Getting to Know the University of Denver
I had hoped to visit the University of Denver at a conference last June. But that was cancelled due to COVID. The opportunity to visit in person could come next year, but in the meantime I took a virtual visit. I gathered some photos on Pinterest for you. There’s also some short and long virtual tours, if you prefer video. This is a really nice campus, as you can see from the photo above. The university also opened a new Community Commons, their student center, for the current semester, and a new residence hall this fall..
Todd Rinehart, Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management at the University of Denver and I talked more about the university. Please listen now!
Founded in 1864, the University of Denver (DU) has approximately 5,800 undergrads. That’s about the same number as some Ivy League and Ivy-like schools. But DU is a comprehensive university with undergraduate schools of business, education, engineering and international studies. Liberal arts majors are split into two schools, one for humanities, social sciences and arts, the other for math and natural sciences.
DU has over 100 undergraduate degree programs. Among the opportunities you’re less likely to find at other schools:
- Applied Computing
- Emerging Digital Media (BA and BFA)
- Environmental Chemistry
- Game Development (BA and BS)
- Hospitality Management
- Physiology and Health in Disease
- Real Estate and the Built Environment
The School of International Studies has some interesting history behind it.
It was named for Josef Korbel, Czechoslovakia’s former Ambassador to Yugoslavia who left the country after Communists rose to power in 1948. A political scientist, Korbel was granted asylum in the United States and awarded a Rockefeller Foundation grant to teach at DU. The most notable alumnus is former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, Dr. Condolezza Rice, who earned her bachelors and doctorate at DU. Korbel’s daughter, Dr. Madeline Albright, later became the first female Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton. Rice would be the second under President George W. Bush.
Given the academic mix and location in a major city, Vanderbilt might be the aspirational school for DU.
But DU is much less selective than Vandy and does not play football. Hockey, lacrosse and soccer are the popular sports instead. While DU went test optional before the pandemic, it has typically attracted a B+/A- student who would score 1250+ on the SAT or 28+ on the ACT. Acceptance rates have been around 60 percent since 2015. The university’s four-year graduation rate has gradually improved as the size of the freshmen classes as grown. It was 60 percent for the freshmen who entered in 2005 rising to 67 percent for those who entered in 2014.
Denver is not known as a music capital like Nashville. But it is one of the few cities to have teams in all four major league sports (baseball, basketball, football and hockey) as well as more entertainment and outdoor recreation opportunities than students could possibly explore over four years in college. Denver is the largest city and state capital of Colorado as well as a midpoint between Midwest and West Coast cities. DU has more than 37,000 alumni in the Denver area registered in LinkedIn.com. But it also has communities with over 2,000 members in and near New York and San Francisco.
DU has not fielded a football team since 1961. However, the campus actually hosted two of the first four games ever played between the Broncos of the former American Football League (AFL) and NFL teams in August, 1967.Those wins were two of the three triumphs by an AFL team over a more established NFL team that season. Interestingly, DU’s Daniels College of Business is named for a former owner of a professional football team. In the early 1980’s Bill Daniels, one of the pioneering entrepreneurs for cable television in America, was also the first owner of the USFL’s Los Angeles Express.
The Mile High City offers plenty of internship opportunities.
It also offers less competition for those positions than a college student would find in Boston, Columbus or Minneapolis–and the campus is located by light rail transit into the city. Denver is a great city to intern not only during the school year, but also the summer. Regis University, a Jesuit school, and the University of Colorado-Denver, with around 22,000 undergrads combined, are the other major institutions in town.
The University of Denver takes a unique approach to merit scholarships which are awarded far down into a freshman class.
Scholarship recipients receive not only an award towards tuition and fees; they also receive a $3,000 residence hall grant for each year that they live on campus. The university has a two-year residency requirement. Just over half of all UD undergrads do. Greek life is fairly popular at DU, attracting about a quarter of the men and about 30 percent of the women.
The scholarships and grants help keep costs down. Less than half of the Class of 2019 graduated with student loan debt. The average amount borrowed was just under $28,000. Students may borrow a maximum of $27,000 under the Federal Student Loan program. DU might never undercut Home State U for most students. But it can become a price competitive alternative to Neighboring State U.
The University of Denver is considered a National Research University. But it is a smaller than most in this group.
It has much in common with Butler University and Drake University, which I have previously reviewed. Like DU, these independent schools are also located close to downtowns in state capitals where they do not compete directly with another private research university or a flagship state school. But unlike DU they offer undergraduate programs in the health professions and have smaller undergraduate student bodies. They each have their niches in NCAA D-1 sports. If you would prefer to have the academic options commonly found in a large school in a major city and receive more attention from the faculty, DU is worth considering.
Listen to my conversation with Todd Rinehart and learn more about DU!
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Want to know more about me? Check out these podcasts!
Listen to my talk, College Is A Learning AND Living Community, hosted by Dr. Cynthia Colon from Destination YOUniversity on Voice of America Radio!
Listen to my talk, What Exactly Is a Good College? hosted by test-prep experts Amy Seeley and Mike Bergin on Tests And The Rest!