a year ago
Admissions Advice

Does going to a UC mean going into the city often?

I am a current junior and I’ve been looking into the UC schools for a while and I think I want to go to one. I love the idea of going to school in California. I visited California a year ago and absolutely loved San Francisco and LA. The closest UC’s to these cities are UCLA and Berkeley, but they’re also very difficult for me to get into. I know Davis and Santa Cruz are about an hour or two (depending on traffic) from SF, and Irvine and Riverside are about an hour away from LA. They’re also considerably easier to get into. But being close to a city for college is something I want, so my question is, do students at these other UC’s still visit the city often. Are they able to go to parties in their respective cities?

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Accepted Answer
a year ago[edited]

So there’s no simple way to answer as this as I don’t know a lot about UCs policy of owning a car and I don’t know if your personal circumstances will permit you having a car.

As I’m not 100% familiar with CA geography but I can tell you is Davis is a lot closer to Sacramento then the Bay Area. So if Sacromento counts as a big city it’s much easier to get to. And while I’m not certain they may have a shuttle to go from campus to Sacromento. You’d need to reach out to the college for that information.

Irvine is also a suburb of LA not an exurb. So if you want to have the city feel that’s arguably your best shot. Granted it’s not Downtown but it’s the best combination of admission and big city feel in my opinion. Irvine is in the middle of Orange County and while it’s a direct suburb of LA it’s not super tied to LA proper but it still has the big city feel as the county as a while has over 3 million residents.

Also I have no idea of what you want specially but if you’d like to go to a California college in a big city I’d recommend you also look at San Jose St and San Diego St and maybe Fresno St.

Riverside I can’t really help you with that. Sorry.

UCSC I’m very unfamiliar but google maps says it’s a 40 minute ride from there to the S Bay Area (San Jose). I’m unsure of transportation links that aren’t just driving yourself.

Hope this helps and please comment if youd like clarification as I’d be more than happy to help!

a year ago

The only UC schools that are going to give you a city vibe are UCLA, Berkeley, and UCSD (SD had city neighborhoods, it's not one big downtown), everything else not so much. UCI is like a giant office park campus in an office park city and everything is very flat with giant malls. UCSB and UCSC are in beachy towns, not city towns, so there are lots of wealthy residents and super expensive shops, art galleries and bars, and restaurants. CalState LA is in LA but the opposite part of town so it's on the East Side where UCLA is on the West Side. Nevertheless, you can get to downtown LA and Chinatown pretty quickly. Your other bet is the University of San Francisco and USC if you want to be in the middle of a city in California.

As an ex Californian, I recommend that you have access to a car or have friends with cars, otherwise you will feel isolated. The other thing is, that unlike the Northeast where college campuses are is close proximity to one another in cities like Boston, D.C., Philly, or NYC, you will not find that cross-party culture you are looking for.

I recommend you shift focus on a Boston if you are looking for that. I highly doubt students at UCI "party" at UCR or UCLA, these campuses are huge, expansive and isolated, they are not going to travel to other UC schools to party. Rather someone at UCLA might party at Loyola, USC, or Pepperdine, or SciArc, or SantaMonica CC since they are within 30 minutes of driving.

Good luck


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