campus encounters

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Archive for the tag “Occupational Therapy major”

University of New Hampshire

University of New Hampshire (visited 10/17/16)

unh-sign

Students stretch out in the grass in front of the UNH sign and main building

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Food trucks get tucked around campus

UNH should be on far more people’s radars. This is just an amazing school. I liked the vibe here; students were friendly, outgoing, outdoorsy (including just wanting to be out and about on campus), and smart. For a state school, it is not an overwhelming size, either physically or in population numbers. It’s beautiful with a mix of historic and new buildings, with facilities that offer a great deal to the students in the academic and social realms.

 

unh-2There’s something to be said for the liberal arts within a comprehensive research university. Students who are most successful here want to be challenged and stretch themselves in and out of the classroom. Students who like UVM should also seriously consider UNH. It won’t disappoint; they take care of students, and students want to stay. Freshman-to-sophomore retention (86%) and graduation rates (67% in 4 years, 79% 6-year) are above average.

unh-students-4

Not an uncommon scene on campus: students were everywhere!

Last year, applications topped 20,000 for the first time with the out-of-state population growing. Part of this is demographic (there are fewer college-aged students in NH); the other part is reputation. In the admission process, they focus mainly on the transcript: have students taken the minimum (at least!) and done well (looking for mostly Bs or better)? The SAT/ACT is not crucial for admission, but comes more into play for merit awards. They only require 1 letter, preferably from the counselor. In terms of admissions, Nursing and OT are the most competitive to get into.

 

unh-shuttles

Shuttles get students around campus, but it’s also very walkable

A major distinction for UNH is its location and size. The physical campus size is manageable, but more than that, there are so many options accessible to campus. They’re only 30 minutes from the ocean and beaches, and the mountains and urban areas aren’t much further. Portsmouth, a medium-sized city, is 20 minutes away, and students can use UNH transportation to get there. There’s even an Amtrak stop on campus; students can be in Boston in an hour, or head up the coast into Maine to Portland or Freeport (home of LLBean!).

 

unh-dorm

One of the dorms

Housing is guaranteed for 2 years. Of course there are lots of social options, as at any school of this size (13,000 undergrads at the Durham campus; there are about 1,000 more at the non-residential Manchester campus). Something the students appreciate is that “One thing doesn’t dominate campus: we have Greek life, we have football and hockey, etc – but none of those dominate the others. You don’t have to belong to a certain group or do a certain thing to belong here.” Only 10% of students go Greek. Hockey is one of the most popular sports.

 

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One of the engineering labs

This is a great option for students who want engineering at a medium school. However, their excellent academic choices and resources go far beyond that. Started in 1866 as New Hampshire’s Land Grant institution, UNH has now also earned Sea and Space Grant designations and offers over 100 majors. It’s not surprising that the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture options are strong and varied, including EcoGastronomy, Sustainable agriculture and food systems, and Marine, Estuarine, and Freshwater Biology.

 

unh-hammockTheir sustainability efforts are amazing: they get almost ¼ of their food from local and/or organic sources, and they’re the first land-grant school to have an organic dairy farm, and they make their own ice cream on campus. They gave us scoops for dessert; not only did they have great flavor options, but it tasted better than most I’ve tried!

Discovery is their Core curriculum, comprised of 11 disciplines they need to take classes in, including a World Cultures class (which can be fulfilled with study abroad – they offer over 600 options) and a Capstone or “Integrative Understanding.” Research is defined broadly here: they call original projects (musical compositions or a business proposal) as “research.”

unh-loungeResources are strong across the board, but Ocean Engineering and Marine Biology have some unique resources at students’ disposal. UNH co-runs the Isle of Shoals Marine Lab with Cornell University. Students spend a great deal of time researching out there, particularly in the summer (they can live on the island!). The Ocean Engineering labs have 2 wave pools; the military even asks to use this for research. Computer Science students have labs to try to break into a variety of systems as part of CyberSecurity training.

