The University of Oregon is located in the thriving college town of Eugene, Oregon, which is just a short drive from mountains, forests, rivers, and even the desert! The university is the pulse of the city and the hub around which everything flows. Yes, University of Oregon students are nuts for their Ducks. Football is huge, and of course, Oregon has a strong running traditions; Cross Country and Track & Field are popular. The school celebrates the arts as well as athletics, and it offers its students the opportunity to live and learn in a close community with diverse interests.
What the University of Oregon is Known For
- Oregon is known for being environmentally-friendly. The architecture program is ranked #1 in the nation for sustainable design education, according America’s Best Architecture and Design Schools (2014, 2015, 2016).
- Oregon is a Top 20 school on the Sierra Club’s list of America’s greenest colleges and also sources a substantial amount of its electricity through wind and hydropower.
- Knight Library is the largest library in Oregon and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
- The Carnegie Foundation classifies Oregon as a very high research activity university.
- Hayward Field is one of the world’s most historic track and field stadiums. It appeared in the movie Without Limits about runner Steve Prefontaine, and in the background to a scene in the movie Animal House.
Schools and Majors at the University of Oregon
Oregon offers 316 undergraduate and graduate degrees in eight colleges: the Robert D. Clark Honors College, the School of Architecture and Allied Arts, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Charles H. Lundquist College of Business, the College of Education, the School of Journalism and Communication, the School of Law, and the School of Music and Dance.
The highly ranked School of Journalism has a full-service, student-run advertising and public relations agency, giving students on-the-job education and experience, as well as a student-run radio station. The Lundquist College of Business is ranked #25 in the nation, and has a sports management program as well as a center for entrepreneurship. The College of Education has an accelerated Masters in Teaching program, and the Special Education program is ranked #3. All students take classes in the School of Arts & Sciences, home to the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, as well as the only marine biology program in the Pacific Northwest.
Oregon’s music conservatory is home to the Oregon Bach Festival. The School of Architecture and Allied Arts has strong interior and landscape architecture programs and is ranked first in sustainable design practices. The Bachelor of Architecture is a five-year program and requires a portfolio of creative work (which could be creative writing; it doesn’t have to be drawing) for admission.
Finally, Clark Honors College is the oldest freestanding, degree-granting honors college in the United States, to which students from any major can apply. About 80% of Honors College students go on to an advanced degree. About 220 new Honors students are selected every year through a competitive process.
University of Oregon’s Campus
The University of Oregon is an outdoor-lovers’ dream. It’s just a quick walk over the Willamette River and a lovely stroll through the woods to Autzen Stadium. It is one of the most bike-friendly campuses in America. The school prides itself on having open-minded, tolerant and joyful students and it shows in the friendly atmosphere. The Erb Memorial Union (EMU) is the student union where everyone goes to eat, study and hang out. The EMU is home to more than 250 student groups, so it’s easy to get involved.
For students who are admitted to music majors, the Community for Musical Scholars is a unique opportunity to live with others who are pursuing excellence in the arts. The Music Residence Hall includes 24-hour access to acoustically designed practice rooms, instruments, digital pianos and even an upright piano in the lounge!
About a third of University of Oregon students are from out of state, and 70% of classes have fewer than 30 students. The median class size is 23. Freshman Interest Groups (FIGs) – small learning cohorts organized around an interdisciplinary theme – are encouraged, but not required. University of Oregon has just under 21,000 students and has become more selective over the past few years.
Off Campus Near the University of Oregon
Eugene has a reputation for being a bit of a “hippie” town, with numerous vegetarian restaurants, an excellent Saturday farmers market and a famous festival called the Oregon County Fair. But Eugene is powered by the local university, with lively pubs and entertainment venues that cater to students.
The founders of Nike are the most famous Oregon grads, and Nike continues to make big investments in the university and the community. Eugene’s nickname is “Track Town USA” due to its history with Nike and its tradition of nurturing cross country running. What better way to experience Track Town than to take a running tour of the campus? UO is the first university to offer running tours of campus. Twice a month, students lead 3.7 mile runs through the campus, stopping at popular landmarks and ending with a lap at historic Hayward Field.
Clubs and Organizations at the University of Oregon
About 10-11% of students join fraternities and sororities, which have houses, but not all on a “Greek row.” There are more than 250 clubs, with interests as varied as the Argentine Tango, environmental justice, motorcycle enthusiasts, and comedy improve teams.
Almost everyone in Eugene is crazy about Oregon athletics. In addition to the support for football and track, women’s volleyball and softball teams are also well-supported by the students. The University encourages school spirit by making almost all games in all sports included in school fees. Oregon is a member of the Pac-12, which means the teams compete against other schools in California, Washington, Utah and Arizona.
University of Oregon Traditions
- The football team kicks off its home games by featuring its mascot, the Duck, riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle into the stadium.
- Students pride themselves on creating some of the noisiest environments in college sports. Students compete for positions on the Pit Crew, whose mission is to disrupt college basketball games by making as much noise as a 747 airplane.
- At the beginning of the fourth quarter of every football game, the students sing the Isley Brothers’ song Shout, in tribute to the movie Animal House. New graduates also sing the song at the end of the commencement ceremony.
- Twice a year, a Street Fair takes over 13th street, and offering Thai food, arts and crafts and entertainment that students look forward to.
Getting into University of Oregon
Oregon’s admission rate is 74 percent but it is getting more selective. The average high school G.P.A. is 3.6. Oregon is considered competitive for SAT scores. The school superscores, taking the highest score you received on each section of the SAT, even if you didn’t get them on the same day.
In fall 2015, the Robert D. Clark Honors College received 1,439 applications for an incoming class of 240 students. There are no minimum requirements for admission to Clark. The college weighs the following factors:
- Creative Potential: Creativity and critical thinking
- Academic Performance: The extent to which you have challenged yourself by taking diverse and rigorous courses in high school
- Potential Contribution: The ways in which you have contributed to your family and your community
In the Honors College, although there is not a minimum requirement for test scores, new students have an average score in the 90th percentile. The median GPA is 3.9.
Is the University of the Oregon Right for Me?
If you want to go to school out of state, and be in an area that offers a great diverse landscape, and a rich student life, you might be right at home at University of Oregon. You can explore the campus by scheduling a tour online, or by taking part in the unique campus running tour. If you’re interested in a certain academic department, several departments offer their own tours to prospective Oregon students. My University of Oregon photo album can be viewed here.