La Jolla is a pretty town, right by the beach (like SB) and if anything similar in atmosphere.
Wrong, and wrong. While La Jolla is a pretty town, UCSD is not situated on the water nor is getting around as easy. It is inland a bit, a long walk up a hill. UCSB is on a flat bluff overlooking the ocean, and its easy to get around on a bike, skateboard, or on foot.</p>
<p>More to the matter, the atmosphere at the 2 schools is completely different. At UCSB the kids live either in the dorms (usually only the 1st year), or in Isla Vista, the town right off campus. It has the real college-town feel, and all your friends are going to be a short stroll or bike ride away.</p>
<p>While living in the SD area is attractive, the campus does not have anywhere near the same feel. Most students after the dorms live in Pacific Beach or Mission Beach and drive to campus. Consequently they are all spread over the area.</p>
<p>UCSD also has the "college system". Make sure you understand it and enroll in the best college for you.</p>
<p>Both schools are good, UCSD has a slightly stronger rep but that just isn't going to matter for an undergrad degree. What will affect your ability to get into grad school will be your grades, GRE scores, and the recs you get by spending some time getting to know your profs. You can do this equally well at either school.</p>
<p>My advice is visit both schools. As a CA resident, you probably know people at both schools in the dorms. So get in touch with them and spend a nite at each (take a sleeping bag and crash on the floor), spending the time to get a feel for what it would be like to be a student. Talk to everyone you can at meals in the dorms (they will allow you to buy meals as a guest). Pick the school you like best.</p>