). Basically, I've never lived in southern California before and I don't know how far is too far away to live from campus.

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Does anyone have any comments on what it is like living in Riverside or what the student life is like at UCR? I was accepted to the Economics program there and I am wondering what life would be like as a grad student. Thanks!

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I've lived in southern california for a while now, and I a few comments for you. I didn't go to UCR, but have a few friends who are and am familiar with the area.

Riverside is in a valley, and thus gets a lot of LA pollution. This means on bad days, the air is brown.

In the summer, it gets REALLY hot with very little air movements--no wind. It is dry though, no humidity.

While the cost of living in Riverside is much cheaper than the rest of SoCal, it is still more expensive than similar areas in other states. To get an idea, go to craigslist for the area: inlandempire.craigslist.org.

Also, a lot of people who live there commute because of cheaper cost of living, thus traffic can be horrendous. If I were you, I would not live very far away from campus. If you don't know southern california traffic, it means a 15 mile drive can take an hour (average) during rush hour, and up to 2 if there is an accident.

As for the school, my friends who have gone there have had a great time, and the area around the campus is considerably lively.

Just as a last note, in terms of the area and how much you will spend for what you get, I wouldn't do it if you get a better offer. It is not a pretty area. Definitely not the california you see in the movies.

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I didn't go here, so I have no idea how much grad housing is. I would guess it is partially subsidized, but ask the department and check against craigslist.

When I say the air is brown, its not like right in front of you it looks brown. It is more like when you look up, or when you are on an elevated highway, there is a brown haze covering that valley.

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I

I'm considering an offer from UC - Riverside's Poli Sci department.

I know it's not the greatest place to live, and I've heard about the pollution, but how expensive is it to live there. I mean is it affordable (and I don't mean CA affordable). I have a 16k stipend that will need to support 2 people for at least a couple of months. What's the job market like there? Is there anything I should know about Riverside, the university or the department? Any help would be much appreciated.

I'm originally from Riverside and I have to say I love it. Maybe you have to grow up in the industrial sprawl and decay of southern california to truly appreciate it. ;)

The downtown area where the Mission Inn is located is a pretty nice area to go and have dinner or do some shopping. There's a really great Renn Faire shop on one of the side streets there (if you're into that) as well as alot of cool thrift shops. Also, there's some neighborhoods in that area that are historic neighborhoods with housing from the 1920s-1940s. It used to be very expensive in the last few years, but with the mortgage meltdown, things have gotten much cheaper. My mom lives there on a very small retirement so I'm sure a $16K stipend would be survivable for 2 people.

The brown air does come and go. The nice thing about being near the coast is that in the mornings and evenings it's cooler weather. It's a quick trip to Santa Monica or West Hollywood to hang out at. Also, if you're looking for really cheap places to live, check out San Bernardino which is right next to Riverside. Just have to watch your surroundings because there is a bit of crime.

As to the job market, I believe (I might be incorrect) that Riverside has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. So not too good for looking for a job, but probably depends on what someone wants to do for work.

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Bump.

Anyone else from Riverside?

What's the transportation situation there?

Is there a decent way to get to and from LA without a car for those with employed SO's?

Can you get around town by bike?

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All right, I'll jump in.

I lived in Riverside for 14 years as a kid. I left in 1988 but have been back a few times to visit. (My parents moved in 1989 because they got sick of Riverside...though my dad continued to work there for another 15+ years.)

My info is a bit dated, but I can answer some questions:

What's the transportation situation there?

There's the good ol' RTA. I don't know if it's changed at all but it was pretty pathetic 20 years ago.

Is there a decent way to get to and from LA without a car for those with employed SO's?

Yes--Metrolink (rail) My dad did a reverse commute into Riverside via Metrolink for many years. The Riverside line terminates at Union Station in L.A., where there are plenty of connections to various sorts of transit. http://www.metrolinktrains.com/stations/

Can you get around town by bike?

Yes and no. Depends where you live in relation to campus. Riverside was already a spraaaaaaaawling town when I was in high school and it's become even worse in the last 20 years. My dad used to bike from where we lived (Alessandro & Central) all the way to downtown, but he was a bit of a bike maniac--it was 5 miles or so, and mostly uphill (sometimes steeply so) all the way home. The bike lanes were decent, though, If I remember correctly. He also did some work through UCR and generally biked there. Not as much of a grade in that direction...

If I were you I'd live near the Canyon Crest Town Center. You'd have shopping nearby, be only a mile or so from campus, and be in a good neighborhood. It wouldn't be terrifically close to the Metrolink station, but then you don't want to live anywhere near there. Trust me. *shivers*

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I go to UCR right now. If you are not used to extreme heat, you will definitely want your own car. It is sometimes difficult just to get from my apartment, which is within walking distance, to classes. Between the heat and pollution, it's rough. Also, for about 4 or 5 months out of the year, my electric bill is over $300. I don't even run the air conditioner 24/7 either. But it's just really, really hot.

Taking the Metro Link to LA sounds good, but once you get to LA you have to get to your destination and that can take another two hours alone. I highly recommend a car for anyone coming here.

