I'm currently part of an a cappella group (I won't say which one) and it's probably one of the greatest decisions I've ever made! At ucsd, there are seven groups and each has its own distinct personality. The groups are: The Tritones, The Beat, Acamazing, Frequency, Daughters of Triton (DOTs), Treble Singers, and Sitaare. Here's a basic run down of the groups:
1) Tritones: the tritones is UCSD's premiere a cappella group and is definitely the most professional-oriented of the groups. Besides winning lots of awards, the group has performed with taylor swift and other crazy famous people. It's definitely a group that really loves a cappella. The downside is that the group is really hard to get into and a lot of the time extremely talented people don't make it. I'd definitely recommend auditioning for other groups at the same time too. Also, the group does require a large time commitment, but members are also part of NCAA teams and frats/sororities (it's doable). If you're looking to do really cool stuff and get exposure, tritones is definitely the group to join.
2) The BEAT is the "family" a cappella group. Although it's main focus is bonding and having fun through music, the group is also really good musically. It definitely has the most family feel out of all the a cappella groups and is definitely the most bonded group. You'll definitely get the vibe when you go through their auditions process. However, i also would warn you that admittance into this group is hard. But basically, if u want to join a family and still be amazing at a cappella, beat is the group to join.
3) UCSD DOT's is the second oldest a cappella group and is all-female (sorry guys). I don't know a whole lot about them but they're definitely more independent from the other groups. I do, however, know that the group is also really well bonded and kinda functions like a sisterhood. I did hear, however, that the auditions process for them is extremely intimidating. So just be prepared.
4) UCSD Acamazing is ucsd's newest co-ed a cappella group. But it's also probably one of the most fun a cappella groups. The group is definitely known to party the most together and has a pretty good rep. I personally like acamazing the most. The group's members are also part of greek orgs and NCAA teams too. So it's definitely a great group to join if you're looking for a well-rounded experience.
5) Frequency is UCSD's all men ensemble. It's extremely chill and currently the group is small so I would definitely audition for this group if I am a freshmen dude.
6) Treble singers is more of a vocal ensemble then it is a cappella group. the group is more into gregorian chants, and classical tunes than it's counterpart, the DOTs. I don't know a whole lot about this group.
7) Sitaare is the south asian a cappella group. This means that it is all indian. I really don't know anything about this group, how their auditions work, or who is in the group.
*Basically, a cappella recruitment works this way: you sign up for as many groups next fall quarter at acaspot.com/auditions and basically you show up to individual group auditions. Usually you perform a minute-long exerpt, sing scale to show off your range, and you sight read for a little.
The stressful part of the auditions process is callbacks. By friday night of audition week singing rushees will get notified via e-mail if they've received a callback invitation. During callbacks you'll sing a song that's been sent to you the day before and basically it's up to three hours of mixing and matching people until the group finds the right personality/blending/music fit for their groups. It's quite a process.
Again, i just want to stress the importance of auditioning for multiple groups.
Good luck and be on the lookout for auditions!