A tech college with a liberal arts curriculum? You must be talking about Harvey Mudd College

What makes Harvey Mudd College unique is its balance of being a school focused on science, engineering, math and technology while also delivering a liberal arts education. HMC has a welcoming attitude toward women (who make up 48% of the student population) and other groups normally underrepresented in the STEM fields. Harvey Mudd’s has the look and feel of an engineering college with its no-frills, symmetrical campus. A recent building campaign added a 131-bed residence hall and the Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning with tech-rich classrooms, a 300-seat auditorium and an art gallery. 

 

Here are a few quick facts about HMC:

Acceptance: 18% 

Freshman retention: 92%

Freshmen out of state: 48%

Most popular majors: engineering, computer science, physics, and math 

4-year Graduation rate: 84%,; 6-year: 98% 

Student Community Diversity: 4% Black, 21% Latino, 10% International

 

Housing: All freshmen live on campus, but more impressively 98% of all students live in the dorms. Each dorm has a proctor (i.e. dorm “mom” or dad”) and several mentors (think “older siblings”) which creates a dorm experience that is strong and safe. The majority of HMC students feel that the dining options are decent, and, get this – HMC students can use their meal plan at any of the other Claremont college campuses!

 

Academics: Harvey Mudd’s rigorous Common Core curriculum features coursework in math, physics, chemistry, biology, computer science and engineering, and writing, as well as the humanities. Because of the heavy workload, the administration has taken great steps to relieve stress like setting up a multi-disciplinary care team to help students with any academic and/or personal issues. 

 

Small classes and no graduate students equals a lot of attention for HMC students. Faculty have an open-door policy in addition to hosting regular office hours. The Clinic Program combines real-life math, science and engineering tasks sponsored by major corporations and government agencies –  SpaceX, Amazon and Pixar are among the recent sponsors. All students must either participate in the Clinic Program or thesis-driven research to graduate. About 200 students stay on campus each summer for research experiences working directly with professors, and 16% of students participate in study abroad programs in 20 countries. 

 

Similar colleges to consider: MIT, UC Berkeley, Caltech, Stanford

 

Social: One thing you will notice when at Harvey Mudd is the presence of wheels – unicycles, skateboards, longboards, or even wheels strapped to shoes – these are the most popular modes of transportation around campus. 

 

Dorms host parties almost every weekend, but the party scene is pressure-free and students do look out for each other. The most popular event at HMC is the Wild Wild West party – complete with a mechanical bull. While students are known to travel to other Claremont campuses to socialize, Harvey Mudd has its share of strong traditions. One example is the Noisy Minutes – at the end of each semester students take a break from studying with loud music, snacks and activities. Engineering pranks are popular (welcomed, even) throughout the year, as long as they are reversible within 24 hours, per the honor code. 

 

Varsity teams compete in conjunction with Claremont McKenna and Scripps in Division III. Recent national championships include men’s and women’s golf, women’s volleyball and women’s tennis. Intramural sports, also with Claremont McKenna and Scripps, are even more popular, with inner-tube water polo drawing the largest cheering crowds. 

 

Financial: Harvey Mudd offers need-based financial aid and non-need based merit scholarships. No athletic scholarships are available. HMC is a “need blind” school, which means the average percent of need met is 100%, with 100% being fully met.  Although the tuition and fees are $81,200, the average financial aid package is $43,700. 70% of students receive some type of financial aid. 

Drexel University – co-op education at its best

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%

Acceptance: 77%

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.

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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

 

Housing

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.

 

Social

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.

 

Financial 

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.

What Loyola Marymount University has to offer for college-bound

Ideal weather year round and solid programs in film and television, liberal arts and sciences, and business – this is what you will find at Loyola Marymount University. Established in 1911, LMU is situated on a 142-acre bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Marina del Rey and is the only Roman Catholic University in Los Angeles. 

Here are a few quick facts about LMU:

4-year Graduation rate: 76%, 6-year: 84%

Acceptance: 47%

Freshman retention: 90%

Freshmen out of state: 40% 

Most popular majors: Management, Marketing, Communication Studies, Film and Television Production

Student Community Diversity: 7% Black, 22% Latino, 10% International

Housing: Fifty-three percent of students live in on-campus housing, which is described as “pretty nice.” Many first-year students opt to participate in themed living/learning communities, for example, some are dedicated to specific academic disciplines. LMU students will find a variety of meal plan options and all types of food available. Students report that campus security is good and that they feel safe on campus.

