Boise State University — A Great Educational Value for California Kids!

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Boise State University is a large, public school located in the capital of Idaho which participates in the WUE program, giving kids from western states a deep discount on their educations. Boise is a small city of 120,000( in the metropolitan area), and the 1 mile long campus is located in town. A 40 mile tree-lined greenbelt runs alongside Boise State, with a running/biking path that is used quite extensively. Boise State University is the center of attention in Boise, with their football team drawing national attention, and that blue field!!! (well, okay, maybe the state capital is the center of attention, but it didn’t seem that way!) 70% of all students at BSU are from the state of Idaho.

BSU has a large, and well-supported engineering program, and since the Micron Corporation (located in Boise) is a huge contributor, the electrical engineering department is particularly well regarded. The engineering program at Boise is not too difficult to get into, but once a student gets there, they must excel academically to remain in the program. They are especially recruiting women who want to be engineers. The business program is also impressive, and a new amazing business center has been built. The business department has a coffee stand on campus, run, front and back by business students, a good opportunity for hands on experience.

The health science department is also strong, and students can start with pre-nursing, pre-radiology, pre-physical therapy, etc. as freshmen, but the competition is fierce to actually get into the programs as juniors. So, once again, easy to get into the programs, but students must excel to stay in. There is a link on the website where prospective nursing students can view a youTube video entitled “What it takes to be in the Nursing Program.”

A student can major in many areas at BSU, but the most talked about departments on campus, other than the above programs are anthropology and the social sciences, music, art and modern languages. The anthropology and archeology students actually work on digs in Southern Idaho, searching for Indian artifacts. The math and geosciences departments also seem quite good. There are three theatres on campus, including a community theatre, so there are many opportunities for performance. There is a Hemingway Center on campus, containing some interesting materials, as Ernest Hemingway lived in nearby Ketchum.

There is a career fair on campus every fall and spring, where employers look for student interns, and also for hires after graduation.

The Honors College, a separate application, requires a 3.5 GPA and a 27 ACT, or 1220 SAT, and transfer students OR freshmen can apply. These students can major in anything, and get preferential registration for classes.

I am told academic advising is strong at BSU, but as in all public institutions, a student should pursue their counselors regularly, taking their education into their own hands. Freshmen and sophomores are able to get aptitude testing to determine strengths, and once a student declares a major, there are academic advisors within the departments. There is a writing center, free and available to any student needing help on any paper.BSU has a “Finish in Four” program, whereby a student can sign a contract, along with the university, and that student will get priority registration and advising to guarantee graduation within 4 years.

The dorms are freshmen only, but there are suites and apartments on campus for upperclassmen, and plenty of affordable housing nearby. Students can also apply for housing by major, to be surrounded by other students in their department. Many students at BSU ride bikes and skateboards, as the campus is fairly large.

In terms of activities on campus, the list is HUGE. Football is the centerpiece of the obvious school spirit. As mentioned earlier there are three theatres on campus, so seeing plays and musical performances is a big pastime at BSU. The sports arena hosts basketball, wrestling and gymnastic events, and many big name professional music groups come to BSU to perform in there too. There is a tennis complex and a beautiful recreation center with a brand new indoor pool , a Frisbee golf course, club teams, ultimate Frisbee, racquetball courts, rock walls, an incredible outdoor program with cheap adventures ($25 weekend backpacking, rafting excursions etc. that include food, transportation and equipment). The student union facility is brand new, and houses student involvement and leadership offices, over 200 clubs, and free first run movies every Thursday night with popcorn! Also, there is the Bronco Gallery, where students can display their artwork on the walls, and make money by selling it. I witnessed a “social dance class” where students were learning ballroom dancing.

The city of Boise has a Philharmonic orchestra, a Shakespeare Festival, and the McIntyre Dance Company. There is a ski resort within 30 minutes of Boise.