For those of us who have already completed the university application process, it is sometimes too easy to forget what a difficult and potentially demoralizing exercise it can be. Essay questions seem designed to dig out the darkest secrets of your weakness and unsuitability. Interviews do worse, staring you down as if you had no business picking up pen and paper, not to mention actually attending an institution of higher learning.
This process can be made easier by thinking of yourself as being in control. You are not so much begging for acceptance to a university as shopping for the university that is right for you. Remember that you as the potential student are the customer in this situation, and, as the saying goes, “the customer is always right.” Do not let yourself be intimidated by probing questions or stuffy interviewers. Be yourself. If an acceptance does not follow, then the school was probably not right for you in the first place.
Compiling any ‘best of’ list is, like the application process, sometimes a difficult task. There are always those who will disagree with one’s judgment. Naming the top five universities in the Northwest may be asking for trouble. Alumnae of ignored or low rated schools will surely shriek in protest. But these objections can be weathered with confidence. This list has been compiled considering not only present-day academic standards, quality of student life, but many other factors crucial to a quality academic experience.
1. University of Washington, Seattle, WA
University of Washington, in Seattle, tops the list of best universities in the Northwest due to an outstanding combination of academic rigor and a quality of student life that deserves to be boasted about. University of Washington is not only a Northwestern great, but one of the top schools in the nation. The campus’s spectacular Seattle location provides not only an ideal setting for learning but a setting off point for adventures--cultural, educational, and otherwise--in the school’s great host city.
2. Washington State University, Pullman, WA
Washington State University takes the number two slot on the list by joining a top-notch undergraduate education with a strong research university. Many of Washington State University’s academic programs compete head-to-head with the best in the nation.
3. University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
The third place on this list is held by University of Oregon, in Eugene. The University of Oregon boasts a strong liberal arts undergraduate program alongside the larger research university. With 20,000 students, University of Oregon is not unlike a town-within-a-town, creating a destination for many culturally minded locals.
4. University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
Fourth place on the list is the University of Idaho, in Moscow, a stunning campus in a state not necessarily first thought of when researching top quality institutions of higher learning. The University of Idaho, like the other schools on this list, earns its place by providing students with strong academics and a high quality of student life. A visit to the campus is often all a prospective student needs to decide on Idaho as their first choice.
5. University of Montana, Missoula, MT
Last, but not least, is the University of Montana, in Missoula, another spectacular setting, another great school. The University of Montana delivers consistently challenging academics and receives high marks on student life, making it one of the more sought-after admissions in the Northwestern university system.