Academics: Loyola Marymount’s general education requirements (the Core Curriculum) is designed to encourage “intellectual breadth.” Themes include faith and reason; virtue and justice; culture, art and society; and science, nature and society. The main tenant of this curricular requirement is that it encourages students to be open to various studies. Freshmen will find lots of support through programs such as the honors program and first-year seminar. 

While Loyola Marymount is known for the majors mentioned previously, it also has solid programs in engineering, theatre arts, political science, English, and economics. Students in the School of Film and Television have access to a student-run production office, a television stage and a film soundstage with a professional quality green screen. Students are encouraged to produce their own documentaries that are exhibited at film festivals in both Germany and the United States. 

The College of Science and Engineering takes part in national competitions to design steel bridges and race eco-friendly cars. Need another reason to choose LMU? There are lots of internship opportunities (Disney, MTV and Warner Brothers are on the list of participating companies) and study abroad options are offered on six continents. Nearly a third, 29%, of students participate in one of these experiences during their time at LMU. 

Similar colleges to consider: University of Southern California, UCLA, Santa Clara, Chapman

Social: Loyola Marymount students can expect to have an active social life both on and off campus, with student organizations and clubs frequently hosting events and activities, and beautiful surroundings for those who like to get outdoors. Marina del Rey and Santa Monica are a short car or bus ride away, and those who have a case of wanderlust may find themselves on a road trip to San Diego, Santa Barbara, Las Vegas or Mexico, some of the most popular destinations for LMU undergrads. 

Greek life attracts 17% of men and 29% of women, but students say there is little pressure to drink. The university’s Jesuit heritage has led to a social atmosphere that motivates students to improve themselves through a dedication to helping others, evidenced by the 200,000 hours of volunteer service students put in every year. 

LMU’s varsity teams compete in the Division I West Coast Conference with women’s water polo being a recent champ. Men’s and women’s soccer teams and the women’s volleyball team are also pretty competitive. The LMU Lions’ rivalry with Pepperdine draws a large crowd and the basketball team’s annual pep rally, referred to as “LMU Madness” is another big event. Not to be overlooked is the debate team, which has placed first in more than 250 national and international tournaments over the past 40 years. 

Financial:  Loyola Marymount offers both need-based and non-need based merit aid and scholarships. The average percentage of student need met is 68%, with 23% being fully met. Although the tuition and fees are roughly $73,000 (tuition is the same for in-state and out-of-state students), the average financial aid package is $29,012. 90% of students receive financial assistance in the form of scholarships and grants.

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College of the Week: University of Michigan

University of Michigan, one of the nation’s elite public universities, strives to offer its students a balance of academics, athletics, and social activities. On its 3200+ acres on the main campus (be prepared to use your GPS to get around!), you will find a world-class university with outstanding faculty and top-rated programs designed to make its graduates ready to compete in the 21st century job market. 

Here are a few quick facts about University of Michigan:

4-year Graduation rate: 79%, 6-year: 92%

Acceptance: 23%

Freshman retention: 97%

Freshmen out of state: 45%

Most popular majors: computer science, business administration, psychology, and economics

Student Community Diversity: 4.5% Black, 6.6% Latino, 7.3% International

Housing: The dorms at University of Michigan are described as “mostly comfortable and well-maintained.” Despite being a large campus, only 32% of students reside there. Freshmen are guaranteed housing, but not all sophomores will get a spot, and almost no juniors or seniors live on campus. So where does everyone else live? Many who have pledged live in one of the  fraternity or sorority houses. There are also a large number of college-owned and private co-ops and plenty of off-campus rentals. 

Academics: UM boasts 600 degree programs, which includes 250 undergrad majors as well as individualized concentrations. There are no courses that are required of all freshmen, but all students must complete coursework in English (including composition), foreign language (UM offers over 40, including several that can’t be found at many other institutions), natural science, social sciences and humanities. Students describe courses as being challenging, but not cutthroat. The engineering and business programs are well-respected across the country, and programs in health-related fields are also top-notch. There is excellent academic and career advising for those who seek it, and the Campus Career Center works with 950 companies in their recruiting efforts.

