See what students say:


Nestled among California’s coastal redwoods, UC Santa Cruz’s campus “is one of the most unique, beautiful ecosystems I’ve ever seen,” beams an environmental science major, noting that it’s “a great resource for internship and job opportunities.” It’s also a boon for professors, who can “take time to teach students the importance of being outside and how it can impact their learning.” It’s not unusual for courses to include “taking class hikes and nature journaling trips,” while also offering “extensive labs” and “rich discussions.” Whether outdoors or in, UCSC presents “guest lectures and activities that allow for further engagement in many different areas of learning.” As for academic support, “tutoring is widely available on campus no matter the class, and there are online tutoring options available that make it very accessible to those that may live off-campus or with transportation issues.”

For all the support systems, as well as a number of professors who offer a much appreciated series of “low stakes tests and essays instead of a big final and midterm,” students emphasize that “UCSC is a very academically competitive school,” particularly in the prized technical fields. Students who actively pursue and value STEM research enjoy “internships that I can do hands-on work with and earn credit for.” Interdisciplinary teaching is also enjoyed, like the “amazing” resources of the Coastal Science Campus and the agroecology department’s farm.

Student Body

The University of California—Santa Cruz isn’t defined by any one thing, except for perhaps the way it’s “extremely open and welcoming” such that there’s the freedom to be anything.” (Okay, and maybe an environment that is “perfect for outdoorsy folk.”) You can see this uniqueness in the way students “express themselves through clothes, gender, hairstyle, [and] speech. There is a very laid-back and accepting mentality that all of us share.” And yet, for all the different communities on campus, there’s a sense that those at UCSC “help each other and stand with each other in times of need.” That extends to the body’s activism “in social justice and climate change cause” and “student clubs and organizations that promote social justice as well as inclusivity.” As one student jokingly puts it, UCSC feels like “leftist Twitter, but real,” a group of “very carefree, very creative, and very caring

people with an anti-establishment lean and strong sustainability goals.”

Campus Life

“My college experience in the redwoods is magical,” marvels one student. “The school is gorgeous and the coastline that surrounds us is second to none.” This “beautiful forest setting,” ideally located “between the mountains and the beach” means that many students “are active in outdoor hobbies including surfing, rock climbing, backpacking, and mountain biking.” Students are equally interested in preserving the environment they so enjoy: “Everyone here cares about nature and the environment,” and the UCSC Climate Coalition is “amazing.” Others appreciate culturally based organizations such as Hillel and the Chinese Student Association. “It can be difficult to meet people without joining a club or group simply due to the nature of being a larger school.”

Like many in California, UCSC has been affected by a housing shortage, and students wish for “more affordable and guaranteed student housing.” Nevertheless, the school grounds provide “the perfect getaway when things get stressful” as well as the setting for plenty of college fun. “I enjoy the forest raves as well as the arts and crafts activities,” says one student. “The Adventure Rec provides amazing programs for students to gain outdoor skills and experiences.” As for off-campus experiences, students “love to go downtown and hang around, go to the beach at Sunny Cove or the boardwalk. They love to just bask in the California sun.”

Contact & Visit

Campus Visits Contact

Bea Atkinson-Myers
Asst. Dir. of Admissions Outreach

Office of Admissions, Cook House
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064



Experience College Life

Most Popular Places On Campus
Farm and Garden
East Field House
The Quarry
Pogonip Open Area Reserve

Most Popular Places Off Campus
UC Santa Cruz Long Marine Lab
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Mystery Spot
Henry Cowell and Big Basin State Parks
Natural Bridges and Lighthouse Beach

Campus Tours

Campus Visiting Center

Campus Tours
Appointment Required: Yes
Dates: Year-round
Times: Varies
Average Length: 2 hours

On Campus Interview

Campus Interviews

Information Sessions


Faculty and Coach Visits

Dates/Times Available
Academic Year


Class Visits

Dates/Times Available
Academic Year

Contact Admissions Office

Overnight Dorm Stays

Overnight Dorm Stays
Not Available


Types of Transportation Available to Campus
San Jose International Airport is 35 miles from campus. Rental cars, buses, and limousines are available for the ride to Santa Cruz. Commercial bus service is available to Santa Cruz, and bus transportation within the county is convenient. Amtrak is also a good idea, take to San Jose and transfer to a bus to Santa Cruz.The Metro Transit Center downtown serves Santa Cruz County; Rte. #1 loops through the campus.

Driving Instructions to Campus
From U.S. Rte. 101 S. (from San Francisco), exit to I-880 S. Take I-880 to Rte. 17 S., then take Rte. 17 to Rte. 1 N. (toward Half Moon Bay). From Rte. 1, turn right on Bay St. in Santa Cruz and proceed to campus. From Rte. 101 N., exit to I-880 S., then to Rte. 17 S. Follow the preceding directions from that point.

Local Accommodations


Applicants: 55,355
Acceptance Rate: 47%
Average HS GPA: 3.55



Tuition & Aid

Student Body

Campus Life

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