Simmons College (visited 9/13/17)
“This is the perfect combination of small school and big place,” said one of our tour guides. The school offers all the benefits of an 1800 student undergrad community on a small campus combined with the resources of the Colleges of the Fenway Consortium (students have access to 2,300 classes!) and Boston. As students they have access to a lot of reduced price attractions; the tour guides were particularly excited about the $7 cinema tickets (with reclining chairs) and $10 aquarium tickets.
Although this is single-gender (the only women’s college right in Boston), “Wentworth is literally across the street, and they’re 85% male, so we kind of balance each other out!” Six schools make up the Colleges of the Fenway (The Fens is the name of the park is directly across the street, so the Fenway is the area around the park). Simmons sits just about in the middle of the group, and their Residential Quad is a block from Main Campus (actually right across from Emmanuel). The dining hall and health center (“which is incredible,” said the tour guide) are both in the Res Quad. Housing is guaranteed for all 4 years; freshmen are required to live on campus. There are college-owned apartments about a 7-10 minute walk from campus but are considered “on campus” and have RAs there. The tour guide loved living there: “It’s a comfort and independence thing.” For students wanting to move off campus, it’s easy to find off-campus housing through Facebook etc.
This college lives up to its commitment to diversity, and students themselves are invested in it. “People have really great perspectives,” said one student. Seventeen Magazine named Simmons in their Top 20 Gay-friendly Schools list, and this was one of the first to have a defined admission policy for transgender students: if you were born OR identify as female, you can apply. “People here are really respectful of pronouns.” There’s also good religious diversity and “people are from everywhere.” There were students wearing hijab and necklaces with Arabic writing. Both Kosher and Halal meals are served on campus.
People hold doors for others. “We’re treated like adults and we act like it. It’s not catty here. There’s no drama. It’s not a party school. I picked Simmons because I wanted people with the same goals.”
Their academics place a strong emphasis on professional preparation. In addition to the ubiquitous career center found in colleges everywhere, Simmons makes sure that every department has a staff member or professor whose job it is to help find those opportunities. Some of the academics programs or departments worth noting are:
Entry to their 3+3 Direct Entry/Accelerated PT (Exercise Science-PT) program is based on GPA, coursework, and SAT/ACT scores. Students keep financial aid through the 4th year since they technically don’t finish the BS until then. However, their merit aid stays with them for the last 2 years and they can file the FAFSA for graduate work.
- They’re known for their Information (Library) Science programs (and the library itself is amazing: “Lots of COF students come here to study.”) Students can complete a major in Information Technology, or complete a 3+1 program Information Technology (BS) + Library and Information Science (MS) or Computer Science (BS) and Library and Information Science (MS).
- Other Combined and/or accelerated programs include:
- Special Education (BA/BS +MSEd)/Elementary Education (BS/BA+MAT): 4+1
- Students can complete a 4+1 combining Biology, Nutrition, or Exercise Science (BS) with Nutritional and Health Promotion (MS) or can earn a BS in Nutrition and Food or Nutrition and Dietetics.
- Students interested in Public Policy can complete a 3+1 program in Economics (BA) + Public Policy (MPP) or Sociology (BA) + Public Policy (MPP).
- Social Work BSW and MSW: 3+1
- Unusual Majors include: Biostatistics, Web Design and Development, Neuroscience and Behavior, Health Informatics, Retail Management, Chemistry Management, and Financial Math
- Unusual Minors or Concentrations include: Gender History, Scientific Computation, Radio, Health Care Management, Public History, Physics of Materials, and Principled Leadership.