Why? That is the wrong question. What you should ask is “why not”? Well, since you asked, let me explain why you should consider UW – the University of Wyoming. But first, let me tell you a little bit about myself. 

I was born and raised in the city of Jinan, Shandong province in China. I later went to Shandong University for my undergraduate and graduate studies.  At that time, not much was known about universities in the US and I had never heard about Wyoming and the University of Wyoming. Even I did, at that time, as an undergraduate, I could not afford to come to study in the US anyway. I feel, therefore, it is important for you to know about the University of Wyoming when time comes for you to choose your college, and when you have the options to choose from.

After I received my master degree in Biology, I worked as a lecturer at Shandong University for several years, before I went to University of Oklahoma to pursue my PHD degree in 1994. Therefore, I am qualified to be a ‘former’ student from Asia. I came to the University of Wyoming in 2001, working in the Zoology and Physiology department. I liked UW and Laramie during my interview, but love the university more and more over the last 10 years I’ve  lived here. I love it so much, that I let my daughter, who was an all A student in her high school, attend UW. She is now a freshman/sophomore at UW and she enjoys it very much.

So, back to the question, “Why not Wyoming?”  When you consider a university, including a university overseas, to pursue your dreams, you ought to ask yourself this important question: What are the most important factors that affect my selection or decision?

The quality of education?

The cost of living and study?

The environment of learning and the environment of living? 

The friendliness to international students?

The extracurricular activities?

For many Asian students (and as you know, I was one many years ago), the quality of academics is probably the # 1 consideration. When selecting a university, the first thing many of us do is to check the ranking of universities. That is fine, but keep in mind that many of us cannot afford to go to Harvard, or Stanford, due to various, including financial or academic reasons. Many of you may not want to, even if you are able to. Why? Academics are important, but shouldn’t be the only reason for selecting a particular university. College is not just for preparation, it is life itself. You want to get the best education possible, but you also want to have a full (or fuller?) life during your college years. Here are some other considerations:

Many, especially Asian students, want to learn the “western” culture, while they study in US. The state of Wyoming, located in the northwest region of US, is considered the west of the west. It is the 9th largest  in land, but the least populated state (Yes, Wyoming has less people than Alaska). The uniqueness of Wyoming provides a wonderful opportunity to Asian students to learn the traditional western culture. Laramie is at the southeast corner of Wyoming and is a small, peaceful college town with a population of 27,000. It is small yet offers many opportunities for extracurricular activities. People in Laramie are very friendly, especially towards international students. If you like outdoor activities, such hiking or skiing, UW is definitely for you.

Oh, I almost forget, the academics! UW is a national research university, which means that even undergraduates can have hands-on experience in cutting-edge research and scholarship. It has many world-class professors, conducting research from oil recovery to the recovery of dinosaur bones. Most class sizes at UW are small and students have a lot of opportunities to interact with professors, who are devoted to undergraduate and graduate education.

By the way, UW’s tuition fees are among the lowest in US, thanks to the general support of the state. Here, you receive the best college education, while paying a very low price.

So, why should you consider UW? Why not?

By Prof. Zhaojie Zhang,
Director of the Jenkins Microscopy Facility
University of Wyoming