Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Percent Women: 53.1% (for 2012)
Tuition (one year): $13,398
Most Popular Majors: Psychology, Environmental Studies, Business/Managerial Economics, Biology/Biological Sciences, Sociology
Greek Life: Yes
Acceptance Rate: 48.5% (for 2013)
For more information about financial aid, scholarships, majors, study abroad, and average test scores, visit http://admissions.ucsc.edu
Why Choose UC Santa Cruz?
UC Santa Cruz is perfect for any student who likes the outdoors. "I love the atmosphere and how unique it is to be in a forest for a school. I'm an outdoor person and I think that anyone who is avid on outdoor activies should consider UCSC." Through the Office of Physical Education and Recreation Services, students can take a variety of classes ranging from ballet classes to mushroom foraging classes. The campus has resources for all your adventure seeking needs. The campus is also convienently located just a 10 minute bus ride from Natural Bridges Beach and O'neill's Cold Water Classic is held every fall quarter at Steamers Lane for the public to enjoy.
Students also come to UCSC for the academic achievements that the University has been known for. UCSC recently was ranked number two for most research influence. Although the quarter system can be a bit of a challnege for some students, students also find it to be really great because they can sometimes finish their education a lot quicker and also have time to explore other fields and interests. Some of the most interesting classes include the Beatles class and Muppet Magic classes in which student focus on an indepth understanding of these specifc entertainers.
Settled among 2,000 acres of redwood forest and breathtaking meadows is the University of California, in Santa Cruz. As you drive past High Street, on the southern part of campus is the Great Meadows. The Great Meadows go on for what seem like miles. At first glance, you wouldn’t think about finding a community of students and colleges beyond that. However, to the north of those meadows reside the homes of the Banana Slugs nestled among the redwood groves.
The beauty of UC Santa Cruz is all around. From the overwhelmingly beautiful scenery that the campus location offers, from the breathtaking nature all around, to the deer, bright yellow banana slags, and raccoons you share the campus with. Yes, even raccoons. Everything is welcome at UC Santa Cruz. The campus location and all of its surroundings help you naturally unwind and feel at peace. That is a guarantee.
A student of UC Santa Cruz says their favorite spot on campus were the “hidden gems” located in the Upper Campus of Santa Cruz, “it’s a nice place to find new hiking spots.” This northern half of the campus has remained in its natural forested state; anyone can roam free, be one with nature. The Upper Campus is full of hiking and bicycle trails as well. Other students say their favorite part of campus is East Field, which is located in Cowell College. It overlooks the grassy green field, and beyond you can watch the sun reflect onto the glimmering open sea. If ocean views are your thing, then you might also enjoy heading over to the opposite end of campus where the ARCenter is located; the view from there is mesmerizing since it overlooks the Monterrey Bay.
UC Santa Cruz also holds many traditions throughout the academic school year that not only bring together the diverse community of students but it brings together the students with nature. Once every year, students gather for what is known as the First Rain Run. Essentially, all you need for this tradition is your comfiest pair of running shoes and a big smile on your face. Why? Because you’ll be running completely stripped down of any clothing (optional, but recommended). The First Rain is a run that occurs the first day of the year that it rains. I mean, really rains. It begins at Porter College and traditionally ends at Cowell as the students manage to somehow get even wetter and jump into the pool. There is also another interesting tradition where students have been known to climb Tree Nine. Tree Nine is a massive tree above College Nine and many students climb the tree their first year at UC Santa Cruz. Other student favorites include the ravines between Quarry Plaza and McHenry library, Porter College and Science Hill.
Basically, students at UC Santa Cruz can’t get enough of the “woodsy parts” of campus. If hiking or cycling isn’t your thing, you can still get the same experience by walking across the many footbridges that connect parts of campus together. The walks across those bridges are beautiful, being surrounded, almost enveloped by all those redwoods is priceless. Simply put, the redwoods alone are more than enough to make anyone fall in love, instantly, with UC Santa Cruz.
One of the biggest adjustments to campus life, is having to walk up and down the hilly terrain. Our school newspaper is entitled: "City on a Hill Press" which is referring to the fact that our school is built on a hill. Some students have said that the "hills make it harder to want to walk all the way across campus to reach class. It's not that there are hideous parts of campus but knowing that it almost feels like you're hiking each day through a redwood forrest for class isn't fun."
Another part of campus that is recently been a topic of discussion campus wide, is the remodelling of the Quarry Ampitheater. Located near the Quarry Plaza, many students have expressed that the venue needs a lot of remodelling so that it can be utilized for to it's full potential. Student leaders through the Student Union Assembly, have brought awareness to the student body and UCSC community about the interest and need to have the ampitheater utilized.
New Collegiette on Campus
Being new on campus is always exciting. Even older students feel as though as each year they are learning something new about campus stating: "I haven't even seen all the cool nature areas that everybody talks about! Coming to UCSC I had a bucket list of all the things I wanted to do and see before I leave the campus. I still have yet to get through half way on my list. Each year, I am learning something new. I cannot believe that there is so much to seek for."
