Central Washington University sits in the small rodeo town of Ellensburg, Washington. You can fill in the details yourself, of which there are few. It’s a boring town. Luckily, most college kids I’ve met would rather waste time trying to think up new activities than studying, but that is certainly another story for another day.

CWU is known for having an excellent accounting program and a very good construction management program. Central graduates usually dominate the top in-state scores on CPA exams. I am unaware of specific construction management statistics/awards, so I’ll save you from any steaming piles of BS I may be able to cook up. Central is also building a new music hall and has plans to finish a new student building in a few years. The main colleges are:

  • Arts & Humanities
  • Business
  • Education & Profession Studies
  • Sciences

The current student:teacher ratio is about 21:1. You would be hard-pressed to find any TA’s teaching classes, as one of Central’s main selling points is the faculty’s accessibility. Some entry-level classes can be 100-seat lecture courses, but after one or two of those you rarely see classes exceeding 40 students.

Vital statistics to prospective students:

Tuition per year (rises almost annually): $3650
Fast food restaurants within a one mile radius of campus: Taco Bell on campus (can even pay for it with meal card, but very expensive), Jack in the Box, Dairy Queen
Fast food restaurants in town: Jack in the Box, Dairy Queen (2), Subway (2), McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell (2), Arby’s, probably one or two others
Pizza chains: Papa John’s, Papa Murphy’s, Pizza Hut, Domino’s
Main party nights: Friday and Wednesday (hump day)
"All-purpose" store: Fred Meyer, a few miles from campus. No Wal-Mart.
Nearest Starbucks: Damn you, Seattle. It’s right across the friggin' street from campus.
General campus parking: Shitty. What do you expect? I got a flyer in the mail the other day saying Central has the most parking spaces per student than any other public university in Washington. Take it for what it's worth.
Freshman dorm life: Small, small rooms to share with one roommate (usually). Two Ethernet hookups, one TV hookup, two small desks, two closets, two beds, one minifridge and microwave, one window and one door (A door? Sweet). You get your choice of a floor of the same gender or mixed. Pick mixed, you damn E2 recluse. Develop some interpersonal skills, become friends with your hot next-door neighbor. I’m usually not the guy to come to for advice, but trust me on this: the easiest opportunity you will ever have to make friends at college is with your freshman dorm neighbors.
Dorm internet access: T3 line, but bandwidth limitations everywhere you look. P2P applications were recently banned on all university connections. Shitty overall connection unless all you do is check your e-mail and talk on IM.
Best place to meet the opposite sex (besides your dorm, the bars and class): "Rock-A-Bowl" at the bowling alley, Wednesday nights. College radio station shows up to DJ. Usually a good turnout.
Bowling alley: Right next to campus.
Cafeteria: Meal plan works well. Pretty much treated like a debit card. No limits on meals for friends or anything like that. Buy food until you run out of money, then live off your friend with the huge meal plan until the next quarter. Cafeteria food, on the other hand, sucks. Obviously. Hope you like pasta every day. And in the astronomical chance you are reading this before you attend CWU, do not get Tomassito's pizza every day for your first week. Again, trust me.
Intramural program: Decently organized. They keep tinkering with it so I won’t post any specifics for they would be quickly outdated. Generally good competition because everyone wants the t-shirt you get if you win.
Sports events: If you attend sports games as a social gathering, you have three dates to mark each year: the Homecoming football game, the Western football game, and the Western men’s basketball game. Other than that, you might find some decent turnouts at other various games, but nothing worth noting here.
Nearest shopping mall: Yakima, 30-35 minutes due south. And don’t look for anything mind-blowing there.
Campus radio station preferences: Insane amounts of techno/trance/whatever, with healthy doses of songs you’ve never heard with some classic rock thrown in. Similar to what I've heard from friends elsewhere.
Description of the weather for those living on the west side of the Cascades: Rarely rains. Hot for the first week or two of school. First snowfall due around mid-November, constant snow on the ground until mid-January at least. Spring is generally pretty warm, and hot again for the last couple weeks of school. If you haven’t figured it out, the summers are hot.