The University of San Francisco took the top spot in a list of the 25 US colleges with the best location earlier this month. The list was based on opinions from Niche, a school ranking and review website, whose “rankings assessed 1,376 four-year colleges and universities on a number of factors including student response on surveys, access to bars, restaurants, cafes, outdoor activities, local weather and percentage of residents aged 18-24.”
There is no question that USF fits the bill for best college location — it has something for everybody. Fans of quiet nature can spend the morning at Golden Gate Park, and those looking to eat and shop can go to the historic Haight-Ashbury district, both of which are only ten minutes away on foot. Students can enjoy the California sunset by starting a bonfire on Ocean Beach, just a bus ride away via the 5-Fulton that stops next to campus. And when night falls, those of legal drinking age can flock to the vintage-themed bars or popular nightclubs scattered throughout the city. San Francisco has a lot to offer, and students make good use of that by exploring its many districts and discovering something new every weekend.
Reactions around campus have been positive. When sharing their thoughts on USF’s location, students were quick to point out the multitude of large companies close by. Transfer student Daisy Luo mentioned that she loved “how close it is to [downtown]:Twitter, Square and networking events [in the rest of the] Financial District.” Thinking of the Bay Area as a whole, Luo noted that students can ride the BART to Oakland to see a Warriors game, or head to Berkeley to catch up with friends at Cal State.
Freshman communications major Matthew Mata cited the city’s many districts. He said, “It’s easy to get caught up in all the tourist attractions here, whether it’s the bridge or Ferry Building. But the true San Francisco experience is in the exploration of [its distinctive] neighborhoods, like the burritos in the Mission District or the great views on the Marina.”
Despite its many positive qualities, living in San Francisco does in fact have its drawbacks as well. Sophomore James Morris expressed his concern that “the fact that we are in a quieter, more residential part of the city doesn’t mean that it’s always safe. Just last week, I got three public safety emails about robberies in the area.” James also noted that being in an urban environment, the area isn’t as spacious as a suburban campus would be.
Although many students come to USF for its location, there are some students who have learned about the difficulties of living in this city as they’ve progressed in their education. Senior media studies major Karen Trinidad said, “There are eight people who live in my house in different units, but I can’t park in the driveway because I’m not in Unit A. So I have to find street parking every night, and it’s kind of ridiculous when I come home at 11 and I can’t park in front of my house.” Trinidad lives in the Outer Sunset, which is difficult to access from USF through SF municipal transit. When she spends late nights working on campus she relies heavily on her car to get her home by a reasonable hour.
USF’s crosstown rival, San Francisco State, ranked on the list as well, clocking in at #17. Located on San Francisco’s southern border, SFSU is distant from many of the city’s hotspots; although, it does boast a close proximity to BART stations, which students can use to access the rest of the Bay Area. However, USF students benefit from the campus’ proximity to city attractions such as the Financial District, Fisherman’s Wharf and Park Presidio.