How to find your people at Northwestern

northwestern blog post

With academics to rival the Ivies and the spirited atmosphere of Big Ten publics, Northwestern combines Division I sports with quality instruction. It’s 231-acre campus, which is set off the town of Evanston, IL and runs a mile along the shore of Lake Michigan, makes for the perfect location for picnicking, fishing, running, or simply daydreaming in between classes.

The sense of community and collaboration at Northwestern belies its highly selective admissions. The students I met at  Northwestern University were sincere about their passions and authentic by nature. If you are passionate about your major, Northwestern may be a good fit for you. 

One of the most interesting traditions at Northwestern is the campus-wide “primal scream” which takes place on the Sunday night before finals. The student body joins in to let out their stress and frustration before buckling down again to continue their studies. Another yearly tradition is the “Wildcat Welcome,” a week-long orientation to acclimate incoming freshman to college life and to build community.

Here are a few quick facts about Northwestern:

Acceptance: 9%

Freshmen retention: 98%

Freshmen from out of state: 70%

Most popular majors: engineering, economics, journalism

4-year Graduation rate: 83%, 6-year: 94% 

Student Community Diversity: 6% Black, 13% Latino, 10% International

Northwestern University



88% of freshmen but only 52% of all undergraduates live in the dorms. There are residence halls available and themed residential colleges. Dorms range from 50 to 600 students. Some residential colleges bring students and faculty together during faculty “firesides” or over meals. Fraternities and sororities have their own houses.


Academics at Northwestern

Prospective students must apply to one of these 6 schools in admissions:

  • Arts and Sciencesnorthwestern campus has a techy and artsy side
  • Communication
  • Education and Social Policy
  • Engineering and Applied Science
  • Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications
  • Music

Each school has flexible requirements that can be taken anytime during the 4 years of undergraduate. The academic programs are so varied and fluid that those “undecided” can still find a home here.

Northwestern takes advantage of its location and global alumni network to support students through co-op and internship opportunities. The Chicago Fields program offers credit for full-time work, with Monday through Thursday spent on the job and Fridays are supplemented with classroom debrief and discussion.

Northwestern University offers unusual flexibility combined with a wide choice of academic concentrations. There are also several certificate programs available, which is 4-6 courses in a specific area, like Financial Economics or Managerial Analytics from Kellogg School of Business, since there’s no undergraduate business program.

The philosophy of the engineering program is that there’s no one solution to problems and students start with real-world projects. All first year engineering students take a course in “Engineering Design Thinking and Communication” which includes a design project with a local organization.



Much of the social life on Northwestern’s campus is centered on the Greek system, with roughly one-third of the students go Greek. For non-Greeks, on-campus entertainment opportunities are still numerous, including theater productions, concerts, and movies. The student government and Activities and Organizations Board sponsor a variety of campus-wide events, such as the very popular 30-hour Dance Marathon and Dillo (Armadillo) Day, an end-of-the-year “festival of music, debauchery, and Greek life,” in the words of a journalism major.

One of the most well-known traditions is when representatives of student organizations slip out in the dead of night to paint their colors and slogans on “the Rock.”

Northwestern has the winningest debate team in the country. In all, there are more than 480 student organizations. My personal favorite is the Happiness Club which spreads love around campus offering hugs, high fives, puppies during finals and hot chocolate in the winter.



Northwestern offers need-based financial aid, with 100% of need fully met. There are no merit-based scholarships. Although the tuition and fees are about $79,000, the average financial aid package is $56,000 and 81% of students receive financial aid.

What do you think about Northwestern? What about this college is a good fit? Please post your comments below.

