Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA: I have yet to visit a college that I dislike. From Connecticut to New York City to Pennsylvania, each college I tour has its own unique offerings that make up for any potential flaws. Drexel University is one of many I visited on my grand Northeastern tour, but it was one of the most memorable.

Drexel is a fast-paced academic institution in the heart of Philadelphia, an utterly charming city. Its student body comprises over 26,000 students, including 14,800 undergraduates, 4,600 graduates, and 5,000 online students. It is a huge, thriving urban university with approximately 200 degree programs. Almost every major under the sun is available, but the school is most well known for its science and engineering programs.

Drexel especially emphasizes student participation in scientific research. Over $110 million in sponsor support is donated each year toward research. This is just one of the highlights of the university’s offerings.

Drexel offers top-notch academic programs that provide students with hands-on learning outside the classroom. Perhaps Drexel’s most notable program (which encouraged me to visit the university) is the co-op, an internship available exclusively to Drexel students. The co-op can be paid or unpaid, depending on the specifications of the company where the student interns. All students are required to participate in this program, which extends the traditional four years of college to five. I find that this is the ultimate educational experience, especially for someone who is looking to network in college to help find a job after graduation. The co-op typically pertains to the student’s major. For example, a pre-law student spent her first year interning for Jails to Jobs, a pro bono service that helps former prisoners look for employment. My tour guide, who was studying criminology, was taken by her professors to grisly crime scenes (a la “CSI”), murder trials, and even a jail. After that firsthand experience, she traded criminology for a much less ghastly major in communications. This hands-on experience is indispensable for helping students decide whether or not a major or career is right for them. It is this direct experience that urged me to apply.

There are myriad subjects to study at Drexel University within the 15 individual colleges. I found that Drexel’s academics were comprehensive and diverse. Just imagine the cross section of people you will meet and the uncontrollable spread of ideas that will flow between you and other students! The possibilities are endless.

According to The Insider’s Guide to the Colleges, Drexel offers 136 extracurricular activities. Most involve the fine arts, such as band, orchestra, dance, and musical theater. Music, theater, and dance are offered only as minors. But don’t let that stifle your creativity! Drexel’s extracurricular musical theater program is quite distinguished and goes well beyond the college level.

According to my tour guide, most sports offered at Drexel are at an intramural rather than national level. Drexel does not have a university football team, but it does have most other sports, including cheerleading, basketball, and rowing. Athletics is not as emphasized here as at many colleges.

The campus is not spectacular. There is no unifying style of architecture. The biology building is absolutely stunning, however! It is new, very contemporary, and features a wooden spiral staircase modeled after the shape of DNA.

During my tour, I had my first ever opportunity to visit a college dorm room, which was certainly eye-opening. I had no picture in my head of what a dorm looked like, so I was amazed by how small it was. Roommates may be grouped by major. The room I visited was for honors students. It was in a skyscraper-like building that provided fantastic views of Philadelphia. Overall, I felt that the dorms were very basic. The showers were small, and the actual room was tiny. But I do understand that this is all part of college living, and I’ll remain open-minded.

Despite its few drawbacks, I like Drexel. I believe that their academics are top-notch and will provide me with the tools I need to become a registered dietitian. I like the idea of the co-op program and the invaluable firsthand experience that I can gain outside the classroom. Drexel is a solid college for all students because there is something for everyone. You can definitely go above and beyond with a Drexel education.

For more information, visit www.drexel.edu.