I love UCSC and I'm so glad I chose to go here. The campus is very unique and beautiful because it's built into a forest instead of being just a bunch of buildings in a city. If you love the outdoors, then you'll love it here. there's plenty of hiking, cycling, etc. Personally, I enjoy the campus simply because it's such a stress free atmosphere and it's relaxing when I'm walking from class to class. Another unique thing about the university is the college system that it has. Freshmen get to pick which college they want to be a part of, which is where they'll live for the first year. Each college has a different theme which will determine what their first writing class will be about. I like the college system because it creates small communities within the university so you don't feel so small. After a couple weeks you'll recognize a lot more people than you normally would have which is good because it's easier to make friends that way.
The dining halls are all pretty good. My favorite is the crown/merrill dining hall, but I'm from Merrill so maybe I'm a little bias! I just think it's healthier than the others. All the dining halls cater very well to vegans/ vegetarians and most of the food is labeled in case you're allergic to gluten or nuts or something.
For those of you interested in pursuing a science degree, UCSC is great. I'm a physics major and math minor and all the classes are great so far. What makes this school better than others though, when it comes to research, is that because there aren't a lot of graduate students there are more chances of getting an internship. The college get's to use the LICK observatory which is awesome for physics/ astrophysics students. The school is also where the Human Genome Project got started. So hey Bio majors, if you're interested in that this place is great!