Why Williams is the #1 Liberal Arts College in US

liberals arts in the US
williams college campus
Williams’ picturesque campus is located about an hour from Albany, NY.
Williams is often ranked as the #1 liberal arts college in the country (usually trading places with its top rival, Amherst). Classes are small, teachers are excellent, and students are enthusiastic in academics and athletics. The beautiful and secluded campus in Williamstown, Massachusetts adds to the school’s culture, although it may be too rural or remote for some student’s tastes. There’s been a certain intensity yet fun-loving spirit about my students who have attended Williams. The alumni that I’ve met over the years have been impressively thoughtful. When my son applied to Williams, I appreciated the fact that all students would graduate in 4 years and students can not add a major that would extend their time. This was an appealing distinction because my son loves learning and could be easily interested in studying longer if possible. 🙂

Quick facts about Williams

Acceptance: 13%

Freshman from out of state: 86%

Most popular majors: Economics, Psychology, History, Political Science, Biology, Art History, English

Housing: Guaranteed housing all four years, but seniors have the option to live off campus

4-year Graduation rate: 90%

Student Community Diversity: Blacks: 8%; Latino: 13%; International: 8% Williams College

williams college campus
Tutorials at Williams offer a way for more in-depth, personalized learning.
Academics: Williams emphasizes an interdisciplinary education, so all students are required to complete three courses in each area – humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. “Tutorials” are a favorite for students, where a class is comprised of two students who alternate writing and critiquing assignments and a supervising professor. Social: “Ephs take their work seriously, but not themselves,” according to an admissions rep I recently met. Social life is active and mostly centered on campus as Williamstown is somewhat of a quiet town. Guests and clubs provide outlets for students, but most enjoy weekend dorm parties. No need to worry though, Williams students boast of its safe, regulated, and still fun campus. Similar Colleges to Consider: Amherst, Brown, Dartmouth, Middlebury, Princeton, Yale Financial: Williams offers need-based financial aid and grants. 100% of need is fully met79% of students receive scholarships.Although the tuition and fees are approximately $71,000, the average financial aid package is $50,000. For any student who receives financial aid, books, art and lab supplies, and music lessons are free. About 60% of international students receive aid, even though Williams is need-aware. What do you think about this college? What else would you like to learn about it? Please post your comments below.

Is University of Miami a good fit?

University of miami study abroad

Although the University of Miami may be best known for its competitive football team, the Hurricanes, it also has renowned programs in marine science, music, and business.


The residential colleges, strong academics, pre-professional offerings, access to internships, and research and study abroad opportunities serve a diverse body of student interests. The U’s Location Programs offer students a selection of 85 schools in more than 40 countries, providing a chance to travel and become immersed in another culture. All travel programs are taught by UM faculty and coordinated by staff so that the credits earned and financial awards follow the student.


Faculty connect with students on projects ranging from research to volunteer experiences. Faculty leaders in the residential colleges in which students reside organize lectures for students to attend, featuring guest speakers on topics such as genomics, the humanities, climate change, and more.



Students at the University of Miami are admitted directly to their major which may or not be the best option for an “undecided” prospect. UM, students have a distributed academic program where they take a minimum of three courses in arts and humanities, people and society, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Along with these general requirements, students have the flexibility to design their major coursework from more than 180 majors and programs across nine schools and colleges. The University of Miami also has an Honors Program which provides students additional resources and opportunities for faculty-mentored research.

Additional quick facts about the University of Miami

Freshman acceptance: 32%

Freshman retention: 92%

Freshmen out of state: 66%

4-year Graduation Rate: 70%

Most popular majors: nursing, biology, finance, psychology


Social scene

With a wealth of social opportunities, the biggest complaint that students have is that they don’t have enough time in four years to access all that the U has to offer. Students may choose to participate in local off-campus events, such as Art Basel or the Ultra Music Festival, or on-campus events like Sportsfest, where dorms compete against each other, or Gandhi Day, for community service. And of course, UM students have easy access to nearby beaches, road trips to Key West, Key Largo, or the Everglades. Greek organizations are not a not a major part of campus life, with only 16% of guys involved in fraternities and 19% of women in sororities.



Modeled after Oxford and Cambridge, UM’s housing system consists of five co-ed residential colleges. Each residential college has a senior faculty member that organizes seminars, concerts, dinners, social events, and lectures for students to participate. Although about 90% of freshmen live on-campus, only less than 30% of upperclassmen live on campus, with the rest commuting or living in off-campus apartments in the Miami area. UM’s campus security program protects students with campus shuttles and safety escorts.


