St Joseph's U (Philadelphia)

I visited Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia in March 2011. Check them out on YouTube.

Let's cut to the chase: if you like Providence College but think it's too small for you, you have to look at SJU! At 5500 students, the size may be perfect for you. It feels like Providence too, with tan/beige brick buildings like Hogwarts, located just outside the city area. It is also more Catholic than some other Catholic colleges. They are intentional about their Jesuit mission, and it is infused into all aspects of life: academic and extra-curricular.

Admissions, Honors College
Cheverus students with a B or better get into SJU. Most get some form of merit money, and they are known to be generous if you are 3.5 or higher. SAT or ACT scores count, and admitted students range from 1070-1230, or 23-27. 3.75 gpa and 1350 sat or 31 act? Merit money ($5,000-16,000) and a possible invite to the Honors College. Loved these elements of the honors college: take 2 honors classes per semester, along with 12-14 others in the class. Honors housing is optional but in a renovated stone mansion next door to Claver House, a small library/study area/computer lab for honors students only. Great for students who want to hang out with serious academically focused kids like themselves. If you are doing fine in AP level work in high school, the Honors Program is for you. Honors students & athletes get to register for classes first.

Student Body
The only drawback I can see is that 79% of students are from the PA/NJ/NY area. I did not sense that it was a suitcase school, however. We had 5 tour guides on the first day, and they were from PA and Boston. One was a pharmacy marketing major, one a finance major, one a physics major applying to med school (86% admit rate for SJU applicants to med school), an international relations major, and an elementary education major.
Under construction like so many campuses across the country. Going up at the moment: a 400 bed dorm and an addition to the library called the learning commons with lots of space for group study and socializing. Current buildings are a blend of old stone mansions (housing & offices) and newer beige brick buildings. There will be lots more green space now that SJU acquired an old high school campus across the street.

on the highest hill in Philly overlooking the skyline of downtown. About a 10-15 minute drive to downtown. We stayed at the downtown Doubletree, across the street from many theatres and on the Avenue of the Arts. Lots of shopping and eateries. Philly is the 5th largest city in the U.S. Known as the "city of brotherly love", known also for the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Rocky running up the stairs to the Museum of Art. Pretty river runs through the city and all the colleges have boat houses for their crew teams. We saw SJU, SJ Prep, UPenn, and a couple other boathouses. They were out practicing on the river and it was a chilly 34 degrees.
Residential Life
lots of security: a key is required to get into your building, then you must check in with the adult security guard who's there 24/7. Then the key only opens the door to your floor door and your bedroom door. It's safe, I'll say! Frosh and soph are guaranteed housing. Juniors and seniors might live on campus but many live off campus. Off campus is across the street in a few high rises. Last weekend was the Black & White ball, and students commented that the ball was what everyone did last weekend. Lots of on-campus events every day; here's the calendar. Other activities? Bowling, exploring Philly, clubs if you are 21+, parties on campus, hang out with roommates and watch movies.

Division 1 Hawks. Athletes have separate workout facilities and gyms from non-athletes. There are no lines for treadmills, weights, many students said. Athletes and Honors Students get to register first for classes.

As in most colleges, you take some required courses before you get to your major. What might be unpleasant to some is you must take one lab-based science course.

Visited the bio lab where they were researching fruit flies. The lab can hold 24 students. Visited the endangered turtle labs but could not bother them if they were hibernating in another lab. Visited the rooftop garden where they are researching: rates of runoff & absorption depending on the planting material, chemicals getting into the runoff depending on the planting material. At SJU, science majors focus on breadth and not depth meaning you will major in bio, chem, physics, math, or computing as opposed to very specific majors like geophysics or genetics. There are 20 students who major in physics -they take Calc based physics while non-majors can take non-Calc based physics. Physics used to be the largest major but now bio is the largest.

