Recently Visited: Colorado Mesa University

Formerly Mesa State College, Colorado Mesa University seems to be on its way to greatness with newly added graduate programs, a new name, and an ever-increasing enrollment. I was in Grand Junction last weekend touring CMU with a client family, and we all came away with a positive impression.

The campus architecture has really ascended since the last time I was on campus more than ten years ago. From its modern buildings and smart classrooms to the new student center and the state of the art fitness center (with some equipment none of us had ever seen before – bowed treadmills that are higher on the ends than in the center), PLUS nice looking new dorms (which we didn’t actually tour), this campus creates a superb visual impression.

It also had an active and chummy feel to it: we saw multiple small groups of freshmen heading together in chatty clumps to the dining commons (I learned that these were students going through orientation together in their first year seminar groups, an excellent programmatic feature associated with student success and sound transitions from high school), and some great performers were doing a sound check for an open air concert scheduled that evening.

At present CMU has some 9000 undergraduates, and the most popular majors include business, nursing, kinesiology/exercise science, psychology, and biology. It is ranked in the U.S. News system as “less selective,” with entering students averaging between 2.6 and 3.5 in high school GPAs, and with averages of 20 on the ACT and 969 on the SAT combined critical reading and math sections. I fervently hope that the school doesn’t jump into the selectivity madness competition, and that it maintains its commitment to the average student, since good 4-year colleges for average students are desperately needed. Schools like this can inspire and sustain students who will be among the leaders of our society in the near future.

A final huge plus for this institution is its very reasonable cost. In 2012-13 the total cost of attendance for residents of Colorado was $15,973, and for out of state students $26,152.

It was a pleasure to meet up with a past client of mine who is now a sophomore at Mesa, and we narrowly missed seeing another past client who is a brand new freshman, busy completing her orientation program. B, the sophomore, was one of our (unofficial) tour guides, with the other being Dr. Robin Calland, a delightful professor in the English department and my friend and former neighbor. I particularly liked what B had to say about Mesa after a highly successful and enjoyable first year: “I underestimated this place until I got here, mostly thinking of it as a four-year college where I could get in. But I love it here, and everything about it: the kids, the professors, and the things there are to do on campus and in Grand Junction…. I especially appreciate that classes are on the small side and faculty really seem to care; they won’t let you fail and will push you until you succeed.” There is no stronger endorsement than that!

I left Denver in a rush and forgot my camera, so am borrowing an image from the school website for a visual – thanks CMU!

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