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Choosing between schools

dtrinity2001dtrinity2001 Registered User Posts: 32 Junior Member
Disclaimer: this is honestly just to help me work out my thoughts on each school, so if this post is too long to read, then that's fine, but if it isn't too bad I would love some outside opinions. Thanks!

So I am only about 2 weeks away from having all my decisions back, and I wanted to start narrowing down my options - right now I am between (likely) 4 schools. I'm OOS (Mass) for all, I visited the UC schools April break of last year and am going to SDSU admit day and another tour at UCSC in April.

Price is not a make or break factor at any of these schools, yes I can afford the OOS tuition at a UC so no point asking 40 questions about it lol.

San Diego State, Arizona State (Barrett Honors), UC Santa Cruz, UC Santa Barbara (not yet accepted). I would also consider USC or UCLA, but I'm assuming they're both going to reject me, so these are my realistic options.

Pro/con list for each -

Location (sunny, access to a city, near the beach)
Football/School Spirit
Greek life
Perfect size (~30k)

Also Greek life, I've heard conflicting things about the exclusivity at SDSU
"Bad" housing situation
Have heard that cliquiness and the like are common
In a dangerous section of the city (?)

Super specific major (Earth/Space Expl. System Design)
Football/School Spirit
Good housing through Honors college
Greek life seems to be really well organized
Size (~50k at the Tempe campus)
Party school

Would way rather be in Cali closer to family
Higher acceptance rate (little to no requirements to be admitted)
Super hot all the time (60-85 is my preferred weather)
Not the most diverse place
Red state (Used to heavy liberalism in Boston and would like to keep it that way)

Heavy psychedelic/stoner culture
Location is fantastic for Earth Science (mountains, forests, and beaches all nearby)
The college system is dope
Strong science departments
Super unique campus, students seemed very chill
Fun campus traditions

Housing is apparently a complete mess right now
Santa Cruz isn't really a college town
Kind of far from any major city
Little to no Greek life
No sports
Weather is a little bit chilly for my taste

Top public school
Greek life seems similar to ASU, fun, a lot of people are involved, and it doesn't seem super exclusive
Location is my favorite out of all on the list
Big party school
College town, but there is also plenty more to do within a 30-45 min drive
Relatively close to LA
Weather is optimal
A good study abroad and undergrad research options

Classes are likely most challenging here
Hard to get places without a car, which I won't have freshman year
IV Police are apparently nightmares to deal with
Bad dining hall food

Thanks again to anyone who shares input!!!

Replies to: Choosing between schools

  • dtrinity2001dtrinity2001 Registered User Posts: 32 Junior Member
    Sorry, forgot to add - also going to ASU Devil Day in april
  • moooopmoooop Registered User Posts: 2,112 Senior Member
    If you think of bigtime sports as a good thing, how are you going to feel on autumn Saturdays if you go to one of the non-football schools? Depressed because you are missing out on a really special part of the college experience?
  • RockySoilRockySoil Registered User Posts: 79 Junior Member
    ASU Barrett has a lot of really strong students, so I don't think the "everyone is admitted" worry is justified - you'll be plenty challenged in Barrett, just as much or more than UCSB. The average temperature in Tempe is in the 90's in May and September, but is right in your sweet spot the rest of the school year. And the ASU student body is 52% white, while UCSB is 34%, but the difference is primarily made up of Asian students, not URM's.
  • dtrinity2001dtrinity2001 Registered User Posts: 32 Junior Member
    @moooop I think it's more of a little extra thing that would be good, not necessarily a defining factor for me. I'll definitely put some more thought into that though, thank you!
  • dtrinity2001dtrinity2001 Registered User Posts: 32 Junior Member
    @RockySoil okay, thanks for that info! I also didn't realize that about the weather, I thought it was boiling hot all the time.
  • GumbymomGumbymom Forum Champion UC Posts: 26,418 Forum Champion
    I will comment on SDSU since my younger son graduated from SDSU May 2018 and my niece is a current Freshman.

    -Greek Life: Yes, Greek life has a definite influence at SDSU but like many schools with a large student population, there are students that participate and many that do not. You will be able to find your tribe.
    My son was an active member in his Fraternity but had many friends that were not in a Frat. My niece has no interest in Greek life and has found mainly like minded friends so not an issue for her.

    -Bad housing situation: As a new student outside the local area, you are guaranteed 2 years on-campus housing. They completed the South Campus housing, have renovated Zura and Tenocha halls and are currently remodeling the Maya halls and building another housing complex. Living off campus, there a plenty of apartments/houses near campus but San Diego is an expensive area but so is much of the California so not really sure what you are citing as “bad housing”.

    -Clique: With a campus with over 30,000 undergrads I find it hard to believe that is true other maybe through the Sororities and Fraternities.

    -SDSU is in the city so like any campus in a large city, you will have some amount of crime. Awareness and common sense are the key and security around the campus is tight.

    When you go to admit day, please make a point of talking to current students and ask what they like and do not like about their SDSU experience. When my son was deciding upon his schools, he found the majority of students were pretty honest about their likes and dislikes. Visiting is the best way to solidify your decision.

    Also so many of the Pros and especially the Cons you have listed for each school seem to be third party hearsay. I am glad that you are making the point of visiting and finding out for yourself.

    Best of luck.
  • dtrinity2001dtrinity2001 Registered User Posts: 32 Junior Member
    @Gumbymom Thank you! In regards to housing, I just heard that you don't have any choice at all when it comes to what dorm you live in, which I didn't love. If that isn't true, then I don't have an issue with the housing :)
  • GumbymomGumbymom Forum Champion UC Posts: 26,418 Forum Champion
    @dtrinity2001: For SDSU, you can choose single, double, triple, quad and learning communities but no you cannot specify which dorm unless you are in the Honors college which is housed in Zura. Many schools will ask you to rank your dorm choices but that does not guarantee you will get your 1st choice anyways.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 29,137 Senior Member
  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU Posts: 13,338 Forum Champion
    Consider other things like:

    How easy it is it to get housing? Will you have to live off campus?

    How can you get to classes? Do you have to take a bus or can you walk or bike?

    How easy it is to sign up for classes?
  • dtrinity2001dtrinity2001 Registered User Posts: 32 Junior Member
    @bopper I know UCSB is a bike school, which I like. I think it's mainly bus/walking for ASU and UCSC which I don't love as much, but I'll talk to students about it at their admit days.
  • hophop Registered User Posts: 931 Member
    You should also consider the overall transportation and how you'll get to each campus.
    Is there an airport close by? How large or small is it?
    How will you get from the airport to campus? Is there a direct shuttle?

    For example at UCSC, your closest (affordable) airport is San Jose. Depending on time of day and traffic, the shuttle trip to UCSC is in the neighborhood of two hours. After 5+ hours on the plane from MA, do you want to add that much time in a shuttle van?

    Similar logistical considerations will be in play for UCSB.
    You can take a shuttle from LAX to SB (about 100 miles to the south), but it's around 4 hours with standard traffic.
    There is a small airport in nearby Santa Barbara, but that means you'll likely need to coordinate your flight transfer from either LAX or SFO, then still need to uber/lyft to Isla Vista. Note that the rule of thumb is: the smaller the airport, the higher the cost. The short one-way flight ranges between $200-400.

    For ASU and SDSU, you'll have a much easier time with transportation.
  • dtrinity2001dtrinity2001 Registered User Posts: 32 Junior Member
    Not sure if people get notified when I comment on this, but I wanted to say thank you for your help! I visited the SDSU campus today, and absolutely fell in love. One person's bad experience that they share on the internet clearly is not the case for all. Thanks again, and go Aztecs!
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