The University of Idaho is a great college for rugged individualists who prefer to complete their higher education in a traditional community in a rural area. The spirit of the Mountain West is one of independence and for students who are of this mindset, the University of Idaho
Located on a large rural campus in the northern region of Idaho, the University of Idaho would actually be one of the sparsely populated state’s largest cities if its more than 12,000 students, approximately 700 faculty and 1,500 staff were counted as a town.
The University of Idaho offers bachelor’s degrees in more than 116 majors offered by the school’s 10 colleges, the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the College of Art and Architecture, the College of Business and Economics, the College of Education, the College of Engineering, the College of Graduate Studies, the College of Law, the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, the College of Natural Resources and the College of Science. The university also offers master’s degrees, specialist degrees and doctoral programs.
The University of Idaho has had many good reviews from a variety of sources. In 2009, the Princeton Review included it among its list of 368 best colleges, in which only 15 percent of the colleges in the U.S. were included. The university also has been ranked among the top national universities by U.S. News & World Report. The university gets high marks for “value,” meaning that it offers a high quality education to students for a reasonable price.
Research is a big part of the University of Idaho’s mission. The university has world-class lab facilities and offers wide access to students to make use of these resources. The college receives about $100 million in research funding each year and recently was awarded a $10 million grant from the NIH.
The University of Idaho has some very well-regarded programs. True to its rural roots, the university’s forestry, agriculture and engineering programs are among its most respected offerings. The University of Idaho also has Idaho’s only law school.
The college’s engineering program is well-respected and an almost-guarantee of a job after college. University of Idaho students average about 30 percent higher scores on the Fundamentals of Engineering exam that the U.S. national average.
The university’s largest program in terms of students is its education program. The engineering and business schools are also large programs at the school.
Students have to be real self-starters to get the full benefit of the University of Idaho, and should pay careful attention to their course selections and majors to get the right classes. One frequent criticism of the college is its academic advising program.
The University of Idaho is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, which accredits colleges and universities in the states of Alaska, Utah, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Washington. The commission accredits more than 150 colleges and universities in this region.
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The University of Idaho’s admission deadline for new students is Feb. 1. Transfer students starting in the spring have an admission deadline of Sept. 1.
The University of Idaho has a sliding scale of minimum high school GPA and SAT score entrance requirements. Typically, the higher your GPA, the lower your SAT/ACT score can be, and vice versa. For example, students with a high school GPA of 3.0 or above can be admitted with any SAT or ACT score. Students with an SAT score of 1070 or higher or ACT score of 23 or higher can have a relatively low GPA of 2.2 to 2.29 and still gain admission.
Transfer students must have a minimum GPA of 2.0 on college level work to be admitted to the university. Transfers applying to the engineering school must have a 2.8 GPA.
All students applying to the university must pay an application fee, which was $50 as of April 2011.
Students applying to the University of Idaho are eligible for federal grants and student loans. There are also a number of grants and scholarships offered by the state of Idaho, the university and other organizations that students may be eligible for.
The Go Idaho and Access Idaho scholarship program is designed to award scholarships to high achieving high school seniors. The program is divided into gold and silver programs based on students’ high school GPA. The awards programs are renewable over four years of college provided that students keep a minimum GPA of 3.0 in college work.
The Discover Idaho scholarship program is designed for residents of other states. This program offers a renewable scholarship to out-of-state residents who have a minimum high school GPA of 3.6 to 4.0.
The university’s office of financial aid also stands ready to help students find other grants and scholarships they may be eligible for.
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Idaho is considered a conservative state and that conservatism is reflected in the student body, although the university is one of the more liberal areas of the state (and as such there is a strong contingent of more liberal-minded faculty and students.)
The campus is a rural land-grant university, and as such has a very large campus. It’s also very close to Washington State University, which is located just eight miles away. The two institutions have a unique relationship that allow students to take cooperative courses at either campus.
Many University of Idaho students choose to live on campus. Many residence halls have unique identities and personalities, for example the Tower has 11 stories of housing and is limited to freshmen, while other halls are populated exclusively by students in a particular school (education, engineering, agriculture).
The university also has a very active Greek community with 16 fraternities and 10 sororities. Greek organizations have their own houses.
The student body is fairly homogenous, as only about 17 percent of the student body is comprised of minorities.
There is not a lot to do in the small town of Moscow, where the university is located, so campus life is important to students. There are a wide variety of campus organizations students can participate in, and the school has a yearly Palousafest that showcases all of the various clubs and organizations on campus.
The center of the campus is the Idaho Candlewalk Commons, which contains many businesses and gathering places for students, and offers many conveniences. The commons contains bagel shops, coffee shops, a credit union, convenience store and more. It also offers wireless Internet access.
The university’s student recreation center has an enviable gym, which offers a variety of physical activities to students who want to work out.
The University of Idaho campus is extremely scenic, and for outdoorsy students this arrangement is ideal. The nearby rivers, lakes and mountains offer nature-loving students a wide variety of ways to enjoy the outdoors in rural Idaho.
One noteworthy attraction is the line of rare Camperdown elm trees that line the path between the administration and music buildings. These trees are “upside” down in appearance and are a unique attraction of the Idaho campus.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The University of Idaho’s sports teams are known as the Idaho Vandals. The university participates in NCCA Division 1 sports and fields teams in men’s and women’s basketball, golf, tennis, cross-country, and track. The football team is all-male. The university fields women’s teams in volleyball, soccer, and swimming. Team colors are silver and gold, in deference to the state’s mining past.
In recent years, Vandals have had mixed luck in athletics, but there have been some bright spots, including having Vandals athletes compete in the Olympics. In 2004, Joachim Olsen, a former university student, got a bronze medal in the Olympics in the shot put.
University of Idaho teams are in a number of rivalries with other colleges, including a notable rivalry with Boise State University.
The university was founded in 1892 and over that time a number of traditions have developed at the school.
The “Hello” walk is a well-traveled pathway on campus and cuts through a number of university landmarks. Named for former president Alfred Upham, who insisted on saying “hello” to everyone he saw while walking the path, which led to his house (now occupied by the Campus Christian Center) and the habit was adopted by students and faculty.
The traditional rivalry with Boise State is strong, and each year before the annual game between the school’s two football teams, this rivalry shows its colors with an “anti-BSU” t-shirt campaign. This rivalry may be jeopardized by Boise State’s recent joining to another athletic conference.
Additional School Information
Famous alumni of the University of Idaho include Sarah Palin and Jack Lemley, who was the construction manager of the Chunnel, an underground tunnel that connects England and France.
The university has a unique steam plant, which burns woodchips to provide heat to university buildings. As a result of the generation of heat by the plant, the university’s walkways are kept free of ice by steam pipes running beneath them, a real plus in cold Idaho winters.
The College Board College Handbook, 2010 . 47th ed. New York: College Board, 2009. Print.
McGrath, Anne. Ultimate college guide 2010 . 7th ed. Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks Inc., 2009. Print.
" University of Idaho." University of Idaho. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 May 2011. <http://www.uidaho.edu/>.