DePaul University – a politically liberal Roman Catholic university devoted to experiential learning

DePaul university offers a unique environment to learn and grow, one focused on students gaining field experience before graduation. Though it is the largest Roman Catholic university in the nation, DePaul has a reputation for being politically liberal and diverse. DePaul has two campuses: Lincoln Park is set in a fashionable Chicago neighborhood and houses the colleges of liberal arts and social sciences, science and health, education, and theater and music, while the Loop campus (20 minutes away by “the El”), is home to the colleges of business and communications, digital media, computing, and law, as well as the School for New Learning.

Here are a few quick facts about DePaul:

4-year Graduation rate:58%, 6-year: 71%

Acceptance: 70%

Freshman retention: 83%

Freshmen out of state: 36% 

Most popular majors: accounting, public relations/advertising, finance, psychology

Student Community Diversity: 8% Black, 19% Latino, 3% International

 

Housing: DePaul has traditionally been a commuter school, with only 18% of students living in university housing. Lincoln Park’s campus has 6 co-ed dorms and 6 townhouse and apartment buildings, while the Loop campus boasts a 1,700-student residence hall that includes a rooftop garden, fitness center, as well as music, art, and study rooms. Food choices on campus are limited, especially for students who eat a strictly vegan diet.

DePaul takes safety very seriously. Campus security is visible, patrolling both in cars and on foot. All dorms are accessible only by the swipe of a student ID at two doors (and in some dorms, three).

 

Academics: All freshmen are required to take either Discover Chicago or Explore Chicago to learn more about the city, as well as completing courses in composition and quantitative reasoning. Sophomores all take a course on multiculturalism in the United States, and every DePaul undergraduate participates in an experiential learning program which requires an internship, research, study abroad, or a service-learning experience. The School of Cinematic Arts has a partnership with Cinespace Chicago, the city’s premier movie studio to give students in those programs film and television production experience. Game design and animation are two other popular programs. DePaul offers a 6-year bachelor’s/law degree, as well as a number of other 5-year bachelor’s/master’s programs. 

 

Class sizes are often small; 41% of classes have fewer than 20 students. Professors teach at all levels and clerics teach some courses and celebrate Mass everyday. Mass is optional for students,  and students have the opportunity to join student organizations that represent all different faiths, ethnicities and backgrounds. 

 

Similar colleges to consider: University of Illinois at Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, University of Indiana at Urbana-Champaign

 

Social: It should come as no surprise that with the number of concert venues, sporting events, clubs, restaurants and bars in Chicago (and such a small percentage of students living on campus), that most of the social scene happens away from campus. Fraternities and sororities attract only 5% of men, and 11% of women, respectively. In the warmer months, Lake Michigan is a popular spot, and the annual outdoor Fest concert draws large crowds from both DePaul campuses. 

 

DePaul’s Blue Demons compete in the Big East Conference in 15 Division I sports, with men’s basketball being the biggest headliner. Men’s track and field, and women’s basketball, tennis, and softball have all won Big East tournaments recently. While Loyola is DePaul’s oldest rival, the games against Notre Dame draw the largest crowds. 

 

Financial: DePaul offers both need-based, as well as non-need based merit scholarships, and a small number of athletic scholarships. The average percent of need met is 71%, with 14% being fully met. Although the tuition and fees are $61,000, the average financial aid package is $21,100. 91% of students receive scholarships.

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Texas Christian University – where a quality liberal arts education and strong sense of community meet

Texas Christian University students describe the atmosphere of campus as being a part of a community, a family. Case in point: a typical Saturday afternoon for a TCU student involves painting yourself purple to cheer on your team, the Horned Frogs. Set on 277 well-maintained acres, TCU’s campus is a mix of different architectural styles, from neo-Georgian to contemporary. Most worth noting are the Walsh Center for Performing Arts, which is a vast 56,000 square foot performance hall and theatre complex, and the new Greek village. 

 

Here are a few quick facts about Texas Christian University:

4-year Graduation rate: 71%, 6-year: 83%

Acceptance: 47%

Freshman retention: 91%

Freshmen out of state: 51% 

Most popular majors: nursing, communication studies, finance, accounting

Student Community Diversity: 5% Black, 14% Latino, 5% International

 

Housing: Nearly all freshmen (97%) and about 52% of undergrads overall live on campus. Dorm life is described as a good experience with up to date facilities. Fraternity and sorority members may live in their Greek houses after freshman year, but most juniors and seniors choose to live off campus. TCU has an evening transportation service and students say they feel safe on campus. 

 

While campus meals are given average reviews, one student said, “No one misses Sunday brunch.” A few of the most popular menu items for this meal include lobster macaroni and cheese, pastries and chocolate fountains.

