Tag Archives: tours

UC Santa Cruz


You may have asked,how does a school get the mascot of banana slugs? Well, let me tell you. In 1980 UCSC entered the NCAA. Rather than make the banana slug (the long-lasting mascot celebrated by students) their official mascot, the chancellor chose the sea lions. Although they were formally known as the sea lions, students still cheered on the banana slugs. Finally, in 1986, the students took it to a vote, resulting in the banana slugs becoming the official Santa Cruz mascot.

I personally think that it’s the greatest mascot ever. It’s silly, and funny, and just so weird. I love it.

I went to Santa Cruz on my way back home from San Francisco.  The drive took less than an hour and a half and it was sooooo beautiful. Here are some pictures from that drive:

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Downtown Santa Cruz is a very cute little town. It’s sweet and has food and has thrift stores and chain stores. The beaches there are great and the board walk is soooooo fun! There are great neighborhoods and the natural scenery of both the coast and the forest is absolutely INCREDIBLE. The biggest problem I saw there was homelessness, it was very prevalent and very sad to see. Regardless, I think it’s a great place to live. No, it’s not a big city, but it’s close enough to one! My favorite one at that. 

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I didn’t really like the info session. It wasn’t very entertaining or personal but there was one thing that I found very interesting: UCSC is “ranked second in research influence as measured by the number of times its faculty’s published work is cited by scholars around the world.” Whoa. This was not something I expected to hear at this school. I know that UCSC is a good university, but I haven’t heard anything about it having a strong reputation for research. The only school rated above it for this category is Rice and MIT is tied with it. Pretty cool stuff! If you want to read more about this, go to http://news.ucsc.edu/2012/10/research-influence.html.

I most enjoyed learning about the residential college system at the school. There are 10 different colleges all with different themes and focuses. You get to choose the ones you are most interested in. One’s residential college is unaffected by their major, which allows students to explore areas of interest outside of their academics. I really like this because I am interested in sooooooo many things and I like the thought of studying and living with like-minded peers. Each college looked and felt different and it seemed like a very cool system.

Here are some dorms at one of the colleges:

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Here’s a cafe at one of the colleges (possibly the same as the one above):



Here’s a dorm:


And here’s a poor picture of the inside of it:



And here’s another college:

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Another thing I thought was cool was a program called UCDC. This is a trip that consists of students from all of the UC’s. Anyone, regardless of their major, can apply and be accepted for the trip. I found this really exciting because I am interested in environmental policy and it would be really cool to study in DC even if I am not a formal poli sci or environmental policy major.

I also found the food on campus to be really interesting. Their food is highly rated for being sustainable, organic, and vegetarian and vegan friendly. I value this pretty highly and I know I would love having these options for food on campus.

Here’s one of the cafeterias:

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It’s hard to put into words just how beautiful the campus is. The best way to sum it up is that you can look one way and see the ocean…

IMG_1174 Can you see it? It’s that blue stuff in the distance.

…and turn around and remember that you’re in the middle of the Red Woods.


The sheer natural beauty is just overwhelming. Your walk to class is literally a nature walk. It’s soooo cool!!

This is the base/entry of campus. You drive in from a residential area and then drive uphill through pastures to get into campus. There are buses that go all around campus and some that go to town so it’s always easy to get where you need to be. You’d never have to walk from the top of campus to the bottom, or vice versa.

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The primary reason I am interested in Santa Cruz is their marine bio program. First of all, they have one. Second of all, it’s a very strong program. Third of all, their lab, the Long Marine Lab, is the largest in the country. What?!?!? It just blows my mind and makes me so I excited I can’t even explain. The lab is off campus but it’s only about 20 minutes away. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the lab, even though I tried to!


Other things I learned on my visit:

  • You can’t have a car on campus your first two years
  • There is a very convenient/useful bus system on campus
  • Undeclared students have until the end of Sophomore year to choose a major
  • There are over 100 organizations on campus
  • 10% of students are in Greek life
  • Freshmen have many options for housing
  • Housing is guaranteed for two years
  • There co-ed bathrooms and dorms (yuck), but you can request single sex
  • They send more students abroad then any other UC
  • Each student gets 50 “flex dollars” each quarter
  • There are 1,000 grad students
  • The average graduation time is 4.25 years
  • There is a survey for getting roommates
  • The athletics are D3
  • The campus is open until 8 pm

The central hub of campus was nice. There was the student union, places to eat, a convenience store, and the student store! I thought it was a fun place. However, it was rush week when I was there so all the fraternities and sororities were out trying to recruit members…I found it relatively obnoxious. But that’s okay! At least it was lively.

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The little convenience mart:



The very popular pizza place, which my mom and I ate at:IMG_1233

And, finally, the rest of my photos!!

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Our tour guide was very nice, enthusiastic, intelligent, and informative. It was a really good tour, beside from the boring info session, and I really recommend visiting if you are interested and have the chance. I also got to talk to a girl who is from my area. She really likes it there and she was very nice and smart, which was great to see!

Although I loved it there, my main concern about going to UCSC is that it won’t fit me very well. For example, they have a reputation as being a pot school. I don’t want to perpetuate this reputation, as I have had no personal experiences to judge from, but this does not fit who I am at all. Obviously, the social norms do not dictate how good a school is or who all the students turn out to be, but I’d rather not go to a school where most students value drugs as part of the culture. Like I said, I have no idea what it is actually like there so I don’t want to make any assumptions!! If anyone knows what UCSC is like socially, please share in the comments!

It is part of the prestigious UC system, but it is not generally thought of as one of the more prestigious UC’s. I think that this is mostly because it is a newer UC and I expect that the reputation will strengthen as time passes.There are many aspects of this school that I love and many that I don’t really like. I wouldn’t say it’s the perfect school for me but I am going to apply because I really like it overall.

If you have any thoughts or comments to share about Santa Cruz, pleeeassee do so in a comment! I’d love to hear what you have to say about it.

If you want more information on Santa Cruz, go to http://collegeprowler.com/university-of-california—-santa-cruz/

Thank you for reading and good luck!