Cal Poly SLO vs. UCSC (and also UCSB, UCSD) based on "quality of life"

<p>I'm a transfer student majoring in Earth Science / Geology.</p>

<p>And honestly, I don't just care how "good" each school is when it comes to academics in my major, which seems like what most advice here is based on. I'm looking for just an overall great college experience.</p>

<p>I want to make lots of good friends, I want to like my teachers classmates and classes, I want small classes, I want to surf and be outdoors every day, I want to get involved on campus, and I want to party every weekend.</p>

<p>When I was applying, my list of schools, ranked in order was:</p>

<p>•Humboldt State (small classes, outdoor oriented)
•UC San Diego (all-around good school)
•UC Santa Cruz (all-around good school)
•UC Santa Barbara (all-around good school)
•Cal Poly SLO (assumed students would be too competitive)
•UC Irvine (just in a location that I don't like)</p>

<p>I've gotten into all the schools I've applied to and have spent 2-3 days living at each of them so I have a pretty good idea of what they all are like.</p>

<p>Here's my new list, ranked in order.</p>

<p>•Cal Poly SLO (awesome faculty in my major and met really cool students)
•UC Santa Cruz (tied with Cal Poly SLO, Santa Cruz is still my favorite location, and I love the campus, but I didn't meet many students or teachers)
•UC Santa Barbara (don't have an opinion either way)
•UC San Diego (too big and just feels like a commuter school)
•Humboldt State (I didn't fit in with any of the people I met there. Everyone seems to stay inside even when it's not raining)
UC Irvine</p>

<p>Any advice? I'll answer any further questions if more info is needed.</p>

<p>They are all great schools and you can't go wrong with any of them. Trust your instincts - if Cal Poly seemed comfortable to you, there's a reason. Good luck and congratulations!</p>

<p>you have a nice set of choices there.
cal poly is the quintessential college experience. small town, full of young undergrad college kids from all across california looking to meet each other, in the middle of nowhere but just a short drive to LA or SF, in a naturally beautiful area near the beach and cozy downtown with no traffic, malls, or congestion. and parties are pretty dope, dont get too out of hand but frequent enough for you to be able to find one any friday or saturday night.
i know this because im going there next fall. </p>

<p>i visited irvine as well and my biggest drawback was the fact that the majority of the student body commuted to school. </p>

<p>UCSD is huge but la jolla is beautiful and the best school for surfing. im not a HUGE partier so the face that UCSD doesnt party like crazy is cool with me. however the girls arent the hottest. </p>

<p>UCSB is a huge party school. beautiful area, the hottest girls around. my girlfriend is thinkign about going there, and im worried about all the santa barbara community college jerks and UCSB punks going after her. ive partied there a couple times and it can get pretty hectic. if you dont get caught up in the scene you should be fine, a lot of people go there and balance the partying and school just fine. but there are others who end up on coke (a lot of cocaine at that school) get kicked out and end up at sbcc. </p>

<p>UC Santa Cruz is nice. in a forest like area, just a hour from SF. chill people. chill area.</p>

<p>Great info/advice. I guess I really can't go wrong with either of my top choices, I'm going to have a lot of fun where ever I am. It's still such a stressful decision though.</p>

<p>...thats a tough one. I definately agree that its between UC santa cruz and CPSLO. Two great schools. I chose UCSC. I like the political and intellectual atmosphere. it has a very alternative and grassroots community. I love the residential colege system, each college has its own distinct character. They are both great schools for your major, but I would make sure to take a good look at UCSC.</p>

It's still such a stressful decision though.

It is, but part of the stress comes from the hidden constraints you are probably putting on yourself.</p>

<p>Barry Schwartz has written a book that popularized the concept of "satisficing", a word you can look up on the web. His argument is that most people are maximizers and are always looking for the best. The trouble is that you never know if a choice is indeed the best, and this can lead to regrets, second-guessing, etc. The alternative he proposes is set your standards and then when you find something that meets the standards you set you're done. </p>

<p>An article about applying this to college decisions was in the Washington Post last fall; see <a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>It's an interesting concept, and has some truth to it.</p>

<p>As a 23y/o who is just now a junior with transcripts from 3 different schools, I know first hand what choosing the wrong college can mean. That's not to say that I have any regrets, and anticipating more if I make the wrong decision. Far from it. I'm going to gain a lot from where ever I end up, but I am looking to maximise my growth. Once I make my choice though, I'm going to give it all I have and not look back.</p>

<p>We just got back from spending 3 days at Cal Poly and we loved it!</p>

<p>Are you sure part of your stress isn't due to the feeling that you "should" pick a UC over a Cal State? </p>

<p>Calpoly SLO is in a class by itself, so I wouldn't worry about that.
Always go with your gut.</p>

<p>Yeah I think I'm going to have to go with Cal Poly. It is definitely in its own class. In terms of academics and prestidge the only school on my list that I might rank higher would be UC San Diego but I really have no desire to go there, apart from its location.</p>

<p>Hey twistedsis, I'm glad you had a great time at Cal Poly for their open house. I went as well, had the best time, and really met some great people. </p>

<p>If you son does decide to go there, have him drop me a line and I'll take him surfing in the fall. I grew up surfing on the east coast as well (new hampshire).</p>

<p>thanks for your offer to take my son surfing. I will have him drop you a line. Do you live in California now or are you still in NH?</p>

<p>I live in California now. And I have chosen Cal Poly so that's where I'll be unless something big changes.</p>