After finishing up a delightful time at Miami University, our group of intrepid counselors (both of the independent and school-based variety) packed up and headed a short trek east to visit the co-host campus for our program, the folks at the University of Dayton, home of the Dayton Flyers and a lot of really cool academic programming. In fact, U Dayton is a unique university in a lot of ways because, on the surface, it appears to be a school with a lot of contradictions in its midst – but as our visit went on, we were soon to learn that those contradictions are at the heart of what makes the campus very special.
To what types of contradictions do you refer, Randi?
How about being a small school (just under 8,000 undergraduates make up the student body) with intensely personalized education and access to all of the amenities and opportunities found at a nationally-recognized research school?
How about being a Catholic university in the Marianist tradition which is also widely recognized for its welcoming environment for Muslim students?
How about offering a private university education at a cost that does not alter over the course of a student’s four years, thanks to a tuition stabilization program and a lack of additional fees on top of the cost? (That’s right – no lab fees, no gym fees – everything is included in the four-year total that prospective students and parents receive with their freshman financial aid packages.)
I could go on, but I imagine by now you’re starting to get the idea. In particular, for students with an interest in (and passion for) the sciences, U Dayton offers tremendous resources, both in the breadth and depth of science-oriented majors that are available (engineering and health-related fields are the most popular) and in the opportunities that are put before them to pursue. Funding for undergraduate research is widely available and the school’s location near manufacturing centers as well as military bases allows students to seize co-op placements that put them in a real world working environment to put their classroom learning to the test. (In fact, in the School of Engineering, there are usually more co-op and internship opportunities available than they have students to fill them – so don’t worry that you’ll be left out!)
If sciences aren’t your thing, don’t cross U Dayton off yet either – students in the business and economics programs have plenty of opportunities to investigate careers in management and investments and entrepreneurship. In fact, the university’s Davis Center allows students to manage $17 million of the school’s endowment – a leap of faith if ever there was one! And education students experience classroom exposure from their very first year on campus, a move that allows them to experience a host of different classroom placements (urban, rural, private, public) during their four years and gives them a taste of where their strengths and weaknesses may lie within their chosen field of study.
Undecided on a major? U Dayton has thought of that too – a series of courses in their “Discover” programs will allow you to take courses in areas that you think you’re interested in to see if they really are a fit. Discover business, Discover arts, Discover sciences – each school that makes up the larger university whole has a Discover program associated with it that will introduce you to the opportunities available in a particular field before you commit to a major or career path.
One of the other unique facets of the U Dayton living and learning experience are the neighborhoods that flank campus – neighborhoods that aren’t filled by faculty or staff, but instead exist in a unique form of campus housing that lends itself well to the community feel inherent in the university. 95 percent of students live in campus housing for all four years of their education – freshman and sophomores primarily occupy traditional residence halls but juniors and seniors move into the neighborhoods where they live in one of the university-owned (and maintained) homes that begin to give them the first taste of what independent living is all about. U Dayton owns just over 400 of these types of houses and students love living in neighborhoods instead of dorms, cooking their own meals and sitting out on their front porches in good weather to chat with friends and neighbors, study, and watch the world go by.
There’s good news for equestrians regarding the university as well – U Dayton’s new equestrian club took shape in 2014 and continues to grow. They aren’t officially members of the IHSA or any other competitive organization yet but plans are in the works to join in the very near future. A partnership with nearby Wetherbrooke Farm will give them space to train and the school’s proximity to Cincinnati and the horse-rich area of Lexington, Kentucky open up a lot of possibilities for both intercollegiate and open competition for future club members. (Check out their club homepage here and this article from the school newspaper as well.)