Similar colleges to consider: UC Berkeley, University of Indiana at Urbana-Champaign, Stanford, Cornell

Social: While Detroit is less than an hour away, many UM students flock to nearby Ann Arbor, which has more of a “college town feel.” The Huron River, as well as many lakes and swimming holes are a short drive away for those who like to get outdoors. You will find a large Greek party scene although only about 17% of men and 25% of women “go Greek.” 

In the fall, you can expect Division I football to overshadow nearly everything else. Attending games and cheering, “Go Blue” is a pretty integral part of the University of Michigan experience, with the Little Brown Jug football competition with Minnesota and games against Ohio State being the most popular. Several teams have brought home Big Ten championships in the past year, among them men’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, as well as women’s field hockey and gymnastics. For those looking for a more casual form of athletics, there are plenty of intramural sports, which were invented at University of Michigan. 

Financial: University of Michigan offers hundreds of merit scholarships, averaging $5,600 as well as 711 athletic scholarships in 27 sports. Average percent of need met is 91%, with 71% being fully met. UM is the only public university in the state that meets the full demonstrated need of in-state students, and Michigan residents whose families make $65,000 or less qualify for free tuition. Although the tuition and fees are $31,000 for in-state and $68,000 for out-of-state students, the average financial aid package is $27,000. Out-of-state admits with a family income of $90,000 or less can expect to have the full demonstrated need met. 52% of students receive scholarships, averaging almost $18,000 per student. 

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College of the Week: Florida State

Looking for a relaxed, cheery atmosphere where you can learn from a Nobel laureate, study in one of the finest science facilities in the southeast, or give your political career a jump start by networking at the state capitol, all while getting your fill of the blazing Florida sun? Look no further than Florida State University, located a mere half hour away from the Gulf of Mexico, and described by one junior as the “cool, laid-back friend of the Florida university system.”

Here are a few quick facts about FSU:

4-year Graduation rate: 66%, 6-year: 83%

Acceptance: 37%

Freshman retention: 93%

Freshmen out of state: 12%

Most popular majors: finance, international affairs, biological science, psychology

Student Community Diversity: 8.7% Black, 21.5% Latino, 1.7% International

Housing: While 82% of freshmen live in the dorms, which get mixed reviews, by the way, only about 20% of all undergrads live on campus. One student commented that living on campus makes for a “smoother” freshman year, but afterwards most students move into one of the plentiful apartments or houses within walking distance of campus. An efficient city and campus bus system is available to those who live a little more of a hike away.

Academics: FSU offers nearly 200 undergraduate degrees with its most outstanding programs including music, drama, art and dance. Engineering and the sciences are also solid programs, not to mention that communications, statistics, and business all have strong reputations in the southeast, and a new major has been added in entrepreneurship. Not impressed yet? Well, how about the fact that the English department and the College of Motion Picture Arts have consistently won national and international awards?

As part of Florida State’s liberal studies curriculum, freshmen take an E-series course that studies a particular question or issue from multiple perspectives. Other requirements for freshmen include fulfilling a diversity requirement and taking two Scholarship in Practice courses, where students apply their learning to produce an original project. FSU also offers honors courses for gifted students (Note: this is limited to 25 students) and some are even able to complete their degree in three years.

Outside of the classroom, there are internship and political jobs available with the state capitol and Supreme Court nearby, as well as research opportunities, even for freshmen and sophomores. Want to get a little further away from the compact 450-acre campus? Be among the 15 percent who participate in a wide-range of study abroad programs offered.

Similar colleges to consider: Indiana University, Michigan State, Iowa State

Social: When not studying, students have many options for entertainment, including films, concerts, and parties in the dorms or off campus. Tallahassee offers plenty to do with its cafes, bar patios, art parks, and club scene, for those who like the nightlife. Greek life attracts 19% of men and 24% of women. If that is not your scene, there are about 800 organizations, so a wealth of ways to get involved.

Seminoles compete in Division I Atlantic Coast Conference. School spirit runs especially high during football season (can you hear the beating of the campus spirit drum?). The football team won two national titles in the 90s and won again in 2013, while 2018 was a great year for women’s sports – the women’s soccer and softball teams were national champions that year. One-third of students participate in the school’s more than 40 intramural sports and 40 sports clubs

Financial: Florida State offers both need-based and merit scholarships. The average percent of need met is 81%, with 21% being fully met. Although tuition and fees are $23,000 and $37,000 for in-state and out-of-state students, respectively, the average financial aid package is $16,600. About 96% of incoming freshmen receive some type of financial aid, the majority of which comes from scholarships and grants, including 1% of students receiving sports scholarships.

