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University of California-Santa Cruz

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Describe the students at your school.

There aren't a lot of super right-wing radical religious people. You're more likely to find tree-huggers, tree-sitters, war-protesters, etc. It's very liberal here. The atmosphere is very LGBT friendly. While there are clusters of people--Asians, African Americans, Caucasians, Latinos, etc--people interact and cross racial boundaries. It's blended, which is nice. A student who is very religious or very conservative might feel a little out of place. There are religious groups on campus, but not many, and not many conservative groups either. It's very "save the planet, save the trees, save Darfur, help the underprivileged!" The teachers are liberal, too, and mostly secular. Especially in physics a lot of people roll their eyes at the proponents of Intelligent Design or make jokes about it. Most students wear whatever. There are definitely the "cool" kids, who were obviously the popular kids in high school, but mostly people wear jeans or slacks, or on hot days skirts and low-cut tops. Lots of flip-flops, though hiking those hills in flip-flops can be down-right dangerous. Most kids are pretty casual about what they wear. Four tables at the dining hall--depends on which dining hall! College 9/10 has more Asians than any of the other colleges, and Oakes has more African Americans/Latinos. Of course people eat at different college dining halls, but if you go to either of those you're more likely to see ethnic groups. Crown is more white, but not exclusively. A lot--at least a quarter--of students come from Southern California. A lot come from the Bay Area--San Francisco, and further north. There's definitely a blending of "So-Cal" and "Nor-Cal." There are definitely some Orange County people here. You can pick them out by how they dress--very movie-star-ish. Big sun glasses, fancy purses, skinny, tanned, waxed, etc. But certainly not all are like that. I think the financial backgrounds are mostly middle class. I don't think there are a lot of students who come from either very poor or very rich families. It's rather homogeneous in that sense . Students are VERY VERY politically aware and active. Lots of protests, lots of activities, lots of discussions--by the way, all the activities on campus are great. We have an amazing performing arts center, and lots and lots of sponsored events on various socio-political issues, every single week. You could spend your entire time here just seeing all of the events. LEFT! LEFT! In the words of one teacher, "Professors here range in their views from Left, to Far Far Left." Some, but not most, students talk about how much they'll earn. Students are well-aware they'll have to pay back their loans and such, but most are more concerned either with just graduating or with helping people, or doing what they want to do in life.

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UCSC is the UC that has the students with the richest parents. Supposedly (I've heard it from an Economics professor and several other creditable sources), they have the most assets and the highest incomes. But you might not be able to tell by the looks of many of the students here. Many students do not dress up all pretentious or flashy. And many of those students are aware of their economic privileges (though like with most things, not all students do). But there are also a lot of students who are part of EOP (Educational Opportunities Program) who are first-generation college students, generally from lower socio-economic backgrounds than other students whose parents did go to college. I'm not sure about the religious make-up of the university, but I do know that there are clubs for different religions here. But hey, if you come and that club doesn't exist for your specific religion, you always have the opportunity to create it! But that goes for any club or organization. We're also pretty accepting and supportive of the LGBTQQIA (did I miss a letter?) community. This community has many allies here, and this is generally a safe space to come out (there are many people who don't feel safe to come out at other universities, which translates to: "There aren't a lot of LGBTs in this community." Yeah right! ). There are a couple of clubs for it, we hold a yearly Drag Ball at Oakes College, a Glitter Ball at Merrill College, a Queer Fashion Show at Porter C., and a PRIDE Festival at Kresge C. in which all the colleges participate. But there are actually a bunch of other events that I can't remember. The genearal atmosphere does depend greatly depending at which college you're at. I'm from Oakes and I can say that it's pretty chill and really diverse. We have a lot of wonderful people who keep it pretty real. I won't speak for other colleges though.

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Racially, UCSC is not the most diverse campus. About 55% of the university is white, while only 3% or so is black, leaving the rest of the percentage to other races, the largest portions of which being Asian/Pacific Islander and Latino/a. As for religion, it isn't really discussed much, so I think people who are really religious have a hard time finding spaces to discuss it on campus. I know there are numerous resources for Christian, Jewish, and Muslim students, but beyond that it is pretty limited. As for LGBTQ students, there is a resource center and, as a queer student, I would say there is a generally friendly atmosphere on campus. I have heard of a few problems, but mostly it is a very accepting school of LGBTQ students. Statistically, this school has the highest family income than any other school in the UC system. That means a lot of students here have their education paid for by their parents. As someone who is financially independent from her parents, I can say that my experience is very rare and sometimes it can be frustrating. Usually students wear jeans, flip flops and sweat shirts to class, nothing fancy. I would say that different types of students interact well. Most UCSC students are either from the LA/San Diego area or the Bay Area, as well as the Central Valley. There is a small international student population, as well. Students are generally politically active and aware and are definitely predominantly left politically.

