San Francisco is big city, and there's lots of competition for housing, so finding any student housing is a real feat in the Bay Area. Any former dorm resident will tell you to at least apply for and attempt to get into the dorms for your first year (do it early or forget it!). Since SFSU is a commuter campus, sometimes it is hard to be social and make friends. Living on campus is easy, but if you want to branch out and explore the real San Francisco, live off campus after your freshman year.
San Francisco State is the tip of the iceberg of San Francisco. Seated eerily close to Daly City, it gets less sunshine than many of the other spots of the Bay. Many off-campus residents flock to the Parkmerced Apartments, which essentially look like extra dorms, located five to 15 minutes away from campus. However, Parkmerced has become increasingly expensive, and it's a disappointment in terms of customer service and quality. After a short stint there, many students move to either Ocean View or the Sunset District for cheap rooms, short Muni rides to campus, and loads of other students.