UCLA vs. UC Santa Barbara Overview

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You’re wrestling with a tough question: “Should I go to UCLA or UCSB ?”

What are your chances at UCLA?

Your SAT Score
Your ACT Score
Select a score
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  • Your GPA*
    on a 4.0 scale

    *gpa score is required

    This free college chances tool calculates your acceptance chances at UCLA or any other U.S. college

    Please note all chances are estimates based on test score and GPA averages.

    *or select a school above for a specific calculation

    Need chances at another college?

    This complete guide analyzes both the quantitative and qualitative differences between UCLA andUC Santa Barbara. This comparison is particularly valuable at understanding the cultural nuances between the colleges since it uses student videos to capture the “vibes” of campus - these videos are exclusively available on CampusReel :)

    Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s go through a general overview of the high-level differences between UCLA and UC Santa Barbara. The table below summarizes some of the most important statistics around competitiveness, costs, etc.

    UCLA UC Santa Barbara
    In-state Tuition $12,763 $13,968
    Net Price $13,328.0 $14,767.0
    Average Financial Aid $10,730 $9,193
    Total Undergraduates 29581 20606
    Average SAT Scores 1180 - 1470 1090 - 1360
    Acceptance Rate 17 33
    Location 405 Hilgard Ave 5221 Cheadle Hall
    City Name Los Angeles Santa Barbara

    WARNINGS: Based on net price alone, UCLA is the cheaper option. However, this sticker price may not adequately represent the difference in living costs between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. UCLA is in a Mountain and UCSB is in a Mountain - sometimes off campus meals and housing costs can dramatically vary between schools.

    Is UCLA or UC Santa Barbara Harder to get into? Which school is easier to get into?

    If you’re looking at acceptance rate alone, then UCLA is more difficult to get into. However, each college is looking to fill its incoming class with a variety of students with different strengths, backgrounds, etc. Therefore, the acceptance rate alone is not a good indicator that UCLA is a better school or will be more difficult for you specifically to get into. On the flipside, UC Santa Barbara is easier to get into based on acceptance rate alone.

    You can use the below college admissions predictor to determine your likelihood of acceptance at either school.

    What are your chances at UCLA?

    Your SAT Score
    Your ACT Score
    Select a score
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  • Your GPA*
    on a 4.0 scale

    *gpa score is required

    This free college chances tool calculates your acceptance chances at UCLA or any other U.S. college

    Please note all chances are estimates based on test score and GPA averages.

    *or select a school above for a specific calculation

    Need chances at another college?

    How do UCLA dorms compare to housing options at UCSB?

    Both colleges provide on-campus living options. UCLA charges for on-campus living, while UCSB charges N/A for on-campus living. Most importantly, though, check out the video below for a sample of dorm tours at each school.

    How does UCLA social life compare to UCSB?

    It’s tough to understand the nuances of social life with data alone. That’s why we’ve brought in real student videos to show how UCLA social life differs from UCSB.

    The table below helps demonstrate the student body differences as well.
    UCLA, % UCSB, %
    White 27.14 34.54
    Hispanic 20.63 25.7
    Black 2.99 2.19
    Foreign 12.65 7.06
    Others 36.6 30.5

    How different is the UCLA campus compared to UCSB campus?

    The UCLA campus is located in Los Angeles, CA and is characterized as City: Large (population of 250,000 or more). The UCSB campus is located in Santa Barbara, CA and is characterized as Suburb: Midsize (outside principal city, in urbanized area with population of at least 100,000 but less than 250,000).

    Which school gives more financial aid?

    UCLA provides $10,730 whereas UCSB provides an average of $9,193.

    How does UCLA academics compare to UCSB?

    When analyzing academics between UCLA and UC Santa Barbara we’ll look at both what current students are studying and also where they end up after graduation. After all, college should prepare you for a career! Analyzing each school’s outcomes is super valuable to understand the value of the degree.

    Majors UCLA UCSB
    Agriculture agriculture operations and related sciences N/A N/A
    Natural resources and conservation 65 286
    Architecture and related services 19 N/A
    Area ethnic cultural gender and group studies 292 98
    Communication journalism and related programs N/A 327
    Computer and information sciences and support services 183 102
    Communications technologies technicians and support services N/A N/A
    Personal and culinary services N/A N/A
    Engineering 592 222
    Education N/A N/A
    Engineering technologies and engineering related fields N/A N/A

    Which is better: UCLA or UC Santa Barbara?

    What are your chances at UCLA?

    Your SAT Score
    Your ACT Score
    Select a score
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  • Your GPA*
    on a 4.0 scale

    *gpa score is required

    This free college chances tool calculates your acceptance chances at UCLA or any other U.S. college

    Please note all chances are estimates based on test score and GPA averages.

    *or select a school above for a specific calculation

    Need chances at another college?

    We’ve compared dorm life, costs, outcomes and more to provide the most complete comparison between UCLA and UCSB. But, you’re smart enough to know that numbers paint a terrible picture for truly understanding what each college and community is like. And, the real answer to which school is better is: the school that’s right for you. No matter who you ask, if they know what they’re talking about, the answer is the same: the “better” school is whatever is the best fit for you personally. That’s why it’s extremely important to check out all the videos on CampusReel for each school.

    For more comparisons of UCLA check these out:

    For more comparison of UC Santa Barbara check these out: