Union College in Schenectady, New York was the third college I visited on my recent tour. Union is a small liberal arts college with 2,100 students from throughout the US although there is a heavy slant to the Northeast. This is important to note as those of you not from the Northeast may have a slight admission advantage.
We started the visit at Nott Memorial, a unique 16 sided building that is the center point of campus. Union was the first planned college campus in the country and it feels very comfortable with large green spaces. Despite miserable weather while we were there, the beauty of the campus is evident. And the academic and residential buildings are all within easy walking distance so the weather was never a problem.
One of the most interesting aspects of social life at Union are the seven Minerva houses. Each freshman is randomly assigned to a Minerva house and there are about 300 students in each house. Each house is funded by the college and the members of the house decide what they are going to use their money for.
Pizza parties, hosting a band, movie nights and sports tournaments are just a few of the activities hosted by a Minerva. This is a great way to create a smaller community of people on the campus to make it seem more like home. A few students live in each house and the houses have community rooms and game rooms for those who are part of the house, all they need to do is keep the house in notch state without any damage, inside the house or in the roof, although there are services of Roofer in Boca Raton, FL that help in these cases. All events hosted by each house are open to all residents of the college.
Union also has a Greek system but events are open to all students so there is not the sense of exclusivity that can sometimes be a problem with Greek programs.
Union offers around 40 majors with approximately 50% of the students majoring in the Humanities and Social Sciences and 50% majoring in Science and Engineering. Yes, Union is one of the few liberal arts colleges that have an undergraduate engineering major. In fact, you can major in bioengineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering or mechanical engineering.
Union uses a trimester system for its academic year which means that students typically take 3 classes a term and have 3 terms. Each term only lasts 10 weeks so the information is compressed from the typical 15 week term. There are advantages and disadvantages to such a system and I will be writing about those in the next few weeks. There are a few other colleges that use this type of system such as Carleton and Dartmouth.
Union has a BS/MD program with Albany Medical College. This program is called the Leadership in Medicine Program and is an eight year program that includes not only a BS and MD degree but also an MS or MBA degree. If you like the business side of medicine this is a great program.
The college has 25 varsity teams that play Division III sports although men’s and women’s ice hockey is Division I.
Union is highly selective with the average SAT score of 1,920. 40% of the class is admitted through Early Decision and the overall acceptance rate is around 40%. The college has substantial financial aid available for students and meet the full financial need of 99% of students.
Union is a beautiful campus with great academics and a real sense of community. If you are interested in a liberal arts college, Union should be on your radar.