For most high school students, enrolling in college is the first opportunity to spread their wings and choose where they want to settle down. One popular choice for college attendees is the San Francisco Area. A commercial and cultural center within the Golden State, this city was not only once the setting of Full House or the location for beautiful urban blocks perfect for photo-ops, but is also quite the college town.
With a wealth of local schools to choose from, Test Prep has broken down the four top schools in the area, as listed by the U. S. News & World Report. Call us crazy, but proximity to the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge while having the ability to explore all that California has to offer does not sound like too shabby of a place to study.
The University of California, Berkeley, otherwise known as Cal, is the U.S. News & World Report’s No.1 choice in San Francisco, and its pick as the world’s top public university. This nestled-in spot makes the school’s surrounding area ripe with activities in nature and cultural events to partake in. Specifically, many students hike the Fire Trails for incredible bay area views or visit the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM PFA) for rotating exhibits from countless artists.
Boasting a 98% retention rate, students keep coming back for Cal’s professional, academic, and student life offerings. The university has 350 various degree programs, with the social sciences, biological and biomedical sciences, and engineering ranking the most popular. This diversity extends also to UC Berkely’s wealth of cultural organizations, social and professional fraternities, and student-run business consulting organizations. As a last important note, students and visitors alike should roll down the 4.0 hill on campus for good grades but avoid stepping on the nearby Berkeley seal which brings bad luck.
Next on the list is the University of San Francisco (USF), which the U.S. News & World Report ranks first nationally in student diversity. This private Jesuit university welcomes students from 50 states and 11 countries. It finds its main campus home, nicknamed the Hill Top, in a central location between the Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park. Their high level of diversity does not just pertain to the student population, though, since USF offers 40 majors and 70 minors in its 5 academic schools. While taking advantage of those varied options, students can still enjoy small class sizes, with a cozy student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1.
There is no shortage of student opportunities at USF. Firstly, its study abroad program has 100 university partnerships worldwide. There are over 120 clubs and organizations to keep students entertained, of which a large focus is that students take initiative within the school community. For example, the popular San Francisco Foghorn is a student-run paper publication, while the Campus Activities Board (CAB) is a student-run group charged with planning on-campus activities. Lastly, a Jesuit-centered focus is evident through the school’s community service initiatives, namely, the Esther Madriz Diversity Scholars, which for 2022-2023 will focus on Afro-Caribbean diasporic culture.
Saint Mary’s College of California holds a renowned reputation for its picturesque white walls and red tile roofs. Its surrounding grass-covered hills often covered in Pacific fog also offer quite an aesthetic scene, provided by its location in the East Bay Hills just 23 miles east of the San Francisco urban area. Saint Mary’s is a private catholic college that has 35 undergraduate programs for over 2,000 students, in concentrations of liberal arts, business, and the sciences.
The Lasallian approach to living and education, inspired by St. John De La Salle, is central on campus, focusing on faith, social concern, and inclusivity. These ideals are apparent in the student-run Gael Pantry, which offers non-perishable goods to the surrounding community. Finally, for an entertainment outlet, the Gaels are no strangers to the world of sports, with an impressive count of over 16 NCAA Division 1 teams to their name, including basketball, soccer, and cross-country.
Mills College is a merger school, a college of Northeastern University, located in Oakland on the east shore of the San Francisco Bay. This “merger” attribute gives students access to the classes, faculty, research, and resources including nine research institutes and 3600 employment partners of the NE global university system.
One of the institution’s crowning achievements is the Northeastern-style co-op experiential learning program. Through this educational program, students get real-world experience when they alternate semesters of academic study with semesters of full-time employment in positions related to their academic and/or career interests. At home within San Fran, Mills has a 135-acre campus ripe with greenery and historic architecture which its 1,500 undergraduate students can enjoy.
Although the San Francisco area is a gold mine of prestigious universities, what matters is where students feel would be the best fit. Helping students fashion their college admissions approach and organize their college list, Test Prep Score offers a wealth of resources. Getting closer to your four-year ticket to the San Francisco area might just be a couple of clicks away.