campus encounters

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Archive for the tag “WUE”

Weber State University

Weber State University (visited 9/26/18)

Weber quadWeber (pronounced “wee-ber” … “We’re not the grill!” said the Director of Admissions) is a dual-mission university offering 2- and 4-year degrees. “We pride ourselves in taking kids from where they are to where they want to be. We know how to challenge you, and we care enough to do it. You cannot avoid professors. They’re going to know who you are.” There are no TAs; all classes are taught by professors, half of whom are adjuncts because they work in their field and bring pragmatic experiences to the classroom.

Weber 3There is something here for all students from the high-flyers who know exactly what they want to those who may never have though that college was for them. Because there’s no community college north of Salt Lake City, Weber has an open-enrollment mission for the 2-year programs imbedded in who they are. Students who complete the AA degree in good standing and who want to continue on may do so. Many students are first-gen because of the community college aspect; they’re on the cusp of being named a Hispanic-serving institution because of the large community in Ogden.

Weber moutainsThey have six campuses in two counties; the main campus is in Odgen. “We’re where metro meets the mountains,” said an admissions rep. Many industries (“from the IRS to ski resorts”) are headquartered here. Downtown – about 1.5 miles north of campus – is “one of the most fun, eclectic areas you’ll see.” They sit directly on the side of Mount Ogden which students hike during homecoming. A ski resort sits on the other side. “Not that I recommend this, but if you wanted to hike it up and ski down the other side, I guess you could skip the lift fee…”

Weber tablesA lot of students come to Utah because of the accessibility to outdoor sports, particularly skiing. Students who live in Res Hall 3 (Yes, that’s really the name; there’s also Res Hall 1. The 2nd one got named. Go figure) get a free ski pass. “The point is to group those students together. A lot of skiers and outdoors people live there,” said the tour guide. Other places give discounts to students.

Weber W rockStudents are involved here, on and off campus. Apparently, Paddleboard Yoga is a big deal. Outdoor trips are plentiful and cheap: weekend trips cost around $35; a 5-day rafting trip cost $50. They offer 15 DI sports: Football is big and women’s soccer “is a lot of fun to watch.” Parking isn’t much of an issue: there’s plenty of space at the basketball stadium. Shuttles run every 5 minutes, and local buses also stop on campus.

Weber 2About 1100 students live on campus, many from outside Utah. Cost of housing depends on if they live in Wildcat Village (traditional style) or University Village (apartment) and if they’re in singles or doubles. Out-of-state students get a $1000 scholarship if they live on campus. Every student gets a Wildcard pass, getting them free travel on Light Rail from the SLC airport to downtown Ogden (about 45 minutes). From there, they get an express shuttle (also free) to campus. They can also take free Express Buses into Provo and SLC. Because SLC is a Delta Hub, it’s easy to get into.

Weber performing artsClasses are small; our tour guide’s largest class had 50 students (Intro to Anthropology); the smallest had 7. “That was Intro to Outdoor Pursuits. We talked about risk management and leading groups.” The 7 academic colleges offer amazing options:

Weber quad 2Applications are straight-forward and on the website (they aren’t on Common App); they do not need an essay. Test scores can come from the testing agency or the transcript. They have a 12/1 priority deadlines for scholarships. They start awarding scholarships on 12/2 and will award until they run out of money. In-state tuition is under $6,000; out-of-state is under $16,000; WUE is under $9000. They have solid scholarships (the top one brings the out-of-state cost to in-state). All tuition scholarships are guaranteed for 4 years if they maintain a 2.5GPA with 12 credit hours per semester. They award these based on an index score (ACT/SAT + unweighted GPA). Becoming a Utah resident for tuition purposes is relatively easy as long as no one claims the student on another state’s taxes, they spend 1 full year in the state, and get driver’s license/register to vote; this does not apply if they are on WUE.

© 2018

 

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Western Washington University

Western Washington University (visited 6/23/17)

WWU 7WWU quickly became one of my favorite schools. I’m not sure what the vibe is, but whatever is going on there is working — and with an 82% freshman-sophomore retention, the students like it, too. Driving up the hill to campus, we decided it felt a little like a summer camp. We later learned that there’s a designated arboretum along the edge of campus. The wooded area opened up to a beautiful campus at the top of the hill. “This is the Goldilocks of campuses,” said one student. “It’s the right size.”

