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Oxford College of Emory University

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.”

Oxford Emory quad3Oxford Emory library windowThis 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.

Oxford Emory signOxford Emory 1The 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.

Oxford Emory quadOxford Emory quad2Someone 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.

(c) 2013

Emory College of Emory University

EMORY COLLEGE of Emory University

Dooley

Dooley

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!

~Emory walkwayThe 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 quad~Emory statue and studentEmory 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.

~Emory plaza2The 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.

~Emory bikesThey 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.

~Emory theater entrance

The original theater entrance which now opens into the Student Center

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.

~Emory plazaThe 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.

(c) 2012

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