If you are more tech-minded and looking to get a leg up on your career, Drexel with its co-op curriculum may be the place for you. Set in one of the now more desirable parts of downtown Philadelphia, Drexel University’s 123-acre, 20-block radius campus is adjacent to UPenn. Students will have their choice of plenty of restaurants, clubs, and places to shop, all accessible with the city’s public transit system. For those who like to stay in shape, how about getting your playlist queued up and heading for the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum like Rocky?
Here are a few quick facts about Drexel:
4-year Graduation rate: not reported, 6-year: 71%
Freshman retention: 88%
Freshmen out of state: 59%
Most popular majors: mechanical engineering, computer science, business administration, health professions
Student Community Diversity: 7% Black, 6.7% Latino, 11% International
Housing: The majority of freshmen live in one of nine co-ed residence halls while most upperclassmen reside in nearby apartments or fraternities houses. About 22% of the overall undergraduate population lives on campus. There are two main dining centers which serve food that is described as “adequate.” Foodies will be happy to hear that they can often find various food trucks parked around campus to grab a quick lunch.
Students can also feel safer knowing that the dorms, library and physical education center are restricted to students with IDs and Drexel’s campus enforces strict policies to limit the amount of alcohol brought onto campus.
Academics: Drexel is known for its innovative co-op program which combines high-tech academics with paying job opportunities for undergrads. Students alternate between periods of full-time study and full-time employment for their 4-5 year program. This adds up to 6-18 months of job experience, before graduation. In order to achieve this, Drexel operates year-round on a quarter system instead of semesters. Freshman and senior years (of a 5-year program) are completely on campus and the other three remaining years alternate between study and work.
All first-year students are required to take courses in English composition, math and two 1-credit courses: one that introduces university resources, and one on civic engagement in the local community. The Drexel Engineering Curriculum integrates math, physics, chemistry and engineering to help ensure students are well-rounded and able to write as well as design. Each freshman is assigned a “personal librarian” to help them best make use of the library’s extensive resources.
Drexel’s professors are praised for their accessibility, and unlike many other universities, teaching assistants only run labs and study sessions. Fifty-five percent of all classes have fewer than 20 students.
Similar colleges to consider: Penn State, Syracuse, University of Pittsburgh, George Washington University
Social: Because so many live off campus and there is so much to do in the surrounding city of Philadelphia, campus tends to be a bit deserted on the weekends. Friday-night movies on campus are cheap and dorms often sponsor floor parties. Drexel has a moderate Greek life scene, with 14% of men and 13% of women pledging.
While it can be difficult to get students involved in activities, what with the amount of schoolwork and co-op assignments, Drexel still boasts 18 Division I teams, which compete in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Dragons do not have a football team, but their men’s and women’s basketball, crew, and soccer teams are strong. Do not make the mistake of assuming Drexel’s students don’t have school spirit. They make a show of “sacrificing” blue plastic chickens in demonstrations against their rivals, the University of Delaware Blue Hens.
Financial: Drexel offers need-based financial aid, as well as non need-based merit scholarships, and a small number of athletic scholarships.The average percent of need met is 84%, with 33% being fully met. Although the tuition and fees are $75,000, the average financial aid package is $41,000. 100% of students receive some type of financial and and/or scholarships.