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University of California – Santa Barbara is a public research university founded in 1905. Any student with an inherent desire to ‘chill’ should definitely put UCSB at the top of his wish-list. A perfect combination of location, climate, teaching, crowd and nightlife ensures that no one would ever regret going to Santa Barbara.
UCSB is at one of the best possible locations for a university, owing to the laid-back atmosphere of Santa Barbara, combined with its proximity to some of the busiest cities in the US. Santa Barbara is a popular holiday destination for many tourists, because of the splendid weather and picturesque beauty. Los Angeles is an hour and a half to the South, San Francisco is five hours North, San Diego is four hours South, and the wine country is half an hour inland.
UCSB is spread over a sprawling 1000 acre campus, with a host of facilities for anything and everything you can think of. The library may look like it comes from another era, but it is brilliantly stocked with over a few million volumes. There are state-of-the-art recreation centers in the campus, and excellent infrastructure for sports. There are four (yes, four!) basketball courts, racquetball courts, Jacuzzis, and a number of grounds for other sports.
Santa Barbara, like the rest of California, is really expensive. The yearly rent for any apartment would be roughly about $10,000. A majority of graduation students stay at the famous Isla Vista (IV), which is just ten minutes away from the campus. A rather less expensive (but definitely not cheap) option would be staying at Goleta.
Santa Barbara experiences a cool Mediterranean climate characteristic of coastal California. Because of the city's proximity to the ocean, on-shore breezes significantly moderate temperatures, resulting in warmer winters and cooler summers. It is normally sunny throughout the year, with occasional rainfall once in a while. The average temperature over the year is about 15°C, with the maximum high and low not going too far above or below that mark.
UCSB does not have a huge number of graduate students, which explains why there are a fewer number of dedicated professors for graduate courses than undergraduate courses. The faculty is pretty approachable, though, and professors are highly qualified in their own fields.
UCSB being a research institute, a lot of importance is given to extensive research, and this is reflected in their programs.
Getting direct financial aid (or freeship) isn’t straightforward at UCSB, but other university grants such as Research Assistantship are easier to come by.
Since UCSB is one of the better colleges around, it certainly shouldn’t be a problem getting a pretty-high-paying job once you’re here. Where you get placed naturally depends on the course you’re doing, but more often than not, you can expect to get picked up by one of the top players in whatever field you’re specializing in.
At UCSB, you’ll find a nice variety of students, who may enter the place as nerds, but by the time they leave, they certainly reek of the laid-back California life.
Most of the UCSB students live at Isla Vista. One reason for this may be the fantastic beaches, Devurex and Sands, nearby, which are bustling with students at almost any time of the day. The ‘party street’, Del Playa Drive, is on a cliff overlooking the ocean, and is quite a sight really. There are at least 20 parties happening here every weekend, and it’ll be silly for students to chill anywhere else. The parties are out of the world, obviously. No wonder students don’t want to leave UCSB.
Some of the more common hangouts for students are Madison’s, Q’s, Tonic, etc. There’s also a famous place at Goleta called Habit, known for its burgers. Pick up Stix, the fancy Asian restaurant, is a crowd favourite.
It’s difficult to get in, and there’s obviously a very good reason for this. With two years of quality education, you’re also guaranteed two years of mad fun.