Wittenberg – a liberal arts gem in the Midwest

Wittenberg offers a solid honors program, an active Greek scene, and competitive Division III athletics. Founded in 1845 by German Lutherans and set on a beautiful 100-acre campus in the Midwest, you will find a college that emphasizes strong student-faculty relationships, a dedication to community service (students give 30+ hours of their time each year) and an academic environment that is “challenging, but friendly.” Students will be awe-struck by a mixture of 1800s and Gothic-inspired buildings, as well by the brand-new Health, Wellness and Athletics complex with full-size indoor turf field surrounded by a running track. 

 

Here are a few quick facts about Wittenberg:

Acceptance: 97%

Freshman retention: 76%

Freshmen out of state: 21%

Most popular majors: education, biology, marketing, psychology

4-year Graduation rate: 58%; 6-year: 63%

Student Community Diversity: 10% Black, 3.7% Latino, 0.8% International

 

Housing: Freshmen and sophomores are required to live on campus, where 85% of all undergraduates live. Many upperclassmen choose to live in houses and apartments nearby. The dorms are described as spacious and air-conditioned. The dining halls offer a variety of options, including vegetarian selections; most students say that food isn’t the best, but it is acceptable. 

 

Academics: General education requirements at Wittenberg emphasize a liberal arts background with learning goals including writing and research, exercising social and moral responsibility and participating in physical education. First-year students participate in a leadership development program, a service-learning course and First-Year Seminar, which helps with the transition from high school to college. 

 

Wittenberg students can expect to find their professors to be accessible and also plenty of opportunities to participate in undergraduate research. In fact, 92% of students participate in said research and 20% of students take advantage of the opportunity to spend a semester or a year of study off campus. For those looking for smaller class sizes, 52% of Wittenberg’s undergraduate courses have fewer than 20 students. 

 

What else can Wittenberg students expect? The engineering department offers a 3-2 bachelor’s/master’s program in conjunction with Columbia and Case Western Reserve University. Also, for students who declare their major on time and complete all courses with a C or better, Wittenberg guarantees a degree in 4 years, and will pay for any additional necessary courses.

 

Similar colleges to consider: Denison, The College of Wooster, Miami University (OH), The Ohio State University

 

Social: Wittenberg students have more than 120 student organizations, performing arts groups and intramurals to choose from to get involved. Greek life has a larger presence than many other college campuses, with 29% of men and 32% of women choosing to “go Greek.” Weekend social life largely centers on parties held in houses, dorms, and apartments near campus. The various Greek groups, the Union Board and Residence Hall Association all work to bring events to campus including guest speakers, movies, comedians and concerts. Favorite annual events include Greek Week, W Day, Homecoming and Wittfest (a festival and concert with games, food and socializing held before finals).

 

The surrounding city of Springfield offers access to movie theaters, restaurants and a performing arts center. Nearby state parks offer swimming, camping, biking trails and spots for picnicking. Popular road trips include going to nearby Dayton, Columbus and Cincinnati. 

 

The Wittenberg Tigers are competitive in Division III sports, with their biggest rivalries being against Wabash, Allegheny and The College of Wooster. The most recent North Coast Athletic Conference championship titles have been in men’s basketball, football and golf, as well as women’s volleyball, softball and golf. Intramural sports are also very popular, especially crew, ice hockey and rugby. 

 

Financial: Wittenberg offers both need-based aid as well as non-need based merit aid. WU does not offer any athletic scholarships. The average percent of need met is 84%, with 29% being fully met. Although the tuition and fees are $55,600, the average financial aid package is $28,200. 98% of students some type of financial aid.

Villanova – where tradition meets the future

Villanova is a Roman Catholic university that takes pride in tradition while recognizing that making continuous improvements to their facilities and educational and co-curricular programs will help their graduates be competitive in the workplace and the world. Founded in 1842 by the Order of St. Augustine, Villanova is set on a well-kept 260-acre campus featuring a mix of old stone and newer LEED-certified buildings. Recent construction includes new residence halls, eateries, a bookstore and performing arts center. 

 

Here are a few quick facts about Villanova:

Acceptance: 31%

Freshman retention: 96%

Freshmen out of state: 82%

Most popular majors: business/marketing, engineering, nursing

4-year Graduation rate: 89%; 6-year: 92%

Student Community Diversity: 5% Black, 8% Latino, 2% International

 

Housing: Even though Villanove students are guaranteed housing for three years, only about 66% of students live in the dorms. 

