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How does WSU really compare to UW now?

baronbvpbaronbvp 178 replies12 threads Junior Member
edited December 2011 in Washington State University
I have heard that WSU is on a new program to build a stronger academic institution by recruiting better professors and building new modern buildings. UW is ranked higher and has a better reputation, and I think WSU has a long-standing reputation as an isolated party school where people can show up to graduate and everyone just cares about being a Coug. I think they want to change that perception as well as the reality.

When I look at the actual programs, I see strong programs at WSU beyond their traditional land-grant school strengths in animal and food sciences. For instance, the apparel design and interior design programs look strong. The interior design majors spend their junior and senior years at the WSU Interactive Design Institute in Spokane with the architecture and landscape architecture majors. UW doesn't even have interior design, though U of O has a great program.

I am not interested in any "Huskies suck, Cougs rule" opinions, or vice versa, but rather the opinions of people who know whether what I have said about the current and future WSU academic focus is true. I am also interested in anyone who has experience with or has gone to both schools and transferred from one to the other.

I have one son for whom the close WSU-family environment may just be a better fit, plus he is interested in their sports management program to end up running a sports team or stadium (or being the PAC-10 commissioner some day!), again a program that UW doesn't offer at all.

Thanks for any tips. Please use this thread for any other UW vs WSU discussion.
edited December 2011
38 replies
Post edited by baronbvp on
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Replies to: How does WSU really compare to UW now?

  • jwilluwjwilluw 3 replies0 threads New Member
    I have gone to both schools and I can say with 100% confidence that UW is by far the better school in so many ways. Better academics and academic opportunities all the way around. And I mean higher standards, better professors, you learn more, yes it is far more difficult, but if you want to go to any grad school you will be better prepared and it looks better. Socially it can be more snobby but thats because you are around people who are essentially better adapted to be successful in life so that comes with the territory. Seattle is a big city so there is so much more to do and experience during your time in college. When I was at WSU I was miserable, I did two years and graduated in 2008. Im now doing post-bac at UW and there is a huge difference in the academic environment here. WSU is really a joke, its easier than community college, and the town is a dump, and the people there are incredibly delusional about their school. Even if you like the party environment and just having fun, why would you want to live in a small town with limited choices for things to do and choices of guys/girls. Its not even a good "college town" such as Eugene or Indiana. If you are smart, motivated and cultured go to UW if you have the choice.
    What I hate the most is when people say WSU is known for this program or that. Thats because relative to their other dumpy programs they are better, but relative to UW they are not. If you want to do interior design, then sure go to the place where they have that program, but come on, WSU for interior design, use your common sense, go out of state if it is that important to you, how could WSU have the faculty and talented students to make a good program.
    And by the way, sports management is a major for athletes, aim higher. If you have a sports management degree from WSU compared to a business degree from UW, do you really think you would get the job. Its just general knowledge at the undergrad level so the level of difficulty at your institution is far more important than between two programs that are essentially similar. Talk to an advisor from both schools and get better information.
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  • spideygirlspideygirl 3210 replies142 threads Senior Member

    Omigosh, yeah...WSU students are just so much less fortunate. Can they ever be successful? Take Paul Allen, for example...

    The reality is that the schools are really different, and often appeal to different kinds of kids. Pullman is a classic college town, and the partying is about what you would find at similar schools in every state. It is a pretty campus, and while the UW is known as the state's flagship, Washington State is really two states anyway. On the left, you have UW, and on the right, WSU (geographically speaking). One is urban, one is rural. Yes, the UW is higher ranked, but c'mon - it isn't Harvard. There is nowhere you can get with a UW diploma that you cannot get with a WSU one. And out in Washington State, and the Northwest in general, you are probably better off anyway with a UW or a WSU degree. I don't think Ivy Leaguers are as popular there. The only significant delta between the two might be if your future employer went to one or the other.
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  • WAMom68WAMom68 458 replies23 threads Member
    WSU is really a joke, its easier than community college, and the town is a dump, and the people there are incredibly delusional about their school.
    If you are smart, motivated and cultured go to UW if you have the choice.

    Comments like this are just rude. My son chose WSU over UW because he wanted to study engineering and is smart enough to know he did not want to live in a big city. There are actually smart, cultured people who live everywhere including Pullman. By the way, Spokane isn't that far away if you want some time in a city.

