With a population of 1.3 million, San Diego is California's second-largest city and the eighth-largest city country-wide. San Diego's travel website notes that this beautiful city has over 70 miles of beaches, more than 92 golf courses, and plenty of outdoor activities for the whole family.
Not only is San Diego known for its nearly perfect climate and its gorgeous coastlines, but it's also home to several highly populated and large schools. San Diego has numerous school districts and private school options throughout the city.
While San Diego may seem significant by the numbers and the land it covers, the schools in the area have immense opportunities they can offer their students. Here's everything you need to know about the largest schools in San Diego, California.
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182
As the home of nearly 36,000 students, San Diego State University is by far the largest school within the city limits of San Diego. SDSU was originally founded in 1897, making it the oldest higher education school in the city. It's also located just 30 minutes from the U.S.-Mexico border and is highly recognized for its commitment to diversity and inclusion. San Diego State University also offers over 300 student clubs, 17 athletic teams, and is ranked third for students studying abroad. Additionally, the school has locations in Imperial Valley and Georgia.
Notable San Diego State University Alumni
San Diego State is without a doubt a bit of a drive from the star-studded hills. However, several notable media personalities can San Deigo State as their home school. While this list is not extensive, here are some notable figures.
Russell Carpenter – cinematographer of Titanic.
Erika De La Cruz – television host and media personality for Fashion Week.
Matt Flynn – drummer of Maroon 5
Marion Ross – TV actress (Happy Days)
Diamonté Quiava Valentin Harper aka Saweetie – Rapper
University of San Diego
5998 Alcalá ParkSan Diego, CA 92110
While smaller than SDSU, the University of San Diego is still a thriving campus located within city limits. The school sits on 180 acres and enrolls over 9,000 students each year from over 85 different countries and all across the United States. USD has roots tracing back to 1937 but did not first start building a campus until 1948. Today, the University of San Diego offers 43 bachelor's degree options and 41 master's degree opportunities. Additionally, the school has been ranked the most beautiful campus by the Princeton Review which also ranked them number twelve in best-run colleges.
Torrey Pines High School
3710 Del Mar Heights Rd, San Diego CA 92130
Torrey Pines High School is part of the San Dieguito Union High School District and enrolls roughly 2,600 students in grades 9-12 every year. The school offers advanced honors programs, numerous AP courses, and early college credit options. TPHS also shines when it comes to athletics as it's the top-ranked athletic program in the state of California. Additionally, the school is unique in that it offers 7 period days allowing more flexibility for its students. Torrey Pines has a lasting legacy as its been a part of the surrounding community for over 40 years.
Canyon Crest Academy
5951 Village Center Loop Rd, San Diego, CA 92130
Like Torrey Pines, Canyon Crest Academy is also a member of the San Dieguito Union High School District. The district has grown exponentially over the past 15 years with an incredible increase in population. It's also ranked the best district in San Diego County and the fifth-best district in the state of California. As a member of this district, Canyon Crest Academy is currently ranked as the second-best high school in the San Diego area by U.S. News and World Report. Canyon Crest offers numerous athletic, academic, and STEM programs to its students.
Del Norte High School
16601 Nighthawk Lane, San Diego, CA 92127
Coming in as the third-best high school in the San Diego region is Del Norte High School. Del Norte is the newest high school to join the Poway Unified School District opening its doors in 2009. The school sits on a 62-acre campus and offers several AP courses with over a 79% participation rate. Del Monte also enrolls over 2,600 students each year and regularly outscores both its district and the state on state-required tests. Additionally, the school offers numerous participation opportunities with more than 100 clubs, athletic teams, and fine arts programs.
Cathedral Catholic High School
5555 Del Mar Heights Road San Diego, CA 92130
Cathedral Catholic High School first opened its doors in 1957 under the name University of San Diego High School due to its close proximity to the University of San Diego. The school also began as an all-boys school but joined with an all-girls school in 1970, then changed its name in 2005 when it moved to its new location. Today, Cathedral Catholic enrolls roughly 1,600 students in grades nine through twelve and sits on a 54-acre campus. Students focus on character, faith, knowledge, and responsibility while working toward their college goals.
Gompers Preparatory Academy
1005 47th Street, San Diego, CA 92102
Gompers Preparatory Academy places a high focus on preparing students for their next level of education as a college preparatory school. As such, GPA has five rules that each student must know and high expectations. Students are expected to exercise respect, enthusiasm, achievement, citizenship, and hard work. The school also offers numerous AP courses with a focus on preparing each student to go on to earn a four-degree. GPA was founded on March 1, 2005, and enrolls over 1,000 students each year in grades 6-12.
Nester Language Academy Charter
1455 Hollister St, San Diego CA 92154
Nester Language Academy is a Charter School that focuses on a two-way Spanish Immersion Program. The program is designed to encourage fluency in both Spanish and English. The school's mission is to “foster academic excellence, bilingualism, biliteracy, and multiculturalism.” According to U.S. News and World Report, Nester Language Academy enrolls over 1,000 students in grades K-8. The report also shows that students at Nester Language Academy scored higher in math and reading tests compared to other schools in the district and state.
Bernardo Heights Middle School
12990 Paseo Lucido, San Diego, CA 92128
Bernardo Heights Middle School is part of the Poway Unified School District and is a National Blue Ribbon Winner along with recognization as a California Distinguished School. The school began in 1988 as a trailer campus for 6th graders. By 1990, the school had a permanent location across from Rancho Bernardo High School, which is where it's located today. Bernardo Heights now serves nearly 1,500 students in grades 6-8. Additionally, BHMS offers a before and after-school program where students can study, play in the gym, or participate in school activities.
Francis Parker School
6501 Linda Vista Road, San Diego, CA 92111
Spread out over three separate locations for upper, middle, and lower campuses, Francis Parker School is a large private school in San Diego. Francis Parker enrolls roughly 1,300 students in grades PK-12 and was founded in 1912. With over 100 years of history, the school is the oldest private school in the city. The average class size at Francis Parker is 17 with a student-to-teacher ratio of 9:1. Additionally, the school offers over fifty honors and AP courses. It also offers more than sixty student clubs in middle school and high school.
Finding the Right School for Your Child
Are you looking to find a school in California's second-largest city of San Diego? From cutting-edge academic programs to a vibrant extracurricular scene, the largest schools in this city focus on growth, learning, and personal development. The numerous public school districts and private school options surrounding the city serve a large number of students. The schools listed here merely scratch the surface of the various opportunities that San Diego's educational institutions offer to their students. You're sure to find the best fit for you and your child in the San Diego area!
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com.