2015 Colorado Colleges Tour


September 7-11, 2015, I participated in the Colorado Colleges Tour sponsored by Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), one of my professional organizations.  The seven colleges and universities visited were Colorado College, Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University, Naropa University, U.S. Air Force Academy, University of Colorado-Boulder, and University of Denver.  All were first-visits for me except USAFA, which I toured for four days in 2011.  My departure from Baltimore Washington International Airport was a direct 3 1/2-hour flight to Denver, our host city. A summary of each campus is provided.


Colorado College
Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado College is a private, coed campus located in the town and opened in 1874.  The liberal arts college has approximately 2061 undergrads consisting of 45% men and 55% women.  The Common Application is accepted; supplemental form required.  They have a 22% admit rate and 41% yield.  CC has a flexible testing option but reports average test scores as:  SAT critical reading as 640-740; math 640-750; writing 640-730; ACT English 29-33; math 27-32; composite 30-34.  The out-of-state population of 1640 represents 81% of students.  First year applicants have the following admission deadlines:  EDI-11/10/15; EA-11/10/15; EDII-1/1/16; RA-1/15/16. They overlap applications with Brown, Stanford, Pomona, Dartmouth, and Bowdoin.
Financial forms used are FAFSA and CSS/PROFILE; 100% of full need met; 78% of gift aid awarded to out-of-state students; and expenses include:  $46,000 tuition; room-$6176; board-$4576; regular fees-$410; books/miscellaneous-$3,338.
The smallest class size is 15 and the largest is 25.  CC offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees.  They have a 96% retention rate; 77% four-year grad rate; 80% six-year grad rate.  Athletics is a D-1 NCAA program for men’s hockey and women’s soccer; D-III for 15 sports.  There are 144 clubs, three fraternities, and three sororities.  All unmarried freshmen, sophomores, and juniors must live on campus or with family. The campus site is 90 acres in Colorado Springs (431,834) and seventy miles from Denver.
CC has a unique program that breaks the school year into eight segments, or blocks, of 3 1/2 weeks each; also described as 18 days of class/25 blocks per year.  Students take a single course during each block.  It’s accepted by the students and they describe it as “an incredible way to learn” and a system that will “help you become who you always wanted to be, or someone better.”   The CC professors are praised by the students with descriptions such as; extremely smart in their academic area; they make the classes interesting and learning fun; professors are the reason to attend the college.  The most popular majors are sociology, biology/biological sciences, economics, environmental science, and fine/studio arts.
Colorado School of Mines
Golden, CO
Colorado School of Mines, also referred to as “Mines” and “CSM,” is a small, public teaching and research university with a dedicated engineering and applied science curriculum.  It also has special expertise in the development of the earth’s natural resources.  As probably expected the 5600 population is 73% men and 27% women.  Freshmen and sophomores take most of the same courses.  The admission review’s focus is:  strong SAT (1385/1600) and ACT (30/36); 3.85 GPA; rigorous schedule; impressive personal statement. They do not recalculate GPA’s nor superscore. Test scores must be received from the testing agency; scores will not be accepted on HS’s transcript.
There are no teacher assistants and full professors teach all classes.  The 16:1 student/prof ratio supports the average class size of 34.  Students are encouraged to apply by 1/15/16 with a deadline of 4/1/16; notification is rolling.  Freshmen can only enter in fall.  CSM overlaps applications with U of Colorado, Colorado State, U of Denver, MIT, Texas A&M, and U of Texas.  Out-of-state students, 1306, represent 41% of population.  Popular majors are geology/geophysics, mining engineering, petroleum engineering, chemical engineering, physics. CSM has a 36% admit rate and 22% yield.  Retention is 92% and 70% graduate within six years.
Out-of-state tuition is $30,330; room/board $10,103; regular fees $2085; books/miscellaneous $4015.  The FAFSA is used; 56-61% of need is met; 79% of gift aid is awarded to out-of-state students; offer $9000-$14,000 yearly scholarships that require a minimum 3.5 GPA.
Degrees offered are bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral.  Four semesters of PE required for graduation.  CSM is a D-II NCAA program.  There are 184 clubs, 7 frats, and 3 sororities.  All first year students must live on campus and all students may have cars on campus.  The 491-acre campus in Golden (19,186) is 20 miles west of Denver.
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO
Colorado State University is a public, major research institution that opened in 1870.  The coed population of 31,256 represents an undergrad total of 22,000; 10,109 (49%) men and 10,668 (51%) women. Its 586-acre campus located in Ft. Collins (158,000), the 4th largest city in CO and the 2nd safest city in U.S., is 65 miles from Denver, one-hour from airport, and it has 315+ miles of bike routes and trails.
CSU overlaps applications with U Arizona, U Colorado, Colorado School of Mines, U of Denver, and U of Northern Colorado.  Admission options are EA and RD; applicants are denied and there is an appeal process.  There is a 77% admit rate and 32% yield.  In the holistic review, mid 50% ranges are 3.3-4.0 WGPA, 23-28 ACT, 1050-1250 SAT, and they will superscore both tests.  There are eight academic colleges and 73 bachelor degree programs.  Most popular majors are business administration, human development/family studies, and health/exercise science. There is an 87% retention rate, 35% four-year grad rate, and 65% six-year grad rate.  There are 16 living and learning programs.  The sports management program is connected with the Denver Broncos.
Transfers are accepted and include 25% of population; 25% are first “gen” students; 18% diversity; 29% out-of-state students.  There are resources for LD students.
