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The University of California - Santa Cruz

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Date: May 06 2003
Major: Other (This Major's Salary over time)
UC Santa Cruz was built on the premise that it would lead a revolution in undergraduate education, something very difficult to do in a state school system. As a result, the campus gained a reputation for flakiness, especially with its 'performance evalutations" in place of letter grades. But they have since started giving regular letter grades in an attempt to become more prestigious academically.

When I graduated from high school, I wanted to go to a small liberal-arts college like Pomona or Swarthmore; somewhere where the college experience also felt like a community experience. Sadly, I could never have afforded a college like that, and I was forced to relegate my choices to the UC and CSU system. When I heard about the 10 Colleges at UCSC, I was intrigued. When I visited the campus and met some faculty, I was in love.

Santa Cruz was everything I wanted in a college. They're also the only UC to offer the legal studies major, which was, in my case at least, excellent preparation for law school. Now I'm at law school at UCLA, and I have met people who did their undergrad work at Berkeley, USC, Stanford, etc. When they ask how someone from Santa Cruz got into UCLA, I tell them that UCSC is the best undergraduate education in the UC system, if you take your opportunities.

Santa Cruz is the best undergraduate research school in the nation, and I have great examples of graduate-level research I did as a junior in anthro and legal studies. I've even been published in 2 journals, something not uncommon for UCSC undergrads.

Don't turn your nose up at UCSC just because it's not Berkeley or UCLA. You'll just be another number at those schools. Go to Santa Cruz and get a great education at a beautiful school, do some amazing research, meet some great kids and save all that reputation crap for grad school.

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