© 2016

Trinity Washington University

Trinity Washington University (visited 9/13/16)

twu-sign

The interior of the main building.

Students who thrive here are those who want an education in an urban environment, a women’s-college educational environment, and who are more concerned with individual competitiveness than competing against others. “Lots of our students have overcome academic or other difficulties. We empower women to find their voices and intellectual lens.”

Some students may be initially reluctant about a woman’s college, but “we’re not about excluding or taking anything away. Instead, we want to support them,” said the Director of Admissions. There were certainly guys around campus, and with the university’s location directly in between Catholic University of America and Howard University (each less than a mile away), there’s no shortage of other college students around.

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The main, original building housing offices, classrooms, and more. One of the main statues “looks on.”

The Undergraduate School of Liberal Arts and Sciences is still single-gender. Men are accepted to the university’s graduate programs (Education, Professional Studies, and Business).

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The Chapel

This is a Catholic institution, but nothing is required (but there’s a beautiful chapel on campus for those who are interested). “We’re committed to the whole person here.” This is very much a regional institution right now (90% of their students come from DC and the MD/VA counties immediately surrounding it), although they’re reaching further afield as time goes on. They do have students on campus from CA, VA, NC, and other states. “It’s part of our mission to serve from local neighborhoods, to look out for our own.” They work very hard to provide access to education to students who might not otherwise feel that they do have access to higher education.

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The new Science Academic building

Brookline, a Red line metro stop, is a 10-15-minute walk from campus. Shuttles run back and forth every 20 minutes, “but it’s an easy walk, and lots of people do that.” Parking costs $45 per semester, but few people drive despite this being very much a commuter campus. Their residence halls hold about 250 students, and they first fit in students who come from a distance. Generally only freshmen and sophomores live in campus housing. They take security very seriously; people have to show ID upon entering buildings around campus.

twu-gardenDespite very few students living on campus, there are plenty of extra-curriculars available. They offer sever DIII sports with soccer being the most competitive. “Lots of kids play it in high school.” Everyone can play. There are currently about 50 clubs, all student-run. There are no active sororities; students who are interested may connect with groups at Howard or American.

Their sciences (including health sciences) are strong, and they now have a brand new building with labs, simulation labs for nursing, and more. They offer many typical undergraduate degrees. A few notable exceptions are:

  • Occupational Therapy Assistant: This is a 2-year AA degree. Students in the School of Professional Studies who complete this can transition right into a Bachelor’s in psychology, health science, or human relations. This allows them to work in the field as an OT assistant, get experience, earn some money, and continue their education if they choose to do so. They do not offer an OT Bachelor’s, but they do offer a Master’s in this field.
  • Human Relations: this combines psych and sociology.
  • Forensic Science: housed in the College of Arts and Science, this combines biology, chemistry, and criminal justice.
  • Business Management with specializations in Human Resource Management or Hospitality Management

Tuition is charged by the credit ($700 each), even for students registered as full-time. The university awards a leadership scholarship up to $10,000 which would cover about half of full-time tuition for the year. Applications are done online and are free. They’re also test-optional. They admit 2 cohorts: spring and fall with fall seeing the largest influx of new students.

© 2016

 

Duquesne University

Duquesne University (visited 5/26/16)

~Duq Power Plant and downtown

The “Power Plant” which houses the gym and other student services is connected by a walkway to the main campus. Downtown is right behind it.

I can see why students love Duquesne. School pride is high … yes, their athletic teams do well, but the school also looks after its students academically, socially, and spiritually. Although located in downtown Pittsburgh, Duq is a cohesive campus in its own right. “Duquesne feels like it’s own city,” said one student. Once on campus, you feel like you’re completely away from the city, but the views of Pittsburgh from around campus don’t let you forget where you are. “A 15 minute walk will get students almost anywhere they want to go in town,” said one of the reps, and students take advantage of all the city has to offer, from internships to Pens tames (student tickets cost $28), and using the river trails for walking, running, and biking.

