The tropical paradise of Hawaii is home to the University of Hawaii system, which serves over 50,000 students across multiple campuses. As you consider your college options, you may be wondering – is the University of Hawaii a good school for me?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The University of Hawaii offers high-quality academics at an affordable price in one of the most beautiful locations in the world. It’s an excellent option for Hawaii residents and out-of-state students looking for a multicultural college experience.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide an in-depth look at the University of Hawaii’s academics, student life, admissions, costs, and more. Read on to learn everything you need to know to decide if the University of Hawaii is the right fit for you.

Overview of the University of Hawaii System

The University of Hawaii System is a renowned institution that offers a wide range of educational opportunities in the beautiful setting of Hawaii. With a rich history and a commitment to academic excellence, the university system has become a popular choice for students seeking a high-quality education.

Brief history and facts

The University of Hawaii System was founded in 1907 and is composed of ten campuses spread across six islands. It is the state’s flagship public university and is recognized for its research contributions in various fields such as marine biology, astronomy, and indigenous studies.

The university system is also known for its strong ties to the local community and its commitment to sustainability.

Over the years, the University of Hawaii has produced many notable alumni who have made significant contributions in their respective fields. These include astronauts, Nobel laureates, and leaders in government, business, and the arts.

Multiple campuses across the islands

One of the advantages of the University of Hawaii System is the presence of multiple campuses throughout the islands. Each campus offers a unique learning environment and specialized programs that cater to the specific needs and interests of students.

  • The flagship campus, the University of Hawaii at Manoa, is located in Honolulu and offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs.
  • The University of Hawaii at Hilo provides a more intimate learning experience and is known for its strong focus on environmental science and Hawaiian studies.
  • Other campuses, such as the University of Hawaii West Oahu, Maui College, and Kapiolani Community College, offer diverse academic programs and opportunities for students to pursue their passions.

Diverse student population

The University of Hawaii System boasts a diverse student population, attracting students from not only Hawaii but also from across the United States and around the world. This diversity enriches the learning environment and provides students with the opportunity to engage with different cultures and perspectives.

With its commitment to inclusivity and diversity, the University of Hawaii offers various resources and support services for underrepresented groups, including scholarships, mentorship programs, and cultural organizations.

The University of Hawaii System is indeed a good choice for students seeking a high-quality education in a stunning location. With its rich history, multiple campuses, and diverse student population, the university system provides students with a unique and enriching educational experience.

Academics at the University of Hawaii

The University of Hawaii offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, ensuring that students have the opportunity to pursue their passions and interests. From liberal arts to engineering, business to nursing, the university caters to diverse academic interests.

This breadth of programs allows students to explore different fields and discover their academic strengths.

Wide range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs

With over 200 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, the University of Hawaii provides students with ample choices to pursue their desired career paths. Whether you’re interested in marine biology, astronomy, or Hawaiian studies, the university offers specialized programs that cater to various academic interests.

High graduation and retention rates

The University of Hawaii boasts impressive graduation and retention rates, indicating that students are successfully completing their programs and staying enrolled at the university. This is a testament to the quality of education and support provided by the university.

Graduation rates show that students are able to obtain their degrees in a timely manner, setting them up for success in their chosen fields.

Notable research activity

The University of Hawaii is known for its notable research activity, particularly in fields such as astronomy, oceanography, and tropical agriculture. The university’s research efforts have contributed to significant advancements and discoveries in these areas.

Students have the opportunity to work alongside renowned researchers and contribute to groundbreaking research projects.


The University of Hawaii is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), demonstrating that it meets high standards of quality and integrity in its academic programs.

This accreditation ensures that students receive a valuable education that is recognized and respected by employers and other educational institutions.

For more information on the University of Hawaii’s academics, you can visit their official website:

Campus Life at the University of Hawaii

When it comes to campus life, the University of Hawaii offers a vibrant and engaging environment for its students. With a wide range of student organizations and events, there is always something happening on campus to cater to different interests and passions.

Vibrant student organizations and events

The University of Hawaii boasts a diverse range of student organizations, covering a wide variety of interests and activities. Whether you’re interested in joining a club related to your major, exploring a new hobby, or getting involved in community service, you’ll find a group that suits your interests at the university.

From cultural clubs to academic organizations, there are plenty of opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals and make lifelong friends.

Additionally, the university hosts numerous events throughout the year that cater to the diverse student body. From concerts and performances to guest lectures and workshops, there is always something exciting happening on campus.

These events not only provide entertainment but also foster a sense of community and belonging among students.

Top Division I athletics

The University of Hawaii is a member of the NCAA Division I and competes in the Big West Conference and Mountain West Conference for various sports. The school’s athletic program is highly regarded, and its teams have achieved notable success over the years.

