An algorithm for success: The best study spots ranked

The UAA campus is vast, with many potential spots to study. Studying is worrisome enough without trying to figure out where to set up. This ranking uses an algorithm to determine the best study spots around campus.

Most students consider the following criteria when looking for the perfect study spot: 

1) Seating – is there copious comfortable seats with convenient placements?

2) Quiet – are the people and activities in the area quiet enough to focus and are there rules in place to maintain this quiet? 

3) Bathrooms – is there a nearby bathroom with a short wait that could be accessed swiftly during an emergency? 

4) Technology – are there enough charging outlets, public-use technology such as printers, computers and good wifi signal? 

5) Food – is there nearby food and drink with a variety of choices, preferably not a vending machine? 

- Advertisement -

6) Accessibility – is the spot in an easy to find location students regularly pass through, with elevators and automatic doors?

This graph details each of the nine studying locations, based on a variety of aspects. Graphic by Robert Gant.

Each of these criteria is a category assigned a value out of ten, one being the worst and ten being the best. The criteria scores are averaged together to create the total percentage of perfection present in the study spots. With this algorithm, the top nine study spots at UAA were determined. These rankings are subjective to individual students’ studying priorities, and may not match with these numbers.

The Cuddy Quad is the perfect study location for students that prefer to be outdoors. Photo by Robert Gant.
  1. Cuddy Quad (43%)

The lowest on the list is a perfect option for any outdoors-loving student.

Seating: (8/10) There is not a large number of benches, but many students enjoy laying in the grass.

Quiet: (2/10) The noise level in the quad varies from day to day, but there is always some sort of noise outdoors, like an airplane overhead, a bird singing or protests and booths.

Bathrooms: (1/10) The great outdoors does not provide an optimal location to use the restroom. If a student needs to go while studying, they will most likely have to pack up their things and venture to the nearest building.

Technology: (0/10) Mother nature and electronics have been opponents since the dawn of time. There are dead zones without wifi in the Quad. For students who prefer to study on paper, separated from social media, this could be a possible benefit.

Food: (5/10) Assuming UAA isn’t allowing moose and bears to enroll, the grass and bushes outside do not qualify as food. Food and drink have a larger window for when an inconvenience becomes an emergency, so walking to a nearby location to eat shouldn’t be an issue.

Accessibility: (10/10) The Cuddy Quad is the connecting hub for many high traffic buildings at UAA, such as Beatrice McDonald, Cuddy Cafeteria, Sally Monserud, Eugene Short and Rasmuson Hall, all of which include handicap accessible entrances.

The skybridge between the Seawolf Athletic Center and the Rasmuson building offers amazing views to students as they study. Photo by Robert Gant.
  1. Rasmuson Skybridge (60%)

This option is popular for students who use the university gym facilities and business students.

Seating: (8/10) The skybridge has plentiful seating, but the spacing of the seats is a bit inconvenient. Most of the chairs are attached to group-sized tables, which may present issues to a student studying alone.

Quiet: (7/10) Noise level varies from day to day, but the skybridge is typically quiet. The skybridge is connected to the gym, which is a noisy location. During finals and midterms, the skybridge is always dead silent.

Bathrooms: (8/10) There is no bathroom on the skybridge, but there are two bathrooms within five minutes walking distance on either side.

Technology: (1/10) The spacing of the charging outlets is abysmal. The wifi is usually passable.

Food: (2/10) There are vending machines on either side of the skybridge. For better food, it’s a long walk.

Accessibility: (10/10) Most students pass through it on a typical day.

The Cuddy Cafeteria is a perfect place to study and grab a snack. Photo by Robert Gant.
  1. Cuddy Cafeteria (68%)

The cafeteria is a communal area with plenty of food options to snack on while you study.

Seating: (10/10) There is cafeteria seating, large tables and also a smaller amount of assorted chairs in the café next door.

Quiet: (2/10) Large amounts of people come to the cafeteria to eat, relax and chat. The cafeteria is a lot quieter during non-meal times.

Bathrooms: (9/10) The cafeteria has bathrooms, but there are not many toilets. Expect to wait if visiting during lunch.

Technology: (2/10) Charging outlet placement is extremely inconvenient. The wifi signal is strong, but the amount of people using it during lunch slows it.

Food: (10/10) The cafeteria offers a variety of food options.

Accessibility: (8/10) Students typically don’t have class in the cafeteria. However, it is a short walk to get there.

The upper level of the Beatrice McDonald Hall is the ideal place to study before a math or science exam. Photo by Robert Gant.
  1. Upper Beatrice McDonald Hall (77%)

The perfect spot to camp out before your math or science exam.

