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UCSC is a great place to be when you're trying to develop yourself and discover yourself in new ways. You live among a community of (almost totally) extremely open-minded people and it's extremely easy to find a small community of people which share some of your similar values and interests. There are so many things to love about UCSC and to keep you busy and intrigued. I don't think I could ever get bored of living in Santa Cruz--the city is so full of life and culture, and it's life and culture is great for the soul. If you love sun, nature, surfing, vibrant colors, and a wide array of great, genuine people and conversation, UCSC is the place for you.
The best thing by far is the gorgeous campus. The trees and mountains are so inspiring and unique for a college campus. There is not a lot of school pride, which is sad. People rarely come to the few sporting events we do have, and people are generally not very involved in the school. Sometimes I feel like I am at a huge commuter school. The size is just right for me. Small enough to recognize a few faces, but large enough to meet new people everyday and not get bored with the offerings here. The townspeople in Santa Cruz are not very friendly towards students, mostly because we drive up rent prices and crowd the already-too-small town with our cars and surfboards. One experience I will always remember is the great friends and people I have met here. The people are very unique, and there are many that I don't get along with, but once you find your niche, the social atmosphere is great. We go to the beach and go frisbee golfing.
It's big here. The campus is spread out, but there's a pretty good bus system, so getting anywhere around campus isn't TOO much of a problem, especially if you're not against walking. It does make for a segregated populace though, as there is no "common area" central to all of the mini-colleges, so people tend to stay within their respective living areas. Pick somewhere you want to hang out a lot to live. A major downside is the distance the campus is from any sort of normal civilization. First-years aren't allowed to have a car, and parking on campus is on the expensive side. A trip downtown on the bus is an journey (going to get groceries? It'll take around an hour and half), and forget walking to say, Taco Bell unless you're in for an epic journey. It is pretty here though, and close to the ocean. Surfing is actually a PE class, which is pretty sweet.
At first the school seems massive and like it will be impossible to navigate, but you learn your way around quickly and can usually get anywhere on campus in under 30 minutes on foot. You seem to spend most of your time on campus in your own residential college, since there is no great central meeting place. The college town is small, but it has a good spread of everything you could possibly need, plus its close to the beach and the boardwalk, which has rides and games. There is tension between the students and administration at times over further development of the school, but for the most part both sides get along fine and the students are pretty much able to do as they please. While there is hardly any emphasis on sports teams, there is definitely a strong sense of school pride since UCSC is such a unique, at times quirky place.
I think the best thing about UCSC is that many professors care a great deal about their undergraduate students. I have had talks with several of mine outside of the classroom and they generally the professors have had some really interesting experiences. It is funny when I tell people about UCSC they tend to laugh and ask me if we have had any good protests lately. If I could change one thing it would be how protesters mobilize. They shouldn't march on a daily basis and they should only march on the people who can actually change what they are trying to protest. The protesters also believe that their cause is just, so they violate the law and then get up in arms over police "brutality" when the police start to arrest them. The general atmosphere around protests is the one thing that I really hate about this campus. However, the environment is wonderful and I believe the campus currently holds the right number of students. There is a Long Range Development Plan which wants to increase the size of the school a great deal, but it is still many years away from being implemented. Hopefully it won't destroy the natural beauty of this campus. It has many fantastic mountain bike and hiking trails. Every fall the local AIDS group puts together a great road biking event which winds through Santa Cruz county. This campus puts you in the center of great things and I would strongly recommend coming here.
UCSC is one of those nearly big UC's that fell like a small town liberal arts school. Minus the small town gossip, minus everyone knowing who you are, where you are from and everything about your daily life and definately minus the harsh presence of the stereotypical "college" environment, such as frats and sororities. For those whom love and live for the outdoors, such as surfing, sailing, biking, hiking and camping it provides a plethora of activities as well as breath taking views and scenery of redwoods and the Monterrey Bay. The most common complaint I hear of UCSC is the lack of appreciation, funding and spotlight given to athletics at UCSC. Athletics is a big thing on most college campuses, and although a lot of students UCSC are in fact athletes, every year more and more athletic programs find themselves being cut or in desperate in need of funding. The second most common complaint that I hear from students is the lack of parties. Although I completely agree with the first complaint, this one is far from the truth. Sure, parties at UCSC may not live up to the college parties portrayed by the media (except for those Bonny Doon parties that I hear of) but good parties are never in short supply here at UCSC. UCSC is a great college to attend, and in my two years at UCSC my experiences completely reinforce my decision to attend one of the UC's that is usually under appreciated and valued by most people.
Hana SophomoreReviews provided by: Unigo