College review: University of the Pacific

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University of the Pacific, recently ranked 5th prettiest campus in the nation, is a small private oasis (about 3,500 students) located in residential Stockton, about one hour south of Sacramento. Pacific’s campus is stunning and classic, with historic brick buildings and tree-lined pathways snaking throughout the 175 acres.

Pacific was founded by Methodists, but there currently is no religious affiliation. Nine schools make up the University, and they are well known for their Pharmacy & Health Sciences (dentistry, sports science, etc.), Business, and Engineering schools. The engineering program has a wonderful co-op requirement, whereby all students work for 7 ½ months on a paid internship, and this happens within the four years; leading to great job placement upon graduation. The science programs have the most competitive admissions statistics. Overall, 40% are admitted at Pacific, and there is no application fee. Students are not able to transfer into biology, pre-pharmacy or pre-dentistry programs.

The Music Conservatory is notable (instrumental and vocal), and outside musical groups often perform on campus, giving students heavy involvement with the professional world of music. Dave Brubeck, a Pacific alumni, is closely connected to this program, so jazz is definitely emphasized as well as classical and modern music. I was told it is very easy for a music major to “double major” if they would like to explore other interests. Non-music majors are able to audition for musical groups on campus.

The school of Education stands apart, as all students who graduate with a BA in education also graduate with their teaching credential; work experience is integrated into the four year degree program. International Studies was recently added as one of Pacific’s schools, where studying abroad is required. Theatre is growing at Pacific, with 2-4 shows per year, and certainly anyone interested in “tech” would be a great fit because all the outside productions on campus need technical support. Pre-law students have the opportunity to apply for Pacific Legal Scholars, an organization that targets and assists students in preparing themselves for the rigors of law school, a hugely beneficial experience.

Sports at Pacific are Division 1, and basketball is especially well attended, loud and competitive. Seventy five percent of all students at Pacific participate in sports activities of some kind, be it intramurals, club or D1. Greek life is popular with 20% of students involved in fraternities and sororities that are social, professional or cultural in nature. Campus organized activities include concerts, outdoor movies, water sports such as rowing and tubing, community service projects, a social entrepreneurship club and many other groups.

Pacific is set in a nice, suburban neighborhood with their own police force, but students are cautious about traveling in groups around the city of Stockton, as there are some crime problems. Students can easily walk to the Miracle Mile area, a charming mom & pop area, but cars are often needed to get around. Many students have cars, so students without them have no problem arranging transportation.

Merit scholarships are available at Pacific and are awarded automatically, except the largest one called the Powell Scholarship which is based on GPA (3.5) and strong leadership, and students need to apply separately for this one.