Why I Decided to Stay In-State for College

Hi all! My name is Kate, and I am a third-year student studying Chemical and Biological Engineering. Today I’m happy to share with you why I decided to stay in state for college. 

First off, I hail from Boulder, Colorado. If you know anything about Colorado schools, you know why most people gasp when I tell them this: Colorado State University and the University of Colorado–Boulder have a bit of a rivalry — I get stares whether I’m in Boulder wearing green and gold or up in Fort Collins hanging pictures of the Flatirons on my walls! 

Yet I sport my Ram Pride no matter where I am. In this blog I aim to explain not just why I decided to stay in state, but also why I chose the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering at Colorado State University. Here are some of the reasons I chose to stay in state: 

Kate Boyd in front of the Flatirons
Me in Boulder

Cost

It’s no secret that in-state tuition can be less expensive than traveling out-of-state for university. Plus, travel costs are a lot lower than they could have been – I don’t need to hop on a plane to get home. In fact, getting home is really easy for me: the Flexpart of the Fort Collins bus system, runs from Fort Collins through Loveland and Longmont and ends in Boulder. Plus, it’s free for CSU students with your Ramcard! 

Proximity to Home

In my experience, an hour and a half away from home is just enough to really feel like you’ve left. While I don’t go home terribly often (in fact, my first year I didn’t return home at all until Fall break), having the option has turned out to be great. If I forget my shoes, need a home cooked meal, want to visit for birthdays and holidays, or just miss my family, they’re within reach and a welcome break from academic life.  

Cat lying on back and being adorable
Plus, my goofy cat lives at home and he’s always happy for cuddles.

Colorado

Having grown up for most of my life in Colorado, I developed a love for the outdoors pretty early on. I adore hiking, mountain biking, camping, skiing, and pretty much anything to do with the amazing wilderness to be found in Colorado. When it comes down to it, I find leaving the breathtaking beauty of the Front Range behind rather difficult to do! Colorado is a wonderful place to attend university, and offers a bunch of awesome activities to the average CSU student: 14ers, backpacking, hiking, and Horsetooth reservoir are all in Fort Collins’ backyard, waiting for adventure. 

Year2 at CSU students hiking Grays and Torreys
In my second year a group of students hiked and did trail work on 14ers Grays and Torreys together.

Why I chose CSU:

Campus Community

During my college search, I stepped foot on quite a few campuses, took more than a few tours, and talked to my fair share of college representatives. At CSU, the sentiment of campus community swept me away. There is a saying here on campus — “Rams Take Care of Rams” — but it feels less like a saying and more like a way of life. During my visit, every single person I spoke to made it clear they wanted me there, and they were willing to give me the tools to succeed there. It’s a sentiment I’ve felt on campus every day since.  

Student ambassadors on the roof of the powerhouse
The student ambassador team are some of my favorite people, biggest supporters, and best community!

The Engineering Program

CSU’s engineering program is amazing! (Though I might be a little biased at this point…) When I was searching and applying for schools, the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering caught my eye as a top tier research institution with cutting-edge technology, resources, and research on campus. There are 8 different engineering programs of study (you can check them out here). Engineering at CSU is collaborative and hands-on; two factors that are incredibly important upon graduating and moving into industry or research. From your very first semester, you’ll be taking engineering-specific classes and getting experience in labs working with groups and putting together projects. Plus, CSU boasts unique programs like our biomedical engineering dual degree and chemical and biological engineering programs – the first ABET accredited programs of their kind in the nation! In addition, our department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is ranked top 20 in the world!  

Engineering at CSU is collaborative and hands-on; two factors that are incredibly important upon graduating and moving into industry or research."

Besides accolades, the social environment of engineering at CSU is also something to be proud of. In my experience, the overwhelming majority of faculty are very receptive to students and are always willing to put in the extra effort to clarify concepts and applications. The students work together rather than competing and are always there to lift each other up. In fact, we have peer tutoring services just to connect students across years – if the way a professor explained a concept just doesn’t click with you, you can try going to tutoring sessions with a peer who has not only taken your class, but done well in it, too. They might just be able to explain it to you in a way that makes sense!  