Similar colleges to consider

University of Florida, Boston University, Florida State, University of Central Florida, NYU, Penn State, Northeastern, Florida International



Financial aid and Scholarships

The University of Miami offers need-based scholarships and grants, as well as athletic, international, and merit scholarships. 97% of the need is met. Although the tuition and fees are $48,000 a year, the average financial aid package is $32,000, with 35% of students receiving need-based scholarships or grants.


What do you think about the University of Miami? What about this college is a good fit? Please post your comments below.

Major in engineering or not is the question for Duke University

decide to major engineeering

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1584367451760{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]Duke is known as the most prestigious private university in the South, with academic programs to rival those of Stanford and the Ivy League colleges. Founded in 1838 as the Union Institute (later Trinity College), the university got its current name from the Duke Endowment, whose funds came from tobacco farming. As with any college, however, it is important to look beyond the “brand name” to determine if this college is a great fit. 

Here are a few quick facts about Duke:

duke sprawling campus
Duke has a sprawling campus

4-year Graduation rate: N/A

6-year Graduation rate: 95%

Acceptance: 10% 

Freshman retention: 97%

Freshmen out of state: 88%

Most popular majors: Economics, psychology


Students must live on campus for three years. Freshmen live on East Campus in a faculty-led dorm. With its Gothic-inspired architecture, students often compare the accommodations to living at Hogwart’s (get psyched Harry Potter fans!). Sophomores live on West Campus, which includes special-interest dorms. Students may move off-campus as seniors, but many students report that the apartments off-campus “vary in quality.”


There are about 6,700 undergrads on this sprawling, woodsy campus. The academics are flexible, interdisciplinary, and emphasize hands-on learning. 

The key question for every college-bound teen interested in applying to Duke is, “Do you want to be an engineer or not?” Undergraduates at Duke choose one of two schools, either the Pratt School of Engineering or Trinity College of Arts & Sciences. Duke’s engineering programs, especially electrical and biomedical, are some of the top in the country. Aspiring public servants and future leaders of nonprofit organizations, government agencies, may want to apply for Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy, which has tons of internships and apprenticeships. 

Similar colleges to consider: 

Cornell, Dartmouth, Stanford, University of Chicago 


One of Duke’s crowning achievements is that it combines a strong reputation in athletics and academics. Greek life plays a big role, attracting 29% to fraternities and 42% to sororities. If you are concerned about the role of Greek life, definitely ask about its influence during your campus visit

Durham has a reputation as a foodie haven, and in keeping with that tradition, Duke offers the most lavish dining options of any college campus. Off-campus restaurants, many of which deliver, are also linked to the Duke meal plan.

Two noteworthy opportunities at Duke . . . DukeEngage has a $30 million endowment to support students willing to spend summers working on service projects and nearly a quarter of all undergrads participate in the program. Duke generously provides between $5,000-$15,000 to admitted students for an approved gap year program before students begin freshman year. (Kudos for this program because some teens just aren’t ready to go to college right away, especially after rigorous high school experience. And you know what? That’s OK!) 


Duke is need-blind, which means that students are admitted, regardless of financial need. Duke meets 100 percent of demonstrated need. Loans are capped at $5K and 67% of students graduate with no loans.  Merit scholarships are offered by the university as well, including the Rubenstein Scholars Program for high-achieving, first-generation college students from low-income backgrounds. The average cost of attendance is $74,000 and over half do not pay the full cost.


Bowdoin has neuroscience, friendship and nature all in one small college

neuroscience major

Bowdoin College, nestled in the heart of pine grove and athletic fields in Brunswick, Maine, is a leading liberal arts college that focuses on the teaching and study of the environment across the disciplines. Though primarily a liberal arts college, their academic strengths include the sciences, especially neuroscience and environmental sciences.


A little known fact about Bowdoin is that student research is an important component of faculty tenure. This value leads to an abundance of research opportunities for students across disciplines.


