New Mexico Universities

Posted on 18th April 2023

The 2022 International ACAC conference was in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and our counsellors had the opportunity to visit the University of New Mexico, the host institution, and tour some of the other great universities in the state. There are universities with academic opportunities to suit different types of students, and abundant opportunities for students to spend time outside the classroom enjoying the beautiful natural environment.

St. John’s College, Santa Fe

St. John’s College is a unique liberal arts college with campuses in Annapolis, Maryland and Santa Fe.

On our visit to St. John’s Santa Fe campus, we were struck by the peaceful beauty of the campus—it is a low-tech school still mostly using chalkboards-- and by St. John's unique Great Books curriculum. This curriculum is shared by all students; includes classes in philosophy, Classics, politics, science, maths, and music theory; and is centred on reading and small-group discussion of texts. The reading list is over 50 books per year! You can find more about this curriculum here .

There are 350 students at the Santa Fe campus and 450 in Annapolis, so classes are small with a 7:1 student to faculty ratio, making discussions inclusive and meaningful. All students graduate with an interdisciplinary major in the liberal arts, and all professors at St. John's teach the entire interdisciplinary curriculum there, strengthening the sense of community fostered by the small environment. Honing critical thinking and discussion skills like this is valuable for job prospects also: St. John’s graduates have a 100% acceptance rate for law school.

St. John’s Santa Fe campus is located in a striking desert landscape that has cooler temperatures than nearby Albuquerque, so if you love hiking and the outdoors, it's an excellent option. The activities centre has lots of outdoor equipment that is free for students to use as well! Santa Fe also has a vibrant arts scene, with lots of museums including the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and the New Mexico Museum of Art , located near the city’s historic Plaza.

University of New Mexico

The University of New Mexico is a large public university located in Albuquerque, with a great track record for research and generous research funding. The university is notable for providing hands-on experience for those who learn best by doing. It also focuses on inclusivity, and is one of the most diverse institutions in the nation.

UNM’s nuclear engineering programme is excellent, and there is a nuclear reactor on campus. The film school is also highly respected, and there are Netflix studios in Albuquerque, where many UNM alumni currently work-- again offering that hands-on experience to film students.

UNM offers lots of opportunities outside of the classroom as well. The institution is situated in a beautiful natural environment with great weather, abundant opportunities for outdoor activities, and a green campus where you can spot roadrunners and rabbits when walking to class! The New Mexico arts scene is booming, and students can enjoy first Fridays with art, food, and music. Residency is guaranteed for students, and they are even allowed to bring pets to campus with them!

New Mexico Highlands University

New Mexico Highlands University is a small university located in Las Vegas, New Mexico (not the gambling city in Nevada!) with an undergraduate student population of 1400-1800. The ratio of students to professors is 15:1, so students receive lots of personalised attention from professors, staff, and classmates.

Popular majors include education, social work, arts and science, and forestry, and there is also a business school. The university also offers academic partnerships with universities in Denver, Colorado, and El Paso, Texas.

There are ample opportunities for students to enjoy nature: there is skiing within forty-five minutes (and free ski and snowboard rentals provided by the university), meadows, outdoor activities, and hiking. Film buffs will enjoy knowing that Las Vegas, NM is the capital of filming in New Mexico, with casting calls taking place frequently. The town is well connected, with Amtrac trains available from Albuquerque (which also links to New York by train).

It’s also a great place for students who love sports. It is a Division 2 school, offering 11 sports, including men’s rugby, and women’s track (athletics) and football.

The close sense of community and support doesn’t end when students graduate: they are followed after graduation to ensure they have a job and are supported. There are also career fairs and services year-round, plentiful opportunities for internships, and optional practical training one year after graduation.

New Mexico Tech

New Mexico Tech , located in Socorro, New Mexico, focuses on Science, Technology, and Engineering. It has 2,100 students: 80% in-state and 6% international. It is a research university often sponsored by industry: especially NASA (the university has participated in six NASA missions) and the federal government. So, robotics is big, with robotics clubs and societies, robot competitions, and students building NASA-style Rovers and robotic arms. Students also take part in projects for the Department of Defense. There is also a drone room and a bomb range!

Classes are small, with a 12:1 student to faculty ratio. As expected for a technical institute, there is a focus on STEM subjects. There is a math placement, and students must be ready to take calculus classes.

The campus holds one of the largest film sets in the country (used for filming desert scenes), and the university owns an old-style town with vintage bowling alleys, streets, and more. It’s also used in the show Myth Busters, usually for explosions!

The college represents a good value and a good opportunity: once tuition is paid, many other services, like parking and laundry, are free. Merit scholarships are available for international students. Most applicants are admitted and the college is test optional; those students who do choose to test have around 21 on the ACT, or 1070 on the SAT.

Outcomes after graduation are also strong: the average starting salary for graduates is $68,000, and is over $100,000 for engineering graduates. There is a strong alumni base that is great for sharing contacts and networking after graduation.

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