University of California, Santa Barbara–Santa Barbara, CA
Beach Party Meets 4.0
What it Feels Like to Go Here
Who said getting a quality education meant sacrificing a good time? At UC Santa Barbara, this is the motto–and then some. Besides sitting on prime real estate along the Southern California coast where beach volleyball, sunny skies and day parties last year-round, UCSB prides itself on sending out students into the real world who set the bar high for themselves at a bargain tuition. You’ll find most students rolling to class on beach cruisers or long boards, and everyone seems to be as far from stressed out as possible. “A day beginning on campus in class or studying in our new library can lead us to Pizza My Heart for a slice and beer with friends, to Campus Point Beach for a surf or your Del Playa backyard for the sunset…to Dublin’s for a game of pool, then to Study Hall to drink and dance with friends. And maybe that’s on a Tuesday,” senior Mackenzie Gorman said. If you’re looking for the quintessential California experience, this might be it.
UCSB is no stranger to sending out awesome grads into the world. Alumni include Grammy-winning acoustic singer Jack Johnson and legendary crazy-hair-flow DJ Steve Aoki, who would actually host live sets out of his apartment, calling it “The Pickle Patch.” Gwyneth Paltrow, Oscar-winning Actress for her lead role in the 90’s classic Shakespeare in Love, also attended the school. You may also remember her as Robert Downey Jr.’s assistant/lover from Iron Man or the unlucky subject of Kevin Spacey’s “What’s in the Box?!” signature move in Se7en. Alumni Harvey Levin left his law practice to found TMZ. Yep, that pop culture website you tell everyone you despise but actually love combing through every day.
Where We Hang
What do you get when you make a neighborhood composed of almost all college students and make it one of the 25 densest communities in California per square mile? Two words: Isla Vista. A college student’s dream, there’s no shortage of good times, great vibes and new people. “I love the compactness of IV [Isla Vista],” communication major Wyatt Licht said. “Skating from class, I can make plans for the whole weekend just by passing all my friends on the way home.” Weekends also find students heading to the “Funk Zone,” a series of top-notch art galleries, cafes and bars nestled in between historical warehouses and old, abandoned buildings–a great spot to hit for a quick change of pace.
1. How much are students partying?
While students around the country know Santa Barbara is a place to have a good time, that’s not all this school is about. “Don’t get me wrong, we have plenty of daygers due to our beautiful beachside weather but that’s not our life all the time,” said senior Hannah Gunter. “All of my peers are both socially and academically competent as UCSB caters to both sides of college life.” Students here tend to live the best of both worlds, setting them up for a well-rounded education and experience
2. What will you get in trouble for at your school?
Like most other colleges recently, UCSB has seen a recent increase in law enforcement surrounding the night scene. Student-athlete Alden Geller definitely hit on this point. “Isla Vista from my freshman year to now has definitely changed tenfold…they’re [law enforcement] cracking down on parties more and really enforcing the noise ordinance(s).” Even though this might be a damper on your party, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time. Silent disco anyone?
3. How Much Sex are Students Having on Campus?
While most students wanted to remain anonymous, the response was generally the same–UCSB students enjoy their experience in a bunch of different ways, including going out having fun with the people they meet.
4. What would you tell incoming freshman about your school?
“It doesn’t matter what you did in high school, what you’re doing now or where you’re headed–there’s a place for everyone [at UCSB] to feel involved and contribute something,” senior Alex Dickinson said. Inclusivity triumphs!
5. What is one thing that separates UCSB’s campus from the rest?
Most students agreed UCSB is unlike anywhere else, and not just for the great beach view. “The community has a unique solidarity and friendliness that helps ease the challenging academics and creates relationships that can’t be found anywhere else,” explained communications major Kathlyn Skolnik. Open-mindedness is definitely uniform.
“To me, UCSB cultivates a rich learning environment where students learn important academic and social skills by adopting a work-hard-play-hard mentality…These are the type of people I want to work with once I graduate.” — Noelle Claycomb, Biology major, Senior
“I love the atmosphere at UCSB because everyone is so friendly, even to random passerbys. We also live in such a beautiful environment with an ocean and coastal mountains to explore. I find it so easy to be curious, studious and happy.” — Lulu Erkeneff, Biology major, Senior
“There is no other place like [Santa Barbara]. You’ll never get the culmination of living in a beach town while going to one of the top universities in the country anywhere else. Like I tell everyone, it’s paradise.” — Alden Geller Global Studies major, Senior
“Because our school is top-notch, the people you surround yourself with at UCSB all have a high intellectual capacity, in combination with spirit, great humor, easy-going natures, kindness and being down for anything.” — Mackenzie Gorman, Biology major, Senior
“My life here has flourished, allowing me to find the perfect balance that so many people in college seek. Being able to relax and enjoy life but still having everybody wake up and still want to grind and succeed is what college is all about.” — Jon Kroll, Spanish and Psychology double major, Senior
Top 3 Majors
1. Social sciences
3. Visual and Performing Arts
Top 3 Most Popular Student Organizations
1. The UCSB Surf Club is one of the most decorated surf teams in the nation. Don’t expect a smooth current on the path to getting a spot on the team, though. All members must try out beforehand to be places on the A, B or C team depending on their skill level. “Most people that make it on to the team have some competitive experience, from high school or earlier,” surf team member Stephanie Schechter said. “We’re at the highest level of surfing at the college level.” Better start practicing!
2. Need some jams to accompany the around-the-clock coastal vibes? Say no more–SB’s student radio station has got you covered. “As a DJ on KCSB, UCSB’s local radio station, I’m able to learn from programmers new and old and value the diversity UCSB has to offer,” DJ Olivia LaMonte said. You’ll find everything from gospel to electronic to everything in between, meaning there’s something for every member–on or off air.
3. Like at many other Universities, pre-professional Greek organizations are a great way to form connections within your major that can help you in a career. “I’ve found that people at UCSB are very open to not only sharing, but also learning from each others’ experiences,” senior Michael Arnold said of his experience as former president of a pre-med club. “Mu Delta had shown me that I am not alone in my pursuit.” There are clubs like these in many important fields, so have a look for yourself.
Despite this beach town paradise giving off easy-going vibes, getting into UCSB is no sunny day in the sand–the Gauchos deny roughly two in three applicants. Not only that, but the niversity recently set a school record for most applications in 2015, meaning getting to that sun is as popular–and as hard to get to–as ever. What does this mean? Diversify yourself! “The community of people is so diverse in so many areas, whether it be family background, political or religious beliefs and just overall outlook on life,” Arnold said. Don’t expect academics alone to get you here–a well-rounded high school transcript will definitely be more impressive.
Location: Santa Barbara, California
Tuition & Fees: $13,865 in-state, 38,573 out-of-state
Total Cost on Campus: $31,926 In-State, $56,634 Out-of-State
Undergrads Enrolled: 20,238
Grads Enrolled: 2,813
Total Enrolled: 23,051
Acceptance percentage: 36.3%
Percent Admitted Who Enroll: 20% (Estimated)
Percentage of Male Students: 47.5%
Percentage of Female Students: 52.5%
Percentage of Aid Recipients Receiving Federal Loans: 24%
Percentage of Aid Recipients Receiving Federal Grants: 76%