Temple University, Philadelphia (visited 1/27/12)
Wow. This is the first really urban campus I had toured; I had heard rumors of its urbanness, but it’s one that has to be seen to be believed. Temple started as a commuter campus, and has slowly built up to be a “residential” campus. I put that in quotes, because, according to their statistics, 11,000 of the 26,000 undergraduates live “on or near campus.” Of those 11,000, I don’t have a number of how many students live in the dorms on campus nor could I get an answer defining what “near campus” meant (in a certain number of blocks? Within a certain commute time?). No one is ever required to live on campus, keeping true to its commuter campus roots, and Juniors and Seniors cannot live on campus – but they do have some off-campus, privately-owned apartments within walking distance which is helpful to students. Temple offers living communities to freshman and sophomores in which students will take 2 Gen Ed classes with the same people.
Apart from the main campus, there are 6 other campuses: Ambler (a suburban campus with shuttle service), the Health Science campus a couple miles away near the hospital, TU City Center (most graduate students; no shuttle service), the Art School (ranked 14th in the nation and has additional admissions requirements), and 2 sites abroad in Tokyo and Rome.
Temple offers 130 majors, and lectures can range from 50-300 students, but there will always be a recitation group each week. Freshman take a 1-credit Seminar class to help with the acclimation process, including transportation in the Philly area.
Safety was a concern among several of the families in the tour group I was in. Temple has its own safety officers (I can’t remember if it’s a full police force or not). There are also 600+ cameras around campus and 60 call boxes.
Admissions is rolling, but they do recommend applying earlier rather than later, particularly for consideration for scholarships and honors program (which will be done automatically as they make admissions decisions). Applicants will have a decision in 4-6 weeks. Their current freshman profile lists the GPA at 3.42 and a 1114/1600 SAT or a 24 ACT. They will average students’ Critical Reading and Writing scores on the SATs! This is the first I’ve heard a college say that.
Parking is a bit of a nightmare, as can be imagined. All students can have cars on campus, but the cost is probably prohibitive for most students – I believe it was over $400 a SEMESTER. The tour guide who shared that information with us recognized the eyes popping out of people’s heads, and then went on to say that it cost so much because it allowed students to park in secured, lit parking garages patrolled constantly by security. She also said that most people did not need a car: the SEPTA system went literally through campus, and the university stop was 1 of 4 stops in the system that allowed for transfers to many lines within the system. She said that it was very easy to get anywhere people wanted, including the Amtrak station and the Philly airport, allowing for easy trips home.