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Outdoorsy colleges!!!!!!

highschoolsen20rhighschoolsen20r 15 replies6 threads Junior Member
What would you say are the most outdoorsy colleges in the US? I love the outdoors, love biking, backpacking, hiking, skiing , rock climbing, canoeing, etc. and would love to be at a college that fosters that passion and that has lots of outdoor opportunities. On my list right now is: Univ of Utah, Cal Poly SLO, Bates, UVM, Oregon State, Pitzer, Santa Clara, Whitman, College of the atlantic, and lewis and clark. how outdoorsy are those schools and what are other outdoorsy options?
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Replies to: Outdoorsy colleges!!!!!!

  • elena13elena13 988 replies16 threads Senior Member
    Sewanee (University of the South) and Appalachian State?
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  • izrk02izrk02 518 replies19 threads Member
    Add App State, it's in the middle of the mountains and Boone is known for hiking (also very affordable lol). Check out this list:
    https://www.collegechoice.net/best-colleges-and-universities-for-outdoors/
    You can also find good info on the colleges you listed by looking up "what kind of student shouldn't go to (college name)" (CC won't let me post link)
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6310 replies10 threads Senior Member
    Colby, Whitman, St. Lawrence, Colorado College, Hobart William Smith?
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  • highschoolsen20rhighschoolsen20r 15 replies6 threads Junior Member
    I think I'm leaning slightly more towards schools in the west. I've been in the northeast for a while but grew up in California and Washington state and would love to go back .
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  • merc81merc81 10947 replies179 threads Senior Member
    edited January 3
    In the West

    Colorado College
    UColorado–Boulder
    UDenver
    Prescott
    Montana State
    UMontana
    Lewis & Clark
    UOregon
    U Puget Sound
    Whitman
    UWashington

    Not in the West

    Bates
    Bowdoin
    Colby
    Dartmouth
    Middlebury
    University of Vermont
    Hamilton
    St. Lawrence
    Warren Wilson
    edited January 3
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  • aquaptaquapt 2282 replies47 threads Senior Member
    Montana State is another very outdoorsy flagship. WWU? Boise State? Maybe consider some Canadian schools like UBC?

    Not sure how Santa Clara makes the outdoorsy list - it has nice weather, but it's very suburban. You can get to the coast but UCSC would be much more outdoorsy in that respect; you can get to the mountains but it's a long drive - for proximity you'd be better off at UNR or UC Merced. Overall, the list of schools that are as close to outdoor recreation as Santa Clara is would be a very long one. (The positive spin on that same statement is that there are lots and lots of schools with good outing clubs and outdoor activities, even if they're not extremely nature-adjacent.)

    Pitzer is very very environmentally conscious but also in a very suburban setting. It takes some effort to achieve escape velocity from the suburban sprawl, other than the one road that goes up Mt. Baldy.
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10459 replies218 threads Senior Member
    In the West, add University of New Mexico.

    Skiing(30 minutes from campus), world class rock climbing, trail running, road cycling, mountain biking, white water rafting on the upper Rio Grande. ABQ is surrounded by National Monument and National Forest lands on 3 sides.
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  • mountainsoulmountainsoul 134 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited January 3
    Come to CU-Boulder! Biking, backpacking, hiking, skiing, rock climbing, and canoeing are all easily accessible from campus. You can even take public transportation to the local ski hill. Boulder's quality of life is pretty amazing.
    edited January 3
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23857 replies17 threads Senior Member
    Any of the western schools are going to have large groups of students who love the outdoors and have hiking/skiing/kayaking/runing clubs, mountain bikes for rent, great rec centers. You need to decide if you want mountains or ocean, a huge campus or a smaller LAC, majors you are interested in, amount you can afford. UC Boulder is going to cost you about twice the amount Wyoming will.
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  • merc81merc81 10947 replies179 threads Senior Member
    edited January 4
    With respect to a school on your original list that has yet to be affirmed, College of the Atlantic suits your thread title.
    edited January 4
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  • Twoin18Twoin18 1863 replies18 threads Senior Member
    Yes Utah is incredibly outdoorsy (and cheap because you can get instate tuition rates after the first year), and I think the variety of easily accessible options is potentially greater than at any of the other schools you mention. It has the best skiing in the country 30 mins from campus and half a dozen national parks within 4-5 hours drive in basically any direction. And a great outdoor rec center that will rent any skiing or camping gear you need for a trip very cheaply.

    Just last semester my D had a rafting weekend, a national park hiking and camping weekend and a fall break climbing trip (all self organized with 3-6 friends), and after thanksgiving 6 days of skiing at 4 different resorts, including a weekend trip to Mammoth (why not drive 8 hours each way when you are in college and have an Ikon Pass to ski for free?). At spring break they hope to drive to Banff for another ski trip.