Bowdoin is the alma mater of famous authors such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, so nature, art, and friendship are integral parts of the student experience. To emphasize this, before classes begin, the entire entering class takes pre-orientation hiking, canoeing, kayaking, or community service trips that teach them about the people and the landscape of Maine.

bowdoin liberal arts college

As part of the curriculum at Bowdoin, freshmen choose from a variety of seminars that stress reading and writing skills. Over the undergraduate years, students must complete 32 courses, including one each in natural sciences and math, social and behavioral sciences, and fine arts and humanities, in addition to a required course in the visual and performing arts. On their website, Bowdoin discusses its “Offer of the College” which is worth referencing here because it speaks volumes about the mission and quality of the educational experience for students:



– Adapted from the original “Offer of the College” by William DeWitt Hyde – President of Bowdoin College 1885 – 1917

To be at home in all lands and all ages;

To count Nature a familiar acquaintance,
And Art an intimate friend;

To gain a standard for the appreciation of others’ work
And the criticism of your own;

To carry the keys of the world’s library in your pocket.
And feel its resources behind you in whatever task
you undertake;

To make hosts of friends …
Who are to be leaders in all walks of life;

To lose yourself in generous enthusiasms
And cooperate with others for common ends –

This is the offer of the college for the
best four years of your life.


Wow . . . doesn’t that say so much about the community life at Bowdoin? I love that “Offer”!


Additional quick facts about Bowdoin:

Acceptance: 10%

Freshman retention: 98%

Freshmen from out of state: 89%

4-year Graduation rate: 88%

Most popular majors: government, economics, biology



Social: Bowdoin’s social life is centered around their social houses, which have replaced Greek life organizations on campus. The houses host all the events – academic, cultural, as well as parties – and are open to all students at the college. In the winter time, students take advantage of the nearby ski resorts, hiking, kayaking, and canoeing trips to enjoy Maine’s wintry landscape. Another big part of student life focuses on sports, especially Bowdoin’s ice hockey team, the Polar Bears. A strong 70% of the students participate in club sports, intramurals, and recreational activities.


Similar colleges to consider: Amherst, Williams, Wesleyan


Housing: 91% of students live either in Bowdoin’s renovated, historic halls or in the social houses on campus. Because Bowdoin prioritizes maintaining their inclusive and dynamic community, all freshman and sophomores are required to live on campus, with juniors and seniors rarely given the privilege to live off campus.


Financial aid: Bowdoin offers only need-based scholarships, with 100% of need met. Although the tuition and fees are $68,000, the average financial aid package is $44,000, with about 80% of students receiving scholarships. There is also an additional $1,000 to $2,000 that can be received from Bowdoin’s National Merit Scholarship, with $2,000 being given to those eligible and $1,000 as a recognition reward to those who are not eligible.


What do you think about Bowdoin? What about this college is a good fit? Please post your comments below.

How to improve your chances of getting in to Yale

Beyond its Ivy League brand and selective admissions, there’s more to know about Yale to understand whether it’s a fit. Given how competitive it is to be admitted to Yale, it’s worth it for students to get to know the university beyond the surface of its New Haven location.


Admittedly, I love the artsy feel of the town itself. The prolific arts and culture scene are well-matched with the arts and entertainment figures who call Yale their alma mater. Two of my favorite actresses, Angela Bassett and Jodie Foster, graduated from Yale and there are several others.


Yale is a major research university with a historic commitment to undergraduate teaching. Research is a big component of academics. The curriculum across the undergraduate years is 1/3 distribution courses, 1/3 major courses, and 1/3 electives. Distribution course requirements cover the humanities and arts, social sciences, and natural sciences plus two courses that emphasize writing and another two that emphasize quantitative reasoning. Foreign language mastery is also a requirement. Interestingly, there are no minors at Yale, only majors. Juniors and seniors can take classes in any of the thirteen distinguished graduate schools.


Last year, Yale received over 36,000 applications for a class of approximately 1,300 students. The majority of the applicants are highly qualified which makes the admissions decisions very difficult. Students seeking admission to Yale are weighed according to these ABCs of getting in:

A- Academics [school context, teacher recommendations (from 11th or 12th), SAT/ACT testing, with subject tests]


B- Breadth and depth for extracurricular activities (i.e. stop doing a lot of activities for the sake of resume building)


C- Character (evidenced in essays)


Given the vibe of Yale and New Haven, arts supplements are even welcomed!


