Are You From Colorado? This Is Why CU Boulder Is the School for You

The end of senior year comes with prom, senior skip day, and senior sunrise, but it also comes with the daunting task of deciding where you’ll spend the next four years of your life. For many Colorado students, the University of Colorado Boulder is typically looked over because it sits in our backyard. However, Colorado natives often find there is no other place they would rather call their home away from home. Two college women: Ella, who grew up next door to downtown Denver, and Courtney, who grew up in the small town of Fountain, give you six reasons why CU Boulder can be the right school for you.

  1. 1. Being outdoors/being active.

    Person Stands on Brown Pathway

    As Coloradans, the one thing most of us have in common is our love of the outdoors. Thankfully, Boulder is the host of many outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and biking. 

    Ella- Growing up in the city, traveling to Boulder was always something I looked forward to. It required days of planning, a long car ride and the escape from tall buildings to the beautiful mountains was the one thing I talked about leading up to the day of. I’d wake up bright and early to pack everything for our hike, and would think about how excited I was to just be outside with nature for the day. Now that I’m at CU, the mountains sit in my backyard. Aside from waking up the prettiest view you can imagine, having the option to head over for a hike, a walk, or just for a new setting full of trees and stunning scenery is something you cannot get anywhere else.

    Courtney- Living in southern Colorado, I never got to experience the benefit of the type of outdoor activities that Boulder provides. The nearest ski resort is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from my town and the presence of water is few and far between. It was a big deal to pack up the Subaru for the day with our kayaks and paddleboards and drive to the northern part of the state to enjoy the outdoors. Now that I live in Boulder, it is a 15-minute drive to the nearest reservoir and the nearest ski resort, Eldora, is a 30-minute drive. If you don’t have a car, that’s not a big deal. I didn’t have one during my freshman year either. CU Boulder and the RTD bus service provide free transportation to the mountains so that you don’t have to miss out on any of the fun. 

  2. 2. The staff.

    If you’ve ever browsed through the CU website, you’ve probably noticed that the school is extremely proud of its professors. And it has every right to be. Not only are the professors experts in their field, but they are all deeply committed to getting to know you as a person and helping you in any aspect of life that you need it. 

    Ella- While the idea of creating connections with my professors over Zoom seemed daunting to me, I quickly realized that the CU faculty is eager to connect with their students. They constantly talk about how much they want you to attend office hours, and share information about research, current events, and much more. I’ve also found that the professors here are some of the kindest and most understanding people I’ve met. Last semester, my mother was hospitalized due to COVID-19, and every single one of my professors went out of their way to ensure that I did not feel like school was an extra weight on my hands and that I could catch up when my mom was better. As things have slowly returned to in-person, these connections with such wonderful educators only keep getting better.

    Courtney- I won’t lie, it hasn’t been easy to create connections with professors during virtual classes, but lucky for next year’s students is that most classes will be in person. Last semester, I had a political science professor who was genuinely interested in how we were navigating college during a pandemic and our mental health. He was lenient with deadlines and very understanding. Several students in the class, including myself, even received an email from him this semester to check-in and utilize materials we made in the class. This semester, one of my journalism professors has demonstrated the same caring demeanor. Any time I want to get feedback on a piece, she thoughtfully discusses it with me. Having caring professors was really important to me when choosing a college, and the professors here at CU have definitely exceeded my expectations. 

  3. 3. Academics.

    Woman sitting on bed with laptop and books

    Just because CU Boulder is an in-state school, doesn’t mean the quality of its academics should be overlooked. The school is ranked nationally for several of its programs and some of the courses are quite rigorous. If you’re looking for a challenge, CU is the school for you.

    Ella- CU is known for many of its renowned programs. I’ll admit, I was one of the few who walked in thinking that CU’s course rigor would not amount to one of the classes I took in high school, but I was wrong. Their courses are taught by incredibly knowledgeable people, and the opportunity for extensive research only makes the level of education you will receive that much better. Every single course I’ve taken focuses on how the knowledge can be applied in the real world, and that doesn’t end in the classroom. CU also has many networking events, connections, internship opportunities, and more.

    Courtney- The quality of the courses at CU Boulder should not be ignored. During my first semester, I took 13 credit hours, and this semester I am taking 15 credit hours. This didn’t seem like a lot at first, but with the rigor of my classes, I am quite busy. They challenge me to think critically and apply the knowledge I am learning to the real world. In addition, there are so many opportunities to do research on campus or take your experience abroad. For my major, political science, many students participate in a  program called CU in D.C. which allows students to go to the nation’s capital and intern while completing courses that count towards their degree. This is just one of the many programs CU Boulder has to offer to its students.