Two students weating augmented reality goggles
A fellow student and I got to try out awesome augmented reality goggles!

If you want to learn more about the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering, check out the future students page. There are tons of awesome resources like degree maps, one-on-one appointments with student ambassadors (like me!), virtual tours, and webinars to share more about what options we have here at CSU! 

Opportunities

Student poses in the Alhambra
A picture from La Alhambra in Grenada, Spain.

CSU has a lot of opportunities for students, from clubs on campus to intramural sports to research positions (check out this blog to read more about how to get involved with research as an undergraduate student). As a prospective student, the seemingly endless possibilities for involvement were attractive, and as a current student, they have not disappointed. In my three years on campus, I’ve been a member of the Honors Program, participated in paid research, been an Engineering Student Ambassador, member of Spanish ClubAlgae Club, on the leadership team for Rotaract Club, attended meetings for the American Institution of Chemical Engineers and the Society of Women Engineers, gone to professional development seminars, played rugby, done trail work on 14ers, lit the A, studied abroad (check out where I went and how I did it here), and generally dug into the CSU community and abundance of opportunities. Whatever you want to get involved in, there’s a community of like-minded people at CSU that want you to get involved.  

Scholarships

Finally, scholarships were a major deciding factor for me as May 1st approached. CSU awards automatic academic scholarships to incoming students based on their high school GPA and test scores. (ACT and SAT test scores will be optional for first-year students who graduate from high school in 2021 for admission purposes. More information about how this affects new merit scholarships for the 2021-2022 academic year will be forthcoming.) In addition, the University Honors Program offers scholarships for its members as well, so I knew I had a couple small scholarships in the bag, but the real potential comes in the form of the CSUSA. The CSUSA is the Colorado State University Scholarship Application, and it’s where most of CSU’s scholarships are found. There, I was invited to apply for my current scholarship: the Walter Scott, Jr. Undergraduate Scholarship. This is a great scholarship to know about as a prospective engineering student at CSU! If you are eligible, you will receive an email with more information, and you can also check out more here.  

President McConnell & Scott Scholar undergrads. November 18, 2019
A photo of Scott Scholars after a luncheon with CSU’s president, Joyce McConnell.

Applying to college is hard and applying for scholarships can be even harder. I know, trust me, I’ve been there. But I love to remind students that your work applying now pays off in the future. Try to remember that you’re not just applying for scholarships, but for a community as well. When I came in as a first-year student and recipient of the Walter Scott, Jr. Undergraduate Scholarship, I knew 19 other student recipients of the same scholarship who I knew shared the same interests, passion for engineering, and drive for involvement and I did. There were also past years’ recipients who readily offered their advice and friendship. Being involved in that community helped the transition from high school to university and still plays a big role in my campus involvement today. Go get those scholarships! 

Though this obviously is not a comprehensive list or a full guide, I hope it gives you a taste of why one student, at least, chose to stay in-state. I’ve loved my time at CSU so far and look forward to an exciting next year and a half. Fort Collins is a wonderful city to live in, with colorful opportunities and people around every corner (check out this blog for fun things to do in Fort Collins). If you have any questions about my experience, please feel free to email me at explore@engr.colostate.edu and I’d love to chat with you! 

Just some more fun opportunities I've been able to engage with at CSU:

(Please note that all photos in this blog were taken before the COVID-19 pandemic.)

Kate Boyd, Engineering Student Ambassador

Author: Kate Boyd

Kate is a third-year student studying Chemical and Biological Engineering with a minor in Spanish. She is a committed Engineering Student Ambassador and member of the Honors program and Algae Club. She hails from Boulder, Colorado.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to the engineering ambassador team at explore@engr.colostate.edu!