As a top research university with impacted STEM majors, UCI is notorious for challenging Chemistry and Biology classes. LARC, the Learning and Academic Resource Center, is there to help struggling students in the most historically difficult classes like BIO SCI 93, MATH2A, and ICS 31. However, like many programs, there are pros and cons so keep reading to see if LARC is right for you.

Pro: Small classes with peer tutors

Alright if you’re in high school, not sure if anyone told you, but college classes are huge. Chem class have over 400 people in a huge lecture hall. So it’s close to impossible to ask a question and professors are intimidating. LARC classes are 15 people max, making it easier to ask questions instead. The peer tutors did well in that class and were trained to teach, so they’re really approachable and easily explain complex concepts. Plus since it’s a small class, you get to know the people in your session as you struggle through the classes together.

HIB Lecture Hall at UCI

Pro: Worksheets for extra practice

In each session, you get a worksheet breaking down concepts step by step with practice problems your tutor guides you through. This is super helpful, because you don’t have time to sit down and work out the problems in lecture. Worksheets reinforce the concepts so you don’t fall behind in the crazy fast paced 10 week quarter system. When midterms and finals come around, you also get a review packet and review session which is much smaller and personalized than general review sessions. The review packets and worksheets help focus studying and clarify earlier concepts you may have forgotten.

Pro: Each session aligns with your specific professor

LARC tutors are required to attend your lecture! They know exactly what happens in your class and are able to clarify concepts the professor glanced over. This is a lifesaver, especially for concepts professors cram in at the end of the class. Chemistry professors are notorious for this, trying to cram in a theory literally one minute before the class ends, so thank God for LARC.

Con: The cost of $110 a class

Each class costs $110 which seems like a lot. We’re poor college students, but if you think about it, it’s 20 sessions plus 2 review sessions making it $5 a session. Buy one less boba a week and spend that money boosting your GPA instead. And if you can’t afford it, SSI (Student Success Initiatives) sponsors low income students by offering scholarships!

Con: The class meets twice a week for 50 minutes

This is another class that you need to fit into your schedule and attend regularly which can be challenging. Attendance is taken at each class, but you don’t have to go to every session unless you are sponsored. If you are sponsored, you must attend at least 10 sessions. Regardless, you should make an effort to go to every session because you (or someone else) is paying for it! It essentially forces you to spend time productively studying for that class, helping you avoid dreaded procrastination.

LARC’s many pros obviously outweigh the minor cons. It’s an effective resource to help students in the most challenging courses by having small classes with approachable peer tutors that review concepts through easy to follow worksheets that align with your class. The time commitment and price tag can be considered an investment into your education and GPA, making every second and penny worth it. If you’re a struggling UCI student, please look into LARC because it may be your saving grace!


Nancy Duong