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View Full Version : Where to go to college: UC Davis or UC Santa Barbara?


Stridder44
Mar 18, 2009, 05:58 PM
I plan on majoring in French. I've heard good things about both schools, but can't decide which. Any input/thoughts are welcome.

ipodtouchy333
Mar 18, 2009, 06:13 PM
UC Santa Barbara is my top choice for college as of right now. I really want to go to school in CA, but I'm out of state so it will be all luck if I end up getting into a UC. Santa Barbara is all about location. How awesome would it be to basically go to college right on the beach. It is known to be a party school since Isla Vista (IV) is a huge college town, but all colleges are pretty much party schools. I'm not sure which school would fit your major the best, so you might want to do some research on that. If you do end up choosing UCSB, hopefully I'll see you there next year, haha.

GoCubsGo
Mar 18, 2009, 06:22 PM
Future planning:
Do you plan to also go to Grad school? If so and if you wish to remain at UC Davis or UCSB then UC Davis afaik has a grad program in French. However, you may want to try UCSB for under grad and UC Davis for Grad. I always believed attending two different colleges for undergrad and grad was ideal as you get another view on teaching and the overall cultural experience moving from one college to the other.

UCSB ... party school, great location, seems to have a decent program. UC Davis for some reason appears a bit more serious in this field.

Badandy
Mar 18, 2009, 06:31 PM
This is an honest question, no intent on being snarky.


What opportunities will be opened for you by majoring in French rather than majoring in something else and learning French (and France's history, culture, etc.) on the side?

Silencio
Mar 18, 2009, 07:41 PM
Both good schools, though UC Davis has the better academic reputation.

rhsgolfer33
Mar 18, 2009, 09:11 PM
Go to SB. You'll have a lot more fun and the program is still decent. I mean, the town of Davis is fairly dull in comparison to Santa Barbara (which can be dull at times as well, but "downtown" is usually quite fun at night). Great weather, fun town, great beaches, and the LA area isn't too far. Granted, San Francisco is a similar distance from Davis as LA is from SB.

Both are pretty good schools, but if I had the choice I'd go to SB over Davis, if only for the area. You're majoring in French, French majors are pretty similar at many schools. When you're applying for a teaching job or becoming a translator, or grad school, or whatever it is you plan on doing, the difference between SB and Davis is probably going to end up being fairly negligible, especially if you do well.

That said, if you're the type that is easily distracted by copious amounts of alcohol, the beach, or other things, SB might not be for you. However, Davis has a fair amount of its own parties.

jpyc7
Mar 18, 2009, 09:40 PM
Maybe if you are interested in state govt and think you could get some sort of internship in Sacramento, then Davis would be the choice. Mind you, it's not that close that you'd want to drive everyday. (well, I hate driving more than 30 minutes.) I have no idea if it's easy to get govt internships either.

Otherwise Santa Barbara's the much nicer weather town that is close to the ocean.

GoCubsGo
Mar 18, 2009, 09:43 PM
This is an honest question, no intent on being snarky.


What opportunities will be opened for you by majoring in French rather than majoring in something else and learning French (and France's history, culture, etc.) on the side?

I thought the same, but interpreters do quite well if you get into the right place. Nevertheless, the ones saying UCSB because the kid will have more fun ... I agree college should be fun, but UC Davis seems to be slightly more serious. I stand by saying if he wants grad school for sure then UCSB for undergrad then UC Davis for grad. At least then he gets the best of both worlds and a fine education. UCSB's location is amazing ... you could go to Pepperdine or UCSD for similar locations and parties ... but at least UCSB and UC Davis are close-ish.

neiltc13
Mar 18, 2009, 09:52 PM
Isn't the best place to learn French France?

Kashchei
Mar 18, 2009, 09:56 PM
I got my degrees from UCSB and took classes in the French dept (my degree is not in French). I can say that the French department is first rate. PM me if you have any specific questions.

rhsgolfer33
Mar 18, 2009, 09:58 PM
I thought the same, but interpreters do quite well if you get into the right place. Nevertheless, the ones saying UCSB because the kid will have more fun ... I agree college should be fun, but UC Davis seems to be slightly more serious. I stand by saying if he wants grad school for sure then UCSB for undergrad then UC Davis for grad. At least then he gets the best of both worlds and a fine education. UCSB's location is amazing ... you could go to Pepperdine or UCSD for similar locations and parties ... but at least UCSB and UC Davis are close-ish.

Interpreters do very well, especially if you can are certified to do it in court, at depositions, etc. They bill in excess of $200 an hour for those services many times. However, if you intend on staying in the Southern California area you might do well to take some Spanish courses as well.

Pepperdine... Parties? Never thought I'd hear those two in the same sentence. Pepperdine is a dry campus and their policy extends to any parties hosted by a student organization off campus. So, while Pepperdine students definitely party, you'll likely be doing it quite a ways from campus, at least if you don't want to get written up. It is a fantastic school and location, but it'll set you back like $50k a year if you live there, UCSB is far less expensive.

I agree with UCSD, excellent school and location.

I think Jessica's plan is a good one. SB for undergrad and possible Davis or an even better school for graduate. If you take it seriously you'll get as good of an education at UCSB as you will at Davis.

Isn't the best place to learn French France?

Certainly, but its difficult to go to a French university if you don't already speak French. Thats why many language majors study abroad in a country that speaks the language they are learning. Sometimes it can even be a requirement provided the school has relationships with schools in the country that allow students to attend there for the same cost as here.

EricNau
Mar 18, 2009, 10:09 PM
I was accepted to both, and chose UC Davis, simply because the transportation to Santa Barabara is extremely limited. I'm happy with my decsion.

Davis is a great town as well, centered entirely on college life. The Davis bus sytstem (http://daviswiki.org/Unitrans), for example, is run by the UCD student govt. (ASUCD) and is entirely free for all undergrads. "Unitrans," as it is called, is also famous for its double-decker buses (http://daviswiki.org/Double-Decker_Buses).

The campus also has a great "Activities and Recreation Center (http://daviswiki.org/Activities_and_Recreation_Center)," offering everything from gym equipment to a rock climbing wall (again, free to ungergrads, with a few exceptions). The UCD campus is also home to the Shields Library (http://daviswiki.org/Shields_Library), SciLec (http://daviswiki.org/Sciences_Lecture_Hall_123) (the largest lecture hall on campus), "The Silo (http://daviswiki.org/Silo)," and of course, the infamous "Death Star (http://daviswiki.org/Social_Sciences_and_Humanities_Building)." ...As a French major, you would become well acquained with Sproul Hall (http://daviswiki.org/Sproul_Hall).

I'll be more than happy to answer any questions about UCD and/or Davis. Just ask away! :)

JNB
Mar 18, 2009, 10:26 PM
... you could go to Pepperdine or UCSD for similar locations and parties ...

UCSD? Even the girls are wearing pocket protectors there, the place is so… earnest.

Unless you count the wild flings when the lacrosse team plays (no football team for the Tritons--nobody was showing up). I hear they even put extra sugar in the punch and stay up 'til 10. :rolleyes:

It is an absolutely tremendous university, though, but the party school in that town is SDSU.

CalBoy
Mar 18, 2009, 10:44 PM
The Davis bus sytstem (http://daviswiki.org/Unitrans), for example, is run by the UCD student govt. (ASUCD) and is entirely free for all undergrads.

I have to say that when I visited my friend at Davis, I was very impressed with the buses.

Now I'm not sure if Davis students can drive those buses like Muni or Berkeley AC Transit drivers (:p) but the buses were very clean and seemed to be very punctual.


"Unitrans," as it is called, is also famous for its double-decker buses (http://daviswiki.org/Double-Decker_Buses).

I was there when there was a lot of fog in the afternoon, and combined with some of the older architecture, I could have sworn I was in Britain (except all the buses were on the wrong side! :D).


On topic:

OP, I think Davis is the better school on a number of levels (especially academics).

Party schools might seem exciting and thrilling when you're a senior in high school, but they're not a wise long-term investment. A school with a better academic reputation will get you more internships, summer jobs, etc., and prepare you for your future career(s) better because you will be in a more stimulating setting. Remember, not all UCs are created equal.

Plus the Davis campus is really quite nice, and rent is pretty darn cheap (at least compared to the Bay Area! :eek:).

Cromulent
Mar 18, 2009, 10:50 PM
Davis is a great town as well, centered entirely on college life. The Davis bus sytstem (http://daviswiki.org/Unitrans), for example, is run by the UCD student govt. (ASUCD) and is entirely free for all undergrads. "Unitrans," as it is called, is also famous for its double-decker buses (http://daviswiki.org/Double-Decker_Buses).

Good old London buses. I notice they also have red British telephone boxes too. A home away from home :).

Jollins
Mar 18, 2009, 11:32 PM
I also am a student at UC Davis. Yes, it's a great school, but so is UCSB. You'd get a great education at both, so I think you're decision should come down to the environment.

Davis is a small town in an agrarian region of the state, but the presence of such a large university definitely makes it feel like a college town, rather than a farming town. Residents here really take pride in their city and try to protect local business (a few years back the most talked about and debated election item was about whether to allow a Target to open in the town, and it barely passed. It is planned to open soon but hasn't yet, and there are no other big-box retailers). The downtown area here is small, but it's nice, feels genuine, and its conveniently right across the street from campus. I highly recommend reading more on the daviswiki others liked to. It's a really good wiki that's absolutely loaded with interesting facts about the campus and town.

Essentially my advice is that if you like the small-town, more community-oriented feel, pick Davis. If you prefer bigness, shopping malls, and beaches pick SB. If you have other questions, feel free to ask me any more questions too :)

EricNau
Mar 18, 2009, 11:41 PM
The downtown area here is small, but it's nice, feels genuine, and its conveniently right across the street from campus.
That, and the exceptional Farmer's Market (http://daviswiki.org/Davis_Farmers_Market). :)

BittenApple
Mar 19, 2009, 07:53 PM
I also am a student at UC Davis. Yes, it's a great school, but so is UCSB. You'd get a great education at both, so I think you're decision should come down to the environment.

Davis is a small town in an agrarian region of the state, but the presence of such a large university definitely makes it feel like a college town, rather than a farming town. Residents here really take pride in their city and try to protect local business (a few years back the most talked about and debated election item was about whether to allow a Target to open in the town, and it barely passed. It is planned to open soon but hasn't yet, and there are no other big-box retailers). The downtown area here is small, but it's nice, feels genuine, and its conveniently right across the street from campus. I highly recommend reading more on the daviswiki others liked to. It's a really good wiki that's absolutely loaded with interesting facts about the campus and town.

Essentially my advice is that if you like the small-town, more community-oriented feel, pick Davis. If you prefer bigness, shopping malls, and beaches pick SB. If you have other questions, feel free to ask me any more questions too :)

I would pick Davis. I see it as a more 'serious' school (Santa Barbara is known across the UC's as a party school), it is a nicer campus, and you'll meet a pretty diversified bunch of people. If you have any questions about Davis feel free to PM me.

- Class of 2011 ;)

crazyevilmuffin
Mar 19, 2009, 09:49 PM
I too face the same dilemma as you: Davis or Santa Barbara? It seems like Davis is far more isolated and only slightly better academically than Santa Barbara. I want to go to the school that will be both intellectually stimulating and enjoyable when not studying. Though I'm planning on looking at both of the schools during my Spring break, I was wondering if anyone from either Davis or Santa Barbara can tell me a bit about the schools, just so I can have an idea of what they're like before I visit. Thanks :)

63dot
Mar 19, 2009, 09:59 PM
From all I have heard all my life, they are both decent schools. It should ultimately come down to which school and surrounding area suits you better. I have been to both campuses but lived in Santa Barbara and I quite like being by the ocean.

The annual colleges series The Best 309 Colleges, or whatever they are up to now, has put UCSB on the prettiest campuses list. For some people, such a nice atmosphere helps where others may find it to be a distraction.

GoCubsGo
Mar 19, 2009, 10:06 PM
I must have been in the wrong place, some of my most memorable parties were held at UCSD and Pepperdine. ;)

EricNau
Mar 19, 2009, 10:29 PM
It seems like Davis is far more isolated. . .
Davis isn't the big city that Santa Barbara is, true; however, I'd say that's what makes it so special. The entire town of Davis is about the University; it is a college town. As a student, you're the demographic to which the city caters. You simply won't find that atmosphere in a big city like Santa Barbara or San Diego.

I wouldn't want to live in Davis for a lifetime (it's just not my preference), but it makes for a great place to go to school. Plus, if you need a big city, Sacramento is but 20 minutes away.

Plus, there's an Ikea just 15 minutes away. Trust me, that's pivotal for any college student! :p


Also, another aspect which I forgot to mention earlier: The Mondavi Center (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondavi_Center), which hosts numerous famous performers and lecturers. Two years ago, for example, Robert Ballard (famous for discovering the Titanic) gave a lecture here, and this summer the center will host Yo-yo Ma. ...Students receive a 50% discount to all events, I believe.


Davis is also celebrating it's centennial this year. If you plan on visiting, I highly recommend looking over this site, and perhaps registering for a tour. I found it very beneficial:
Campus Events and Visitor Services, UC Davis (http://visit.ucdavis.edu/dept_cont/tourreg/index.cfm)

BittenApple
Mar 19, 2009, 10:50 PM
also lets not forget picnic day :D (http://picnicday.ucdavis.edu/)

crazyevilmuffin
Mar 19, 2009, 10:52 PM
Thanks for the fast response Eric :)
Davis seems to be the better choice for me as of now, though that may only be because I know more about it than UCSB. I checked out the campus tour site, and will order the dvd ASAP. Though I was admitted as Aeronautical Science & Engr., I plan on switching to Bio major once I enroll. Btw--what did you major in and how do you feel about the professors you had?

EricNau
Mar 19, 2009, 11:00 PM
also lets not forget picnic day :D (http://picnicday.ucdavis.edu/)
Of course! how could I forget Picnic Day (http://daviswiki.org/Picnic_Day) and the Whole Earth Festival (http://daviswiki.org/Whole_Earth_Festival)?

Thanks for the fast response Eric :)
Davis seems to be the better choice for me as of now, though that may only be because I know more about it than UCSB. I checked out the campus tour site, and will order the dcd ASAP. Though I was admitted as Aeronautical Science & Engr., I plan on switching to Bio major once I enroll.
It's worth noting that UCD has an excellent Bio program, with renowned schools of medicine and veterinary medicine, if you plan on taking that route.

Btw--what did you major in and how do you feel about the professors you had?
Physical science. I've been very happy with my professors, but I'm sure the professors at UCD are no better than those at UCSB, overall. With any college you'll find professors you love and those you loath: it's just part of the game. :p

rhsgolfer33
Mar 19, 2009, 11:14 PM
I must have been in the wrong place, some of my most memorable parties were held at UCSD and Pepperdine. ;)

Oh you weren't in the wrong place... I just wouldn't want to be caught at Pepperdine if I was a student there, which I'm not. I go to another "dry" campus, but that rule is routinely broken by many students.

I wouldn't exactly call Santa Barbara a big city. Its good size and there are quite a few people in the area, but a lot of it gives off a fairly small feel, you certainly don't feel like you're in a city.

If you're majoring in something like Bio or Engineering definitely go to Davis, but for French you'd do fine at either school.

63dot
Mar 19, 2009, 11:27 PM
I wouldn't exactly call Santa Barbara a big city. Its good size and there are quite a few people in the area, but a lot of it gives off a fairly small feel, you certainly don't feel like you're in a city.



For California, I thought Santa Barbara was a major city but compared the biggest city in my region which had 20,000+ people, Santa Barbara at four times that population seemed huge.

Of course years later, I took four consecutive summer trips to in-laws in LA and I saw what huge really was. On a map, one could easily overestimate Santa Barbara and underestimate Los Angeles. San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland also dwarf Santa Barbara. There is no substitute for actually checking out a city to see how it feels. For it's current 90,000 residents, Santa Barbara still retains a small town feel to it, but not so small that there is nothing to do.

hayduke
Mar 19, 2009, 11:31 PM
I must have been in the wrong place, some of my most memorable parties were held at UCSD and Pepperdine. ;)

Most memorable or (stumbling around drunk) *least* memorable?

63dot
Mar 19, 2009, 11:32 PM
Most memorable or (stumbling around drunk) *least* memorable?

Umm, that would be Chico State. ;)

crazyevilmuffin
Mar 19, 2009, 11:40 PM
Of course! how could I forget Picnic Day and the Whole Earth Festival?
Haha both of those event seem pretty interesting--I've definitely never been to anything like them before :cool:
It's worth noting that UCD has an excellent Bio program, with renowned schools of medicine and veterinary medicine, if you plan on taking that route.
This is one of the main reasons I plan on going to Davis over Santa Barbara. I've always been interested in the sciences, and by majoring in biology I have plenty of options, such as becoming a dentist or perhaps a veterinarian. Would you say that Davis far outranks UCSB in this respect?

EricNau
Mar 19, 2009, 11:59 PM
This is one of the main reasons I plan on going to Davis over Santa Barbara. I've always been interested in the sciences, and by majoring in biology I have plenty of options, such as becoming a dentist or perhaps a veterinarian. Would you say that Davis far outranks UCSB in this respect?
Yes, Davis easily outranks UCSB in both respects. The UC Davis school of medicine, and the UC Davis Medical center consistently rank among the best in the nation (along with UCSF, UCLA, and UCSD, and UCI).

The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is world-renowned and the largest veterinary school in the United States. It consistently ranks among the best vet schools in the country.

UCSB does not offer either program.

EricNau
Mar 20, 2009, 02:33 AM
One last thing...

UCD has the coolest marching band. The UC Davis Band-uh:

http://camb.ucdavis.edu/camb/multimedia/2004/2004-Images/77.jpg

And for more formal events:
http://camb.ucdavis.edu/camb/multimedia/2004/2004-Images/4.jpg

They're really quite good, with a very unique persona.

eldy
Mar 21, 2009, 03:10 AM
I visisted some friends in Davis once. I'm never going back there again.

d wade
Mar 21, 2009, 09:39 AM
duuuude... UCSB all the way -- that school is amazing and the girls are innnsannneee

rc251
Apr 7, 2009, 01:00 PM
I've been lurking on this site for a bit (trying to get a refurbished IPhone as an upgrade to my AT&T account but guess you can't), but I noticed this topic. I just wanted to chime in to this topic. Full disclosure: I went to UCSB but also took summer classes at Davis and lived there 3 months (South Davis at Drew).

I don't see how some of you guys are under the impression that Davis has the better academic reputation. Both Davis and SB are ranked #44 nationally by US News (they tied, also tied for #12 for just public universities).

Also, UCSB is not Santa Barbara. Downtown Santa Barbara is 11 miles away. That's like saying UC Davis is in Sacramento and then describing Sac. UCSB is adjacent to Isla Vista, the most fun college town in the world...

I was accepted to both, and chose UC Davis, simply because the transportation to Santa Barabara is extremely limited. I'm happy with my decsion.

I take it you're from Sacramento based on your profile? Just hop on the San Joaquins at Sacramento Amtrak and take the thruway connection at Bakersfield to Santa Barbara. Then hope on the 24X SBMTD bus and you're right on campus.

As for pre-med, there's opportunities in SB too. Keep in mind that Berkeley doesn't have a med school either, although UCSF functions similarly as one. At UCSB, you have the Cottage Health system. They have many med-related opportunities and ability to sign up as scribes in the ER.

I still loved my 3 months at Davis though, and both schools are great. I would say academically they're almost equivalent, just choose whichever one you feel more at home at. I was from San Francisco and I wanted a change of environment and get farther away from home so I went to SB.