    Ironic that you say this:
    Socially it can be more snobby but thats because you are around people who are essentially better adapted to be successful in life so that comes with the territory.
    since you come across as a huge snob.

    I know several WSU grads who are successful professionals...they didn't have a problem getting and keeping a job in their field.
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  • baronbvpbaronbvp 178 replies12 threads Junior Member
    We are from the Seattle area so I am familiar with UW. I agree it is a better school overall, but the truth is that UW doesn't have every program. WSU has many more majors outside the classical areas of study. And I have seen one review where a UW architecture student transferred to WSU and found their program more rigorous and challenging than UW's.

    I appreciate the feedback from someone who has been to both schools, as well as that of other posters. I've been on the UW campus many times, and in fact went to Seahawks games for two years while they built Qwest Field after tearing down the Kingdome. The campus is beautiful, but when I toured it with my daughter it the buildings looked like kind of a dump on the inside. No offense - I went to USC in the 80s and the old buildings looked that way on the inside, too.

    I've never been to Pullman and plan to take my son to tour UW, WSU, and U of O (where my wife went) this April. The right fit is the most important thing. The program has to to be right , the location, the vibe. But we also have to be able to afford it. So even though Oregon has a phenomenal interior design program, it's almost as expensive for us as private school. And my other son would certainly benefit from a business degree over a sports management one, but we're just researching and learning at this point.

    Appreciate the feedback and look forward to any other comments.
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  • digitalmomdigitalmom 74 replies1 threads Junior Member
    I am interested in more information about WSU and life in Pullman as well. My son is interested in the broadcast production program. If anyone has input on the Journalism school I would love to hear it.
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  • ross25ross25 117 replies10 threads Junior Member
    This might be of interest to some of you.

    Washington State University ranks among the 25 top favorite universities of companies recruiting new hires, according to a Wall Street Journal newspaper survey published Sept. 13.
    WSU tied for 25th position on the list and it is listed among institutions such as Pennsylvania State University, Texas A&M University and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. WSU is the only school in the Northwest to make the list.

    “The ranking also strongly indicates that WSU is doing a good job inspiring students to succeed in their major coursework while also honing skills that employers tell us they want—in critical thinking; communication through writing and presentations; and intercultural and civic engagement,” said Mary F. Wack, vice provost for undergraduate education and dean of the University College. Hundreds of recruiters come to the university each year to present career and internship opportunities and to interface with students face to face. The upcoming WSU Career Expo & College of Engineering and Architecture Technical Career Fair on Oct. 5 is expected to host more than 150.

    “WSU works hard to build and nurture relationships with top companies and recruiters,” said Wack. “Several colleges and our Center for Advising and Career Development host large career fairs, mock-interview and resume-review sessions, and workshops to prepare students to meet employers and have on-campus interviews.”
    The survey asked private and public companies about their recruiting habits and their choices. Recruiters said graduates of top public universities are often among the most prepared and well-rounded academically and fit well into corporate cultures.
    The WSJ article said that public universities have become the favorite of companies over liberal arts or Ivy League colleges because of their large student populations and their focus on teaching practical skills. Last year top corporate recruiters included in the survey hired a total of 43,000 new graduates.

    Best Colleges & Universities - Ranked by Job Recruiters - WSJ.com
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  • spideygirlspideygirl 3210 replies142 threads Senior Member
    I don't know if you are still a West coaster, but if so the Western Undergraduate Exchange might be of interest if costs are a concern. Basically, depending on your area of study, you can go to an out of state school for 1 1/2 of the in state tuition cost. A nice bargain.
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  • jumper08jumper08 3 replies1 threads New Member
    In my opinion UW is a much better school than WSU. I think it's funny that people try to argue that both are of equal academic quality, when it's clear that UW is better. Not only are UW's programs consistently ranked higher than WSU's, but statistically speaking UW attracts better students. Obviously there are bright students that go to WSU as well, but generally I'd say UW's student body is more intelligent overall.

    And in regards to that link someone posted about WSU graduates being ranked among the top 25 most sought out by job recruiters- I read that article a couple months ago, and clearly there is some very specific/strange criteria that the Wall Street Journal used. I don't buy that someone from Penn State (the #1 school job recruiters like to hire according to this list) are valued over someone who graduated from somewhere like Stanford. To me, this list clearly isn't a ranking of universities that send their students to top tier companies, but rather a list of schools that prepare their students well to work "normal" jobs at large companies.

