College Visit: Elizabethtown College
<![CDATA[Elizabethtown College (E-Town) was the first stop. It is a campus with just under 2000 students, 85% of which live on campus. Elizabethtown (the actual town) has about 12,000 residents and a nice college-town feel with shops, bookstores, restaurants, and coffee houses. The campus is close to Harrisburg and Hershey and with an Amtrak station nearby students are just a few hours from New York or Washington DC. E-town is just down the road from the Mars Chocolate manufacturing facility. Many days the sweet smell of cocoa permeates campus. Students call these “chocolate days.” Unfortunately, the wind from the other direction can bring smells from area farms, so “chocolate days” can be alternated with “cow days”! Our group of counselors was invited to a reception at the college president’s home. He lives a block or two from campus and students are frequently invited to dinner at his home. Lots of professors live in the town and as my student guide shared, it is common for professors to meet students outside of class or office hours to talk. I spoke with a science professor who said he chose to come to Elizabethtown College because he gets to make an impact with his students. He had previously worked at a more prestigious university, but felt there was more pressure to research and publish than to teach. At Elizabethtown he found a better balance and feels the campus is really dedicated to learning and teaching. Throughout my visit, I found students and faculty who said teaching, learning, and doing are actual priorities not just marketing ideas designed to draw students to campus. Elizabethtown College Campus Focus:
- Personalized attention and relationship-centered learning. The student to faculty ratio is 12:1 and the average class has 16 students. Students feel their professors know them and their goals and really push them to succeed. This is the type of school were a good student can become a great student.
- Graduation. The university is looking to enroll graduates not just first year students. Admissions and financial aid seek to help enroll students who are prepared and able to finish four years. Once students enroll, academic programs are in place to encourage success.
- Real world learning. 86% of graduates had an internship, study abroad, or research experience at E-town. This is not a campus where these things are talked about to impress potential applicants but not actually promoted among the student body.
- Employment. You may wonder if liberal arts graduates are competitive in the market. Elizabethtown grads are doing well in this economy. The survey of the last graduating class found 74% were employed full time and 26% were in graduate school. They attribute a lot of their success to the real world experiences students have.
- Power of Language – 2 classes
- Mathematics – 1 class
- Creative Expression – 1 class
- Western Cultural Heritage – 1 class
- Non-Western Cultural Heritage – 1 class
- Natural and Physical Sciences – 2 classes
- Social Sciences – 1 class
- Humanities – 1 class
Because all freshmen will take the seminar and courses in these eight areas, it is fine for students to enter E-town as “undecided”. The reality is that many students change their majors multiple times from senior year of high school when they apply until they ultimately graduate. The way Elizabethtown College structures its academic programs and advising makes it easy for students to experience different fields and receive informed guidance in selecting the major that is right for them.
- Co-curricular activities
- Social and personal style (integrity, work ethic, interest in school, persistence, etc.)
- In 2012– 3,732 students applied; 2,598 were accepted.
- 32% of admitted students were in the top 10% of their high school class. (This means that there is still room for you at E-town if you are a good student, but not in the top 10%!)
- Average SAT scores are 1030 – 1230 (reading + math)
- 88% of freshmen return for their sophomore year – a good retention rate!
- 21 of the applicants were valedictorian or salutatorian
- Over 50% of first year students are offered merit scholarships
- The financial aid budget is $28 million
- Students in the top 10% or with a 3.5/4.0 from a non-ranking school do NOT need to send SAT scores for admission (but they can help for merit scholarships)
Elizabethtown College, Liberal Arts Colleges, Pennsylvania College Tour