University of California, Santa Cruz

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Archived Q&A and Reviews


Health insurance for UC Santa Cruz college student

May 2009

I'm wondering if there are any parents out there whose child has gone to UC Santa Cruz (or to any UC for that matter) and what you did about the health insurance question? My daughter is going to UCSC next year. I have health insurance through my job for both of us. We have good coverage including mental health benefits (which is a particular concern as she takes an anti-depressant medication), vision and dental. I am not going to take her off my insurance and substitute the UCSC insurance. I really want her to be able to get immediate care on-site and also have access to the mental health services on campus if she needs them. I was thinking of signing up for CruzCare (which they say is good for students who are already insured). Does anyone have experience with this? How has it worked out? Any other tips would be accepted gratefully! Thanks in advance! anon mom

You may have already done this, but have you checked with your current insurer to see if she can stay on your insurance and use doctors in Santa Cruz? I went through this kind of research a year ago, when my daughter went off to college, and found out that within CA my daughter could stay on our plan and just choose a different primary care doctor. I realize this varies from plan to plan. We have the Blue Cross HMO. What I also found out at the time was that Blue Cross has a little publicized agreement with Blue Cross providers in other states, so even though my daughter ended up going to school out of state, she was able to stay on our plan and switch to a ''guest membership'' in the state where her college is, but still use doctors here whenever she's home. anon

There is an option - read the website as well as the brochure. Do not hesitate to call Health Services and/or email them. We provided proof of insurance, and we have a modified coverage so our student can go to Campus Health but is covered for emergency treatment or local doctor's visit with our coverage. Your coverage is most likely better than the college's. If you drop your insurance there may be problems getting it back or a time gap. What are you going to do during breaks and summer? What if you student leaves in the middle of a quarter because of a serious illness? Serious illness is one of the main reasons one has health insurance. On the other hand if you loose your health coverage it is great to have the option to use the University Student Health Insuarance, and many people do not have family coverage. UCSC parent

When my son was at UCSC, even though he remained covered through my Healthnet and we could have switched his primary care physician to someone in Santa Cruz, we paid the extra so that he could have easy access to health care on campus. He used it a fair amount and we felt that it was money well spent. Parent of UCSC grad


UC Santa Cruz colleges, dorm housing

May 2009

TO: Wise parents of current or former UCSC students. We're a little befuddled by the ''college'' choices and the affordable dorm housing choices, ie quad? small double? small triple?. Daughter has been accepted into College Eight. She's a homebody, neatnik and a bit obsessive with cleanliness, bordering on OCD. More interested in environmental issues than social justice. She'd like to meet people and make new friends, though not the type to drink to excess. Her drink of choice is chai. Any suggestions on a suitable college and which dorm accommodation would be ideal for her? Or, does it make a difference... how good is UCSC with matching roommates? UCSC Newbie Parent

''She's a homebody, neatnik and a bit obsessive with cleanliness, bordering on OCD.''

Fill out the housing application with clear details, get it in early, and be willing to pay more money if it provides better choices. Read the Housing website multiple times and discuss the details and options with your student.

There are drug and substance free floors, single gender floors, and these fill up fast. If enough requests are made early enough they will consider converting floors to accommodate demand, but if you are last minute you get what is left.

If your daughter is really OCD you need a professionally documented diagnosis. And if you think so you may wish to follow up since it can be a lifetime issue. UCSC provides services for disabilities.

For the last few years UCSC has had record numbers of admissions so housing is scarce. They have been ''converting'' singles to doubles, and doubles to triples. ''Converting'' means putting in bunkbeds, the rooms are the same size as they were constructed. However the housing staff for each school is very professional and does their best to match up compatible people. They also will rematch later on but this takes time and may be disruptive. It is very isolating for freshman to live in a single room, and UCSC has a lot of experience with what works so contact Housing as soon as possible with your questions.

Reminder - this is college now. So staff is much less interested in what parents have to say and much more interested in what students have to say. Your student will get a much stronger response to a well worded request than you will. This is one of the biggest changes from HS to college. A student may actually get less than what they need if the requests are all coming from mom and/or dad. At some point your student will need to deal with people who are different than they are, it's a huge part of going off to school. After 18 years, all contact must come from the student and you are only privy to what is going on if your student provides written permission. UCSC parent

Son nervous about UC Santa Cruz - wants to wait

May 2009

I could really use some advice. My son is a senior, graduating in a month. He is extremely creative but by our high school standards, a pretty average student (3.5, 1860 on SAT). He is extremely creative especially in video production and theater type of work, however, he is also really analytical (i.e. he doesn't relate to really artsy people).

