SOU is a mid-sized public liberal arts school located in charming Ashland. The undergrad population stands at about 5470, and students at SOU enjoy the perks of a campus life that reportedly feels like a “private school education.” What we mean by that is that professors are deeply interested in each student and very available and approachable. Each student is able to design their own curriculum to suit their interests and needs, and department heads and professors take pride in helping students accomplish that! The campus itself is nestled among gorgeous greenery and trees and it’s really quite a happy, tranquil place to be. The beautiful Hannon Library, central to campus life is beyond inviting, featuring overstuffed chairs for students to study in while gazing out among the trees. We could spend all day in that library and we suspect many students do!
SOU’s focus on giving students practical experiences with research, internships and community projects spans across the campus to every single department and is a point of pride for SOU professors and staff. What they want is for their graduates to be highly employable! For example, Visual Arts students enjoy the presence of the Schneider Museum of Art on campus bringing artists from all over the world onto the campus to exhibit their work. Art students are not only taught by an eclectic variety of visiting artists, but also become involved with installations and exhibitions, giving young artists some great hands-on experience and knowledge for their artistic resumes & portfolios. Not to mention great professional connections around the world! That type of hands-on experience—in the sciences, performing arts, communications, business and majors across the campus—-is typical and expected at Southern Oregon University.
Another really wonderful quality that we noticed quite readily at SOU is the accepting and inclusive nature of students and faculty. There are a wide range of clubs and activities for everyone and a true feeling of acceptance of all different kinds of people in the classroom and beyond.
One of the sweetest discoveries of all at Southern Oregon University is the price point for students in the west. SOU participates in the Western Undergraduate Exchange program (WUE) which means any student from any western state gets a significant discount on their tuition, bringing the price tag into the range of the cost for an education in the California public universities.