The Baptist Church helped found and establish a new college in New Mexico in the 1950s. The college operated for a handful of years as a community/junior college that offered both vocational and professional training programs. Students either went to work right after graduating or transferred to another school. Citing the need for a university capable of awarding bachelor degrees to students, that school became the College of the Southwest in the early 1960s. After adding master and doctoral programs, the college changed its name to the University of the Southwest in more recent years to reflect its diverse course and program offerings.
Though the university has a large campus, many of its students choose to live at home or off campus and commute to school or take online classes. The campus has just one residence hall with space for less than 200 students. Those living off campus often come to the school for major events like the annual Jack Maddox Distinguished Lecture Series and Spring Fest. Those activities and other features of the university led to U.S. News and World Report naming it the 13th best university in the western region of the country. The University of the Southwest continually adds new programs and activities to better meet the needs of its students.
University of the Southwest Accreditation Details
Students often have a hard time deciding which college or university to attend. While looking at the programs offered, history of professors and other factors, they should also consider whether the school has any form of accreditation. General accreditation refers to the accreditation given to a college from a regional or national organization that allows it the right to grant and award degrees. Specialty accreditation, also known as program accreditation, refers to the accreditation given to specific programs offered by the school. The best colleges typically have both specialty/program and general accreditation.
Not only does the University of the Southwest have general accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, but it is also a member of some top education organizations and has specialty accreditation for some of its unique programs. The University of the Southwest is a member of the Yes We Must Coalition, Council of Independent Colleges, New Mexico Independent College Fund and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Membership in the NAIA allows the university to offer college sports teams and allow athletes to play against other teams in the NAIA. The University of the Southwest also takes part in other programs designed to lower the costs that students pay for tuition.
University of the Southwest Application Requirements
The University of the Southwest follows a rolling admissions that allows students to apply at any point throughout the year. As the university does not have an application deadline, students can apply for admission and start classes the following semester. The university does, however, require that all applicants follow several steps. The first step is the completion of an online application packet. This application asks students about where they attended school, if they have any credits to transfer, whether they took one of the standardized tests, where they currently live and their hobbies and activities.
All students will need to submit transcripts as well. Students who went through a home school program and do not have official transcripts will need to create a detailed portfolio that explains the work they did at the high school level and how their experience will help them in college. Students transferring from another accredited college or university and those who have college credit will need to submit transcripts from that school as part of the application process. Students must also request that the ACT or SAT send the scores they received on that test to the university. The University of the Southwest will contact most students within a few weeks regarding their acceptance.
Tuition and Fees
The University of the Southwest follows a traditional semester program of 16 weeks per semester. Students taking a full course load of 12 credit hours will pay around $6,200 each semester, which equates to $522 per credit hour. Those living on campus will also pay between $2,000 and $2,500 per semester for housing and $1,500 to $1,600 for a meal plan. The University of the Southwest also has housing available for married students that lets them live in an apartment on campus for a little over $800 per month. Tuition rates for online students is much lower at $425 per credit hour. Unlike other colleges, the University of the Southwest does not charge online students any technology or similar fees.
Though the cost of taking classes online is less expensive, many students will still need some form of financial assistance. The federal government offers assistance to students who complete and submit the Free Application for Student Financial Aid. Also known as the FAFSA, the form requires that dependent students use their parents’ or guardians’ financial information and that independent students use their own financial information. Some of the more common type of aid packages available to students include subsidized and unsubsidized student loans, government grants, work-study programs and scholarships.
Forensic Psychology Program
Many colleges in the country only offer a general psychology degree. Students interested in a specialized topic like forensic psychology will need to attend graduate school. The University of the Southwest is one of the few colleges in the nation that offers a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Psychology. This program delves deep into the technology and science of forensics, including how psychologists administer and evaluate patients. Named one of the best value forensic programs in the United States, some call it one of the best programs of its type as well.
Students typically complete around 50 credit hours of basic and introductory work, including courses on statistics, research methods and college writing. They then take advanced classes that cover topics like abnormal psychology, childhood and adult development and social psychology. As part of their later years, students will also take seminars on specialized topics withing forensic and criminal psychology that look at popular court cases. These seminars require that students write a detailed research paper on a topic that relates to the class. The University of the Southwest offers its forensic psychology program as an online only program that allows students to work in the field as they learn.