 

First-year students take a yearlong Augustine and Culture Seminar (ACS) and are housed with their classmates or in optional themed learning communities in the dorms. Most seniors move to houses and apartments in the surrounding neighborhoods. 

 

Academics: All Villanova students follow a liberal arts core curriculum, through one of the four colleges: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Villanova School of Business, College of Engineering or Fitzpatrick School of Nursing. Students study works from ancient, medieval and Renaissance periods as well as those from Early Modern, Enlightenment, Romantic, Modernist and Contemporary eras. Courses are rigorous and often discussion-oriented and reading- and writing-intensive. Many classes are smaller with 42% of undergraduate courses having fewer than 20 students. 

 

Each year, 40% of Villanova students participate in study abroad programs and students in the communication and computer science programs can apply for semester-long internships at the Vatican. 

 

Similar colleges to consider: Boston College, Fordham, Georgetown, Lehigh

 

Social: Weekend social life at Villanova centers around campus events and parties, some of which are hosted by Greek fraternities and sororities, where 17% of men and 32% of women pledge, respectively. The student center is the place to be on Friday and Saturday nights with the Late Night at Villanova events – which include bands, comedians, open-mic nights and dance parties. 

 

Nearby Philadelphia offers an abundance of entertainment and cultural opportunities with pro sports, museums and shops.  Many students also participate in events at the other local colleges and universities. 

 

Men’s basketball brought home Division I national championship titles in 2016 and 2018. Recent Big East Conference champions include men’s and women’s track and field and women’s cross country. Club and intramural sports are also a big deal on campus, especially basketball, flag football and soccer. 

 

Villanova students believe in giving back to others and clock roughly 250,000 hours of service each year. Students have the opportunity to participate in service trips during fall and spring breaks and in projects to build houses and help victims of natural disasters. Villanova hosts the largest student-run Special Olympics each fall.

 

Financial: Villanova offers need-based aid, as well as non-need based merit aid and 290 athletic scholarships. The average percentage of need met is 80%, with 14% being fully met. Although the tuition and fees are $77,000, the average financial aid package is $32,400. 55% of students receive some type of financial aid.

Spelman College – a women’s college educating tomorrow’s leaders

Spelman College is a standout for so many reasons. To begin with, Spelman is one of only two surviving African-American women’s colleges. Add to that the fact that they have outstanding academics and a student body of young women seeking to become leaders in fields ranging from science to the arts and you have a college that is truly special. 

Sophia B. Packard and Harriet E. Giles, two pioneers in women’s education, founded Spelman College in 1881 because they were concerned about the lack of educational opportunities for African-American women. One of the early financial backers was John D. Rockefeller, who named the college after his wife, Laura Spelman Rockefeller and her parents who were longtime activists in the antislavery movement. Spelman’s legacy includes a mission to prepare women for leadership and an emphasis in getting her graduates into courtrooms, board rooms and engineering labs.

 

Here are a few quick facts about Spelman:

Acceptance: 53%

Freshman retention: 89%

Freshmen out of state: 76%

Most popular majors: psychology, biology, political science, economics

4-year Graduation rate: 65%; 6-year: 75%

Student Community Diversity: 97% Black, 0.1% Latino, 0.75% International

 

Housing: Sixty-seven percent of Spelman students live on campus in one of eleven dorms. Some students feel that the dorms could use some renovations, but that overall, accommodations are comfortable. 

The meal plan is mandatory for anyone who lives on campus, and the food gets average reviews. Campus security does a great job of making students feel safe. 

 

Academics: Spelman offers a well-rounded liberal arts curriculum that stresses the importance of critical and analytical thinking as well as problem solving. The core education requirements, which most complete by the end of sophomore year, include coursework in English composition, wellness and health, foreign language, math, African diaspora and the world, computer literacy and international or comparative women’s studies. Freshmen participate in First Year Experience, and sophomores take Sophomore Seminar. All students complete internships or undergraduate research projects in their majors. 

The academic environment can be very competitive – after all Spelman aims to recruit the best of the best. Many of the faculty members are African American and/or female so students have many great role models. Outside of the general education courses, class sizes tend to be small with 60% having fewer than 20 students. 