WWU dorms 1In many ways, this is an artsy campus “but that’s not all-encompassing. I wouldn’t describe the engineering department like that!” said one of the reps when we asked her if our impressions were accurate. There is a general sense of inclusive access and closing gaps starting with admissions and carrying through the way the students treat each other and the wider world. This is an open, accepting community. About a dozen students attended the counselor reception so we had time to talk to them. Their nametags listed preferred gender pronouns.

WWU 4Students are aware of and interested in what’s going on in the world. “I haven’t met an apathetic person on campus and I appreciate that,” said a tour guide. Students mobilize themselves. They’ll help get people registered to vote and hold protests for the Dakota pipeline. “There’s a general sense of wanting to talk about events and differences. Yeah, you see things that seem skewed towards the liberal, but there are also posters up about conservative talking-points as well.” It’s not surprising that for 3 years running, WWU has been #1 nationally among mid-sized universities sending graduates to the Peace Corps.

WWU sculpture 3This is a medium-sized university with 15,000 students, about 95% of whom are undergrads. Not surprisingly, most students are from Washington. Just over half (52%) self-identify as some sort of under-represented student (including low income, students of color (25%), and first gen (31%)). “People might have multiple identities: we don’t look at diversity in a compartmentalized way. It’s intersectional,” said the President.

WWU quadOne unique academic aspect stems from this approach of intersectionality: the Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Study is a bit like Evergreen State College in that students can collaborate with faculty to create a course of study. There are significant differences, but the spirit is there. These are students who want to look at things intentionally and systematically, usually with some component of social justice/change. Advisors help students acclimate to the learning style, the narrative evaluations, and grappling with creating their own degree. Students write an evaluation at the end of the quarter; the professor responds and decides if they get credit. “I felt like I learned so much more because there was more dialogue and in-depth conversation with peers and the professor.” It’s good for students who want to share their views and learn from each other. The college is physically located on South Campus, but not all classes are there. Students still have to take a certain number of “Main Campus” classes. Most students apply during freshman or sophomore year but can apply as an incoming freshman. Their core requirements differ from Main; they mirror each other but are specific to the campus.

WWU fountain

The fountain controlled by a sensor on top of one of the buildings; if it’s windy, the fountain height goes down

The university’s tag-line is Active Minds Changing Lives. “Students love learning and doing something meaningful,” said one of the students. Teachers are here because they want to teach, and just over half of the students will do research with a professor. Academics of note are:

  • Unusual majors include Canadian-American Studies, Decision Sciences, Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management, and Behavioral Neuroscience.
  • Unusual Minors include Arts Enterprise & Cultural Innovation, Business Analytics, Disaster Risk Reduction, and Sustainable Design
  • WWU science

    One of the science buildings

    The College of the Environment was one of the first in the country; they’ve been ranked in the top 2% in the nation for number of grads who go on to earn research doctorates. “Environmental Sustainability = Human Sustainability!”

  • Theater is ranked as #10 in the country. There are several professional theaters within 10-15 miles where students can intern.
  • There are about 150 students in Honors each year; an honor-housing option is available.
  • IDEA: Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship in Action
  • They offer a Leadership Minor open to all students, and they’re working on a Masters. The curricular and co-curricular work together. They’re trying to get a leadership conference going through UNESCO.
  • WWU maker space

    One of the maker-spaces on campus; students do much of the engineering work in hands-on labs like this

    Engineering: All tracks are accredited (except vehicle design; there’s no accreditation for this). Students aren’t admitted directly into the program; they apply as soon as they finish the pre-reqs, much of which depends on where they start with math. This is a highly hands-on department. Students who invent/create things here will retain intellectual property (but are asked to acknowledge the school)! There’s a patent office on campus to help them with this process.

  • WWU quad 2The Fine Arts department takes advantage of the fact that this is the 2nd largest number of artists in residence after Santa Fe: film, painting, sew/knit/quilt/crochet. Art classes are open to non-majors, but majors get first pick. Open spots are then available to others.
  • A student designed the weather meter on Bond Hall – if it’s windy, the fountain gets lower so people don’t get sprayed with water. There’s a tradition that if they win at intramurals, they’ll jump in the fountain.
WWU Rockies 5

Canadian Rockies as seen from campus

The school has a strong Learning Support program. “The first year is very hands-on and progressively becomes hands-off. They’re coming out of K-12 where it was SO directed. We teach them how to ask for accommodations and how to advocate for themselves. It’s to help them move forward into being independent with this.”

