SONOMA STATE UNIVERSITY, Sonoma, CA (visited 7/18/12)
Someone described Sonoma State as a place where “people actually talk to people” and it seems to live up to that! I would recommend this school to a lot of people. It’s simply amazing!
The housing at SSU is probably the best I have ever seen. Students live in beautiful suites starting in freshman year. They have a variety of options: single or double rooms within suites, suites with or without kitchens, different layouts, different numbers of people, townhouses, and Student Interest Groups. Costs vary according to space. The townhouses are so good that they rent them out as houses over the summer. For the special interest housing, the students do not need to major in that area, just be interested in that subject. However, they do have to test in with good SAT or ACT scores. Different Residential Units have dining halls; the food is good. I like that the college let us eat in one of their halls to experience what the students get.
This is the newest of the CSU campuses at about 50 years old. It’s also the most residential of the CSU campuses at about 64% residential. Dorm quiet hours are 10-8 during the week, midnight-8 on weekends. They pull a large percentage of students from San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose. On the weekends, they offer lots of trips into SF, the ocean, national parks, etc. They also have the largest study abroad per capita in the system and have the largest EOP grant of the CSUs for California residents.
Their student population hovers around 8,600 with the best retention and graduation rate in the CSU system. About 20% of the student population is Hispanic right now; the university would like to get that up to about 25%. This would label them officially as “Hispanic serving” and make more grant money from the state to help them continue improving services. They’re also looking to attract more STEM and more academically qualified students.
Their impacted majors (those that have more applicants than space in the program) are EnviSci, Liberal Studies (create your own major with a 4 year graduation guarantee), business, psych, kinesiology, and criminal justice. The average graduation time is 4.5 years because of double majors or late advising. The average class size is 26. The largest lecture hall on campus is 120 so they have some of the smallest lecture classes in the system.
Sports are big on campus and school spirit is high. However, the football stadium is now an observatory for astronomy because they don’t have a football team anymore. Soccer is the new football in terms of homecoming games, attracting fans, etc. Women’s softball and Men’s baseball are both competitive and several pros have come out of the university.
The campus is pretty and easy to get around. They have two things worth mentioning: First, they have 1 of 12 saplings grafted from a tree that Anne Frank planted (another one is at the White House) and a Holocaust Memorial. Second, there are two ponds stocked with fish; students can fish with their ID which doubles as a fishing license. There are even geese and ducks walking across the quad between the ponds!