A little while back, I took a road trip within Colorado, having driven there to visit clients in Boulder. One parent had great things to say about Fort Lewis College, a place I’d heard about for years and have occasionally included in college lists. I’d never seen Fort Lewis, so I decided to make the drive to Durango to investigate (Durango’s reputation as a spectacular hub for outdoor activities and mountain biking may have fed an ulterior motive, as I had my bike in the back of my truck).
Fort Lewis did not disappoint.
One of Colorado’s small, public colleges (Fort Lewis enrolls 3,800 students; see also Western State Colorado University in Gunnison and Adams State University in Alamosa), Fort Lewis is focused on the liberal arts. One of several colleges offering free tuition to Native American students, it hosts students from 48 states and 155 Indian Tribes and Native Alaskan villages. Perched on a foothill above Durango at 6,800 feet, Fort Lewis features views of snow-capped mountains from its attractive facilities.
With tuition, room, and board totaling just $18,000 for residents and $28,000 for non-residents, Fort Lewis offers small college benefits at bargain rates (our tour guide, a science major, said that she knows her professors well and that they take note when she is not in class).
Academics seem to be as rigorous as students wish to make them; our guide studies 4 to 5 hours a day in addition to going to class, but she has friends in other majors who invest less time. There are lots of things to do in and around campus, from intramurals to outing club activities (gear is available to students for a nominal fee), to nearby skiing. Because I visited on the last day of finals I did not see a large number of students, but those I did see represented a wide range of personalities. The town of Durango is an economically vibrant community of 18,000, with many restaurants and a real downtown.
In terms of selectivity, Fort Lewis College is pretty accessible, meaning that it would fall on the safer end of a lot of students’ lists.