WWU seatingThere’s no football and no Greek life on campus (although their rowing and soccer teams are national champions!). “That really helps town-gown relations!” Bellingham (population 82,000) is a beautiful place to live. Students get a free bus pass to get around town. The Canadian Rockies are visible from campus, and students can be at the mountains in an hour! The ocean is “right there”. The border is only 15 minutes away; Vancouver is another 30 beyond that. Students can catch the Amtrak for an easy day trip. Mt. Baker is an hour away, and Seattle (without traffic!) is 90 minutes. So many outdoor activities in the vicinity: skiing, snowboarding, kayaking, fishing, and even “hammocking if that’s your thing!” There are only 3 national chain restaurants (Starbucks, Pita Pit, and Jimmy John’s). The rest are locally owned.

WWU 1Admissions uses their own application requiring a personal essay and activity list with an optional “tell us more” section. They require a math-based course in senior year. However, if students have completed an advanced math beyond Algebra 2 before senior year, they are exempt from this requirement. This is a WUE school, but it’s treated almost like a competitive scholarship-based program. Only about 15% of students will get WUE, but then they offer 2 other award tiers for others.

© 2017

Central Washington University

Central Washington University (visited 6/21/17)

CWU 2CWU was a surprise in the best possible way. I walked away knowing that I’d be comfortable recommending this school to students: it’s a welcoming, modern, attractive campus with a lot of unusual majors that would appeal even to students coming from across the country. Check out this YouTube video put together by the Arts and Humanities Departments – made entirely (including the music) by faculty and students in that school!

CWU mascot 2

The mascot in front of the student center which also houses their Outdoor Pursuits and Rentals office

All first-year students are required to live on campus and therefore get priority for housing. Many live in 4-person “pods” (like suites). There are about a dozen LLCs available; our tour guide lived in the Aviation LLC his first year even though he ended up not majoring in it. There are some university-owned apartments available for upperclassmen. Off-campus housing is relatively easy to find and not expensive. Ellensburg is a small, easily manageable city with things to do and with lots of access to outdoor activities. Students can fly into Sea-Tac airport and get school shuttles for the 2-ish hour trip to campus.

CWU sculpture

One of many such sculptures on campus

Despite being a medium-sized university of about 11,000 students, they take excellent care of students and work hard to make sure they don’t fall through the cracks. Students get both a Major and a Support Advisor so there are plenty of people checking in on them. They are dedicated to providing accessible education for students, particularly those who historically have not had easy access to higher education. Their first-gen students graduate well above the national average, for example. One student spoke to us at dinner; he was extraordinarily grateful for the opportunities and support he received at the college, saying that his success came due to the support he got from faculty and the institution as a whole.

CWU sci 1

One of 2 new science buildings

The evening we were on campus, one of the physics students gave us a mini-lecture on Dark Matter… we couldn’t believe he wasn’t a professor! The Astronomy Club gives monthly presentation, so this was something they would have available to students and the community at large. A physics professor then let us crawl into their portable planetarium (who knew that was even a thing!?); it looked a bit like an igloo and easily fit 25 people. (We also got to go into their permanent planetarium but the equipment was being upgraded so we were unable to see it in action). He gave us a great presentation followed by an extensive tour of the geology and physics labs and ending at the telescope and observatory on the roof.

They offer a number of interesting and/or unique majors such as:

  • CWU museumMuseum Studies
    • They’ve excavated a mammoth about 30 minutes from here and will most likely keep the bones on campus since students did a lot of the work.
  • Law & Justice
  • Para-medicine
  • Aviation/Aerospace/Aviation Management
    • Aviation has been going on for about 40 years; there’s a pilot shortage and they’ll get jobs, but it’s a lot of money up front for the training.
    • There are additional admissions requirements such as a physical for flying.
    • There are 60 incoming freshman bringing it up to 160 total. They’re hoping to bring even more in next year.
  • CWU mammoth

    The first mammoth bone excavated

    Music

  • Sciences (College of Sciences combines Computational, Natural, and Social Sciences)
    • They have a Cadaver Lab!
    • The geology department is the largest in the state
    • A physics professor has a grant to discover exoplanets.
  • Primate Behavior and Ecology: Washoe, one of the original chimps that was taught ASL lived here.
  • Integrated Energy Management
  • CWU japanese garden

    Part of the campus Japanese Garden

    The Business School is AACSB accredited (less than 5% of more than16,000 schools get this). Admission is not competitive but must keep a 2.5 GPA to stay in the program; students can declare after 30 credits.

