Location: La Jolla, San Diego, CA
Percent Women: 49%
Tuition (one year): $13,302
Most Popular Majors: Biology, Economics, Engineering, Psychology, Political Science and Government, Communication and Media Studies.
Greek Life: Yes
Acceptance Rate: 36.8%
For more information about financial aid, scholarships, majors, study abroad, and average test scores, visit UCSD's website at www.ucsd.edu/admissions.
Why Choose UCSD?
"I decided to come to UCSD because I knew it had an excellent academic program, but I didn't fall in love with it until a few weeks after I started attending. I love how the beach is walking distance from us, the weather is beautiful year round, and the students are approachable and friendly."
"The six college system makes UCSD feel more like a family instead of just a mob of students. We have a distinct place at the school and we can get close to those in our college."
"UCSD is such a big campus with a large diverse student population. Although we aren't exactly known for our athletics or student life, I have no doubt that every individual can find what they're looking for out of college here. You truly have to learn that life is not going to hand you things on a silver platter. Whatever you're trying to get out of college, you will find it at UCSD. You just need to go out there and pursue it."
"There are incredible intellectual opportunities available if you are interested. You can do research with world class professors and become involved with a huge variety of clubs/organizations."
"I decided to come to UCSD because I loved the campus and the atmosphere surrounding it...plus the beach is right nearby! As a prospective student, I visited a lot of schools, but knowing that I would spend four years at whatever place I chose, location was really important to me. UCSD was my first choice as far as that goes!"
"I chose UC San Diego because I knew I wanted to stay in California, but I also wanted a new experience! Coming from the SF Bay Area, UCSD was a great choice: experience a little bit of SoCal, minutes from the beach, strong academics, and a good reputation."
"I decided to come to UCSD because it could provide a great education and offered the opportunity to play soccer at the intercollegiate level. As a student, I thought it was an interesting campus in a great location with a great reputation."
“Having six different colleges gives a large research university a liberal arts feel by making a more community based atmosphere. You get to know your deans on a personal basis if you wish, and it allows you to get comfortable at your college first before branching out to the university as a whole. You don’t feel like a face in the crowd.”
“SunGod unifies the student body through music and for one moment out of the year, all of UCSD is in a celebratory mood throughout the campus.”
“Price Center offers such a range in resources and restaurants. It’s this giant hub where students can always meet up to study together, grab a coffee together, or even go to the theater and watch a movie together! There always seems to be something fun going on in PC!”
“I love the cliffs at Gliderport because after spending time in class all day, all you want to do is escape from the classroom, just look out at the ocean and the scenery during the sunset, or hike down to Black’s Beach.”
“I love Spirit Night because, for one night, the whole school comes together to support our school and its players. The energy was crazy and it was great to see everyone decked out in Triton gear and so excited to win!”
“I love how many options are available to students [at RIMAC gym]. There’s something for everyone, whether you want to do cardio, lift, weights, take a yoga class, or rock climb. You can always find a fun new way to stay fit and it doesn’t hurt that there are always cuties working out!”
"The quarter system goes by incredibly fast. It can feel like there is a midterm every week and finals sneak up on you very quickly. It's also difficult to form relationships with professors because you are only in their class for such a short amount of time."
"I definitely felt the discouragement in meeting people and finding a support system or close group of friends I could just go to. It's just because UCSD (and any college, I guess) is just so big, so you really have to make an effort to meet people. That's something I never really experienced in high school because my friends and I were so close."
"I don't like how it's difficult to explore the San Diego area outside of campus without a car, and I often feel stuck at home with nothing to do."
"The building architecture is a little austere and the college system isolates."
"I guess one thing I don't like is all the walking that I have to do on this campus. The size of UCSD literally feels like a city within a city, so having to get from one side of campus to another is like a 15-20 minute trek. On top of that, you're either going uphill the whole time or downhill. You'd think I'd get use to it, but it feels like a sweaty workout each time..."
New Collegiette on Campus
"Most first years like sticking together because you live with those people. It’s not hard to reach out to the upperclassmen, since sometimes you can be mistaken for one! It just depends on what kind of classes you are taking. If you are taking lower division classes, you probably won’t have that many upperclassmen in your class anyways. Joining a club is always the best way to get to know other people that aren’t your usual group of friends."