  4. 4. Transfer credit.

    Many high schools in the state of Colorado give their students the opportunity to receive dual enrollment credit, AP credit, or IB credit. CU Boulder doesn’t want all that hard work to go to waste, so they accept most, if not all, passing credits. 

    Ella- Throughout high school, I took many IB courses and brought in credit from other colleges nearby as well. IB is not as known as AP, and due to COVID-19, they made several changes to the way the class of 2020 would obtain credit for each class. The way it typically works is that there are three portions to the IB “exam.” An oral presentation for the class, an internal assessment, usually consisting of a paper, and the external exam consisting of other additional short answer questions. The external exams were canceled the previous school year, and I worried that this would mean I would not obtain what amounted to over 20 credits. Luckily, CU took every single one of them and I now have the opportunity to graduate in three years.

    Courtney- My high school offered dual enrollment courses through CU Denver and CSU-Pueblo as well as a variety of AP classes. Every single credit I earned in high school, Boulder accepted. This was great for me because it meant that all my hard work in high school wasn’t going to go to waste. I went into my freshman year with so many credits already knocked out which meant that I didn’t have to take a lot of the general education classes that each college requires. This put me ahead of some of my peers and allowed me to take classes that I was actually passionate about.

  5. 5. The town.

    Person Eating Clubhouse Sandwich

    Boulder has been ranked the #1 college town in the country by the American Institute for Economic Research. With the plethora of activities to do in the Boulder area, the local food favorites, and the Flatirons in our backyard, it is no surprise that Boulder tops this list. 

    Ella- Growing up near Denver, it would not be fair for me to say that there were not fun things to do nearby, because the truth is that there were plenty. Though there was never a dull moment, the activities in Boulder do not compare to those anywhere else. From a walk down the hill or exploring the shops in Pearl street, the energy here is just much different than that anywhere else. It is such a free-flowing, spirited town with so many tasty places to eat, with outdoor and indoor activities alike. It is home to the mountains, amazing food, vibrant nightlife, and just everything you could want in a college town. As things begin to return to normal, Boulder is starting to resemble more and more of the amazing place it is known for being.

    Courtney- My favorite parts about the town of Boulder would have to be The Hill and Pearl Street. Each location is a short walk from campus and is the life of the town. The Hill, known for its good eats, is busy at all times of the day. From morning to late at night, there will always be college students walking around trying to figure out whether to go to The Sink or Illegal Pete’s for food. Pearl Street, which is north of campus, has a more classy feel to it. There are places to eat, stores, and more often than not live music on the street. When I have visitors in town, I tend to take them down Pearl Street to explore and see the breathtaking view of the mountains. Even though my family and I live in Colorado, the mountains are something that will never be old. 

  6. 6. Student life.

    As a student at CU Boulder, there are always activities and events to keep you busy. If you ever find yourself bored in Boulder, all you have to do is walk around and you’ll find something fun to do. Also, just because you’re an in-state student, it doesn’t mean that going to CU Boulder will be an extension of high school. You’ll meet students from all over the United States and from other countries. CU gives you the feel of a big school while only being a few hours from home. 

    Ella- Boulder to me meant never getting away from the people I spent the four most awkward years of my life with. I was eager to leave high school behind. Boulder is a very large school, with so many people from all over the world. Because of this, I have met so many amazing people, and have yet to run into people I went to high school with. Even though I love exploring the town, CU also makes it so that you don’t even have to leave campus to have a great time. Its many student organizations, the only bowling alley in Boulder, a few museums, and some of the best coffee I’ve ever had, your time both here on campus and in Boulder is sure to be the best you’ll have.

    Courtney- In Fountain, Colorado there isn’t a whole lot to do. The most exciting thing to do is go out and get something to eat or take a drive around, but here in Boulder, there isn’t a day that goes by where I am bored. I love to work out at the rec center, go on hikes, and enjoy being active outdoors. Even when it snows in Boulder, the fun doesn't stop. During our one and only snow day this year, my friends and I went to a hill by the University Memorial Center and went sledding. As for seeing people from high school, I have only run into a handful of people, but that is a rarity. If you want to break away from your high school friends and meet new people, you can. Your social life is what you make of it in college and you can use college as an opportunity to strengthen friendships with people from high school or build new ones.

While state schools are often overlooked in the college decision-making process, there’s no doubt that CU offers much to be considered. With its phenomenal programs and faculty, vibrant town life, stunning campus, academic opportunities, and access to many amazing things like the CU Rec Center, you are sure to have the time of your life here. CU is our home away from home, and we’re sure it is bound to be yours too.