    • There are 8 concentrations including HR, Economic Forecasting, Supply Chain, and Managerial Economics
  • Safety and Health Management: they have the top program in west. Two professors got awarded National Educators of the Year awards.
  • Apparels, Textiles, and Merchandising: graduates can work as designers or buyers.
  • Global Wine Studies: This is not meant to teach students how to make wine (although they do learn how) but focus on the marketing.
  • Craft Brewing: Students do learn how to make beer in this major! “They get a lot of science.” They can also get a certificate in this if they don’t want the whole major.
  • They’re starting Hospitality Program and will incorporate the beer and wine programs into the event management. This will be an international program where they can work in Spain, too. Getting a dual degree from each institution will be a possibly.
  • Their Army and AF ROTC programs win awards across the country.
CWU creek 1

This stream runs through campus. “You could swim in it, but I’m not sure you want to,” said the tour guide. “However, it is tradition for seniors to float down it in tubes right before graduation.”

Admission to the university is automatic – without the test scores – if a student has a 3.4 and will have completed all the College Academic Requirements by graduation (but they still need to submit test scores; they just aren’t used for admissions, but are looked at for scholarships and for placement). All others go through the comprehensive review process. This is already one of the most affordable institutions in the Pacific Northwest. On top of that, they offer WUE to qualifying students who then pay in-state tuition x 1.5. The average incoming GPAs for WUE students was a 3.31; overall was a 3.1.

© 2017

Oregon Institute of Technology

OREGON INSTITUTE OF TECH (visited 7/17/13)

OT fountain“We’re not semi-remote. We’re remote,” said one of the admissions reps. To bring the outside world here, they bring in speakers, offer a lot of intercollegiate athletics (they’re part of NAIA – and the current Miss Oregon is a volleyball player at OIT), have over 80 on-campus clubs and student groups (Monsters Bash and the campus-wide glow-in-the-dark capture-the-flag games are a couple of the favorite campus events), and they utilize the town (the theater is well-used) and the natural beauty around campus (they’re only an hour from Crater Lake National Park). The outdoors program is vibrant; trips are offered every weekend, and students enjoy getting outside. The 300 days of sunshine a year with hot summers and cold winters lets students enjoy a variety of activities. However, the location also allows students to concentrate on studies – and for the days when they see snow, the school has provided geothermally heated sidewalks to help students get to class safely and quickly.OT flowers

OT bldg and hillsideThe students here are “focused, they get a lot done, and they have fun.”OIT, the only Polytechnic University in the Pacific Northwest, gives students the training they need to go right to work after graduation. They get the theory for the application proposed, but then they apply it. One of the professors said that students “survive the lecture and learn in the lab.” “Embrace failure: do it, learn from it, get better. Expect to fail and expect to learn.”

OT Medical Imaging

Medical Imaging building

One of the areas that they showed off to us when we toured campus was the Medical Imaging program. The can focus on a variety of specialties including vascular, ultrasound, nuclear-medical tech, ecocardiology, and radiology. Each of these areas will limit their numbers of admitted students because they don’t want to saturate the market and because they’re dedicated to getting the kids through the process, so realistically, students need a 3.3 to be competitive for entrance. OIT has an articulation agreement with many community colleges and 4-year schools in OR, CA, and WA which allows students can complete the Intro to Medical Imaging program (basically freshman year) at any of these places before entering OIT to do the last 3 years. The senior year is spent off campus at a full year externship. It can be anywhere in the US; students are placed by lottery. They can submit their names in to be placed at their preferred location and names are essentially drawn out of a hat. All students take the National Boards at the end resulting in about a 95% pass rate. Radiology has a 100% pass rate over 5 years. Students can sit for 2 National Registry exams.

