Bryant University (visited 4/30/19)
Bryant pleasantly surprised me. The people are great, there’s a good vibe, and the campus is attractive with lots of green spaces and a pond (complete with fountain) in the middle. Buildings are new and well kept up, and facilities align with the current educational trends they’re making available for students. Almost ¼ of their population is first-gen, and they make a great deal of resources available to accommodate for an array of diversity, including a large interfaith center where Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish services are offered every weekend. They have a full-time priest and rabbi on campus, and they have a kosher kitchen available to students.
“This is not a static university,” said the VP for enrollment. The university is particularly known for its business program for good reason. Most programs are highly ranked, including International Business in the top 25. They have extensive options, including Marketing Analytics, Global Supply Chain Management, and Advertising & PR in addition to more traditional offerings in undergraduate business schools. “One area we’ve moved into is Data Science.”
“We also have strong pre-Health Sciences (they guarantee an interview at the PA school) and a strong college of Arts & Sciences.” Students can take an EMT class to satisfy their science requirement! They have an array of traditional majors/minors as well as more unusual ones such as Chinese, Applied Psych, and Biotechnology.
Students must have both a major and a minor chosen from different schools. This dynamic helps to round out skill sets “and is a key towards our 99% job placement rate,” said one rep. This is the 3rd highest job placement rate in the country. “College costs too much money to not have something at the end – and that something is a job.” One of the students told us that a lot of students will major in Business (its own school) and a minor in Economics, Actuarial Math, or Applied Stats (in Arts & Sciences). He said that that’s an easy way to “kind of work the system.”
All first-year students participate in the IDEA Program, a 3-day, 1-credit design-based program in which teams solve a real world problem. “It’s exciting. It’s exhausting. They work around the clock. Campus is buzzing.” Students learn how to observe people, how to identify what the issues are, identify a challenge (usually this is given to them), brainstorm multiple ways of looking at the problem, break down ways to solve it, set up an experiment to see if a solution would work, and finally present it to others. The go into malls, the zoo, classrooms, etc. Some of the projects included how to make malls more accessible, box stores more efficient, and a children’s museum more interactive.
Over half of Bryant students go abroad at some point for internships, a semester/year, or for a study-trip. They created a Sophomore international Experience, a 2-week study-travel trip, to help get “students’ feet wet” – and many of the students who do this will then elect to go abroad for a semester or year as juniors. Bryant runs a campus in China and offer opportunities in 65 other countries around the world.
All incoming students receive an HP Elitebook laptop, and then they trade that in for a new one as a junior (or they can buy out the old one and keep it).
They’re still skewed more heavily male because of the business programs. During the admissions process, they’re looking that applicants have 4 years of math with 1 beyond Algebra 2 (they prefer pre-calc and calc). Students do not need to submit test scores – but if they don’t, they need to do 3 supplemental essay questions. To be eligible for the Honors Program, students should have a 1270 SAT and about a 3.6 GPA. There’s a very little bit of wiggle room, and students must interview if they’re on the bubble. They can sometimes come in on probation for a year: under this, they’ll take 1 class first semester, and if that goes well, they take another in the 2nd semester. At that point, if they meet the criteria, they move fully into the Honors Program without probation.
Campus is active and the students we spoke to are happy with their experiences. Every weekend has at least one big event which ranges from a trip to a major league game or an on-campus event to help people get engaged in the community or beyond. There are 4 special big weekends a year: right after students return to campus from summer, then Fall-, Winter-, and Spring-fests. The majority of seniors live in 5-7 person townhouses, allowing for a bit more independence before leaving campus. Students seem happy enough with clubs and activities (including their a cappella group that was ranked #32 in the nation).