Northern Arizona University (NAU)

You feel like you’re driving into a ski resort when you enter the beautiful Flagstaff campus of Northern Arizona University – and in fact, the nearest ski resort is just 14 miles away.  We visited in January, so it was cold, (not kidding – 8 degrees when we got out of the car!) but students were happily walking between buildings, avoiding patches of ice as best they could.  Thankfully, the main sidewalks through campus are heated!

Academics at NAU

Northern Arizona University has about 20,000 undergraduates, and offers 100 majors in seven academic colleges, plus an Honors College.  It’s definitely the least well-known of the three Arizona public schools, but it’s worth taking a look!  Founded as a “Normal School” (which means it educated people to be teachers), NAU is the now only accredited teacher education program in Arizona.  NAU’s highly-regarded College of the Environment, Forestry and Natural Sciences has just separated from the College of Engineering, Informatics and Applied Sciences because of increased demand for the STEM majors.  The most popular programs in the College of Health & Human Services are dental hygiene, health sciences and nursing, which is very competitive.  The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences offers programs in broadcast journalism, political science and social work, among others, and because there is no local TV station in Flagstaff, the student-run NAU Today in the School of Communication serves the region.

The Franke College of Business offers hotel & restaurant management, which is a top 15 program in the nation, including both business and culinary component.  Flagstaff is a tourist destination, so students get real-world experience through internships at local resorts.  1899 is a 4-star restaurant on campus staffed by hospitality students; students can dine there using their dining dollars.

NAU has 1000 faculty members and the average class size is 31; the largest lecture hall on campus holds 400 students.  Free tutoring services are available for everyone.  NAU’s 1,300 student Honors college offers early enrollment, scholarship and housing opportunities, as well as small, discussion based classes.  There’s a separate application process, including essays.

Student Life and Traditions at NAU

NAU wellness building
The Wellness building at NAU houses kinesiology courses as well as the recreation center.

NAU is an active campus; most students are involved in at least some of the 350+ student activities.  About 13% of students join Greek organizations, although there are no Greek houses.  School spirit is very high for NAU’s athletic teams; the swimming and diving teams are strong and NAU students enjoy a beautiful aquatics center. The Health and Learning Center is a beautiful new building, home to classrooms for students in the athletic training/kinesiology programs, as well as a pharmacy and full fitness center. Can study music or take classes, or be in performances, even if you are not an arts major, and every music classroom has a Steinway piano in it.  Our tour guides, Allison and Julia, shared their experiences and the school spirit felt very strong!

Admissions at NAU

NAU admits in a similar fashion as the other Arizona public universities, University of Arizona and Arizona State University.  Applicants who have met the core academic requirements and have a 3.0 gpa (unweighted) will be admitted.  Those who are missing courses in no more than two areas and have a 2.5 gpa or higher will be considered on an individual basis; however, those who have what NAU considers “deficiencies” (meaning having not met the requirements) in both math and science will not be admitted.

NAU is generous with out-of-state students in that they offer both the WUE rate, as well as merit scholarships, which are stackable.  All in all, we loved the vibe at NAU and think it’s a great option for California students who want to stay reasonably close to home – but still experience seasons!

Magellan’s LA team visited NAU in January, 2018.  You can scroll through our photos below.

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