Honest truth about UCSD, from a UCSD alumni:
UCSD Pros: One block from the ocean and great surf. La Jolla
location (nicest part of SD). Close to Mexico. Just as good as Berkeley or UCLA in terms of academics. Easy-going feel to campus. Very good career prospects for those in the sciences. Sends more people to graduate school than any other school in the country. SUNGOD. At SunGod
you will have more fun in a single day than you will have in an entire year at Berkeley or UCLA.
UCSD Cons: Lack of name recognition. On the East Coast people get us confused with the special education kids at SDSU or USD. Generally unattractive student body, but it's the same way at UCLA or Berkeley. All three are full of overachieving nerds. No D-1 sports program. No frat row, although 10% at UCSD are Greek. Quiet campus on weekends, because everyone goes to Pacific Beach, Mexico or house parties.
Overall Rating: A-. All UCSD needs is a D-1 sports program, and they're working on it. If you get involved in Greek life, sports or surf club at UCSD, it will be as much, or more, fun as any UC campus.
UCSD is a top-tier school in La Jolla.