Whether you’re a dedicated athlete or a passionate fan, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to support the university’s sports teams and experience the excitement of college athletics.

Attending sporting events can be a great way to bond with fellow students, show school spirit, and create lasting memories. The university’s teams, such as the Rainbow Warriors and Rainbow Wahine, have a strong following among students and the local community.

On-campus housing options

The University of Hawaii offers a range of on-campus housing options to meet the needs and preferences of its students. From traditional dormitories to apartment-style living, there are accommodations available for both freshmen and upperclassmen.

Living on campus provides students with convenient access to academic resources, extracurricular activities, and a supportive community.

The university’s housing facilities are well-maintained and provide a comfortable living environment. Living on campus also offers the opportunity to form close bonds with roommates and neighbors, creating a sense of camaraderie and support.

Beautiful campus locations

The University of Hawaii is fortunate to be located in one of the most beautiful places in the world. With campuses on the islands of Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii, students have the opportunity to study and learn in stunning natural surroundings.

From pristine beaches to lush tropical landscapes, the university’s campuses offer breathtaking views and a peaceful atmosphere conducive to learning and personal growth.

Studying at the University of Hawaii means having access to world-class education while also being able to enjoy the natural beauty and outdoor activities that the islands have to offer. Whether it’s surfing, hiking, or simply relaxing on the beach, students have ample opportunities to take advantage of the unique environment surrounding the campus.

Admissions Information

Acceptance rate

The University of Hawaii has a moderately selective admissions process with an acceptance rate of around 60-70% each year. This means it accepts the majority of applicants, making it relatively accessible for students who meet the minimum requirements.

The university aims to provide higher education opportunities across its diverse state. However, some programs like nursing and engineering tend to be more competitive. Applicants with grades and test scores above the average have a good chance of getting in.

Average test scores and GPA

The middle 50% of admitted students at U of Hawaii have ACT scores between 18 and 25. The SAT score range is 970-1230. Applicants are not required to submit test scores if they graduated from a Hawaii public high school with a GPA above 3.0.

For high school GPA, the average ranges from 3.0 to 3.8 on a 4.0 scale. Students with grades and test scores within or above these ranges have a strong application.

Tips for creating a strong application

  • Maintain above a 3.0 high school GPA, taking honors/AP classes if possible
  • Score ACT 18+ or SAT 970+ if submitting test scores
  • Highlight extracurricular activities and community service in your application
  • Write thoughtful personal statements and short answers
  • Apply before the priority deadlines for your program
  • Double check that all required documents and information are submitted

Following these tips can help prospective students put together a compelling application. While the University of Hawaii has an accessible admissions process overall, applicants should still aim to be strong candidates academically while showcasing other talents and interests.

This provides the best chance for admission, especially to more selective majors.

Tuition and Financial Aid

When considering whether the University of Hawaii is a good school, one of the most important factors to consider is the cost of tuition and the availability of financial aid. Let’s take a closer look at these aspects:

Cost breakdown for residents vs. non-residents

One of the advantages of attending the University of Hawaii for residents is the significantly lower tuition cost. Hawaii residents are eligible for in-state tuition rates, which can make attending the university much more affordable.

On the other hand, non-residents, including international students, will have to pay higher out-of-state tuition fees.

According to the university’s official website, for the academic year 2021-2022, the undergraduate tuition and fees for residents are approximately $12,186 per year, while for non-residents, it is around $34,218 per year.

It’s worth noting that these figures are subject to change, so it’s always a good idea to check the latest information on the university’s website.

While the difference in tuition costs between residents and non-residents may seem significant, it’s important to consider the unique opportunities and benefits that the University of Hawaii offers, including its diverse student body, stunning campus locations, and world-class faculty.

Availability of scholarships and grants

The University of Hawaii provides a range of scholarships and grants to help students finance their education. These financial aid options can significantly reduce the financial burden of attending the university.

There are various scholarships available for both incoming and current students, based on factors such as academic achievement, extracurricular involvement, and financial need. Some scholarships are specific to certain majors or fields of study, while others are open to all students.

In addition to scholarships, the university also offers grants, which are typically need-based and do not need to be repaid. These grants can further assist students in financing their education at the University of Hawaii.

To find out more about the specific scholarships and grants available at the University of Hawaii, students are encouraged to visit the university’s financial aid office or explore the financial aid section of the official university website at


With renowned academics, an unbeatable island setting, and relatively low costs, the University of Hawaii offers access to a world-class education in one of the world’s most desirable locations. By weighing the information provided in this comprehensive guide, you can determine if the University of Hawaii is the right fit for your college goals, interests, and budget.

Ready to take the next step? Consult the University of Hawaii’s admissions website to explore your options and get started on your application today.

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