UC San Diego

UC San Diego Geisel Library
The iconic Geisel Library at UCSD is named after Audrey and Theodore Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss.

UC San Diego is well-known for its strength in the sciences; its proximity to the biotech corridor in La Jolla – literally across the street – has definitely helped students connect to internships and jobs in this growing field.

UCSD is structured differently than the other UC campuses.  There are seven residential colleges, each having a different philosophy and different general education requirements, but each college is available to all majors. Within the UC application, students students are asked to rank the colleges in the order they would prefer to attend.  Ninety percent of accepted students are assigned to their first-choice college.  Members of the same college are housed together for at least one year, and students remain affiliated with their residential college for all four years.

The colleges have different requirements that reflect their world outlooks, and once you’re admitted to one of the seven residential colleges, it’s very difficult to transfer to a different one.  One of the more important differences, though it may seem obvious, is that each one is located in a different place on campus, and some have more convenient locations than others.  When asked the differences between the colleges, my two tour guides, who attend different colleges, said that the writing courses have different foci.

UC San Diego John Muir College
John Muir College at UCSD has an environmental focus.

For example, Eleanor Roosevelt College’s (“ERC”) guiding principle is “Making of the Modern World,” with an emphasis on international studies, so the writing courses ERC students take focus on politics and foreign relations issues.  Sixth College students, on the other hand, are guided by the “CAT” philosophy – Culture, Art and Technology, so their writing courses take them in a different direction.

UCSD students declare their major at the end of their sophomore year, but the average student changes his/her major regularly at UCSD.  [This may contribute to UCSD’s 56% four-year graduation rate, which is lower than its sister campuses, UCLA, Berkeley, UC Irvine, and UC Santa Barbara.]

UCSD is the second-largest campus in the UC system with 1200 acres, four times as large as UCLA (and about 7 times the size of Disneyland!) and has about 30,000 undergraduates.  The school is on the fast-paced quarter system, with ten weeks of instruction before final exams.  While many general education courses and introductory subject lecture classes may  have 250-300 students in them, about half of the classes have a 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio.  On our recent tour, our tour guide Vanessa told us that professors wear microphones so you can hear them in the back of the lecture hall, and that TAs teach smaller “recitation” sections of 15-45 students.

Price Center

The Price Center is the physical center of campus, and the center of student life.  A dozen restaurants, including healthy and fast food options, as well as the bookstore, student organization offices and study space are all located in this central hub.  The International Center is home to students from other countries studying abroad here, as well as information for UCSD students interesting going abroad (22% go abroad, leading the UC system) and ethnic student groups.  Every Friday has a different themed cuisine.

Magellan’s counselors have toured UC San Diego on multiple occasions, and all of our clients who attend have been wildly happy there!  You can scroll through some photos from our most recent visit below.

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