campus encounters

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University of Wyoming

University of Wyoming (

Ok, I’m cheating here. I didn’t get to “UDub” (as the locals call it) while I was at the NACAC conference in Denver. I wanted to; I really did – if for no other reason than to say that I’d seen the University of Wyoming and get a pennant for my wall. I almost went, but that meant giving up visiting two colleges that my students were more likely to apply to, so I reluctantly decided to forego the 5 hour round-trip bus ride to Laramie. As luck would have it, two counselors on the Counselor bus-trip to Boulder were from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I picked their brains about the school and it turns out that they had a lot to say. Here’s what I learned.

UW has an absolutely beautiful campus; the university has poured a great deal of money into building new facilities and renovating old ones. There is a ton to do on campus and students have more activities to choose from than they know what to do with. The town, on the other hand . . . not so great. Although there is some stuff to do, there’s not a lot and it definitely doesn’t have a “college town feel.” In fact, one of the counselors described it as having a lot of “cowboy redneck culture.” The other counselor said that Laramie itself is “flat, and the wind blows all the time.” They were both quick to say that students didn’t seem to care much about the town; if they stayed on campus, they were very happy because of the activities offered and the diversity. The university has been recently doing a lot of recruiting abroad, and since Laramie has a huge Latino population, that’s also represented in the student body. There’s a “funny mix of kids – outdoorsy, Midwestern cowboy, Latino, whatever.” However, they mentioned that cliques formed in a more obvious way than some other places they had seen.

In terms of academics, sciences, including health programs, are particularly fabulous. The theater program is growing. “They seem to be tackling one department at a time.” Because this is the only university in Wyoming, the academic range in terms of ability is huge. As a public university, they work to make higher education accessible to Wyoming residents, and as such, there are quite a few students who aren’t quite ready for post-secondary academics (particularly because “there seems to be a strong anti-Community College feeling in the area”). However, there’s also the other end of the spectrum, and the university pulls in a lot of smart, driven students. The honors program is a big draw which offers special housing and classes.

I met up with some other counselors later who went on the counselor tour, and I asked them what they thought. Immediately, one said, “You should have gone! It’s a gorgeous campus and the people were great . . . but wow, was it windy!” I hope to get there someday to see it for myself; if I do, I’ll update this post!

(c) 2012


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