College of the Week: Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech

If you are looking for a college where motivation, ambition, and self-direction are key to your success, and long to be instructed by faculty members who have real-world experience, including being a Nobel Prize winner or a former NASA astronaut, look no further than Georgia Institute of Technology, aka Georgia Tech. Found in the heart of Atlanta on a 450-acre campus that showcases a rich architectural history, you will gain valuable experience at “Ma Tech.” 

 

Here are a few quick facts about Georgia Tech:

4-year Graduation rate: 40%, 6-year: 87%

Acceptance: 23%

Freshman retention: 97%

Freshmen out of state: 39%

Most popular majors: computer science, mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering

Student Community Diversity: 7.2% Black, 7.3% Latino, 8.3% International



Housing: While living on campus is not a  requirement (51% of all undergraduates and 56% of freshmen live on campus), all freshmen are guaranteed a room. According to students, conditions vary from nice, new, apartment-like to “foul dungeons.” Off-campus housing is available and is generally comfortable. Safety is a concern in a large urban setting, and campus security does patrol regularly and responds quickly to reported incidents.

 

Academics: Courses are described as “extremely rigorous” and grading on a curve has led to a hyper-competitive environment. No matter what major you pick, students must complete credit hours in social sciences, math, science, English and humanities, US or Georgia history, US and global perspectives and wellness. The course selection process can be frustrating and getting into required courses at times can be an issue, so be advised. Another challenge is that freshman math classes are typically taught by TAs and 26% of undergrad classes have more than 50 students. One student does have a word of encouragement though, “Things get better as you progress and get to know professors.” 

 

Most students take 5-6 years to finish their degree due to the demanding workload, but delayed graduation does have some positives for Georgia Tech students. Many students are able to earn money for their education while gaining job experience through an internship with one of more than 700 organizations worldwide. Georgia Tech also boasts 90 exchange programs and 30 faculty-led study abroad programs. By the time they graduate, 52% of students have had an international study or internship experience. 

 

Similar colleges to consider: UC Berkeley, University of Florida, University of Indiana at Urbana-Champaign

 

Social: While there is not much to do on campus outside of Greek life, which attracts 26% of men and 30% of women, students will find plenty to keep them busy in surrounding Atlanta and the Buckhead district. Tech’s Division I varsity sports teams, the Yellowjackets have become big time in the South with men’s swimming, women’s basketball, men’s and women’s track and golf experiencing success in recent years. Forty percent of students participate in 43 clubs and 20 intramural sports. 

 

Financial: Georgia Tech offers both need- and merit-based aid, with 74% of tuition being covered for Georgia residents who graduate high school with a B average as long as they keep their grades up in college. Georgia Tech has also eliminated loans for Georgia families who make less than $33,000 a year. The average need met is 66%, with 29% being fully met. While the cost of attendance for in-state students is $29,000 and $50,000 for out-of-state, the average financial aid package is $16,000. 24% of out-of-state students receive scholarships.

 

Georgia Tech for STEM in the heart of Atlanta

Georgia Tech

If you are looking for a college where motivation, ambition, and self-direction are key to your success, and long to be instructed by faculty members who have real-world experience, including being a Nobel Prize winner or a former NASA astronaut, look no further than Georgia Institute of Technology, aka Georgia Tech. Found in the heart of Atlanta on a 450-acre campus that showcases a rich architectural history, you will gain valuable experience at “Ma Tech.” 

Here are a few quick facts about Georgia Tech:

4-year Graduation rate: 40%, 6-year: 87%

Acceptance: 23%

Freshman retention: 97%

Freshmen out of state: 39%

Most popular majors: computer science, mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering

Student Community Diversity: 7.2% Black, 7.3% Latino, 8.3% International

Housing: While living on campus is not a  requirement (51% of all undergraduates and 56% of freshmen live on campus), all freshmen are guaranteed a room. According to students, conditions vary from nice, new, apartment-like to “foul dungeons.” Off-campus housing is available and is generally comfortable. Safety is a concern in a large urban setting, and campus security does patrol regularly and responds quickly to reported incidents.

