Oregon State is an interesting place: with over 24,000 students, it is Oregon’s research university, earning more federal funding for research than all other colleges in the state combined. Students here are encouraged to do research as undergraduates, working with professors, and can get a special notation on their transcript showing they have done research.
Oregon State has strong programs in Forestry, Biology, Engineering (15 major options, including nuclear engineering – OSU has a small scale nuclear reactor in campus!!), Agricultural and Ecological Sciences. OSU also has a joint program with Willamette University Law School in which students can spend three years at OSU and then transfer to the law school, earning a law degree in just 6 years instead of 7.
The main campus is in Corvallis, Oregon, a small-ish town of about 55,000 people. OSU is working to grow enrollment, and they are currently building new educational facilities on campus. A new multi-million dollar business academic headquarters is under construction, and OSU has hired 180 new faculty members within the last two years.
Honors College students have an average GPA of 3.96, unweighted, and enjoy smaller classes, special housing options and priority class registration. Honors students all write a senior thesis and pay small additional fee each year. The Honors College has about a thousand students total, and experiential learning is a main emphasis for them.
Engineers at Oregon State enjoy very strong and hands-on work with professors. Most engineering students take time off to do an internship – more like a full-time job – during their schooling – and many of them make up to 75% of what they would make at a real job, sometimes up to $20,000 for a six-month position. OSU has a full-time staff member dedicated to assisting women and minorities in engineering. Most engineering lectures have fewer than 100 students, and smaller groups meet with graduate-level TAs to ensure that students understand the material. Professors are always accessible to students.
OSU is the proud home of Nobel Prize-winning chemist Linus Pauling’s archives. Pauling earned his undergraduate degree at OSU, met his wife there, and taught for several years before moving on to Cal Tech for his graduate degree. He is the only person to win two unshared Nobel Prizes – one for Chemistry (1954) and the Peace Prize (1963). His efforts to stop nuclear proliferation, including getting other scientists to express their opposition, won him the Peace Prize and caused a rift between him and the conservative administration at Cal Tech; this is part of why he left his collected work to OSU.
Oregon State is a great option for students who want to stay on the west coast and want the large college experience. I think the Honors College is an especially rewarding opportunity.
The campus is very nice and constantly improving. You can see all of my photos of Oregon State University here.