 

Academics: Texas Christian University students can choose their major from 114 disciplines. The core curriculum has a base of a liberal arts education with an emphasis on critical thinking that is divided into three areas: essential competencies; human experience and endeavors; and heritage, mission, vision, and values. First-year students participate in freshman seminar courses, and there is a Frog Camp the summer before freshman year to help students transition to college life. 

 

The academic climate is one that is challenging, but not overwhelming. Most class sizes are small with over 40% having fewer than 20 students. For those who are looking for the opportunity to study abroad, TCU offers 250 programs in 54 countries; about one-third of undergraduates participate. 

 

TCU is affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), but the atmosphere is not overtly religious. Lack of diversity is a top concern, but the university has been taking a lot more interest in diversity and inclusion efforts with recruitment and admissions, as well as in first-year experience programs.

 

Similar colleges to consider: Baylor, University of Southern California, Southern Methodist, Tulane

 

Social: Greek life is a big deal at Texas Christian, with 41% of men and 58% of women pledging. One of the most popular events is the annual fall concert which brings big-name acts to campus. Students also look forward to the traditional lighting of the Christmas tree, an event complete with carols, hot chocolate and cookies, a visit from Santa and his reindeer, and fireworks. 

 

Looking to get off campus for a bit? Surrounding Fort Worth is a cultured city with plenty of things to do, and Dallas is a short 45-minute drive to the east. Other popular road trip destinations for TCU students include Austin, San Antonio, the Gulf coast and Shreveport, Louisiana.

 

TCU boasts 21 athletic programs, which compete in the Big 12 Conference. Football, baseball and men’s tennis have all won recent conference championship titles. In the 2017-2018 season, 11 teams were nationally ranked including the equestrian and women’s rifle teams. 

 

Financial: Texas Christian University offers merit awards averaging $19,000 per person, as well as 356 athletic scholarships, in addition to need-based aid. The average percent of need met is 74%, with 37% being fully met. Although the tuition and fees are $73,500 (tuition for in- and out-of-state students is the same), the average financial aid package is $54,000. 75% of students receive scholarships and aid.

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(The) Ohio State University – where they do everything in a big way

The Ohio State University (yes, “The”) does everything in a big way – from campus size to sports to one-of-a-kind degree programs. The biggest of the Big Ten and boasting the third largest campus in the nation (with a larger operating budget than that of the state of Delaware), you can find your niche among the 52,000 students pursuing one of over 200 undergraduate majors. Despite the daunting 1,777-acre size of the campus, the grounds are nicely landscaped and a centrally located lake provides a place for students to find a little solitude. If the hike across campus isn’t enough to keep you in shape, you can always stop in at the Recreation and Physical Activity Center, which is the nation’s largest facility dedicated to student fitness, wellness and recreation.

 

Here are a few quick facts about Ohio State:

4-year Graduation rate: 62%, 6-year: 86%

Acceptance: 54%

Freshman retention: 94%

Freshmen out of state: 25% 

Most popular majors: psychology, communication, finance, biology

Student Community Diversity: 6% Black, 4% Latino, 9% International

 

Housing: Freshman and sophomores are required to live in one of the 42 residence halls unless they are commuting from home. Dorms are in three areas – North, South and Olentangy (those closest to the Olentangy River) and are home to 33% of the overall undergraduate population. Ohio State has a system of variable room rates, which are based on the type of accommodations, such as air conditioning, private bathroom, and number of roommates. 

 

Academics: In keeping with their commitment to liberal arts education, Ohio State has rigorous general education requirements in math, writing, foreign language, social science, natural science, and arts and humanities. Class sizes vary and tend to whittle down as students continue in their fields of study. The OSU honors program offers smaller class sizes (around 25 students), honors classes, priority scheduling, honors housing and co-curricular activities. 

The most celebrated departments are business, engineering, neuroscience, dance and design. Ohio State also has strong African-American and African studies programs and has the most extensive offering of African languages of any university in the United States. OSU also has the only programs in the nation in welding engineering and geodetic science, and was the first university in the country to offer an undergraduate program in data analytics. 

For those looking for experience outside of the classroom, the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquire arranges research opportunities, which about 20% of students participate in. Internships in the state government, Fortune 500 companies and major tech and research organizations such as IBM Analytics Solution Lab and Battelle, are also available. Five percent of students engage in one of 200 study abroad programs, in more than 70 countries. 

 

Similar colleges to consider: University of Michigan, University of Indiana at Urbana-Champaign, Penn State, University of Wisconsin – Madison

 

Social: There is no shortage of opportunities for an active social life at Ohio State. On-campus housing groups plan various social events and the student union runs eateries, a tavern, movies and other activities. 13% of men and 14% of women go Greek, and while they may isolate themselves a bit with fraternity and sorority activities, there are over 1,400 student organizations for those who decide not to pledge. 

