Santa Cruz, CA
University of California-Santa Cruz

284 Ratings

On-Campus Housing

Off-Campus Housing

Campus Food

Campus Facilities

Class Size


Local Services


You may be eligible! These Lenders offer loans to students who attend University of California-Santa Cruz

Variable  rate loan

*Results provided by SimpleTuition.
SimpleTuition is an independent comparison site and is not affiliated with colleges or universities that may be referenced in these results. Loan offers from participating lenders that appear also have no affiliation with any college or university referenced. Not all lenders participate in our site and lenders that do participate may not offer loans to every school. We remind users that there are many additional borrowing options available - use SimpleTuition as part of your larger quest for college financing. Shop around and make the choice that's best for you and maximize use of grants and federal aid options whenever possible. We may receive transaction or referral fees when a user selects a product from a partner lender or advertiser. Our company mission is based on the premise that choice and transparency are good. There is no additional cost to a user who selects a loan presented by one of our partners.

Recent Reviews

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Oh my goodness, the bureaucracy. Seriously, everything administrative about this school is stuck on stupid. My freshman yea...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Oh my goodness, the bureaucracy. Seriously, everything administrative about this school is stuck on stupid. My freshman year the city buses went on strike. They keep making the rules more and more strict on campus. The academia is excellent, the students are cool, and it's a beautiful place to go to school, but trying to get a diploma is like wrestling a dragon for 4 years. Currently there are a bunch of tree-sitters protesting the expansion and it caused a lot of drama. The locals hate us a lot: there's a Santa Cruz Party Ordinance which makes it so that noise violations build cumulative fines that stay with the house after you move-so if you move off campus and throw one party at a house that had a lot of fines before, you could be looking at thousands of dollars over one night! This place caters to the college crowd, but it isn't really a normal town. We have amazing places to eat, but no In N Out, no Arby's, no real drive thrus, and most places except for bars, Saturn Cafe, Santa Cruz Diner, and Longs close fairly early. The school is actually getting too large for the town to handle, so there are probably going to be a few years where UCSC is harder to get into because of the limited resources. There's some school pride(we're the Banana Slugs, after all!) but not much in the way of sports or school spirit events. There are a lot of athletic, active people, but most of them are more about fun than representing the college. My experiences here are pretty amazing, and there's so many things I did(most of them I don't actually want published) that you'd have to try yourself, and it's an unforgettable experience.

Describe the students at your school.

I think this is a really comfortable, safe environment to come out of your shell. Really conservative people would definitely feel out of place, but the nature of most people here is to live and let live, so as long as you don't impose your opinions on others most people don't bother you about stuff. There's a culture of weird here, people love to be different and weird and unique. I've seen a lot of girls with mowhawks. You tend to find out someone is gay within five minutes of meeting them because they're that upfront about it. Students wear everything from the latest fall fashion to wrinkled sweats around here, it's really nothing to stress over. There are some cool thrift stores around town that I like to shop at to find super cheap-but-cute threads. The school is separated into different 'colleges' which creates a sense of community, but it also means that it's easier to never branch out and meet people across campus. People definitely interact a lot, but on average proximity and lifestyle can really account for a lot of the friends you'll make on campus, so make sure you put a little thought in where you live on campus your freshman year. I lived at Porter, which is the crazy kids/art/drug college, but there's a different theme and core class for each college, so make sure you pick the one that best fits you or you might be dissatisfied with the atmosphere at your college.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Not really. I know some hippies and a lot of people who spend all their time smoking pot, but most of my friends are not really like that. There is a lot of weird stuff that happens like the First Rain and 4/20, but there's stuff like that at a lot of colleges, we're just known for it and it's really just an extreme generalization. As far as UCSC being the 'easy' UC, we actually have a really strong undergrad program in several majors, especially linguistics, much better than a lot of more competitive schools in California (those schools have great grad programs and that's where their prestige comes from, but undergrad there is underfunded). I've taken some amazing classes, and most people I know are very intelligent, not a bunch of slackers.

What are the academics like at your school?

