Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

All accepted students need to complete the following confirmation steps below. If these steps aren’t completed by the deadline in your acceptance email, your spot will be given to someone else (If you were accepted March 28, confirm your attendance by April 10, 2024).

  1. Accept our offer in the student portal
  2. Pay 1/3 of tuition through the parent portal

Complete the following by tuition deadline (For example, if accepted March 28, complete the following by April 19): 

  1. Pay remaining tuition (spot will be given away if this step isn’t acted on in portal)
  2. Complete the Docusign packet sent directly to you by UCSC COSMOS 
  3. Request school to send official transcripts to


  1. Clothing for both hot and cold weather (layers). Note: Summertime fog in Santa Cruz means mornings and evenings are quite chilly.
  2. Closed-toe walking shoes. Note: The UCSC campus is large and has many steep hills.
  3. Comfortable shoes for walking (and necessary for entering labs on campus)
  4. Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, hairbrush, etc.
  5. Refillable water bottle
  6. Sunscreen & hat for sun protection
  7. Sheets & blankets or sleeping bag for an extra-long twin (it gets chilly at night!)
  8. Pillow & pillow case
  9. Towels for shower and beach
  10. Laundry Detergent (detergent pods are NOT allowed in the UCSC washing machines)
  11. CashLESS payment for laundry: Debit card, credit card, apple pay etc.  Read more about laundry costs below.
  12. Pens/pencils, and notebook. Check –in with cluster faculty to see if other materials are required.
  13. Laptop

Medication Note: All medication must be listed on Health history/services form. COSMOS staff cannot administer any medications so students should ideally bring anything they may need.  Some over-the-counter medications will be available should the need arise.


  1. Alarm clock
  2. Coat hangers
  3. Backpack
  4. Swimsuit (we do go to the beach, but the water is cold so many choose not to swim)
  5. Shower shoes/flip flops
  6. Cell phone
  7. Camera
  8. Games or sports equipment (some will be provided)
  9. Calculator 
  10. Spending money. Note: Students will need money for laundry or if they would like to buy something from one of the cafes open on campus during the summer *these may be visited only with the company of COSMOS staff on select occasions
  11. Snacks . Note: Three meals will be provided every day, including when students are away from campus on field trips, but the dining hall will be closed when not serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Do Not Bring:

  1. An automobile and/or bicycle
  2. Valuable items (there are no lockers to store your valuable items)
  3. Weapons, fireworks, explosives, candles
  4. Drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes or e/cigarettes, vaporizers etc.
  5. Skateboards or rollerblades (Not permitted on campus)
  6. Pets (this includes opening and closing day; dogs are not permitted on the UCSC campus)

Students have access to the laundry rooms in the dorms.  They will have time to do laundry on the weekends and some weekday evenings. Machines have a QR code on them that can be scanned. If the Payrange App is downloaded, scanning the QR will trigger the app to open, if the app isn’t downloaded, the QR code will go to the website. Some form of mobile payment is needed to to pay for the load. Options are: credit or debit card, Apple or Samsung Pay, or even a MasterCard gift card.  Things to know:

  • Washers cost $1.50, Dryers cost $1.00
  • Liquid detergent can only go in the detergent capsule, Pods can go in with the clothes. 
  • Credit cards, debit cards or contactless pay options (ie. Apple Pay) are accepted, NO CASH

Absolutely!  We collect mail for students every weekday.  Letters and packages are allowed – just nothing perishable or alive.  Mail should be sent to:

Student’s Name
UCSC COSMOS – Cluster #(1-12)
Central Conference Office
1156 High St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95064

Most students will live in triples with two other assigned roommates. Students will find out who their roommates are Opening Day. For 2023, COSMOS will be located at College 9/10/Lewis at UCSC. Each room has the follow items for each student: extra-long twin bed and mattress (39″x80″), desk, chair, bookshelf, clothing storage (closet/dresser or wardrobe unit), desk lamp, 1-2 trash and recycling cans – shared with roommates. Bathrooms are shared on each floor with private toilet stalls and private shower stalls. There are 2-4 R.A.s housed on each floor. Students are assigned to 1 of 2 buildings based on gender. Each building will have a mini fridge and microwave. Check out this video of a dorm tour! 

While the UCSC Gym facilities are off limits for COSMOS students, we do have access to and ample opportunities for time on the field (which has a 200m track around it).  There are multiple opportunities for getting in some runs (some mornings, weekends, evenings), and we often have other athletic rec activities to partake in as well.  We travel throughout campus in groups, but there are always folks looking for some exercise. Additionally, there’s a great apparatus next to the field that allows for more gym-like activities (i.e. pull-ups etc.).  

COSMOS students will have access to UCSC’s music practice rooms. Please bring instruments you feel comfortable carrying and taking full responsibility if anything happens to it. Students can travel to the music practice rooms and they are available on a first come, first served basis which generally suits the needs of most of the students who choose this as a recreational time option. Music practice rooms are an option during rec time, however, not every day. Please consider playing your instrument in the COSMOS talent show! COSMOS students will not have access to UCSC’s gym (even if they have a UCSC non-student membership) or be able to check out items from UCSC’s libraries. COSMOS students can access a track in groups at certain times and visit the libraries in groups at certain times. Students do not have access to UCSC’s Student Health Center. If a need for a student to visit a healthcare providers, a COSMOS staff member will transport them to a parental approved healthcare location from their acceptance packet paperwork.

We eat at one of the dining halls on campus, and it’s buffet style. Check out a dining hall video tour and dining hall meal reviews from former COSMOS students. There’s a lot of food options, and endless amounts of food. There are set times for our meals dictated by the campus conference services group we work with. Those times are roughly 8am, 12pm, and 6pm, but sometimes they vary a little bit.  Other than that, there are some cafes open on campus, but COSMOS students only have limited access to them (based on our own schedule, when the cafes are open, and their locations on campus). Aside from your food from the dining hall, you can bring snacks along to store in your dorm room (and/or ask your folks to mail some to you mid-program). We also provide a lot of snacks at our evening and weekend activities. We do not allow students to go off campus during the program, unless on a program-sponsored field trip. No food delivery services to dorms (i.e. DoorDash) are permitted. It is dangerous for all of the teenagers in the residential building to have a stranger delivering food and knowing where to find a building full of minors. 

Full participation in COSMOS is required of all students in order for the students to receive a Certificate of Completion. In addition, COSMOS is not able to accommodate the individual schedules of close to 300 active teenagers. The majority of COSMOS students are active in sports, church, band, clubs, and academic review courses and we do not have the staff to safely monitor arrival and departure schedules. Students benefit most by full involvement in the COSMOS program. 

**Students may leave on weekends (excluding opening and closing weekends) in accordance with our weekend sign-out procedure:

Students have the option of being signed out of the program by a parent or guardian on Friday evening from 4-6:30pm.  If signed out, students have two options for returning: 1. Friday night in the 9-10pm time frame or 2. Sunday evening in the 5-6:30pm time frame.

Please contact the UCSC COSMOS office via e-mail at