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I came from a really small high school in Southern California. I came to UCSD because of the large student population. We have somewhere around 30,000 students on campus, split into six colleges. If that break down isn't enough to give you a familial feeling, then turn to one of the many student organizations or Greek life. I'll be honest, when I was in high school, I was the last person you would have pegged to be in a sorority, but now I don't know where I would be or what I would be without that family here on campus. Students here can be as active as they want to be. The sky is the limit, but you have to be able to go out there and find your niche, or you will feel like one little speck in a huge universe. I guess that the best part about UCSD is that you can do anything you want to, literally. The options are out there, just waiting for you to find them.
One of the reasons I love UCSD is because of its six college system. At first, it seemed really stupid and arbitrary, but as I spent more time here, I realized that it is actually really useful to have a six college system because you get to know everyone in your college really well (due to common GE classes, common living and eating areas, etc) which make a 20,000+ undergraduate university a much more personal and welcoming environment. In addition to that, a lot of the administrators within each college oversee only 1/6th of UCSD's students, and therefore they are able to provide each student with much more attention and personal advice than would administrators who have to serve 20,000 + students. I would feel completely detached and alone without UCSD college system, and I'm really glad that I ignored my original discontent with the system in order to come here. I do wish t hat I had spent more time choosing the college I choose (Warren), as each college has a cirriculum centered around different principles. Luckily I do embrace the principles of Warren College (a life in balance, embodied by GE's that force students to focus on non-major areas in which they recieve a virtual "minor" in) and am glad I got lucky when I randomly ordered the colleges at the time I was applying to UCSD.
The best thing about UCSD is the campus. You have to see it to believe it. The area is INCREDIBLE. I live in Revelle, which I think is the prettiest part of the massive campus. There are so many trees and old buildings, it feels like an Ivy League school, but with the amazing California weather year-round and great beaches within walking distance. If I could change one thing about the school, it would be the quality of the TAs. Most of the professors I've had so far have been good, but I've yet to have a good TA which helps a LOT when it comes to your grade. For me personally, the campus is just the right size. The way it's divided into six colleges rocks, it really helps keep everything organized. There's really no college town since UCSD is located in La Jolla... which is full of rich old people. But all the basics are within bussing distance. There's a great outdoor mall with good prices, and a more upscale mall just a little further away. One thing I REALLY wish UCSD had was a football team and the school pride that would come with it. Too many people at UCSD are here JUST to study and don't seem involved enough in our fabulous school. UCSD gets a reputation for being socially dead, but your experience is what you make of it. If you WANT to spend all day and night studying in CLICS, then by all means do so. But I've found that most of the people who do that drive themselves crazy and aren't the well-rounded people that will get them anywhere in life.
My favorite thing about UCSD is the academic and social atmosphere -- while I feel the drive to excel in my studies, the student body has a relaxed demeanor, which keeps me from feeling what could be high levels of pressure and competition. I'm not a particular fan of all the construction work that goes on all year round on campus. I understand that the school is renovating and settling, considering its recent opening, but at times, the noise and blockades of some of the construction sites can be disruptive during class, if the room is near enough. I like the size of this school -- I'm always meeting new people, but at the same time, the student body hasn't grown to a size that is too large for the faculty to adequately teach. If I tell people I go to school at UC San Diego, they usually miss the UC portion and assume I mean I go to San Diego State. I spend the majority of my time on campus somewhere in Muir -- the quad, the lawns, my room/lounge, etc. I love it everywhere in Muir because it is so communal. La Jolla is a college town, but everything is beyond walking distance from the university so it's hard to get off campus sometimes. Skipping a couple questions ahead, I think there is a lot of school pride within each of the six colleges, but as a whole, I feel like UCSD's school spirit is a lacking. I think the intracollegiate competitions, like the unolympics or the spirit night activities are unusual, mainly because they divide the school's spirit into six groups. That, and the never-ending construction projects. I don't think I can choose a particular experience I will remember best. Everything about my first year at UCSD has been memorable in an amazing way -- but as a group, I think I will remember the nights my friends and I stayed up until 4am, talking or playing board/card/random games in our residence halls' lounges.
I think that one of the greatest things about UCSD is the college system. It makes the huge university feel smaller. WIthout the college system, the university could definitely seem way too big, however the colleges give you a feeling of a smaller, closer-knit community within the university. The college system allows you to get to know a smaller group better while still having the opportunity to meet students from all over the campus. So, because of the college system within the university, I think the size of UCSD is just right. When I'm on campus, I don't hang out too much because I don't live on campus. I go just for class. But when I am hanging out on campus between classes and such, I hang out it Price Center the most often. Price Center is basically where everyone hangs out during the day between classes and such because it has become such a social place and its where the food court is. I'm either in Price Center or in Geisel Library studying. La Jolla is definitely a "what college town?" There is not much for college students to do in the nearby surrounding areas. There is the beach of course (my favorite), and places to eat and shop and stuff a quick bus ride away, but if you don't have a car it can be kinda difficult to get to some places. And as for the social scene, there are almost no bars or anything in the area surrounding school-you have to go to Pacific Beach for that. And there is also no greek housing which also cuts down on the social life. It still exists but you definitely have to have a car because "greek houses" (usually 4-6 people from a chapter) are spread out all over the surrounding towns/cities.
The best thing about UCSD is the location. Within walking distance to major beaches and near the heart of lively San Diego, there is always something to do and to see whether on campus or not. However, I would change the architecture of the main buildings. Many of the different colleges within the university are haphazardly positioned, and none of the designs match from one place to the other. Muir College, in fact, has some of the ugliest buildings IÕve ever seenÑten story buildings made of concrete that tries to look like wood. ItÕs all wrong. The campus itself is actually pretty largeÑI think itÕs about a 3 mile journey on the campus loop, which only covers the west side. However, the six-college system helps out a lot. I like to think of it as Hogwarts, where everyone is sorted into different colleges/houses and although they share classes with the entire school, they are separated by their housing and dining facilities as well as what it expected from them (in this case, general education and graduation requirements). This system breaks the campus into smaller pieces so that you are more connected to your living environment and the people in it, but it does make school spirit less of a priority; it even deters school spirit all together, in my opinion. UCSDÕs administration is nothing special, and they treat the student body with as much respect as can be garnered by a board of high-paid officials who aim to please everybody and who fail miserably. There is always the student body complains about: high tuition, lack of vegetarian options, not enough parking, strict campus security, and useless expenses made. The most controversial subjects to crop up recently has been the administrationÕs failed attempt to rewrite many free speech policies for the campus, which received a lot of outcry from the students as well as ACLU, who denounced the new policies as undemocratic and unfit for a college campus. Depending on who IÕm speaking with, when people discover that I attend UCSD they are either immediately impressed or empathetic. ÒOh, you attend a UC? ThatÕs amazing. You must be really smart!Ó Or else itÕs, ÒSan Diego? IsnÕt that a party school?/IsnÕt that the research school?Ó A lot of people get us confused with San Diego State, which is more widely known for its rigorous social life than ours to say the least.
Katie SophomoreReviews provided by: Unigo