10 Satellite Campuses With Impressive Reputations All Their Own


When we hear mentions of big-name schools, most of us automatically think of their flagship campuses in their states, Texas, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, South Carolina, etc. But often, these locales are just one piece of the puzzle. Branch campuses and satellites, whether a stone’s throw from the main campus or halfway around the world, can be quite accomplished in their own right, leveraging their smaller sizes and particular locations to offer college experiences the flagship can’t match. These 10 schools have developed big enough reputations to pull themselves out of their big brothers’ long shadows.

  1. Carnegie Mellon University, Silicon Valley:

    For a school that wants to grow its reputation of being a technology education leader, where better to set up shop than right in the heart of Silicon Valley. Over 2,600 miles from Pittsburgh, this CMU campus in Mountain View, California is surrounded by names like Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo. The campus has made a name for itself in several areas, least surprisingly in tech research like that done in the Mobility Research Center and in helping foster over a dozen startups in 10 years. But the branch is also a noted social good practitioner, launching the Disaster Management Initiative to support new solutions for crisis management, and developing a tradition of fence painting to raise money and awareness for worthy causes.

  2. Penn State Erie, The Behrend College:

    Penn State has no less than 20 undergrad campuses scattered throughout Pennsylvania, all of which have their own accomplishments to hang their hat on. But to us, the Erie location impresses the most. Its beautiful 725-acre campus is second only to the main campus, as is its graduation rate. It is especially proud of its plastics training lab, which at 10,500 square feet and housing 10 multi-ton injection molding machines and other devices, is the biggest of its kind in the country. Behrend also holds its own in the athletic department, with 21 NCAA Division III titles across multiple sports to its name.

  3. University of Michigan-Flint:

    In recent years this satellite of the flagship campus in Ann Arbor has been the fastest-growing school in the state. Although once known as a commuter school, the Flint campus has grown into its academic reputation with enhanced student activities and housing options. The school has an excellent pedigree of turning out nurses through both its accelerated nursing and doctor of nursing programs, and with a new $900,000 grant from the federal government it will continue to do so. Thanks to the Student Veterans Resource Center, UM-Flint is also an inviting school for returning soldiers.

  4. The University of Texas Medical School at Houston:

    A branch of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, this campus in Houston is right in the heart of arguably the best medical sector in the world. Through affiliations with leading cancer center MD Anderson, Children’s Memorial Hermann, and other hospitals, the Houston campus is able to train young doctors in world-class clinical environments. The branch is regularly ranked highly for being a top med school for Hispanic students, as well as nursing, dental, and dermatology students. In fact, it’s the only medical school in the entire state with six colleges.

  5. Texas A&M University at Galveston:

    Mention anything remotely Aggie-related around a student or grad from here and you’re sure to hear a “Whoop!,” but TAMUG certainly has its own (salty) flavor not found in College Station. If you live in Texas and you want to have a career in marine biology, you wouldn’t think of going to school anywhere else. Perched right on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, TAMUG is home to the only maritime academy on the third coast. With 21 research programs operated out of the campus — from studying sea turtles to marine mammals and invertebrates — the sea is as integral a part of TAMUG as the Dixie Chicken is at the main campus.

  6. Tufts European Center:

    For those who want some education that bears the Tufts name but want to get it in a more exotic location than Boston, there’s the Tufts European Center in Talloires, France. Set in what was once a Benedictine priory 1,000 years ago, the Center serves as a summer study abroad destination for Tufts undergrads and alumni, adults, and even high school students. Students immerse themselves in the French culture by living with host families and taking small, informal classes that frequently feature excursions out of the classroom. They also have the opportunity to learn about the world at large while at the Center, as it is known for promoting international dialogue through events like the Talloires Symposium.

  7. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis:

    Every year since U.S. News & World Report began including an “Up-and-Comers” category in its college rankings in 2008, IUPUI has been climbing the charts, making it basically the college to watch. One of the “Programs to Look For” is service learning, which this campus excels at thanks to its Center for Service and Learning. Now in its 20th year, the center provides students, faculty, and staff opportunities to improve their community through the Office of Neighborhood Partnerships and professors learn how to engage students in volunteering through the Office of Service Learning.

  8. University of Pittsburgh at Bradford:

    The draw of UPB almost certainly isn’t the nightlife — tiny Bradford, Penn. claims just 8,700 residents. Students come for its reputation as a place they can get the quality of the Pittsburgh flagship without getting lost among nearly 30,000 other students. The Princeton Review has named Pitt-Bradford a “Best Value College” for 2012, in no small part thanks to the intimate nature of the school. Professors are considered students’ friends, going above and beyond to facilitate learning by extending office hours, giving out their private cell phone numbers, and more.

  9. Idaho State University-Meridian:

    ISU-Meridian is one of two branch campuses for this university, the other being in Twin Falls. But it’s here in northwest Idaho, just 10 miles west of Boise, that you’ll find The Core, an impressive innovation incubator in the vein of the Harvard Innovation Lab. Through it the school partners with local businesses, educators, and creators to foster new ideas in the realms of health, science, and tech. Public seminars and educational talks are commonplace occurrences here, from Health Science Experiment Night to free community health screenings. Being The Core’s anchor collegiate affiliate has helped it grow its reputation of being a driver of both economic and research development in the state.

  10. Colorado State University-Global Campus:

    The Fort Collins location is known for being eco-conscious, having lovely grounds, Rams football, and more. CSU-Global, on the other hand, has a campus of a completely different stripe: it’s digital. In its five years of existence, this 100% online university has become a leader in offering higher education for adult learners and others for whom a traditional campus is not in the cards. CSU-Global’s rep is one of working with students to make school life simpler; they do it by starting classes every four weeks and guaranteeing tuition will stay frozen as long as a student is enrolled.

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