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A visit to colleges in central Texas: Part 1

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A recent visit to colleges in central Texas provided a number of interesting options for students who are looking for a variety of academic experiences. Part one of this series focuses on St. Edward's University and the University of Texas campuses at both Austin and San Antonio.

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St. Edward's University perches on the hills of Austin and enrolls approximately 3,500 students. Their students consider themselves quirky, like Austin itself, and they follow their own passions. However they have in common a commitment to global diversity and in fact have a strong international population, offer a variety of study abroad programs and infuse global perspectives in the classroom. What makes them different from other liberal arts colleges is that they are located in a thriving urban setting with unique majors related to industry. Some of these majors include digital media management, interactive games management, and a theater program where students can gain Actor's Equity points.

Not far from the hilltop campus of St. Edward's is the University of Texas at Austin. As the flagship institution of the University of Texas system, it enrolls almost 40,000 undergraduate students. It is known as a research and teaching institution with graduate programs such as pharmacy, law, engineering and business that continually receive high marks by ranking organizations. Highly rated undergraduate programs include accounting, architecture, botany, biology, business, foreign languages and history. Other excellent departments are engineering, computer science and English. An urban campus of 400 acres located close to the state capital, it's campus is surrounded by many shops and restaurants that cater to the university. With over 1,000 student groups, the university offers plenty of opportunities outside the classroom for engagement, not to mention a long-standing athletic tradition with the Texas Longhorn teams.

About two hours away is the University of Texas at San Antonio which enrolls approximately 24,000 undergraduates. It has been one of the fastest growing public universities in the last ten years. UTSA is developing as a research institution and focuses on collaborative learning. UTSA provides a high degree of accessibility to underserved populations, especially those of multicultural San Antonio. The majority of their students are in the first generation of their families to attend college. Because of the high number of first generation students, USTA offers a supportive academic environment where students learn to do research and prepare for professional or graduate education.