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Attending UCLA this fall - housing options?


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I'm an incoming socio-cultural anthropology graduate student at UCLA coming from India. A lot of people at UCLA have told me that it's more convenient to stay in graduate housing for the first year since it's close to campus and has all utilities. However, it seems really, really expensive so I'd like to look for other options before I settle for it. Or if you think that it'll probably be easier to stay in graduate housing, feel free to say so!


I'm not in the US so unfortunately, I won't be able to look for apartments myself. But if anyone has suggestions on how to find other students who have/are looking for shared apartments, that would be great! If anyone on the forum will be attending UCLA and is also looking for flatmate, do get in touch! I don't have a car and have never been to LA so I'd like to find a place that's not too far from campus and is along a bus route. 



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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, congratulations on your acceptance. I stayed in the grad housing for a year, and it was quite expensive, and should have looked for my own housing (it was a Masters program, but I stuck around in LA for a few years).


I haven't used it, but UCLA has a roommate search website. I'm not sure if it discriminates between grads and undergrads, but it should give you an idea of where students live, and what the rent is for a shared situation. UCLA is a tricky location, so I would check out all the useful hints on the city guide section of this forum. You can't reasonable stay to the north, west, or east because that's Bel Air, Brentwood, and Beverly Hills, certainly not affordable. Many graduate students end up living south of campus, in Palms, Culver City, or southern Westwood, out of the student housing bubble but still a bus ride or a short bike ride away. Craigslist is the best option. I've known international grads who have stayed at the co-op, and it may be a viable alternative to grad housing, and looks cheaper. Somewhere safe to stay before you can look for apartments in person.


I would stick to looking outside of Westwood around campus for a few reasons: 1) you'll pay more and get less, 2) apartments are either luxury or low quality (yet not with the low prices), 3) there can be a lot of predatory landlords or sublease situations. I had a friend who was an international student who was renting a room from a tenant without the landlord's consent or knowledge. Even if they are not predatory, Westwood landlords are used to undergrads, and may require extra down payments, and have stricter rules for moving in, moving out, or signing a lease.

Good luck!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Another big factor is whether you plan on having a car? That makes a big difference in where you can live in LA. I did not live on/near campus when I was a student there (overpriced and didn't love the area), but I had a car and didn't mind commuting. It's probably still doable to take a bus from someplace like Culver City or the Pico-Robertson area, which is more affordable and quieter than Westwood. That said, I'd also consider how social you plan to be and how much time you plan to spend on campus outside of class time. Since a lot of grad students do live near campus and don't have cars, a lot of the social life may be near the school, so if you are a 40 minute bus ride away you might find yourself isolated in your first year. That's where I could see it being a big advantage to live nearby while you get yourself established and get to know people. I was not very interested in the UCLA social scene, so living farther away didn't bother me, but that's just me. 


PS I think a West Side Rentals subscription is totally worth it -- much more reliable than Craigslist if you're looking for apartments online. 

Edited by brown_eyed_girl
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