Application deadline of February 1st is RD.  Notification is rolling (1-4 weeks).  Accepted applications are CSU’s and Common Application/required supplement. CSU application mirrors Common Application prompts.  Average scores are SAT critical reading 510-620, math 510-630, ACT English 22-27, math 22-28.
Out-of-state tuition-$25,000, room-$4956, board-$5820, regular fees-$1819, books/miscellaneous-$3114.  March 1st is the deadline for the need-based option FAFSA; 67-71% full need met.  18% gift aid awarded to out-of-state students. All residence halls have been renovated since 2004.  WGPA is reviewed for scholarships.  Triple Crown Awards is an out-of-state scholarship renewed annually, $6000-$10,000 annually.  There’s an honors scholarship of $1000 renewed annually.
University Honors program’s application deadline is February 1st.  Student applies when admitted. There is an essay with application; recipient(s) take seminars to suffice for general ed credits; optional honors residence hall; 1500-200 students in program; great for students who want liberal arts exposure in large campus environment; register for classes before PhD students; must start by sophomore year.
Degrees offered are bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral.  Campus perks are many minors, teacher certification, pre-professional programs, AFROTC and ROTC, study abroad, member of consortiums, and host program for Semester at Sea.
CSU is a D-1 NCAA program with sixteen sports. There are 611 clubs, 21 frats, 16 sororities, and all unmarried freshmen must live on campus.
Their world-class research in infectious disease, atmospheric science, clean energy technologies, environmental science, and biomedical technology attracts more than $300 million
in annual funding.  Professional programs in veterinary medicine, occupational therapy, journalism, agriculture, and construction management are highly ranked.
Naropa University
Boulder, CO
Naropa University is a private, coed, Buddist-inspired, liberal arts campus that opened in 1974.  A leader in contemplative education, their undergraduate and graduate programs emphasize professional and personal growth, intellectual development, and contemplative practice. Through rigorous academics, faculty mentoring, contemplative practice, and community engagement, Naropa students develop the abilities to think critically, communicate effectively, and know their hearts and minds.
The 359 undergrad population, out of 992 total, represents 34% men and 66% women; 226 out-of-state students make up 64% of Naropa. Transfer students are accepted.
Priority admission is an option when applying and NU is test optional.  NU’s admit rate is 80%; 60% yield.  Retention rate is 55%; 26% graduate in four years; 40% graduate in six years.
Expenses include $29,800 tuition, room $5706, board $3366, required fees $170, books/miscellaneous $6080.  The FAFSA is used and 75-92% of need is met.
Degrees offered are bachelor’s and master’s.  Popular majors are English Language and Literature/Letters, Multi/Interdisciplinary studies, philosophy and religious studies, psychology, theology and religious vocations.  Perks include self-designed majors, study abroad, domestic exchange with U of Colorado, and 33 clubs. After graduation most pursue graduate school and/or become entrepreneurs.
Freshmen under twenty-one must live on campus; transfers under 30 credits must also live on campus.  The 12-acre campus in Boulder (101,808) is 35 miles from Denver.
U.S. Air Force Academy
Colorado Springs, CO
USAFA opened 1954; became coed in 1976.  It is a public military institution.  An Academy education is valued at more than $416,000 offered at no cost to cadets.  Cadets are required to return a commitment to serve as an officer in the Air Force.  The length of commitment depends on one’s individual career path and other opportunities; such as, graduate or medical school that could extend service.  USAFA develops skills, character, and motivation.  The 3,993 cadet total represents 3,099 men (78%) and 894 women (22%); 3673 (90%) are out-of-state residents.
Applications overlap with US Naval Academy, US Coast Guard Academy and Military Academy of West Point.  Test score averages are SAT critical reading 642, math 672; ACT English 30, math 29, reading 30, science 30, composite 30.  Test results are superscored and averages recalculated (3.84 average).  Application deadline is December 31st and notification is rolling beginning October 15th. Transfers are accepted.
USAFA’s admit rate is 15% and yield is 78%.  The retention rate is 90%; 77% graduate in four years; 80% graduate in six years.  The popular majors are engineering, behavioral sciences, and management.  There are 27 majors and 11 minors.  Cadets are commissioned as 2LT after graduation and a five-year commitment is required.
Applicants must be U.S. citizens and unmarried with no dependents; be in good physical health; at least age 17 but not 23 by July 1st at year of entry.  They must be nominated by members of Congress, President, Vice President, or other legal source.  Other requirements include qualities of high leadership, academic proficiency, extracurricular involvement, physical fitness, outstanding writing sample, satisfactory medical and fitness tests.
The Academy has a D-I NCAA program with 27 teams.  There are 92 clubs, no fraternities or sororities, and all cadets must live on campus.  Only juniors and seniors may have cars on campus.  The beautiful 18,000-acre community is near Colorado Springs.  The academic program follows a semester calendar. Fitness tests are required twice a year for aerobic and physical proficiency.
PERKS:  Cadets design and implement satellites; self-designed majors; domestic exchange programs; flight school.
SPECIAL PROGRAMS:  Enlisted military members can enter through the LEAD program; Summer Seminar (selective process) is available at all academies before HS senior year; Future Falcon Program for 6th-11th graders.
Open application period is March (junior year) – December 31st (senior year).  Visit www.academyadmissions.com for information.
University of Colorado-Boulder
Boulder, CO

