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Temple University

Temple University, Philadelphia (visited 1/27/12)

Wow. This is the first really urban campus I had toured; I had heard rumors of its urbanness, but it’s one that has to be seen to be believed. Temple started as a commuter campus, and has slowly built up to be a “residential” campus. I put that in quotes, because, according to their statistics, 11,000 of the 26,000 undergraduates live “on or near campus.” Of those 11,000, I don’t have a number of how many students live in the dorms on campus nor could I get an answer defining what “near campus” meant (in a certain number of blocks? Within a certain commute time?). No one is ever required to live on campus, keeping true to its commuter campus roots, and Juniors and Seniors cannot live on campus – but they do have some off-campus, privately-owned apartments within walking distance which is helpful to students. Temple offers living communities to freshman and sophomores in which students will take 2 Gen Ed classes with the same people.

Apart from the main campus, there are 6 other campuses: Ambler (a suburban campus with shuttle service), the Health Science campus a couple miles away near the hospital, TU City Center (most graduate students; no shuttle service), the Art School (ranked 14th in the nation and has additional admissions requirements), and 2 sites abroad in Tokyo and Rome.

Temple offers 130 majors, and lectures can range from 50-300 students, but there will always be a recitation group each week. Freshman take a 1-credit Seminar class to help with the acclimation process, including transportation in the Philly area.

Safety was a concern among several of the families in the tour group I was in. Temple has its own safety officers (I can’t remember if it’s a full police force or not). There are also 600+ cameras around campus and 60 call boxes.

Admissions is rolling, but they do recommend applying earlier rather than later, particularly for consideration for scholarships and honors program (which will be done automatically as they make admissions decisions). Applicants will have a decision in 4-6 weeks. Their current freshman profile lists the GPA at 3.42 and a 1114/1600 SAT or a 24 ACT. They will average students’ Critical Reading and Writing scores on the SATs! This is the first I’ve heard a college say that.

Parking is a bit of a nightmare, as can be imagined. All students can have cars on campus, but the cost is probably prohibitive for most students – I believe it was over $400 a SEMESTER. The tour guide who shared that information with us recognized the eyes popping out of people’s heads, and then went on to say that it cost so much because it allowed students to park in secured, lit parking garages patrolled constantly by security. She also said that most people did not need a car: the SEPTA system went literally through campus, and the university stop was 1 of 4 stops in the system that allowed for transfers to many lines within the system. She said that it was very easy to get anywhere people wanted, including the Amtrak station and the Philly airport, allowing for easy trips home.

(c) 2012

Philadelphia University

Philadelphia University (visited 1/27/12)

To be honest, I had no idea what to expect from this college. I knew nothing about it other than it existed. I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. Other than a bit of difficulty finding a parking spot (there is limited parking at the admissions building, and after a couple of false starts and driving around the block on 1-way streets, I found the over-flow parking across the street), the visit was great! The admissions people were friendly and accommodating, and they had arranged for a tour guide (who was knowledgeable and easy to talk to) to give me a personal tour.

The university has about 2,500 students and is located in a residential part of Northwest Philadelphia. It feels very suburban, but there are 2 SEPTA train stops within a 10-minute walk as well as lots of city buses that go by campus. The college has a traditional campus with a couple main quad-type areas. There was a lot of green space, and the mostly-brick buildings, although a bit older, were well maintained, neat, and clean. The campus is very walkable with students able to get from one side to the other in about 10 minutes. The dorms range from traditional hall-style dorms to townhouses for upperclassmen. There is some new building going on, and clearly the school is concerned with providing the facilities needed for the students to do well.

I was most impressed with some of the more unusual majors such as architecture, textile design, and fashion design. Kinesthetic and visual learners would thrive in these programs. The facilities for these majors were extensive and well stocked. The textiles department had everything from old traditional looms (which all students in the major are required to learn to use) to modern machinery. The architecture building has beautiful open spaces with natural lighting and student projects displayed everywhere. This is one of the few 4-year accredited programs in the area, and students definitely get a lot of hands-on experience.

(c) 2012

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