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San Francisco University High School

School rating 4.3 / 5 by

3065 Jackson Street San Francisco CA 94115 United States
None to None
9th to 12th


San Francisco University High School review by .

University High School's academic program is extensive. In the sciences, students can choose from a wide variety of subjects including physiology, biology, chemistry and physics. In English, there are a plethora of fascinating classes from Shakespeare to American playwrights, to absurdist literature of 19th and 20th centuries. Students will find themselves limited with regard to history, however, since the department offers only a few different classes, which are usually difficult to get into. The same goes for math, with very few advanced level courses offered at this time. The arts program at UHS is surprisingly strong for a school known for its academics, and the photography and painting classes are at a collegiate level in terms of art theory and instruction. Foreign language is also fairly strong at University, though certain teachers in the department are very dramatically better (or worse) than others. The atmosphere of the student body is competitive and high-pressure, which leads to a lot of stress and anxiety around the campus; I have been the shoulder to cry on for virtually all of my friends at different times in their UHS experience. It takes a very motivated and strong student to excel at University. University is true to its name: while it is a high school, the transition from University to a university is as seamless as it could possibly be. To start, college is a place where many students across the country find themselves, for the first time, struggling academically; UHS graduates are not those people. In fact, the majority of students who have graduated from University High School will attest that they find college LESS challenging than the rigorous academics UHS provided. In the first month of attending UHS, English classes learn to write analytical essays based on literature that is carefully handpicked by the English department every year. Learning to write a strong analytical essay, complete with a thesis, evidence and warrant is a fundamental part of the English and History curriculum, and by the end of sophomore year, motivated students will have a mastery of writing that will serve them more than adequately throughout their higher education. From the standpoint of writing, UHS has prepared my classmates and me for any paper or research project a professor could possibly assign, and we have a proficiency unmatched by any other high school in the Bay Area—of this I am certain. Because of the challenges that UHS gives in the way of academics, graduates have a strong ability to manage their time effectively in order to complete their work. Entering college is no challenge whatsoever because students like myself have already perfected their study habits and time management skills. The teaching environment at UHS is what makes it so successful as an institution; for the most part, classes are very small (on average 10-14 students), and this creates a close relationship between the students and the instructor. No student is lost in the shuffle of a busy classroom, as can happen at larger schools. In addition, teachers make themselves very available to students: there are hour-long meeting periods every day of the week when students can visit their teacher in his or her office and discuss anything they would like. This availability fosters mentor relationships between teachers and students, which is very useful for students who require academic guidance (as well as when students need letters of recommendation for college applications). The average weekly workload is intense. Over four years, the average student will have somewhere between 4 and 5 hours of homework per night (including Sunday). Students with academic challenges or learning differences are given generous help and extra time on tests and quizzes, should they request it.

College Counseling

The college counseling at University is decent, but not as good as it could be.....

Sample insights on college counseling

  • They have contacts at most of the major universities and feel perfectly comfortable picking up the phone and advocating for a student to get accepted somewhere they feel is a good fit for that student. However, these counselors are certainly not magic bullets. They cannot guarantee that a student will get into an Ivy League university...
  • For those wishing to move on to Oxford or Cambridge, the provision is second-to-none. In the months running up to application and interview, every subject faculty offers classes (often run by former Oxbridge tutors) exploring further areas of their subject as well as offering advice on personal statements, interview technique and more...

Admissions - Getting Accepted

UHS does not have a middle school, but there are several feeder schools that make....

Sample insights on admissions

  • For the interview, dress conservatively. Try to be very clean and put together. Also, I was a tour guide for two years and at the end of every tour, we were asked to evaluate the candidate so if you think the tour is not apart of the process, you are very wrong. Ask questions and be interested. Also, tip for the parents: the kids speak on the tour. Do not ask their questions for them...
  • Most younger siblings have an easy time in the admissions process. I can only think of one case of a younger sibling not being admitted. About half of the students who entered with me had come from public schools. The remainder came from private K-6 schools, or had transferred from other New York private schools The Elizabeth Morrow School and St. Bernard were two of the larger feeder schools...

School Life

Academics being the highest priority. UHS has a reputation for being a school of scholars, and when I was making my decision about high school four years ago, I chose UHS because I felt the other schools I applied to (MA, Branson and Bay) would not challenge and stimulate me intellectually in the same way that UHS could. By that token, UHS is also an incredibly high-pressure environment. Though I had many great memories of UHS, when I graduated, I wasn't confident I would have chosen to go to UHS knowing what I know now. The community at UHS is....

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