Elms College (visited 5/28/19)
“The practical education is one of the best parts of an Elms education. Students get a close look at whether or not the major they’ve chosen is really the right field for them.” I think this is one of my favorite things about Elms (in addition to the attractive campus) – it’s small and personal enough that they can really make sure that the students are getting what is most useful for them.
The rep I spoke to graduated from Elms (the full name is College of Our Lady of the Elms – but everyone just calls it Elms). “As a senior in high school, I met a faculty member here who already made me feel connected to campus. It seemed like the right place to be.” He was looking for a small campus where he could get involved and do internships and found that here. “I got to explore a lot. I took a Social Work class because it was required and ended up double majoring.”
Founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph, this is very clearly a Catholic institution, but they make no assumption that students are Catholic. However, they do expect people to be understanding of others. “We’re pretty reserved when it comes to religious requirements and ideology. Students do have to take one 3-credit course which focuses more on being a good person and helping the community, and there’s a 30-hour community service requirement before graduation.” The Dorothy Day Service program offers the first-year students the chance to come to campus a week before classes start and complete many of these hours.
There’s no expectation that students live on campus for any length of time; they currently house about 500 students on campus, but enrollment is more than twice that. The students who live on campus tend to stay, but they also pull a lot of kids from a 20-30 minute radius who commute in. They encourage students to live on campus by offering residents slightly larger scholarships. The rep would like to see another res hall added. “It would be a good step. Res halls are almost always at capacity. It would make it easier to grow. It’s not sorely necessary, but it would bring some new options.”
The Lyons Center for Natural and Health Sciences (built in 2012) is the best change the rep said he has seen since he got here. “It’s a nice improvement. It looks uniform to the rest of campus in terms of the outside, but the inside has the most state-of-the-art nursing, bio, Chem, and Computer Info Tech labs in the area. The simulation labs are modeled after Bay State Medical Center down the street which is the most used place we send students for nursing clinicals. It’s a really robust program.”
Some of the academics worth noting include:
- All majors have some sort of clinical, internship, etc attached to them.
- Nursing is direct entry (as are all others majors) with a 100% NCLEX pass rate last year.
- The Education program (including certification in Moderate Special Needs) also has strong outcomes year to year with a 100% job placement rate for the last 7 years.
- The Accelerated MBA is “really aggressive. Students graduate in May and start the Masters two weeks later.” There’s a Certified Financial Planning program.
- They have a great 3+3 articulation with Western New England University for law. Students majoring in psych or Criminal Justice with a 3.5+GPA, they can apply.
- They offer an MSW hybrid with St. Louis University; they get the BSW and complete half of the program at Elms; the other half is online.
- Communication Sciences and Disorders “is enveloped in the Social Sciences division.” There’s also a major for Speech-Language Pathology Assistant.
- They offer a few unusual minors such as Irish Studies, Bioethics and Medical Humanities, and Coaching.
Admissions is moderately selective with incoming students having an average of 3.0 GPA. Currently, applicants need to submit test scores, but Elms will go test-optional in 2020-21. Recommendation letters are optional except for the nursing majors who also will require to submit test scores because of Board licensure (the minimum SAT requirement is a 1000 or it’ll be really difficult), and they must get through Algebra 2.