Choosing Your College Affiliation

Photo taken prior to COVID-19. UCSC is following all CDC guidelines.

The colleges at UC Santa Cruz are instrumental in creating the learning communities and supportive environment that characterize the UC Santa Cruz experience.

All undergraduate students, whether they live in university housing or not, are affiliated with one of 10 colleges. In addition to housing students in small-scale residential communities, each college provides academic support, organizes student activities, and sponsors events that enhance the intellectual and social life of the campus.

Every college community includes students with diverse backgrounds and academic goals. Your college affiliation is independent of your choice of major.

"Students can feel lost at a large university. The colleges at UCSC give students a sense of community." —Tyler K., Film and Digital Media major, Porter College


How to choose your college:

  • If you can, come and visit UCSC—you'll get a good feel for the different colleges and that will help in your decision process.
  • Use the web to learn about each of the colleges. The theme/focus of each college is unique and the architecture and layout of each is different—are you drawn to one more than another?
  • Read about the core course for each college.
    • What is a core course?
      Each college has a unique course that emphasizes the theme of the college. These courses, known as “core courses,” help develop critical thinking and writing skills necessary for success in university work. The core courses are required for all new freshmen entering UC Santa Cruz and satisfy a campus general education requirement.
  • Look at the individual college locations.
  • You will rank your college choices based on your preferences. You can also choose to indicate "no preference" meaning you will be fine with any of the colleges.
  • The Office of Admissions will then assign you to your college based upon space availability and your request for affiliation.
  • Students are usually very happy at their assigned college, but should you find you are unhappy with your assignment, you can appeal your assignment.