Manhattanville College (visited 8/12/14)
Manhattanville is 1 of only 6 institutions in the country with NGO status with the UN. UN ambassadors come up regularly as part of the Ambassadors Lecture Series, and one of the current Georgian students has an internship with the embassy through the UN.
Established in 1841 as Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart in Manhattan, the school moved to Purchase (about 30 minutes north of the city) in the 1950s, and then became co-ed and non-denominational in the 1970s. Undergraduate enrollment hovers around 1700 (with an additional 1000 graduate students in business, education, and writing). Not quite half the students come from out-of-state (including a sizable international population), but it’s still skewed at almost two-thirds female. The rep credits this to the school’s start as a women’s college. 80% of classes have 24 or fewer students.
During the info session, the Rep talked about what the “Added Value” was at the school:
- It’s one of the most diverse for its size with 60 countries and 33 states represented. All sorts of religious, political, and economic diversity is apparent on campus.
- 80% of students live on campus, making it a strong community. My tour guide drives up every day from the Bronx, but there are a lot of students who use Metro North or buses. He says he doesn’t feel left out because he commutes.
- They have some unusual majors offered including
- Digital Media Production
- Sport Studies (a new interdisciplinary major that pulls in such areas as law, psychology, management. They’re hoping to tie into 5-year programs in management or phys ed.)
- Dance Studies
- Self-Designed programs. One of their students is a top Irish Dancer. She choice a Self-designed major that combines biology and dance.
- They’re hoping to add Video Game Design shortly.
- Location location location! They’re close to NYC, White Plains, Greenwich, and Stamford, leading to over 450 internship opportunities.
They accept about 2/3 of applicants. The average accepted student has a B/B+ average. International students must have at least an 80 on the TOEFL. Interviews are optional but encouraged.
Scholarships ranging from $5,000 to $22,000 are automatically granted during the admissions process. Additionally, the Duchesne Scholarship provides $2000 a year for students involved in community service. There is an essay requirement to be considered for this scholarship, and recipients are expected to complete 10 hours of community service a month to keep the scholarship.
Manhattanville Achievement Program (MAP) was designed to make college more financially attainable for students from low-income families. It covers full financial need for 6-10 students a year. Students come 2 weeks early, take intro courses, get settled in at the university. They are monitored academically (although this isn’t designed specifically for students who need academic help) and there is a required community service component.
Students do need to know that they want a smaller school – the students who transfer out tend to do so either to attend a larger school or because they decided on a major not offered at Manhattanville. However, students tend to be happy here. They get involved in a lot of different things, and there’s plenty to do on and off campus. Two specific things that our tour guide enjoyed was the annual International Bazaar which showcases music, food, fashion, and other things from around the world. The other was the “dot.com” club. Members helped PepsiCo design a new logo for one of their products last year
The college is located in a primarily residential area. There is very little for students to do directly off campus, but they are not trapped there in any sense. Buses are free for students, and one of the Westchester County buses stops on campus. Hourly Valiant Express shuttles go to local entertainment and shopping, and the school runs free buses to Grand Central on Saturdays.
The arts are strong. There are lots of studios, a couple theatres, and even 4 dance teams. There’s “lots of intergroup support” said the tour guide. Athletes come to theater and dance productions, art shows, etc. The “Artsy kids” are also in the stands for games. There is a required art class as part of the distribution requirements, and the faculty expect that students will take advantage of the NYC area. “I took an Art History class to fill that requirement because I can’t even draw a stick figure. We went to the Met and got to see the archives. Seeing the sketches from DaVinci was amazing!”
The tour guide spoke favorably about his Freshmen Seminar on Genocide. I asked why he chose that; he said that they register online for seminars by taking a survey. He didn’t really pay attention to it; “I just wanted to get it out of the way. Probably not the smartest thing I’ve done – but the class was amazing, even if it got gruesome sometimes. I learned so much.” Other options include classes like Brain Injuries in Sports, Geometry and the Idea of Creativity, Terror and God, and Making the Media Ours.