Impressions Of
University of Colorado at Boulder

Academic Experience

Male Psychology Major C/O 2020

Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
For especially well, as long as you go into your advisor’s office and develop a relationship with them, which I had to do to make sure my transfer credits would transfer over, it really helps and they can be great. At the same time, one thing that they do poorly that I’ve seen through my friends is if you don’t invest in that relationship, they will put the pressure of picking classes on you and don’t explain to you how you should build your resume or base of knowledge. For some people it probably works out, but I’ve heard people complain that their advisor doesn’t care about them, but that’s because they aren’t trying to meet with them and are not letting them know where you want to do later on.

How accessible are your professors?
They aren’t very accessible. They have their office hours but if those don’t work for your schedule you can get one meeting to try to figure it out, but if you need consistent help that might be difficult. They won’t make themselves accessible, you have to make yourself accessible to them.

Computer Science and Women's & Gender Studies Double Major C/O 2020

Is there anything you feel either of your majors’ departments do especially well or poorly?
I think the Women’s & Gender Studies department does a really good job at inclusivity. The problem is that Boulder prides itself on its diversity, but I think that’s really inclusivity. They support diversity but if you step on campus you will see that it’s really not that diverse. The department of Ethnic Studies and Women’s & Gender Studies, which partner a lot, are really good at making a welcoming, inclusive environment for people of all backgrounds, but in practicality the department [doesn’t represent that]. In terms of Computer science, the professors knowledgeable and we have a great center in our engineering center for Computer Science.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It can be competitive, but, for the most part, it’s really collaborative and supportive. All projects I do are group based and they encourage people to work together.

It’s competitive in Computer Science because it’s one of the most popular majors at CU. [In 2016, it was the 7th most popular major for undergraduates.] The lectures are pretty big. In the Physics lectures, which you have to take as a Computer Science major, there can be 300-400 students in a lecture and that class will have two T. A’s, so it will be tough to meet with the professor. People also just want to do the best that they can. I still think the learning environment is great because with almost every project we have the professor gives lecture time to the students to work on projects.

Female Humanities Major C/O 2020

Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
I would say it’s about one or two essays a week and a lot of reading. The way the major works is you pick your emphasis on something. My emphasis is on theater, so it’s a lot of reading and writing.

Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s very collaborative. They encourage a lot of participation in class and the class sizes in that department, for the most part, are pretty small. It’s like 15 to 20 kids per class.

Do you feel people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
I think so. A lot of people are very liberal in this department, so if there are other opinions that can get tricky sometimes. A lot of people have very liberal and very democratic opinions, but, in my experience, people are open to listening to other people’s views.

Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I wanted to do something that was not very specific. I wanted to have a lot of options for different classes and learn in the broadest sense I could while still having a major. This covered a lot of things, literature, the arts, some sciences, history, and politics. So far, I’ve been very, very happy.

Social Opportunities

Male Psychology Major C/O 2020

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in?
I just turned 21 so I’ve been going to the bars recently, but there are also parties and things of that nature. The school also does a good job of hosting events on campus and there are student organizations hosting events almost every night of the week. From Thursday through Saturday there’s a party at somebody’s house off-campus, but I tend to go out Friday and Saturday. When I was not 21 I mostly went to house parties.

What’s an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out or weekend?
Pearl Street has great restaurants to eat at. There are movie theaters and mini golfing. You could probably hike a different trail every day and there are places to go snowboarding and skiing near campus.

What’s the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
It’s going to be more difficult freshman year because you don’t know that many people, but after freshman year it doesn’t matter. As a transfer, I was on my team for a few months so I was able to meet people through that and I knew a couple of people from home when I came in so I did get invited out. It’s pretty easy to meet people who want to hang out with you, but it probably takes a good semester or semester and a half to get your group of friends.

Computer Science and Women's & Gender Studies Double Major C/O 2020

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in?
Freshman year I went out and partied all the time. Just west of campus there is a neighborhood called The Hill, which is where all the fraternities and sororities are and where the parties happen. I realized sophomore year that that wasn’t really for me. Nothing bad happened to make me stop, but I knew that I didn’t want to do that for the rest of college. Sophomore year I toned it back a little and my roommates and I got more into hosting parties. This year I work so much on top of school that I don’t really do any of that anymore.

When you were going out a lot, what nights of the week would you go out?
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.

Can you describe a typical night going out freshman year?
Probably around 9 or 10 o’clock you put on your best outfit and then you hop on a bus or take an Uber to The Hill. You walk around with your friends so you can find a party you can get in to, or sometimes you have friends in fraternities. I am not in a fraternity but I had a bunch of friends in fraternities and sororities, so you talk to your friends getting you on the list. You’d stay out until around 1AM. One good thing about Boulder is that people are really conscious about drinking and driving, so everyone Ubers.

Female Psychology Major C/O 2018

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
We have a great nightlife. There’s always a party going on and places to go, but if you don’t want to do that, you don’t have to. Freshman year I went to a lot of fraternity parties, and then it dwindled to house parties and apartment parties. I tend to go out on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights to whatever is going on that night. It’s mostly house parties now.

What have been your favorite times at CU Boulder?
I don’t think I have an event that I like more than another. It’s just like the whole environment’s great. I just love it all the time.

What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
There are definitely a lot of people go to frats to party. But, if you don’t like going to frats and that’s not what you want to do, there are always house parties that are unaffiliated. You never have to go to frats, which is nice.

Campus Culture

Male Psychology Major C/O 2020

How would you describe the overall social scene?
Because of the affluence here it is easy to run into people who are full of themselves. You meet your group of friends and will hang out with your group of friends. You’ll meet more people but will probably end up just hanging out with your group of friends. [Socioeconomically, about 26% of students come from the top 5%.]

