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Brandon Said:UCSC v.s. UCD?
We Answered:I went to UCSC...
The school was amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed living in Santa Cruz. It really is hard to put into words just how much better the world is when you're wandering through redwood trees to your next class and your dorm room has a spectacular view of the Monterey Bay. As far as quality of life goes, a ten. With a couple of caveats:
I also came in as a transfer, so I had a car, which allowed me to get out of Santa Cruz easily. I don't really know anything about public transportation to or from Santa Cruz-- but knowing the US it's probably fairly limited. SF is unfortunately a good hour north of UCSC by car and I doubt it's either easy or cheap to get there without one. But I don't know. There are plenty of laid back people on campus with cars, and I do remember a ride sharing board in the College 10 dining hall, so you can probably arrange to get to or from school and the school must make accomdations to get to from major airports (ask them.) In short while the location is beautiful you might get claustrophobic if being in one place for too long gets to you.
As far as teaching is concerned I don't know which school has the better reputation. And of course reputation does not necessarily equal good teaching. I though the politics deptartment at UCSC was quite good (generally friendly faculty, interesting classes, etc) but I don't know anything about psychology. It is possible to get into grad school from Santa Cruz (I'm getting an MSc at the London School of Economics at the moment) but I don't know what people think of the psych department. If you have some idea of where you want to go for grad school you might contact that school and ask.
As for Davis-- The town and campus are nice but it is in the middle of nowhere and there isn't much in the way of scenery.
Good luck with your choice...
Other stuff about UCSC:
I lived on campus (which isn't cheap). You might peruse craigslist.org to get a sense for real estate prices. I had friends who lived off campus and seemed to get by, but I think in general that Santa Cruz is fairly pricey.
Oh and as far as food is concerned, College 10 is actually pretty good, Crown is ok, College 8 and Porter are less ok, and Cowell should be avoided like the plague. Things may have changed since 2004 though.
Note: Coulda swore it said UCSD instead of UCD. Oh well...
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