    Of course I'm not saying that's a bad quality for a university to have, I'm just trying to point out that the article title/content is rather misleading. And don't tell me I'm being ignorant, because the school I go to is included on that list, and I still think it's ridiculous.

    Anyways, I'm not trying to bash on WSU or try to imply it's a terrible school by any means. Both universities are the right fit for different types of students, and it really comes down to what you personally want for your college experience.
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  • revonu11revonu11 149 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Socially it can be more snobby but thats because you are around people who are essentially better adapted to be successful in life so that comes with the territory.

    You're making me very, very ashamed of being a UW student. Please never make another post.
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  • bgbincbgbinc 77 replies12 threads Junior Member
    My research suggests the order is as follows

    1. UW
    2. WWU
    3. WSU
    4. Central
    5. Everything else.
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  • baronbvpbaronbvp 178 replies12 threads Junior Member
    I have heard that order too, but WWU is also thought by some to be more like a CC. They offer a BA instead of a BS in Psychology, for instance. UW has one of the top-ranked undergrad psychology programs in the country.

    What about University of Puget Sound? Small liberal arts school, I know, but it looks like a pretty quality place with a great teaching environment. I would think it might go:

    1. UW
    2. UPS
    3. WWU
    4. WSU
    5. ...

    This doesn't include Whitman or Whitworth. I guess we're talking apples and oranges with the public vs private debate.

    Anyone turn down UW to go to WSU?
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  • bgbincbgbinc 77 replies12 threads Junior Member
    baronbvp - I left out UPS because it is a private WA school. I was focusing on WA "public" schools like WSU.
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  • baronbvpbaronbvp 178 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Yeah, I figured, but I was wondering if you'd agree that's where it ranks. It seems like the only non-religious serious competitor not in the middle of nowhere. I notice you didn't include Evergreen.
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  • bgbincbgbinc 77 replies12 threads Junior Member
    baronvp - To be frank, I never considered either of them, never did the research on them, therefore I can not accurately rank them.
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  • perplexityperplexity 15 replies2 threads New Member
    Evergreen is one step above a community college, it's like Bellevue College. In terms of private universities, I would say:
    1) Seattle/Gonzaga (Seattle has a very good business and nursing program, otherwise they are pretty equal)
    2) UPS/PLU (not sure but i think they are below seattle and gonzaga)

    And for private LAC's I would say:
    1) Whitman (one of the best LAC's in the country)
    2) Whitworth
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  • baronbvpbaronbvp 178 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Thanks. Seattle, Gonzaga, SPU, PLU, and Whitworth are all religious. Whitman and UPS are not, so we would focus there for private. But fit is most important of all.

    I think we will tour UW, WWU, UPS, WSU, and Whitman.
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  • sumzupsumzup 782 replies17 threads Member
    WSU is definitely on an upward trend; Floyd's administration is clearly focused on moving WSU to a higher caliber than it has been known for. For instance, one of his major priorities is to make WSU a member of the AAU (Association of American Universities), which is an association of the top research universities (UW has been a member for quite a while, incidentally). And like you said, there have been a lot of construction projects in recent years, although to be fair, there is a ton of construction happening at UW right now, as well.

    In any case, the current state of affairs is that UW is largely a better school than WSU. Having taken 2 years of Running Start classes at WSU (born/raised in Pullman), and now being a second-year student at UW, I feel I am able to adequately comment on the academic difference between the two. In my mind, there is no doubt that UW is a harder school overall. Still, WSU is a good enough school that fit should be a more important concern.

    Dunno much about other WA schools, so I can't provide much insight there. Good luck!

    Edit: One more thing. I hear the WSU Honors College is pretty kickass, so consider that for a nice boost over a regular WSU degree.
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  • Death12652Death12652 2 replies0 threads New Member
    I got into WSU, UW, and PLU. If I were to get into Virginia Tech I would go there, but if I don't I just want suggsetions. Also before people assume its UW - Tacoma, and WSU - Vancouver. I plan to get a bachelor in computer science and then a M.S. and then probably transfer for a PhD.
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  • bgbincbgbinc 77 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Death12652 - Re UW, what quarter did you apply for? I ask as they have yet to notify folks for Fall 2011 enrollment.
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  • Death12652Death12652 2 replies0 threads New Member
    Fall of 2011, I got mine back becuase its UW Tacoma not Seattle. They respond sooner.
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