The keys to getting in to Yale is 1) knowing yourself, 2) being your authentic self in academics and outside interests, 3) researching Yale thoroughly and 4) applying to Yale only if there’s a sincere fit with their campus academically, socially, financially and vocationally.



Additional quick facts about Yale:

Acceptance: less than 5%

Freshmen retention: 99%

Freshmen from out of state: 93%

4-year Graduation rate: 86%

Most popular majors: economics, political science and government, history, psychology, molecular biology


Social: There are 32 Division 1 teams with several championships in men’s ice hockey, basketball, women’s volleyball and sailing. In addition to athletics, there are 500 active clubs including 50 performance groups and 60 cultural associations. Only 20% of students are involved in Greek life. Yale’s proximity to downtown New Haven affords students a vibrant artistic and cultural life, countless restaurants (I had the best Cuban meal ever at a local spot), and a myriad of academic and service opportunities within 15 minutes of campus.


Housing: There are 12 Residential colleges at Yale which are smaller communities where students live, eat, socialize, and pursue academic and extracurricular activities. Although undergraduates are required to live in the residential college for 2 years, most choose to live all 4 years there.


Similar colleges to consider: Cornell, Duke, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania


Financial aid: Yale offers only need-based scholarships, with 100% of need met. Although the cost of attendance is $76,000, the average need-based financial aid package is $60K. About 80% of students receive scholarships/financial aid. Yale covers financial aid for one summer, in addition to all academic terms.


What do you think about Yale? What about this college is a good fit? Please post your comments below.

Vassar College: For the Creative Teen with lots of Interests

college for teens with lots of interests

When I recently discussed the merits of Vassar with a family, the first response from parents was “Isn’t that a women’s college?” Over 50 years ago, indeed Vassar was a women’s college but since then has been coed.

Vassar students and academics

Vassar is known for its innovative curriculum across multiple disciplines and was the first college to offer an undergraduate degree in cognitive science.


The typical Vassar student is creative, proud of individuality, and has an independent spirit. Likewise, those natural inclinations match well with Vassar’s open curriculum. This “open curriculum” means that there are no core or required courses that all students must take. Instead, Vassar students must fulfill a language requirement, take a writing course during freshman year, and complete 1 quantitative course before graduation.


This type of program of study then frees students to design the plan of study that best matches their unique interests. The flexibility of an open curriculum allows over half of Vassar students to graduate with two majors. Upon graduation, a strong 70% of Vassar undergrads go to graduate school, with most of them going on to medical school.


Given its 2,500 student body, introductory courses, often taken in freshman year have an average class size of 21 students. All classes are small seminars. When it’s time to do research or simply get help with a project, each student is matched with his/her own librarian. Art majors get their own studio in senior year which can be a huge time-saving perk.


In terms of freshman year, a unique offering at Vassar is that freshmen are assigned to a group of 10 fellow classmates, which is led by an upperclassman leader to help with the transition.


Additional quick facts about Vassar:

Acceptance: 25%

Freshmen retention: 95%

Freshmen from out of state: 73%

4-year Graduation rate: 88%

Student to Faculty Ratio: 8 to 1

Most popular majors: economics, political science, biology


Social: There are 23 Division 3 teams at Vassar with about a quarter of the student body participating. There are over 50 theatre productions during the year and 100+ student clubs. With over 1,000 events held on campus each year, there is plenty for students to do and enjoy outside of class. There is no Greek life at Vassar.


Housing: On-campus student housing is guaranteed for 4 years. Interestingly, 70% of faculty also live on campus. Each residence hall has 1 or 2 faculty as house fellows.


Similar colleges to consider: Amherst, Brown, Columbia, Pomona, Swarthmore, Tufts, Wesleyan


Financial aid: Vassar meets 100% of need for domestic and international students for all 4 years. In addition, theres a low or no-loan policy for lower income families.  The cost of attendance is $73,000, with 60% of students receiving a range of scholarships from $1,200 to $60,000. The average aid package is $52,000.