    Last year they had multiple weekend trips to Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands, Grand Teton, Bryce, the Escalante slot canyons, etc. and plenty of skiing as well. Many students have cars so its easy to go to Bryce to watch the sun rise if you feel like it (just to take one example of a trip they did to celebrate the end of finals). And a typical spring or fall Sunday afternoon involves a hike to the hot springs to swim or a quick hike up the mountain behind campus to see the sun setting over the Great Salt Lake.
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  • mountainsoulmountainsoul 134 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Coloradomama does a good job of comparing University of Utah to CU-Boulder. Lots of helpful information here: https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/university-colorado-boulder/1956788-colorado-vs-university-of-utah.html
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  • TheodenTheoden 247 replies7 threads Junior Member
    On the East Coast, SUNY-Plattsburgh. Foothills of the Adirondacks 1 hour from Montreal and 1 hour Burlington Vt. They even have a several Environmental majors. And guess what...an Expeditonary Studies Major!

    https://www.plattsburgh.edu/programs/expeditionary-studies-major.html
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  • ShrimpBurritoShrimpBurrito 1692 replies27 threads Senior Member
    edited January 4
    Are you a current senior, looking at colleges for Fall 2020? If so, have you applied to any of these schools yet? Some application deadlines may be quickly approaching or already passed.

    University of Victoria on Vancouver Island is also very outdoorsy.

    I know a young woman at Western Colorado in Gunnison. She is minoring in Outdoor Environmental Education and spends a LOT of time on the slopes.
    edited January 4
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  • tk21769tk21769 10701 replies27 threads Senior Member
    One way to approach this would be to choose a location first (at least a region if not a state.) But good outdoorsy schools are scattered throughout the USA.
    A lot depends on what you want. Climbing? Sailing? Skiing? Plus your academic qualifications and ambitions.
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  • NCalRentNCalRent 6259 replies14 threads Senior Member
    edited January 16
    Look into Ft Lewis College in Durango Co

    It is in the SW corner of CO, served by a local airport which connects to Phoenix and Denver so, you its a one stop flight from just about anywhere in CA. The town is on the Animas river which is a great place to kayak, fly fish, raft or whatever, there are hundred miles of trails for biking/hiking/snowshoeing you can access without a car from the dorms. Students have near free access to virtually any kind of outdoor gear you might want, there's even a small ski lift on campus - and a much larger resort (Purgatory) just out of town. The school sits on a mesa just above town and is boarded by forest. - Anywhere you look, the views are stunning, its not uncommon to see deer, bears, coyotes etc on and around campus

    https://www.fortlewis.edu/.

    They are a WUE school so, fairly cost effective for CA applicants - and they aren't terribly selective. There are about 3500 students and 18000 Durango residents., You can find anything you need in town at Walmart, or a more local retailer. It is billed as a Liberal Arts with school small class sizes, faculty that know your name. The school is best known for its mountain bike team (many time national champs).

    My son is a Jr mountain biker from CA and now a Psych major he LOVES it there. It is really stunning and worth a trip whether you love the school or not.
    edited January 16
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9929 replies538 threads Senior Member
    edited January 16
    Saw your post and immediately thought of Bates.

    If that is really important to you, I’d add U of Oregon in Eugene. Can’t get more outdoorsy than that.
    edited January 16
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  • Jolynne SmythJolynne Smyth 2685 replies125 threads Senior Member
    I don't think Colorado State was mentioned - my daughter sounds similar to you - her first choice is U of CO Boulder but it's so pricey - Colorado State is also now on the list.
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  • bloomfield88bloomfield88 303 replies0 threads Member
    edited January 20
    1. For most students, cross off June/July/August, since most won't be on campus.
    Consider the weather in autumn, winter, spring only, when looking at colleges.

    2. What are your favorite activities you just won't live without?

    3. How much time away from studies will you set aside for outdoor activities? Is it one hour during the day right beside campus, or will it be a full-day on Saturday, or both? On one hand, you have hiking, which may be very accessible and easy to do in an hour. On the other end is skiing, which would take up at least a morning or evening (even changing takes time) and probably a full Saturday, unless your campus is very close to the slopes. If your campus is very close to the slopes how good are the slopes?

    Put the intersection of the above three items together. What 9 month climate/elevation/geography is most suitable for your favorite outdoor activities and how much time will you have to fit them in? That should quickly narrow down your choices.

    At the 5 Cs, they do have a ski/beach day where they bus kids to accomplish both in the same day, but that is not going to happen at most colleges.
    edited January 20
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