CM’s Guide to Chico State University

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Chico State University—Chico, CA

Chico’s Instagram

The Vibe

A Natural Explorer’s Dream

What it Feels Like to Go Here

A cool breeze breathes through the foliage of all the trees and they sway in a welcoming motion. The grass glistens with a deep, verdant green—easy to relax on under the shade of the towering oaks. Freshwater flows along within the Big Chico Creek from high above in the Sierra Nevadas. The George Peterson Rose Garden serves as the best place for color with blossoms of many shades perched under the protection of the California sun. The brick Romanesque architecture of the buildings complements the natural surroundings with a quaintness that adds to the overwhelmingly positive atmosphere.

Chico State University really exemplifies the best place for social interaction, positivity and great memories all within the wildcat spirit. Around the university, students take advantage of delicious restaurants like the Morning Thunder Café on Vallombrosa Avenue, which incorporates classic diner food in great portions with an amazing atmosphere to match. Bar hopping equals an adventurous and fun night out, from The Handle Bar with their various selection of beers on East 20th to the loud but enjoyable pub scene of The Banshee on West 2nd Street. Chico also sets the bar for the wildest parties any fraternity or sorority could throw in Northern California. Combine the social spirit with the natural environment and you have a university as cool as the California weather.

Awesome Alumni

If you find yourself reading a book for class, you might end up reading work from Chico State alumni themselves. Take Raymond Carver, a contemporary short-story writer and poet, for instance. He attended Chico State until the spring of 1960. Carver’s first and most famous published piece, Furious Seasons, contains a narrative with a similar juxtaposition of natural and unnatural tenses as that of William Faulkner. So if you have a hard time understanding his work, you’ll get why college professors use his books.

With the spirit of Chico lively and full of lots to do, knowing successful musicians arose from the school shouldn’t come as a surprise. Mat Kearney, one of the greatest to come out of Chico State with an unparalleled knack for sound, attended the university from 1997 to 2000. Kearney was so greatly inspired by Chico he even included his memories from Chico in his songs.

Successful men aren’t the only alumni with stories to share at Chico State. In fact, one of the most successful graduates from Chico State includes Sandy Lerner, Businesswoman and co-founder of Cisco Systems. Lerner sets the precedent for any woman in education. Her greatest achievement as the co-founder of Cisco systems include the introduction of routers that allow computers to network between each other for the first time. Even better? The funds from the sale of her achievements are used for animal welfare interests as well as to support women in writing.

Where We Hang

The greatest on-campus spots definitely serve up relaxation and the occasional social event (craft night anyone?). A common space within university housing designed specifically as a place for studying, The Hub presents the perfect place for watching TV, grabbing some snacks or playing some games. Need to hit the gym? The Wildcat Rec Center lets you get your workout on. “The staff is super friendly and upbeat so it’s really encouraging to go. They have pretty much every kind of equipment and the place just comes off as really upscale. The busiest times are typically in the evening around like 6 or 7 p.m.,” said Chico State senior Sunam Randhawa.

Need to take your feet off-campus for some fun? Chico caters greatly to the college students that attend the university with many places to venture or entertain. If you want to explore your adventurous side or snap pics of an awesome trek through the wilderness, Chico’s got your back. Go on a hike in Upper Bidwell Park and ogle at the lush vegetation not even a picture could do justice of. If you’re looking for some alternative Saturday fun, explore the Chico Farmer’s Market to collect locally grown produce and hand-made artisan products. Every night you can get a taste of the playful atmosphere of sports bars like the Madison Bear Garden on West 2nd Street or get beer on tap or a bite to eat at the Sierra Nevada Brewery and Restaurant on East 20th Street.


1. What’s the party scene like?

“The party scene is very popular. A large population of the Chico students party on the weekends and sometimes even during the week. Bars are highly populated throughout the week,” Chico State senior Manny Bidwal said.

2. What will you get in trouble for at your school?

“I think the obvious answer is plagiarism. The personal trouble? Partying too hard and being a bit hungover on a school day,” senior Mari Adkins said.

3. What would you tell incoming freshmen?

“I would tell incoming freshmen to get involved with clubs as soon as possible. There’s also great tutoring/study groups that they should also take advantage of,” senior Christina Scellato said.

4. What’s your favorite time of year at school?

“Definitely when fall rolls around. I’m California born and raised and there’s nothing that compares to the way fall season looks on all the trees. Chico State is so beautiful during fall, it looks like its glowing,” sophomore Sumneet Gill said.

5. What would you say of your overall experience as a senior?

“Overall Chico State has treated me great. It’s been really fun and now that the end of my college career is near, I’m not quite ready to get off the roller coaster! It’s stressful at times like during exams but all in all, when you’re surrounded by thousands of great people it’s always a good time,” senior Jasdeep Bains said.

