Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sonoma State University Highlights

Some counselor colleagues and I took an extensive tour of Sonoma State University’s campus yesterday.  What a beautiful place and convenient location—a two hours drive from the Bay Area, just far enough away for many students, with easy access both to the coast and to the Sierra Nevada mountains.

In addition to admiring the bucolic campus, we were impressed by the residential housing for undergraduates, particularly the freshman complex where all students are in themed units divided in
suites combining singles and doubles.  More than fifty percent of sophomores also live on campus and upper class students find affordable apartments and houses to share nearby.
While the university’s most popular majors include business, psychology, sociology, biology and kinesiology our tour guide also noted the criminal justice and environmental studies majors and highlighted the competitive pre-nursing and BS Nursing program.  I was particularly struck by Sonoma’s State faculty/student ratio of fewer than 30 students per class.  

Another innovative program is the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies where students can simultaneously pursue an inter-disciplinary major and earn an elementary education teaching credential in four years.  This program gives students a chance to interact in small seminars with impressive faculty in art history, history of science, geography, and anthropology, among other disciplines and reminds me of similar programs in private liberal arts colleges.

Finally, we had a chance to tour Sonoma’s new (2011) world-class Green Music Center, which brings renowned musicians in all many genres to exquisitely designed Weill Hall and not only gives Sonoma State students access to concerts but also is used by the Music Department for performances and rehearsals. 

Students and families considering a relatively low-cost school with impressive programs, small classes, excellent residential options, and an attractive location, should add Sonoma State University to their college list.

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