Info Session: George Washington

April 3, 2009 at 8:38 am Leave a comment

George Washington University in Washington, DC, has lots to offer, both because of the town it is in and because of the college’s resources.

  • The “National Institutes of everything” are nearby, providing resources, speakers, internships and job opportunities.
  • 92% of undergrads have at least 1 internship or employment experience.  (I presume they don’t count flipping burgers.)
  • The engineering program boasts that 95% of students who sought employment have a job before graduation.  Contrast those statistics to most colleges, who will only tell you what percentage are either employed or in grad school within 6 months after graduation.

There are some downsides to GWU’s size (9700 undergraduates and apparently even more graduates), but the university tries to provide some options to cope with the size.

  • Imagine being one of 2000 students majoring in international affairs (the most popular major) and trying to get a top professor’s attention or recommendation.
  • To avoid having 200 students in 3 or 4 of your freshman classes, take classes at the Mt. Vernon campus, a 10-minute shuttle ride away from the main campus.
  • The honors program accepts 150 students each year (about 6% of freshmen).  The Scholars in Quantitative & Natural Sciences program accepts about 25 students.   These and other special interest programs in law, engineering and women’s leadership provide a stronger community for participants.
  • The 30 (!) dorms are organized by year (e.g., freshman dorms, sophomore dorms) and are made up of living and learning cohorts designed around common interests (arts, politics, education, public service, science, etc.).

The School of Engineering & Applied Sciences has some impressive offerings:

  • 6:1 faculty student ratio
  • National Crash Test Analysis Center and an earthquake “shake table”
  • Engineering dorm
  • 31 different labs – lots of opportunities to work on research projects  (Actually, it’s probably a project just to figure out which one to work in!)
  • Lots of options that lead to medical-related engineering

Two questions are running through my mind:

  1. Do all the colleges in Washington DC boast these opportunities and results, simply because they can leverage all the resources that the DC area has to offer, or is there something special about George Washington University?
  2. Does a student really need to attend GWU to get those benefits, or is participating in the Semester in Washington Politics (or Journalism) enough exposure?

Entry filed under: DC, engineering, George Washington, honors programs, Internships, journalism, political science, science.

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