OT traffic

In the Traffic Lab

Concrete canoe

Concrete canoe

The second area they showed to us was their Civil Engineering program. This department is comprehensive with lab space dedicated to geotech, traffic, pavement, mechanics, hydraulics, traffic, and more. I had never thought of traffic as falling under the umbrella of Civil Engineering, but of course that makes a lot of sense. The traffic lab that they took us into allows students to study traffic patterns, roads, traffic lights, light rail, and pedestrians. They can see models of the flow of traffic under all sorts of variables. All Engineering students complete a Freshmen Project Experience which gives them hands on work so they know where they’re headed. Engineering at OIT focuses on the practical rather than the theoretical. If a student wants the theoretical, they should look to a place like MIT rather than OIT. Applying the known is seen through the smaller lectures and intensive labs where the lecture professors are also the lab teachers. Students compete every year in both a Steel Bridge and a Concrete Canoe building/racing competition. The Civil Engineering program is in the process of starting a 5 year Masters program because, realistically, the students need the extra training to be nationally certified. Currently, the department is 15-20% female. The school as a whole is closer to 50-50 because of some other departments like dental hygiene which is more heavily female.

OT student center

Student Center

The high-tech industries come back again and again to hire OIT graduates because the students are ready to work from day one. The university has Industry Advisory Groups for almost every major which constantly assess what employers and grad schools want. Because of this, students often get job offers before they’ve even graduated, and they’re ranked 58th in the nation for starting salaries. The rigor also gets them into some of the best grad programs.

As long as applicants have the minimum GPA and the required high school coursework, they’re admissible to the university, but each department may set their own requirements since they might be more competitive than others. Applicants do have to submit test scores, but they’re used for placement and scholarships, not for admissions. Students coming from WUE states will get WUE tuition automatically except for students in dental hygiene or medical imaging technology.

© 2013

Southern Oregon University

SOUTHERN OREGON UNIVERSITY (visited 7/16-17/13)

~SOU facts

Facts about SOU

Southern Oregon is a cute, medium sized school located within miles of the California border. There’s a lot of great things to be said about this interesting school. Unfortunately, the first impression our group got was from the worst dorms on campus (which were old and rundown) where we were staying for the night. Later, we were told that these dorms were being torn down to make room for new ones (so I’m not sure why we there, but it was what it was). Not a fabulous first impression but easily overcome by the other things about the school.

SOU starbucks

The Starbucks on the edge of campus with a mountain view!

~SOU Ashland facts

Facts about Ashland

Ashland, located halfway between San Francisco and Portland, hosts the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Although fairly small, this is a touristy town with lots of things to do (including a lake that’s ten minutes away). Downtown is about a mile away from campus. There are several restaurants right off campus (Mexican, Chinese, Subway, etc) on the way towards downtown, which has several blocks of restaurants, cafes, stores, and other things to do. Downtown was hopping, even on a Tuesday night. Ashland is accessible via the Bedford airport (15-minutes away), and a ski resort is 15 miles (about 30 minutes) away. Ashland’s climate is good: there’s lots of sun, and snow usually melts off the same day, but there’s a 5000 foot climb in elevation starting almost immediately off campus. Outdoorsy kids would love it here. The campus Outdoors Program is active and popular. Surfing, kayaking, white-water rafting, hiking, skiing, and other trips are offered all the time. EPIC (Event Planning Involvement Committee) gets students involved on campus; in addition to the usual advertising outlets you see on any campus, they publicize events by printing a calendars on bookmarks for students to take with them. On the weekends, students take advantage of the off-campus trips, play in pickup games, go to the parks, or take advantage of downtown. Several students bring cars to campus which makes it easy to do things around the area; parking costs $180 a year.

SOU Library

SOU Library

~SOU library 2Students who want strong hands-on learning experiences would find SOU to be a good fit; theoretical, self-teachers should go to a school like OSU or Texas A&M. As you can imagine because of the Shakespeare Festival, the Theater program is particularly strong, as are the other arts programs. They put on at least six plays a year, mostly casting theater students because this acts as their senior thesis. Others can do tech/behind the scenes stuff or will take on smaller roles. This is just one illustration of what sets SOU apart from some other universities: there is plenty of access to hands-on opportunities. SOAR (Southern Oregon Arts and Research) is a program designed to showcase what students and faculty have done over the year, and is open to everyone. Students can opt to do this as part of their capstone. The Chemistry department has recently added $10 million in equipment. Sophomore chemistry majors are already running equipment worth three-quarters of a million dollars. The National Fish and Wildlife Forensics lab is on campus; this is the only one dedicated to crimes against animals. SOU also is the school in Oregon with an open cadaver lab. The Communication department has a Journalism focus, providing students with plenty of opportunities for real-life experience. There’s a myth that the Criminal Justice building looks like a prison to get students used to working in that environment. Business and Education are also strong, popular majors that provide a lot of real-world experience. The Nursing program gives priority to Oregon students. Only 5% get accepted into this program as a sophomore; many more get in as incoming juniors.

