The state of Wyoming has a lot of land, some of it overwhelmingly beautiful, but very few people. In fact, despite being able to fit 80 Rhode Islands into the state’s area (with room to spare), Wyoming has only 586,107 people—the lowest total of any state in America. So if you’re looking for open skies and open ranges, this is the place to be. Many people call Yellowstone National Park, located mostly in Wyoming, the most beautiful place in the country.
But with so few people, Wyoming does not offer quite as many options for future college students as other states do. The only-longstanding four-year college in the state is the public University of Wyoming. But it is now not the only one. In 2011, a second four-year college graduated its first class of students: Wyoming Catholic College.
Since these are the only four-year colleges in the state, we’ve decided to include both of them in our ranking. Unfortunately, because Wyoming Catholic College is so new relative to most other colleges, our databases and ranking tools do not yet have enough statistics about it to generate a proper numerical score. Nevertheless, we’ve included it underneath our full assessment of University of Wyoming, just so you know about both of Wyoming’s great colleges.
What are the best colleges in Wyoming?
Our statistical ranking is performed using three different factors: institutional excellence, return on investment, and student satisfaction. Institutional excellence is assessed using the National Center for Education Statistics’ IPEDS database and the data of U.S. News & World Report. We look for data points including test scores of incoming students, endowment size, and student-to-faculty ratio. Return on investment is a measurement of what a college students gains financially from their education. It weighs tuition against the expected early career salary of a graduate. The student satisfaction factor aggregates student reviews from a variety of outlets to gauge how pleased students are with their school.
University of Wyoming
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $29,909
University of Wyoming was founded in 1886 in Laramie, Wyoming, part of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains and an 1860s railroad town. Today, UW’s 785-acre campus is 7,220 feet above sea level. They also provide several satellite locations at local community college campuses so residents don’t have to relocate to Laramie. The UW museums have over 8,000 artworks and a 75-foot long Brontosaurus Skeleton.
University of Wyoming offers 80 majors for over 10,000 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 15-to-1. Nearly 38% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, student can access over 200 student organizations. University of Wyoming participates in NCAA Division I sports teams. Top majors include:
- Criminal Justice & Safety Studies
In the October 2016 edition, Backpacker Magazine ranked UW #3 for their Outdoor School program. You can find over 30 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails, 300 miles of snowmobiling and 100 miles of mountain bike trails. That doesn’t even include the other activities like fishing, rock climbing or the national forest. If you like your adventures – UW is the place to be.
Wyoming Catholic College
College Choice Score: N/A
Average Net Price: $31,300
Wyoming Catholic College was founded in 2004 in Lander, Wyoming, based on the work of Bishop David Ricken, Fr. Robert Cook, and Dr. Robert Carlson. The College opened its doors in 2007 with two “main campuses” within easy walking distance – the Holy Rosary Catholic Church (residential Halls) and the Downtown Center – main activity center of the college. They also have additional campuses in Broken Anvil Ranch, Lander Old Timer’s Riding Arena, Sinks Canyon State Park and several Fitness locations to supplement facilities. They have pre-accreditation status from the Higher Learning Commission but they will not accept Title IV Federal Funds.
Wyoming Catholic College offers a 4-year integrated curriculum based on their Great Books curriculum. They offer a single degree: Bachelor of Arts in Liberal studies. There are currently 155 undergraduate students – their goal is 400 residential students. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 10-to-1.
Lander, Wyoming, is a small town of 7,700 permanent residents in the Popo Agie River on the southeastern edge of the Wind River Mountain Range. Students spend nearly 10 weeks out in the wilderness backpacking, adventuring, studying or learning to ride a horse at a ranch through the Outdoor Program.