If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Yes, Iowa State University is considered a good school overall for its academic quality, student life experiences, and career outcomes for graduates.

In this comprehensive article, we will analyze various factors to help you determine if Iowa State meets your interests and needs as a prospective college student. We will examine Iowa State’s academic program rankings, campus culture and student life, career preparation services, graduation and retention rates, alumni success, and more.

Academic Excellence at Iowa State

Iowa State University is widely recognized for its commitment to academic excellence. The university offers a wide range of high-ranking programs that provide students with a solid foundation in their chosen fields.

Whether you’re interested in engineering, agriculture, business, or the arts, Iowa State has a program that can help you achieve your academic goals.

High-Ranking Programs

Iowa State University consistently ranks among the top public universities in the United States. Many of its programs are nationally ranked, including its engineering, agricultural sciences, and veterinary medicine programs.

These high rankings are a testament to the quality of education that Iowa State provides to its students.

For example, Iowa State’s engineering program is consistently ranked in the top 25 in the nation. The program offers a diverse range of majors, including mechanical engineering, civil engineering, and computer engineering.

Graduates from Iowa State’s engineering program have gone on to work for top companies like Boeing, Microsoft, and John Deere, demonstrating the program’s reputation for producing highly skilled and sought-after graduates.

Research Opportunities

Iowa State University is also known for its strong emphasis on research. The university invests heavily in its research facilities and infrastructure, providing students with ample opportunities to engage in groundbreaking research projects.

Whether you’re interested in scientific research, social sciences, or humanities, Iowa State offers a diverse range of research opportunities.

The university’s research centers and institutes cover a wide range of disciplines, including agriculture, renewable energy, advanced materials, and biotechnology. Students have the opportunity to work alongside esteemed faculty members and industry professionals, gaining valuable hands-on experience that can enhance their academic and professional development.

Academic Support Services

Iowa State University understands the importance of providing students with the necessary support to succeed academically. The university offers a variety of academic support services to help students excel in their studies.

One of the key support services at Iowa State is its tutoring program. The university provides free tutoring services in a wide range of subjects, ensuring that students have access to additional help when needed.

Whether you’re struggling with calculus, writing, or a foreign language, there are resources available to assist you.

Iowa State also offers academic advising services to help students navigate their academic journey. Academic advisors provide guidance on course selection, degree requirements, and career planning, ensuring that students stay on track to achieve their academic and professional goals.

Campus Life and Student Experience

One of the many factors that contribute to the overall quality of a university is its campus life and the experience it offers to students. Iowa State University is known for providing a vibrant and engaging campus environment that fosters personal growth and community involvement.

Diverse Student Body

Iowa State University takes pride in its diverse student body, which enhances the overall educational experience for everyone. With students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries, the university offers a rich cultural exchange and a global perspective.

This diversity promotes understanding, tolerance, and acceptance among students, preparing them for the globalized world they will enter upon graduation. According to the university’s official website, the student body at Iowa State University is made up of individuals from various backgrounds, ethnicities, and interests, creating a welcoming and inclusive community.

Housing Options

When it comes to housing options, Iowa State University offers a wide range of choices to accommodate the needs and preferences of its students. From traditional residence halls to apartment-style living, there is something for everyone.

The university’s Housing and Dining website provides detailed information about each housing option, including floor plans, amenities, and costs. Students can choose to live in themed communities, such as the Honors Community or the Substance-Free Community, which allow them to connect with like-minded individuals and make the most out of their college experience.

On-campus housing provides a convenient and supportive environment for students, fostering friendships and a sense of belonging.

Extracurriculars and Events

At Iowa State University, students have a wide array of extracurricular activities and events to choose from. With over 800 student organizations, there is something for every interest and passion. Whether students are interested in joining a professional club related to their major, participating in community service projects, or exploring a new hobby, they can find a group that suits their needs.

The university also hosts numerous events throughout the year, including concerts, performances, lectures, and sporting events. These events not only provide entertainment but also offer opportunities for networking, personal growth, and cultural enrichment.

The Iowa State University Events Calendar is a great resource for students to stay updated on the latest happenings on campus.

Career Preparation

One of the key factors that determine whether a university is considered good is its ability to prepare students for successful careers. Iowa State University excels in this area by providing various resources and opportunities for students to gain practical experience, network with professionals, and secure employment after graduation.

Internships and Job Placement

Iowa State University has a strong emphasis on internships and job placement, recognizing the importance of hands-on experience in shaping students’ careers. The university offers a wide range of internship programs that allow students to apply their classroom knowledge in real-world settings.

These opportunities not only provide valuable skills and industry connections but also often lead to job offers upon graduation.

According to the Career Services at Iowa State University, over 80% of ISU students participate in at least one internship during their time at the university. This high participation rate reflects the emphasis placed on practical experience and the university’s commitment to helping students succeed in their chosen fields.

Notable Alumni

Iowa State University boasts an impressive list of notable alumni who have achieved great success in various industries. These individuals serve as inspiring role models for current students and demonstrate the quality of education and career opportunities provided by the university.

For example, George Washington Carver, an Iowa State alumnus, revolutionized agriculture through his research on crop rotation and soil conservation. Carver’s groundbreaking work had a significant impact on the agricultural industry and paved the way for future advancements.

Another notable alumnus is Kevin Costello, the CEO of the NASDAQ Stock Market. Costello’s achievements in the financial sector highlight the strong business and finance programs offered at Iowa State University.

Career Services

Iowa State University’s Career Services department plays a crucial role in helping students navigate their career paths. They offer a wide range of services, including resume workshops, mock interviews, career fairs, and networking events.

These resources are designed to equip students with the necessary skills and tools to succeed in the job market.

Additionally, Iowa State University has a strong alumni network that actively supports current students in their career development. Alumni often provide mentorship opportunities, job referrals, and industry insights, giving students a competitive edge in their job search.

For more information on Iowa State University’s career services, you can visit their official website: https://www.career.iastate.edu/.

Admissions and Costs

Admissions Selectivity

With an acceptance rate of around 92%, Iowa State University is not very selective in its admissions. However, that doesn’t mean just anyone can get in. You’ll still need decent grades and test scores to be admitted.

The middle 50% of admitted students have ACT scores between 23-27 and SAT scores between 1110-1300. GPA averages for admitted students range from 3.6-3.9. While these stats make Iowa State accessible for many, they also reflect the university’s commitment to academic excellence.

Financial Aid Availability

The good news is Iowa State offers plenty of financial aid, with over 90% of undergraduates receiving some form of assistance. There are lots of scholarship options, like the Presidential Scholarship which offers a full ride to National Merit Finalists.

Iowa State also meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for in-state students and a high percentage for out-of-state students. With the average financial aid package totaling around $13,000, Iowa State does its best to make college affordable for families.

Graduation and Retention Rates

At Iowa State, once students get in, they tend to stick around. The freshman retention rate is a stellar 87%, meaning almost 9 out of 10 freshmen return for sophomore year. And 4-year graduation rates are a solid 59%, while 6-year graduation rates are an impressive 71%.

These figures show that when students come to Ames, they feel engaged in the university community and are determined to finish their degree. The abundance of academic support services contributes to keeping students on the path to graduation.


In summary, Iowa State University provides high-quality academics, a vibrant campus culture, and excellent career preparation at an affordable cost for most students. While it may not top the rankings for elite colleges, Iowa State offers many advantages as a large public university and is considered a great option overall.

Weigh the factors discussed here as you finalize your college selection.

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