This Academic Tourist took in an informational this week from the Admission Representatives from Washington University. One shouldn’t confuse this campus with the University of Washington that is located in Seattle, Washington. This campus is in the mid-west and is located in St. Louis, Missouri. The official title of the school is Washington University in St. Louis. People affectionately call it “Wash U”. You may also see it referred to online as WUSL.
My event is actually a breakfast that the university is hosting in Washington, DC. I am very familiar with WUSL because I lived in St. Louis for four years. I had a lot of exposure to this campus but must admit that I never took the official tour of campus while living in the area.
WUSL is located in one of the nicest sections of St. Louis, Missouri. The campus brings much needed diversity to the St. Louis area. I have spent time on the campus experiencing relevant guest speakers and even took my children to hear Bill Nye the Science guy.
Speaking of diversity— WUSL actually has a Diversity Initiative. The focus of the initiative is to increase racial diversity and gender balance among the University's faculty and staff. According to Director of Admissions, Julie M. Shimabukuro, WUSL students come from all 50 states, Washington D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. 65 percent of the undergraduate students come from more than 500 miles away from St. Louis. This factual nugget makes them one of the most geographically diverse campuses in the country. Last year they enrolled thirty-four students from Washington, DC, seventy-four students from Virginia and two hundred sixty-five students from Maryland.
The Private School College Counselors and School Counselors who participated in this informational breakfast shared their experiences with WUSL. “My students are very excited about being part of the Jewish Community,” said one School Counselor from Montgomery County. “My student’s that go to WASHU love it!”
“Our students find Wash U as a viable option,” said one College Counselor from a private school. “We have quite a few students enrolled currently and several have committed to attend next year.”
The audience was heavily populated with private school College Counselors on this particular day. I was glad to hear from WUSL that sixty percent of the students on campus come from a public school. A third of the graduating class most years come from early decision candidates. Director Shimabukuro says that they pull a large percentage from their early decision because the application pool is smaller.
I was excited to learn that the admission staff reads every letter of recommendation that they receive (another great reason that a student should make sure that their counselor actually knows them; I’m just saying). They use these letters to fill in the gaps of the student. Once on campus they want to make sure that they know every student’s name and story.
WUSL allows students to take classes across curriculum. They do an excellent job about making sure that students take classes that interest them. They believe in collaborative learning and students have an opportunity to work closely with professors. An undergraduate office is dedicated to aiding students regarding research. That office may assist with funding or help pair a student to a professor.
I loved hearing about the University Scholars Program in Medicine. The University Scholars Program in Medicine is an opportunity for a select group of talented students to gain admission to both undergraduate study and to the Washington University School of Medicine. Once a student gets into the program they need to keep a 3.8 grade point average. Every student in the program is given a mentor to help ensure their success. They ask for this high standard to ensure that every student is able to get into a medical school if they decide not to attend WUSL’s medical school.
This research base institution ensures that every student has an advisor for four years. This helps the students to stay on track to actually graduate in a four year time span. I believe that parents will find the university’s efforts towards graduating on time very refreshing.
Parents are encouraged to call the Office of Admissions if they have any questions. They really stressed that hearing from a potential student’s household is something that they encourage.
WUSL alum that I know speak of wonderful narratives of their college life. These numerous alum never express any negative experiences. You would not be wasting your time if you looked further into WUSL.
Mark Ausbrooks is the Academic Tourist. He occasionally blogs about colleges and universities that he encounters.