I grew up in West LA, and it was a bit of culture shock coming here. But in recent years they have vastly improved the campus so that is a plus!

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Hey guys, so I've read everything I can, and asked as many people as I can, what Riverside is like. For the most part, well, pretty much for the whole part, I get that it is not a good place to live. I'm desperatly looking for some good news, but it looks like there isn't much. So I'm wondering, for anyone going to UCR, or anyone living in SOCAL, would it be very feasable for me to live outside riverside? Are there any good communities surrounding the town, and if so, it is a reasonable commute to UCR? Does anyone have any idea about this? I am planning on visiting and would like to know if I should visit other cities outside riverside for housing. Thanks!

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Some grad students and MANY profs live in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas and commute. I'm not going to lie, it's Southern California traffic. You'd have to give yourself an hour and a half or more depending on the time. Unfortunately the Inland Empire is just not all that pleasant a place to live. I've been miserable the last three days running my air conditioner to combat the 85 degree blazing sun outside. Downtown Riverside is trying really hard to be a nice space to hang out, and there are some coffee places and bars and parks and art galleries to spend time in. But yeah...I'd say the farther WEST you go down the 60 freeway, the nicer you're going to find things.

ETA- If you're coming here for Religious Studies, I have taken some seminars and they are really pretty awesome, so I hope that will keep your mind off Rivertucky. June O'Connor is ten kinds of amazing.

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i live near san bernardino (10 min up the freeway w/out traffic) and took classes at UCR last summer and work with a bunch of people who did their grad work at ucr.

i live on a hill and most mornings i can see the whole inland empire valley, or i could if the brown haze wall wasn't there. i've lived in some majorly polluted cities in my life and riverside is better than manila (when you cough or sneeze, black stuff comes out), probably about the same as houston (some neighborhoods, every other kid has asthma, others are ok) and just below la (ocean breezes just don't reach 70 miles inland to clean things out).

i just spoke yesterday with a friend who did his master's at ucr with a 14k stipend, he said it was doable, but he has kind of a low-maintenance single guy life, eats rice and beans, tortillas and beans, etc when cooking for himself. when he got his car, it became very tight financially.

riverside itself does have some neat neighborhoods and if i could choose where to live in the IE, it would be there. my second choice would be....riverside. seriously, the money you save on a neighborhood that's 10 miles away from riverside will be eaten up by the endless hours on the freeway, in your car, listening to audiobooks.

hey, riverside is not a bustling metropolis. if you love target-anchored strip malls and the like, the IE is heaven. if you go during non-rush hour, newport beach is about an hour down the freeway. otherwise...well, you should be studying hard anyway, right? :D

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Looks like Ill be moving here before next fall. Not my first choice of places by far, but I suppose you take what you can get.

Anybody have any more opinions specifically where to live? It seems difficult to shop for apartments when you're on the other side of the country :(.

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Hunter the best advice I can give you is to try and find something close to the 60, 91, or 215 freeways, but not too close to campus or you'll be dealing with undergraduate BS all the livelong day (and night :roll: ). Downtown Riverside is actually pretty neat, you could walk to a bunch of coffee houses, pubs, and the like, plus there are art galleries and the Riverside Art Museum. And if you wanted to use public transportation it's a straight shot down University Ave. to the campus on the bus. So if you look for places that are within walking distance to University that could be a start.

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Anybody have any more opinions specifically where to live? It seems difficult to shop for apartments when you're on the other side of the country

A good rule of thumb is, never live anywhere in Southern California more than a few miles away from a major freeway, or your commute to anywhere will be miserable. The 215 is less helpful, really, because there just isn't as much north and south of Riverside. The 60 and the 91 are better options, and both will get you to LA/the ocean within about an hour or so in zero traffic, and about 2 in average/medium traffic. Also, depending on how much you want to be on campus, I would suggest living in Fullerton, Anaheim, Orange, Yorba Linda, etc. (basically, somewhere west of Riverside and along the 91) rather than in Riverside; you'll commute up to an hour each way, certainly, but if you spend more days in a week off campus than you do on, you'll be in a nicer place, both in weather, location, and potential things to do.

I would try Rent.com or similar; one of the nicer things about apartment hunting in SoCal is that almost all apartments are part of apartment complexes, not individual apartments, and apartment complexes often put listings online. I like Aimco (a company that owns complexes), though most of their locations in the area are closer to Orange than to Riverside. I think maybe Pine Lake Terrace is commutable, and reasonably nice?

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How's the crime situation here? I currently have 2 cars, and will be getting rid of one of them before moving. Id like to keep the better one, but if auto theft is a problem in riverside, or around UCR, Ill have to probably keep the beater.

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I don't think it's any more of a problem than any other moderately sized city. I feel perfectly safe parking my car, sleeping with my window open, walking at night. Certainly there are neighborhoods that are not as nice as others. But on the whole I don't think crime is something you should worry about overmuch, or at least any more than you would in any other city.

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bump!

I'm looking to live between Riverside and Camp Pendleton, close to the 215 freeway. My husband will be back east my first year, so closer to Riverside is fine at first. Anyone with thoughts or advice?

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