First year students live in first year dorms, with the exception fo Kresge who have apartment style only residential facilities. Most students usually opt for having at least one roommate their first year. Having a roommate is a totally new experience for many students, especially those who have never had to share a room with another person before. "I didn't know how it was going to be like living in the same room as another person. I would always cross my fingers hoping that I wouldn't get a nightmare roommate. My roommate and I realized that we felt the same about our pressuptions about how living together was going to be like, but we found a lot of things in common and made it all work out!"
Students have the opportunity to attend summer orientation which helps students acclimate to the campus and kind of give them a preview about what is to come the following year. They get to meet other students in their class who are affiliated with their same college and build early connections.
At the beginning of the year, Move-In week, is usually a huge week full of exciting events and actvities with a mix of mandatory and vountary sessions to attend. One of the biggest events is th Boardwalk Frolic where students are able to purchase a rides wristband that gives them access to the Boardwalk exclusively for UCSC students.
All About Academics
The University of California, Santa Cruz utilizes a quarter-based academic calendar, composed of three 10-week quarters throughout a single academic year. According to U.S News, UC Santa Cruz has ranked 86 in the 2014 edition of Best Colleges in National Universities. The academic successes of UC Santa Cruz doesn’t stop there, just this month, in an article written by Tim Stephens, he writes: “In the latest analysis of the world’s top universities published by Times Higher Education (THE), UC Santa Cruz ranked second in research influence as measured by the number of times its faculty’s published work is cited by scholars around the world.” This public research institution’s academic aptitude is undeniable. UC Santa Cruz takes their research to the skies –the school was chosen to be a part a 10-year research project with NASA.
The student-faculty ratio at UC Santa Cruz is 18:1, which helps with student to professor/instructor/T.A. communication. The school was 49 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. There are classroom units that hold lectures with over hundreds of students, but there are smaller and intimate courses or seminars with fewer students. Furthermore, undergraduates are able to choose from 64 majors offered by the Physical and Biological Sciences, Social Sciences, Jack Baskin School of Engineering, Humanities and the Division of Arts. Regardless of the abundant choices in majors, UC Santa Cruz decided to offer, beginning this year, a Spanish studies B.A.
The most popular majors at UC Santa Cruz include: Psychology, Environmental Studies, Business/Managerial Economics, Biology/Biological Sciences, and Sociology. It’s clear that UC Santa Cruz offers a wide variety of fields to go into, yet some students may still be declared as Undecided. A student said: “For those unsure of what major to choose I can say from my experience that I took a wide variety of classes which have helped me develop into a jack of all trades.” So while it can seem disheartening to be unsure of one’s major, other students see it as an opportunity to expand their academic horizons.
As far as registration for each quarter goes, it’s safe to say that getting into the classes you need, depends in part of the major you have declared. For one, it is somewhat common for Literature majors to easily enroll into the classes required as opposed to majors that are a lot more common, or impacted. In response to being asked about the most rewarding classes taken at UC Santa Cruz, a student responded, “My favorite classes so far have been Syntax One and Semantics Two because they brought together a community of like-minded souls searching for the underlying truth behind language.”
Now, where do UCSC’s Banana Slug’s hide out to study for midterms, final exams, or senior seminar projects? The UC Santa Cruz campus has a main library nestled right in the middle of the redwoods –Mc Henry Library, which is inhabited mainly by students within the humanities area of studies. Then there’s the Science and Engineering Library as well. Nevertheless, both libraries welcome students from every academic spectrum. Students also find quiet places to study on UC Santa Cruz’s tree-filled campus, or at a variety of café’s located within each of the 10 colleges: Stevenson Café, Night Owl Café, Oakes Café, Global Village Café, Cowell Coffee Shop, Banana Joes, and College Eight Café.
Learn from the Best
There are so many different disciplines to choose from, but our research is what makes us such a great quality school in comparison to most. A lot of the professors at UCSC care about having and providing as much individual attention to each student as much as possible. Although class sizes can become huge, there are professors who make it a point to make sure to meet each student at least once, if not twice. Some will even make it mandatory part of their grading rubric in their syllabus.
We have had professor make such a great impact in their fields, that one of our very own was recognized by President Obama. Last year, Professor and Astronomer Sandra Faber, received the National Medal of Science for "leaderhip in numerous path-breaking studies of extra-galactic astronomy and galaxy formatioin, and for oversight of the construction of important instruments, including the Keck telescopes." (UCSC Newcenter). In recent news, another Professor's research has provided new insight in the field of astronomy.
Sandra Faber andPresident Obama (Photo by Ryan K Morris/National Science & Technology Medals Foundation)
Interests & Involvement
There are so many different ways to get involved on campus. At the beginning of Fall Quarter, the OPERS Fall Festival highlights over 100 student organizations and clubs that students can be involved in, including Greek Life and the Atheltics Teams. By signing up with these groups at the beginning of the school year, you can get updates and information about when they meet and what they're doing- even if you don't expect to be taking it all on at first. There are just so many clubs and student organizations to be involved with, it can be hard sometimes to see what is really out there.
"I am involved with the Film Production Coalition Club and Alpha Psi Omega fraternity because one club is a lot hands on experience and the other is great volunteering experience, respectively."
