UC Davis vs. UCSB - people/atmosphere??

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Discus: College Search and Selection: April 2004 Archive: UC Davis vs. UCSB - people/atmosphere??
By Mayermatthews (Mayermatthews) on Sunday, April 25, 2004 - 03:46 pm: Edit

I'm (also) trying to decide between UCD & UCSB, but at this point it's more of a social decision. I'm not a big partier at all, more of a nice, down to earth, friendly person I guess. But I do live in so. Cal (San Diego) now, so idk if I wouldn't fit in at Davis either? Can anybody (please!) give me some advice about the social atmospheres/people at these schools? thank you

By Louispoois (Louispoois) on Sunday, April 25, 2004 - 03:57 pm: Edit

I would say Davis has more down-to-earth people and is much less superficial than Santa Barbara. While SB may be more fun & laid back, I've heard people there are quite clique-ish and place a high value on physical beauty. I wont lie, Davis is in the middle of NOwhere, but it is definately a great college town. You will get a very traditional college experience here. Sure, there's no water for 70 miles, but the ski slopes are ~2 hrs away. As far as being from SoCal goes, I dont think it should matter a whole lot, i mean i'm from the Bay Area and am headed south to UCSD most likely this fall. It's all California, man. You will love NorCal because of al the clean air and the absence of snobby people. Hope this helps!

By Coureur (Coureur) on Sunday, April 25, 2004 - 06:45 pm: Edit

I live in San Diego and am an alumnus of UC Davis. Don't worry about fitting in at Davis. You'll adapt just fine. Most kids really like it there. As Louispoois said, people at Davis are pretty down to earth.

I don't know much about UCSB except its reputation: Party School.

By Rana (Rana) on Sunday, April 25, 2004 - 07:21 pm: Edit

Both great schools, with great people; the party scene in SB is BIG, but my impression is that it is mainly the SBCC crowd responsible for that. Didn't notice it to be quite as vapid and superficial as folks say here, no better or worse than other areas of So Cal (I can hear my NorCal friends saying "Exactly!").

One big difference is student pop size, Davis is just about the size of UCB these days, UCSB is much smaller. Seems like lots of student interaction at UCSB, at least as much as UCD.

UC Davis has the town of Davis next to it, a nice place to get away from campus, very nice place; UCSB is pretty much separated from the town Isla Vista, but just as well, it is pretty suburban with essentially blocks and blocks of business parks, apartment buildings, and small strip malls. The beauty of the area is in view of the ocean and the surrounding mountains.

SB will be very familiar to SD folks, the setting of Davis is usually a nice change from living in the srawl of SoCal. Just about all the students are in the same situation you are, they mainly come from LA, OC, SD, and the Bay Area, so not too much culture shock there...

Either way, you can't go wrong, just go to the place that feels best for you...

By Mayermatthews (Mayermatthews) on Sunday, April 25, 2004 - 08:55 pm: Edit

Thanks! That helps a lot... anyone else know if the SB rep (superficial/party school) is valid? And any other Davis insights? I'd really appreciate anything you've got! :)

By Anxious_Mom (Anxious_Mom) on Sunday, April 25, 2004 - 10:00 pm: Edit

check out the "what students say" section of that other review site for both colleges (email me, if you don't know what site I'm talking about...)

By Roh (Roh) on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 12:25 am: Edit


both are great schools, you'll be happy at both.
but still, go to UCSB.
it doesn't matter if you're a big partier or not, there're lots of nice people like you at UCSB.

By Imd (Imd) on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 01:12 am: Edit

Roh- where are you going if your Davis appeal doesn't work?

By Roh (Roh) on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 02:14 am: Edit

^ UCSC....bah

By Bigtom (Bigtom) on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 02:13 pm: Edit

I've lived in Davis for pretty much all of my life, and if I didn't live here, I would probably seriously consider UCD as a potential college choice (I got in but I'm going elsewhere). Since I haven't lived in SB, I can't speculate on the atmosphere there, but Davis is a great college town. Students make up something like a third of the entire population (20,000 out of 60,000 or something like that)and so there's a great student presence in the town that's reflected by the fact that we have something like 11 different pizza places in a 5 block radius of our downtown. As a place to live, Davis isn't really that isolated. Sure, people at my high school complain about living in the Davis bubble but the reality is that if you feel confined in Davis, you can always drive to Sacramento (about 10 minutes away) or San Francisco (about an hour away).

