Talking Up The University of New Mexico With ‘Gary B’
Gary Bednorz, aka ‘Gary B’, represents the University of New Mexico. He has got to be the ultimate college presenter. I’ve gone to many college information sessions, some quite good, some not so much. An alumnus of the school that he touts, Gary can tell you everything that you would want to know about the University of New Mexico in a little more than five minutes–and you would remember the main points.
I heard one of Gary’s talks online and asked if he would give me a Zoom interview. Gary quickly agreed, and I invite you to listen in. I also made a Pinterest page with some pictures to check out.
Gary’s territory is Southern California, part of the most competitive state market for a regional admissions officer. The Golden State produces over 500,000 college freshmen each year. There are many students who have the option to go anywhere within a state that has impressive public options. But there are also many students who need help from the college to cover their costs. But California high school seniors have one thing in common with their peers in New Jersey: they will look out of state when it fits right.
So many college-bound students In California and elsewhere will tell a college admissions advisor that they want a:
- School that is big with spirit and sports, but not too big, like Arizona State or Ohio State
- Direct path of admission into a major or choice or majors
- Hassle-free application experience
- Reasonable sticker price and scholarships, with a great return on investment.
The University of New Mexico (UNM), located in Albuquerque, is one such school, as ‘Gary B’ will tell you.
UNM has just over 16,000 undergraduates. The university has more majors than most public universities in California, and more than schools in my backyard such as Rutgers or UDel. A Californian who can get into most of the UCs or a Garden State resident who can get into Rutgers will likely pay less than she would to go to a home state school! Within California, a California State University school might be the best fit for residents. But some of these schools such as Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and San Diego State University have become quite selective. So are six of the nine University of California campuses, and they require challenging Personal Insight Questions. Rutgers has an easier application process than the UCs. But you still need to submit an essay.
So, Golden State students look elsewhere, usually in the west, and consider schools that offer Californians significant discounts. The University of New Mexico goes a step further and does not require essays. The Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) offers many public options out of state, including the University of New Mexico. UNM’s estimated total cost of attendance is $24,000 for residents and $40,000 for non-residents–before scholarships and discounts. Graduates in the Class of 2019 who took out loans averaged $20,500, extremely low for any college. That’s $6,500 less than the maximum they have borrowed under the Federal Student Loan Program!
I checked out the alumni base for the University of New Mexico. Among the 91,000 alumni registered in Linkedin.com, over 44,000 were in Albuquerque or Santa Fe. The numbers say something for Albuquerque and Santa Fe as places to live after graduation. I have been to both cities. They’re less crowded than Denver, or any large city in California. Albuquerque has many of the advantages of Denver: mountains, sunshine and entertainment, but in a less crowded setting. Gary says that there are over 3,000 UNM alumni, aka ‘Lobos’ in Southern California. That’s a nice sized community, though a larger PAC-12 school will have more opportunities for a watch party.
As a New Jersey resident, I felt that UNM had more academic options, and quite possibly a lower cost, than most out-of-state public colleges that our students were likely to consider.
But the school could be perceived as too far away. Round-trip flights between Newark and Albuquerque are cheap at the moment (less than $200), but it’s a seven-hour, one-stop flight. Thankfully, the airport is a very short drive from campus. Garden State residents are not likely to come home more than twice a year. However, the costs of juggling the costs of an education with the costs to come home will be lower than they might be if they went to Denver or California for college.
The University of New Mexico represents what many parents would want from a college: an inexpensive flagship university where their children could learn practically anything, if they did the work. The rewards far outweigh the risks. Listen as ‘Gary B’ tells you why!
Need help on the journey to college? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 609-406-0062.
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!