Natural sciences and the humanities are the two strongest departments at Spelman, and math is a close third. Math and natural sciences have great opportunities for undergraduate research programs and many include opportunities to publish. One of Spelman’s bragging rights is that they lead the nation in the number of African American women who continue on to earn a Ph.D. in the STEM fields. Another opportunity at Spelman is the 3-2 dual degree program in engineering, offered in cooperation with Georgia Tech. 

 

Similar colleges to consider: Agnes Scott, Vassar, Wellesley, Xavier University of Louisiana. 

 

Social: Students have plenty of opportunities for social interaction with nearby colleges thanks to the Atlanta University Center. Sororities are present at Spelman, but only 6% choose to go Greek. The most popular annual events are sisterhood initiation ceremonies, homecoming (with nearby Morehouse College), and the Founder’s Day celebration. And of course there’s no shortage of activities in Atlanta!

Varsity sports have been replaced with a general fitness and nutrition program. However, intramural sports like basketball, flag football, soccer and volleyball are popular. 

 

Financial: Spelman offers primarily need-based financial aid and scholarships. There are no athletic scholarships offered. The average percent of need met is 49%, with 71% being fully met. Although the tuition and fees are $52,700, the average financial aid package is $14,500. 90% of students receive some type of financial aid.

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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University of Tampa offers students plenty of hands-on experience

University of Tampa is a private, residential college with a rich history. The central building, Plant Hall, once housed the Tampa Bay Hotel, a resort built by Henry B. Plant in 1891. The hotel closed in 1931 due to the Great Depression, and two years later became the main building for the relocated University of Tampa (formerly known as Tampa Junior College). UT now has 60 buildings on 110 landscaped acres where you can find cannons from the original harbor fort and the spot of the former Florida State Fair grounds where Babe Ruth hit his longest home run – 630 feet. 

 

Here are a few quick facts about University of Tampa:

4-year Graduation rate: 50%, 6-year: 61%

Acceptance: 56%

Freshman retention: 78%

Freshmen out of state: 80% 

Most popular majors: international business, biology, marketing, marine science

Student Community Diversity: 5% Black, 14% Latino, 9% International

 

Housing: Accommodations vary from private rooms with a shared bathroom, kitchen and common area to studio-style private suites. Nine of the twelve residence halls have been built since 1998 through a massive renovation project. The nearby Barrymore Hotel also houses students with shuttle services to and from campus. 93% of freshmen and about 49% of all undergrads live on campus. 

 

Academics: University of Tampa’s motto is “To be, rather than to seem to be” and offers the hands-on experiences to meet it. Undergraduates can choose from over 200 academic programs in four colleges: College of Arts and Letters; College of Social Sciences, Mathematics and Education; College of Natural and Health Sciences; and Skyes College of Business. Sykes College of Business has a stock market lab with terminals and plasma screen TVs so students can get the experience of being on a stock market exchange floor. The College of Natural and Health Sciences owns a remote marine science research lab on Tampa Bay, as well as extensive equipment to study the ecosystems of the Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. University of Tampa is also home to an ROTC unit. 

 

UT has liberal arts curriculum requirements including a first year seminar, courses in writing and inquiry, math, natural sciences, humanities and fine arts, social sciences, and global awareness. Another opportunity for UT undergrads is the study abroad program which places students in one of 70 countries; about a quarter of students participate. The Honors Program allows students to study 1:1 with faculty through enrichment and tutorials, internships, research, and classroom to community outreach. 

 

Similar colleges to consider: Remington College, University of South Florida, University of Phoenix – West Florida Campus 

 

Social: The University of Tampa Spartans compete in Division II athletics and hold national titles in baseball, men’s and women’s soccer, golf, volleyball, and beach volleyball. The college’s football program folded in 1974 in order to keep the college afloat during a period of financial troubles. The Fitness and Recreation Center has two floors with 60,000 square feet of space and an on-campus aquatic center with a deep swimming section for scuba diving classes. 

 

The percentage of students who go Greek at UT is fairly small, about 6% of men and 11% of women. The most popular campus events include Global Village Simulation, Model UN debates, The MLK Day Service and Student Productions Comedy Shows. And, of course, there are plenty of things to do in surrounding Tampa, no matter what your interests are.

 

Financial: University of Tampa offers both grants and scholarships, however, they offer much more in non-need based than need-based aid.  Although the tuition and fees are $46,000 (tuition is the same for both in-state and out-of-state students), the average financial aid package is $13,400. 90% of students receive financial aid and/or scholarships.

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