He applied to two U.C.s and got into Santa Cruz, didn't get into Santa Barbara. To, me Santa Cruz is a perfect fit for him. We went to the campus visit and afterwards, he said he just didn't like Santa Cruz. Now he wants to do community college. He says he wants to go to a better school ... whatever that means. Honestly, I think he is stalling.

I think he is afraid to go. I am really torn on whether to push him out of the nest and make him go or to let him stay home for two years with this community college. Most of my friends say let him do community college, some kids just take longer. My gut says make him go to Santa Cruz. I already told him he could make the decision, but now I'm regretting that thinking I should have said ''You're going''.

This is a nice kid with good friends but he's never had a job or any great responsibility - even though I keep telling him he has to get a job. Short of me applying for him, he just won't. I'm pretty fed up. Shelly

I would say that you should let him go to community college first, and in the meantime, have him think of other options. Santa Cruz is a special kind of place, with a particular flavor that may not appeal to your son, though it appeals to you. When he says ''better'' school, he may mean less non-traditional. I would have him look over literature from schools across the country to see if he can put his finger on what would be a good fit. Though private schools can be very expensive, perhaps he can win a scholarship if he does really well at the community college. Or he can try to get into a different UC. In any case, for a student feeling unsure of himself, the community college is a good start. The course material for the foundation courses is basically the same, but the classes are smaller and there is not the social piece to contend with in the same way. As someone who teaches college-aged kids (and who has seen kids crash and burn), I would say that parents should start to bow out of the decision process as much as is feasible at this point. He has a preference that makes sense, and I would go with that. Linda

I have a student at UCSC who loves it. Furthermore as a parent I think the school knocks itself out to provide very quality service to all of its students. We looked at 10 private schools and were accepted at 5 out 6 applied to. None of them were as proactive as UCSC in making sure our student was taken care of. Really encourage a visit and tour, talk to students on campus.

There is all kinds of common talk about UCSC as ''low priority'' UC, a party school, ungraded environment. It's nonsense. Most of the UCSC grads I have met whether recent or from the 70's loved their experience. It is a well known center to launch science careers.

First of all they have had grades for many years, the academics are structured, more structured than most private schools costing 3 times as much. Requirements for graduation are not as easy as other UCs, that may surprise you, The student body is friendly, accepting, and really very normal. It's a beautiful campus, and the city of Santa Cruz has lots of opportunities for movies, beach, boardwalk, groceries and eateries.

The pressure and competition to get into any UC right now is tremendous. If he prefers another UC, he can gain priority to transfer for second or third year if his grades are good. It is much easier to transfer from one UC to another, than to get in as a freshman. I have talked to several people who graduated from UC Berkeley, UCLA, and UCSB by first going to UCSC, Riverside or Irvine.

I suspect his friends are giving him crap. My student's friends dished crap and half of them wish they picked UCSC now. The beer boozing on most of the campuses is way out of control. A bit more discreet at UCSC. Not the nerdiest school, but many very serious and responsible students. Amazing lecturers. I am very pleased with my student's roommates. World class programs in many, many areas. In the end right now your son's peers opinions are very valuable to him, in another year, he may only be talking to one or two of the HS friends. So try to sort out the source of this.

A day listening in on lectures really made the difference for my student. If he has been to the campus several times I would agree that maybe a Community College would be better. You might also look at the University of Texas, University of Oregon, University of Vermont, and SUNY systems, little late, but for folks out there who can't afford private, these out of state tuitions are not awful. UCSC positive, goodluck making a good choice

My understanding is that it is only possible to transfer from a UC to another UC in the junior year and that UC doesn't take transfers from other colleges at the sophomore level. Does anyone have a different experience with this. My son did not get into a UC of his choice. He was surprised that he didn't get into UCSC but we heard of students with GPAs of 3.8 who didn't get in. We were told that his best chance would involving going to junior college for two years, and then transferring to a UC. He did get into SFSU but it sounds like there is almost no chance of transfering from a CSU to a UC as the system feels you are already taken care of. Any ideas? Money is an issue, so we will be staying instate. another parent

In response to the question about your son not getting into a UC of choice and the problem of not being able to transfer until the junior might look into Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington. it's a state school, and its liberal political, green ambiance appeals to some kids who are also interested in UCSC. The out-of-state tuition there is nearly comparable to the UC system. My son and several other graduates of Berkeley High went to Evergreen and loved it. Cathy