What do you think about Vassar? What about this college is a good fit? Please post your comments below.

Why the College of William & Mary is known as a “Public Ivy”

college of william and mary public ivy

William & Mary is the second oldest college in the country with a long history of liberal arts education and a growing research and science program. Undergrads at William & Mary have numerous research opportunities. A student majoring in government described William & Mary with these three words,  “Tradition. Community. Unique.” For those prospective students seeking this type of college environment, William & Mary has a lot to offer. Although the academic climate is rigorous, students say that cooperation among peers is the norm.

Here are a few quick facts about College of William and Mary:william and mary has active social life

Acceptance: 36%

Freshmen from out of state: 31% (keep in mind . . . it’s a public college, not private)

Most popular majors: biology, government, economics

Housing: Guaranteed housing through junior year

4-year Graduation rate: 84%

Academics: The College of William & Mary is dedicated to a philosophy of personalized education as shown through small class size and extensive student-faculty collaboration. “Classes are difficult and the workload is heavy, but lectures are small and generally engaging,” says one junior. Their joint degree program allows students to spend two years in Williamsburg and two in St Andrews in Scotland and end up with degrees from both institutions.  In addition, 70% of students participate in faculty-mentored research and William & Mary boasts some of the highest numbers for alums with PhDs in STEM.

william and mary for premedSocial:  There’s always something to do on campus, but the town itself can be somewhat “hit or miss”. Popular campus events include Homecoming Weekend, with its tailgate and concert. In their senior year, students can apply to live in a downtown dorm where they put on academic programming for the town. With over 400 clubs and organizations, a student would be hard-pressed not to find something to join!

Financial: College of William and Mary offers university grants and need-based financial aid, with 78% of need is fully met.

What do you think about this college? What else would you like to learn about it? Please post your comments below.


How does University of Chicago have more of these?

The University of Chicago is well known for the strength of its intellectual traditions, with a faculty of 89 Nobel Prize winners, over 260 Guggenheim Fellows, 32 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellows, and 24 Pulitzer Prize winners.

Undergraduates at the University of Chicago have unparalleled resources. On the university’s 217-acre, tree-lined campus, there are six libraries with over 11 million print volumes; over 150 research centers and institutes, including the new Institute for Molecular Engineering and the Institute of Politics; world-class theaters, museums, and art centers; and three of the nation’s top professional schools in law, business, and medicine. Their new molecular engineering major is the university’s first-ever undergraduate degree in engineering.

six libraries with millions of volumes at university of chicagoAbout half of the University of Chicago students take advantage of study abroad programs, which include 45 faculty-led study abroad programs in over 20 countries, including centers in Beijing, Hong Kong, Delhi, and Paris.

The Office of Career Advancement helps students translate what they are studying in their classrooms to their future careers. Through the Office of Career Advancement students specifically, have access to over access to more than 1,700 fully-funded Jeff Metcalf internships that are offered exclusively to the University of Chicago students.


Academics at the University of Chicago

The University of Chicago is known for its established Common Core system, which requires students, regardless of major, to take courses in the sciences and math, humanities, social sciences, a writing tutorial, and a sequence of study in a specific civilization. These requirements, coupled with the quarter system they pioneered, make for academically intensive 10-week periods. Senior students are also encouraged to do final-year projects.

Classes are relatively small, with 78 percent enrolling fewer than 20 students, and led by brilliant and distinguished faculty members who’ve won Nobel Prizes, Guggenheims, and other prestigious awards.


Additional quick facts about the University of Chicago

Freshman acceptance rate: 8%

Freshman retention: 99%

Freshmen out of state: 82%

4-year Graduation rate: 89%

Most popular majors: economics, biological sciences, political science


Social scene at the University of Chicago

The University of Chicago social scene is varied in that students have a range of options on campus and can easily explore the city of Chicago.  Students can enjoy on-campus events year-round, including a spring, campus-wide scavenger hunt, and carnival. The university provides students with free, unlimited access to all parts of the city via public transportation, and Arts Pass offers free or discounted student admission to city art, theater, and cultural events. Greek life has only a small presence on campus, with 8 percent fraternity and 12 percent sorority participation.