University of Colorado-Boulder, also commonly referred to as CU-Boulder, CU, Boulder, or Colorado, is a public research university located in Boulder, Colorado. It is the flagship university of the University of Colorado system and was founded five months before Colorado was admitted to the union in 1876.  According to The Public Ivies:  America’s Flagship Public Universities (2001), it is considered one of the thirty “Public Ivy League schools.”  The coed institution’s undergrad population is 55% men and 45% women of the 23,853 students.  The 8,825 out-of-state students represent 45% of the population.  Boulder’s population is 101,808 and is 30 miles from Denver.

UC’s overlaps applications with Colorado State, University of Denver, University of Oregon, University of Arizona, Caltech, University of Washington, Colorado School of Mines, and UC-Santa Barbara.  The popular majors are physics, psychology, geography, aerospace engineering, molecular/cellular/developmental biology, integrative physiology, and music.

Admission options are Early Action, Priority, and Regular Decision and UC accepts the Common Application.  Transfers are accepted. The admit rate is 84% and their yield is 30%.  The retention rate is 85%; the four-year graduation rate is 41%; the six-year graduation rate is 70%.  The average ACT composite is 27; average SAT total is 1188 (math-596 and CR-576).  CU-LEAD Alliance and Scholarship is for students not normally admissible.  It is designed to help students from diverse backgrounds succeed through its unique learning communities housed within each college, school and program.  There are several support services and resources at CU for students of color and first generation students.

Total expenses for out-of-state students is approximately $52,646.  CU requires the FAFSA for financial aid.  81% of need-based met.  42% of gift aid is awarded to out-of-state students and there are no-need scholarships and grants.

PERKS: 18:1 student/professor ratio; NCAA D-1 athletic programs; PAC-12 conference; 400 clubs; 21 frats; 16 sororities; all freshmen must live on campus unless living with family; all students may have cars on campus; semester calendar with five summer sessions; approximately 6000 freshmen (’15-’16); prefer WGPA to GPA; value academics first, character and citizenship second; no perk for demonstrated interest; superscore SAT; regional and professional accreditation; competitive ranking of programs-Engineering, LEAD School of Business; Environmental Design and Journalism, Arts & Sciences.

University of Denver

Denver, CO


University of Denver opened in 1864, just a few years after the city of Denver was founded, and is one of the country’s premier private universities.  The 125-acre campus is a few miles south of downtown Denver and home to more than 11,500 students representing all regions of the U.S. and eighty-three other countries.  UD offers more than 100 undergraduate programs and 120 graduate and professional programs.  Denver’s population is 634,265.

The coed institution has a total 5,129 undergrad population which represents 46% men and 54% women. The 59% out-of-state students comprise 2,564 of the college.  Population is 19% students of color. 8-10% Jewish population with a dedicated Hillel house.

Students can apply to UD via Early Action, Early Decision, or Regular Decision.  They accept the Common Application and Pioneer Application (UD’s form).  The admit rate is 77% with a 13% yield.  UD’s rates are retention, 86%; four-year graduation, 53%; six-year graduation, 78%.  Transfer students are accepted.  SAT total scores average 1140-1320 (math, 612; CR,595) and ACT composite average of 27. Students should explain weaknesses on transcript.

College expenses (’15-’16) for out-of-state students is $57,218.  84% of full-need me and UD accepts the FAFSA and the CSS/PROFILE. Student awards available for first-year ($13K-$23K/yearly) and transfer students ($9K-$13K/yearly) with a 4.0 GPA and 25-35 ACT.

Applications overlap with University of Colorado, Colorado State, Santa Clara U, Colorado College, Stanford, University of Oregon, University of San Diego, and University of Vermont.  Most popular majors are biological sciences, business, psychology, history, English, political science, public affairs, and international students.

PERKS:  regional and professional accreditation, D-1 NCAA athletic program; 30 teams; ice hockey has most spectators; 113 NCAA individual champions; 152 NCAA tournament appearances; men’s lacrosse won the 2015 NCAA Lacrosse Championship; 120 clubs; 9 frats; 5 sororities; all unmarried freshmen and sophomores <21 must live on campus; all students may have cars on campus; quarter system and one summer session; accessibility to downtown events and ski slopes; AP credit awarded for scores of 4> (maximum 45 quarter hours for AP and IB); study abroad is usually 15-20 weeks; living and learning centers; demonstrated interest is valued for borderline applicants; superscore SAT; writing components not required for SAT/ACT; GPA’s not recalculated.

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