• Old friends are best. John Selden

Graduate from the University of California, Santa Cruz



University of California--Santa Cruz is a public institution that was founded in 1965. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 16,231, its setting is suburban, and the campus size is 2,000 acres. It utilizes a quarter-based academic calendar. University of California--Santa Cruz's ranking in the 2017 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, 79. Its in-state tuition and fees are $13,559 (2016-17); out-of-state tuition and fees are $40,241 (2016-17).

At the University of California—Santa Cruz, one of 10 schools in the state's university system, residence life can define a student's experience. Nearly 100 percent of freshmen live on campus and choose one of 10 residential colleges to join. These small groups have their own campus locations, as well as unique architecture and programming. Kresge College, for example, is home to an organic garden where students can take classes; students who are members of the College Nine community are often active in volunteer efforts and the college's Alternative Spring Break trips. Students who own RVs can also choose to reside in Camper Park, a unique community of students who live in their own home-like vehicles and share a common bathroom and lounge. Student campers may live with pre-approved roommates who are full-time UCSC students or spouses. Students living in residence halls may only have overnight guests 15 times a school year, for a maximum of three nights each visit.

On campus, there are more than 25 miles of hiking and jogging trails, and more than 100 student clubs and organizations. Only about 3 percent of students are members of the school's small Greek system. The UC Santa Cruz sports teams are independent competitors in the NCAA's Division III. Athletes are cheered on by the Banana Slug, a nontraditional, yellow earthen creature that has been recognized among the best mascots in the country. For fun, students can tour Dead Central, a room full of Grateful Dead memorabilia donated by the band to UCSC, or explore the small beach town of Santa Cruz, located on Monterey Bay. There are rides and games on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, and opportunities for swimming, sailing and kayaking on the bay. To get around, students can travel on the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District buses for free with school ID. For longer road trips, Monterey is 45 miles away, and San Francisco is a 75-mile trip.

In particular, this public research institution’s academic prowess looks to the skies. The school is nationally known for astronomy and space sciences programs. Other creative programs include a computer game design major, and UCSC was the first school in the University of California system to offer the degree. Female engineers are in especially good company at UCSC; the school is noted for offering one of the highest percentages of engineering graduate degrees to women. Notable alumni include Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Dana Priest, NPR broadcast producers Nikki Silva and Davia Nelson, known as The Kitchen Sisters, and romance novelist Jayne Ann Krentz, who often writes under the pseudonyms Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle.