Jan. 12, 2021
A private research college in Colorado with about 6,000 undergraduates and 7,000 graduate students, the University of Denver is called, perplexingly, “DU” by its staff (the website is du.edu). It has five divisions: Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences, International Studies, Business, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Engineering & Computer Science. Admission is to the university, not to a particular program, so someone who wants to go into engineering has the same chance of admission as someone who wants to major in communication studies. Studying across divisions is welcome and encouraged. They are proud to be #3 in study abroad participation.
Admissions personnel Derek DuBose, Shanna (pronounced Shaina) Pomager, and Vice Chancellor of Admissions Todd Rinehart addressed a D.C.-area group of college counselors on Jan. 11, 2021.
DU uses a quarter system for their academic calendar with a six-week break in winter. Summer quarter is optional and prime time for immersion experiences. The University Park neighborhood, according to admissions, is a foodie’s paradise, and it offers lots of off-campus housing for students just a quarter mile from campus. About half the students live on campus; there are three residence halls for first-years. The campus comprises 150 acres of green space and Denver averages 300 days of sunshine per year, though weather this week went from warmth to snow in a matter of hours. The “flourishing cultural scene” of downtown Denver is 15 minutes away by light rail, and skiers reach the mountains with a one-hour drive.
Colorado natives and those from the western half of the country make up about two-thirds of the student body; a third come from the Northeast and Midwest. Total cost of attendance runs about $68K, but nearly three-quarters receive merit aid of $17K to 29K.
Admissions representatives said that the fairly selective school yearly holds a “great debate” over whom to admit, based on three levels of admissibility: capable, competitive, compelling. An admissible student needs to be a least “capable” of handling the work at DU, as shown by GPA trends, coursework, and especially junior year grades. Hundreds of capable students are waitlisted or denied each year for downward trends, weak curriculum, or disciplinary infractions. “Compelling” students show strength in the context of their situation. (Note: This shows how important essays and recommendations are, especially since DU is test optional.)
Ruefully, reps admitted that University of Denver is “need aware,” though they hope to be need blind one day. Because they don’t meet full demonstrated need, they try not to admit anyone who is gapped more than $10K based on the CSS Profile.
Students with learning differences obtain accommodations through the Disability Services Program. In addition, there’s a fee-based Learning Effectiveness Program to help students with LDs “achieve at a high academic level.”
Strong programs include international studies, hospitality management, psychology, and biology; they’re also known for creative writing and music. All the engineering programs are ABET accredited, and four years ago DU opened a new, state-of-the-art engineering and computer science building. The cities of Denver and Boulder provide lots of internships for engineers and computer scientists. An entrepreneurial spirit at DU connects business with engineering and computer science. Denver also offers dual-degree programs in accounting, law, and education.
Denver does track demonstrated interest, so if you’re interested, communicate with admissions.