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UCSB vs. UC Davis vs. UC Irvine

diana3diana3 Registered User Posts: 208 Junior Member

This is another thread about deciding on a school.

I was admitted as a Regents Scholar to all three of the above schools, which includes automatic admission into their individual honors program. UCI gives $2,500/year, UCD gives $7,500/year, and UCSB gives $6,000 a year. I was also admitted to UCSD and UCLA, but with no benefits or scholarship money.

Rank-wise and academically, I don't think there are substantial differences between these three schools.

I am not yet sure what I will major in.

A part of me wants to accept Davis's great scholarship offer, but I live in San Diego, so I'm worried that I won't be able to see my family as often. Davis is one of the safest college campuses in the country, however I'm not a fan of rural places. If I were to choose a school solely on its location, I'd pick UCLA. Davis has a lot of school spirit though.

Another part of me wants to take UCSB's offer, but I'm not so fond of the party school reputation. The students at UCSB are really nice and laid-back though, so that's a plus.

UCI's location is pretty ideal, an hour and a half away from home. I could come back to San Diego practically any weekend I wanted. $2,500 a year is not much though, considering my parents' income is not high enough to pay for college, but is not low enough to qualify us for good amounts of financial aid.

Thanks in advance for all the input! I know it will help others in my situation too.
Post edited by diana3 on

Replies to: UCSB vs. UC Davis vs. UC Irvine

  • bignerd16bignerd16 Registered User Posts: 135 Junior Member
    You need to not see UCSB as a "Party School."
    The only reason it is said as a "Party School" because everyone lives so close and everything in nearby; thus more parties occur.
    You don't need to attend any of those parties.
    People get a misconception of the school because of that reputation.
  • prouduscdadprouduscdad Registered User Posts: 86 Junior Member
    UCLA is your only real choice what ever it takes :)
  • diana3diana3 Registered User Posts: 208 Junior Member
    Thanks for the input to both!

    prouduscdad, the reason why I'm afraid of going to LA or SD is because, even though they're great schools, I know lots of students who've had bad experiences going there. Do you have any insight on this, possibly?
  • gla3bkgla3bk Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    I had a similar dilemma last year. I completely agree with bignerd16. Isla Vista is where a huge majority of students live after their first year. It's an area 1 mile wide, 1 mile long. No matter what college you go to, there will be parties. Perhaps UCSB has more because of Isla Vista, but it is completely your decision whether you want to participate. If you don't participate, it's no big deal, and there are many other social events and opportunities to meet people. The "party school" reputation is skewed, and certainly creates a misconception about this top ranked university.
    I have friends at both Davis and UCI, and none of them seem to be as happy with their decision as I am. I absolutely love UCSB: I'm getting an awesome education, I've made tons of friends, there are opportunities to do research, community service, get a job, etc, it's on the beach, it has amazing weather, and there are are tons of ways to have a great social life!
  • prouduscdadprouduscdad Registered User Posts: 86 Junior Member
    diana3 You have a big decsion and I would hope my kidding around is not taken too seriously. If you want the "college" experience avoid UCI it is a commuter school even though they are trying to change that image. 48% have cars UCSB <5%. UCLA has a much higher ranking look into it.UCD is in a rural area if thats your thing. I attenced UCSD very similar in demographics to UCI. I am encouraging D to go to UCSB if she gets rejected by USC. Her choices were almost like yours. Good luck and I am sure you will do well no matter where you go.
  • diana3diana3 Registered User Posts: 208 Junior Member
    Glab3bk, that sounds awesome. I hope I can convince my parents of it. Thanks!

    Prouduscdad-- Haha, leaving UCLA out of that list wasn't easy, trust me. I too feel like I might be making a mistake. I love the LA area, and UCLA is an incredible school with a highly respected reputation. In fact, I'm having doubts until this day. However, at the other schools I get the perks of priority enrollment (which is important in grossly overpopulated state schools), priority research opportunities, chance to have sessions with the professors etc. Basically, I'll get better treatment at the "lesser known" schools.
  • gla3bkgla3bk Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    Yes, it is an amazing university, and it's slightly unfortunate that people, particularly parents look down on UCSB because of this false "party school" reputation.

    Also, I disagree with prouduscdad that UCLA has a "much higher ranking look to it." It's like 10 points higher than UCSB, UCD, and UCI, which all have benefits that UCLA perhaps doesn't offer.
  • prouduscdadprouduscdad Registered User Posts: 86 Junior Member
    Good points gla3bk. The truth is you will get out of the school what you put into it. A few notches in ranking should not make much differerence. The thing I am not sure about though is this: Will the schools reputation influence job prospects when your done.
  • gla3bkgla3bk Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    Whether or not a university's reputation influences a prospective employer or graduate school admissions officer, one cannot deny that a GPA of 3.5+ at a prestigious university, like UCSB, UCD, or UCI is exceptional. Therefore, I think that, no, the reputation will not influence prospects so long as your GPA, test scores, essays, letters of recommendation, and extracurriculars represent you in a positive light.
  • KevRusKevRus Registered User Posts: 633 Member
    I hate to completely ignore your post, but UCLA is the way to go.

