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Old 09-20-2008, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Portland, ME
11 posts, read 64,260 times
Reputation: 15

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Hey everyone -

I am currently taking a break from school (I graduated from a high school in southern Maine last summer), and I have decided that when I go back to school, I want to go in California. After extensive research on which areas/schools I may want to move to, Santa Monica and Santa Barbara have come out on top. I have decided to start off at a community college for various reasons, and am wondering whether I would like Santa Monica City College or Santa Barbara Community College better. I know the basic differences between the two schools/areas, but I was hoping for some more personal opinions - perhaps from someone who has gone to these schools or lives in these areas.

I guess I should describe what I'm looking for - I kind of want the "typical" college experience, and the biggest worry I have is not being able to meet new people and make friends and becoming isolated in an unfamiliar place, which would suck. I know that there are a million ways to make friends, but it can certainley be harder at community colleges in large cities. This is probably my biggest concern - what's the best way to make friends if I may not be living in dorms or going to a big university? Which school out of the two I listed would be easier to meet new people and make new friends?

Also - which area would be better in terms of people? How are the people in general from Santa Monica and Santa Barbara in your experiences? Which area has more fun things to do? Better night life? Which has better outdoor activites and a more diverse landscape? Again, I know a lot of this stuff generally already, just looking for personal opinions. Thanks.
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Old 09-20-2008, 02:26 PM
 
Location: California
3,172 posts, read 6,110,400 times
Reputation: 332
I dont think any community colleges, or even many universities in the LA area offer the 'typical' college experience. Mostly commuter schools.

Are you just planning on going to a jc until you get residency or something? Because I think waiting until you get in a university to come to California would be A LOT easier on you.

You could live off loans or help from your parents while getting your education done. Otherwise, if you try to work enough to support yourself while taking classes, your progress in education will probably suffer.



You can still meet people though at school if youre outgoing enough, but you'd probably make more friends wherever you work.
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Old 09-22-2008, 09:52 PM
 
Location: Portland, ME
11 posts, read 64,260 times
Reputation: 15
Thank you for the response, but anything else, anyone?
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Old 09-22-2008, 10:10 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles, CA
419 posts, read 1,291,378 times
Reputation: 179
I would consider Santa Barbara CC.

There is a closer connection with the students at UCSB than SMCC has with UCLA - so you are likely to have a better college experience.

Santa Barbara is a great college/university town (technically Goleta) - the area pretty much revolves around the students whereas in LA / Santa Monica it is the converse. My impression of students at SMCC is they are more interested in getting into the entertainment industry than enjoying the college experience.

Check them both out - very different vibes, so you'll have to see which suits your fancy.

Also consider in-state vs. out-of-state tuition -- the costs are dramatically different, regardless of which public college you attend in CA. No joke: undocumented immigrants get better tuition rates than out-of-state students...
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Old 09-22-2008, 10:44 PM
 
Location: South Bay
7,115 posts, read 18,995,969 times
Reputation: 3366
if you're looking for more of a college experience, i think santa barbara is your best bet. SB has a huge student population. SMC has students from all over the region and although many people go there, its pretty much there solely for the purpose of transferring to UCLA or USC. SM is a great city though, but its so expensive here, it is difficult for a financially strapped student to really have a good time. not that santa barbara is cheap (or any less expensive for that matter), its just that they cater better to college aged people there (atleast in terms of housing and night life).
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Old 09-22-2008, 11:05 PM
 
3,536 posts, read 5,201,363 times
Reputation: 823
SBCC students typicall live in the Mesa and Isla Vista. The Mesa in in Santa Barbara, whereas Isla Vista is more UCSB students (UCSB is closer to Isla Vista, not Goleta). Like 10% of IV is SBCC and around 70% is UCSB. There is a little aminosity towards SBCC students (but not too much...only snide remarks here and there, but it occurs on both sides). It seriously is easy to get into UCSB from SBCC. Everyone as a whole is really cool in IV. I miss UCSB so much. It's friggin amazing. It's really easy to make friends in SB.

