The University of California Santa Barbara
The University of California Santa Barbara - Comments and Student Experiences|
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.