Colleges in the Mountain West/Southwest

<p>I like the region a lot. What are some good schools in that area of the country?</p>

<p>Stats? Cost constraints? Major?</p>

<p>What kind of school are you looking for?
A big state school with decent engineering programs? Try UC Boulder.
A small liberal arts college? Check out Colorado College. A technical institute? Colorado School of Mines.</p>

<p>The University of Denver, St. John's College Santa Fe, Arizona State ... it all depends on what you want. Most of your choices will be public universities.</p>

<p>No price constraints, any size. Public or private - no difference. My only criteria is that they must have strong programs in the humanities and/or social sciences.</p>

<p>If you include Texas you might consider Trinity, Austin College, and Southwestern.</p>

<p>I've looked into some schools in Texas, but for this thread I'm more interested in schools in the real mountain west states. Thanks though!</p>

<p>Bump 10char</p>

<p>University of Montana - surprisingly strong in the humanities. Missoula is beautiful.</p>

<p>University of Wyoming - strong in certain social sciences such as Natural Resource Economics (top 5 nationally)...basically anything related to public policy for natural resources and/or energy resources. Also, surprisingly strong in English/creative writing. MFA program in writing is quite strong as per my FIL (English faculty member elsewhere).</p>

<p>University of Idaho - Geography is a top program.</p>

<p>Based on your criteria, I would second Colorado College and St. John's College in Sante Fe. Both schools are very unique, so you should do some research to see if they're really your cup of tea. Colorado College operates on the One Course at a Time calendar and St. John's focuses on the Great Books curriculum.</p>

<p>
[quote]
University of Wyoming - strong in certain social sciences such as Natural Resource Economics (top 5 nationally)

[/quote]
</p>

<p>According to what undergraduate department ranking?
Or are you referring to some graduate program ranking?
US News ranks Wyoming 79th of 79 ranked graduate programs in economics (not that this necessarily says too much about the undergraduate program ... or is even very relevant to a graduate specialty like natural resource economics).</p>

<p>I think the bigger point is that, while individual departments/programs may rate highly according to one source or another, you're unlikely to find reliable, objective evidence that any schools in this region are clearly stronger than the rest in humanities/ss across the board. Arizona may be strong in classics or anthropology, Arizona State in Iberian languages & lit, UC Boulder in linguistics, etc. However, a department with a strong PhD program won't necessarily deliver better undergraduate education than a small school with no PhD program at all.</p>

<p>So, "strong programs in the humanities and/or social sciences" may not be very useful as a sole criterion for schools in this region, unless (maybe) you can narrow it down to specific programs that aren't offered at too many schools.</p>

<p>I can give you specific majors - English/writing/journalism, art history, economics. Does that help at all?</p>

<p>Virtually every accredited 4-year college and university offers majors in English and Economics. Most offer Art History majors. There isn't any reliable undergraduate department ranking that will help you objectively, precisely compare program strengths in these fields. </p>

<p>You could get a copy of Rugg's Recommendations and try to identify schools that at least make the "recommended" lists in those majors, at the level of selectivity you want. It appears that Colorado College is the one school in the region that captures "recommended" status from Rugg's in all 3 of your general areas (Art History, English, and Economics), although (like most LACs) it does not have a journalism program. However, you need to understand that Colorado College is a very different kind of school from the others listed above. So it might not be right for you, even assuming Rugg's recommendations are 100% reliable. "Fit" factors (size, setting, social atmosphere) can matter to some students at least as much as academic quality factors (class size, course selection, research opportunities, etc.) You may be happier at a bigger school like UC Boulder or the University of Arizona (which are less selective and have "recommended" programs matching some of your interests).</p>

<p>Personally, I think Colorado College or St. John's easily offer the best undergraduate academics for this region (unless you're interested in a service academy or engineering programs). But then, I'm strongly biased in favor of small discussion classes, lots of reading and writing assignments, primary source materials, and abundant feedback from engaged professors. If those are not among the most important factors to you, then any big state university will give you more of just about everything else (course selection, research activity, spectator sports) for a much lower sticker price.</p>

<p>^^^ As someone who lives in mountain west region, I would add University of Colorado, Boulder, and University of Denver (private) to the list of schools to look into</p>

<p>Bear in mind that while the Mountain West is one of the most spectacular regions of America, it's not one usually associated with rampant intellectual activity. There are few private colleges of renown in that region, and most of the flagship public institutions do not typically draw an elite applicant pool. Colorado and Colorado College are good suggestions, though ColoColl is a different kind of place due to the Block Plan. My son likes that area and has applied to Barrett Honors College at Arizona State. We visited out there last fall and loved it.</p>

<p>"most of the flagship public institutions do not typically draw an elite applicant pool"</p>

<p>-- that used to be the case (up to a point) in Colorado, although sharply rising college tuition and the poor economy means that more Coloradans who in the past applied to selective OOS schools are now choosing to remain in-state.</p>