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Awesome College Choices in Alaska

Awesome College Choices in Alaska
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4. Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage.

Originally Alaska Methodist University and still affiliated with its Methodist roots, this beautiful school sits on 175 acres with modern buildings, grass, wooded trails and mountains in the distance. It is a private liberal arts and sciences school boasting experiential and hands-on instruction with learning in the field. And what a great field to learn in! Your classroom could be anywhere.

Courses of study include liberal arts, outdoor and environmental studies, marine biology, earth science, and counseling psychology. Master’s degrees offered at APU are in the areas of counseling psychology, environmental science, health services, information technology, business, and outdoor and environmental education. Students can also earn a graduate certificate in entrepreneurship and investment, as well as a doctorate in counseling. Temperatures here range from -20 to the 60’s.

Tuition, fees, room and board, and books costs about $27,880. annually.


3. University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

Burntorange72 at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Burntorange72 at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Fairbanks is a city of about 32,000 and is the second largest city in Alaska. It sits on the banks of the Chena River. Students at the university can take a bus or bike to the downtown. Originally people came seeking gold, but now a big employer is the oil industry and the pipeline. Buildings in town are a mix of old and new.

Fairbanks is 358 miles north of Anchorage and has temperatures averaging from 17 below zero in the winter to 73 degrees above in the summer. There are 21 hours of sun in the summer and less than 3 hours in the winter. But the winter brings its own treats-dog racing and the Aurora Borealis. You cannot enjoy either in the summer, but you can enjoy outdoor hiking and fun in the summer.

The university has about 9800 students on campus with 58% being female and 42% male. Students come from most Alaskan communities and from 49 states and 48 countries. The population is a mix of 19% Alaskan Native/American Indian, 2% Asian, .8% Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 45% Caucasian, 29% unknown, and 2% African American. Flags outside the Wood Center Student Union represent the countries students are from, and change every year.

The modern looking campus is 2250 acres with two lakes, trails, green space and of course an indoor recreation center. There are 9 colleges offering 146 degrees and 31 certificates. Varsity sports are DI and DII. There are over 100 clubs and organizations including the German Club, the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE), and Greek Life, to name a few. Some of the more popular majors are Fisheries, Interdisciplinary, Business Administration, Counseling, Biological Sciences, and Education. The UAF has multiple campuses that include community college, technical school and continuing education as well as online options. This is a happening place and as previously mentioned, the UAF is dedicated to serving the Alaskan Native population’s needs by offering degrees that are needed for success in the wide ranging and rural communities.

Tuition, room and board cost about $15,706. annually.


2. University of Alaska Southeast, Juneau

By Alan Wu - Flickr: Downtown Juneau with Mount Juneau rising in the background, CC BY-SA 2.0
By Alan WuFlickr: Downtown Juneau with Mount Juneau rising in the background, CC BY-SA 2.0

The University of Alaska Southeast is located in the Alaskan capital of Juneau which has about 31,000 inhabitants. The government, tourism, mining and fishing are the largest employers. The downtown has buildings from the Gold Rush era, historical saloons, art galleries, shopping, museums, and interesting churches. There is also the Alaskan Brewing Company for all brewfest fans, 21 and over, and restaurants.

Where else can you go whale watching, see bears roaming around town as well as in the forrest, scan the skies for bald eagles and the water for seals? You can go hiking or kayaking or visit the Mendenhall Glacier.

Juneau is a great place to study environmental science, as well as many other things. It is 600 air miles southeast of Anchorage in the panhandle of Southeast Alaska, meaning the weather is different here. Temps range from 44 to 66 degrees in the summer to 25-35 degrees in the winter. This is the mildest climate zone in Alaska. The area gets about 60 inches of rain annually and 101 inches of snow. But it is a beautiful setting near the Tongass National Forest and Juneau Icefield.

The university has many clubs and organizations such as the Ladies and Gentlemen Ice Cream Society, the Wooch.een which is a club focused on expanding knowledge in regards to local tribes, the state’s cultural and social issues to the Hiking Club, and if none of them fit you, you can start a new one. Or get involved with student government.

There are many outdoor activities and you can even get a certificate for skills and leadership. All athletics are intramural. There are two other campuses and all are small. Total population is about 4000. There are four academic schools offering many options for certificates, associate, bachelor, and graduate degrees. Yes, this is a small place, but in a remarkable area. You could research Alaskan rainforests. You could attend the Technical Education Center in downtown Juneau. This is a truly neat place.

Tuition, books, room and board, and miscellaneous fees run around $19,015.annually. Students with parents or grandparents from Alaska are eligible for in-state tuition.


1. University of Alaska,  Anchorage

By Frank K. from Anchorage, Alaska, USA - View of Anchorage from Earthquake Park, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3549286
By Frank K. from Anchorage, Alaska, USA – View of Anchorage from Earthquake Park, CC BY 2.0

The University of Alaska, Anchorage, is a public research college. It is the largest university in the state and when including the 4 community college campuses it puts the enrollment over 20,000, with over 16,000 students on the Anchorage campus. The university is located in the heart of the largest city in Alaska, surrounded by lakes, ponds, wildlife and connected to the city-wide trail system.

UAA has over 113 clubs and organizations and 5 Greek organizations. One interesting opportunity offered by UAA is the Bartlett lecture series. It is named for one of Alaska’s first senators and focuses on lectures highlighting issues of national and international interest. The goal is sharing ideas and walking away with a greater understanding of other positions.

UAA has DI and DII sports. Students can attain professional certificates, associate, bachelor and graduate degrees. How about getting an associate or bachelor degree in one of several areas of aviation, such as air traffic control, professional piloting, aviation administration, and maintenance? Those are just some examples of the many offerings at UAA. Other popular courses of study include business, health professions, engineering, psychology and social sciences.

It has been named a Tree Campus and is close to Goose Lake Park.There are many paved outdoor trails as well as a raised indoor system that runs through the campus from building to building.

Temperatures in Anchorage are 55 to 78 in the summer and 5 to 30 in the winter. Average snowfall is about 75 inches. The sun does set for a few hours in the summer and is up for several hours in the winter. The airport in Anchorage is the third busiest in the world for cargo. Major employers are transportation, military, government, tourism, and multinational corporate headquarters. It’s a busy place.

UAA students come from all over Alaska, 50 states and U.S. territories and over 30 countries. Demographics breakdown as follows, roughly 58% White, 10% two races or more, 7% American Indian/Alaskan Native, 7% Asian, 7% Hispanic, 4% Black, 5% unknown, and 2% nonresident alien.

Tuition, room and board, fees, and books run around $18, 260. annually.


Love Adventure and the Outdoors? Consider Attending School in Alaska.

I hope you have found inspiration in this article. Alaska is beautiful and for those living there, why leave? Seek out your dreams in your home state. Find a career that supports your community. What a wonderful opportunity to be true to your heritage while fulfilling your desires to be all you can.

Imagine studying environmental science in outdoor classrooms on a glacier or in a forest. Think of the wildlife available to observe. Apply for financial assistance and see what might be available. Make use of the online degrees or blended learning options if that fits your lifestyle. Good luck and take advantage of all that your state has to offer.


Featured Image: Some rights reserved by Alaskan Dude

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