The typical SBCC/UCSB student LOVES to drink and smoke. State street on thursdays is the place to be (if over 21). Winter quarter is more dead. Spring is all about hitting up the beach during the day and State street on thursdays. Tues is all about Old Town Tavern in Goleta, Weds is 80s Night at Qs...Fri and Sat you can go downtown, but this is more Isla Vista's time (parties at a friend's place...cover charges on Fri and Sat).

IV has Sands Beach and Campus point for surfing...they break better during the winter. Also great hiking in Santa Ynez at Red Rock. So within 15 mins of driving, you go from beach to mountains. Lots of running trails at West Campus, literally at the end of Isla Vista. If you are into frisbee golf, there are several courses in biking distance. If you are into regualr golf, also lots of options. We got everyhthing except snow (but the UCs best snowboard team.) Much more diverse landscape. Where else can you see snow clad mountains from the beach?

Ok...the cons. Don't bring your car to IV. I did. My friends did. About 60% of my friend's cars have been messed with. Lots of drunk idiots on the streets at night. If you live on the 6500 block to about the 6700 block (from the part that borders UCSB to about the middle of Isla Vista), you will hate parking. Hardly any spots available during Halloween, move in, and move out. Noise violations are a pain. Can't play music past midnight. Also literally don't stumble in IV...you will be arrested (even if you are legally not drunk). Don't carry any open container at night, you will be arrested (my friend was arrested for carrying Dr. Pepper...I know it was only Dr. Pepper since I was the one that bought it for him). These are rare things that have occured, but still can happen. If you don't have an open container, then you will be fine.

I hope this helped.
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Old 09-22-2008, 11:50 PM
 
Location: Shallow alcove hidden from the telescreen
2,818 posts, read 9,907,188 times
Reputation: 1472
SBCC is a great college, one of the top rated in the state. I graduated from there as a non-traditional student. The experience with the instructors, counselors and fellow students was an exceptional one for me. Santa Barbara is expensive for housing, but it's a very compact city with a pretty good bus system that you can (or at least used to be able to) ride for free with your student ID -- system wide, seven days a week. Santa Barbara is also fairly bike friendly. You might be able to offset your housing cost by just not having a car. It's easily doable in SB and many students do.
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Old 09-23-2008, 12:18 AM
 
481 posts, read 697,641 times
Reputation: 437
Depends on your personality and what kind of town you like. SB has more of a beachy, sleepy, small town feel and some might consider it boring. It might be easier to make friends there, since the people tend to be more welcoming and laid back than in larger cities. SMC is in the middle of the action (on the west side of LA) and there's more culture, diversity and places to explore. But it could also seem more impersonal to a newcomer.

You might also consider where you want to live after college. If you plan to live in LA, the friendships you'd make at SMC would be easier to maintain, since most of them would probably continue to live in the so Cal. Not so with SBCC. I don't think many students stay in Santa Barbara after graduation. There's not much of a economy to attract young people.
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Old 09-23-2008, 12:43 AM
 
Location: Shallow alcove hidden from the telescreen
2,818 posts, read 9,907,188 times
Reputation: 1472
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark85 View Post
Not so with SBCC. I don't think many students stay in Santa Barbara after graduation. There's not much of a economy to attract young people.
This is very true. Students finish school in Santa Barbara and leave the increasingly "graying" community. It's unfortunate, but the fact is, as mark85 stated, the economy is slim with high competition for $10, $12, $15/hr. jobs. Add to this the housing issue and it's not difficult to understand why graduates leave the area.

That said, Santa Barbara lends itself to consulting and self-employment for those who can figure out a service to provide and are good at what they do. The area is small and word-of-mouth referrals mean a lot. There's not exactly a shortage of wealth in SB, and people will pay top dollar for professionalism and services that they want. There's also a tendency to love hiring consultants/services local to SB.

Last edited by Winston Smith; 09-23-2008 at 01:03 AM.. Reason: Afterthought about consulting/self-employment
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Old 09-23-2008, 02:02 AM
 
Location: Concrete Vietnam
43 posts, read 153,964 times
Reputation: 26
SMC if you want to transfer
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