~Duq statue 3Founded in 1878 by the Spiritans (Holy Ghost Fathers), Duquesne clearly holds onto its Catholic identity. Twice during the information session, people said that they “serve students so they can serve others” and they “serve God by serving students.” They also said that they are “Catholic by founding, Ecumenical in everything they do.” 50% of the students self-identify as Catholic. However, no one could give me statistics on how many of the other 50% self-identify as non-Christian. An admissions counselor said that they did have students of other faiths, but wasn’t able to quantify anything to give a sense of how many.

~Duq housing for priests

Housing for some of the priests living on campus.

The campus is attractive with some parts prettier than others; some of the larger buildings have an institutional, concrete feel, but other parts are gorgeous with green quads and brick buildings. These older parts of campus have a much stronger sense of the Catholic identity with more sculptures and a large crucifix on the lawn of one quad. Other part of the campus have almost no reminders of the Catholic heritage. Priests still live on campus, but we didn’t see any walking around as we were touring.

~Duq dorms 3

Some of the dorms on campus

Almost 2/3 of the 6,000 undergrads live on campus, including 95% of freshmen. Freshmen and sophomores who live at home with families can commute; they are assigned a Commuter Assistant, an upperclassman who acts as a mentor (sort of like an RA for those living on campus). The Commuter Center in the union offers a study room, lounge, and computer room, and they organize special events to allow the commuters feel connected to each other and the school. Students can move off after sophomore year, but the college sets aside two dorms (1 suite-style, 1 apartments) specifically for upperclassmen.

~Duq rock gardenThe retention rate from 1st to 2nd semester freshman year is well into the 90s; freshman to sophomore year retention is in the high 80s. Students want to be here. The average class size is 28; they made a very big deal about this, seemingly skirting the issue of how that translates into actual class sizes. I did learn from the tour guide that Honors classes are capped at 18. All of her non-Honors classes have been bigger than that. There are plenty of lecture classes, as well, particularly at the intro level. Her largest class had 170 students.

~Duq fountain 3Students had lots of good things to say about the college and had a hard time thinking of anything they’d like to change. One tour guide said that it’s sometimes hard to find gluten-free food options … but did say that the food tends to be great, a fact supported by the fact that the school is ranked as “1 of the best 75 college for food.” Another student said, “Sometimes public transportation can be difficult, but everything is walkable, so it’s really not that big a deal. There’s a bus stop on the corner of campus that goes right to the airport.” Also, the subway (which is limited in Pittsburgh) is free! An admissions rep said, “It goes under the river now. Prepositions are important: you pay to go OVER the river, but you don’t pay to go UNDER.”

Students can choose from 80 majors within the 9 schools, including several interdisciplinary dual degree programs.

  • Biomed Engineering is an undergraduate program.
  • They offer a 5-year Forensic and Law degree, one of the few in the country that’s accredited.
  • The 3+3 law program allows students to major in anything within the Arts & Sciences or the Business schools and then transition into the law school. In order to do this, they must score in the 60th percentile on the LSAT.
  • Students declaring an Education major automatically get a minimum of 50% off their tuition; this could go up if their GPA is good enough.
  • The Music school offers a BA in Music as well as a Bachelor of Music in Performance, Music Technology, Education, Therapy, and Music with Elective Studies in Business.

We talked to three students; they said that their favorite classes were:

  • Public Policy: It’s taught by an army 3-Star General. “He’s really well-informed, and he makes the class interesting. It feels like we’re really going work for the Government.”
  • Uncovering Ireland during study abroad. “It’s nothing I ever thought about taking and I learned a lot! It was taught by guy who wrote Irish History for Dummies.
  • Cadaver Lab: “It’s insane to see all the nerves and tendons on a real human.”
~Duq crucifix

One of the quads; this one has a large crucifix on one side.

A lot of students do Study Abroad: Duquesne runs several programs including their Italian Campus in Rome, Duquesne in Dublin, Maymester, summer programs specific to majors, and Spring Breakaway courses. Students have the option of doing other approved programs, as well.

