College of the Week

Each week, SCVi will provide insight into unique college options for students & families. Our sources include The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2018; Colleges That Change Lives (CTCL) by Lauren Pope; and Colleges That Create Futures by the Princeton Review.

THIS WEEK: Southwestern University Georgetown, Texas (Fiske)

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Enrollment: 1,499

Acceptance Rate: 44%

DETAILS: To graduate, Southwestern students must complete a first-year seminar; one math or computer science course; one natural science course with a lab; and two each in humanities, social sciences, fine arts, and fitness and recreational activities. Students must also demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language and satisfy requirements around intercultural perspectives, social justice, and a capstone experience. All students participate in the Paideia program, whereby they pursue a particular theme, such as global health or gender identity, in multiple courses and thus come to see how the various disciplines are interconnected. A sociology and English double major explains, “It’s nice to be able to get a taste of how others may see and understand the world in various other disciplines.”

“The academic climate of Southwestern is rigorous but not competitive,” reports a junior. “Students go out of their way to help each other succeed.” Seventy-six percent of classes have fewer than 20 students, and professors are appreciated for their hard work and willingness to help students with course concepts and research opportunities. Academic support and career services are highly praised as well, from departmental student mentors, such as the SCI Guides in the natural sciences, to the comprehensive resources offered by the Office of Career Services, including one-on-one counseling, alumni panels, and campus-wide internship and job fairs.

“I definitely feel prepared for life after college because everything is a process that has been put in motion since I arrived my first semester,” says a junior.

SU encourages undergraduate research (75 percent of students participate), and each year holds a symposium to showcase students’ scholarly endeavors. The King Creativity Fund provides grants to support up to 20 “innovative and visionary projects” each academic year. Thirty-five percent of Southwestern’s students choose to study abroad, and SU hosts faculty-led programs in England, Spain, Peru, and Argentina, plus a service-learning program in Jamaica. The university also sponsors an internship program in Washington, D.C., and an arts apprenticeship program in New York City.

SU Student Perspective: “You learn to express and defend your opinions. I learned how to think.”