University of Denver and University of Colorado, Boulder

Colorado College Tour Day 1 included the University of Denver and University of Colorado, Boulder.

Denver, Colorado was a quick hour and 45 minute flight from Los Angeles. With all seasons and no humidity, mountains and its proximity to California, I can see why Colorado becomes an easy choice for California students. Plus, it has a variety of different campuses.

University of Denver

A 20 minute drive and 12 minute ride on the lightrail from downtown Denver will bring you to the University of Denver. Still an urban feel, in more of a suburban setting, the university is comprised of 11,000 total students, 5,500 of which are undergraduate. A midsize to smaller feeling, 99.8% of classes are taught by professors and 87% of classes have less than 30 students. 93% of students graduate in 4 years or less and 90% are employed or in grad school within 6 months of graduation 

On top of your major coursework, University of Denver has a common curriculum consisting of courses that include freshman seminar (that can help students with everything from narrowing down a major choice to transition, organization and scheduling), writing, language and an advanced seminar. DU is on the quarter system and offers a liberal arts curriculum that focuses on interdisciplinary education on top of your major speciality and is a research-based institution. Students are required to live on campus Freshman and Sophomore years.

Learning Effectiveness Program

  • Nationally ranked support program for students with learning disabilities, ADHD
  • Additional fee to participate
  • Students are enrolled on a quarter by quarter basis and the goal is to exit students out to where they are able to support themselves successfully in academics

Cherrington Global Scholars

  • Study abroad program
  • DU is top 5 in the nation for level of participation for study abroad
  • Juniors and Seniors with above a 3.0 study abroad for the same cost as tuition and work with advisors to choose transferrable coursework for a seamless transition.

Residential Communities

  • Living Learning Communities for first year students include some of the following Environmental Sustainability, Wellness, Social Justice and Creativity and Entrepreneurship)
  • Integrated Learning Programs
    • Honors Program (Additional honors academic advisors, graduate with honors distinction)
    • Pioneer Leadership Program (cohort-based, live together, take classes together and earn a minor in leadership studies)
  • First-Gen living community

Student Organizations/Athletics

  • D1 sports (17 varsity. Hockey, lacrosse and basketball top sports) no football , intramural sports
  • Over 100 student organizations 
  • 20% Greek life 
  • Alpine club – Get out and around the mountains, hiking, backpacking and outdoor activities from beginner to advanced. Take the DU ski bus to the mountains
  • Winter Carnival – DU rents a ski lodge every year for its students


  • A majority of students do internship
  • Hospitality management programs require at least one internship for their students

Notable programs in Business, Hospitality Management, Psychology, Computer Science, Visual Arts, Criminal Justice, Pre-Law

Application notes: Can apply Early Action, Early Decision and Reg Decision through the Common App. You can integrate your Zeemee account in the application. SAT/ACT can be super-scored, counselor recommendation and optional teacher recommendations. 

  • Middle 50% (be within ranges to be competitive)
    • 3.48-4.0 GPA
    • 1180-1350 SAT
    • 25-31 ACT

University of Colorado, Boulder

A 45 minute from Downtown Denver will bring you to Boulder. With a view of the Flatirons and Chautauqua Park, the University’s backdrop is stunning in itself. Boulder is home to about 26,000 students spilling throughout campus and onto the local Boulder scene. I was fortunate enough to catch up with a former BHHS student over lunch who is in his first year as a Business major and a part of the marching band. We ate at The Sink a local spot on “the Hill” an area that has shops, restaurants and basically students walking all over. Just a quick walk from campus. If you’re a student looking for an active student body, spirited campus with that “college town” feel, check it out!

Boulder is comprised of the following:

  • Colleges of Arts and Sciences
  • Leeds School of Business
    • Strong program. Peer-mentorship. Business living community with business advisors.
  • School of Education
  • College of Engineering and Applied Science
    • More competitive and smaller college. Hands on learning style. Includes a semester long project where students are able to work on local community problems and build solutions as a project.

    • Strong Aerospace Engineering. Receives the most funding out of any university from NASA. Kepler Satellite Control Center on campus. 

    • Academic profile 3.93 – 4 GPA, 29-33 ACT, 1300-1450 SAT

  • College of Music
  • College of Media, Communication and Information
  • Environmental Design
    • Architecture, Interior Design, Urban Planning

If you don’t know what you want to study, not a problem, you can choose an “open study option” which is essentially undeclared. 

Although it is quite large, 80% of classes have 50 students or less. Needless to say there are a ton of resources to take advantage of, but you certainly will want to reach out and take the initiative and utilize support services and facilities. Highlights on campus include Boulder’s massive student rec center boasting rock climbing walls, basketball courts, a hockey rink, gym equipment and an outdoor adventure office where you can check out or plan anything outdoorsy.

During your first year as a Freshman you’ll live on campus. You can live in a community tailored towards your area of interest and even take classes within your dorms! The tip here will be to apply for housing early to get your preferences in. See all housing options here:

Admission: Boulder’s admission site is fairly transparent and I enjoy their admission blog! Check it all out here: 

Middle 50% averages

  • 3.43-4.0 GPA
  • 25-31 ACT
  • 1180-1350 SAT

Tuition and Financial Aid

  • Your tuition rate will be locked in for four years
  • Turn in the FAFSA
  • Submit Boulder’s scholarship and financial aid application to be considered for scholarships (Open Oct. 1 – Feb. 15) apply earlier for a stronger chance of aid

Published by Casey Barneson

Author of The College Wellness Guide. Beverly Hills High School College Counselor.

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