Why UHS: Three Main Attributes


SHEA17DVDavid ’17



When I think back to why I decided to come to UHS, three main attributes always stand out. First and foremost, the student-teacher relationships were palpable. Through calling teachers by their first names to playing Bananagrams in the English/History Office, I can attest that these relationships are even closer than I imagined. Secondly, it was the immense opportunities opened to me. I loved the diversity in classes offered, from photography to molecular biology, but especially loved the Independent Study Program. I thought it was incredible how University makes the promise to teach students whatever they want to learn at whatever level the students are comfortable. Lastly, UHS simply felt like home. I could sense the passion to learn from the students and the passion to teach from the teachers. Looking back on it, coming to University was the best decision I made in middle school.

Why UHS: A Non-competitive and Community-based Atmosphere


Sam ’18


Simply put, I came to UHS to be challenged. I found middle school to be extremely easy, and it was important for me to go somewhere I could intellectually stimulated. It was apparent to my on my visits to the school that this is not just a place where I could be educationally stimulated, but is a place where I could be supported by my peers and teachers. This is a place where I am able to collaborate with a group of bright, friendly, people, whose goal, above all else, is to help each other out. This results in a non-competitive atmosphere, community-based atmosphere, and one that is uniquely UHS. To know that every day I come to school, I will be surrounded by like-minded individuals fully committed to their education is something that I cherish and that makes UHS completely special.

Why UHS: “Cool” to be smart, athletic, musical, AND artistic!


Claire ’18

After two and half years at UHS, I can definitively state that there is no other school I’d rather attend. I am surrounded by students who are bright, driven, athletic, artistic, and politically and socially engaged. Furthermore, students love to learn not merely for the sake of getting a good grade or reaching a particular test score, but rather to broaden their perspectives and increase the scope of their knowledge. At UHS, it’s “cool” to be smart, athletic, musical, AND artistic. The school dedicates itself to enhancing students’ academic pursuits as well as their athletic and artistic pursuits. Sports coaches are encouraging, enthusiastic, and committed to developing their players into the best they can be. Music and art teachers love what they do and hold students accountable for their work. You will never encounter a dull moment on the UHS campus.

Why UHS: A Reflection



Ana ’17

When I was an eighth grader, confused and unsure of where I wanted to take my life after middle school, I knew I was looking for several things. First, I wanted a school that was well-rounded in arts, academics, and sports (this is more difficult to find than one would think). Secondly, I wanted a place where the students were paid attention to and the teachers were dedicated to the success of every person that they taught. An extraordinary number of our professors have PhDs, but they aren’t at all snobbish about it- in fact, we talk to all teachers on a first-name basis, and I consider a great many of them to be my mentors and friends. During the application process, I searched for a place where I could try new things (read up on the Independent Study Program…it’s amazing!), scouring the SF high schools for a space that could lead me to future greatness. Not only did I choose UHS because I wanted my passions to be nurtured (note that UHS is very professional about the caliber of the academia we teach here), but I  wanted a place that was friendly; a place that would make me truly happy.

Below are a few memories that have made my experience at UHS so memorable:

When I was still applying, I decided to test the validity of UHS’s art program by attending the 2013 Fall Play (I recommend attending our Spring Musical, Into the Woods). It was Hamlet, and the protagonist himself was played by a senior girl. She was exceptionally talented (as was everyone in this performance), and I was blown away by the quality of the light and sound design of the show. Since then, I have been very involved in the theater program at UHS, and my most recent and last role was playing the male lead in the Winter Play, Six/Eleven. So, in a mere five years, the cycle seems to have come full circle, and I could not be happier.

Something wonderful about UHS is that I was never confined to doing just one extracurricular activity. Although theater has made me very happy, and I even had the chance to write, direct, and stage manage my very own one-act play, the rest of my school-day afternoons have been taken up with the Cross Country and Track family. I say family because that is truly what the vibe of these teams would suggest. Not only has my experience on them been essential to my development as a fighter with the confidence to run any adversary into the ground, but it has helped me find some of my lifelong best friends. Being on a UHS team is a defining experience of my life here that I don’t think I’ll ever, ever forget. Trying new things, from 5Ks, to hurdles, to sprinting, to 1600 meters on the track, has connected me to about the fourth of the entire school (our team is big!), and I’ve even become extraordinarily close with my adversaries from other schools.

