Most students seem pretty happy at UCSC, although many indicate that it took some time to adjust to the school and its surroundings. Many say UCSC takes some getting used to, but once you find your niche, it is a cool place to be socially and politically active and also to receive a good education. Students are particularly fond of the overall beauty of the area, the laid-back atmosphere, the happening town, and the liberal academic setting. If these things are not your style or are not really important in regards to your college search, maybe you would not be as happy in Santa Cruz as other students. The most problematic things students mention about UCSC are the lack of school spirit, the overall resentment of Greek life, the student body’s apathy for athletics, and, in some few cases, the professors.
The town of Santa Cruz is small, but the University is pretty big, so it is easy to hang out with different groups of people throughout your college years. Some people get sick of the town, but fortunately the school offers chances to get away. There is an Education Abroad Program, and programs to study in Washington DC and the Sierra Institute, as well. UCSC is a very liberal place with lots of hippies and people who love the outdoors, and it is a very politically charged environment with weekly rallies and protests about anything and everything. If you don’t like something, by all means, protest! There is a huge emphasis on the outdoors here, and it actually feels like you are hiking through the woods when you go to class. If this atmosphere seems to fit what you’re looking for, then you should definitely apply to go here. There are many people who don’t fit the mold and those people usually end up transferring after one or two years, but there are others who couldn’t imagine being anywhere else and eventually make Santa Cruz their home. The only way to find out which category you fall under is to come and check out the University and what it has to offer.