"There aren’t any specific traditions per say for first years, but we do have the annual undie run that most freshmen participate in during the Wednesday of every finals week (one per quarter). Yes, you run around the school from Price Center thru Geisel and around all the way to Revelle Fountain as your destination, in your underwear. It isn’t mandatory, but it is liberating and is 'supposed' to relieve stress.
"Orientation normally lasts around a few days and it consists of a lot of games, skits, singing, cheering, and laughing. At the end of your orientation you will have already bonded with students like you that attend the same college (ERC, in my case). They could become your roommates or your best friends. I still keep in close contact with people from my orientation group."
"During your first week, there will be something called the Unolympics between the six colleges that all freshmen participate in. It’s a lot of activities and mostly just a huge dance that you will perform with your peers. By the end of that same week, one of the colleges will be declared a winner based on the number of points they’ve earned."
"You will get lost, you will get embarrassed, and you will have a blast."
"There is seperate first year housing. Unless you are a commuter, you will probably be living in the freshman dorms on campus. Most people do!"
"You will love living on campus because of the amazing group of people that you live with. You will get to know almost everyone in your hall plus your classmates and friends of friends, so you might start to forget names because you are meeting so many amazing people."
All About Academics
"I would definitely say that UCSD is a science and math based school. Engineering and biology are very prominent departments, and a lot of people who want to be doctors end up coming here! There are smaller departments that are still awesome, too, though they aren't as big or popular. The Literature Department is contemporary and cool, and we have a successful theater program."
"The workload here is pretty intense, there's really no way around that! People are hardworkers and our library, Geisel, is pretty much crowded at all hours of the day and night. Don't even get me started on how crowded it gets come midterms and finals! But in a way, all that studying around you is motivation. People want to succeed, and that's cool."
"It's pretty easy to get in contact with your advisors, be they from your college or from your major/minor department. You can either go in during walk-in hours (you may have to wait a while but you generally get to see them) or use the Virtual Advising tool, which I love. You just send a message on the UCSD website and an advisor gets back to you with your infomation! It's so easy."
"Classes are really hard to get usually. It can depend on your major and college, though. I have a lot of friends in the math and economic fields and they have a lot of difficulty getting classes because they fill up so easily. General education classes can be difficult sometimes, too, because obviously everyone is trying to take those, often all at the same time."
"People study all over the place! Geisel is the obvious choice, but sometimes that can be intimidating. People study at Price Center, at Perks, at the Peet's Coffee location by RIMAC, in the International Relations/Pacific Studies Library, etc. The IRPS Library is actually one of my favorite place to go because it's quiet but it's smaller and less crowded."
Learn From the Best
"Professor Edmund Chang was definitely one of my favorite lecturers for MMW. The material gets pretty dry sometimes, but he always tries his best to keep students interested. For example, he shares little stories about his family, and they're always a bit funny. Maybe one day he will bring his dog Bismarck to class! I think that many other students will also agree that Professor Chang definitely makes the tedious MMW series more bearable."
"Professor Wong, who teach Poli 108, is great. His classes are interesting because they're relatable. He is super down to earth, and seems to have more of a conversation with his students rather than lecture them. Also, Professor Boyle teaches a super interesting Cognitive Science class called "Minds and Brains." It really gets you thinking about how powerful the mind is and why we do things a certain way. Professor Galderisi is super funny! He really cares about his students and is passionate about what he teaches. Basically, I wish he was my grandpa."
"One of my favorite professors so far at UCSD has been Professor Glenn Smith. His classes focused mainly on Constitutional Law - I've taken all of them at UCSD! (Poli 104i, 104A, 104B, 104D) I really enjoyed his lectures since they were informative, yet still very interesting and entertaining; he tries to make jokes to keep the three hour lectures funny. In office hours, Professor Smith was very involved and always wanted to help out his students by giving advice about graduate school and law school, or about how to improve in his classes. Another one of my favorite professors is Professor Zoltan Hajnal. I am taking his Advanced Topics on Racial Politics (Poli 100Q) right now and it is truly one of the most in-depth classes I have ever taken at UCSD. Though it is a lot of reading and analysis, I enjoy learning about the intensive racial political problems in the United States and doing research on the topic. Both professors have been very approachable in class and during office hours, and they both are really helpful!"
