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Best Colleges in the Bay Area: Your Comprehensive List

Are you interested in learning about best colleges in the Bay Area?

College creates so much opportunity. 19.6 million students attended American colleges and universities during the fall of 2019. 

Many students went to certain areas of the country to study. Some of the best colleges in the world are in the Bay Area. Yet the sheer number of California colleges can make it hard to tell which ones are best. 

What are the San Francisco colleges that are most well-known throughout the United States? Where should you go if you want a good liberal arts or science education? What are your best options for specialized schools? 

Answer these questions and you can find the right college to live and study at. Here is your comprehensive guide. 

Stanford University

Ask people about the best San Francisco colleges, and they’ll tell you about Stanford. Stanford has more than 7,000 undergraduates and 9,000 graduate students.

Despite these high numbers, Stanford has an acceptance rate of 4.3%. It is one of the most selective schools in the country, yet it is also one of the best.

It has a wide range of course offerings, with most classes having a student-to-faculty ratio of 5:1. Many Stanford graduates have gone on to become major scientists, winning Nobel Prizes and other accolades. You can find laboratories dedicated to research on lasers, the Internet, and business. 

But Stanford is a great community for artists as well. The campus is home to several art galleries, including ones dedicated to contemporary American art. You can find five separate choirs at Stanford in addition to theater and comedy groups. 

University of California, Berkeley

The University of California has campuses all over the state. Each one has its own special qualities, but the Berkeley campus is one of the best. You can choose any Berkeley neighborhood and then attend classes at the campus. 

Tens of thousands of students go to UC Berkeley. The university offers more than 100 Bachelor’s degrees in programs ranging from engineering to ecology. The university also offers a wide range of graduate programs, with many undergraduates working alongside graduate students. 

The campus has more than 30 libraries, each with thousands of books in them. You can find the papers of Mark Twain as well as Egyptian papyri in Berkeley’s archives. 

If you want to get involved in politics, Berkeley is a great place to go. The campus produced numerous activists who supported the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. Students continue to be involved in many causes today. 

Santa Clara University 

Santa Clara University is located in Santa Clara. This is a city of more than 100,000 people in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you want to go to an urban school near a city that is not too big, you should go to Santa Clara. 

Santa Clara has over 5,000 undergraduate students, with an additional 3,300 postgraduate students. It is a Jesuit school, but non-Christian people can attend. 

The main school at Santa Clara is the College of Arts and Sciences. It contains more than two dozen programs, including neuroscience and psychology. You can also find independent schools for business, education, and engineering. 

The university is home to several centers that discuss interdisciplinary issues. The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics is a forum for discussion of ethics in different subjects, such as biology. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute runs classes for students who are older than 50. 

You can find a number of student-run groups. The school’s yearbook has been in operation for more than 110 years. KSCU is a student-run radio station that allows students to talk on many different programs. 

University of San Francisco

The University of San Francisco (USF) is another Jesuit university. It is located within San Francisco itself, making it a good option for people who want to live in a San Francisco neighborhood

USF is well-known for its international programs. Students can go all over the world to study abroad, earning academic credit for any major they are pursuing. 

For students who want to stay in California, they can pursue many different majors. Options in the humanities include critical diversity studies and performing arts. Science options include kinesiology and psychology. 

USF has some of the oldest student-run theater groups in the country. You can also find an improvisational team, a marching band, and a dance program at the university. USF is home to many fraternities, sororities, and professional societies that represent most major subjects. 

San Jose State University

San Jose State University (SJSU) lies inside of downtown San Jose. It attracts many students from the Bay Area, so people who want to know about the Bay Area should consider SJSU as a strong option.

The university organizes its academics into nine separate colleges. Like many universities, it offers a separate school for business and engineering. But SJSU offers courses in education, health sciences, and the humanities. 

SJSU has a strong tradition of Greek life. All nine groups in the National Pan-Hellenic Council have branches at the university. The Spartan Marching Band is incredibly popular, with members from all fields of study on campus. 

San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Music students can attend classes at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. It is a very small school, with only a few hundred students in attendance at any one time. But it has produced many notable musicians, including Broadway actors. 

Any type of musician can attend the Conservatory of Music. Students can also take classes in conducting, historical performance, and composition. The conservatory has relationships with other Bay Area colleges, allowing students to learn about how neuroscience relates to music. 

The conservatory allows students to pursue their own projects during Winter Term. A student can pursue a project beyond the scope of their curriculum, or they can study something in their classes. They receive an advisor who guides their work and helps them gain new skills. 

