College Matters | Doritos and seafood dip makes sense

This article was originally posted in the College Matters column of the Times-Standard.

Thursday, October 13, 2022 - 2:00pm

Doritos and mayonnaise-based seafood chip dip is a great combination. What? That seems unusual. Not the normal combination. Definitely not something one would ordinarily do. To some, it might even sound distasteful. Some people like seafood dip. Some like Doritos. To mix the two … never!

College campuses historically will encourage students to select a degree, complete that degree, and then move onto a career. This makes sense to many who have completed their degree.

However, Cal Poly Humboldt is a bit different. Yes, we want students to select a degree. Yes, we help students to complete that degree. And, yes, we want graduates to enter a profession and thrive. However, while this process is important, there is more to it at Cal Poly Humboldt. What matters more is what and why one wants to earn a specific degree. To put it another way, we are a campus that places more emphasis on how you intend to use your degree than what your degree might be. We would like to believe that by coming to Cal Poly Humboldt one learns the importance of “giving back,” environmental sustainability, and the interconnectivity of degrees and making a positive societal difference. We want our graduates to be able to help others and to make this Earth better.

There are many prospective students who look at degrees and different campuses. How different is a business degree completed at one campus in Southern California than the same degree completed at Humboldt? On the surface, they may appear to be the same. The classes sound similar. However, at Humboldt one may do field work at a tribal nation or have hands-on experiences working with a community services agency in a small rural community. At the other, maybe not. At a residential campus in Humboldt County, the actual campus experience is likely much different than you might think from looking at the pictures.

Yes, it is true that you can get a pretty good idea about a campus by researching it online. And universities across the country, including Cal Poly Humboldt, have been very focused on creating great virtual tour experiences. It’s also true that not everyone can travel to visit a university they think they’re interested in, and it is even tougher if there are multiple universities being considered.

But the truth is, the in-person college tour is a tradition for a reason. It gives you a real sense of the place, which is important given that your future university is a place you could be spending quite a few years. I would say that even doing one campus tour is worthwhile. It can help you evaluate other schools that you’ve only learned about online, and can also spur questions or clarify what you really prioritize.

At Cal Poly Humboldt, we host thousands of individuals for tours each year, in addition to different school groups and other special visitors, according to Sulaina Banks in our Admissions Office. She and others in Admissions put quite a focus on providing great tours, with the goal of really helping prospective students decide if Humboldt is the right place for them. They also work hard to provide great experiences for school groups, which is an important outreach and introduction to college life for North Coast students.

When you tour a university in person, you get to see the classrooms, residence halls, and library. You also get to walk around the spaces on campus, get inside the buildings and labs, engage with some of the faculty, find out what students are doing and get a sense of what the surrounding communities are like. Prospective students begin to learn why the degree matters; and how one intends to use the degree matters to this university.

At most universities, just like at Cal Poly Humboldt, the tours are given by current students who can give you a first-hand perspective on student life. They can answer questions and follow-up questions in more detail than you’re likely to find in a brochure or website. Of course, the student tour guides are well-connected with campus life, and so they often can share history and interesting facts that you might not learn elsewhere.

At Humboldt, we currently have 10 amazing student tour guides ready to show you the campus. They get extensive training on Humboldt’s academic programs, resources, support programs, student life, and history. They also join tours to shadow more experienced tour guides before being sent out to guide tours on their own.

The student guides provide tours for up to 200 people each week. Some of the key things students and families wonder about are total enrollment on campus, the place-based learning communities, dining options and specifically the guide’s opinion of the food, housing options, finding off-campus housing, how Humboldt help students struggling to find housing or to meet other basic needs, what it means that we have become a polytechnic, and details about our new majors.

Future students and their families … please know that we want you and welcome you to Cal Poly Humboldt!

Cal Poly Humboldt tours are offered:

• Monday-Friday 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

• Saturday 9 a.m. and Noon

For more information, you can contact Admissions at 707-826-6270 or, or visit the website at For schools and other groups wanting a guided tour, please email Admissions at

As a reminder, we are currently in the midst of the priority application period for seniors in high school who want to attend Cal Poly Humboldt next fall. The priority period continues through Dec. 2.  For students transferring from CR, there’s more time, but it’s good to get the application in as soon as possible.

Doritos and mayonnaise-based seafood chip dip is a great combination. So is mixing a degree with a meaningful societal purpose at Cal Poly Humboldt. This is a lot more ordinary than one thought, right? Try out Doritos and seafood dip, and you might actually find they taste delicious together. Touring campus, exploring the North Coast, might just lead you to the place to complete that degree. Be well.