Student Reviews

“The vibe is so chill. The party scene is super fun but obviously everyone has to be careful. But being a part of Gamma Phi Beta has made my whole experience that much more worth it.” – Monica Burris, Class of 2018.

“Future students should attend Chico State for the beautiful and natural outdoors, the outgoing people, and the small-town community lifestyle that’s really easy to get accustomed to.” – Tracey Mathers, Class of 2019

“Chico is a complete college town dedicated to the students of the university. There are shops and restaurants lined up downtown that cater especially to the college scene.” – Ashley Moore, Class of 2019.

“My favorite professor has definitely been William Johnson. He’s been my acting teacher for the last two years and he brings so much passion to every class. He takes what we’re doing seriously and does his best to get every student to feel the same way.” – Sarah Olsen, Class of 2018.

“One thing that surprised me about Chico State was that the diversity is still growing. It’s not as diverse as other campuses I’ve visited. Over the years there definitely has been in an increase though.” – Nayha Kairam, Class of 2019.

Top 3 Majors

1. Business Administration

2. Psychology

3. Pre-Nursing

Top 3 Most Popular Student Organizations

1. Theatre Arts Club

If you long to bust out the vocals or embrace your monologue on stage, then look no further than the Theater Arts Club. The Theater Arts Club provides opportunities to rise in the performing arts department at Chico State. Nurturing creativity and sustaining an artistic environment exist as just some of the goals set forth by the TAC. “I am Vice President of the Theatre Arts Club. I love it because it’s always very ambitious and we try to provide as many performance opportunities as possible throughout the year since not every student is cast,” said Chico State senior Sarah Olsen. Bask in the spotlight and join.

2. Punjabi Club

Culture, friends and helping the community? Yup, a club like that exists. The Chico State Punjabi Club includes participation from more than just Sikh students. The club presents a welcoming environment to engage in the Punjabi culture that offers tasks geared towards community service and campus festivities. Less than an hour away, Yuba City hosts the annual Sikh Parade—which draws in over 80,000 people from all around the world—and incorporates floats and community assistance from Punjabi Clubs like that of Chico State’s. “Essentially, we just give back to the community, giving every day needs to the homeless and by creating a float to take part in the Yuba City Sikh Parade,” senior and Punjabi Club President Jasdeep Bains said. Be a part of a cultural tradition that presents inclusivity and an unforgettable heart-warming feeling.

3. Circle K International

If you’re looking for a more established program that will jumpstart your resume or transfer applications, then Circle K International works for just that purpose. Circle K international exists as a sponsored leadership program of Kiwanis International that works according to three tenets: service, leadership and fellowship. This club serves the community and works towards raising funds for charities like UNICEF and the American Foundation for Suicide prevention. “This is more than a club, it’s an organization that expects the best students to put forward their spirit and energy into giving back to a community. It’s not always easy but it’s definitely worth the time and all of the valuable people I’ve met throughout all the conferences I’ve attended,” Chico State Sophomore Aly Wong said.

Getting In

Want to attend a scenic and influential school? You’re especially in luck if you’re from the 12-county “service area.” Chico State gives priority to students from the Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Shasta, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity and Yuba counties in California.

High school seniors should be all too familiar with the A-G requirements that make them CSU or UC eligible. The CSU requirements can be found on the California State website. On top of those high school courses, the SAT and the ACT maintain importance, too. “Both the SAT and the ACT are looked at the same way. Due to application and school impaction, the admissions board uses an eligibility index to determine acceptance. Chico State is a super-score school, meaning we take the highest GPA or test scores automatically,” Chico State admissions liaison Katrina Cunningham said. The eligibility index introduces an equation that takes a high-school senior’s 10th and 11th grade weighted GPA and combines the numbers in a special formula with the student’s SAT or ACT reading and math scores. The average score accepted equates to a 2950 for service counties. To give some perspective on that number, any student with residency outside of those counties should attain a minimum score of 3400 or higher.

Deciding to transfer to Chico State? California community colleges offer the course guide for the general education and CSU or UC required courses. “For transfer students, GPA does play a big role in admissions. Because Chico State is a California State University, it caters and prioritizes directly to California residents,” Cunningham explained. This goes on to address why approximately 96 percent of Chico State students are California residents.


Location: Northern California; 90 miles North of Sacramento

Tuition and Fees: In-State $7,348 Out-of-state: $19,228

Room and Board: $12,712

Books and Supplies: $1,719

Personal Expenses: $2,533

In State: $24,312

Out of State: $36,192

Undergrads Enrolled: 16,650

Grads Enrolled: 1,139

Total Enrolled: 17,789

Acceptance percentage: 71%

Percent Admitted who Enroll: 19%

Enrollment: 16,647

Percentage of Male Students: 46%

Percentage of Female Students: 54%

Kiran is a Junior at UC Berkeley studying English and Creative Writing. When she's not gaming with her friends or binge-watching shows with her mom, she's marking her next travel destination to explore and conquer her understanding of the world.

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