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College Signing Day with Michelle Obama wows UC

May 1 marked College Signing Day — the day by which most undergraduate college-bound students must decide which school they plan to attend — and nowhere was this occasion more widely heralded than at UC.

Former first lady Michelle Obama and her nonprofit college success organization, Reach Higher, brought together 10,000 students for a celebrity-studded celebration. Hosted at UCLA, it was broadcast systemwide with festivities taking place at all 10 UC undergraduate campuses. Here are some quotable moments from the memorable day:

  • “A college education will not only change your life — it will give you the power to change the world.” – UC President Janet Napolitano
  • “It’s not about not making mistakes. It’s not about not failing. Anybody who’s achieved anything has failed and failed again… It’s the ability to bounce back from that failure.” – Michelle Obama, former first lady of the United States
  • “I stand before you not only to praise you for your successes, but to encourage you to keep going, to reach higher. Expand your mind while you’re in college… Challenge yourself.” – John Legend, singer and entertainer

Read more from the UC newsroom, where you can also watch an archived video of the event.

UCOP College Survey: View the results

In the spirit of College Signing Day, we asked Link readers to complete a short survey to tell us about your college experience. Here’s what we learned from those who responded:

  • More than 53 percent attended college in California. The next most popular location was Massachusetts, with 15.4 percent.
  • Forty-two percent were transfer students from a community college or other four-year college.
  • The most popular major was psychology, making up more than 30 percent of responses. Second most popular were English language and literature and sociology — each with 15.4 percent.
  • More than half of respondents — 53.8 percent — indicated that their major is somewhat relevant to their current job; though not directly parallel, the skills they learned through their studies help them at work today.
  • More than 60 percent would choose the same major if they had to choose again. The majority of those who would choose another major indicated that they would like more technology fluency.
  • Nearly 85 percent of respondents participated in extracurricular activities. The most popular activity was volunteer organizations (41.7 percent), followed by cultural affinity groups, performance arts/theater, and writing.

We also asked Link readers to share a favorite anecdote or story from your college days. Here are two of our favorite responses:

  • “I met my husband at a local nightclub. He was in the most popular band in town!”
  • “I had an introduction to chemistry class at 8 a.m. My professor commiserated with us and pledged that he would blow something up at the beginning of every class to make it worthwhile for us to show up on time.”

Finally, we asked you to share your advice for future college students. To summarize: Be open-minded and courageous, follow your passion, don’t be afraid of change and ask for help if you need it.

Congratulations to all the students celebrating College Signing Day with UC this year!

Photo credit: Michelle Reardon


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