See what students say:


It’s easy to be dazzled by this University of California’s “incredible location” in stunning Santa Barbara, but UCSB is much more than a “safe and beautiful campus.” “It has one of the top chemical engineering departments in the country,” a “highly ranked” mechanical engineering program, and is generally “strong in the sciences.” Outstanding students can enroll in the College of Creative Studies, essentially a graduate school for undergraduates, which requires a supplemental application: CCS students report that it “allows me to pursue my academic interests with maximum freedom.” While they love the “laid-back” atmosphere, students regard their course work in any school as both “academically challenging” and “down to earth”: “Every other college on my list seemed locked in an ivory tower. UCSB was the exception with both the warm, sun-kissed charm of a beach town and excellent academics.” “I would challenge any Ivy school to match” the quality of professors at UCSB, asserts one student, and another says the “outstanding professors” “are definitely an important source of inspiration for me.” Some students comment on the “wide range of professors,” and point out that “many of [the] professors are Nobel Prize winners or well-known in their field; however, these individuals are not necessarily the best teachers.” Overall, though, UBSB undergrads name the “accessibility and knowledge of the professors” as one of the university’s strengths. If you’re seeking a dynamic college experience with choices within and outside the classroom, UCSB could be for you: “UCSB is the perfect blend of academics and social life. I get to study at a renowned research university and work closely with professors, while living on the beach and making lifelong friendships.”

Student Body

To find your place at a big school, get ready to get out and do something: “The typical student is active and involved. Whether it be with sports, or in a community service or environmental club, rock climbing, politics, the list goes on. Students fit in by finding a good group of friends in the dorms and by getting involved in extracurricular activities.” Because the university is accessible to so many different types of students, “there is a great sense of community among the students, and those with all sorts of socio-economic backgrounds feel at home here.” UCSB undergrads care about more than partying, and are “intelligent, sociable, engaging” as well as “very motivated and driven to succeed academically.” People are “laid-back but hard-working,” at least partially because “the sunny weather keeps people happy.” UCSB is “extremely diverse personality wise”: “We’ve got the hippies, the sorority girls, the surfer dudes, the Jesus-lovers, the anarchists, the schooloriented folk and everything in between. Everyone finds their niche here.”

Campus Life

No matter the activity, UCSB students love to be involved: “85 percent of our student body is in at least one extracurricular activity—and I’ve met the smartest people of my life here.” Outdoor pastimes like “rock climbing, beach volleyball,” “surfing, hiking,” “bik[ing], and skateboard[ing],” figure prominently in students’ favorite ways to spend free time wholesomely. After the sun goes down, “a lot of people party at UCSB. What do you expect, we live on a beach? But don’t be fooled. I’ve met some of the smartest, most hardworking people at UCSB.” Social life at UCSB is as “varied” as you want it to be: “People think of UCSB exclusively as a party school but it’s what you make of it.” The party scene “is totally avoidable if you want,” but “UCSB is famous for its party life” for a reason. Students looking to avoid drinking and drug culture entirely might be best advised to look elsewhere, and insiders say that “substance abuse is somewhat common off campus and not as much on campus; campus alcohol and drug policies are typically enforced strictly.” At the end of the day, “everything is give and take here. You spend your week busting your butt in your internship and churning out research papers, and finish everything up in time to go indulge in some of the debauchery that is DP on a Friday night.”

Contact & Visit

Campus Visits Contact

Monica Cordova
Campus Visit Coordinator

Visitor's Center
1102 SAASB
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-2017



Experience College Life

Most Popular Places On Campus
Storke Tower Plaza/University Center
University Art Museum
UCSB Davidson Library
Recreation Center
Career and Counseling Services Center

Most Popular Places Off Campus
Stearns Wharf/Santa Barbara Zoo
Old Spanish Days and their weekly summer
Santa Yenz/Solvang Danish Village
Los Padres National Forest hiking, boating
Santa Barbara Mission, Museum, and Botanic Garden

Campus Tours

Campus Visiting Center
9am-noon, 1pm-4pm

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

On Campus Interview

Campus Interviews

Information Sessions
Not Available


Faculty and Coach Visits

Dates/Times Available

Class Visits

Dates/Times Available
Academic Year

Contact Visiting Center

Overnight Dorm Stays

Overnight Dorm Stays
Not Available



Types of Transportation Available to Campus
The Santa Barbara Airport is a 5-minute drive from campus. Taxis are available at the airport. Amtrak trains and Greyhound buses serve downtown Santa Barbara. A direct express bus is available from downtown to campus. Taxis are also available for the ride from the stations to campus.

Driving Instructions to Campus
From the north, take U.S. Highway 101 south to the Storke Road/Glen Annie Road exit, which is approximately 12 miles north of Santa Barbara. Turn right on Storke Road and proceed two miles to El Colegio Road. Turn left onto El Colegio Road and proceed to the campus entrance. From the south, take U.S. Highway 101 north to the Airport/UCSB exit (route 217), which is approximately 8 miles north of Santa Barbara, then continue to the campus entrance. The daily parking fee at the campus is $8 Monday through Friday. The cost for weekend parking is $3.

Local Accommodations
The campus is west of Santa Barbara, in Goleta, with no lodgings within walking distance. Two moderately priced motels are a short drive away; both have heated pools and complementary van service to and from the airport. Closest (about 2 miles away) is a Holiday Inn (5650 Calle Real, Goleta; 805-964-6241), with a restaurant. About 4 miles from campus is the Ramada Limited (4770 Calle Real, Santa Barbara; 805-964-3511 or 800-654-1965). Rates are only slightly more expensive than at the Holiday Inn, and the price includes a continental breakfast. Nearby beaches are a plus, and it is close to downtown shopping. If you need even more relaxation, watch the ducks on the freshwater pond.


Applicants: 108,955
Acceptance Rate: 28%
Average HS GPA: 4.30



Tuition & Aid

Student Body

Campus Life

Articles & Advice