A few of my professors have remembered my name, but the lower division class sizes are such that you can form a relationship with your professor, but they won't know you exist unless you come to them after class or during their office hours. My favorite class is Human Sexuality, with Overview of the Universe being a close runner-up. Least favorite was Statistics, because I'm not a math person. The extent to which students study varies widely: I had a boyfriend who seemed to eat, sleep, and breathe his chemistry books, but I also know a ton of people who study about as much as I do, and some who never, ever study. Ever. A lot of people ask really stupid questions in class that don't need to be asked. You know THAT guy, the one you really wish would just shush and let the teacher continue teaching? We have one of those in just about every class. I have had a lot of intense conversations outside class with people. Most people don't really compete at all, especially not within majors, where usually we're just trying to help each other out and get the best grades possible. The most unique class I have taken was Introduction to the Horror Film. Yes, you read that right. It was a literature class and it actually gave a very sophisticated analytical look at the development of horror through several decades. My major, psychology, is super impacted, just like everywhere, but it's not impossible to get classes. The professors are incredibly intelligent, and several of them are also therapists as a profession, so if you want that career they're interesting to talk to. You can usually talk to professors during their office hours, or if you run into them randomly and say 'hey I'm in your class' most of our professors are extremely laid back and will smile and talk to you for a minute. UCSC has some academic requirements that are inconvenient, but they throw you into some really cool classes. The thing I find irritating is that a lot of classes I need are offered simultaneously so I can't take both the same quarter. UCSC is a university, so compared to the little major-intensive 'get your degree in 20 minutes' colleges out there it's much more anchored in learning for learning's sake, but if you pick a major that leads to a specific profession it's possible to get a job right out of college. Most people are looking at grad school upon completion, however, because it's becoming more and more important to employers at competitive professions to have more than undergrad.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

That we're all a bunch of stupid hippies! People think that 100 percent of us are pot-smoking, tree-hugging, liberal-minded morons. Also, a lot of people think that it's the 'easy' UC and that we're not as smart on average as other college students.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Organizations? Bah! Actually there's a few fraternities and Calpirg and some other things around here, but I, like many of my friends, don't really get into that stuff. I used to be really involved in extracurriculars in high school, but at UCSC there's a lot going on whether you sign up for stuff or not, so it's not a big deal. Students are very open at the dorms, depending on what part of campus you're at. I know people that would rig their doors to never lock, and you could knock on their door whenever you felt like it and they'd hang out with you. Athletic events are not popular, really. Guest speakers, especially poets and famous people, do tend to frequent the campus and draw large numbers, and the theater program has free shows that get big numbers as well. Andre Nickatina comes here pretty often and has really popular shows which a lot of people like. The dating scene itself is just like any other place, but it's a really cool place to go on fun dates if you're involved with someone. There's this awesome restaurant called Chocolate downtown that is a really cute romantic place to go on a date. My closest friends are from Porter college, and I met them by living near them over the course of my freshman year. If I'm up on Tuesday at 2am, I'm either playing videogames with my boyfriend and his housemates or finishing some homework or playing on my computer when I should be sleeping. Every year there is the First Rain and 4/20. These events are legend. People party pretty often, but it's not a daily thing. Frats and sororities are really not important at all: you can find plenty to do outside the greeks. Last weekend I went on campus for a guy's 21st birthday and my friends had a wine and cheese party at their apartment. If you don't want to drink on a Saturday night you can go out to eat, go to a show at the Catalyst or the Attic or otherwise, go bowling, if the weather is good you can go to the beach and have a bonfire, or you can hang out with friends at each other's houses which is what most people seem to do. Off campus is basically the same as on, except it's less of a community vibe, there's no CSO or RA people, and the food is usually better because dining halls are not exactly gourmet cuisine most of the time.

What is your overall opinion of this school?

If I could change one thing, I would add more of a greek system. Until this year, I was part of the only international sorori...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

If I could change one thing, I would add more of a greek system. Until this year, I was part of the only international sorority on campus. When I wear my letters I can feel people judging me sometimes, and there isnt as much of a social scene because of how much santa cruz disapproves of greeks. Most everyone in the greek system complains about this, and people who aren't in it usually complain that there is not enough of a sports atmosphere, almost no one goes to games and we dont even have a football team. Even though there are almost 20,000 people here, it doesn't seem that big because it is broken up into 10 different colleges so you feel like you belong to a smaller community. There is a pretty good community in the down town area and a lot of student hang out and go to bars down there, but as long as you are living on campus you dont see much of it because its a 20 minute bus ride away. There is always a protest going on, which most of the time is pretty cool because it makes it easy to get involved, but sometimes it is taken too far and can even get violent. Recently we had a bunch of people tree sitting for almost 2 months on science hill and a whole parking lot was blocked off and they ended up blocking off a lot of entrances to buildings, which was pretty inconvenient. But people around here are very passionate about the environment and it shows. Its pretty obvious from our mascot, the banana slug, that we are not the typical college campus. We do still have a lot of the hippie traditions around like drum circles and the annual first rain naked run and a lot of other things that make you say "only in santa cruz". I think one of my most memerable experiences would be on 4-20 where hundreds of students flock to one large field and a huge cloud of pot smoke lingers above for the durration of the day. The amazing part, no cops or campus workers interfere.

Describe the students at your school.

