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The University of California - Santa Cruz

How this student rated the school
Educational QualityA- Faculty AccessibilityA-
Useful SchoolworkB Excess CompetitionA+
Academic SuccessA- Creativity/ InnovationB+
Individual ValueA+ University Resource UseA+
Campus Aesthetics/ BeautyA+ FriendlinessA+
Campus MaintenanceA- Social LifeA
Surrounding CityC- Extra CurricularsA+
Describes the student body as:
Friendly, Approachable

Describes the faculty as:
Friendly, Helpful

Quite Bright
Lowest Rating
Surrounding City
Highest Rating
Excess Competition
He cares more about Surrounding City than the average student.
Date: Feb 10 2011
Major: History/Histories (art history/etc.) (This Major's Salary over time)
I was hesitant to come to UCSC for many reasons. It was very far away from my home in Orange County, and I had a few other schools I got into- namely Chapman, Berkeley, and UC Irvine/ Riverside.

In the end, what I toured were many concrete jungles- places devoid of nature. To me personally, nature is very soothing, and I knew that'd be a paramount part of my integration at a university. When I got to UCSC, I knew immediately it was the school for me, and not only for the landscape.

UCSC is the university where you WILL get the coveted ?college experience.? As long as you?re not a douche frat kid.


The campus is the most beautiful campus I've ever seen. I cannot imagine why it is ranked only the 7th most beautiful campus in the US. It is essentially what I would imagine heaven to look like (were one to exist…). Buildings are not permitted to be taller than the surrounding forest, which is thick, vibrant, and begging to be explored. I spend nearly all of my free time hiking and locating all of the secret, famed areas (and there are many), like the pet cemetery, the haunted woods, the meadow, the caves, sleepy hollow, etc. No matter where you are, you will see deer during the day, raccoons at night, and all sorts of interesting critters if you look hard enough. They are friendly and enjoy being around people, it seems…but don't touch.

The school itself is built essentially as several large residential halls in a giant circle around the campus, surrounding the library at the center. Each residential hall is unique, having been built at different times- so the school seems very visually diverse. Oakes college looks like a backwoods cabin town. College 9/10 look more ultramodern in some small sense, but of course the gem of the campus is Kresge. It is filled with art and murals and the like.

Most vandalism on the campus is meaningful poetry, art, and wacky abstract depictions of drug-induced imaginings. It is appreciated by most of the students. I even found a Silent Hill reference on a bathroom wall once (win win win). That is not to say that the school is rife with student vandalism- it's just that UCSC is like 50 years old and hosted generations of hippies. There is a lot of cool crap to see. Everyone knows we?ve got it really good here, and everyone respects the campus. You wont find utterly destroyed bathrooms like you would back at your high school. Nobody here is trying to prove anything.

The campus has forest all throughout it- you will be going on nature hikes just to get to other classes (on paved paths and beautiful suspended bridges, of course). It reminds me of Swiss Family Robinson up here. Plus, you?ve got a good view of the ocean in several parts of the campus.


Your fall quarter will be buttass hot day in and day out until suddenly, the rain comes, and it is insanely cold. If you are from northern california, the weather will be normal to you. If you are a so-cal person like me, you will freeze your ass off. Bring rain gear and warm clothes. Bring good shoes. A few pairs.

It is generally sunny and crisp. The air is fresh and always smells of the forest. The sound of the breeze shaking the trees is so pleasant it puts me in a state of bliss between classes. If one needs to de-stress, all they must do is simply walk in the woods, listen to the different kinds of birds chattering, and watch the clouds drift by over the ocean.

The rain comes and goes. First Rain is always fun, because most people get totally naked and run around campus at night. I absolutely recommend doing this- ESPECIALLY if you're the kind of person who never would. That's who I was. But college is about liberating yourself on all levels. Challenging yourself. Not just academically, but emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Getting naked with a thousand people and running through the streets in crashing rain at midnight is one of the most rewarding experiences I?ve ever had.


Most of the faculty are very friendly, and never in a hurry. They will always take time to talk to you and sit down with you. The professors are on average very clear, friendly, and don't assign tons of bullshit. I am a history major and have nothing but good things to say about that department.


Very attractive girls. From their perspective, not many attractive guys. This put me in a very luxurious position, since I consider myself moderately good-looking. Everyone is very friendly, and there are very few douchey jock types. Most people are less concerned with their appearance, and therefore are less snobby. Coming from orange county, the bastion of self-indulgence, I noticed fewer women here dress scantily, they wear less makeup, and generally treat approaching males with more respect and kindness. The guys are all mostly accepting as well.

