Sierra Nevada College: My Impressions

Earlier this summer I had the opportunity to visit a few colleges in Nevada while I was in town for the Super-ACAC conference. A bus load of college counselors from all over the Western United States woke up early to tour college campuses before the conference started. Here is my take on one of the colleges we visited that day.

Sierra Nevada College (SNC)
Location: Incline Village, Nevada, just two blocks from Lake Tahoe
Type of Institution: Private, liberal arts college. SNC is the only private, non-profit four-year college in the state of Nevada.

Sierra Nevada College Sign at the entrace to the campus.

Sierra Nevada College sign at the entrance to the campus.

Fast Facts

  • Average class size: 15
  • Student to faculty ratio: 13:1
  • 2014-2015 undergraduate student population: 549
  • Greenest college in Nevada
  • Highest graduation rate in Nevada


The Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences at Sierra Nevada College

The Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences at Sierra Nevada College

SNC offers a total of 35 undergraduate majors. Majors fall under the following categories: Business, Fine Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Science & Technology. With small class sizes, students will have the opportunity for extensive in-class participation. In addition, research is required for every undergraduate major. SNC focuses on liberal arts, professional preparedness, entrepreneurial thinking, and sustainability. Professors at the university are not just professors, many have vast experience in their fields. Some programs of note include:

  • Ski Business and Resort Management. Located in a major ski resort area, it is the perfect location to learn the about the business. Students get to learn from Presidents, CEO’s and CFO’s of ski resorts. Students have the opportunity to gain internships at local resorts and will graduate with a resort master plan.
  • Outdoor Adventure Leadership. Students will incorporate leadership training and outdoor skills with a specialization in another academic program, such as Entrepreneurship, Ski Business and Resort Management, Psychology. Students will learn leadership skills including self-awareness, self-reliance, and tolerance.
  • Environmental Policy. The program offers hands-on learning opportunities and incorporates environmental biology, chemistry, and geology with public values, economics, law, policy, and planning.

Campus and Surrounding Area

Lake Tahoe is just a few blocks from Sierra Nevada College.

Lake Tahoe is just a few blocks from Sierra Nevada College.

The campus is beautiful, and much of the campus looks like a ski resort. During the winter, it will be cold with snow on the ground but there is also a lot of sunshine throughout the years The campus is a mix of older and newer buildings. Located just a few blocks from Lake Tahoe, it is a great location for students who like the outdoors. Hiking, paddleboarding, and skiing are just some of the many outdoor activities students enjoy. Incline Village is a quaint town with a lot of charm, but the campus is also conveniently located close to South Lake Tahoe, Reno, and Truckee, California. Residence halls are typical size for a dorm room, but do offer a bathroom in each room. I found the additional storage lockers available in the residence halls for outdoor equipment, such as skis and snowboards, quite unique. The library is small, but big enough for the small student population at SNC. Every building on campus offers beautiful views of the wooded campus.


  • Application: Common Application or SNC Application
  • Rolling admissions. SNC has application deadlines, but will continue accepting applications as space is available.
  • Admissions requirements for Freshmen
    • 2.6 GPA – full acceptance
    • Below 2.6 can be accepted provisionally
    • Letter of recommendation from counselor
    • SAT or ACT scores
  • Admissions requirements for Transfer students
    • 2.0 GPA
    • 15 transferable credits

Tuition and Financial Aid

  • Tuition: $29,015
  • Room & Board: $12,066
  • SNC offers need-based financial aid, based on information from the FAFSA, as well as merit scholarships and other targeted scholarship opportunities
  • 90% of students receive scholarships or grants
Holman Arts & Media Center at Sierra Nevada College

Holman Arts & Media Center at Sierra Nevada College

Overall Impression
I found Sierra Nevada College very friendly and welcoming. Faculty and staff were knowledgeable and willing to help any way they could. SNC is a great place for students who enjoy the outdoors. In addition to all of the great extracurricular opportunities, many classes offer outdoor experiences as well. While the price tag may seem expensive, the college does offer generous financial aid packages, especially for students who have done well academically. It’s a great college campus and could be a great fit for students who are looking for personal attention, year round outdoor activities, and four seasons.

To see all of the photos I took on my college visit, check out the my Flickr album for Sierra Nevada College.

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