The one thing me and all my friends have always said is that you can get away with wearing anything in santa cruz; a paper bag, overalls, even dressed as some sort of animal or plant; except wearing high heels. Because our campus is hilly this really makes sense but those preppy girly girls would probably be the only ones anyone would look twice at. That said, I'm in a sorority and I own 4 pairs of heels and get plenty of chances to wear them, just not anywhere on campus. There is a very casual bohemian feel to the average students wardrobe, but the spectrum is still pretty large. All different types of students mingle together and even though most people have a very distinctive style of their own they are all open minded for the most part and willing to broaden their mind. Tables of people in the dining hall will generally be completely random. I have a group of generally girly girl friends and sometimes we eat with the gangster hyphy crowd. That said, there are cliques and people are pretty close to their little group, but also very open to getting to know others. Almost all UC students in general are from california, and santa cruz is no exception. I would say about 60% are from northern california and 40% from socal, and about 85% are white. It is the most liberal school ever, so much to the point where you know that one kid in your building who is a republican. Everyone votes, in election years there are tables all over campus with flyers and information on different candidates. Money is not as important, and its not a common topic. It seems that normal for most college students, we are all relatively broke, and even though there is a spoiled kid here and there it is considered "uncool" to brag about that kind of thing.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Even though there are hippies, there are also jocks, preps, gangsters, and everything else across the board. The part of us that is still hippie-like is our thinking. Everyone is really positive and all about peace and love. Its amazing to walk into a bathroom stall and see a bunch of graffiti that, instead of hate messages and swear words, has poetry and uplifting thoughts and quotes.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

There are a lot of organized groups and clubs on campus, but none of them have major popularity. I am a part of one of 2 international sororities on campus, and we have a lot of events and its a lot of fun, but greeks have a pretty bad reputation on our campus and we aren't allowed to have houses so that limits us. On a scale of 1 to 10 the popularity of athletic events is about a 1.5...people generally only know we have sports teams at all because of the parties they throw. In terms of dating, I read on a website once that the girls at santa cruz were graded as "A" and the boys as "C-" and I think that pretty much sums it up. There aren't as many people out on the dating scene because there aren't as many people worth dating. But there are so many other things to do that it usually doesn't matter. I met most of my closes friends here during the first week in my college, Cowell. We all lived in one of two adjacent buildings and met at one of the get-to-know-each-other socials that seem lame, but are really handy. Santa Cruz does an amazing job of placing roommates together, and my freshman roommate is still my housemate and one of my best friends. While living on campus, there is always something going on and always someone awake, there is never a dead moment (except sunday mornings). People party pretty often here, but it has been restricted by the party ordinance which will slap a house with huge fines if the cops show up, but there are ways to avoid it. I spend most weekends partying friday, saturday and sometimes thursday night and spend my days studying or enjoying the campus by hiking or picnicing. If I need a night away from drinking, I can generally find a friend who feels the same way and we cook ourselves dinner and watch a movie or go out to a cafe downtown. There are plenty of low key things to do downtown and its a common place to find students.

What are the academics like at your school?

I am majoring in psych, the most impacted major, so so far as an undergrad i have gotten to know none of my professors. The only time I tend to get to know teachers is when they are graduate students. But it really hasnt affected how much I have learned or enjoyed a particular class. My favorite classes have actually been outside of my major and the reason I liked them so much was because of the brilliant professors. Its pretty rare to be able to say you took a class taught by Angela Davis; she has been through a lot and really made me question a lot of societal norms. I actually cant even recall a least favorite class because even if I dont like the subject, I love the teacher, or vice versa. Even though procrastination seems to be popular here, students do spend a lot of time studying- usually in downtown coffee shops or on campus libraries. There are plenty of places to choose from, and the atmospheres have really encouraged good study habits. One of my favorite things about college is how often students have intellectual conversations outside of the classroom. Last night I was at a party and I got into a conversation with a few of my friends on first, current politics, and next the afterlife and our beliefs on religion. People are not afraid to think outside of the box here and take others ideas into deep consideration. There is a small percentage of people who are highly competitive but most students are just here for the knowledge, and if anything they are only competing with themselves. The GE's here are awesome because they are very broad and instead of being forced to take Math 101 you can take intro to logic or observational astronomy to satisfy the requirement. Classes range from normal college topics to bizarre ones such as a study of The Beatles or of Naked Art History.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

Everyone assumes that the large hippy movement that took place in santa cruz a few decades ago is still prominent. There are some people who never shave, eat grass out of paper bags, and wear all the flowy hippy clothing, but that is only part of our student body. We also have a reputation for being the easiest of the UC campuses, the low one on the totem pole.


  • Enrollment
  • 16,962
  • Tuition & Fees
  • $13,539
  • Acceptance rate
  • 58%

Campus Topics

    • {{q.Category}}
      • {{q.Question}}
        ({{q.TotalAnswered}} answers)
      • No Answers Yet :(
        Be the first to write a review!
        {{vm.getPercentage(pa.TotalAnswered,q.TotalAnswered)}}% "{{pa.Answer}}"

Most-Answered Questions

We use student reviews and the most current publicly available data on our school pages. As such, we don't typically remove or edit college information. Sources for school statistics and data include the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. Portions of college data include copyrighted material, which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. © 2009-2016 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.

University of California-Santa Cruz administrators: claim your school to add photos and details.