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There are all different students at UCSC. There are ethnic resource centers for minorities including the African American resource center, the Chicano/Latino resource center, the American Indian resource center, and the Asian/Pacific Islander resource center. These centers offer support for minority groups and put on events that anyone can attend. In addition, the Cantu Queer Center provides support for LGBT students and friends and often has mixers and other fun events. Socio-economic resources include E Squared, a building that offers free textbooks and other resources for students who need financial support. Students with disabilities are also supported at UCSC, especially at the Disability Resource Center, which makes special accommodations for students who need them. For example, I had a job through the school driving blind students to their classes. So, there is a lot of diversity at UCSC but everyone mixes together, especially in the residential colleges and at all the campus events and clubs. This is because all UCSC students are passionate, interested in academics, and open-minded. In fact, I can't think of anyone who would feel out of place at UCSC other than someone closed-minded. Students come from all over but mostly just from California because it is more costly to attend UCSC if you're from out of state.

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Students at UCSC are from every race, sexuality, religion and ethnicity you could imagine. There is a strong LGBT community as well as many other communities which help promote cultural difference and representation. The main difference you find at UCSC is the location of students. It seems that most white kids are at cowell and stevenson and most latino or african american students are in Oakes. While you can pick which specific college you live in, you're not always granted first choice and I find that most minorites/majorities are grouped together. I The main issue I find with social cliques on campus is that greek life has the notion of superiority. Quite far fetched since greek life is not huge on campus. However it does seem they alienate themselves from others. To each their own, but most everyone else gets along and has no issues holding conversations and building new relationships. One fun thing though about UCSC is the variety of fashion you'll find day to day. While there will always be the girls in leggings, sweatshirts and Uggs, there will usually be a guy dressed in all black leather and studs next to her in lecture hall! There's a great sense of risk with fashion as well as a relaxed attitude towards dressing for class.

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Students at UCSC are very diverse and extremely accepting. Our school definitely has that "safe" feel about it, meaning that everyone can be themselves without having to worry about being judged. The LGBT groups on campus are really prevalent, and have a lot of activities throughout the year. On the other side of the spectrum, the racial and religious groups at school are also really prevalent and host a LOT of activities throughout the year. There isn't a set group that everyone seems to be part of, rather there's a variety of different groups that everyone participates in. Most of the students are from California, but out of state students can be found around campus. "Different" types of students do interact, like I said, most everyone is accepting at this school. Politics is really prevalent at school, with students participating in protests and being politically aware. The majority of the students are liberal, but again, there are those few that are conservative. I don't feel like anyone would feel out of place at this school, because there seems to be a niche for everyone.

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There are all groups represented on campus. We have a large LGBT representation, and we are a very tolerant student body. I can't imagine that any student would feel out of place. An extremely conservative student may feel out of place, but I've met some and they appear happy here. Most students are from California, but some are from other places, including the east coast and other countries. Different types of students tend to interact out of necessity and often become good friends. The financial backgrounds vary, but it tends to be a wealthy school. Students can afford to eat organic foods and wear nice clothing (though some choose not to). I was told by a professor that we have one of the wealthiest backgrounds of any UC. Students are very politically aware, and many are active. They are predominantly left or far left. I have never heard a student talk about how much money he or she will earn one day. We are a liberal arts school, mostly, and students talk about what they will accomplish in society, not what they will ear.

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UCSC students are predominantly from California, but not from one specific region. Most come from fairly wealthy families, but downplay this. Santa Cruz is not an urban place, so somebody looking for a big city feel and bumping nightlife would feel out of place. While San Francisco is about an hour and 20 minute drive away, Santa Cruz its self is tucked up between mountains and ocean. UCSC students are probably more introverted overall than at other colleges, but at the same time friendly and very open minded. It is a very liberal school, and people who like George Bush would feel very uncomfortable at this university. Most people are politically aware, perhaps not particularly active, but know a bit about foreign affairs. It is hard to generalize because you will find people here and everywhere, some of whom have their head in the clouds, and others who are NPR junkies.

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UCSC is diverse and extremely open-minded. The university is separated into ten colleges, so that it is easier for new students to get adjusted and not feel overwhelmed by the thousands of students that come up to campus. Before arriving, we get to pick which college we want to be affiliated with. Students decide based on the look of the college, the people that live at the college, and the college theme. Each college has a theme, and my college theme was Social Justice and Community. Every college has a core class that the students must attend, and the course is focused on the theme. My college discussed social problems that come up in our community (i.e. our city, our state, our country) such as racism, sexism, and issues with class. It is good to actually talk about matters that are relevant in today's society and figure out ways to overcome those problems.

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There is a distinct lack of racial diversity in UCSC that any member of the administration would be awkward in dealing with. There are posters on every bus-stop assuring, what seems to be many supportive groups relating to race. Of course what should be important is UCSC showing me that there is a place for my race and class no matter what they are. In my position it may be difficult to clarify. Luckily most lectures and classes are run with a prevailing focus on informality. I have no way of knowing how many times I have gone to class wearing pajamas. The point is that UCSC classes offers the anonymity necessary to blend into the back of a philosophy lecture.

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