University of Louisville (visited 9/22/19)
Here are some fun facts about UofL:
- A favorite tradition is the annual all-you-can-eat crawfish boil.
- A graduate from the UofL headed the team of engineers that developed Astroturf!
- The UofL marching band has performed My Old Kentucky Home prior to the Kentucky Derby since 1936.
- They’ve been a top producer of the nation’s Fulbright Scholars with 12 winners last year, bringing the total to 133 awards since 2003.
- They’ve been named the #1 friendliest public institution in the south for the LGBTQ+ community (and there’s a popularLGBTQ+ LLC option).
The first ever ER opened in 1911 at what today is the UofL Hospital where the first hand transplant and the first artificial heart transplant were done, and the Guardasil vaccine was developed.
- UofL is 1 of only 13 colleges designated as a Supreme Court Repository. Justice Brandeis and his wife are buried here.
- The have a First-cast of the First-mold statue of The Thinker in front of the library.
- About 60% of freshmen entered with college credit. They were one of the first schools in the country to require that students get college credit for a 3+ on the APs.
- OOS students pay about the same as in-state if they’re taking online classes.
This is a beautiful campus in an urban area (Louisville is the largest city in the Commonwealth). They’re holding steady at just under 12,000 undergrads and aren’t looking to grow; they don’t have the res halls or academic space to grow comfortably, but there are 2 new residence halls opening in 2021 and 2022. Dorm options include traditional, suites, LLCs, and apartments. There’s a 2-year residency requirement with about 70% of first-year students (and about ¼ of the entire student body) living on campus. However, all full-time students, even commuters, must have a meal plan. “It’s one way that we have been able to improve our food options and create more of a community,” said a rep.
About 18% of the students join Greek life. Most organizations are purely social but there are some with housing, “usually the ones that were here first,” said the tour guide. Formal rush happens over the 2nd and 3rd weekends of the fall. They have informal “rolling” rush if specific groups want to increase their numbers. “Most groups are tight knit and active,” said one of the tour guides. “They’re very socially responsible.” They also have all Divine Nine Greek chapters (and as a side note, U of L is the nation’s top university for serving the needs of African American students, according to a study from USC’s Race and Equity Center).
Louisville is an interesting city. “It has a small town feel in a big city. There’s something for everyone in regards to identity and interests,” said the tour guide. “It’s a very Catholic community, but we have a lot of diversity on campus,” said the rep. About 20% of students come from outside Kentucky with the majority of those coming from Indiana – not surprising since you can literally walk there across the many bridges spanning the Ohio river to the north of the city. The city is home to many corporate headquarters such as Humana, Papa John’s International, Brown Forman, and KFC/Yum (Pizza Hut and Taco Bell) which allows for plenty of internships opportunities. The city is also a UPS hub; in-state students who work the overnight shift get their tuition paid (out-of-state students get in-state tuition applied to their bill) and $14 an hour.
“Even though it’s a larger school, it’s a 10-minute walk to anywhere on campus, not counting the football stadium.” The university has great sports teams with 20 team or individual national championships and 111 conference championships to their name. Students can buy into a monthly subscription plan ($10/month) that will get them into all football and basketball games. Other games are free.
For admissions, they’re looking for a 20 ACT (or SAT equivalent) and a 2.5 GPA except for Business and Engineering which have higher standards. Students falling under those benchmarks are put up to committee for discussion, and they may require additional materials. They’ll accept test scores directly from a counselor, but not from a student. They do not superscore for admissions or scholarships “but are ready to revisit that policy for Fall 2021.”
Classes aren’t as large as you might think for a school this size. The tour guides said that their smallest classes had 4 and 12 students. The largest classes for both had 200 students, both intro level. One of the guides (a senior) said that she’s only had 3 classes with more than 100 students during her time here. Their favorite classes were Psychology of Music (she loved learning about how we process sound and its effects on behavior); the other’s favorite was Ancient Greek for Translation. She’s in her 3rd year of the language and basically taking it for fun.
Academically, the top programs at the university include engineering, business, nursing, and natural sciences. They’re doing some interesting things with programs and academics:
- They offer a 3+3 accelerated law program leading to their bachelors and JD in 6 years. They can apply their scholarship money to that 4th year which saves about 1 year of law school debt.
- Engineering has 3 mandatory coops built into the program starting in the second semester of Sophomore year (except bioengineering which is on a different track). Biomedical engineering students have a 100% acceptance rate to med school and the highest percentage of women (they’re looking for 33% overall in all engo programs).
- The Liberal Studies Program allows students to design their own degree combining 3 concentrations.
- Music Therapy major is ranked as best in region. They offer a range of BM and BA in the School of Music including Theory, Education, Composition, History, and Performance.
- Nursing is ranked in the top 60 in the country by USNWR.
- They’re flipping the curriculum in classes in their newest building: lectures are sent in advance which students must watch. During class, they do homework, labs, etc.
- A few more unusual majors include ASL Interpretation, Business Management in Equine Science (it IS Kentucky, after all!), Organizational Leadership and Learning, Atmospheric Science, and Pan-African Studies.