CSUs vs. UCs

What do students prefer?


California has some of the top colleges and universities in the United States.

Though with so many options, it’s hard to weave through all of the options and decide on the ones that suit you best.

Many high school students in California look at the two public school systems, California State Universities (CSUs) and Universities of California (UCs). 

Though both are public university systems, they differ in academic offerings, cost, location, and other aspects.

Everyone has their own unique goals and preferences that influence their decision when deciding which school they would like to attend. 

Students from various backgrounds and with different future aspirations give us a glimpse into how these factors affect their own college decisions.

“UCs appeal to me more since they are a better option for my postgraduate plans,” says Sarah Barbieri, a Junior from North Hollywood High School. 

“And they also have my preferred style of learning which is more independent and self-motivated” Sarah adds.

UC schools are known for having a more rigorous schedule compared to CSUs. They are often tougher academically because they offer more advanced degrees such as doctorates as well as a focusing on research-based teaching. 

“Cal States [California State Universities] appeal to me more because I hope to do a lot while in college like have internships and get a job,” says Alyana Castro, another Junior from North Hollywood.

Many like Alyana choose Cal States over a UC because the schedule is more flexible and it provides them more time to work on other things outside of school during their college years. 

“The Cal States appealed to me more because they are more economical,” says Jasmine Martinez, a Junior from North Hollywood. 

CSU’s are often more affordable compared to UC’s.

Tuition rates can be around $13,400 for a UC while only $5,427 for a Cal State. With additional costs such as housing, transportation, food, and other expenses, the rates can increase drastically. 

“I think UCs are able to fit the different interests of students more accurately and provide better options,” says Kately Fuentes, a Junior from Grant High School.

Many UCs have a wide variety of major and minor options, as well as study abroad programs. They also tend to have smaller class sizes which allow the students and the professor to have more personalized material. 

Everyone has many different opinions on both school systems, though most students agreed on one thing, neither is better than the other. It’s a matter of personal preference, situation, and interest. 

Talking to your parents, guardians, school counselors, or friends, can help you determine what’s best for your future education. Both schools will be able to successfully fit everyone’s needs.