Located at Lake Tahoe, California, Sugar Bowl Academy is a fully accredited college preparatory high school for competitive skiers. It's a world-class ski academy for Alpine, Nordic and Freeride athletes.

Pacific Northwest College Tour

By Karen Rowe Faculty

Visiting college campuses has always been one of the highlights of my profession.

Meeting with admission representatives, walking the campus, talking with current students and soaking up the personality of each school allows for me to picture who from SBA may be a potential fit.

During November camp, I visited the Pacific Northwest and had the opportunity to experience five distinct colleges. See if you can guess what colleges I visited in this area of the country…

College #1

I saw my name in lights when I walked into the admissions office, which looked like a remodeled historic home. “Welcome Karen Rowe, Sugar Bowl Academy” flashed across a flat screen television on the wall.

When I checked in at the desk, I was asked for my home address so that this college could ship me a box of sweet onions. That’s a first.

I waited in the lobby, excited for the tour to start. The room resembled a home from the colonial times. Logan, a senior studying Politics, introduced himself and off we went to stroll through this small, test optional (as of last year), liberal arts campus of roughly 1500 students.

The first thing I noticed was the sculptures around each corner, near the quad, outside each building. Logan explained that there were over 100 on this 117-acre campus. My favorites were “Fish Lemon Bowl" and "Styx” (pictured above).

Students said hello to me as they walked to class, always a sign of a welcoming community. You would be surprised at how many times I have been on a campus where no one speaks to you, knowing you are learning about his or her school.

If not in Greek housing most students live in traditional dorms, which surround a traditional green quad. This is the home of the Sweets, their nationally-ranked Ultimate Frisbee team. In addition to 15 division 3 sports, this school also has club Alpine and Nordic skiing, where members travel 45 minutes to the Bluewood Mountains or, “The Blues.”  

Posters in the student union let me know of this school’s extensive and active outdoor club as well as highlighted the Sweet Onion Crank Festival, surely to please any rock-climbing enthusiast.

Small classrooms eluded to the fact students would not be enrolled in anything larger than 40, and the tour of the library let me know the Allen Reading Room, aka quiet room, was unlike any I had seen before. Each night, the last student to leave this study space signs a notebook that lives on the fireplace mantel. They leave parting thoughts, odd wisdom, and written slices of college life. Volumes of these collections of caffeine-filled, after-midnight anecdotes lined the walls, a college with a quirky sense of humor.

We passed an outdoor amphitheater where during freshmen orientation, upperclassmen share stories of struggles they have had and how this college stepped in. A college that wants their first message to be that they care, I like that.

Any SBA student seeking a liberal arts education, in a supportive, outdoorsy, and active community in a small town so quaint they say it twice, should look here.

Want to learn more about this college? Click here.

College #2

Similar to schools like Santa Clara University and Georgetown University, this college of 5,000 students is also Jesuit, which means it is a branch of the Catholic religion, but not a religious school.

Students who attend a Jesuit school do not have to attend a mandatory mass, however, they are very vested in community service. Last year, its students tallied 100,000 hours of service in the local area.

Nursing, Engineering and Business are the most competitive and popular majors and students are very happy to be a member of the Bulldog community, boasting a 92% retention rate.

The average accepted applicant has a 3.79 un-weighted GPA and a 28 ACT/1260 SAT score. These accepted students quickly become avid men’s basketball fans, as this team is no stranger to the NCAA basketball tournament Final Four and championship game.

A love for the outdoors binds students together and weekend trips can include adventures into to Big Sky Ski Resort, Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park and Schweitzer Ski Resort.

I asked students and admission representatives what they are known for and the overwhelming response was, “We tend to hold doors for people for an awkwardly long time.”

Learn more about this college here

College # 3

Top ten things to know about this State University …

10. Upon entering the town where this school is located, I felt like I was transported the “Friday Night Lights” town of Dylan, Texas, where every member of that town is a football fan of the school. Banners are hung on every street pole and in every store window front.

9. This school is part of the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) and students from California would be eligible to receive a $10,000 renewable scholarship if they attend.

8. A creamery is on this campus where you can buy ice cream and cheeses made from scratch, right on location.

7. This large research university of roughly 25,000 undergraduate students choose from 11 colleges to study pretty much anything ... Agriculture Science, Veterinary Medicine, Education, Engineering, Communication, Business, Nursing, Pharmacy, Arts and Sciences.

6. Research is a huge part of the undergraduate experience for students in all majors.

5. School spirit and pride oozes from every current student and alumni, which totals 214,381 worldwide.

4. 20% of the student population is a member of a Greek organization.

3. It’s nickname is “Wazzu.”

2. Their mascot is the cougar.

1. Our own Kristen and Andy G. are alumni of this university

Learn more about this university here!

College #4

Attending a very large university (62,923 students on two campuses) requires for a student to be independent, outgoing and confidant. Attending an international university of this size requires a student to be all of these things, as well as primed for adventure. I learned the following ten things upon my visit to Canada to see this beautiful, lush campus with easy access to the ocean and the mountains.

10. This campus is like its own city, containing police and fire departments, museums, restaurants, and a hospital.

9. Knowing the campus is large, it was designed with classes off the central “main mall” area so students are able to move from class to class in a 10-15 minute window of time.

8. Being the first in North America to adapt a sustainability policy, this university incorporates it into each of the 212 majors. “Going green” is an understatement here, a city ranked as #10 in the world as cleanest, according to Forbes magazine.

7. Students can participate in the “Work Learn Experience” where they can take a class paired with a related job for up to 10 hours per week for $16 per hour.

6. A 10-12 day orientation program is offered for students to help with adjustment to campus. This program teaches everything from maneuvering through the campus and city of 2.5 million people, to meeting with professors, learning where classes are located, as well as taking advantage of the outdoors.

5. The cost of tuition plus room and board for a United States student to attend is roughly $45,000. The average cost for a student to attend a school similar in the United States is closer to $50,000- $60,000.

4. Classes are large and often contain clickers to monitor knowledge gained. A professor will often put a question on the screen and students will answer A,B,C,D,E from their clickers.

3. Students at this university and city are active and healthy. This university boasts the largest intramural sports program in North America, there are 3 ice skating rinks, an aquatic center on campus and the city itself publishes that every 1 of 6 people walk or bike to work.

2. The average applicant accepted has an A- unweighted GPA, a 30 and above ACT score and a 1300 or higher SAT score. The application is not on the Common App; rather a student would apply directly from the school’s website and also answer 5-6 short answer questions about themselves.

1.Students who attend college here would have access to an international and cultural hub, a city known as “Hollywood North” for the extensive movies filmed in its location, thousands of internships, six professional sports teams, shopping, easy mass transit, endless restaurants as well as 114 food trucks choices, ocean and mountain activities, and world class skiing at Whistler, just to name a few.

Learn more about this university here.

College #5

More about this university here!


Want to learn more about any of these schools? Send Karen an email at krowe@sbacademy.org!


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