Trine University (visited 11/20/19)
Trine is a small university in a small town in rural northern Indiana. In addition the standard array of liberal arts degrees, they offer strong education programs, design engineering tech, biomedical engineering, and golf management as well as lots of unusual minors. Sports and Greek Life are big deals here. One of the old buildings in the attractive quad area had Hall of Humanities engraved in the stone; we didn’t get to go into that, but we thought that might be an indication of what they thought was important, but choices for majors in Arts & Sciences are limited.
Trine is the fastest growing private college in Indiana; they’re looking to keep growing over the next 15 years. The main campus has about 2,200 undergrads (skewed heavily male) and 5,000 students total. (There’s a smaller satellite campus in Ft. Wayne that hosts Health Sciences and some online programs). Almost half (45%) of students are engineering majors; the rep, an alum gave us a tour and zoomed past the biomedical building in the golf cart so we didn’t get to see any of the labs which would’ve been cool. (Note: we did ask her to show off what she was most proud of; we ended up spending a chunk of time wandering around the new sports arena; she walked us around the entire perimeter of the basketball court and showed off the bowling alley but not the eSports room … go figure). Although they’re mostly considered a STEM and education school, they do offer some other options:
- Engineering and Computing is arguably the strongest school with 10 majors including Biomed, Chem, Civil & Environmental, Design Engineering Technology, Electrical, Mechanical, Computer, and software.
- Business includes a Golf Management program (they have a course on campus). There are maybe about 30 students in the program.
- In the Education department, everyone can get Google Certified. They boast a 100% job placement over the last 6 years and pass rate on the state level pedagogy exam.
- Arts & Sciences have very limited options. There are 3 routes for pre-law – Criminal Justice, General Studies, and an accelerated 3+3 with a few options for law school.
- The School of Health Science offers 5 majors including Biochem, Exercise science, and forensic science. They bought an Anatomage (like a giant iPad) which allows them to study anatomy and physiology without a cadaver lab. They offer direct entries into their MPAS and DPT programs; applicants would need a 1210 SAT and 3.5 GPA to be considered for the Direct entry.
- Some of their unusual minors include Gaming & eSports, energy engineering, aeronautical engineering, bioprocess engineering, metallurgical engineering, sport psychology, and forensic psychology.
Co-ops are encouraged but not required; typically students choose to do a full year. This will delay graduation if they choose to do this, but they do get paid and can receive academic credit after the 3rd session. Their 5-year graduation rate is 60% mainly because of Co-ops, although their freshman-to-sophomore retention is also fairly low.
They are in a small town that’s difficult to get to for students coming from a distance; there’s no convenient public transport. The closest airport is 50 miles away (Ft. Wayne); the nearest train station is 15 miles (Waterloo). The town of Angola isn’t big, but there are a few things to do in town: students get free movies on Mondays at the Brokaw; MTI hosts College Bowling Nights 1-2 times a week, there’s Open Skate at the Thunder Ice Arena, and the Y hosts Trine Nights where students can use the pool, fitness center, sauna, etc. There is no pool on campus.
As counselors, we’re always looking to see what a school’s hook is – what would draw students to that school over other similar ones. This is a cute school with a few niche majors, but we had trouble finding a compelling reason to recommend this to people from a distance. We asked her what her “elevator spiel” was when students stopped to talk at a college fair and what would draw a student (particularly one who had to travel and really work at getting to campus) to Trine over another school. Unfortunately, she didn’t really have an answer to that. She mentioned the small school/class experience (LOTS of colleges have that), the “community feel” (pretty much every school out there talks about that), and that she would talk about her experience on campus – which she didn’t share with us.
Trine recently built Stadium Hall, a new dorm, to accommodate the growing population. Students have to live on campus until they’re 21, unless they’re in one of the massive Greek houses (about 25% of students join Greek life but few live in the houses; the rep said, “Greek life is not dominant but it’s present.”) or in the non-denominational Christian Campus House which is technically not considered on-campus (landlords are different). They have 3 houses: 1 each for men and women and a Main house (surprisingly, only about 15 students total live there despite this being one of the biggest groups). They serve free hot dogs on Wednesday and pancakes on Fridays; host a “root beer kegger” during orientation; and offer alternative spring breaks, mission work, etc. Trine is not religiously affiliated, by the way.
Sports provide much of the social life on campus. They’re DIII with 35 competitive teams. Bowling, eSports, Cheer & Dance, and Synchronized & Figure Skating are club sports so they can give scholarships to students. Lacrosse is a big draw for East coast students. They’ve invested a lot of money into their facilities, including a great indoor track including long-jump sand pit.
Scholarships are based on GPA and scores, and they’ll accept new scores and transcripts until May of senior year. Students can only earn one academic scholarship but can stack up to 2 more awards such as Diversity, valedictorian/salutatorian, legacy, activity award (music, choir, skating, etc), or Pre-Health Profession Track. Students can be invited for the Scholarship Days where they come to campus to compete for certain awards.