For generations, community and public colleges in the United States, such as City College of San Francisco, have been educating local residents with diverse cultural backgrounds. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize it, but community colleges traditionally serve transfer students exclusively – they’re not designed to help students find employment opportunities. In contrast, Northwestern Polytechnic University (NPU) is a private, non-profit university in Fremont, CA, with an open enrollment policy. As a result, NPU mainly enrolls local residents.
NPU is also unique insomuch as it offers Master’s degrees for students with 1 to 7 years of work experience. It prepares them to go back into the workforce after graduation and immediately impacts their employers.
In this way, NPU continues to meet the needs of a growing number of tech workers in Silicon Valley. In fact, Northwestern Polytechnic University’s Peter Hsieh says that recent graduates from his University have been recruited back into their respective companies at higher salaries – some even doubling their salaries after attending NPU for 1 to 2 years.
Hsieh said, “Our graduates are finding very rewarding jobs immediately after graduation. I think the companies out there recognize that our students not only have great technical knowledge and skills but can be productive quickly.”
The following points explain why Northwestern Polytechnic University is an innovative institution and more of a traditional university than people realize.
1) NPU is not an open admissions college: They don’t accept everyone who applies – they only enroll students who have the potential to be successful in their degree programs at NPU.
2) Unlike other universities, NPU does not charge fees for an application nor requires a student to submit SAT or ACT scores. Instead, applicants need only to take the English and Math placement tests before enrolling – test results indicate whether they are proficient enough academically to begin their degree program at NPU as a “pre-major” (freshman).
3) Unlike most institutions, NPU doesn’t require students to write a personal statement for their application.
4) There are no tuition fees at NPU for California residents. The only fee is $75 per unit – which works out to less than $2,000 annually. This can be paid on a payment plan basis of up to three years.
5) NPU is not a commuter university: Students must live on campus for their first year at NPU. But, Hsieh said, “We want our students to bond and share experiences as they learn in the classroom.”
6) The University provides student mentors to help new arrivals during their first year – this way, they can ease into their transition from the “real world” to college life at NPU.
In addition, Hsieh says that Northwestern Polytechnic University is a school for students who are serious about studying and getting results – it doesn’t have any social fraternities or sororities on campus.
Hsieh said, “We don’t do that here. We are not a party school.”
This year, the University only has about 800 students. Still, they offer over 45 degree programs at NPU in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), business and management, healthcare management, and information technology. Hsieh said he plans to increase enrollment to 1,000 students by the end of 2016.