university of santa barbara

tips for choosing a college

This is a really exciting time for high school seniors/transfer students who are getting accepted to universities! But now it’s time for the most stressful part: deciding which school to go to. I was in the exact same place last year that you are in right now and I thought I would share some tips for making this difficult (but exciting!) decision.

Research, research, research. Online resources are the best. On the school’s official website, look at their course catalogs and major requirement sheets. If you’re coming in undeclared, look at their list of majors and see if you think they have enough options you’re interested in exploring. 

Also think about what it will be like to be a student at that school. Don’t only focus on the practical stuff like rankings and academics.  Look at the student orgs, events, and student resources. Follow their social media accounts (especially Instagram and Snapchat) to get a sense of the school’s vibe. You can even creep a lil and look at current students’ posts to see the campus through their eyes. Search for YouTube videos as well. There might be some vloggers who go to the school you’re interested in and you can see the day in the life of a student.

Take tours! Attend any admitted student days or come to campus for a regular tour. This is soooo important. You will get to learn about the school from an actual student and they will tell you more than you could ever find online. At the very least, walk around the campus yourself a little bit to get a feel for it. If for whatever reason you can’t go to campus before you have to choose, contact the admissions office and ask for some extra info. They might even put you in contact with a student who is in your major who you can talk to.  

Once you have narrowed it down to a couple schools, ask people which one they think you should go to. I did this and realized that whenever they told me a different school than UCSB (which I ended up going to) I would feel disappointed. I would always be like, “But why not UCSB?” You could also do the same thing by pulling names out of a hat. Think that whichever one you pick out, you will go to and see how you feel about it. While choosing a school should definitely be about academic opportunities and other practical factors such as financial aid, I think your gut feeling should play a role as well.

Do not worry about what other people will think. Everyone has an idea of what certain schools are like. It might have to do with rankings or other reputations that the school might have, but try to disregard that as much as possible and form your own opinions. Don’t worry if people don’t think the school is good enough or anything like that. After all, you are the one who will be going there for years, not them. 

Think about distance! I definitely underestimated how important this was for me. Consider how often you plan on going home. If you’re going to go home every weekend, a local school will probably work best in the long run. If you’re the total opposite and plan on rarely going home, a school much farther away will probably work out well for you. 

Talk to current students if you can. Reach out to alumni from your high school or community college who currently go there. If you do stop at the school for a visit, feel free to stop some students for directions then ask how they like going to school there. Check if there are any studyblrs who go to the schools you were admitted to (me if you were admitted to UCSB) and ask them any questions you have. 

So those are all the tips I can think of right now. Enjoy this time in your life because it is so exciting and you have so many options. If you have any questions about college or UCSB feel free to send me an ask! Good luck, and congratulations!

Rapid decline of Arctic sea ice a combination of climate change and natural variability

Arctic sea ice in recent decades has declined even faster than predicted by most models of climate change. Many scientists have suspected that the trend now underway is a combination of global warming and natural climate variability.

A new study finds that a substantial chunk of summer sea ice loss in recent decades was due to natural variability in the atmosphere over the Arctic Ocean. The study, from the University of Washington, the University of California Santa Barbara and federal scientists, is published March 13 in Nature Climate Change.

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Scientists create 'impossible' new form of matter with fourth dimension
A new kind of matter – dubbed a “time crystal” – has been created by two teams of scientists in a feat once considered theoretically impossible. Normal crystals, anything from diamonds to snowflakes, have atoms arranged in a repeating three-dimensional lattice. However the atoms in time crystals – the existence of which was first suggested in 2012 – repeat a pattern across the fourth dimension, time. This essentially means they should oscillate forever without any external influence.

A new kind of matter – dubbed a “time crystal” – has been created by two teams of scientists in a feat once considered theoretically impossible.

Normal crystals, anything from diamonds to snowflakes, have atoms arranged in a repeating three-dimensional lattice.

However the atoms in time crystals – the existence of which was first suggested in 2012 – repeat a pattern across the fourth dimension, time.

This essentially means they should oscillate forever without any external influence.

However, in a commentary published by Nature, one leading expert in the field suggested more research was needed to prove without doubt that time crystals truly exist.

Professor Chetan Nayak, of University of California, Santa Barbara, wrote that based on our current knowledge it had been natural to see if it was possible to “spontaneously break the time-translational symmetry of the laws of physics”.

But he said it was possible that the unusual flipping motion seen in the purported time crystals might not last forever.

“Both groups present evidence of a time crystal,” Professor Nayak said, “but their combined results point to the need for experiments that truly show that the oscillations remain in phase over extended times and are not washed out by the inevitable fluctuations.”

The brief friendship of Malcolm X and Yuri Kochiyama began close to 50 years ago with a handshake.

