As the title implies, I've been accepted as a transfer into both UCLA and UCSC, and I'm having some difficulty choosing between them.
I'm 25, so I'm starting "real college" later than what seems to be normal. I changed my major in CC twice, and couldn't attend full-time until the year I turned 24 since I was in that middle-class financial aid deadzone. I now have an AS in Computer Applications and this semester (My last at CC) I'll have an AA in Social/Behavioral Science. (I'm transferring as a History major, but Social Science was a pragmatic choice for completing my transfer credits).
UCSC denied my application for fall 2016, but accepted me for winter 2017 assuming I complete my current classes. I have expressed interest, but offered no formal Statement of Intent to Register. It was my plan to wait several
UCLA accepted me for fall 2016. This development is both recent and unexpected, which is why it's taken me off balance - I considered getting into UCLA unlikely enough that I didn't really plan around it. This is because I have a GPA of 3.24, which I understand is well below the average transfer GPA for this school.
I'll try to organize the pros and cons in a readable fashion.
UCSC has a more idyllic (and in my opinion, beautiful) campus. While I've spent only a little time in the area, I absolutely love it. The climate is perfect, the scenery is gorgeous, it's right by the beach. UCSC's campus is essentially Rivendell. I've also wanted to live in Northern California for awhile, although it is expensive and my major is far from lucrative. (Though, I continue to maintain my body of technical skills outside of formal education). From what I've heard, the classes are smaller, the community is closer, and the campus social life is more "weed and music" than "drinking and dancing," which is absolutely more in keeping with my preferences. It's also near Silicon Valley, which may mean that there are more technology-related job opportunities. (Nobody is going to hire a historian to be a historian. I understand this.) It also has minimal sports culture. I do not care about sports and consider sports fans generally annoying, so this is good.
The disadvantages of UCSC are a long move - it's 6 hours from home - and that it's centered in the ludicrously expensive Bay Area. It also might be a little too politically left of center for me - I'd consider myself a moderate progressive, but I'm no activist and am generally exasperated by vocal social activism. Hippie stereotypes are great; the sort who unironically uses the word "radical" when describing their ideology is not. In addition, going to UCSC means I have to wait several more months for the winter quarter. This means I can get another summer job and save some extra money, but it's also a few more months to succumb to the depression of living in the closest thing California has to Gehenna. I'd also start "real college" at 26, which is kind of humiliating.
UCLA is a more prestigious and by some accounts better school. Their history program is robust and diverse, and their campus is excellent. I've lived within an hour and a half of Los Angeles my entire life, so I'm a little more familiar with the community. They're closer, so moving is easier and I'll be able to see my family without investing massive chunks of my time to do so (Admittedly, seeing my family is not currently very important to me, but that will probably change after I leave). While their community is by some accounts less excellent on average than is that of UCSC, it's large and diverse enough that I'm confident I'll find people I get along with. In addition, going to UCLA means I can escape this backwards, meth-riddled patch of desert sooner.
Essentially, though, the only real disadvantages of UCLA are when it's compared to UCSC - it's an excellent school, but I get the impression UCSC might have a community that is more to my liking and I think it has a more pleasant campus. This seems like a pretty dumb reason to reject a better offer from a better school, however.
Either way, I'm sure I'll be happy, but I'd rather not end up regretting my decision.