UChicago’s Maroons compete in Division III, with consistently solid programs in men’s and women’s tennis; women’s basketball, cross-country, and volleyball; and men’s soccer and wrestling. About 70 percent of undergraduates compete in intramural sports ranging from the traditional (soccer and volleyball) to the offbeat (archery, broomball, and inner-tube water polo).


Housing                                                                                                    residential commons at university of chicago

UChicago guarantees on-campus housing for four years, and over half of all undergrads live in the dorms. Each dorm is different—some house fewer than 100 people in traditional, shared double rooms without kitchens, while another has 700 beds organized into colorful suites. Safety-wise, UChicago employs its own police force and stations security guards around the neighborhood.


Similar colleges to consider:

Columbia, Harvard, Northwestern, University of Pennsylvania, Yale


Financial aid and Scholarships

The University of Chicago is need-blind, and offers many scholarships to students that demonstrate financial need. 100% of the need is met. Although the tuition and fees are $73,000 a year, the average financial package is $53,000, with 73% receiving need-based scholarships or grants. Additional scholarship awards worth checking out:  National Merit Scholarship, Promise Award, The Odyssey Scholarship, and No Barriers program.


What do you think about the University of Chicago? What about this college is a good fit? Please post your comments below.

What University of Southern California has that no one else does

cademic and social st university of southern california

The University of Southern California is a renowned private research institution that fosters both a stimulating academic environment and a vibrant cultural community. Through the years, USC has come into its own as a center for the arts, technology, and communication. USC students enjoy solid academics and a lively social scene.


Part of those solid academics is the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation. This undergraduate degree program seeks to promote original thought in self-driven students via networking with professors and fellow students, interactive learning, small class size, and mentorship, with the the hopes of creating breakthrough products, systems, and technologies. By offering lectures, presentations, discussions, tutorials, and trips throughout the year, the Iovine-Young program fosters a culture of constant learning and empowers these exceptional cohorts to change the world.



A core curriculum at USC requires students to take nine courses: six general education, two intensive writing, and one diversity. The school offers a “thematic option” to those students with high GPAs and test scores which allows them to be in smaller classes with some of the university’s best teachers and writing instructors. USC also strongly encourages pursuit of double majors, and offers a wide variety of choices within their seventeen professional schools.


USC’s global connections allows for unique study abroad experiences. The Global Leadership program invites academically talented first-year students to travel to China after a year-long seminar and meet executives from regional and international companies. Another program, Learning About International Commerce, features a two-unit course with eight day trips abroad to meet with business leaders in Budapest, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Santiago, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei and Tokyo.


Additional quick facts about the University of Southern California

Acceptance: 17%

Freshman retention: 96%

Freshmen from out of state: 44%

4-year Graduation rate: 77%

Most popular majors:  cinema arts, business, engineering, communication


Social scene

USC has a diverse student body with 115+ countries represented on campus, which offers a wealth of cultural value and global connections.


Since University of Southern California has one of the top football teams, a lot of student life is centered around sports. Trojan athletics, which competes in the Pac-12 Conference, has won more than 115 team national championships in men and women’s sports ranging from baseball to water polo.



30% of USC’s student population lives on campus, with freshman guaranteed a spot in luxurious dorms, equipped with swimming pools and tennis courts. Since there isn’t enough space in the dorms, the other 70% live in nearby apartments or fraternity and sorority houses.


Similar colleges to consider

UCLA, UC-Berkeley, Stanford, NYU, Boston University


Financial aid and Scholarships

Although tuition and fees are about $72,000, the average financial aid package is $51,000. 56% of students get need-based financial aid, 49% get need-based grants, and 24% receive merit scholarships. 80% of students have their need fully met.


What do you think about University of Southern California? What about this college is a good fit? Please post your comments below.