I have to admit that by the end of our tour, we thought we might have seen all that Southern California had to offer in terms of great post-secondary options. Then we landed at the University of San Diego and were so overwhelmed by the environs that we hardly asked any questions. Built right into the mission statement at the founding of the university was the idea that this should be a place of beauty; Princeton Review rates it as the 4th most beautiful campus in the US (I would love to see #1-3) but I can’t imagine anything better than this little slice of heaven. The buildings, both old and new, are in pristine condition; the flora and fauna are impeccably groomed (as are the students); there is a feeling of serenity on campus. All this and fantastic programs, facilities, and people.
This campus houses about 5500 undergrad students and 2500 graduate students. 55% of the students self-identify as Catholic and there is a requirement for all students to have coursework in world religions, but students of all faiths and walks of life attend. Sustainability, global mindedness, and service are all focus areas for the college, and they have a reputation for being a “campus with a conscience.” Business, law, biology and nursing are all very popular majors, and the Div I athletic teams provide lots of opportunity for showing school spirit.
We heard that experiential and service learning are embedded in many aspects of course work and work experience options. The students engage regularly with communities just across the border in Mexico, as well as with many agencies right in San Diego. Want to apply for an internship at Sea World? Become a USD student. Looking for Peace and Justice Studies and hoping for an audience with the Dalai Lama? That, too, is possible. And the campus is 10 minutes from the beach. I’ll stop now. You get the idea of the impression it made on me!