Deciding where to go to college is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make as a high school student. If you’re considering the University of California, Davis, you probably want to know whether it’s a good school and a good fit for you.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: With its top ranked academic programs, beautiful campus, vibrant student life and prime Northern California location, UC Davis is considered one of the best public universities in the country.

Academics and Rankings

Highly Ranked Programs

UC Davis is widely regarded as a top-tier institution with several highly ranked programs. The university excels in fields such as agriculture and veterinary medicine, where it is consistently ranked among the best in the nation.

Its School of Veterinary Medicine, for example, is ranked #1 in the world according to QS World University Rankings. Additionally, UC Davis’ School of Medicine is ranked among the top 50 medical schools in the United States.

Student to Faculty Ratio

One of the factors that sets UC Davis apart is its low student to faculty ratio. With an average ratio of 20:1, students have the opportunity to engage closely with their professors and receive personalized attention.

This allows for a more interactive and enriching learning experience, fostering academic growth and development.

Graduation and Retention Rates

UC Davis boasts impressive graduation and retention rates, indicating the university’s commitment to student success. The four-year graduation rate stands at an impressive 53.9%, and the six-year graduation rate is 84.6%.

These rates surpass national averages and demonstrate the university’s dedication to supporting students throughout their academic journey.

Moreover, the first-year retention rate at UC Davis is an outstanding 94.6%. This high retention rate is a testament to the university’s strong sense of community and supportive environment, encouraging students to stay and thrive.

Campus Life

UC Davis offers a vibrant and engaging campus life that caters to a diverse range of interests and passions. From housing options to dining choices, clubs and organizations to Greek life, and athletics, students at UC Davis have numerous opportunities to enhance their college experience outside of the classroom.

Housing Options

UC Davis provides a variety of housing options to suit the needs and preferences of its students. From traditional residence halls to apartment-style living, there is something for everyone. The university prioritizes creating a supportive and inclusive living environment, allowing students to form lifelong friendships and create lasting memories.

Dining Options

When it comes to dining, UC Davis does not disappoint. With a wide array of on-campus eateries and dining halls, students have access to diverse cuisines and dietary options. Whether you’re craving a quick bite or a sit-down meal, there are plenty of choices available to satisfy your taste buds.

Clubs and Organizations

UC Davis boasts a rich and active club culture, with over 800 registered student organizations on campus. From academic and professional clubs to cultural and recreational groups, there is something for everyone.

These clubs provide opportunities for students to pursue their passions, develop leadership skills, and make connections with like-minded individuals.

Greek Life

Greek life at UC Davis offers students a chance to build lifelong friendships and engage in philanthropic activities. The university is home to a diverse range of fraternities and sororities, each with its own unique values and traditions.

Greek organizations provide a supportive community and opportunities for personal growth.


UC Davis is an NCAA Division I school and boasts a strong athletics program. With 25 varsity sports teams, including basketball, soccer, and swimming, there are plenty of opportunities to support the Aggies and attend thrilling games.

The university also offers various intramural and club sports, allowing students of all skill levels to participate and stay active.

Location and Surrounding Area

When considering a college, it’s important to take into account the location and surrounding area. UC Davis is located in the beautiful region of Northern California, known for its mild and Mediterranean climate.

The area enjoys over 300 days of sunshine a year, making it an ideal environment for outdoor activities and exploration.

Northern California Climate

The climate in Northern California is often described as mild and pleasant. Summers are warm and dry, with temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to the mid-90s Fahrenheit (24-35 degrees Celsius). Winters are mild and rainy, with temperatures averaging in the 50s (10-15 degrees Celsius).

This climate allows students to enjoy outdoor activities year-round, whether it’s hiking in the nearby mountains or biking along the scenic trails.

Proximity to Major Cities

One of the advantages of attending UC Davis is its proximity to major cities. Located just 15 miles west of Sacramento, the state capital, students have access to all the amenities and opportunities of a bustling metropolitan area.

San Francisco, one of the most vibrant cities in the United States, is just a short drive away. This close proximity to major cities provides students with internship and job opportunities, as well as cultural and recreational activities.

Things to Do in Davis

Davis itself is a vibrant and lively college town with plenty to offer. The city is known for its strong biking culture, with an extensive network of bike lanes and paths. Students can explore the charming downtown area, which is filled with unique shops, restaurants, and cafes.

The city also hosts a variety of events and festivals throughout the year, including the famous Whole Earth Festival and the Picnic Day Parade.

For nature lovers, the UC Davis Arboretum is a must-visit. Spanning over 100 acres, the Arboretum offers beautiful gardens, walking trails, and opportunities for bird watching. The nearby Putah Creek also provides a scenic spot for kayaking, fishing, and picnicking.

Admissions and Cost

Admissions Selectivity

When considering whether UC Davis is a good school, one important factor to examine is its admissions selectivity. UC Davis is known for its competitive admissions process, with a high number of applications received each year.

In fact, UC Davis is consistently ranked among the top universities in the nation for its selectivity. The university seeks to admit students who have demonstrated strong academic abilities, leadership potential, and a commitment to community service.

With such a rigorous selection process, it is clear that UC Davis attracts some of the brightest and most talented students.

Average Test Scores and GPA

To gauge the academic caliber of UC Davis, it is essential to look at the average test scores and GPA of admitted students. According to the UC Davis admissions website, the middle 50% range of SAT scores for admitted students is between 1250 and 1470, while the middle 50% range for ACT composite scores is between 26 and 33.

Additionally, the average high school GPA of admitted students is around 4.0. These statistics indicate that UC Davis attracts academically strong students who have excelled in their high school coursework and standardized tests.

Tuition and Financial Aid

When considering whether UC Davis is a good school, it is important to consider the cost of attendance. Like many other universities, UC Davis has a tuition fee that varies depending on whether the student is a resident of California or an out-of-state student.

As of the 2021-2022 academic year, the annual tuition for California residents is approximately $14,597, while out-of-state students can expect to pay around $44,249. However, it is worth noting that UC Davis is committed to making education accessible to all students and offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and loans.

The university’s financial aid office is dedicated to helping students navigate the financial aspects of their education and ensuring that no student is denied the opportunity to attend UC Davis due to financial constraints.


In summary, with its exceptional academics, vibrant campus culture, prime location and relatively affordable in-state tuition, UC Davis stacks up as one of the top public universities in California and the nation.

If you’re looking for a high-quality education paired with a quintessential college town experience, UC Davis is undoubtedly a great choice to consider.

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