UCSC is part of the NCAA Division III League. While both Men's and Women's team availabilities slightly differ, with more Women's athletic programs available, both have had successes througout all teams producing some talented athletes. The Men and Women's Basketball Teams have started to play their games at the Kaiser Permanente Arena in Downtown Santa Cruz where the NBA D-League Santa Cruz Warriors play.
"UCSC isn't much of a huge "sports loving" school. A lot of students are more involved through activism and more educational extracurriculars."
There are also plenty more Club Sports teams that include rugby and badminton teams which are just as eventful and successful as the NCAA teams. These teams compete against other club teams of other schools that are nearby in the Bay Area such as Stanford and other UC schools too.
This one is for all of the Ladies!
UCSC has a large amount of female presence on this campus. Some of the bigger female interest organizations include the Panhellenic Sororities, the Hi-Tones, and we also have a lot of resource centers on campus that empower female students to strive towards leadership and gaining a voice through their identities. "As a female student, I feel as though I have a lot more pride and power through my identities and by attending workshops such as Yell-OH! Girls hosted by the Asian American, Pacific Islander Resouce Center and just participating and getting involved in campus."
The number of female students is more than half of the student population, and are dominating everything across campus from sports to becoming more involved in the sciences. Groups such as W.I.S.E. which focuses on female students in the sciences and engineering fields, its just another one of those great programs that show that women can defy any of the odds and still are a huge presence in the field of science.
"I feel as though being a girl on this campus is so inspiring and just being surrounded by those who are supportive of who I am is just so great."
Food & Drink
Each college and their sister college share dining halls- Oakes and Eight, Porter and Kresge, etc.- that are usually located inbetween both college like a halfway point. Even if a student is not affiliated with another college, they can still go to other college's dining hall commons to eat. "Each dining hall is different and I eat at different ones for different meals. It's nice to be able to have a variety of dining hall choices each day. One day one dining hall will have good Indian food and I'd go there instead of going to a dining hall that has a Grill Bar."
There are other places on campus too such as the College Cafe's and there are some food trucks and contracted restaurants such as Joe's Pizza and Subs and the Global Village Cafe at the McHenry Library. "If anything, you HAVE to get a Porter Cafe milkshake and burrito. You can't go wrong with either- it's heaven."
The social scene at UCSC is a unique experience. There are many fraternities and sororities to choose from including niche specific greek organizations that cater to various professional fields and ethnic specific organizations. Parties and socials are always happening every weekend and usually are heard through the grapevine and knowing people in your network. Some sororities will also hold social events with other organizations on campus such as sports teams that are often times themed as well.
Most students usually go off campus to go to parties but the community surrounding the campus aren't thrilled or as accepting of students' antics late at night, especially if they live in family residences. When going off campus it is also important to make sure that you figure out a way to get back on to campus or stay the night at a friend's place off campus. Although buses run through out the night, they stop running after 2AM. Be sure to always plan when heading out. The UCSC Health Center has a "Party Small, Just Say Gnome" Education Campaign that supports partying in a safe way.
UCSC is known to be affiliated with the cannabis culture. However! Students tend to not peer pressure and support one another regardless of the choices they make. Ultimately it is up to you and residential communites plan other options for you to take part in over the weekend. You don't need to take part in any of the drug and alcohol paraphenalia crowd to have fun. You can always find a way to be part of the social scene without having to partake in anything you don't feel comfortable. Being a Sober Sally is always a good time!
UC Santa Cruz is divided into 10 different colleges:
- Cowell College
- Stevenson College
- Merill College
- Crown College
- Porter College
- Kresge College
- Oakes College
- College Eight
- College Nine
- College Ten
Each has their own unique theme and provides residential living areas for all first year students and continuing students. Dorms are availabe in singles, double (two people), triple (three people), quad (four people), and suites. The rooms come standard with desk, chair, bed (extra long twin mattress), bed frame, closet, and additional drawers for clothes. Before arriving, students are asked to fill out a questionairre that helps provide student the best possible living situation upon arrival. Also, this serves as a way for Housing to pair students with their future roommate(s). The price of the dorm also includes the meal plan.
Exploring Santa Cruz!
Santa Cruz is one of the most beautiful cities along the California coast. Arguably, it is Surf City U.S.A. Every year, the O'neill Cold Water Classic is held every year at Steamer's Lane along West Cliff. In addition there are so many gorgeous beaches that are accessible by walking, bus, and bike ride. There are also so many things to do as an outdoors person as well including many hiking and biking trails that often highlight a lot of the best spots of Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz is also famously known for both the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and the Mystery Spot. During the Welcome Week at UCSC, students have the opportunity to participate in the Boardwalk Frolic that includes a wristband that allows you to have unlimited rides and coupons to use in the future for discounts as well. The Boardwalk is accessible by bus, but often is busy over the weekends. The Boardwalk also includes an arcade, laser tag, and mini golf. The Mystery Spot is an interesting experience and definitely something that should be on everybody's bucket list at least once. Be sure to bring your camera to take pictures and capture all the memories!
HC's Complete College Guide: University of California- Santa Cruz
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