SUO 1One of the admissions reps was an SOU alum. Part of the reason she chose to come here was that they let her study abroad in her first year. Our tour guide transferred from UC Davis which was too big for her and not a good fit. She finds the academics here perfect. Faculty members teach every class on campus and know the students’ names; there are no TAs. Classes average 25 students; our guide has been in classes ranging in size from 13 to 120 students; the large classes are Intro to Bio or Chem which break out into smaller labs once a week. Even though freshmen do get some bigger classes, they also have small ones like their Freshman lit class which has a specific theme, and the professor is their advisor. SOU provides a lot of support for students through a variety of programs. Trio provides support for low-income, first gen, and LD students. They have 5 Resource centers (including multicultural, GLBTQ, and commuter) that anyone can use; students don’t have to be a member of a particular group. The rooms are comfortable, safe spaces for people who want to strike up a conversation, hang out, or eat. Most have couches and fridges; students can even fall asleep and people will wake them up.

~SOU sculptureI had a few minutes as I was waiting for the rest of the counselors to check into their rooms, so I picked the brains of the student workers responsible for helping us check in. Two of them were criminal Justice/criminology majors and one was in the business department. Two were from Oregon and one was from northern California. They said that this is very much a regional university, but they love it. They couldn’t tell me what people complain about at the dinner table which is a good sign. When asked what they’d like to change, they said that they wished there were more sports and better gym facilities. The work-out facilities are small and located under the football stadium, but there’s rock climbing, racquetball, and a pool. The school is building a new athletic center for general use; the old one will be used only for athletes who participate in one of the eleven varsity sports at the NAI DII level. Club and intramural sports are available, and athletes are highly involved on campus. There are about 80 clubs and organizations encompassing a range of academic, social, ethnic, and athletic interests including one of the more unusual ones I’ve seen: SOUPS (SOU paranormal society). One of the most popular events is the annual luau thrown by the Hawaii Club. There is no Greek life on campus.

SUO art museum

The Art Museum courtyard with a view of the mountains in the distance

The campus is small and walkable with several nice buildings; the older ones are slowly being renovated or replaced. The library is a gorgeous new three-story building with an intricate tiled floor in the lobby; across from this is a stucco building across from the library was THE school at the beginning. The campus has the largest Art Museum on the I-5 between Portland and San Francisco, and directly across from this is a dorm reserved for students who are 21 and older. They are building the North Campus Village, a new $15 million dorm complex which includes a new dining commons. Currently, SOU is considered a suitcase school, “but we hope that with the new dorms, more students will stay,” said one admissions representative. One of their initiatives revolves around creating “Houses,” which is a project/cohort based approach to education for the entire time on campus.

SOU sci bldg

Science Building

Last year’s entering freshmen class averaged a 3.24 high school GPA. Upon admission, students from WUE states automatically get awarded the WUE tuition. Nursing students only get WUE for two years; once they’re in the nursing program, they lose it, but can get other specific Nursing scholarships. It’s common for students to have jobs on campus. If they want one and don’t have one, they aren’t trying very hard. Students who are admitted into the Honors Program have their full tuition, room, board, fees, and books covered. They have an advisor dedicated to the program, and students are also given a Major Advisor and a community mentor who works in their field.

© 2013

Western Oregon University

WESTERN OREGON UNIVERSITY (visited 7/15-16/13)

WOU 5I guess I didn’t expect much from this school; it seemed to be a small “outpost” state school – and once again, I learned not to pre-judge a school without learning more about it. It’s a lovely campus that’s easy to navigate. The small Main Street (and by that I mean that it’s about 2 blocks long) is about a 5 minute walk away. Despite its size, one of the tour guides said that, “Monmouth is pretty chill.”