The metropolitan location of Ohio State means there is also a lot to do off-campus as well. Columbus has plenty of restaurants, bars, shops, golf courses and movie theaters nearby, and is also home to a symphony orchestra, ballet, and professional hockey and soccer teams. Students who want to go a little further out will find that they can easily get to Cleveland or Cincinnati, spend some time skiing in Mansfield, or enjoy reconnecting with nature at one of 19 area metro parks, or scenic Hocking Hills. 

One of OSU’s crown jewels is its lavish and successful college sports programs, offering 16 men’s, 17 women’s and 3 co-ed varsity teams. Ohio State takes home its fair share of conference titles (18 in the past couple years), and one student remarked that, “Football is somewhat like religion.” 

Popular on-campus events include the Homecoming Parade, BuckeyeThon (a philanthropy/dance marathon), Taste of OSU (international food festival), as well as a variety of other heritage festivals. 

 

Financial: Ohio State offers both need-based and non need-based merit aid. The average percent of need met is 74%, with 29% being fully met. 

Although the tuition and fees are $30,000 for in-state and $54,000 for out-of-state, the average financial aid package is $18,000. 70% of students receive financial aid and scholarships.

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Basketball, a great social scene and strong programs – IU Bloomington has it all

If you are not intimidated by large crowds (32,000 undergraduates, say what?), have a passion for basketball, and are looking for strong programs as well as a great social scene, then Indiana University at Bloomington may be the college for you. IU is situated on a 1,936-acre campus in southern Indiana, which features a variety of architectural styles, including a few fountains and gargoyles, a large arboretum and some impressive new and recently renovated buildings. 

Here are a few quick facts about IU Bloomington:

4-year Graduation rate: 64%, 6-year: 78%

Acceptance: 77%

Freshman retention: 91%

Freshmen out of state: 38% 

Most popular majors: finance, informatics, marketing

Student Community Diversity: 4% Black, 6% Latino, 9% International

Housing: Freshman can rest assured that they will have a place in one of the many dorms, which range in style from Gothic quads to 13-floor high rises. All dorms have laundry facilities, computer clusters, cafeterias and undergraduate advisors. Some dorms even have language-speaking or academic floors. Students will find a variety of dining options laid out in both buffet style and food courts with offerings of international and healthful menus amongst the usual fast food options. Alcohol is prohibited in the dorms. 64% of all undergraduates live on campus. 

Academics: Indiana University prides itself on its liberal arts education. Freshmen are not admitted to pre-professional schools, but to the “University Division,” and majors are declared after one or two years. General education coursework consists of courses in math, science, social and historical studies, arts and humanities, English composition, world language and cultures, as well as additional requirements that vary by school. IU has many acclaimed schools, including the Kelley School of Business, School of Education and the Jacobs School of Music, as well as the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, which is a top choice for those with an interest in environmental policy. 

The undergraduate who would like to study abroad will find 380 programs in 52 countries and 17 languages in nearly every field of study. Almost a quarter of students participate in these opportunities. 

“Rigorous, but not cutthroat” is the best way to describe the academic climate at IU. Competitive overachievers and laid-back carefree individuals will all find room here as they take several of the 4,000 courses offered each semester. Undergraduates are an important part of the educational process – many faculty members take their research results straight to the students, and professors in math and science are known for bringing undergrads into the labs to assist with ongoing projects.

Similar colleges to consider: Purdue, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin – Madison, The Ohio State University

Social: The most active social scene on campus is that of the Greeks, which attracts 24% of men and 21% of women. A range of extracurricular organizations, concerts, ballets, recitals and festivals on campus keep students busy, and the IU student union is one of the largest in the country. For those who like to get out a bit more, Bloomington is a great college town with plenty of restaurants, shops and bars. In the local area, the nature lovers will be pleased to find some impressive rock quarries and forests for hiking and there are nearby caves for the enthusiastic spelunker. 

Division I varsity athletics overshadow the numerous intramural and club sports, and basketball is pretty much an established religion in Indiana. Purdue is IU’s athletic rival with both teams playing for the Old Oaken bucket, which was found on a farm in southern Indiana in 1925 and rumored to have been used during the Civil War. 

Financial: Indiana University, which admits students on a need-blind basis, offers both need- and non-need based aid, as well as athletic scholarships. An average of 71% of need is met, with 31% being fully met. Although the tuition and fees for in-state and out-of-state are $25,000 and $53,000,  respectively, the average financial aid package is $12,000. 71% of students receive scholarships.

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