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  • Writer's pictureAlison Merzel

School Spotlight: UCSB

Updated: May 8, 2023

Each of the nine University of California campuses has its own personality and notable programs and resources. They are all highly regarded as top public universities and they all can be accessed using one application that is unique to the UC system. The University of California - Santa Barbara is one of the more highly selective campuses at an acceptance rate of around 30%, but it is more accessible than campuses like UC Berkeley and UCLA.

Here are 5 Fun Facts about UCSB:

1) UCSB is literally located on the beach (they have their own). It is 90 minutes north of Los Angeles and steps from the Pacific Ocean. Their residence halls have ocean, lagoon, and Santa Ynez mountain views. But, for you parents that are concerned that college should not look like a vacation and that there is no way kids could possibly concentrate and work hard in that kind of environment, you will stand corrected. Average first year retention rate is 92% and 2019 graduation rate was 88%, putting UCSB on par with schools like UW - Madison, Wake Forest University, University of Florida and Boston University. 100% of freshmen entering in 2019 were in the top 10% of their high school class.

2) UCSB is medium-sized tier 1 research institution with more undergraduate students than graduate students, which is quite unusual for a university of its caliber. UCSB claims SIX Nobel Prize winners among faculty and alumni in physics, chemistry, and economics.

3) Through the UCDC program, which is open to students across all UC campuses, students can live in the UC residence hall in Dupont Circle, Washington D.C. for an academic quarter or over the summer. Students from across majors take courses with visiting UC faculty members and accomplished Washington D.C. professionals, earning course credit and real-live experience. Examples of opportunities might include an internship at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for an engineering student, at the National Institutes of Health for a pre-med student or at the Washington News Bureau for a communications student.

Interested in studying abroad, not just away? The UCSB campus is the headquarters for the UC Education Abroad Program.

4) Students who are particularly interested in exploring and applying creativity within the arts and sciences may be excited about UCSB's unique College of Creative Studies The CCS is an intimate community of students and faculty that offers 8 majors (Art, Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Computing, Mathematics, Music Composition, Physics, or Writing and Literature) and encourages students to explore their passions.

5) While some students may like the idea of studying near the ocean, others come to UCSB to actually study in it. UCSB offers one of the few aquatic biology programs in the country. In addition to studying the salt water environment of the Pacific Ocean, students have access to four protected land and water preserves near campus.

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