California State University, San Marcos is relatively new to the academic arena, opening in 1990 in North San Diego County. However, the college has continued to grow in recent years, now encompassing 304 acres of the idyllic San Marcos foothills. The university, which is minutes from the beach and about an hour from the desert and mountains, is comprised of four colleges, with the College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences boasting the highest enrollment.

The most popular undergraduate major is business administration, followed by psychology and criminology. The student body has more than 700 international and exchange students. Alumni include snowboarder Shaun White and Blink-182 member Mark Hoppus.

In addition to the natural outdoor wonders at students’ fingertips, there are also more than 100 organizations to pick from, including a finance society, a powerlifting group and a Minecraft club. Plus, students can play on or simply support the San Marcos teams in sports like baseball, golf and soccer.