Best Public Colleges in California

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When considering which of these state schools are the best in California, it is important not to simply look at academic standing or national ranking, the life in California is one in which there is an emphasis on actual quality of life and the college experience,  which parallels academia respectively.  Anyone who is searching for national ranking can simply look in a Newsweek magazine, what is considered to be the “best” schools in California should have both academic prestige and quality living, with such an abundance of options available in the state of California, there is no reason to require anything less.

UCLA-University of California at Los Angeles-Nationally ranked within the top 10 on a continual basis, and the top 20 worldwide, UCLA is an ideal college for a serious student on the weekdays, who would like to have some fun ever so often on the weekends.  Located just outside the famous Beverly Hills, California the external campus surroundings are homey and yet exude a certain amount of luxury.  The styling of the campus itself is amazing, boasting unique brick architecture with a hint of Roman design.  As a student you will be 15 minutes away from Santa Monica pier and the beach in about 20 minutes away from the Hollywood bowl to catch a quick concert.  You’ll also be in the middle of one of the most rigorous academic environments imaginable that will be challenging to say the least.

UC Berkeley -University of California Berkeley-with a stark contrast in lifestyle but by no means and academics, UC Berkeley is continually a realistic option to achieve the number one public school spot nationally.  It has done it before and will undoubtedly do it again.  Needless to say with such a title comes an academic environment that is truly unparalleled in California.  The off campus life is honestly a bit gloomy, the city of Berkeley is quaint and for the most part friendly however it is anything but glamorous.  The upside is that you can take a quick tram into the city of San Francisco and view some remarkable sites when you do manage to get yourself some leisure time.

Cal Poly SLO-California Poly-Technical Institute at San Luis Obispo-widely considered the most prominent California state school, Cal poly at San Luis Obispo is a fully integrated and ingenious system of learning.  Engineering and architecture majors fight for the top spots, but Cal poly also offers many other majors that are worthy of a look.  Located in the foothills about 15 minutes from Pismo Beach, the weather is usually quite bright and sunny with a few off months of fog.  This college is literally the dominant force within the city of San Luis Obispo.  The outside college life is quite homey and very safe.  You will certainly not be given a true city atmosphere, but for many students it is an ideal environment for relaxation when not studying.

UCSB-University of California at Santa Barbara-Aside from its sister feeder Community College, Santa Barbara city College, UCSB is the only college in California that can boast a campus that is literally on the beach.  As in, in many of your classes you will be able to look out the window at the ocean.  Being in walking distance of the beach at all times is an advantage for sure, but in many ways can be distracting.  UCSB is coupled with the infamous city of Isla Vista and is a known party school.  However, with five current faculty members receiving Nobel Prizes and multiple other in the national rank that is usually within the top 20-30, this school is truly one-of-a-kind.  Where else on earth would you be able to attend college at a very high-ranking university with multiple Nobel prizes, that is on the beach, and is also a very high ranking party school.  Nowhere, that’s where.  If you’re easily distracted UCSB may not be for you, however if you feel you have the willpower to settle down and get the job done and enjoy an incredibly lively off-campus life coupled with a bit of surfing and beach volleyball, then this is the ideal college for you.

SDSU -San Diego State University-the largest California state school regarding student population, SDSU is a truly amazing atmosphere.  When taking a tour of  the campus the first thing you’ll notice is how beautiful the architecture is, set with a Latin motif, the buildings themselves are truly worth a few pictures.  SDSU boasts a rigorous academic environment and near endless options regarding majors and concentrations, this coupled with the always beautiful weather of San Diego and the California beach worthy of memories within a short drives distance, makes SDSU worth a look, and then a second, and the third. 

UCSD-University of California at San Diego-are also located in San Diego is the academically prestigious UCSD.  Although not nearly as lively of an off-campus atmosphere as SDSU, the location is still in beautiful La Jolla, which is just north of San Diego.  UCSD focuses primarily on academics alone, there is very little emphasis on much of anything else, and for that focus it has become one of the most prominent scientific universities in the world.  If you are incredibly serious about your future career and you can manage the acceptance, then UCSD is worth a look.

The state of California boasts the single largest number of institutes, colleges and universities for higher learning than any other state.  Although there are multiple private schools worthy of prestigious mention that are located within California, the State funded programs are the focus for now due to their affordable pricing and unparalleled network.  The UC system is rapidly approaching rivalry with the Ivy League schools as far as graduates success, academic rigor, and national ranking.(Although the Ivy’s will never admit it, haha)  The California state school system boasts near 30 individual full-fledged universities spread throughout the state of California, some of which are very prestigious and also affordable.


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