See what students say:


The University of California—Santa Cruz offers one of the nation’s best combinations of “focus on scholastic endeavors in a beautiful forest setting” and is, by all accounts “a great place to live and study!” Students attribute their enthusiasm to “intelligent, eloquent, and easily accessible professors,” academics that are “impressive and challenging,” and fellow students who are “happy, open-minded, and a little bit crazy.” This school is best suited to those who can motivate themselves in a “chill” environment and the sort of student whose motto might be, “There’s no point in learning if you’re too stressed to enjoy it.” The sciences are “world-class” at UCSC, and the school also boasts “one of the finest engineering programs in the UCs” as well as “a great marine biology program.” While the “professors all do research,” what sets them apart from those at the typical research-driven university is that “they are very passionate about their subject even when teaching undergrads,” and they “also tend to be quite approachable despite having large class sizes and allow students to attend their office hours for extra help.” The school also offers undergrads “a lot of opportunities in terms of internships, research opportunities, job opportunities, and networking.” “There’s a focus on undergraduate study” here, one student contentedly reports.

Student Body

“The ‘stereotypical’ Santa Cruz student is a hippie,” and the school certainly has its fair share of those, but “there are many different types who attend UCSC.” ”The typical student is very hardworking,” and “it seems that almost every student here has a personal passion, whether it be an activism or cause of some sort, etc.,” one student writes. “Everyone is so…alive.” “Most are liberal,” and there’s a definite propensity for earnestness; it’s the sort of place where students declare without irony that they “not only possess a great respect for one another but the world and life in general. The world to an average UCSC student is a sacred and beautiful place to be shared and enjoyed by all its inhabitants.”

Campus Life

Undergrads rave about the “take-your-breath-away beauty” of the heavily wooded UCSC campus; one says it’s like “taking paths through the forest that resemble Endor only to find a lecture hall at the end.” Another adds, “Almost every time my friends and I walk around outside, someone comments on how lucky we are to be surrounded by such beauty. Whether the silvery ocean, the fog in the trees, the wind in the fields of green, the wildlife such as deer, raccoons, squirrels, newts, etc., it all comes together like a painting.” The school’s setting means “there is much to do recreationally, such as hiking, biking, swimming, trail running, tree climbing, or rock-climbing. You can walk in any direction and find some hiking trail that leads to some other part of the forest.” Students note that, “It is also nice to get off campus from time to time and enjoy the city of Santa Cruz. Downtown is lively and usually has something fun going on such as local farmer’s markets and cultural festivals.” Ambitious students “may head to San Jose or San Francisco on the weekend for a more rowdy bar or club scene.” Both cities are “readily accessible via public transportation.” The party scene on and off campus consists of “mostly decentralized, smaller parties, due to the near-absence of fraternities and sororities.”

Contact & Visit

Campus Visits Contact

Bea Atkinson-Myers
Asst. Dir. of Admissions Outreach

Office of Admissions, Cook House
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064



Experience College Life

Most Popular Places On Campus
Farm and Garden
East Field House
The Quarry
Pogonip Open Area Reserve

Most Popular Places Off Campus
UC Santa Cruz Long Marine Lab
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Mystery Spot
Henry Cowell and Big Basin State Parks
Natural Bridges and Lighthouse Beach

Campus Tours

Campus Visiting Center

Campus Tours
Appointment Required: Yes
Dates: Year-round
Times: Varies
Average Length: 2 hours

On Campus Interview

Campus Interviews

Information Sessions


Faculty and Coach Visits

Dates/Times Available
Academic Year


Class Visits

Dates/Times Available
Academic Year

Contact Admissions Office

Overnight Dorm Stays

Overnight Dorm Stays
Not Available


Types of Transportation Available to Campus
San Jose International Airport is 35 miles from campus. Rental cars, buses, and limousines are available for the ride to Santa Cruz. Commercial bus service is available to Santa Cruz, and bus transportation within the county is convenient. Amtrak is also a good idea, take to San Jose and transfer to a bus to Santa Cruz.The Metro Transit Center downtown serves Santa Cruz County; Rte. #1 loops through the campus.

Driving Instructions to Campus
From U.S. Rte. 101 S. (from San Francisco), exit to I-880 S. Take I-880 to Rte. 17 S., then take Rte. 17 to Rte. 1 N. (toward Half Moon Bay). From Rte. 1, turn right on Bay St. in Santa Cruz and proceed to campus. From Rte. 101 N., exit to I-880 S., then to Rte. 17 S. Follow the preceding directions from that point.

Local Accommodations


Applicants: 55,355
Acceptance Rate: 47%
Average HS GPA: 3.55



Tuition & Aid

Student Body

Campus Life

Articles & Advice