UC Santa Cruz vs Chico State Honors Program

Hi! I would like help with deciding between UC Santa Cruz and Chico State Honors Program. There are more pros for Chico State, especially price. My EFC = no financial aid. I am studying biology. I was waitlisted at SDSU and UCI, denied at Cal Poly SLO and UC Davis. Also, accepted to Washington State but not wanting to attend.
I have visited UC Santa Cruz but unable to check out Chico, other than virtual tours.
I worry that Chico State may not have a good reputation and don’t know much about the biology program. Thank you!

What is your career goal with a Biology major? What is the cost of attendance for you at both schools? Are finances an issue where you need loans beyond the federal student loan limit of $27K for 4 years? Are your parents willing to help with costs?

What are the benefits of the Honors program at Chico State for you?

My career goal is possibly in the medical but I don’t know yet. The cost of Chico State is $25,000/yr and UC Santa Cruz is $38,000/yr. I’m not sure about the federal loans but my parents will help for some of the cost of college - paying for more if I go to Chico and I will have to get a loans if I attend UCSC because it’s so expensive.
The benefits of the Chico State would be close friends also attending, smaller class size, and playing on club water polo team. Those are all about the experience of college, but is a UC education better?
Thanks again!

I had one son attend a UC and another attend a CSU. Both got great educations for their majors of interest and I would say that one was not better than the other. It is more about what you do with the opportunities you are given vs. the name on the Diploma.

Overall it sounds that Chico meets all your criteria and many times being a Big Fish in a Small Pond can be an advantage especially if you are looking into the Medical field as a possible career choice.

@NCalRent had a son that attended Chico state so they could talk more about the campus culture to help you decide.

You will be spending the next 4 years at either of these schools and the school you pick should meet your needs: academically, financially and socially.

Best of luck with your decision.

That is very helpful. Thank you for your input @Gumbymom!

my son graduated from Chico a few years ago. He was also in the honors program. I understand much of the curriculum has been re-worked since, the big perks were priority registration and a different GE path The priority registration was nice, he could easily pick section with the best time/teacher, etc. He took about 3 semesters worth of Honors GE classes, they were small (but all the classes are small - there aren’t many big classrooms on campus) and more conceptual but, he didn’t click with his cohort (as a somewhat conservative business major). Again, the cousework has been redone so, I don’t know if that’s still the case.

The town of Chico is still showing the affect of the Camp fire - when their population grew by 20% overnight. Off campus housing is tight and there is a visible homeless population. Of course, both are true at UCSC as well. Lots of Paradise area construction is underway - so finished homes will certainly help many people displaced by next Aug.

Chico state is a really pretty campus that’s been in the same place for more than 100 years, There’s a creek flowing through campus, lots of huge oaks and historic looking brick buildings. It is surrounded on all 4 sides by the city of Chico - which is a little grittier than its 100k population might suggest. Virtually everyone living within a mile or two of campus is a student and it gets pretty energized - especially on the weekends. Bidell park is accessible by bike and is great for hiking biking and is home to a well known swimming hole.

Academically, they are both fine. Go to the one that’s the best fit for you - it sounds like that’s Chico… you’ll be able to play your sport, hang with your friend, and make the most of the smaller pond.

I’d find a way to drive to Chico sometime in the next week or two. The campus is closed - but not boarded up. You can walk the campus, self guided - grab a sandwich (to-go of course) and have a picnic on campus. You’ll get a sense for the place. Though the dorms are empty, many students are still in the area - talk to a few and see what they have to say.

Congrats and good luck

Thank you for the good information about Chico @NCalRent! I have heard many good things about the academics and college life so I put down a deposit and will most likely be attending Chico in the Fall-hopefully it won’t be virtual learning.

Thanks again for your response and will see if I can make the 8 hour drive north to visit the campus. That’s a really good idea. Take care! :slight_smile: