General Question

jabag11's avatar

What universities of California are good and bad for the major of psychology?

Asked by jabag11 (676points) May 2nd, 2011

I am 19 and male and am in the midst of choosing what college I want to go to. I am choosing between the following:

Santa Cruz
Santa Barbara
San Diego

I am choosing on the basis of (from most important to least):

1) how “respectable” the school is, it’s reputation, per se.

2) What aspect of psychology they teach, I want to stay away from the science aspect and go more into the actual behavioral aspect

3) People: I don’t want to be around all and only “Preppy” people, sorry not to be rude. And, I don’t want to be around a bunch of people who are only about school – school – school, I want to be around some “outgoing” people, and diverse in nationalities if possible.

4) City: I don’t want to live in a slow type city with nothing going on (boring). I’m a very outgoing person and this is where I will be living for the time I’m there so it’s important.

5) Geographic location & weather, I want to be around a nice sunny weather, you know somewhat like Santa Cruz.

I would be living either at the dorm there or at an apartment near by, my parents would be taking care of most of the expenses luckily.

So please tell me what you know! I would be most grateful, and ask me any questions necessary to better answer my question, I’d be happy to answer! =D

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13 Answers

crisw's avatar

UCSD is far more into the “science” aspect- although psychology is a science- I am presuming you mean you want to do actual work with people and not research?

jabag11's avatar

@crisw I know psychology is a science, but when I say the science aspect I mean like studying the neurons of the brain instead of why we subconsciously do what we do for example.

Hard to explain but some schools definitely go more one way than the other. That’s why a school like Berkley for example has a lot of more chemistry and Bio classes to take I think. I could be wrong?

Rarebear's avatar

It’s spelled “Berkeley” not “Berkley”. Make sure you get that right on the application.

zenvelo's avatar

UCSB ( full disclosure- I went there) seems to fit your bill. The Psych program is more what you are looking for. The weather is beautiful and there is lots to do in Isla Vista, and in downtown SB. It can be as laid back or competitive as you want.

Allie's avatar

1) Berkeley, LA, and Davis are the top 3 most reputable, or they were last time I checked (Davis being 3rd among UCs for best education). Followed by SD and Irvine. SB is considered a party school and SC is good if you’re going to school of environmental sciences or studies.

2) Check out the undergrad department page for each university. Here is the UCD one to get you started. Most campuses will have a page for the Psych Dept where you can find what focuses they offer. I find it hard to believe that any UC wouldn’t, but if they don’t you can always call the Undergrad Advisor in the dept and ask.

3) The bigger the school, the more diverse the student body is… possibly. Again, do some research and check out the demographics. Wikipedia might even be able to help you with this. You can look for demographics on the undergrad pages for each campus too. Here is the UCD one. (Aside: If it’s friendly people you want to be around I’ll just say that Davis was voted one of the Top 5 Friendliest Cities in America by TODAY.)

4) Again, you probably want a bigger city. Not just a bigger school, but a school in a city with a large population. For this, it’s probably best to check city populations on a Wikipedia or city websites. The good thing about college towns though is that there are always students out doing something or making something to do. UCD has a thriving downtown, it’s 10 mins from Sacramento (which has an even bigger downtown), Picnic Day which is one of the largest events around – seriously – people come from SoCal and Chico to go to this, Whole Earth Festival, farmer’s markets. And if you want to go somewhere else, there is a bus that takes students for cheap (or free, I don’t remember) from UCD to UCB. Check out the student life pages on each university site too. Again, that’s the one for Davis.

5) SoCal locations are going to have the sun the most out of the year. Most of the UC’s are in pretty temperate locations though. UCD and UCB will get more rain than UCLA, UCSB, and UCSD. Temps in the summer can get pretty high here (Davis), but it’s definitely no Las Vegas. Coastal locations seem to be like what you’re looking for when it comes to climate.

I put all the links to UCD’s site, I know. As UCD alum, I’m definitely pro-UCD, but also, I know how to navigate the UCD site so it was quick and easy to find those links. All UC sites should have pages like that though.

crisw's avatar

I should mention that, if you don’t have your own transportation, UCSD is pretty far from any “happening” places (other than the beach). Public transportation in San Diego sucks, and UCSD is actually about 15 miles from downtown San Diego (although closer to some of the neighborhoods where students like to hang out and party, like Mission Beach and Pacific Beach). There have been a lot of complaints abut the lack of diversity at UCSD; it’s mostly whites and Asians and there have been a few highly-publicized racial incidents.

jabag11's avatar

@crisw thank you so much for that input. That’s good to know but Santa Barbara I heard is more of a rich town, so I’m guessing it’s pretty much mostly whites over there right? and more of the same type of people, white rich ones?

crisw's avatar


As @Allie mentioned, check the campus web pages; you should find demographics there.

jabag11's avatar

It is now between San Diego and UCLA!!! anyy suggestions?

BarnacleBill's avatar

What are your grades and SAT scores like?

Allie's avatar

I’d pick LA over SD any day, but that’s just me.

jabag11's avatar

I’m transfering from a cummunity college, GPA is about 3.5 and will become higher for sure

crisw's avatar


I mean this in the nicest way…if you want to make it into UCSD or UCLA, you will need to work a bit on your spelling skills…

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