There is almost no racism, and everyone treats each other moderately well. It is mostly openly liberal up here, which is how I am anyways, so I don?t notice it much. Staunch conservatives might find themselves annoyed by all the bleeding-heart liberals, but again, you come to college to have your bullshit put in check. I transferred in and lived in the dorms, and made friends immediately. However, you have to be the first to stick out your hand. You cannot afford to be shy during your first week here- you will end up having a very hard time integrating yourself socially thereafter. Forget your inhibitions and reach out, especially if you live on campus. You will be well-received. If you live in the dorms, bring a whiteboard and an expo marker with you. Stick it on your door. Instant phone numbers and friends. Those without whiteboards are at a communicative disadvantage.

Potheads aren't a big issue here. A lot of people smoke pot, but they do it privately in the meadows. If you dont smoke, you will never, ever see pot being smoked anywhere. I do not drink alcohol ever, and I smoke pot only once every few months, and this has not caused me any social friction whatsoever.


Most people at UCSC do not own cars. There is little reason to; the buses are pretty effective at moving everyone to where they need to be. I left my beloved honda in orange county and came up here prepared to be disappointed, but mostly the buses get me everywhere quickly. Sometimes I don't even take them to class- I just walk.

If you are a fat, lazy piece of shit, do not come to this campus. You will be walking up and down hills until you drop dead. If you however are a fat person willing to lose some weight, I guarantee you'll drop some here. There is a gigantic girl on this campus who always complains about how tired she is from walking. If I roll my eyes one more time they will fall out of my head.

The bus drivers are friendly and play awesome 70's rock music. I hear queen and rush and zeppelin frequently, as well as some sweet 80's music. Especially at night, for some reason.


There is no better place to be fruity than at Santa Cruz. There is a sizable gay community, and they are all treated well by everyone on campus. They have clubs and organizations and alliances out the wazoo; ensuring that nobody feels left out. All of our sex/relationship-related meetings on campus are non-hetero-normative. (Dont know what that means? Neither did I before moving here. Coming to UCSC raises your consciousness greatly regarding the struggles of gay college students and the social preconceptions of gender and sex.)

If you dislike gay people, or are a conservative christian, I recommend you don't come here. You are the outcast here, not them. If you are prepared to have your perspectives challenged, head on up, but I honestly only know two hardcore religious people on campus and they really have a problem with some of the social aspects of this school. I'm not talking about the fuzzy non-practicing many who don't actually read holy books but call themselves christians…I'm talking about the people who have a problem with others not being their religion, or others not being their sexuality.


I am told by many of my fellow students that UCSC has the best campus food they've ever had, hands down. I am challenged by this because the food is garbage. I am a fussy eater, mind you, but mostly everything they make is inexpensive, costco-brand crap that is hard to swallow sometimes. Too much fried food available. There are always many options for vegetarians/vegans, salads, some fruit, usually vegetables, lean chicken, and desserts. The pizza here is very good, but I am so tired of the catfood hamburgers and the hot dogs. Generally, the menu on any given night consists of: (Random healthy course like lasagna or baked chicken), fried food, salads, sandwiches, tacos, and pizza. If you don't like salads (me), and if you happen to not like the main course, guess what you're eating tonight? friiieed shiiiiit.


I got a single so I can't say much on room mates, but I will say that Joe, our housing coordinator in the transfer community, is remarkable at pairing people based on their applications. I've only met two people who hated their roommates, and they were able to get transferred into other rooms. Most everybody gets along well, and I've never heard of a fistfight on campus, anywhere.

Dorms are loud sometimes. I got a relatively peaceful floor, but you will hear music sometimes, people talking in the halls, and the occasional group of drunks milling about aimlessly. Everyone wears earplugs when they sleep, unless they are deep deep sleepers.

Bathrooms are communal…meaning women and men and intersex all poop right next to each other. It's weird at first, but I prefer it now. It's a great social equalizer- no beautiful woman can be a snob to you when you smelled and heard her bowel movement earlier that day. The stalls are well-enclosed and cannot be looked into. The toilet paper is single ply; ouch. Showers are hot and private; nobody will ever mess with you while you're showering. Get shower shoes. Bathrooms are cleaned a few times a week so they're usually spotless. Sometimes people have sex in the showers. Get used to it.


  • sometimes the buses are a few minutes late. That means I'm late to class.
  • the city is a piece of shit. It's filled with INSANE hobos who are sometimes dangerous. The food isn't very good. The beaches are nothing compared to southern california beaches. There is a boardwalk with bowling, laser tag, and arcades, but that gets old after a while.
  • The gym is on the other side of campus from where I live. That makes it an hour long ordeal walking there and back. Bussing is quicker but I prefer the exercise. The gym is fantastic, however, and overlooks the bay.
  • Every city surrounding santa cruz is ugly as sin. San Jose, Berkeley, Oakland, eugh. Your only redemption is San Francisco.

    If, to you, aesthetic beauty and quality of friendship are equally important as quality of education, then there is absolutely no reason you should ever choose any other school. UCSC is the university where you WILL get the coveted ?college experience.? As long as you?re not a douche frat kid.

    commentThank you so much for this review! I was accepted into this school and it gives a great realistic view of the campus.
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