"TDAC 1, Theater Acting, is a great class. The beginner acting class is always the most popular class but is also one of the hardest to get into!""Luz Chang teaches Education Studies and is one of my favorites. She is really funny and engaging. She works you and makes you do LOTS AND LOTS of readings, but she also tries to review the readings a little so you get the information reinforced. She is super flexible with her office hours and wants you to meet up with her. She constantly checks up on her students and makes sure they are doing well with their classes. She likes group work and encourages students to work together. Honestly, Professor Luz's office hours are always packed. Once, I had to wait two hours just to talk to her for a little bit because there were four students ahead of me who wanted to see her.""Whether or not office hours are crowded really depends on the class! But overall, my experience with office hours is that they have been super helpful. Professors are so glad to be able to sit with you and meet you face to face, and that you have shown the initiative to go in and talk with them. I highly recommend them!"
Interests & Involvement
"A lot of people do participate in clubs. Usually people hear about them through word-of-mouth, flyers, Facebook or through the list of students organizations online. Cultural and professional clubs are popular. I personally love the organizations I am a part of even though they're not popular; one of them is more focused on making an impact on campus, while the others are more for fun."
"It's pretty simple to start a club. You just need 6 people who are interested in the same thing and for the club to somehow unify or educate students (whether they're in your club or not) on campus. I started a club three years ago and I love how much it had grown."
"People participate in many different clubs at UCSD. There are cultural, academic, and even clubs for people with specific hobbies. People find out about clubs at UCSD through the Student Involvement website or during Week 0 on library walk. The most popular clubs vary depending on a person's interest, but many people try to stay involved with different types of organizations. Personally I joined the UCSD Mock Trial Team/Club and really enjoy it! It is easy to start your own club as long as you have a couple founding members who want to be active officers."
"Clubs are really a big deal on campus! There's a ton of different kinds of student organizations, too. There's anything from business fraternities to major-related organizations to fan clubs to student-run magazines. No matter what your extracurricular interests are, I'd bet there is a club to go along with it!"
"Joining a separate club allows you to make friends no matter what year or college you are in. Generally, student organizations don't tend to be college exclusive, so it's a great way to sort of break out of the single college sphere."
"People participate in a lot of different extracurriculars at UCSD, mostly intramural sports. There are extracurriculars for all interests. To find out about clubs, most people look online to see what type of clubs are being offered each quarter, and which ones are active. I have enjoyed being in different clubs at UCSD since it lets me meet new people who have similar interests as me!"
“To some extent there is a separate athlete culture, where members of different teams socialize and support each other at games and competitions. Those involved in sports throughout campus are part of a network of students who can not only manage the craziness of school work, but also stay on top of their game.”
“Our school offers a great variety of intramural and club sports, which makes it so easy for athletes of all levels to get involved.”
“UCSD does have well known sports teams. While we may not have a football team, our basketball, soccer, and water polo are popular sports for students to visit and support.”
“It’s not incredibly popular to attend sporting events at UCSD, but many people do attend some of the games for Triton spirit days. UCSD offers all different intramural and club sports for athletes at every level.”
“UCSD offers a variety of sports, some that I honestly didn’t know were here! For those people who wanted to get involved, but not on the school level, there’s the opportunity to be on a club or intramural team, and you get to meet new people too!”
“I would definitely say there is a separate athlete culture! A lot of the time athletes hang out exclusively with other athletes.”
"I wouldn't say that girls, as a collective part of the student population, really dress in a particular way. It depends on the person and the day! Some people rock the jeans and school sweatshirt look all the time. Other girls like to dress up and wear makeup. On any given day, you'll see a variety of looks!"
"UCSD has a very prevalent Women's Center. It hosts events, shows, seminars, etc. that help to promote equality and help women deal with the issues at hand. It's really an awesome place!"
