On our way to the Emory University campus, we drove through the huge medical complex with its multiple hospitals, labs, and other facilities that line one side of campus. Somehow, it’s not surprising that a school with such a massive medical school and multiple teaching hospitals would have a skeleton (named “Dooley”) as the unofficial mascot!
The initial impression of Emory that we got from all the medical buildings was very different than we might have gotten otherwise if we had approached from a different direction. The med complex and the actual university campus are both impressive in their own ways. The medical buildings, appropriately, look sterile, clinical, and business-like. They’re clearly well-funded and growing (construction was happening in several spots). The university, itself, is housed on a beautiful, well-maintained campus with a lot of green space. Students were out in swarms, clearly enjoying their surroundings. There was a lot of interaction between people and students seemed to really enjoy being there.
Emory University began in Oxford, GA in 1836 and stayed there for 80 years. That campus still operates as Oxford College of Emory University (see separate write-up for that). In 1914, a thousand acres were donated because the benefactor wanted Atlanta itself to have more educational opportunities. Today, Emory University has nine divisions – Emory College and Oxford College are the two solely undergraduate divisions; the Business and Nursing schools have both undergrad and graduate students. Students cannot start in the Business or Nursing schools until they’re juniors and have to apply to get in. They accept about 80% into the business program and about 90% into nursing.
The Emory College campus has 5500 undergraduates. About 20% of the annual 15,000 applications come from Georgia; they admit approximately 25% of the total applicant pool. Forty-eight percent of their current freshmen class came in through ED (2000 applied ED). For EDI, they’ll accept, deny, or defer into RD; for EDII, they’ll accept, waitlist, or deny.
They look for those who will thrive on campus: students who are “self-propelled, noticed by teachers, and active on campus” as one admissions counselor put it. Emory itself offers more opportunities than students know what to do with in terms of clubs, internships, and more, but that doesn’t stop students from trying to do everything. The student panelists said that typical students often take on too much. One junior said: “People go full-throttle and burn out. I feel like a crusty old man.” Despite being overinvolved, 94% of Emory students graduate in four years. Also, about 2/3 of the students opt to live on campus all four years, despite being able to move off after sophomore year, because it makes it easier to be involved and take advantage of all the extra-curricular activities. The students really appreciate that Emory gets such big-name speakers on campus such as Clinton, the Dalai Lama, and Salman Rushdie. Jimmy Carter also gives a Town Hall Meeting for every freshman class.
The kids love their classes and the professors. Less than 10% of classes are taught by TAs, so the students have access to professors on a regular basis. The two students I spoke to said that their smallest classes were 6 and 11 students; the largest classes had 56 and 82 students. There are lots of research opportunities on campus. Emory also has a 3-2 degree with Ga Tech, and there are shuttles that run regularly between the campuses to make it easy for the students. Emory is also part of ARCHE (Atlanta Region Consortium of Higher Education) which allows them to cross-register for classes at places like Agnes Scott, Spelman, Morehouse, Clark Atlanta, Oglethorpe, Kennesaw State, Georgia Tech, etc.
The college is continually building and remodeling, but they try not to wreck the feeling of the campus. The dining hall, for example, is new. As they expanded one of their older buildings to add the dining hall, the students didn’t want the exterior of the building to be demolished, so now one interior wall of the dining hall is the former exterior wall. The older building now houses theater space, so the students come through the dining hall to get into the theater, which is pretty cool.