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The University of California - Santa Cruz

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UCSC was the only choice for me inBrightBiology
UCSC was the only choice for me in terms of being the closest to my hometown. I came into UCSC hoping that I would get the college experience I expected. I was so so WRONG!! Yes, there are some parties and events happening every weekend but you need the connections. Social life is almost dead in between every college. Travelling from place to place is absolutely a burden especially on weekends. If you have no car, then good luck. The academics are alright but it's just that in general, the students have little to zero ambitions. I consider myself a very ambitious student and when I came here, I was completely astonished at how many students just don't care whether they pass a class or not. My friend and I took the same math class as a freshmen and she failed. I know it was a topic that shouldn't be mentioned but she kept on spreading news that she can just retake it for an A. NO that's not how it works.. The fact that you failed that class still remains there and affects the gpa. This is my first year but I am already getting the feeling that this school is actually depleting my life ambitions and motivation to advance in life. Clubs and sports are almost non-existent after the first club day. It is hard to get into a club after the first quarter. I completely despise this school. The only thing that this school may be known for is that this is the perfect asylum for anyone who aspires to be a true hippie and wants to seclude themselves from the real world. Santa Cruz students represent the lower tier of any type of school and I don't recommend you to even apply to this place. This place is truly a living hell and everyday, I conspire to leave this school for the sake of my future and my livelihood.
1st Year Male -- Class 1920
Friendliness: A-, Extracurricular Activities: F
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This school is red tape hell.BrightAnthropology
This school is red tape hell.
If you ever have any kind of issue of any sort you are in for a full time job getting through the thick bureaucracy to get it sorted out - whether that be housing, insurance, scheduling, tuition charges (mistakes), part time status, .. the departments all have so many policies and standards that the other departments have no idea what is going on with the others - yet everything they do is connected to another department.

The Registrar will tell you to do one thing that will have dire consequences with your academics, unknowingly setting you up for failure due to a deadline with your college, etc - stuff like that.

I would say that I have spent 5 times more time and effort with this University's policies and red tape than I have on actual academic work.

To make it worse, staff (not prof.s) are incredibly frustrated, rude and seem to think they can just treat students like annoying rodents.

There is extremely high theft on campus and throughout the city of Santa Cruz below, so you are bound to also lose some valuables. If you don't have a car, good luck. The metro system is not always the best at night.

Do not ever try to live off of campus because the city is over populated with rent inflated beyond belief.

The University also changes the due date for housing charges each month, so if you do not have a large saving account to automatically pay out of (ahem! middle class) you are likely to end up paying late charges in addition to the inflated University housing rates as well.

Parking is over over over priced!!
Also they have set a ton of zones with various times you can/cannot park in so that the likelihood of getting a parking ticket is high.

Tickets are now $50.
In short, don't bother with this place. There is a great education to be had, but too much time and effort is spent dealing with the frustration of being here.

3rd Year Female -- Class 2016
Campus Aesthetics: A+, Individual Value: F
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Wow. I spent countless hours on this websiteQuite BrightPsychology
Wow. I spent countless hours on this website as a high school student, trying to find a college perfect for me. I ultimately chose UC Santa Cruz, have spent almost a year here, and I feel it's my duty to give back. So, here's some advice for anyone who's debating on attending UCSC:

Disclaimer: I am an out-of-state student, and coming to california was a much greater culture shock than i'd expected.

First of all, this school totally proves its stereotype true. Everyone smokes weed. And when I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE. I came here very open minded about it, willing to try it, but quickly became a bit annoyed that everyone I met was stoned all hours of the day. Sure, they don't pressure you to join them, but no one likes being not stoned around stoned people, just like no one likes to be sober around drunks. Contrary to what people like to believe at this school, the frequent use of marijuana has led to an obvious lack of ambition among students. As a highly ambitious, career oriented individual, this has also been a bit irritating. When I read reviews on the school that said this same thing, I brushed them off, convinced that the presence of marijuana wouldn't be as great or influential as people were making it out to be- please learn from my mistakes. You will smell it at 7 AM & 11 PM coming through your dorm window. You will smell it on the path to the library. You will begin to think you're smelling it even when you're not because you're just always smelling it. You will meet many individuals that center their lives around 4:20 AM/PM. If you are not extremely comfortable with constant contact with marijuana, DO NOT COME HERE. Santa Cruz has a reputation for being a marijuana loving town, and it definitely lives up to it.

Secondly, I have always thought of myself as pretty liberal, but Santa Cruz takes it to a different level that it becomes close minded. Just, something to think about.

On a positive note- Everyone here IS really incredibly nice, friendly, nonjudgmental. I'm astounded on a daily basis by an act of kindness I witness. It is the most laid-back environment I've ever lived in, and I've never experienced less stress. UCSC students welcome all walks of life, and take everybody for who they are (unless you're a baptist conservative.)

Academics: I'm a psych major, but I'm also taking pre-med courses. In my opinion, it's very easy. I am studying way way less than I did in high school (although I did have a VERY intense course load in high school.) I still can't help but feel I am not being challenged enough. In all honesty the whole vibe of the school doesn't make me feel like they are very concerned about challenging students- it's quite the opposite. Most of the people I've met are very content with graduating and living in a tent in the forest because money is evil anyway, and all they need to be happy is the beauty of nature. I don't think UCSC has a very good reputation went it comes to post-graduation employment, and I that really doesn't surprise me.

If you're interested in a typical college experience AT ALL, don't come here. No one that comes here wanted a typical college experience, it is the anti-typical college experience. Anti-big sports and "jocks," anti greek life (if you're interested in greek life, I don't know why you're even looking at this school), anti doing anything that doesn't involve getting stoned in the middle of the forest.

If you want a laid-back atmosphere and a pretty easy course load, with genuinely ridiculously nice people, and you can't imagine anything more fun than spending weekend after weekend getting stoned among the redwoods or dropping acid/taking shrooms and exploring, then this is the place for you. You will absolutely love it here.

If it has ever crossed your mind that you might be sad about missing out on the big homecoming football games, or you kind of wanted to join a sorority, or you just are intrigued by the typical american college experience AT ALL, don't come here. You won't be happy here, trust me. This place is incredible for people that fit here. But if you don't fit, you're going to be really unhappy.

Personally, I've fallen in love with a lot of aspects of Santa Cruz, and part of me is really sad to say I have decided to transfer somewhere else next year. But it's just not for me, and everyone deserves to be where they belong. I hope this helps, and I hope you find where you belong and can be extremely happy. You only get to experience college once- don't blow it off or put your happiness on the back burner, make it count.

1st Year Female -- Class 2018
Collaboration/Competitive: A+, Extracurricular Activities: F
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The University of California - Santa Cruz
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