"Being a woman on campus is generally pretty cool. In my experience in academics, I've never been challenged further or had to work harder because I am a girl. That may be different in say, the engineering courses, because I believe there are significantly less women in those. But, as I've experienced, there hasn't been any biases."
"Being a girl on campus is awesome! There's so many resources like the Women's Center that really make you feel like the university is behind you. The sorority system is also a great option for women on campus, I think. That seems to be a great way to meet a lot of smart and friendly girls who share your interests."
"The gender ratio is for the most part equal, I think! It also really depends on the department you take courses in. Some of the math and science classes can be jam-packed with dudes and have very little women, while more humanities based classes tend to have greater number of girls."
Food & Drink
"UCSD has six dining halls, each located in each college.There are hits and misses with each dining hall. I like Pine's sandwiches and curry, but I dislike their salads. I like Cafe Ventana's stir fry and omelettes, but I dislike their sandwiches and burgers. I like Ocean View Terrace's quesadillas, but I dislike their tortas."
"UCSD generally has a bad reputation for food, but I personally do not think the food is bad. You just need to figure out what you like and what you don't like. I ate sixth college sandwiches or salads almost every day after I discovered it. It's delicious! If you think UCSD has bad food, I recommend Sixth College food!"
"My favorite place to eat on campus is Croutons. It is located on the second floor of the Student Business Center area. I feel like people don't eat at Croutons as much as other food places because it isn't located in a food court or a dining hall. I love the pesto chicken sandwich and chopped salad. After I eat my meal at Croutons, I go downstairs and grab some tart yogurt with cheesecake toppings at the frozen yogurt place. I think this is the best food you can get at UCSD."
"Most people stop going to dining halls after they move off campus. They eat more at the Price Center, where there are various fast food restaurants like Rubios, Santorini, and Tapioca Express. There are also places to eat on campus besides Price Center that most students do no take advantage of. I suggest at least trying out Home Plate or Porters Pub, which are both bar and grill types of restaurants."
"Depending on the place of residence, access to a kitchen varies. For example, when I was a freshman at Eleanor Roosevelt College, there was only one kitchen for 8 suites in one hall. However, when I moved to one of the ERC apartments, Mesa Verde, there was a kitchen for four girls. Of course we paid more, but it was so worth it."
"People generally get excited for the Farmer's Market. Each Tuesday from 10 am - 2 pm, food vendors come to the Matthews Quad area and sell diverse foods. Divine Pastabilities, Lemon Grass Chicken, and samosas are some of my favorite foods to get at the Farmer's Market."
"If you are tired of eating on campus, students can easily walk to Pho La Jolla for a quick pho and spring roll fix. There are definitely better pho restaurants deeper into San Diego, but if you want to walk, this is always an option. Also, students can order food from Delsushi, Dominoes, and little Korea. You can even order cookies from the secret cookie service at UCSD."
"There's tons of stuff to do on weekends. We tend to get a bad rep for not being very social, but if you are looking to be social, there are plenty of options! We host a lot of on-campus events like dances; the biggest ones are the All-Campus Dances that are held at the beginning of fall and spring quarters. People also love going to the beach, driving or taking the bus into downtown San Diego, etc. There are also a lot of house parties going on, be they held by athletics teams, sororities, fraternities, or just friend groups."
"There a lot of fraternity and sororities parties that go on, but they tend to be a little more exclusive, especially if you are a guy. As a guy, you won't really get into many fraternity parties. It's a lot easier for girls!"
"It's more likely for upperclassmen to go to parties off-campus. The thing about La Jolla is that it's super residential and not exactly a typical college town. So sometimes, a party can be a twenty minute drive away. That gets tough, especially for freshman who don't usually bring their cars. The bus is always an option though."
"There's a lot to do at UCSD if you aren't into parties in the most traditional sense. Colleges host a lot of things like movie nights, theme nights, etc. As can be expected, those are alcohol-free. You can also have a bonfire at the beach, go to the nearby AMC movie theatre, visit the Gaslamp District, or do some shopping at UTC or Fashion Valley. There's a lot to choose from!"