Seating: (6/10) There is not much seating, but all of the seats are comfortable and conveniently placed. Bonus points for being aesthetically pleasing.

Quiet: (10/10) The study spots are directly outside of classrooms, so a low noise level is required.

Bathrooms: (10/10) There are many clean bathrooms on both floors.

Technology: (7/10) There aren’t many outlets, but they are conveniently placed. Teachers may allow you to borrow a calculator if you are in their class.

Food: (6/10) There are only vending machines. However, there are a lot of vending machines with a greater variety than most other areas.

Accessibility: (7/10) Many students have at least one class here. It doesn’t make much sense to study here unless the studying is for a class in this building.

The Math Lab at the UAA Learning Commons is one of many resources available to students. Photo by Robert Gant.
  1. Learning Commons in Sally Monserud (78%)

The Learning Commons offers structure and tutoring to students who desire it.

Seating: (9/10) There is a large amount of seating. This location is popular, so seating may still be taken.

Quiet: (5/10) The noise level wildly varies. The tutoring rooms have rules in place to reduce the noise level. Students may book a study room for extra quiet as needed.

Bathrooms: (10/10) There are a large number of bathrooms and rarely any wait.

Technology: (10/10) This building has computers, calculators, wifi, outlets and printers.

Food: (6/10) There are mostly vending machines. The Math Lab has a place to boil water for ramen, coffee and tea.

Accessibility: (7/10) There is no skybridge to this building, making the walk slightly hazardous in the winter months.

Located downstairs in the UAA Student Union, the Den offers a cozier place to study. Photo by Robert Gant.
  1. Daily Den (80%)

This study spot houses free food and a fireplace.

Seating: (10/10) There are many seats of various shapes and sizes.

Quiet: (6/10) There are no rules in place to prevent noise, and events are often hosted here. When events are not happening, the noise level is usually low.

Bathrooms: (10/10) There is a bathroom directly outside with no wait time.

Technology: (3/10) The outlets are not in convenient locations.

Food: (10/10) At certain times of day, the Daily Den provides free homemade food and drink.

Accessibility: (9/10) The Den is right in the Student Union, but it can be difficult to spot at first because it is on the lower level behind the staircase.

The UAA Bookstore offers a nice atmosphere and snack options for students during their studies. Photo by Robert Gant.
  1. UAA Bookstore (82%)

This university-run store offers a café and a nice atmosphere.

Seating: (10/10) There is plenty of unique seating downstairs and upstairs in a loft specifically designed for tutoring and studying.

Quiet: (7/10) During events and textbook rental periods, the bookstore is a bit noisy. Otherwise, it is generally quiet.

Bathrooms: (8/10) There are no bathrooms within the bookstore. It is a short walk to the Student Union bathrooms.

Technology: (5/10) There is decent outlet availability if students are willing to sacrifice comfort. The wifi signal is strong.

Food: (10/10) The Drowsy Wolf Café offers many drinks and food options.

Accessibility: (9/10) Students usually come here at some point for supply and textbook purchases and rentals.

UAA Students can find several quiet study options in the UAA/APU Consortium Library. Photo by Robert Gant.
  1. UAA/APU Consortium Library (83%)

The library offers all of the tools students need at the price of an inconvenient location.

Seating: (10/10) There are many seats spread across the entire library.

Quiet: (10/10) There are rules in place to enforce a quiet study area.

Bathrooms: (10/10) The library has multiple bathrooms.

Technology: (10/10) The library has strong wifi and allows students to use computers and printers, as well as rent equipment.

Food: (5/10) There is a Kaladi Brothers outside as well as vending machines, but the library has rules preventing certain foods and drinks.

Accessibility: (5/10) The library is a long walk or drive unless students need to be there for a class.

The UAA Student Union offers several places to study amongst the hustle of college life. Photo by Robert Gant.
  1. Union Station Café (87%)

The algorithm’s perfect study spot.

Seating: (10/10) The seats near the café are comfortable and convenient.

Quiet: (5/10) Many students pass through here, and the coffee machines can be loud. Bring headphones if you don’t like background noise.

Bathrooms: (10/10) There are bathrooms directly across from the café.

Technology: (8/10) There are a good amount of outlets, and the eSports lounge is directly next to the café.

Food: (10/10) The Union Station Café offers plenty of food and drink. There are also other dining options nearby.

Accessibility: (9/10) Most students pass through the upper level of the Student Union between classes, and there are many elevators.