Like any other college, you are going to enjoy being placed within walking distance of hundreds of other freshmen. Living on campus is highly recommended, and more than 95 percent of freshmen live in the dorms or residence halls. Each residence hall has a unique vibe, and all are located conveniently five minutes from the beach. The dorms are the first steps to forming friendships and meeting new people in college, so do not pass up the opportunity and lock yourself up in your room. Many students claim the best dorms to meet people at are Santa Catalina, located a mile from campus in the West Campus area, and Anacapa and Santa Cruz are other best bets. All in all, each dorm has new students like you waiting to make friends, but just steer clear of San Rafael and some parts of Manzanita which house continuing students who probably already have their own set of friends and are not too eager to meet bright-eyed freshmen.
UCSB dorms are all located on campus, with Santa Catalina one mile down the road. Housing selection is based on random assignments; however, UCSB sends out a housing questionnaire that asks your lifestyle preferences and tries to match you up with someone of similar interests. The survey also has you list your preference for living—but don’t get your hopes high because you may or may not get placed in your first choice. Each residence has its negatives and positives, but chances are you are not going to be spending a lot of time in your room.