Although technically Duquesne will accept students on a rolling basis, there are a few deadlines to keep in mind:

  • Early Decision has an 11/1 deadline.
  • Students interested in the Biomedical Engineering, OT, PharmD, PA, and PT programs must apply under the Early Action deadline of 12/1.
  • The application fee is waived for all students who apply by 12/15.

~Duq athletic fieldStudents applying for programs in the Liberal Arts, Business, or Music schools do not need to submit test scores, but if they choose to send them in, Duquesne will superscore. Although they like to see recommendation letters and essays, these are optional for most programs except for health sciences which require them. Generally, the university is looking to admit people with at least a 3.0 (although the average tends to be much higher than that), with the Health Sciences needing a higher GPA and scores. Once admitted to Duquesne, students go directly into the program of their choice. Students must audition for the music school, but the university recommends that they apply to the university first. They will get a letter that they’re academically admissible and then will be fully admitted if they pass the audition. If they don’t pass, they can reaudition or talk to the admissions people about transferring to another school.

© 2016

Russell Sage College

Russell Sage College (visited 7/28/15)

~RS old bldg

The inside of one dorm

I want to move into some of the upperclassmen housing on the Russell Sage campus! They have some beautiful old homes with large wood staircases, vaulted ceilings, and large common rooms. In fact, “Age of Innocence” with Daniel Day Lewis and Winona Ryder was filmed in one of them.

~RS frosh quad

Freshman dorm quad

About 60% of the 800 Russell Sage students live on campus. “This is still a fairly regional school pulling students from the Capital Region,” said the rep. They would like out-of-area students to live on campus for their first year but do not require it. All freshmen are housed in one building in traditional doubles (and the health center is attached to building; “it’s really nice when you sick for the first time away from home,” said the tour guide). There are some triples but “they aren’t forced and they’re bigger rooms.” Upperclassmen housing provides several options including Honors housing (requiring a 3.4 GPA), French/International and Spanish houses (requiring participation in language and cultural activities), and several other options with singles or suites.

~RS old church

The old church

Campus is an eclectic mix of buildings. They have some older buildings with cinderblock halls that look like elementary schools of old – and new beautiful buildings. They own an old church that still has two original Tiffany Stained Glass windows. Sage Plaza (really the closest thing they have to a quad) sits in front of the church. The first Brueggers is across the street.

~RS dorm lounge

Lounge of one of the upperclassmen dorms

I hadn’t realized that this was still a women’s college; I thought it had gone coed several years ago. They’re one of the two Sage Colleges, the other being Sage College of Albany which is coed. Men from SCA can major here (and vice versa). Nursing and Education is housed on this campus. The Albany campus is a little more interdisciplinary (see separate blog entry for that). Shuttles run every 30 minutes between the Sage campuses.

~RS 4“We’re hardly in a convent,” said the tour guide. “RPI is up the road which is still predominantly men, and we have SCA guys in classes.” The students say that RS gives them a space to find their own voice. They’re there for school; everything revolves around them. Even the fitness center’s equipment is 20% smaller to better accommodate the females – and PT and exercise science students staff it, giving them more hands-on experience.

~RS lobby

The atrium of the science building with the school seal on the floor

The students have a great deal of ownership over their education because of the cross-registration which allows for increased flexibility. WORLD (Women Owning Responsibility for Learning and Doing) is a 3-class core that all students complete. Two of the classes are taken in freshman year and the third is completed senior year as a capstone. The tour guide’s largest class was her freshman WORLD class with 24 students. Her smallest class, Conducting, had 8. All students must complete an internship.

Unusual majors include Public Policy, Advocacy, and Civic Engagement (PACE); International and Globalization Studies; Creative Arts in Therapy; and Forensic Science.

They have more than a dozen accelerated or linked programs.

  • Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy can be done in a 3+4 or 3+3 program. If a student has a 3.25 GPA, a seat is saved for them automatically in the graduate program. Otherwise, they’ll have to apply and hope for the best. I asked what would happen if they were close like at a 3.2. “If they’re that close, the professors are going to know it and get on their case about their grades. They’ll give them the support to get the GPA up.”
  • They have a 3+2 engineering program with RPI. Students get their math degree at RS and then the engineering degree at RPI. They can apply for this program at any point.
  • They have a 3+3 program with Albany Law or Suffolk Law. Albany Law is located next to Sage College of Albany so student can share housing there with grad students.

~RS4Traditions are a big deal here.

  • “Big-Little” is a Big Sister-Little Sister option that many students elect to be part of. “It’s a great connection to an upperclassman. Some people get really into it and meet all the time; others just do coffee one a month or semester.”
  • Each class is placed in a Cohort on a 4-year cycle: Blue Angels, Purple Cows, Red Devils, and Golden Horseshoes. “This gives classes an identity and a connection to alumni who might have been in the same named cohort,” said the rep.
    • Every year they hold a Rally, a competition between classes to raise money. Alums even come back for this.
  • Ring Ceremony: this is another optional event. Student can get a class ring during Junior year; they’ll keep it turned in until graduation and then will turn it out to “Face the world.”

(c) 2015

Elizabethtown College

Elizabethtown College (visited 11/18/14)

~Etown 6We asked the student panelists to complete the sentence, “I’d like to thank E-town for ___.” Here’s what they said:

  • letting me excel on a personal level.
  • preparing me for my next step in life.
  • allowing me to discover myself and my talents.
  • providing me with a 2nd home.
  • encouraging me not to give up.

~Etown cafeThe admissions office sent us on tour with only 2 counselors per guide; we asked lots of questions and get a good sense of the students who thrive here. 87% of students live on this attractive, residential campus. Dorms have free cable hook ups, and the school recently refurbished all dorm lounges and study spaces. There are several living options, including special interest floors such as Friends of Asia (“We cook food, watch movies, whatever”) or the new 4-person apartments. The dining hall gets good reviews and is “known for its carrot cake.” Our tour guide’s favorite meal is the cheese-steak wrap.

~Etown sculpturePeople need to want to engage here or they won’t last, but it’s also “easy to get over-engaged,” said one of the students. Freshman-to-sophomore year retention is solid at 82%. Some students transfer out because of money; others because they didn’t know enough about the college before they came. “You have to know it’s small. It can be overwhelming when you can’t be anonymous,” said a singer from the a cappella group I spoke with after dinner.

People are simply nice here. I spoke to several students who were not part of the formal admissions presentation. They were gracious with their time and genuinely excited to be telling me about their experiences. Two different students – one tour guide and another from the a cappella group – said, “People hold doors for each other.”

~ Etown plazaPerforming Arts are huge. Sock and Buskin is the theatrical group; Emotion, the coed Dance Group, is the largest club on campus with 150 participants. The Band Director is “the world’s nicest person,” said my tour guide who plays saxophone in the 80-member, non-audition concert band. There are 2 other groups that require auditions, 3 choirs (2 requiring auditions), and 3 a cappella groups (including the “All male, All Attractive” group that performed at dinner). All the a cappella groups were invited to the International Championship of A Cappella last year! Non-music majors can get music scholarships as long as they continue to participate in groups.

~Etown steepleAll students complete at least 2 unique Signature Learning Experiences (capstones, internships, study abroad, or research). Advisors help pair students with significant, meaningful experiences. They want outcomes to equate to real-world success. Alumni report a great deal confidence in the workplace because of these. The school does a survey every year, and they report on every student, unlike a lot of other schools.

In order to help guarantee success, they developed Momentum, a program for First Gen (40% of the population), students with financial need, and traditionally underrepresented students. This 1-week summer program helps them get accustomed to campus, teach study skills, etc. The retention of these students is as strong or stronger than the other students on campus.

~Etown library 2Academics are generally strong here. “You’re going to work!” The president teaches a class and was asked if he could cut back on the homework: “The other professors are killing us.” The Education program got rave reviews, especially since they start working in classrooms during freshman year. The OT program. is also well regarded. Students really appreciate that academics are intertwined: “nothing is hanging out there by itself. We can see how it works together.” Favorite classes include:

  • Geophysics
  • A class on the Amish (“We went to dinner at a family’s house and attended a church service. I never would have expected to do this when I came in here”)
  • Humor, Irony, and Despair in Modern Literature
  • FYS on Myths and Reality of Boyhood (A psych class)
  • Medieval Magic Then and Now
  • Basic Acting

The smallest classes ranged from German (“The 2 of us met in the professor’s office”) to English (16). Largest classes included General Bio (32), American National Government (35), and Anatomy Lecture (40) – which included work in the Cadaver Lab!

~Etown 4The school motto, “Education for Service,” leads to deep community involvement. Moving Forward Together is a mentoring group that works with at-risk high school students. One of the big traditions is Into the Streets, a massive service day in October. Town-gown relations are strong. “Lucky Ducks is a favorite restaurant.” Amtrak is also in walking distance making travel easy.

On campus activities are strong. Popular traditions include Mr. E-Town and Thanksgiving Dinner/Tree Lighting. Soccer is the most well-attended sport (men’s and women’s). The gym is small but conveniently located in the Student Center basement. One area our tour guide sees for improvement at E-Town would be an expansion of the gym.

~Etown 2The Admission Office wants to “enroll graduates” so they look for the “Trinity of Fit”: Academic Match, Co-curricular Fit (what will they contribute?), and Social Match (work ethic, integrity, persistence, level of interest). Rolling Admissions begins September; a couple majors have hard deadlines (OT: 12/15 deadline and requires an interview; Music Majors must apply early enough to schedule the required audition). Students in the top 10% or have a 3.5/4.0 (if their school doesn’t rank) don’t have to submit test scores unless they apply to a program which requires them. In this case, scores will only be used for entrance into the program, not for admission to the college.

Students are assigned a Financial Aid Counselor who stays with the student for all 4 years. E-town recently increased their financial aid by $3.1 million (including 8 full-tuition scholarships through the Stamps Foundation). “We want to spread the good news out a little bit: scholarship letters go out 2-3 weeks after acceptance.” Loan indebtedness averages $27,000 at graduation.

© 2014

Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac University (visited 3/20/14)

Walkway into the Quad

Walkway into the Quad

Quinnipiac’s Mount Carmel campus, the main campus, is well-manicured and attractive. The buildings are mostly low-level (2 or 3 story) brick, and the curving walkway from the parking lot led us past some dorms and into a large, open quad. Hills surround campus, creating a bit of an idyllic, slightly remote feeling; in fact, the campus is right next to Sleeping Giant park, a popular place for students to hike.

Dorms

Dorms

The university is made up of three campuses; Mount Carmel is the main campus where most of the academics and athletics are located and where Freshmen and Sophomores live. Freshmen dorms are fairly typical units; sophomores live in suites, often with balconies. Juniors and seniors live about 10 minutes away on the York Hill campus, a new campus overlooking the Mount Carmel campus (and you can see the parking structure from main points on the Mount Carmel campus); this campus also houses the hockey rink and basketball court. Shuttles go back and forth regularly. The buildings at York Hill have been built in the last few years, and the university has also invested in the infrastructure at Mount Carmel, resulting in state-of-the art Business and Communication buildings (two of the newest buildings, housing two of the most popular majors).

Student Center

Student Center

The third campus is located in New Haven and houses the Nursing and other Health Sciences departments as well as Education (and eventually the Law school). Some notable programs here are their 5.5 year Occupational Therapy program (BS/MOT), 6 year Physician Assistant program (BA/MHS), and direct-entry Physical Therapy Doctorate (6 or 7 years leading to a BS/DPT). There are no residence halls on this campus, so most students utilizing this campus will commute from one of the other two (usually York Hill since most students taking classes in New Haven are upperclassmen), or will live off campus. Off campus housing is easy to find; in addition to campus-owned apartments, they provide listings for privately run housing units, and many places are found by word of mouth. Almost 25% of the students will live in non-university housing (off campus, not in a university owned apartment).

