The University of California has nine undergraduate campuses: Berkeley, UCLA, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara and UC Santa Cruz. If you’re applying to UC San Diego, you may have realized that you’ll need to rank UCSD’s seven residential colleges in order to submit your application. How should you approach this decision?
We think the best way to rank the UCSD residential colleges is to review all of the colleges’ general education requirements, and their mission statements, to see which one(s) best reflect your own educational goals.
You can compare lots of information about UCSD’s seven residential colleges here. We strongly recommend you review the general education requirements, which vary slightly though of course they all fulfill UCSD’s gen (some require calculus; some require a foreign language; some require a visual art!).
Keep in mind that when you’re assigned to one of the UCSD residential colleges, you will live in that college’s facilities for your first year. You may choose to remain in that college’s residential environment for your second year as well, and you’ll remain affiliated with your assigned UCSD residential college throughout your time at UC San Diego.
You can major in any subject at all of the colleges! The differences are simply in the vision and focus of each college, and again, in the general education courses you’ll be required to take. Each one has a slightly different personality.
UC San Diego published a side-by-side list of the colleges’ general education requirements, which vary slightly by college, but which all fulfill the university’s requirements. Above are the GE requirements for Revelle, Sixth and Thurgood Marshall Colleges. You can click on the image and enlarge it to see the requirements.
[Unfortunately that brochure was printed before Seventh College was created; you can go to Seventh College’s website to learn about their vision, approach, philosophy and their GE requirements.]
To the left are the GE requirements for Earl Warren, Eleanor Roosevelt and John Muir College. You can see their requirements and approach and emphases are slightly different. Keep in mind there are seven colleges now, not six!
UC San Diego asks students to rank the seven residential colleges as part of the UC application process. Students who are admitted to UCSD are given their top-ranked residential college about 90% of the time. You should definitely familiarize yourself with all seven, and choose the ones you like best as your #1, #2 and #3 ranked choices.
Applying to the UCs
The nine undergraduate UC campuses have their own application (it’s here), which opens each year on August 1. Students may submit their UC application between November 1 and November 30 (but not a minute later than November 30!).
There are some really important differences between applying to UCs and applying to other colleges! We boiled down our top advice and tips into this short blog post. This post talks about the UC a-g requirements, GPA and reporting your activities.
This post is a little bit longer and has some more extensive information about applying to the UCs, including a review of the factors the UC campuses consider as they review the hundreds of thousands of applications they receive from students around the world each year.
Best of luck as you are applying to the UCs!