mystery3Granted I'm closer to visiting colleges as a parent than I am to attending college but this statement made me lol. Has UNR come a long way over the last decade or two or is Montana State just terrible?
Like with most mid-tier public universities, it really comes down to the programs and the students. UNR has a great school of mines and school of engineering. It has a very competitive nursing program as well. It's education department is prettly lacking and the school of liberal arts (my alma mater) has a lot of options with some really great faculty, but it's not anything to write home about in terms of churning out anything impressive.
I know MSU has a fantastic earth sciences department and it's pretty well known among indie filmmakers as a great option to get a non-liberal-arts-college degree in film from (Bozeman hosts one of the coolest annual film festivals). I thiiiink (don't quote me) that MSU is doing some renewable energy work that's getting some recognition.
OP, one thing to really consider is the life you want surrounding your school aside from skiing. This is why I stayed Nevada instead of going up to MSU. Both schools have great skiing and outdoor life around it, but in Reno you have a much larger city and surrounding cities to draw on. Sure, "Casinos and hookers bro!", but anyone who actually lives in Nevada knows that locals aren't in the casinos all the time. The city does allow your more nighlife options. So going out with friends and hitting bars/clubs/college shenanigans was more enticing in Reno as opposed to Bozeman.
Follow up edit after seeing your last line: if you are full committed to a wildlife ecology major, MSU is probably your better path.
**This post was edited on Aug 26th 2019 at 2:54:55pm