CSU- Pueblo (Visited 10/2/12)
A theme that seemed to run through many of the universities in Colorado is that students like to do things outdoors, and the institutions like to help them do this. Pueblo is no different. Their Outdoor Club is very active; for a $25 fee per year, students can “rent” – aka, borrow, any equipment they want, including snowboards and other things that would normally cost them quite a bit more.
Everything on campus is relatively quickly accessible. You can walk from one side to the other in about 10 minutes. Parking is not a problem, and freshman can bring cars on campus. Cars are more important for getting around off campus since nothing is really in easy walking distance. I liked the feel of campus; it had a lot of green space and was homey. Buildings, for the most part, were not the flashiest, but they have been updating and putting up new buildings, including a communications building that has state-of-the-art broadcasting facilities. The PBS station works out of there and pairs up with the college to give students hands-on radio experience.
The campus felt relatively sedate. There weren’t a ton of kids out-and-about on campus, but it was during class time. However, it wasn’t as vibrant as a couple other campuses with students studying on quads, bustling between classes, etc. That could have been a timing issue since we were there mid-afternoon, not during meal-time or popular after-class time. The Student Center did have things going on, including students doing lip-syncing and making videos as part of Homecoming Week activities. The students we did see walking around were dressed fairly typically of college students, but I saw more students with brightly dyed hair than I think have at almost any other campus.
CSUP just built 3 new suite-style dorms in order to expand the housing options past the traditional hall-style dorms that are right next door. The new dorms are particularly nice, and each one has a different “extra” in it; for example, one has a bistro in that runs very much like a 7-11. Most of the campus is wireless except in the older dorm; the lounge is wireless but students need Ethernet cords in the rooms. One student said that one way he would improve the campus by improving the internet situation – make everything wireless and make it more reliable. Sometimes it cuts out during busy times.
Students in the 15 participating western states can get WUE tuition at Pueblo which runs 150% of in-state tuition. Pueblo does not use the Common App, but their own application is actually quicker and easier than the CA. Students will also have to complete a separate application for scholarships which is available online. Admissions will not superscore either the SAT or ACT; they’ll take the highest single sitting score. However, they’ll use separate scores for placement. They do not need or look at writing.
The business and the nursing programs both got high accolades from several sources. The Business department has about 800 students who have declared that as their major. They have a 3-2 BA/MBA program. If they meet the requirements, they can start their Masters during the senior year, and actually complete the program in 12 fewer credit hours, all for the undergraduate tuition rate. They also have a 3-2 program in biology, chemistry, and biochem. Nursing is their only real competitive major, getting about 150 applications for 60 spots. However, those who get in get a top-notch education, including access to three full simulation labs.
I asked one of the reps what he would tell a student from the east coast who maybe has never heard of Pueblo: one of the first things he said was that Colorado is affordable. The winter is fantastic: there’s lots of sun, not as much snow as people think, and it melts quickly. There is very little crime and virtually no traffic issues (at least outside of Denver!). In addition to the specific programs already mentioned, he said that CSUP has an early alert system based on GPA so if students are struggling, people will intervene quickly to help them. They look out for their students and really do want them to succeed.
Overall, the university receives very high satisfaction scores. I asked two different students what they would like to improve about the campus. They had to think about it a bit before answering. Other than the internet issue, they wanted some more food options (like Subway, Einstein Bagels, etc) and want better sidewalks (sometimes they end at weird places). I asked the students about the quiet feel to campus, and both like it – they said there was a lot to do but because there wasn’t a constant “party” atmosphere, they could get their work done, too.