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...
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
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