OXFORD COLLEGE/Emory University (visited 3/5/13)
One of the students I talked to summed up Oxford this way: “Oxford is better than I expected. It’s harder, but it’s also more fun.”
This is the historic home campus of Emory University. Oxford operates as a traditional liberal arts college, with the unique distinction that students can only complete their freshman and sophomore years here. Students then become “continuees” at Emory, not transfer students since they’re already considered full Emory University students from day one. When students apply to Emory/Oxford, they do so using the Common App (they’re CA exclusive), and may apply to one or both campuses with the same application. The same admissions staff reads all applications, and students may be admitted to one or both. If students apply only to Emory College and are waitlisted, those students, under rare conditions, might be offered the chance to be considered for a spot at Oxford.
The admissions people are looking for go-getters for this campus since the students only have two years at Oxford before they move on. They want kids who will be able to jump right in and take on leadership roles because the sophomores ARE the leaders – the RAs, the presidents of clubs, etc. It’s a fully residential campus since there are so few students (about 900 total) which also helps students get involved. There’s a lot to do on campus, and there’s new construction going on, as well. There are shuttles several times a day to the Emory campus, but not every student wants to take advantage of those. It is about 40 minutes away, so it’s more common for students to go on the weekends for activities than to cross-register for a class (which can be done, but is rare, particularly since there’s not usually a reason to do so for the first couple years). The town of Oxford is small and cute (My Cousin Vinnie was filmed in the Town Square) but most of the fun is found on campus or in Atlanta.
Someone asked the students how they can thrive in both places since they’re such different schools? The faculty and the students gave a lot of good answers to that. First, the students say that they’re at different points in life two years later; when they’re starting college, a small environment might be the best choice. As Juniors, they’re ready for a change and a bigger place. Additionally, this is a good option if students want their introductory classes to be smaller than what they would get at Emory College. The largest class on campus is 32 students (16 in a writing class) so this is a good place for students who learn better in this type of environment. One of the faculty members said that the classes at Oxford are also very different types than what they’d get at Emory, again largely due to the size of the classes. The students are taught different ways of knowing things in different disciplines. It’s not about spouting back ideas. Here, they’re already thinking like a ____ (biologist, historian, whatever) in the first semester. The faculty is involved and invested in teaching; teachers pay attention and engage the students. There’s also an early warning system. Faculty can submit names of students who are struggling to the Academic Services office which will then step in. The teachers know if kids aren’t in class, aren’t participating, etc.