    I don't think reputation is important when it comes to, for example, Harvard vs. Yale, or even Harvard vs. UCLA (that's a bit more debatable IMO). But when it comes to UCLA vs. UC Santa Barbara...I think it makes quite a difference. UCLA's reputation rivals that of many Ivy Leagues.

    Despite the fact that you'll be receiving no merit aid at UCLA, you'll be paying in-state tuition for world-class education.

    Davis, Irvine, and Santa Barbara are all GREAT schools, don't get me wrong...but they just don't compare to UCLA. You say you would pick LA on location alone. Well, that's important. Couple that with school spirit that puts Davis's to shame, and a drive that is not that much further away from SD (by the way, why did you rule UCSD out so quickly?) than UCI, I think UCLA would be worth it. Anyways, I think you'll quickly find that you won't be going home on weekends as often as you may think, regardless of where you ultimately decide to go to school.
  • THE`HAIRY`LEMONTHE`HAIRY`LEMON Registered User Posts: 2,410 Senior Member
    Alright. . .

    Will you be fine with a fairly rural area (UCSB) or do you think you'll be happier in a metropolitan area, with many places to go (UCLA)?

    (No, this is not a loaded question. Sidenote self-though: If I was offered the chance to go to UCLA back then, I would have snapped it up in a heartbeat. . .if only lawd.)
  • rwscparwscpa Registered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
    To compare UCLA to Harvard or Yale is laughable in terms of name recognition. Perhaps it would make a lot more sense to compare Berkeley to the Ivys, but not UCLA.

    In reality, the quality of the education you will get at most, if not all, higher level learning institutions such as the UCs and the Ivys is probably going to be about the same. The real difference between theses schools is based on the perception of "prestige" which the Ivys, for whatever reason, have. The reality is that you as a student will be the most important factor in how well educated you become. Are you going to school to memorize or to learn?

    With that said, all the UCs are outstanding educational institutions and each one has various particular academic strengths and weaknesses depending on the field of study.

    For example, last year at Christmas, I was at the mall at the Coach store buying a purse and wallet for my wife. The young girl working at Coach who was showing me the purses started to ask about my LMU class of '83 ring that I was wearing. She was telling me how she had graduated last year from UCLA with a mathematics degree with honors and can't find a job other than in the mall. I told her that the economy will improve and that a math degree from UCLA is very presigious and she will eventually find something. TRUE STORY.

    Go look at the campuses and see if that's where you want to live for the next four years of your student life. Do some research to find out the REAL reputation the school has for the education you're wanting by calling prospective employers that you may consider to work for after graduation and ask them how aggressively they pursue students from a particular school.

    For example, I am a CPA and the CFO of a large company. My daughter wants to study economics and accounting as well. So, we knew if she was going to stay in So. Cal, she had a choice of either going to LMU, UCSB, UCLA, USC or Pepperdine due to they offer a high quality accounting education. So, we did our homework by calling the firms and contacting the schools and found out where the Big 4 accounting firms like to recruit their newhires from. As it turns out, all the accounting firms aggressively seek students from each of these schools. They are all considered top tier recruiting schools by the firms. So, my daughter chose UCSB because she likes the area.

    Good luck on your choice.
  • prouduscdadprouduscdad Registered User Posts: 86 Junior Member
    There is rural and there is "rural" rural by the beach vs rural by the cows and pigs. I would worry about budget cuts affecting quality as we move forward.Thats why I encouraged my kids to apply to USC. One twin got in and the other is going to be put on a two semester transfer plan coordinated with USC. The financial packet from USC was unbelivable. It is going to cost me much less to send son to USC than D to UCSB.
  • KevRusKevRus Registered User Posts: 633 Member

    I don't think comparing UCLA to Harvard is as laughable as comparing UC Santa Barbara to UCLA or UC Berkeley, in my opinion. But yes, as you said, I agree that comparing UCLA to Harvard is a bit of a stretch.

    Of course college is what you make of it. Of course you can be successful (and in all honesty, you most likely WILL be) regardless of what college you attend, especially when all of your options are wonderful. And of course you can have trouble finding a job regardless of what prestigious college you attended. I hardly think your anecdotal experience meeting a UCLA grad in the mall is proof that it is just as hard to find a job out of UCLA as it is out of LMU. At the end of the day, UCLA is a world-class institution and UC Santa Barbara is not, and I hardly think LMU and UCLA are similarly well-known (although I know you're not trying to argue that, at least I don't think).

    No one across the Atlantic will have heard of UCSB or UCD or UCI. The chances of someone on the other side of the planet having heard of UCLA are significantly higher. Whether or not that is important to you is a different discussion, but regardless of reputation I still feel that UCLA offers an undergraduate college experience unrivaled by any of the lower- or mid-tier UCs.
  • gla3bkgla3bk Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    Perhaps you should take a look at rankings and then restate your point about comparing UC Santa Barbara to UCLA as laughable.
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