One of the food trucks

One of the food trucks

Freshmen are not allowed to have cars on campus, but the students we talked to did not feel that they were necessary. Shuttles run into New Haven and Hamden (the closest town) until 3am. The town is small, but there’s plenty to do. Louie’s Lunch and Frank Peppy’s Pizza come highly recommended. Apparently the clam pizza is a specialty. Food on campus is reportedly “pretty good,” but it is campus food. There are some food trucks that come to campus that are highly popular, and students are willing to wait in line for a change of pace. Because town is small, most of the social life is found on campus. 25% of students get involved in Greek life; students can rush in the fall. New York City is only about an hour and a half away, so it’s an easy day trip; students can grab a commuter rail train from New Haven.

Students are generally happy here; they have about an 88% retention rate from freshman to sophomore years, and close to 80% graduate in 6 years.

© 2014

University of the Sciences

The University of the Sciences, Philadelphia (visited 1/26/12)

This is another university which I knew almost nothing about prior to visiting. I had expected much less of a college-feel and more of a commuter school, but isn’t the case at all. Although the campus is small, covering only a few blocks, it has a comfortable feel to it and is distinctly campus-like although there is very little green – not surprising due to its location. USci is located several blocks from UPenn, and they, along with Drexel, share a police force. Unfortunately, there is no cross-registration between USci and UPenn or Drexel, but USci students can cross-register at the University of the Arts (located on Broad Street near downtown). I think this is a great opportunity, and I was told that several students take advantage of opportunities on the other campus.

The admissions representative for North Carolina went way above and beyond what I had expected. I got there late in the day and had an appointment to meet with him; I was looking forward to getting to chat with him about some programs and expected to wander around campus a bit on my own after the close of business, but he spent until about 6:15 with me walking around campus, taking me into labs, the gym, the library. He is a recent graduate of the university and has just started his Masters degree there, as well. He is clearly proud of his alma mater and spoke eloquently about his education. People around campus – students and faculty alike – knew him and they would greet each other by name. This seemed to be the prevailing atmosphere around campus: people were friendly and comfortable with each other. People used the extensive study and social areas. Books and cups of coffee were everywhere. The university is actively growing their social and study spaces. They’ve recently renovated a 2-story building on the edge of campus to add a coffee shop and spaces for students to congregate.

Academics are research-oriented, and the school is in the top 3% nationwide for PhDs and in the top 4% for professional degrees (med or vet school). They have over 100 labs, many of which are independently run. One of the programs they rightfully boast about is their 6-year Doctorate of Pharmacy program. They also offer a lot of the health-sciences such as Occupational or Physical Therapy and pre-med/pre-vet programs in addition to more of the traditional sciences. Some of the more unusual programs they offer are Medical Anthropology, Forensic Science, and Biomedical Writing.

For a small campus that focuses on the sciences, one of the surprises was the size and extensiveness of the gym and other athletic facilities. When I walked through, a full zumba class was being held on the gym floor. They are a DII school except in Rifling in which they are DI.

Enrollment is about 2,600 students. Greek life is very small: only a couple hundred students are members of a Greek organization. There are many clubs, mostly revolving around academics and ethnic associations. Housing is guaranteed and required for the first 2 years unless students commute from home; about 80% of freshmen and sophomores live on campus. Freshmen cannot have cars on campus (but they aren’t really needed – SEPTA goes directly through the middle of campus every 2-10 minutes and costs $2 a ride to downtown); for students with cars, the parking fee is $360/year. There are a couple large parking lots behind the athletic facilities, and there is a lot of street parking nearby, as well.

(c) 2012

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