College: University of Portland
Location: Portland, Oregon
Type of Institution: Private Catholic university
Size: 3,600 undergraduate students
Admissions Advice: University of Portland is big on demonstrated interest in the application process, meaning it is beneficial for students to tour the campus, interact with admission counselors, and submit their applications early for best consideration. Though the university is not considered highly selective (~60% admission rate), the average GPA of admitted students is fairly high at 3.63 and they also pay close attention to rigor and test scores.
Most popular majors: Business, Nursing, Engineering, Elementary Education, Communication
Words to describe students I met: Friendly, career-oriented, religious or interested in religion/faith, diligent, interested in helping others
Unique academic aspects: University of Portland students are very hard-working and focused, with a good percentage majoring in areas with a clear path to employment upon graduating (Nursing, Business, Engineering). The Nursing program in particular is very popular and has great ties to Portland’s many major hospitals and clinics. My guide couldn’t stop gushing about her experience in the program and the varied clinical rotations she’s been able to do so far. Business majors are required to do an internship to graduate, with many taking advantage of local companies such as Nike, Columbia, Adidas, Intel, and others.
Unique social/cultural aspects: For a small school, University of Portland takes athletics pretty seriously and there is a ton of school spirit. The university doesn’t have a football team, so soccer and basketball in particular rule this campus. Intramurals and weekend outdoor trips are also huge here, so it is a great fit for the active student who wants top-notch athletics facilities but at a smaller university.
The campus is located just a few miles north of Portland, so moving off campus in junior or senior year is very common. That’s probably also a product of the strict rules in the dorms. Priests or professors live in many of the dorms, as well as graduate students and other adult figures. My guide spent a lot of time reviewing all of the rules and regulations about quiet hours, opposite gender student visitors, etc. so it makes sense that students are interested in moving off-campus for their upperclassmen years.
Colleges that seem similar: Gonzaga University, Villanova University, Marquette University, Seattle University, Santa Clara University
Concerns about this college: University of Portland is not afraid of its Catholic roots, and this can be felt very clearly throughout campus, from required courses to fairly strict rules in the dorms. Though only 50% of students identify as Catholic, and only a percentage of those students actually actively practice their religion, the university still takes this mission very seriously. Because students have to take several Catholicism and religion classes to graduate, I would hesitate to recommend UP to students who do not have a strong interest in exploring faith and religion.
Additionally, I hesitate to recommend UP to students who require a significant amount of need-based financial aid. The university is not able to meet full need for any student; however, they do give very generous merit scholarships. This makes the university an excellent option for families who are too wealthy to qualify for aid.
Overall impressions: University of Portland is a college that has been coming up on my students’ lists more and more over the the last year, particularly after positive campus visit experiences. I had a great visit as well, and especially loved seeing many campus improvements such as the amazing athletics facilities and student center (Pilot House). The university’s more balanced/neutral political vibe contrasts with the extremely left-leaning city of Portland, making it an interesting place for students to experience a bit of everything. It is a great option for students who want a beautiful traditional campus with fairly easy access to a major city, students who are already focused on careers such as Nursing or Business, and students who want a close-knit and very supportive community.