Willamette University

Located in Salem, Oregon (about an hour from Eugene and Portland) you’ll find Willamette University. On the Colleges that Changes Lives list, Willamette offers quite a matching of academic engagement and experience with professors where the sky is the limit. The Colleges that Change Lives is a list of schools that have characteristics that literally change lives, they’re colleges with top programs with a super personalized experience, tend to be smaller, liberal arts based and leaving students graduating with hefty resumes ready to enter their next step. It’s a list to pay attention to.

Willamette houses over 1500 undergraduate students in the College of Liberal Arts, including a College of Law and Atkinson Graduate School of Management housing grad students, but also opportunities including accelerated programs for undergraduates. Within the College of Liberal Arts students have access to nearly 50 academic programs with strong STEM programs, music and theater and art among others.

Professors are big at Willamette and they are award winning for their work including 11 faculty winning the Carnegie foundation professor of the year.

Students have access to dual and accelerated programs including a partnership with USC engineering, and joint JD/MBA, BA/JD, and BA/MBA programs.

It’s location lends itself to some powerful opportunities in legislature and law being closest to the state capital. Strong with sustainability efforts, quality food and research. DIII athletics with 21 different intercollegiate athletics, in addition to sports clubs and a 2 year live in requirement, Willamette is fostering a college community beyond coursework.

A quote that stood out to me in the info session was “Partner in your education” and I believe it. Willamette is a place that will stand side by side their students, let them advocate for themselves, build new programs, explore Oregon and run with ideas.

I’ll end the blog post with an email from on of my former students at Willamette who was away at a debate tournament when I visited. But I believe her response about her experience at Willamette speaks for it all.

“Willamette University has given me opportunities to achieve everything and more than I could imagine. For starters, I am an environmental science major with a politics minor and plan on achieving a sustainability minor. With a learning disability, I never imagined that I could major in environmental science, but with strong support from my professors and the department I have really succeeded. I have interned at the capital for Senator Michael Dembrow where I was at the forefront of many of Oregon’s environmental bills. Specifically, House Bill 2020, which was a cap and trade bill to try and bring clean energy to Oregon. In addition to working in the Oregon legislature, I have taken classes to reform the economy and to help businesses be sustainable. I am also a member of the debate team, fencing club, and College Democrats. I am also super excited to go study abroad in Ireland this spring.”

Published by Casey Barneson

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

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