Academics: Courses are described as “extremely rigorous” and grading on a curve has led to a hyper-competitive environment. No matter what major you pick, students must complete credit hours in social sciences, math, science, English and humanities, US or Georgia history, US and global perspectives and wellness. The course selection process can be frustrating and getting into required courses at times can be an issue, so be advised. Another challenge is that freshman math classes are typically taught by TAs and 26% of undergrad classes have more than 50 students. One student does have a word of encouragement though, “Things get better as you progress and get to know professors.” 

Most students take 5-6 years to finish their degree due to the demanding workload, but delayed graduation does have some positives for Georgia Tech students. Many students are able to earn money for their education while gaining job experience through an internship with one of more than 700 organizations worldwide. Georgia Tech also boasts 90 exchange programs and 30 faculty-led study abroad programs. By the time they graduate, 52% of students have had an international study or internship experience. 

Similar colleges to consider: UC Berkeley, University of Florida, University of Indiana at Urbana-Champaign

Social: While there is not much to do on campus outside of Greek life, which attracts 26% of men and 30% of women, students will find plenty to keep them busy in surrounding Atlanta and the Buckhead district. Tech’s Division I varsity sports teams, the Yellowjackets have become big time in the South with men’s swimming, women’s basketball, men’s and women’s track and golf experiencing success in recent years. Forty percent of students participate in 43 clubs and 20 intramural sports. 

Financial: Georgia Tech offers both need- and merit-based aid, with 74% of tuition being covered for Georgia residents who graduate high school with a B average as long as they keep their grades up in college. Georgia Tech has also eliminated loans for Georgia families who make less than $33,000 a year. The average need met is 66%, with 29% being fully met. While the cost of attendance for in-state students is $29,000 and $50,000 for out-of-state, the average financial aid package is $16,000. 24% of out-of-state students receive scholarships. 

Lehigh has science, technology, and business in a vibrant social culture

lehigh stem business majors

Interested in pursuing a field in science and technology? Then Lehigh University is well worth considering. Lehigh has invested millions to enhance programs in nanotechnology, biotechnology, biosciene and optoelectronics. In addition to being a leader in technology, the atmosphere is very collegial – students push each other to do their best and their career services office actively brings in multiple employers at a time to help students network before they graduate.  If you’re wondering what type of student will excel at a college like Lehigh, one senior describes it by saying, “The type of student who will do best at Lehigh is the one who prefers to be too involved rather than sit back and observe.”

Here are a few quick facts about Lehigh:

Acceptance: 22%

Freshman retention: 94%

Freshmen from out of state: 75%

Most popular majors: finance, mechanical engineering, accounting

4-year Graduation rate: 72%

Student Community Diversity: 4% Black, 10% Latino, 9% International

 

Academics:

Probably the most restrictive requirement for Lehigh is that students must complete courses in four domains: mathematical sciences, natural sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities, in addition to enrolling in an Evolution Seminar their first year which focuses on transition to college. Some degrees also require a mandatory internship or capstone project. 

Aside from that, Lehigh undergraduates are free to study across disciplines. In fact, Lehigh is known for connecting traditionally separate disciplines, such as arts and engineering, computer science and business, and environmental engineering with minors in engineering leadership and sustainable development. Lehigh also boasts many dual-degree options and innovative special programs such as Technical Entrepreneurship Capstone, which teams up engineering, business, and arts students to design and make products for sponsoring companies. Students can also enroll in more than 250 study abroad options in 60 countries or a faculty-led program during winter or summer breaks in over a dozen countries. Those students who are looking to gain field experience can participate in a co-op – and get paid to do it. 

 

Housing:

On-campus housing is home to all first- and second-year students and 65% of students overall. Accommodations for underclassmen are described as “decent.” Upperclassmen have several housing options: apartment-style dorms, Greek houses, off-campus apartments, or an apartment in Farrington Square – a residential and commercial on-campus complex that houses about 250 upperclassmen. So if having a bookstore, farmer’s market, a coffee shop, restaurants, and sometimes live music right outside your door are your scene, you’ll want to apply to live here your last couple of years. 

Similar colleges to consider:
Boston College, University of Southern California, Wake Forest, William and Mary

Social:

With such strong academic programs, you might expect the social life at Lehigh to be lacking, but that’s not the case. There’s a robust Greek life at Lehigh which attracts 38% of males to fraternities and 45% of females to sororities.

