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At the time of my admission this was the most affordable option and being so isolated, was the most "out-of-state" feeling campus in California. Fog drenched redwoods and gorgeous, desolate beaches nearby-who could ask for anything more (at least to this nature nerd)? Arcata and Eureka are charmers too but don't expect big city amenities at all. Eureka has a scuzzy looking mall from the highway. Ignore that and explore the quaint downtown instead. Arcata will always be my adopted hometown and wish I could visit more often but my career took me to the east coast, oh well…I got into a more "name" school but decided to go here for my undergraduate education due to the biology department's small size, individual focus and reasonable tuition/cost of living. I saved the elite research university scene for my graduate work (where it matters the most anyways) and was grateful for the attention I was given working directly with a PhD faculty member on a research project. That genuinely helped give me confidence as budding scientist. The downside to Humboldt's isolation is the difficulty getting internships. At least in the chemistry/biochemistry/cell. biology departments, outside of a faculty member's lab, if you want to get that important experience as an intern, you generally need to decamp for the summer to a big city where the big companies and research institutes are located. Then there is the downside of the absence of networking opportunities with research big-wigs one would get at a large university. There's also an obvious drug culture in the area. Anecdotally, in my circle of friends, no one smoked, as most of the hard-core stoners either drop out or move away rather quickly. By the time you get into the upper division course work (at least in biology), they aren't in your classes anymore. Instead, you will meet more and more uniquely bright and driven people who love where they chose to call home. That said, if you love the outdoors, a smallish liberal arts college type environment and have an individualistic streak, then Humboldt is the way to go.
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