Brigham Young University (visited 9/25/18)
The admissions rep started our info session (I was with a group of counselors) by addressing several myths about BYU. One he address was about admissions quotas: there are none. However, they are sponsored by LDS so tuition is different depending on membership in the LDS church. “We don’t recruit. We don’t have to.”
There have three sister schools: BYU Idaho, BYU Hawaii, LDS Business College. They are different schools! Each one makes their own admission decisions based on their missions and what they’re mandated to look for. The application to the main campus is straightforward. They do NOT want any extra materials for the app. The application asks the applicants to pick TWO activities. “It’s an exercise in critical thinking,” said the rep. “The strongest applications reflect the values of the college.”
It’s important to know that their application submission process is very different from most other places. Students cannot even hit the submit button until everything is done, including having their recs uploaded! EVERYTHING has to be in (including recommendations and scores) by the 12/15 final/hard deadline, so the October ACT and the November SAT are the last dates they will consider. Nothing can be changed/added after submission, even by emailing the rep. When students hit the submit button, whatever is sent is what the admissions office will consider. If students want to update information – new/updated test scores, for example – they have to withdraw their application and resubmit. They also have to fill out the BYU scholarship application in addition to the admissions application!
Students here are held to high academic standards, and the students we spoke to told us that the academics are rigorous. The Business department is perhaps the best known and best ranked at the school. They offer a range of options including a few specialized majors at the undergrad level: Therapeutic Recreation and Management, Experience Design and Management, and Strategic Management. The departments of Education, Nursing, and Religious Education (with majors in Ancient Scriptures and Church History and Doctrine) are also excellent. The Fine Arts and Communications department will be adding Animation Illustration soon.
They have started a new initiative called Inspiring Learning. “We have increased our investment by putting several million dollars into getting students more sponsored mentorship/internships.” They want students to get out of the classroom which is part of their “Learn and go forth to serve” ethos. There’s an Origami Solar Array. Get kids outside of the classroom. Service Organization.
As an LDS school, it’s not a surprise that “this is a Stone-cold sober school,” as the tour guide say several times. There is an intense honor code and a dress code. They even have a Testing building; students go there to take exams on their own time. Core Classes here include 4 specific required religion classes and several more that students have some choice over. Devotionals are held every Tuesday but are not required. They’ll stream them for students who can’t attend.
The students were happy with social life on campus. They can get an ROC Pass for access to the athletic games; football is very popular. The Ballroom Dance Team has competed internationally. The creamery gets high reviews “especially the chocolate milk.” Students obviously are not going out drinking off campus, but they said there’s a lot of fun to be had on and off campus. Public transportation is accessible and cheap or free for students.