Classes that have changed my life…unexpectedly, one of these would have to be Spanish. I am a native Spaniard, fluent in the language, so why did I take the class again when I got to high school? Good question. The reason is…teachers. Our department is the wonder that it is because our teachers barely speak a lick of english to their students. From day one, they are determined to fit in as much speaking practice into the year that they can (most of the classes are purely discussion-based, and often student-propelled). My favorite teacher, Ernesto, taught me literature- something that my Spanish mother never had time to do. I am now familiar with the classic works of Borges, Lorca, Allende, Unamuno, and Marquez, to name a few. I carry that knowledge with me always, and it makes me love my heritage all the more. 

In an interest turn of events, taking Spanish at UHS taught me to appreciate movies by incorporating foreign films into the class. Today, I am in such an advanced seminar that we only study the movies of Almodóvar, and I am enjoying myself immensely. Writing for Screen and Television is the profession that I hope to pursue in life, and I have the Spanish department to thank for sowing the first seeds of the dream. Without Spanish, the Theater, the fantastic English classes at UHS, and the short stint I did in Photography/Visual Literacy 101, perhaps my passion for creative writing might have died some silent death in a badly nurtured part of my teenage brain.

A word about mathematics and sciences (if that is your jam): they are fantastic here… truly fantastic. Although these are subjects that my bookish self never really considered to be among my strong suits, I have spent countless hours in the offices of my math and science teachers, trying to perfect my skills. I have had fabulous experiences in Precalculus, Statistics, Chemistry, and Physics, among others, and I’m glad that I was able to do them here.

Social life at UHS is far from dry (some people think that we are too busy to do anything fun). I assure you that this is not the case, and that the school provides many fun and exciting events, like school dances and concerts, that are markers of my experience as I have performed in several of them. Battle of the Bands, in particular, is a fun event that brings out all my friends in support every year. I try to dedicate a slot once per weekend to go on an outing with my friends, and that’s because we are very healthy, well-rounded human beings. I’m proud to say that the phrase well-rounded can successfully encapsulate my entire experience here. I wouldn’t trade it for anything (unless I had a chance to join even more clubs, teams, and classes)!

I hope you choose UHS like I did. You will not regret it!

Why UHS: Upholding Values


Will ’17

Why I chose UHS comes back to my first campus visit when I was an eighth grader. When my mom dropped me off, she encouraged me to try to figure out whether or not I could “see myself” at the school. But after my visit, during which I met a number of students, a few teachers, and visited two classes, I didn’t see myself in the students at UHS. Instead, I saw who I wanted to be. The students I had met were genuine and enthusiastic, intensely curious about their classwork and engaged with the world around them. In the classes I visited, the students really seemed like they wanted to be there and were excited about the material. Often at my middle school I felt like I was the only one who enjoyed the lessons, and I knew that at UHS I would be among peers who encouraged and challenged me everyday. Today, as a senior at UHS, I focus on upholding these values that first drew me to the school, and I hope that other prospective students see UHS for the tight-knit community of learners that it is to me.

Why UHS: Feeling Welcomed



Peter ’18


I chose UHS because of the community. When I first walked through the doors I felt a sense of calm and happiness among the students, and everyone I met was welcoming and willing to show me around. What I have learned through the years is that the welcoming feeling does not falter the better you get to know the campus and those around you. You are constantly surrounded by smiling faces, and are engrossed with some of the most interesting peers imaginable. I came to UHS for the people, and if you want a strong sense of community, and I would encourage you to do the same.

Why UHS: Making My Own Path


Matthew ’18


There were many factors in my decision to come to UHS.  Over the course of the high school process, I narrowed down my top choices; I knew I wanted a school with challenging academics, great sports, and a great community.  UHS was at the top of my list, so when I got my acceptance letter I was very excited.  I knew some people who already went to UHS and talked to them to get a really clear idea of life at UHS.  I had also already been exposed to the UHS community through my older brother, who was a junior when I was in 8th grade.  I knew there was some expectation for me to go to UHS, and I was concerned that I would just be following my brother, who as a student is quite different from me, but I also knew that UHS was an intellectually diverse school, and I was confident that I could thrive and make my own path.  I think that was one of the biggest reasons I chose UHS.  From hearing my friends’ experiences, and seeing the variety of students who go to UHS, I could tell that it was an open place where I would be able to succeed as an individual.  That decision really paid off because I have been able to pursue my own interests of science and baseball, and have also found new ones such as music.