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Colorado School of Mines and the Student Experience

On a recent visit to the Colorado School of Mines campus, I was struck by the unique offerings provided in order to enhance the student experience.  Since Mines is known for its strong engineering program, I think it often carries the stigma that students only have time to study and do not have a life outside of the classroom.

While there are some students who choose to stick to focusing on their academics, Mines does provide ample opportunities to get the most out of your college experience beyond the classroom walls.

As at many schools, first year students at Mines are required to live on-campus.  This provides students with opportunities for social engagement with their peers.  Their new residence hall opening this fall will provide an amazing new on-campus living option.

Beyond housing, students are very involved in clubs and organizations.  First year students are required to join a club and with 150 options to choose from, everyone can find something they are interested in.  Another interesting factor is that the Mines chapter of the Society of Women Engineers is the largest in the country, showing that their is very strong support for female engineers on campus.

Mines students are also very active.  Students can take advantage of the Colorado outdoors by renting camping or skiing gear from an on campus store.  85% of students are also involved in intramural sports. From chess to action kart racing, Mines students have a wide variety of options available to them.  Students are also encouraged to exercise more than their brain by being required to complete four physical education classes.

Students also have the opportunity to relieve stress before finals by participating in “Engineering Days”.  This is a week of organized activities where students are encouraged to “let off steam”.  Past highlights have included concerts, comedians, firework displays and even a petting zoo.

Another unique student experience is the annual rock tradition.  Each entering student is asked to bring a 10 lb rock from their hometown (and yes they do weigh them!).  During orientation, first year students learn the Mines school song as the climb up the mountain that stands just beyond school grounds.  The rocks are white washed and added to the large M that hovers over Golden, Colorado.  Just before graduation, seniors then trek back up to the M and bring one rock down, bringing their student experience at Mines full circle.

Katherine Price

Educational Consultant

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