The University of California Santa Barbara
The University of California Santa Barbara - Comments and Student Experiences|
The atmosphere at UCSB is always upbeat and friendly, and you won't find anyone here that isn't happy and proud to be a Gaucho. You may have heard of UCSB students being really attractive.. and I can confidently say that the rumors are true. In addition, everyone you'll meet is super friendly, ambitious, and really smart. Some of the smartest people I've met are right here at UCSB. In other words, the people you meet here are the whole package. And they all "gaucho backs", a self-fulfilling motto amongst UCSB students.
The academics at UCSB are challenging but what else to expect from one of the top 50 universities in the nation? The professors that I've had are amazing and so far, every single one of them has expressed a strong desire to help every student here succeed. There is also a really huge start-up culture here. A lot of students are interested in entrepreneurialism, and take classes in the Technology Management Program, our equivalent to a business department. Engineering is also prestigious, as well as Global Studies, Psychology, Economics/Accounting, etc. Those are only a few amongst many highly reputable majors at UCSB. Students here are really ambitious, driven, and want each other to succeed. We take competitiveness to a different level by striving to be the best, but helping our fellow Gauchos get there too, hence we "Gaucho backs". You will ALWAYS be able to find someone that will help you out and be happy to study with you. One can say we know how to "work hard, play hard". Usually you only find one or the other at schools, but here, you get to experience both.
Isla Vista is the 1 square mile college town next to UCSB where all the students live. It is every college student's DREAM. And might I add, you are literally right next to the beach. Isla Vista is something you have to experience for yourself because there is nothing else like it out there. The only complaint a lot of students here have is when "out of towners" come into town and trash the place, cause riots, and disrespect our homes, especially during our fun annual events like Halloween and Deltopia. UCSB often takes the brunt of the blame by getting a bad "party" reputation, but people are misinformed. UCSB students are rarely associated with the crimes that get attention from the press. Despite what you might hear, Isla Vista is one of the most vibrant, beautiful, opportunity-filled communities you will ever live in.This might all sound too good to be true. But UCSB is literally a fantasy college town. You won't find ANY other university like UCSB and fun college town like Isla Vista. If you want the ultimate, most fulfilling college experience while getting an extremely valuable education, it would be a big mistake not to choose UCSB.
1. You are a parent that wants to send you child to a fun, beautiful place to go to school. Where you won't have to worry about them phoning home complaining about the lousy social scene.
2. You are a student with a very specific academic interest (think marine science), and you can begin working in a high powered lab on day one of school.
If your motivation in making this important decision is based on anything else, then look elsewhere.
About me: I spent seven years on campus, first on a full-ride academic and research scholarship and later teaching six different courses on TAships. I trained over 40 volunteer undergrads in research diving and these remarkable students volunteered over 4000 hours for my research.
Student Body: Very friendly students. Sure, there are your typical sub-groups of cliquish, wealthy students from LA or elsewhere. There is the hierarchical Greek system with its pecking order of frats and sororities. However, there is a big block of unaffiliated students who are great and love to get involved or just hang out.
Teaching: This is where UCSB is abysmal and perhaps worse than most major public universities. I met many professors and most were aloof and/or arrogant. They viewed teaching as a chore and were only interested in students to the extent they would be of personal assistance in the professor's research. Now, this is great if you are a student looking for easy entrance into a lab, but for most students they became very frustrated with the quality of their education. The quality of TAs is hit or miss. I received the school's most prestigious teaching award, but there is no training for the grad students who carry such a high burden of leading classes. There is this one pitiful story of a totally incompetent TA who just had students stare at each other in silence for 10 minutes because no one felt inspired to participate in the TA's discussion. At the risk of overgeneralizing, the professors see themselves on par with the faculty at the finest programs in the country (and in a few cases their research is equivalent or better), and are contemptuous of the student body which they see as no more intelligent than the students at directional state schools.
In conclusion, this is the place for you if you have a surf board and love the idea of carrying it to Campus Point in the morning for a few waves before class. If you are focused on your future and want the most for your money, stop reading this review and keep researching schools.