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Hawai’i Pacific University

HPU unofficial quad - Fort Street

Fort Street is HPU’s unofficial “quad” at the downtown Honolulu campus.

With 6,000 undergraduate students and another 2,000 graduate students, Hawai’i Pacific University is the largest private college in the state.  Strongest programs include marine sciences and nursing, but HPU also has a wide variety of programs, including travel industry management, business and entrepreneurship, applied mathematics, environmental sciences and more.  A complete list of majors is here.  While most of the courses are lecture-based, more project based work is being assigned, and students are required to take a public speaking course.  HPU also recommends that students see an academic adviser at least twice per year, and advisers are available on a drop-in basis.

Loa Campus dormitory

Loa Campus dorms

While the main campus is in downtown Honolulu, HPU also has the Loa campus on the northwest side of the island.  A university shuttle runs frequently between the two campuses; Loa is about a 20-minute drive.  While the downtown campus is vibrant and urban (sort of reminded me of a very laid back, small version of NYU),the Loa campus is lush and scenic.  There is no on-campus housing downtown, and limited housing on the Loa campus, but more housing is under construction downtown.  Most students live in Waikiki Beach area student apartments that are managed by a property management company that provides housing to students at other local colleges.

Marine and ocean sciences are strong at HPU

Marine and ocean sciences are strong at HPU

Students who will be successful at HPU are adventurous, appreciate cultural differences, and don’t mind travelling far from home for college.  Students who take initiative and are not shy will do well here.  About a third of the students are from Hawai’i, another third from the mainland, and a third from outside the U.S., with about 100 countries represented.

Founded in 1965, HPU was led for over 35 years by one president, who retired in 2011.  New leadership has reinvigorated this campus.  Buildings are a little dated but it’s clear that the academics are modern and motivated.  Average GPA for accepted students is 3.3 and average SAT and ACT scores are 1100 (CR and Math sections only) and 23, respectively.

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