50 States, 50 Colleges – Alabama

Once again, it’s been a while since we did a 50 States, 50 Colleges.  We are in the midst of early application season and out of the over 92 colleges we’ve sent transcripts to so far, none have been Alabama-bound!  Maybe once you learn about our spotlight college, you’ll be ready to head south : )

College in the Spotlight:  Auburn University


Location:  Auburn, AL (located 1.5 hours away from Atlanta)

Enrollment:  25,912 students

Fast Facts

As I gathered information for this post, it felt like I was going to be writing about a resort.  My notes page was full before I even got to academic programs (more on those later)!  Let’s start with food.  By my count, there are 38 dining options on campus, including Starbucks, a Chick-fil-A, and a Denny’s that never closes.  Included in that count are 7 food trucks.  The Recreation and Wellness Center can help you burn off some of the calories that come with having so many options!  The rec center features an indoor track, a virtual golf simulator, a zipline, rock-climbing walls, and a 40-person hot tub!

Now that I’ve gotten food out of the way, let’s talk about academics!  There are more than 140 majors to choose from at Auburn, ranging from Architecture to Wildlife Sciences.  Among distinction are: The School of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences (recognized as #1 in the world), Wireless Engineering (the nation’s first and only bachelor’s degree program in this area), and Pharmacy (students have logged over 2,500 community service hours by volunteering at area health fairs, screenings, and outreach events).

According to this US News and World Report article, the college with the highest tuition in Massachusetts is Amherst College at $52,476.  Sure, Auburn is far away, and you will be an out-of-state student, but is it ever a bargain at $28,040 per year.   Students who have a  GPA of 3.5 or above and high test scores can qualify for scholarships, which will make that tuition bill even smaller!

School spirit is huge at Auburn, and there’s no better place to see it than at a football game.  Game day for the DI Tigers involves many traditions.  One of the three eagles that reside at Auburn takes a pre-game flight, soaring around the stadium before landing in the middle of the field.  Aubie the Tiger is their much-loved mascot and has won multiple national titles for best college mascot.  How does Auburn celebrate a win?  Fans take toilet paper rolls and “roll” Toomer’s Corner, a street corner in downtown Auburn.

DSC_3829 by GR8PIX, on Flickr

Even with such a huge student population, Auburn is described as a family.  “Hey Day” is a tradition where name tags are handed out to all community members and everyone is encouraged to greet one another by name as they go about their day.  This year’s Hey Day took place in October – follow this link to see a video!

For more info on Auburn, visit http://www.auburn.edu




50 States, 50 Colleges – Oregon

I just looked and the last 50 States, 50 Colleges post is from DECEMBER!  Our blogging got away from us last year and we’re heading into a new year with a commitment to update more regularly.  We have some fun ideas for the new school year and hope that you’ll get involved and let us know what you want to learn more about.

So, let’s get back into things with a new 50 States, 50 Colleges!  For those of you who are new to the blog, we started this feature a few years ago.  We’re working our way through the US and highlighting one school in each state.  We’ve learned so much from our research and hope that you’ll be inspired to look at schools that you may have never heard of.  There are lots of hidden gems out there!

College in the Spotlight:  Willamette University

Location:  Salem, Oregon

Enrollment:  2,017 (undergrads)

Willamette entrance sign

Willamette University is located in Salem, the capital of Oregon.   The capital building is across the street from campus, giving students some amazing internship opportunities.  Some lawmakers, lobbyists, and State Supreme Court Judges serve as professors.  Think of what that may mean for future job prospects!

Willamette has its own forest on campus.  The University Forest at Zena is 300 acres of forest and 5 acres of farmland.  It serves as an outdoor classroom to students from many different disciplines.  “Zenafest” is held every fall to celebrate and highlight all the work that happens in the forest.  Last year’s schedule included tours, apple picking, cider pressing, and hikes.

Have you ever been to Oregon?  It is an absolutely beautiful place!  The Pacific Northwest is the perfect backdrop for all kinds of outdoor activities.  The Outdoor Program plans trips and rents out gear to students who want to take advantage of Oregon’s varied landscape.   Some recent trips include deep-sea fishing, horseback riding on the Central Oregon Coast, and snowshoeing at Crater Lake.

Willamette competes in NCAA Division III Athletics; the Bearcats compete in the Northwest Conference.  Fun fact about the football team:  the Willamette Bearcats faced off against the University of Hawaii in Honolulu on December 6, 1941.  The following day, the team and their supporters were preparing to tour the island when Pearl Harbor was attacked.  The head coach volunteered all the men on the trip to guard a nearby school, which they did for ten days.  The women on the trip were volunteered to be nurse’s aides at a Naval hospital.   They remained on the island until December 19th, when they could be transported home by ocean liner.

There are so many amazing things about Willamette University – check them out at http://www.willamette.edu


50 States, 50 Colleges: New York

There are A LOT of colleges in New York!  Choosing only one to write about wasn’t easy, but as I looked through the list a few jumped out.  When we write these posts, we like to look for things that make a school unique and interesting.  Paul Smith’s College definitely fits that description!

College in the Spotlight:  Paul Smith’s College

Paul Smiths College - Library

Location:  Paul Smiths, NY (an approximate 5-hour drive from Lowell)

Enrollment:  1,000 undergrads

Fast Facts

Paul Smith’s promises a different kind of college experience.  Also known as the College of the Adirondacks, the school is nestled inside the 6-million acre Adirondack Park.  As we’ve seen with many other of our spotlighted colleges, Paul Smith’s surroundings define what the school is all about.  Students earn degrees by getting their hands dirty; one of the school’s core beliefs is that you learn by doing.  Forestry majors help manage thousands of acres of trees, biology and environmental studies majors have a living lab at their fingertips, and hospitality students work in two student-run restaurants on campus.

Paul Smith’s College also offers culinary degrees.  The food at the St. Regis Café (named after the lake that the college is situated on) and The Palm (as in the famous Palm Restaurant) is prepared by the school’s culinary arts students.  Baking and Pastry Art students have the opportunity to run the campus bakery.

What kind of student attends Paul Smith’s?  The Student Life section of the website describes its students as diverse:  “we are avid hunters and fishers, foodies, mushroom foragers, snowboarders, environmental activists, beekeepers, gamers, and competitive cake decorators.”  The clubs and activities that the school sponsors reflects that wide range of interests.  There is the typical ski club and art club, but you’ll also find a birding club, the surveying and mapping club, and a baking club.  Athletic teams include marathon canoeing, Nordic skiing, and a “Woodsmen” team.  What is a Woodsmen?  Woodsmen (a co-ed team) compete in lumberjack competitions!  They throw axes, split wood, do sawing, log rolling, pole climbing, and fire building.

In order to really know if a college is right for you, you need to visit!  The Admissions Office at Paul Smith’s suggests the same – and advises prospective students to bring their hiking boots : )


Want to learn more about Paul Smith’s College?  Visit their website at http://www.paulsmiths.edu