How would you describe the Black community on campus? How strong is it?
It’s not very strong. We make up [2.6%] of the student population. I would say all of those people know each other for the most part or knows somebody who is very connected with an organization so if you want to hang out with that group you can.

How do you like the size of the University of Colorado at Boulder in terms of undergraduate enrollment?
I like it a lot. It’s easy to get lost in all of those people, but you do get to meet a lot of different people who grew up differently. There are large groups of California and Chicago people. Through the friend groups you run into, you’ll meet a lot of people who are from your area and a lot of people who aren’t. [About 11% of undergraduates come from California and 3% come from Illinois.]

Computer Science and Women's & Gender Studies Double Major C/O 2020

How was transitioning to a school with [about 35,000] students?
I loved it. I don’t like the idea of walking down the street and probably knowing most of the people you see because I don’t think it’s realistic and know that won’t happen in the real world. I walk down the street and maybe I see one person I know because I know a lot of people after being there for three years. It’s such a big community and there are so many people who go there who have such different experiences. It wasn’t that much of a transition because I grew up in downtown Seattle, so I was used to being around a bunch of people.

How is going to a school in a state where recreational marijuana is legal?
I came from Seattle where it’s also legal. To put it bluntly, everyone smokes weed. I honestly don’t because it’s an expensive habit. Smoking is so accepted. There are shops [all around campus]. It’s so ingrained that I don’t really think about it too much. When you get on an airplane there are signs that say “you can’t have anything you got in Boulder” because it’s so open here people forget.

Female Humanities Major C/O 2020

To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
Being in theater, I think that is a place where a lot of different people come to mix and it’s a very accepting environment. Freshman and sophomore year, you’re in a lot more general education classes, so you’re around a lot more people, then junior and senior is when you’re around people from your major more, so it might get more specific there. I think as far as school events and club stuff it’s pretty mixed

How would you describe the student body?
I would say it’s a very varied student body. For the most part, it’s people who have a lot of money, especially the kids who are coming from out of state, but, at the same time, there are a lot of people with financial aid and stuff. I think it’s a pretty accepting student body and is trying to make a lot of changes here and is excited to be here. I think it’s a very positive energy. [Socioeconomically, 26% of students are in the top 5%. About 17% of students are financial aid dependent and qualify for the Pell Grant.]

Boulder, CO

Pros of

  • “Amazing views of the mountains. It’s so easy to hike and it’s so beautiful.”
  • “Everything is bike accessible. People try to be eco-friendly, so everything has a bike path.”
  • “There are lots of really small stores in Boulder. It’s cool because it doesn’t feel corporately run anywhere.” [Boulder tries to preserve small businesses.]
  • “The people are really, really nice. The people are super happy and healthy.”

Cons of

  • “There’s definitely a huge party culture so it gets loud around campus at night sometimes. Anywhere that you’re living would be pretty loud over the weekends.”
  • “There’s not much diversity.” [About 80% of residents in Boulder are White.]
  • “It’s a decently expensive town to live in. The cost of living is pretty high.”
  • “There is no ocean nearby.”

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

Male Psychology Major C/O 2020

What is something you wish you knew about Boulder before entering as a transfer?
I wish I knew how to network better. Being at a big university, you can bump into a lot of people who are going to have at least decent jobs and decent connections, so you can build a network with them. I wish I knew how to build a better network when I was younger because this is probably the first time when I’ve had to leverage my network to give me opportunities.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
For a Leadership class, I was forced to go on the website and fill out a worksheet that lists all the services the school offers, so I would go on the website and look up every single service because your student dollars are paying for it whether you use it or not. A lot of the times people feel like their university isn’t doing much, but really the school is doing a lot but they don’t know and the university isn’t going to tell you.

Female Humanities Major C/O 2020

What is something you wish you knew about CU Boulder before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew more of the major options I think. They have a few majors that they advertise, but I had to hunt for the Humanities major. After picking that, which I’m very happy with, I realized how many more options there were. So, I wish I had known all of my options.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Definitely check out the planetarium. Walk around Pearl Street and the little shops there. Talk to some of the students because that is the best way to get the vibe of any college.

What is something a prospective student interested in theater should know that we haven’t touched on?
I think getting to know the professors really early and figuring out the plan for that really early because to be a theater major you have to audition your sophomore year and get into the BFA program, which is a two-year program. I think getting close with the professors as early as possible and having your face known to the administration is a good thing.

Female Psychology Major C/O 2018

What is something you wish you knew about Boulder before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew that just because you don’t make friends right away at a big school, you’re still going to meet people. A lot of kids are in the same position, they’ve left home and the don’t know anything. You just have to give everyone time to settle down and then be social. It’s not going to happen overnight.

Reasons to attend and not to attend University of Colorado at Boulder

To Attend

  • “The weather is amazing, unless you like rain because we don’t get much rain.” [On average there are 245 days of sun in Boulder, with the US average being 205.]
  • “The buildings are really pretty.”
  • “There are lots of options with classes and clubs, so anybody can find something they like.”
  • “The professors are really good. Even though it’s such a big school, they’re really good about creating individual relationships with students.”

To Not Attend

  • “It is a very large school. There are a lot of people here.” [There are about 35,000 undergraduate students.]
  • “It can get expensive. Clubs and extra stuff will cost more money. You have to plan ahead financially. Financial aid, as helpful as it is, fills up pretty quickly.”
  • “Some majors are a lot more difficult than others. I think a lot of the engineering, math, and science majors have a superiority complex to some of the arts and politics majors.”
  • “The lack of diversity.” [About 68% of undergraduates are White, 12% are Hispanic, 8% are Asian-American, and 3% are Black.]
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