The school is committed to helping undergraduate and graduate students enjoy their life in San Francisco. It has agreements with several transit companies, giving students discounts on ride-sharing and public transportation. It is easy to find dependable relocation services and transition into life at the school. 

Dominican University of California

Dominican University of California has fewer than 2,000 students. This makes it a good alternative to larger state universities.

The campus is located in a residential area, giving it a quiet and more deliberative environment. It is a short walk from national parks like the Muir Woods National Monument. You can go for a hike or for a camping weekend. 

Academics are focused on interdisciplinary programs. English students can pursue a track in creative writing, cultural studies, or performance studies. The university offers many minors such as leadership studies that draw on different programs for business students. 

Faculty members encourage students to pursue major projects. They can submit their papers to peer-reviewed publications and give speeches at academic conferences. As a senior thesis, a student can write a novel, business plan, or research paper. 

There are dozens of student clubs at the university. A society of nuns founded the school, but students have formed secular groups like student governments. 

San Francisco State University

The California State University system is independent of the University of California system. It runs nearly two dozen schools throughout the state, including San Francisco State University (SFSU). 

San Francisco State University is located in the southwest portion of San Francisco. It is within a short walk of the Pacific coast. 

The university offers a diverse range of study areas. Language students can choose Chinese, Italian, and Japanese classes.

Students can satisfy their individual major requirements by taking interdisciplinary classes. Creative writing students are required to take literature classes, but they can take ones in Jewish studies or queer studies. 

Classes are designed to be affordable to people of all backgrounds and income groups. In particular, the college appeals to veterans. SFSU has its own office dedicated to veterans’ admissions, helping active-duty service members and others. 

Mills College

Mills College is a women’s college located in Oakland. Oakland is east of San Francisco, but it is located within the Bay Area. 

Mills is one of the first colleges in the country to welcome transgender and genderqueer students. Students who self-identify as women or who were assigned female at birth can apply for admission. The college is small, with fewer than 1,300 students in attendance. 

All students are required to participate in a core curriculum. The students develop skills in critical analysis, scientific inquiry, and experimentation. But each student may take different courses to meet these general requirements. 

They can then pursue one of many different majors. Many students at Mills pursue English literature, biology, and economics. If a student chooses to, they can take an accelerated program to earn a master’s degree in less time. 

Students can swim in outdoor pools and use a tennis center for free. Student clubs include campuswide newspapers, research journals, and literary magazines. 

Menlo College

Business and psychology students can attend classes at Menlo College. It is a small college based in Atherton, a town southeast of Redwood City. 

Though the college is reserved for business and psychology, it offers a range of degree programs. A student can sign up for marketing, management, and real estate degrees.

The college also offers separate programs for professionals who want to pursue adult education. The Ethics in Action Research and Education Center focuses on ethical issues in business. The Rendanheyi Silicon Valley Center trains executives in modern business techniques. 

Menlo has a number of student-run programs. The college has successful baseball and basketball teams, including for women. Non-athletic students can join clubs for photography, accounting, and growing vegetables. 

Ohlone College 

Students looking for a good community college experience can go to Ohlone College. It has two campuses, with one of them located in Fremont. 

The college appeals to international students and military veterans. High school students who want to enrich themselves in college life can take Ohlone classes while still in high school. 

Ohlone divides its classes into several different divisions. It offers a deaf studies division, one of the few amongst community colleges in the United States. Students who are hard of hearing can take classes with professors trained in American sign language. 

Classes are designed to give students skills in their chosen careers. Students who are looking for a career in entertainment can take classes on lighting and stagecraft. Artists can take drawing and 3D modeling courses. 

San Francisco Art Institute 

Art students can go to the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI). SFAI is one of the oldest art schools in the country, and it is the oldest one on the West Coast. 

SFAI is committed to social justice. It offers dozens of scholarships for students from underserved backgrounds. The college has also committed to efforts to increase the amount of BIPOC staffers and faculty. 

Painters, sculptors, and photographers can attend classes at SFAI. Interdisciplinary students and students who operate in new genres can pursue individual majors at the school. All majors involve coursework, studio time, and historical study. 

Many students become involved in public education. They can teach courses for high school students or members of the public. They can go to a drawing studio and work alongside San Francisco residents on their pieces. 

The Best Colleges in the Bay Area

The Bay Area is brimming with American’s best colleges. If you have good grades, you should consider Stanford alongside Ivy League schools. 

UC Berkeley and San Jose State University are two good all-around options. Students looking for a Jesuit education should go to Dominican University. Interdisciplinary students can go to San Francisco State University. 

Mills College is a great women’s college. Ohlone offers a great community college experience, while the San Francisco Art Institute is perfect for all artists.  Move to your dream school in no time.

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