"I feel like whether or not friend groups are exclusive really depends on the friend group. Some groups will be really tight knit, especially when it comes to certain clubs and their members, and they will stay together for the whole course of college. By their third or fourth year, most people seem to have a concrete group of friends, and a lot of the time that group revolves around where you lived or who you hung out with as a freshman. But that doesn't mean that people aren't open to new people, they just settle into a norm. The best way to meet people is try to, well, try and meet them! Join clubs, meet friends of friends, etc. You are really likely to find someone who is friendly and interested in the same things you are."
"The dorms provide me with an opportunity to meet new people and to live with new people. This change of pace in my lifestyle has allowed me to be able to get to know more people, especially those who share similar goals like myself. Of course, the distance to the campus market is especially good, as it becomes very convenient for me."
"There are singles, doubles, and triples [when it comes to dorm rooms.] You can request a friend to be your roommate. If not, you fill out a survey to be matched with a roommate with a similar lifestyle and interests."
"I think the dorms are relatively safe as we live in La Jolla, a well-off community. The RSO’s do a pretty good job monitoring the security of the area, ensuring our safety. They roam around our buildings during the night when not a lot of people are around to make sure residents are safe walking back home. Inside the dorms is relatively safe, despite the fact that during the first week of school, I fell off my ladder and hit my head because the bottom of my ladder was rounded (they’re not supposed to be).""Compared to living off campus, living on campus is definitely more convenient. For the most part, dorms are located on the outer edge of campus. UCSD is a large campus in general, so walking from your respective dorm to a friend’s dorm may take a while, but you can’t do anything about it. Essentially, the location of freshman dorms is as convenient as it can get.""Not everyone is required to live in a dorm. If you commute you don't have to. Sometimes, if you're too late to sign up for housing, you have to find other methods. So it's not required, but it's fun and opens a lot of doors for friendships.""[Whether or not it’s popular to live off-campus as an upperclassman] brings pretty mixed answers, and even I have a hard time deciding what would be better. It is common for many second years to stay on campus and live in the on-campus apartments, which is the step up from the residential halls. Typically, third years will move off campus and finally spread their independent wings. But reasons to stay on/move off campus vary from convenience to pricing, etc."
Exploring La Jolla/San Diego
“La Jolla is a relatively quiet beach community. The people there are friendly and laid-back. They are also relatively health conscious, so you can always see people jogging, biking, swimming, and surfing. There's also a good variety of healthy food.”
“San Diego has perfect weather!”
“I love the laid-back atmosphere in La Jolla. The beach and fresh air really mellows people out.”
“I really like Zanzibar Cafe, which is located on-campus. It feels like a real restaurant/cafe, and you forget that you're actually still in [Price Center]. [When it comes to nearby food locations,] Elijah's has really great pastrami sandwiches, Whole Foods has a really great food bar, St. Germain's makes very good and affordable sandwiches, and The Melting Pot has great happy hour deals.”
“If you are over 21, you can head over to Pacific Beach and the Gaslamp. They have a wide range of bars and clubs there.”
“I love UTC. You can take almost any bus to get you there. They often feature live music, and they have great seating areas. My favorite stores there include J.Crew, Madewell, Banana Republic, and Anthropologie.”
“If you’re a freshman, you tend to stay on campus. They have [on-campus] events for those who are still at school. However, I think the best fun is off campus.”
“For [off-campus] Mexican food, I love Vallarta Express Mexican Eatery and Lucha Libre. For ramen, I love Ramen Yamadaya. For healthy food, I love Urban Plates in Del Mar. For burgers, I love The Counter or Slaters. For seafood, I love El Pescador in downtown La Jolla. For tacos, I love World Famous' shrimp tacos in Pacific Beach. Go on Tuesdays for a good deal.”
“[My favorites eateries are:] The Cottage, Snooze, Ramen Yamadaya, Oscar's Mexican Seafood, Tacos El Gordo, Infini Tea, C Level, Extraordinary Desserts, Zion Market for groceries.”
“La Jolla has become a pretty rich area so downtown (and even UTC) is becoming super fancy and overpriced. I don't like the urban atmosphere of downtown San Diego, but I could say that about any big city."
HC's Complete College Guide: University of California, San Diego
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