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Tour of Western Colleges

on September 22, 2009 in College Visits
The Apache Point Observatory operated by New Mexico State University for the Astrophysical Research Consortium which includes the University of Washington, University of Chicago, University of Colorado-Boulder, Johns Hopkins University, Princeton University, NMSU, and the University of Virginia

The Apache Point Observatory operated by New Mexico State University for the Astrophysical Research Consortium which includes the University of Washington, University of Chicago, University of Colorado-Boulder, Johns Hopkins University, Princeton University, NMSU, and the University of Virginia

The Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) is a program for students who are residents of WICHE states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming ) that offers enrollment in reduced-tuition programs at participating colleges outside of a student’s home state. After receiving increased requests for information about this program, I decided to revisit many of these institutions over the past few months. I also visited several other institutions that, while not included in the WUE list, I thought would be of interest to my students. To learn more about program offerings at participating institutions, visit the WUE website and use the search tool. Obtaining money at some WUE institutions can be competitive, and some require separate applications. Other schools may offer money  to all students who apply by a certain date. It is best to check the financial aid web page for each college or call the financial aid office for more details.

Montana offers many opportunities for students who love the outdoors. The University of Montana has a strong journalism program and a wide array of wildlife and biology programs. Montana Tech of the University of Montana has an excellent general engineering program as well as mining, environmental, and petroleum engineering programs. Consider attending one of their upcoming “Tech Day” events to learn more. Montana State University offers a top program in Architecture and is also home to the Subzero Science and Engineering Research Facility. If you prefer warmer climates, WUE funds are also available for popular programs at the University of Hawaii at Manoa including botany, meteorology and oceanography, and natural resources and environmental management.

Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology

Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology

The University of Wyoming is the only four-year institution in the state so all its offerings are in one location. Students can select from programs in schools of Agriculture, Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Engineering, and Health Sciences. The University of Idaho, with strong programs in dance, music (The Lionel Hampton School of Music), engineering, and architecture, will consider offering WUE tuition rates to high school students with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a score of at least 20 on the ACT or 950 on the SAT (critical reading and math). The University of Idaho also offers one of the only programs in PGA Golf Management and Resource Recreation and Tourism.

Southern Oregon University, located in Ashland (home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival), has a strong Theatre program (including Shakespeare Studies) and offers WUE tuition to many students. The University of Nevada at Las Vegas has a world-renowned Hotel, Tourism, Recreation and Culinary Arts Management and a unique program in Entertainment Engineering and Design for students interested in creative uses of technology in the entertainment field. Located at 7000 feet in Flagstaff is Northern Arizona University. The four-season climate there is perfect for students studying Park and Recreation Management. For a complete listing of WUE-eligible programs at NAU, review this listing of majors. The University of New Mexico WUE program is limited to the first 30 eligible students who must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and an ACT composite score of at least 21 or an SAT score of at least 1000 (Combined Math and Critical Reading). New Mexico State University offers programs ranging from Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology to Family and Consumer Sciences.

California Schools have been impacted substantially by the economic downturn. Students who are considering the WUE in California need to check the availability of various programs before applying. Current WUE offerings in California include Sonoma State University, which features new student dorms on its campus in the Wine Country north of San Francisco, and the California Maritime Academy (for students interested in marine transportation, global studies, maritime affairs, trade and logistics), the only school of its type on the West Coast.

My final visit included a day at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. While not included in the WUE list of choices, it is an excellent option for students who know that engineering will be their focus in college. Programs include petroleum, mining, and materials engineering, as well as a wide range of other engineering fields. Students are recruited heavily from Mines and may also enroll in a five-year BS/MS program. For all engineering majors, Mines requires completion of a project for a “real-world” client (EPICS Program) and a three- to six-week field class during sophomore year. The USGS Earthquake Center is also located on campus.

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