Lehigh After Dark hosts a variety of events, including a midnight breakfast bar, a carnival, and bingo night. Other traditions include the Founders Day celebration, Turkey Trot, and spirit week activities leading up to the big Lehigh vs. Lafayette football game. This game is such a big deal – and understandably so as it is the longest standing rivalry in college football (you hear that, Ohio State and Michigan fans? :-)) – that students put more emphasis on beating Lafayette than winning the whole Patriot League championship. The Division I Lehigh Mountain Hawks also boast a number of competitive teams besides football; their wrestling team is described as a “powerhouse” with numerous EIWA championships.

While Lehigh is located in an up and coming small town, undergrads have plenty of big city options with Philadelphia being 50 miles to the south and New York City about 75 miles to the east.  The Poconos and Jersey Shore are also a short drive away.  

Financial:

Lehigh offers both need-based and merit-based aid, as well as 200 athletic scholarships. The average percentage of need met is 97%, with 75% being fully met. Although the tuition and fees are $72,000, the average financial aid package is $61,000. Where there is a demonstrated need, Lehigh has capped loans at $5,000 per year, and for families who make less than $75,000, loans have been completely removed from the financial aid package. More than 50% of students receive some type of financial aid.

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Santa Clara in Silicon Valley Emphasizes Ethics and Social Justice

Santa Clara emphasizes a commitment to academics and community and is distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities. This comprehensive, faith-based, Division 1 university offers small classes taught by full professors and incorporates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice to educate students and citizens prepared to contribute to a more just, humane, and sustainable world. The beautiful 106-acre campus in Santa Clara, California, littered with palm trees and luscious rose bushes, is steeped in history and tradition.

This selective mid-sized California university has a heritage of traditional Jesuit ideals of “infusing morality and ethics into strong and coherent academics.” Founded by the Jesuits and with a large undergraduate population (almost half) of Roman Catholics, religion has a non-intrusive impact on campus life. Santa Clara students will find many opportunities for spiritual development and to get involved with local volunteer organizations. Students will also have access to job-recruitment and internships afforded to a university located in Silicon Valley, with other 70% participation.

Here are a few quick facts about Santa Clara:

Acceptance: 50%

4-year Graduation rate: 84%

Freshman retention: 94%

Freshmen from out of state: 41%

Most popular majors: finance, economics, communication

Housing: Guaranteed housing all four years, but juniors and seniors often utilize the option to live off-campus. While nearly all freshmen and sophomores live on campus, the dorms only house about 56% of the overall student population. Plans are currently in the works to build more university housing to help battle the rising cost of off-campus housing. Students have remarked that the campus always feels safe.

 

Santa Clara University

Academics: Santa Clara offers a rigorous undergraduate curriculum as well as robust masters program, law degrees, and engineering doctorate programs. While offering 8 different engineering programs that comprise 15% of the student population, Political Science, Communication, and Psychology are still the most popular classes among students.

SC boasts its 3-2 engineering program in which a student can attain bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years. The college has also recently added minors in professional writing and real estate. 

Santa Clara’s Core Curriculum prescribes courses in three broad categories: Knowledge, Habits of Mind and Heart (skills), and Engagement with the World. Core Pathways supplement majors and the Core Curriculum by offering 24 sets of courses with interdisciplinary themes (justice and the arts, and values in science and technology, are two such examples). Students choose one Pathway and complete 3-4 courses. A student’s chosen Pathway culminates with an Integrative Reflection Essay and required community service and oftentimes requires completion of a capstone project. 

 

Similar colleges to consider:
Cal Poly–San Luis Obispo, Loyola Marymount, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, University of Southern California

 

Social:  “There’s a great social life both on and off-campus and over a hundred clubs and programs to get involved in,” says one student. Social life is active as 150 student organizations offer a myriad of on and off-campus activities. The Activity Programming Board coordinates a number of popular events such as concerts, movie nights, Midnight Breakfast, to name a few. Although Santa Clara no longer supports fraternities and sororities, Greek organizations and the off-campus party scene still thrive on their own.

Santa Clara’s campus features only one central dining hall where food is prepared by the same company that caters to Apple and Google events. Anyone with a food allergy can take comfort in the fact that they will have a plethora of food options that are organic, farm to table, as well as gluten- and allergen-free.

Financial: Santa Clara offers both university grants and need-based financial aid, with two-thirds of students receiving support. The average percent of need met is 79%. Although the tuition and fees run about $73,000, the average financial aid package is $54,000: $38,000 coming from need-based financial aid, and another $16,000 from merit aid. About 73% of students receive financial aid.

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