There tends to be a fair amount of skepticism about UC Merced, due to its young age. Because the school is located in a fairly small town and only opened its doors a little more than six years ago, there are plenty of students who come to UCM concerned about how established the University actually is and how boring life might be on or off campus. However, students tend to be surprised at what UCM has to offer. It definitely lives up to the UC standard, providing students with research opportunities and leadership positions. Students tend to not only adjust, but eventually come to love the cozy, neighborly atmosphere of the school. Those very accustomed to the busy city lifestyle might be shocked at the smallness of the place, but the general consensus is that there is plenty to do, both on and off campus, and that it is just a matter of exploring.
Ultimately, the University is like any other college in the sense that there will be parties. However, the party scene is not so big on campus, due to its size and the fact that there are not any fraternity or sorority houses. But there is a fair share of off-campus parties. For students more interested in extracurricular activities, UCM provides awesome opportunities, especially since students will have a chance to be at the forefront of many organizations, or even start a new organization or sports team, and create more school traditions. Students agree that by attending UCM, they have the opportunity to lay the foundation for a University with great potential. Plus, the brand-new facilities—including the labs, classrooms, and even the new, clean dorms and restrooms—are an asset to being a young school. Thus, while UCM might not provide one with a typical college experience, due to its smallness and newness, it's definitely possible for a student to have a worthwhile experience here if he or she is willing to get involved with campus life.