WOU Library

WOU Library

WOU ROTCThe students say that “students come first here.” Academic advising is a core function, and several people have won awards for advising. There are no teaching assistants, so students are taught by experts in the field. Their ASL is a big program, maybe the “flagship” program, if there is such a thing. Students can major or minor in it; there’s a theme floor where the RA signs, and there are several deaf faculty members. They’re looking into a Master’s in interpreting, and a major national call center has called them to ask to be a “relay station” for when they need interpreters. Other programs worth noting are the nursing partnership with OHSU (Oregon Health Science University) in Portland, although it’s extremely competitive and they have to apply to OHSU. The science building is nicknamed the “Life and Death building” and has a cadaver lab. This is also only one of two in the state that is affiliated with Microsoft so there are some internship options open to them. The ROTC Army program is strong and fairly active on campus.

WOU 2Admission to WOU is rolling. For admissions purposes, SAT/ACT scores need to be sent, but if students meet the GPA requirements for admission, scores are a technicality. However, for NCAA, Honors, scholarships, and other considerations, they will need the scores. Students in WUE states get it automatically if admitted. All students have the Tuition Choice of locking into a higher tuition rate that stays consistent for 4 years, or starting at a lower tuition rate and having it increase every year; the admissions rep described it as, “save now or save later.” There are plenty of scholarships offered. The Presidential Scholarship (worth up to $3,500 a year) is given to first year students who have a completed app on file by 2/28. The Diversity Commitment Scholarship (worth $3,500 a year) requires a separate application and is awarded to students form diverse backgrounds who have demonstrated sustained and significant effort and commitment to activities supporting diversity. Their General Scholarship (worth $1,000 but is not renewable) requires a separate online application, and selection is based on academic merit, essays, activities, and quality of application.

WOU food court

WOU food court

Eighty percent of students come from Oregon, but WOU has been named as the most ethnically diverse university in the state (with about 20% of the students self-identifying as minority students) as well as being named a First-Gen Serving Institution and being federally recognized for their Hispanic integration. They have a program for First Gen, Low-Income, and LD students, but they students have to apply to be involved since space is limited. It provides a great deal of support for the students, including a building dedicated to this program with lots of study spaces, tutors, and programing. The university has approximately 400 International Students from 13 countries, China and Saudi Arabia leading the way with highest numbers. One of our tour guides was from Nepal and came here for the Criminal Justice Program. There is an international studies office which all sorts of support services, including helping them with rides to and from the airport.

WOU 3Although the university is two years older than the state of Oregon (making it the oldest state university in the West), there are lots of renovations and new buildings around campus. The new library was built in 2000 and includes a 24 hour lounge and a silent study floor. They also have text-book rentals, and will start renting computers, graphing calculators, and more this year.

WOU 1There are Bear Tracks on sidewalks around campus to show “safety zones.” The tour guides both felt safe on campus and walking around at night. This might come from the location in a very small town. The biggest problem is bike theft when people don’t lock their bikes. They’ve never known anyone who has needed public safety officers. However, the university offers WolfRide; they’ll pick people up around town at night or provide safe rides home if they’ve been out drinking. One of the guides would like to increase the amount of time this is available since hours are limited, but they appreciate that it’s there. The university is a dry campus, and students will be cited if found in possession. They take this very seriously. However, there’s a wine bar and a bar only a couple blocks off campus, so students are able to drink if they want.

Lounge in the newest LEEDS certified dorm

Lounge in the platinum LEEDS-certified dorm

Dorms (and the campus as a whole) are proactive about holding events, and vents are scheduled all the time. Freshmen live on campus and housing applications open in October. Ackerman is the newest dorm (LEED platinum certified) containing 10 learning-living communities. They have two gender-neutral bathrooms on each floor that are entirely private in addition to other single-sex bathrooms. Greek life is just getting started on campus due to a student led initiative. Currently there is only one federally recognized fraternity. The sororities are solely club-based and revolve around community service groups. Football is big here, as is the marching band, showing that students can get involved in a variety of ways. They also offer Rugby for both women and men.

© 2013

Colorado State University: Pueblo

CSU- Pueblo (Visited 10/2/12)

CSUP acad bldg 2A 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.

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A Communications building housing the PBS station.

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.

CSUP patioThe 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.

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The new dorm complex

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.

CSUP psychStudents 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.

CSUP3The 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.

CSUP tv stationI 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.

(c) 2012

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