Seattle University (visited 6/22/17)
“Students who come here are engaged and aware of the world and want to make an impact, as cliché and Jesuit as that sounds. This is further solidified when they get here,” said one of the reps. This idea of “lighting the world on fire” is even evident in the artwork around campus: hanging front and center in the Pigott Building Atrium is a Chihuly glass sculpture called “Accendo” which means “to ignite”. (Also in this atrium is The Bottom Line Café which highlights companies in Seattle).
This is one of the US’s 28 Jesuit universities. “We’re Catholic but incredibly inclusive. The core curriculum is centered around students thinking for themselves and how to articulate what’s important to them. We’re not telling them what to think.” Only 30% of the 4,700 undergrads self-identify as Catholic. Although never required, Mass is offered regularly in their modern, award-winning chapel. The walls are unfinished to symbolize that people’s journeys are never finished. Students do need to take 2 ethics/philosophy-based classes.
We asked people to characterize the type of student who would most benefit from Seattle University:
- Someone who wants Seattle. It’s kind of an interesting place, very entrepreneurial. It’s young, alive, progressive, going someplace, dynamic. It’s been named one of 5 best for college education. The students here want urban but this type of urban.
They’re looking for an intellectual challenge: they believe in a core curriculum that’s engaging and the foundation for a broad education. Our part is looking at how we challenge them to know what they think and why they think that
- The professor-student relationship shows itself in independent study, research, etc. We’re particularly strong in science and engineering because of this environment and our long relationship with Boeing.
- They want engagement with community and neighborhood. There’s a Community Youth Engagement Project covering 100 square blocks to the east of campus. There are 3 schools within this area, so students look at how work with education, support, language development, etc. Our students help those students graduate from high school.
- This is the most diverse university in the state. It’s almost like an identity lab for the students. How do they bump up against The Other?
Although in Capitol Hill in the heart of the city, Seattle U’s campus was intentionally designed to be an urban oasis and is a certified urban wildlife sanctuary. Students have the best of both worlds: they’re as close as they can be without being in Downtown. “This is the 8th most hipster neighborhood in the country – I don’t know if that’s a plus or minus! It’s an art and music hub.” It’s a 20-25 minute walk to the water and Pike Place. Professors expect Students to use the city as an extension of their curriculum; “it’s a common denominator.” Students get bus passes and tickets for off campus events.
All classes are taught by professors despite a relatively large graduate student population. The tour guide’s largest class has been 25 students. He likes the quarter system: “students are more involved. If you don’t like something, it’s over quickly. If you love it, you can really delve in because you’re only taking a few classes at a time.”
All academics are direct entry. Courses are inquiry based where students look at issues within that field.
- Students can build their own majors through the Matteo Ricci College.
- Pre-major (Med, Vet, etc) advisors meet often with the students and work with them to reflect “in that very Jesuit way” about what calls them to this profession. What does it mean to pursue this degree? Which program is better for them? What does it really mean to be in the health field, etc?
- Honors programs were recently expanded to have themes (intellectual traditions, innovation, law & society) meant to help students find a cohort with similar interests. They apply to the programs when they apply to the university.
- Nursing majors must declare this on the application. Once they’re in, they’re guaranteed the spot assuming they continue to meet the minimum requirements. The average accepted HS GPA is a 3.85 with a B or better in bio/chem/math. They average a 1360 SAT/29ACT with a minimum 570/24 math score.
- Science/Engineering: the average accepted GPA is 3.72 with a B or better in science and math. The average accepted SAT/ACT scores are 1272/28 with a minimum 570/24 on the math. A few more unusual programs include:
- They offer a 6-year accelerated business and law degree: Students need a 3.5 GPA with an SAT/ACT math score of 620/27. They completely their undergrad business degree in 3 years and then do the regular 3-year law degree.
- Their Environmental Studies degree has 4 specialization tracks: Ecological Systems, Environmental Education and Communication, Politics/Policy/Justice, and Urban Sustainability.
- Criminal Justice Majors can specialize in Administration of Justice, Criminology and Criminal Justice Theory, Forensic Psychology (BA or BS) or Forensic Science (BA or BS).
All freshmen and sophomores live on campus. It’s available after that, but students have the choice to move off. Thos who do usually they live within a 6 block radius and stay involved on campus. Almost 70% of students come from out-of-state so this is not a suitcase school. Signature Events that the community rallies around include:
- Christmas Tree Lighting including live reindeer
- Homecoming usually during January/February to correspond to basketball season
- Dance marathon: This year will be the 11th They’ve retained their record as the largest Miracle Network DM on the west coast.
- Luau: 500 guests from campus and community
- Sports: SeattleU is DI. Basketball and soccer are big.
The Sullivan Leadership Award is the only extra (non-merit) scholarship that a first-year student can apply for. This is a 4-year full ride. Last year they had 350 applicants for 9 available awards. “This is really a ‘You don’t know until you try’ situation,” said the Rep. They look at the whole student, specifically leadership and how they apply that in a unique way; “we want students who are authentic in their leadership so we look at how they have applied and could apply that to the world around them. It’s not about the numbers.” Each year, the cohort looks different. Students interested must apply (both to the university and for the Sullivan) by the EA deadline. If they get past the first round, they’re invited to campus to interview.