Barry University (visited 2/6/16)
I wasn’t unimpressed with Barry … but I wasn’t entirely impressed with it, either. The professors and administrators we met were great. The tour guides tried hard but weren’t as enthusiastic or as prepared to answer questions as I’d hope. The campus was nice with some buildings in better shape than others. There’s a lot of construction going on (although we never got a good answer about exactly what they were doing). In many ways, this is a typical, small liberal arts school, but does have a few things to help distinguish it: its diversity, some of the majors, and its extra support for students with learning differences or ADHD.
Founded in 1940 as Florida’s first Catholic women’s college, it went coed in 1975. Its Core Commitments (Knowledge and Truth, an Inclusive Community, Social Justice, and Collaborative Service) remain the same today. This is still visibly a Catholic school with crucifixes in many of the rooms. The President, Sister Linda Bevilacqua (a Barry Alumna), is amazing; she’s vibrant and personable, and she clearly cares about her alma mater.
The racial diversity was noticeable as we walked around campus. Later, we learned that they are ranked among the nation’s 25 most ethnically diverse university by USNWR: the student population is almost ¼ each black, white, and Hispanic. The remaining quarter is split between Asian, international, and those who didn’t disclose. About 1/3 of the students come from outside Florida and almost 10% come from abroad. One of the most popular events on campus is the annual Festival of Nations in which students get to showcase food and cultural events.
Academics are constantly growing and they offer some unusual majors. It’s classified as a Comprehensive Research 3 University.
- They have the only Diving Industry program in the country; this is housed in the Sports Management department.
- Their Business school is internationally accredited and offers a range of majors including Public Administration, Emergency Management, and Administration with specializations in a variety of areas such as Personal Financial Planning, Legal Studies, and Human Resources or Health Services.
- The Nursing and Health Sciences programs offers 2 unique tracks:
- More than 85% of students in Physical Sciences gain admission to graduate or professional schools upon graduation (med, dental, MS, PhD, etc)
- Students can get guaranteed entry into the School of Law or Podiatric Medicine with 3.0 GPA and minimum MCAT or LSAT.
- Their Psychology department offers options in Forensic and Industrial/Organizational Psych.
- Their Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology major is one of a few in the country.
- The Arts department offers both BA and BFA degrees in Theater, Dance Theater, Photography, and Art as well as Music (BA or BM), Graphic Design, and Art History degrees.
- They offer a Biomedical and Forensic Photography Specialization
Barry provides a great deal of Academic Support for students who need it. In addition to the ubiquitous tutoring and writing centers, they have a Center for Advanced Learning which provides students enrolled in the program 4 hours weekly of 1:1 tutoring (2 hours each in 2 subjects). There is an additional cost associated with this.
Campus is easily walkable and is also entirely gated: gates get locked at midnight and students need IDs to get on “and visitors get all their information taken down. We want to know who’s here,” said the tour guide. The “mall” (a quad) has lots of events on it, but the tour guide had trouble naming more than Spring Fling (a typical spring weekend event) and saying that people use it to hang out and study. At one end is the chapel; mass is offered every day but is not required. Students have to take 2 religion and 2 philosophy classes to graduate; our tour guide took BioMedical Ethics as one of his requirements.
There’s no residency requirement, and housing is not guaranteed: it’s first come, first served “but most people who want it, get it,” said the tour guide. About 1500 students live on campus, and they actually get a grant to stay (they lose that when they move off campus). They offer several LLCs including pre-nursing, honors, business, and STEM. The campus center is beautiful with lots of light and space, including a Commuter Lounge (which is relatively small given the number of commuters they have), Bucky’s Cove (campus pub; they do serve alcohol), and the fitness center is on the 2nd floor.
There’s a big athletic culture here. They have 12 DII Varsity teams (including men and women’s golf and women’s rowing which won the 2015 National Championship) and 348 Scholar All-Americans. As a side note, Shaquille O’Neill did his EdD here.
Admissions is rolling, and they don’t charge an application fee. International students need at least a 61 TOEFL score, a 500 CR SAT score, or attend an English-speaking high school. Merit aid is plentiful (even for international students with a 2.75 GPA). The Stamps Leadership Scholars Program is for students with a 3.5+ GPA, strong extra-curriculars, leadership potential, etc and requires an essay. Everything is covered (room, board, books, etc) plus a stipend for study-abroad. The Dominican Leadership scholarship goes up to $4,000 for those who are promising but maybe don’t quite meet the Stamps program. The Honors Program is open to students with a 1250 SAT or 28 ACT and 3.7 GPA. These students complete 21 credit hours in Honors and get an additional $5000 on top of other merit aid.