Largest business school of any of the 28 Jesuit colleges & universities, and highly ranked by outside sources. Infused with ethics. Marketing: food (only Jesuit college with food marketing major), pharmacy, sports/entertainment. Interns are in demand each year, and are paid $13/hr for first one, then $19/hr+ for 2nd internship. Often leads to job offers upon graduation (or before!) Students interested in finance may like Risk Management & Insurance for jobs, paid internships and paid co-ops. Want to be a fraud investigator? Take some criminal justice courses and the Risk Management & Insurance major.

this interesting major combines math and business. Actuarials take 4 exams to become a professional, and SJU prepares you for 2 of them.

Japanese and Chinese language and literature courses along with a Summer China program for Asian Studies majors is becoming more popular.

McNulty Scholars is a program for women who intend to major in science or math. Women have access to mentors and some scholarship money.

earn a master's in Education tuition free through the Noyce Grant. In return you teach for 2 years at a Catholic elementary school.

can take advantage of a new major: autism studies.

SJU Students can think up a project or research with a professor, write up a proposal, and earn funding for a summer's worth of work that usually leads to publication of an article. 99 students were awarded the funding in 2011.

a minor but may become a major (not as of 2016). SJU has its own student-run record label. The professor who runs the program is an award-winning composer, with a lot of energy and enthusiasm for the program and what the students are doing. Students can take 3 theory courses and 3 industry specific courses to be a music industry minor. Combine with a performance major or business major. We met Sarah, a marketing major and music industry  minor. She is the general manager for the record label. She is not a musician but loves music. Artists can become more well-rounded and capable of running their own affairs with this minor. Sarah interned as an A&R rep.  She did not like that aspect of the music business and decided to get into booking gigs.  She loves running the record label, which is an actual business and not a club. They take risks like any indie label. One person handles the publicity thru Twitter and Facebook. One does sales for advertising revenue. Another does legal affairs: contracts with and for artists. The recording dept is yet another aspect.

Audition not to get into the program but for placement into the appropriate courses, or to get into a play or band.  No portfolio requirement for art majors. Don't have to major in arts to be in the plays, choirs, pep band, jazz band, or to take private lessons in voice, piano. We were in a room just like Glee's classroom. Sampling of the majors: art history, art education, film studies,  visual arts, studio arts, music theory & Composition, performance theatre. They put on Phantom of the Opera and Hair this year.

Student Panel
I like panels because we learn about typical students at the college, why they chose it, how they are involved on campus, and what their future holds.
  1. senior girl from Boston who is an international relations major. She chose SJU over Villanova. She liked that her largest class was only 54 students, Intro to Bio.
  2. African American boy from NJ in a frat, marketing major, involved in service activities like blood drives, he applied to Boston colleges and PA colleges and liked the community feel of SJU. He went to a Catholic high school. (Half of SJU students come from private schools)
  3. boy from PA premed bio major, applied to med school, waiting to hear, EMT, also applied to Loyola MD, has a pharm tech job.
  4. sophomore girl from CT, elementary education major, pretty shy, she was one of our tour guides, in Chapel Choir, went on a retreat to meet other students, also applied to Catholic Univ in DC, tutors 6th graders
  5. senior boy pharmacy marketing major from PA, studied abroad in Ireland, went to a Jesuit high school, has a job in NYC doing market research for a pharm company.
  6. senior boy who was really into student govt in high school, now a marketing major focused on food marketing.  studied winemaking n Spain, wrote a 45 page paper, now a General Mills intern.
  7. junior girl from PA food marketing major, studied pastry making in France, interned at a supermarket and learned all facets of the business, Miami summer internship (paid).
  8. boy in his 5th year of food marketing which can be a 5-year co-op program. He and his dad invented a squeezable food product but ran out of money to produce it. He now has a coop at Hersey as a sales rep. Has a job with Johnson & Johnson when he graduates.  He will use global data to predict sales spikes and declines. Only 5 colleges offer a food marketing degree, and SJU is one of them. There are 430 students in the major and there is scholarship money available ( a couple thousand).
Cheverus connections: Martin D graduated. Jason R '13 is a student at SJU.
Links updated 4/2016