Help build college list for son who wants small to mid-sized school on West Coast or CO

USD- University of San Diego was also a Jesuit school. Extremely Diverse campus, great area and surrounded by great activities!


I genuinely have not been on either Regis U or Santa Clara campuses. I do know that Santa Clara is harder to get into with a lower acceptance rate.

In the end, it may just be the area and the vibe that your child will prefer. I know my son wants to consider CA or PNW or CO as well. He runs more middle of the road or left and wouldn’t tolerate a very conservative area or campus. And he wants to be closer to either water or mountains for a change of scenery.


As some gave suggestions outside the area as you asked, Macalester (St. Paul), Southern Oregon (public, small town), Ithaca (small town), and UVM (Burlington).

Good luck.

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Thanks for this suggestion! The campus looks beautiful and my son does like San Diego.

I want to second the recommendation for the University of San Francisco. Just over 75 percent of the students are students of color. San Francisco is a fun, exciting city. The campus itself is really beautiful. And the Honors College, which is a relatively recent addition, is growing and improving every year.


What major?

He is interested in majoring in History.

Seattle University is another Jesuit university to consider. Here’s a link to their class profile: Class Profile - Undergraduate Admissions - Seattle University


Although a bit dated, I have a fairly reliable & extensive connection with DU. I thought that I was being kind in my portrayal of the school. I like DU, but it has to be for the right type of person.

The Fiske Guide To Colleges quotes DU students:

“We have a funky mix of really preppy East Coasters and Midwesterners mixed in with all the laid-back outdoorsy people.”

“Students have relatively expensive hobbies like skiing, backpacking, and traveling,” observes a senior. “I think that individuals from low-income backgrounds have a hard time fitting in.”

A childhood friend was in a very high position at the school, so, in addition to my frequent visits, I am confident of my assessment. I will acknowledge that I have not visited DU in several years, however. But, just as I like SMU, I recognize that DU & SMU are not good fits for everyone.

P.S. It is easy to understand how one on a full ride scholarship would be defensive of any critique. All I can do is offer my honest assessment based on my knowledge & respect the opinions & experiences of others even though they may differ from my own.

For OP’s son, DU would not be a good school to consider in my opinion.

I encourage curious readers to read the reviews of the University of Denver on unigo. (The words white, privileged, preppy, expensive, “not diverse”,and conservative are common in the comments from DU students.)

Another poster claims that DU has a lot of international students. My stats from two years ago show 7% were international students so I guess it depends upon one’s definition of “a lot of”.


P.S. It is easy to understand how one on a full ride scholarship would be defensive of any critique. All I can do is offer my honest assessment based on my knowledge & respect the opinions & experiences of others even though they may differ from my own.

Really didn’t mean to come off as defensive, but was just trying to point out that my D had some pretty elite admits and still is finding DU to be interesting and challenging. Some of that obviously has to do with her field of study (Korbel and International Studies is one of DU’s highest ranked programs). She’ll be the first to tell you that there are a decent number of rich kids who ski, but there are also dedicated, talented students and the school invests a lot in Diversity initiatives (my D is heavily involved in Student Government and has daily exposure to the Chancellor’s office and she also is involved in ELI - Access and Transitions | Campus Life & Inclusive Excellence | University of Denver which is a pretty robust program). The location basically in (or adjacent) to the city, but with a great campus allows the students to spend a lot of time in the city which definitely adds to the experience. I thought they handled COVID really well last year and I’m impressed with how they’re starting the year this year.

I’m definitely not saying DU is perfect or that it qualifies as elite, but I wouldn’t completely write it off and just wanted to offer my D’s experience


I’m at DU all the time. My kids went to elementary school just down the street so we used DU for sports, birthday parties, camps, Destination Imagination and robotics competitions, and I continue to go to places nearby to meet friends (Chipolte #1 is there!). I go to hockey and lax games all the time as I only live about 4 miles away. Pre covid, there were great musical offerings in the concert hall and I look forward to them starting again. I work as an alum with my sorority’s chapter on campus. Those kids aren’t all rich, nor are they all white.

When I’m at DU, I see a lot of minority people around. My daughter is Chinese so I do tend to notice Asians more than other races. Some of those 7% include the Canadians who come to play hockey and lacrosse, and IMO those Canadians don’t stand out as ‘international.’ DU also has grad students on campus so they contribute to the international faces one sees. I’ve met a lot of the Chinese and Taiwanese grad students through cultural groups in our community so the students are getting out into the community too.

I don’t think the description of white, privileged, preppy is wrong, but those also apply to the other schools OP listed in her first post - Lewis and Clark, Pitzer, Reed, LMU, if not more so than DU! - and tons of other LACs. DU is at least part of the city it is in, with instant access to downtown and other parts of the city. Even Regis University, which was suggested, doesn’t have easy access to Denver and feels more suburban (which is really isn’t) as it’s in an older part of the city. Much better Mexican restaurants near Regis U.

I don’t think DU’s changed that much in 10 years, but perhaps you didn’t see the same parts of campus I see every day. Yes, I spent entirely too much time in the underground locker rooms of the athletic center, but I’ve met a lot of really nice Canadians (my daughter played hockey) and Chinese students. I attend community events and see the students who volunteer for those, like VITA tax prep help, the athletic camps, even the Junior League holiday sale. I do tend to know more local students who go to DU and those aren’t necessarily rich and preppy as they are going because it can be less expensive (better FA) than CU.


Pitzer and Reed aren’t preppy - at all.

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+1 for University of San Diego and also University of SF

Pepperdine may be a fit also.

Thanks! We are going to put University of San Diego and University of SF on the list. I think Pepperdine maybe a little too conservative or my kid.

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I thought about the University of San Diego early on in this thread. The concern that I had is that the Univ. of San Diego is heavily populated by business students and may not be the best place to study history. The data that I have shows that 42% major in business, 9% in engineering, 13% in biology,7% in communications,and just 8% in social sciences of which psychology is the dominant major. Just not sure how many students major in history at USD.

I have the same concern about the Univ. of San Francisco which is known for nursing & business majors.

My focus is on finding a fit for OP’s son based on the information provided in this thread.


Has anyone mentioned U of Portland?

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I mentioned USD because when I went there, many moons ago, a number of my professors there taught history, in combination with political science, and also taught at their School of Law.
The professors were excellent. I don’t know if that has changed significantly, but those courses were some of the best thought-provoking and encouraging lessons that I had ever experienced.

It’s a very good school and seems to fit what the OP might want.

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My niece went to USD and she was in International studies or IR. She did study abroad in France as a junior and visited her friends in Germany, Spain, London, Ireland… all were some kind of liberal arts majors.

Her roommate was Phi Beta Kappa and then went on to law school (very very smart kid).

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I live in Colorado Springs, and the perception that the city is filled with conservatives is false. Yes, we are a military town, and there are a fair amount of less-than-liberal viewpoints, but the downtown area and surrounding neighborhood to Colorado College are much more progressive. The city is attracting young professionals and the vibe is definitely changing for the better.


To compare DU to SMU, now that is something!

All the kids I know who are at DU are solid music kids who received such great merit/FA from DU they couldn’t pass it up. Yes, they’re pretty middle class suburban kids, but none of them ski, and all are center or lean left politically. Maybe that’s just the music kids, though, I don’t know.