College Scholars Frequently Asked Questions

Does being a part of the College Scholars program have an impact on the workload outside
of class?

In general, we find that students are easily able to integrate the activities of the College Scholars Program with their other coursework. The two quarters with the biggest time commitment are the 2-unit service learning course (Winter quarter, Year 1) and the 5-unit research seminar (Fall quarter, Year 2). Both courses satisfy GE requirements.

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What are the benefits of the College Scholars Program?

There are many benefits!  As a College Scholars Program participant, you are part of a group of students that can provide a sense of community and support. You are able to enroll in a variety of courses that are restricted to only College Scholars.  These courses are opportunities to engage with faculty, develop skills for academic success, and explore different forms of inquiry.  One of the main benefits is that the program provides early exposure to undergraduate research.  In our spring Faculty Research Colloquium, students learn about many kinds of research happening on campus.  We also help students develop the networking and communication skills to seek out potential research opportunities.  Finally, students take a research-based seminar early in their career at UCSC (usually Fall quarter, Year 2).  Refer to the courses in the program's curriculum for more details.  Participants will also receive priority enrollment through Fall enrollment of their second year (for a total of four quarters for Fall Start students and a total of 2 quarters for Spring Start students).

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I just got admitted to UCSC, but did not get an invitation to the College Scholars Program. Can I still get into the program?

Yes, first-year students can apply to enter the Spring Start program! We have two entry points for the College Scholars Program, Fall Start and Spring Start. Fall Start participation is by invitation only, based on admissions criteria and is determined shortly after the campus makes admissions decisions. Then there is the Spring Start opportunity. Students can apply to be in the College Scholars Program after their first fall quarter. If accepted, they would start in spring quarter. The only starting point for the program is freshman year. The program currently runs through the fall quarter of the sophomore year.

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I am a transfer student. Can I apply to the College Scholars Program?

Currently, only first-year UCSC students can apply to the program. However, there are other ways for non-first year students to gain similar experiences. 

If you are in a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) field, consider attending WEST, Workshops for Engineering & Science Transfers. WEST gives transferring students a jump-start on entering UCSC science and engineering majors.

Begin building personal relationships with a faculty member. A good practice is to attend office hours weekly for at least one class. Ask questions about the class, but also ask about the professor's research and career path. In addition to helping you with the class, in some cases a professor might be able to help you discover positions in labs or help you find work as an undergradute research assistant.

Begin to research summer programs as soon as possible.  It may be challenging to get a position on campus if you have just arrived, and a successful summer research experience may give you an advantage. See STEM Diversity Programs.

Consider classes in your department that involve doing research. You can receive course credit and also build a relationship with a professor. Internships and Field Study opportunities are also popular ways to enrich your educational experience.

Utilize the support available for transfer students at STARS and other academic support units.

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As a current UCSC student, how do I apply to the College Scholars Program?

First-year frosh can apply to the College Scholars Program as a part of the program called Spring Start. Please see the Spring Start page for more details. Eligible students will receive an invitation email that provides a link to the Spring Start application. These students must apply for Spring Start early in winter quarter and if accepted, they will begin the College Scholars Program in the spring quarter of their first year. Eligibility criteria for getting an invitation are found here.

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Does the separate lodging of College Scholars Program students impact interactions between them and the general student body?

The housing arrangements for CSP students help build a strong cohort within the program. CSP students are housed in dorms with other program participants, sometimes as roommates, but they do not have "separate" lodging. There will be non-CSP students in the same building. As a result, these connections don't diminish the opportunity to meet other students. 

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How can I get more help or more information?

Contact the Office of Undergraduate Honors at (831) 459-5386, or email

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