Get to know the CSU Scholar Community

CSU scholars pose after doing volunteer work for a homeless organization.

As a Carnegie Class I research institution,’s top Colorado 4-year university, and a place that many high-achieving students choose to follow their passions, it’s no wonder the community of scholars at Colorado State University is thriving. The CSU scholars community is a tight-knit group of Boettcher scholarship recipients, Monfort scholarship recipients, and honors students. We talked to some of our current students to find out what makes CSU’s scholar community special.

Before you’re even here, you’re family.

CSU scholars take a group photo

Whether you’re a scholarship candidate or you’ve been invited to apply for the CSU Honors Program, we want you to feel connected before you even arrive.

“From the very first time I’d visited CSU, it felt like home. Everyone was so friendly, and once I saw Honors housing, I was sold. I knew I’d find friends there who had the same drive and academic rigor I did.” –Dacre, Monfort scholar

“I attended a CSU Boettcher semifinalist visit before I committed to a college. The event was so fun; we went to dinner with the other Boettcher applicants and got to meet current Boettcher scholars and ask them questions. The entire experience was just really genuine and welcoming and comfortable.” –Eric, Boettcher scholar

Once you’re here, it gets even better.

A group of CSU scholars sit around a dinner table at an event.

The staff in the Office for Undergraduate Research and Artistry check in with the scholars regularly and hold monthly dinners, events, and outings for the scholars. Their ongoing work helps cultivate the culture of support, friendship, and belonging the CSU scholar community is known for.

I can’t do justice to how supportive the CSU scholar staff was my freshman year. The CSU scholar directors met with me regularly — and not just to check up on my academics, but to see how I was doing overall. If I was struggling or stressed, they wanted to help.” –Dacre, Monfort scholar

“There’s an amazing retreat every fall for the CSU scholars. Last year, we did a ropes course at the CSU Mountain Campus, and this year we spent a night in the Rockies and explored Estes Park.” –Spencer, Monfort scholar

“I went to Spain for a semester, and my transition back to the states and to campus life was harder than I expected. My scholar friends really helped me get back on track and kept me accountable as I found my flow again.” –Stas, honors student

We really get to stay connected with each other — which is great because your fellow scholars are going through what you are, like juggling a rigorous academic schedule, jobs, service work, and keeping your grades up.” –Spencer, Monfort scholar

“My favorite scholar event was a glass-blowing class. I just kept thinking how I’d never have thought to take a glass-blowing class on my own. The events get us out of the academic mindset and allow us to explore stuff that’s way outside of our own worlds.” –Janaye, Boettcher scholar

Opportunities, access, and undergrad research, oh my!

A chemistry professor conducts research with a student.

Because it’s a smaller group overall, scholars often experience more face time with faculty. There’s more access to research areas and labs, and fewer people vying for professors’ attention. As an undergrad — even as a freshman — many scholars get to work directly with faculty on high-level research, and have more chances to explore their interests in the classroom and the field.

“CSU is unique for scholars because it provides ample opportunities for participating in grad-level research at the undergrad level. Some of the other schools around Colorado would not provide that kind of access. If you can come out of undergrad with that kind of research under your belt, then you’re already ahead of the competition.” Reed, honors student

As a sophomore, I got a chance to travel to Nicaragua on a project that related to my Biomedical Engineering major. We worked at a local hospital, fixing up old equipment, cleaning, and creating a sterile area. I got a 1970s EKG machine up and running, and they started using it right away. It was so fulfilling to be a part of that.” –Janaye, Boettcher scholar

“I was really interested in some research one of my professors was doing. I mentioned it to her, and she ended up inviting me to go work on the project with her in Mexico. All you have to do is reach out, and you’ll get amazing opportunities to learn, build your resume, and maybe even change your life.” –Reed, honors student

The faculty is so, so supportive. They’re always ready to explore an academic interest area or idea you might have, or just sit down and talk with you. I once needed a last-minute recommendation, and my professor wrote it for me in a day. Professors like that are hard to find … but not at CSU!” –Spencer, Monfort scholar

CSU has the resources of a big school with the feel of a small school. It’s the best of both worlds.” –Leah, Boettcher scholar

That feeling of belonging.

The Administration Building is surrounded by fall leaves on the Colorado State University Oval.

CSU scholars tell us what they’ve got here is special. The connectedness of the scholars, the involvement of the faculty, the access to research and academic experiences, and ongoing support creates the close-knit family feeling that’s oh-so hard to describe.

“What makes the scholar community unique at CSU is that it’s a high-achieving, driven group of students, but they’re more supportive and uplifting than they are competitive with each other.” –Jonathan, Boettcher scholar

There’s a real sense of belonging here that you might not feel at other schools because of that support in the group. There’s already so much pressure in high-achieving academic groups to like, uphold that prestige and be showy with your achievements. At CSU, that pressure and expectation is just different. We’re all still doing amazing things in our classes and in our research, but we’re not feeling the pressure to put on this big show.” –Jonathan, Boettcher scholar

“There’s a real feeling of authenticity in this community, and we have so much fun with each other. It’s so crucial that we get time to unwind and be silly with each other.” –Leah, Boettcher scholar

I just saw myself here. It just feels like home.” –Dacre, Monfort scholar

Prairie Smallwood

Prairie Smallwood is a writer and content creator for the Office of Admissions at Colorado State University. She is passionate about education and exploration, and knows that going to college can be both an adventure and an overwhelming experience. She aims to create content that helps students through that journey — the wonderful, the scary, and everything in between.