With a four star quality of life according the “Fiske Guide to Colleges,” the University of California at San Diego combines academic rigor with a great location making this UC one of the most popular in the system. Known for its intense programs in the sciences, students enrolled at UCSD will also find challenging coursework in economics, engineering, oceanography, political science, and psychology. Getting into UCSD has become increasingly more difficult over the years for both undergraduate and graduate students. The MA program in Pharmaceutical studies and the MBA program have become extremely competitive over the years. Yet, despite the vigorous academic schedule on the quarter system, everyone says that life is chill at UCSD!
For me, the most interesting aspect of this UC is the 6 undergraduate college system. Each prospective student must research and then rank their college choice during the application process. While every college has the same options for major choice, each has its own requirements, ideology, and personality. For example, the Muir college allows students to create their own academic plan whereas the Revelle college has a set of requirements and a specific timeline. Additionally, every college has an honors college so there is no advantage in one or the other. Having the large population of students separated into 6 smaller schools reduces the large school feel and provides a sense of community which I think is helpful both socially and psychologically.
I loved the cultural feel of the campus and all of the art, especially the winding snake mosaic leading up the Geisel Library and the sun god statue near Muir College. The campus is a mix of urbane architecture and wooded space, art and hills, all down the street from the beach.
Sounds pretty cool, right? It is. Interested in applying? Here are the stats: UCSD offers merit scholarships upwards of $10,000. SAT ranges: 610-720 for Math and 540-660 for Critical Reading. You will need to submit two SAT subject tests as well. The Math II subject test is required for you engineering people. There is a 36% acceptance rate and a 96% retention rate. Two essays of 1000 words or less are required for admission and are very important. There are no letters of recommendation accepted.
Women’s sports rule at this Division II school. Men’s soccer is also well known. For those less interested in varsity sports, there are many intramural activities from which to choose. Of course, surfing is quite popular. There is Greek life if you so desire. Transfer students have their own special digs which are touted to be the nicest on campus with the best coastal views. The food all around campus is reported to be pretty good too. I dined at the Muir College cafe and found it decent and affordable.
Intense, unique, stunning, rigorous, fabulous- all of these adjectives easily describe the University of CA at San Diego. If you are pining for sunny weather, a stunning setting, and a challenging academic experience, definitely go check out UCSD!