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Ask an Engineer

MungaMunga Registered User Posts: 34 Junior Member
I am going in this fall as a 3rd year electrical engineer at UCSB. I wanted to make a thread to help answer any questions people might have.

Here is some relevant information about me to help with questions:

Going to be in my third year at UCSB
Extensive experience with the financial aid process
Have lived in a dorm and in Isla Vista in an apartment
Currently do research for a professor
Extensive knowledge of Santa Barbara, Goleta and neighboring areas

I am happy to answer any questions, whether they are socially or academically related.
Post edited by Munga on

Replies to: Ask an Engineer

  • SBLessThanThreeSBLessThanThree Registered User Posts: 23 New Member
    I'm going to be a freshman in fall, staying in the dorms with a roommate.
    What would you recommend as a sophomore? Jumping right into IV or staying in a farther dorm like Manzanita?
  • MungaMunga Registered User Posts: 34 Junior Member
    It depends on a couple factors. I got sick of the dorm food by the end of freshman year and not being able to cook my own got really frustrating sometimes. So I as far as I was concerned, living in an apartment was a must. I also did not like the idea that I was paying tons of money to get bossed around by an RA.

    After being in an apartment, I will acknowledge that having food cooked for you saves you time, and having the dorm cleaned for you is also nice.

    As far as cost, living in I.V. can be cheaper. Here is the dorm breakdown: http://www.housing.ucsb.edu/hchoices/hchoices-images/pdfs/reshall-costs-payment.pdf
    The cost of splitting a room in I.V. is between $400-$700. Let us say you spend $400 on food a month. That is still under the rate of sharing a room with 10 meal plans in a dorm.

    If you are getting financial aid, dorms can make it easier in terms of payment logistics. Financial Aid is dispersed through BARC and the dorm payments are dealt with through BARC. What that means is, if you are getting enough financial aid, paying for the dorms is relatively simple. The deadlines usually make it easy to make the payment.

    However, when living on your own, things get much more complicated. First is the issue of the lease. Most leases in I.V. are 1 year, either from June-June or September-September. If you are not staying over the summer, are you going take the hit for the rent? Sublet? If you have problems with your roommate, backing out of the lease is harder to do. You also have to deal with the fact that landlords are trying to make a profit from you and some of their actions may not be the most respectable, though I have not personally had a problem with this.

    Finally, there is the issue of even getting into a dorm your second year. I went through the process just in case I couldn't find an apartment. Basically, you choose what your preference is, whether it is San Rafael, Santa Ynez, or one of the off-campus, UC-owned apartments, and a lottery takes place. Most likely, the lottery is going to put you into San Rafael, which is next to Manzanita, against the parking lot.

    San Rafael is not the same experience as a first-year dorm. People have already been doing their thing for at least a year, so they aren't as inclined to being social or outgoing.

    Finally, I find that their is a difference between living in the dorms and I.V. When I lived in the dorms, I never really ventured into I.V. besides to party and eat, but that wasn't very often. Since I had a meal plan, eating out a lot didn't seem worth it. Because of this, I never really became familiar with what I.V. had to offer until I moved into my apartment.

    So, if you want to get the most of your UCSB experience, I would say move to I.V. It has its downsides, like drunk people yelling in the streets at 3 in the morning and waking you up, but overall, it is a fun experience. However, if your goals are purely academic and you don't want to be distracted by anything, then live in a dorm the second year. That is what they are there for.
  • SBLessThanThreeSBLessThanThree Registered User Posts: 23 New Member
    Thanks, that was incredibly informative!
    I'm thinking about somewhere in-between, maybe an apartment in IV that is out of the way from most of the party scenes, and still has the college atmosphere.

    Another couple of questions;
    You enter into school as a "pre-major", right? Does anyone ever have problems completing the courses and earning the required GPA? I'm sure some do, but in general.

    And also, is it easy to have your own car while living in IV? How is parking? Are there people crowding the streets that cause traffic?
    IV is so close to the campus anyway, is there any reason to have a car if you're only going from your apartment to class?
  • MungaMunga Registered User Posts: 34 Junior Member
    I did not enter as pre-major. From what I understand, electrical engineers have no pre-major while computer engineers do because of enrollment differences. And yes, I know some computer engineers that are struggling with the GPA part of it. Some are taking an extra year to graduate and some are changing majors.

    Let me address this "party scene" buzzword that gets thrown about a lot when talking about UCSB. First of all, where you live won't really affect this, except for Del Playa. Everyone is partying on every street all the time. That is how IV is. What determines whether you participate or not is more to do with your group of friend and your own decisions. Secondly, I believe that if you want to get the most out of your college experience, you have to party. Why? Well, time balancing and self control are two VERY good skills to learn. Self control in particular. Being able to keep up your academic performance and go out and have fun can be very important. My view is that college is not purely an academic learning experience. You also learn about yourself, your habits and your limits.

    As far as cars go, if your apartment/house supplies parking, then go for it. If they don't, it can be a little trickier. I have to park as far as 5 blocks away at the busiest. Bring it if you think you'll need it. You may, if you want to get to the supermarket, but if someone else has one that you can consistently get a ride in, it might not be worth it.
  • bobalob23bobalob23 Registered User Posts: 35 Junior Member
    Are the science majors/engineers still the stereotypical shallow and party-oriented UCSB student or is there a more intellectual vibe within these majors?
  • MungaMunga Registered User Posts: 34 Junior Member
    I don't know about that stereotype. Sure people like that to party, but that doesn't make them shallow. Just like anywhere else, there are people that only party, only study, or mix both.

    The engineering cirriculum tends to weed out the party-only types, because of the filter classes and unit load.

    If you want to get away from the shallowness specifially, stay away from the greek system around here. That's where it is mostly concentrated.
This discussion has been closed.