Diane Fujino, chairwoman of the Asian-American studies department at the University of California, Santa Barbara, details the moment in her biography Heartbeat of Struggle: The Revolutionary Life of Yuri Kochiyama.

Kochiyama and her eldest son, 16-year-old Billy, were arrested along with hundreds of other people, mainly African-Americans, during a protest in Brooklyn, N.Y., in October 1963.

“[They were] in this packed courthouse,” Fujino says. “[There were] a lot of activists who [were] waiting their hearing on the civil disobedience charges.”

In walks Malcolm X, who was quickly mobbed by adoring activists.

Kochiyama described the scene in a Democracy Now! interview in 2008. “I felt so bad that I wasn’t black, that this should be just a black thing,” she recalled. “But the more I see them all so happily shaking his hands and Malcolm so happy, I said, ‘Gosh, darn it! I’m going to try to meet him somehow.’ ”

Not Just A 'Black Thing’: An Asian-American’s Bond With Malcolm X

Photo: Courtesy of the Kochiyama family/UCLA Asian American Studies Center

Editor’s note: Today would have been Yuri Kochiyama’s birthday. She died of natural causes on June 1, 2014.

Historians have finally revealed the identity of the man in the iron mask

History professor Paul Sonnino at the University of California, Santa Barbara, says he’s solved the centuries-old mystery of the Man in the Iron Mask. In Search for the Man in the Iron Mask: A Historical Detective Story, published in January, Sonnino details decades of research into the enigma of the French prisoner who was jailed from 1669 until his death in 1703, during which he concealed his identity with a mask. Sonnino argues the prisoner had been the valet of a very rich, very corrupt Cardinal — and knew one too many secrets.

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A Few Personal Notes from a Current College Freshman

In 2015 I:

  • was rejected from UC Davis, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, American University, and George Washington University.
  • cried for three days over my rejections from American and GW (my two top choices).
  • was waitlisted from UC Riverside.
  • could not attend Syracuse University due to financial reasons.
  • enrolled in UC Irvine as an international studies major.
  • at first hated the idea of being only an hour and thirty minutes away from home.
  • grew to love the idea of being an anteater.
  • was convinced that a career in foreign policy was right for me.

Now I:

  • am still majoring in international studies in UC Irvine.
  • am dealing with a crisis I had over winter break, in which I realized that I would not be able to stand working in politics at all
  • have decided, against my parents wishes, to pursue either a career in teaching history to high school/college students or archival and curatorial management.
  • am working towards my double major in history.
  • am eyeing a minor in archaeology.
  • work as a volunteer ESL tutor at the UCI International Center.
  • won 2nd place in a Black Lives Matter writing contest hosted by the UCI Department of African American Studies.
  • was nominated to join the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
  • won a spot to attend the Forte Foundation’s Business Leadership Conference.
  • met someone who believes in me as much as I believe in him.

Life has its ups and down, but it’ll be okay.

Before Elliot Rodger’s rampage, the Isla Vista, California community was no stranger to tragedy, as a similar incident occurred 13 years prior. On February 23, 2001, 18-year-old University of California Santa Barbara student David Attias, whose father is a successful television director, crashed his car into a group of five pedestrians while driving over twice the designated speed limit of 25 miles per hour. Four of the people died instantly and one survived, despite being in critical condition immediately after the collision. After Attias exited the car, several witnesses reported he yelled, “I am the Angel of Death!” He was quickly surrounded on the busy street, and by the time officers arrived, he had to be fished out of the growing crowd. Once drug tests were completed, it was revealed he was under the influence of marijuana, though they determined it wasn’t a motivating factor for the attack and police believed it was intentional. He was charged with four counts of murder, four counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, and five counts of driving under the influence to which he pleaded not guilty to by reason of insanity. On June 11, 2002, a jury convicted him on four counts of second-degree murder. A week later, they ruled he was legally insane, and he was sentenced to a maximum of 60 years at a psychiatric hospital. Attias was released to an outpatient program on September 4, 2012.

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Asteroid Laser Blasters Could Keep Earth Safe

Even though there is no truth to the most recent Internet rumor claiming a giant asteroid is set to strike Earth in September, it doesn’t mean that such an event isn’t a real possibility. Researchers have been considering a number of ways to prevent an impact, from detonating nuclear warheads nearby to redirecting a large space object with solar sails and rockets.

Now University of California, Santa Barbara and Cal Poly scientists say they have proven another option might work–training an array of kilowatt-class laser beams on an incoming asteroid to deflect it away from us. The team had done the math that showed such a system would work in theory. In recent proof-of-principle tests, they altered the spin of a piece of basalt that stood in for a space rock simply by firing a laser at it.

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