This past week found me visiting eight college campuses throughout Texas. From the stately Corinthian columns and red brick buildings of Southern Methodist University to the white oak landscape of Trinity University in San Antonio, each college was amazing and unique just like the state they call home.
Southern Methodist University
Applicants earning admission to SMU's most sought-after majors in the Cox School of Business are admitted directly to that school. All other SMU applicants are admitted directly to the university and do not need to declare a major until second semester of sophomore year. SMU will remain test optional through 2022.
Fun fact: President George W. Bush is a frequent surprise lecturer in undergraduate classes at the university that is also home to his Presidential Library.
Texas Christian University
TCU’s most sought-after majors include Business, Pre-health, and Nursing. In fact, Nursing is so competitive that only 14 percent of applicants are admitted. Nearly 45% of TCU’s students are from out of state. All its students enjoy the social atmosphere, supportive community, and cheering the Horned Frogs to victory on the football field and in the basketball arena.
Fun Fact: TCU's campus is a functioning ecosystem. It operates 23 environmentally progressive LEED Gold buildings, with more underway, and a centralized Energy Management Control System. Designated as a “Tree Campus USA” school, the school’s former “prairie college” is now home to over 3,200 trees.
Situated in Waco, home to Chip and Joanna's famous silos and Magnolia store, Baylor is an unapologetically Christian university committed to educating its students for leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment with a caring community. Baylor’s traditions, from Stompfest and Homecoming, to Dr. Pepper Hour and Diadeloso, foster a strong sense of community among students and faculty.
Fun Fact: Baylor’s mascot, the Bear, was chosen in 1914 when students selected it over the Buffalo, Antelope, Frog, Ferret, and Bookworm. Currently, two American Black Bears -- Judge Joy Reynolds (Joy) and Judge Sue Sloan (Lady) – call the Class C Zoo on Baylor’s campus, home. Joy and Lady are biological sisters.
University of Texas at Austin
The 400-acre campus, home to 38,000 undergraduates, features buildings ranging from "old, distinguished" limestone structures to contemporary Southwest architecture. The fabled UT Tower is illuminated in Longhorn orange after big athletic wins. There are few seats available for out-of-state students with eighty-nine percent of UT undergraduate seats going to Texas residents, and 6 percent to students from outside the U.S, making this university highly competitive for non-residents.
Fun Fact:Famous Longhorns include Matthew McConaughey (actor), Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist), Farrah Fawcett (actor), Roger Clemens (baseball player), Kevin Durant (basketball player), Karl Rove (commentator), Owen Wilson (actor), and Laura Bush (former First Lady of the U.S.).
Saint Edward’s University
Perched on a hilltop with wide-angle views of downtown Austin, Saint Edward’s University (Saint Eds for short), earned the #2 spot among the College Gazette’s 2020 list of 10 top-tier Catholic colleges that are true hidden gems. It is an independent Catholic university and a Brothers of the Holy Cross institution. St. Eds has an expanded and redesigned Recreation and Athletic Center including all new state-of-the-art equipment, weight machines, and free weights. Popular majors include Forensic Chemistry, Forensic Science, Criminal Justice, Business, Biology/Pre-Med, Video Game Development, and its newest major User Experience Design, or UX.
User Experience Design sits at the intersection of design, technology, and innovation. UX seeks to understand how people search for information and interact with digital tools to design more intuitive, easy-to-use products — both digital products, like apps, websites and software, and other processes and systems.
Fun Fact: St. Edward’s is one of the first universities to offer a four-year degree in the emerging field of UXD and takes advantage of its location in Austin to offer career-building internships and professional connections.
Texas A&M University
Texas A&M, home of the Aggies, is the largest university campus in the country, in terms of acreage (5,200). A&M offers leading programs in the natural sciences, engineering, and business. Ninety-four percent of students are from Texas, though A&M has an institutional goal to grow its out-of-state student body. Aggies are known for their friendliness which I can attest to; for, wherever I went on campus I was greeted with a smile and a “Howdy!”
The school's 20 varsity teams compete in the ultracompetitive Division I Southeastern Conference (SEC) and have won four national titles (most recently in men's indoor track and field) and 26 conference championships.
Fun Fact: Among the abundance of Aggie traditions is the annual Elephant Walk. Held annually prior to the last regularly scheduled home football game, thousands of seniors join hands and take a symbolic nighttime walk through campus, to remember their time spent in Aggieland and the friends and memories they have made. It is one of the oldest standing traditions at A&M.
St. Mary’s University
A Catholic Marianist University, St. Mary’s is in San Antonio and is a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSIs are higher education institutions with 25% or more total undergraduate Hispanic full-time equivalent student enrollment). Known for its rigorous pre-health professional programs and advising, St. Mary’s can boast that its graduates are accepted to medical and dental schools at almost twice the national rate. Outstanding for this university of 2,500 undergraduate students.
Fun Fact: St. Mary’s has two sister institutions – the University of Dayton in Ohio and Chaminade University in Hawaii – which were also founded by the Marianists.
Located in San Antonio with its warm weather and casual environment, Trinity students enjoy everything from NBA Spurs games to SeaWorld; from the River Walk with its newest, upscale area “The Pearl” to the Alamo. Trinity boasts a 9:1 student-faculty ratio and zero teaching assistants. Eighty percent of its students complete an internship or participate in summer research. Trinity holds the annual Louis H. Stumberg Venture Competition where students compete for $50,000 in startup funding for their business idea. With Trinity’s entrepreneur-in-residence and investor-in-residence programs, it’s not a surprise that 80% of tiger-founded companies are still active.
Fun Fact:The San Antonio Spurs team workout in Trinity’s new, 4,000-square-foot Olympic strength training room.
Why I Visit College Campuses
You can find a tremendous amount of information about a college on the Internet; however, as an independent educational consultant (IEC) I can provide qualitative analysis of the schools on a student’s college list. Not only have I visited these schools, but I have also placed many students there. In fact, the professional organization to which I belong, the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) requires member consultants to conduct extensive campus visits. I have personally visited over 200 campuses throughout the U.S.
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This blog was written Janice Royal, MA. She is the Founder and CEO of Royal College Consulting.
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