By Mikemac (Mikemac) on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 04:58 pm: Edit

The SB party reputation is overblown. Its a place where thousands of college-age kids live right near each other, so it is a surprise that there are parties? Any residential college (Davis, UCSB, Chico, etc) is going to have plenty of parties!! But there are plenty of serious students and good people to meet at SB. If you are looking for parties non-stop you can find them, but if you are looking for a great location with a relaxed beach atmosphere and high-quality academics you can find that too.

I don't know about Davis but I imagine that as an other UC you will get a good education there as well, and the people are probably about the same.

You still have a few days left before the SIR is due. If I was you I'd get in touch with some people from your HS going to both schools and arrange to spend a nite at each. Grab a sleeping bag and drive up to SB. Wander around campus, talk to people, go to a few classes with your friends. The next day drive to Davis and repeat. Missing 2 or 3 days of classes won't matter a bit in 5 years (or in 1), but it will help you figure out which school is a better fit for you.

By Mayermatthews (Mayermatthews) on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 05:24 pm: Edit

Well I have actually already visited both, & been given tours by friends who go there, but yeah basically I'm putting way more thought into this than I should! I know. I just didn't get to really talk to alot of people who go there - the SB guy said how (almost) all the girls are rich/blonde/Abercrombie/sorority-types and wear miniskirts on their bikes & tank tops even in the rain, etc. I was just trying to get other views, so... thanks again! I'm still deciding... leaning towards Davis.

By Mikemac (Mikemac) on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 05:37 pm: Edit

One more thing to add. In our culture we have a curious way of looking at the world. Well, it doesn't seem strange, it seems natural, but if you think about it the way we look at things is no more natural than some alternatives.

And that thing I'm talking about is the concept of "best". We implicitly assume that there is a "best" but why should that be true? Is there really a best job, best career, best college? Why can't there be multiple opportunities each of which has some pluses and minuses without having to label one of them "best"?

The point of all of this is that you have 2 excellent choices, different to be sure, but still both very attractive. I think that no matter which you choose you will get a good education, meet good friends, and have an enjoyable time. If the 2 are so close in your mind that one is not clearly superior to the other, maybe to the extent things are know-able by man they are equal?

If you think of them as equal I think it lifts a weight from your shoulder but also brings you to an important caveat. In many decisions in your life you are going to be faced with uncertainty about the future, just like now. You make a choice, but thereafter fight the urge (if it comes) to second-guess yourself. That doesn't mean you shouldn't try to learn from the past, but it does mean you don't berate yourself in the future for a decision that's already made. In econ these things are called "sunk costs". So pick one, sleep on the decision, if it still feels right in a day or two then get that SIR in the mail (with proof of mailing!!) and go have a ball at college!

By Mayermatthews (Mayermatthews) on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 06:08 pm: Edit

Yes you are totally right, Mikemac. I know that college is what you make of it and it'll work out wherever I go - it'll work out differently @ UCSB vs. UCD, but nonetheless. I think that's what it all comes down to... just picking one and getting psyched, it's still freaking *college* wherever I end up, so, !!! I know there's not really a "best" here, I just wanted to make sure I was making a totally informed decision, which you all have helped me do!

By Liu (Liu) on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 07:37 pm: Edit

I currently attend UCSB, and don't worry too much about the parties at UCSB. Like a previous user stated, it's completely overblown. There's really only one gigantic party worth noting each year, and that occurs on Halloween night in Isla Vista and DP. How's the social scene? Great! UCSB has a community like atmosphere, which is pretty much the antithesis of the cut throat atmosphere in other colleges. Most of my friends went to UC Davis, while I went here. No surprise that they're always bored out of their mind at Davis -- one of my friends at Davis gets so bored that he drinks. I don't enjoy partying too much either, but i'm still having a great time here. If you're an ENGR/PHYS major, it's also a big plus to come here. ;)

Be sure to visit both campuses to decide for yourself though.

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