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  • Writer's pictureNancy Adis

CO School of Mines - Key Focus on Innovation in STEM and Science

This public R-1 research university for engineering and applied science serves approximately 7,500 students on the Golden, Colorado campus, at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Mechanical engineering is the most popular major, but there are programs in forty other areas -  all focused on innovation and enhancing student’s skills in problem solving, teamwork, and critical thinking. They also offer accelerated degree options with combined bachelor’s and master’s degrees obtained in five years.

With a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio and an average class size of 34, classroom connections provide students with opportunities to participate in cutting-edge research and strengthen industry connections, entrepreneurial mindsets, and global focus. The university has a hands-on focus for student learning in 27 research centers and 10 makerspaces and workshops - including a quantum theory lab, robotics lab, innovation center, foundry (with free pour Fridays for students), glass-blowing studio, museum of earth science with geology trail, and more!

Students, called Orediggers, have access to a wide variety of extracurricular options, including NCAA Division II, intramural, and club sports teams, over 250 student groups, 6 honors and scholars programs (with living-learning communities), and many outdoor adventure activities.  With 24 miles of trails, 300+ days of sunshine per year, and easy access to mountains and mesas, many students partake in biking, hiking, and skiing.

The campus is ranked as the safest in Colorado and while Golden (with just over 20,000 residents) has a small-town vibe, it also offers a vibrant community of restaurants, breweries, arts and music festivals, and recreational outfitters drawing many vacationers.  In addition they are just 15-20 minutes away from downtown Denver which is easily accessible by car, bus and light rail (with a free pass for students).

The university is celebrating their 150th year in 2024 and highlighting their special focus areas of Earth, Energy, Environment and Materials in which they have some unique offerings.  For example, they have one of the few Metallurgical and Materials Engineering programs in the country that still focuses on the complete materials cycle from mineral processing to finished advanced materials. 

I loved learning about some of the Colorado School of Mines’ interesting traditions.  When they start in fall, new students are cheered on by current students as they climb Mt. Zion to drop off a 10 pound rock from their hometown, adding it to the giant M on the hill overlooking campus.  They have annual Engineering Days with three days of celebration including concerts, engineering-themed games, and fireworks. Also, what’s not to love about the silver-plated diploma each graduate receives at graduation?

As it's a public institution, Colorado students pay approximately $23K less than out-of-state students yearly. Admissions are competitive and require strong high school preparation in math and science coursework.  They are a test optional institution and offer Early Action admissions timing for merit scholarship consideration (with a number of scholarships available for both in- and out-of-state applicants).

If you are interested in STEM or applied science fields, Colorado School of Mines may be a great fit for you.  They offer weekday campus visits and have an upcoming April Preview Day.  The admissions office also helps to facilitate connections for department or faculty member visits with advance notice.  If you cannot make it to campus, the virtual tour on their website offers many great insights.

Confident College Planning helps students identify their core interests and competencies, and assists with the alignment between their career options and the colleges that excel in preparation for that chosen career. If you would like professional guidance for the critical milestones and best practice insights into the college selection process, contact me at to schedule a consultation!

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