Bloomington is the quintessential college town – at least an hour from any major city in any direction. A quaint little town with hotels, restaurants and trees decorated with sweaters knitted by customers of the local knitting store, Bloomington is home to 32,000 students at the flagship Indiana University.
Indiana University used to be a seminary, and their rival, Purdue University, was the state’s land-grant college. About half of Indiana University students are in-state residents, and about one-fifth are involved in the extensive Greek system (over 20 fraternities and 20 sororities). My tour guide Bailey, a senior telecommunication major and Japanese minor, told me she knew a ‘ton of students from California.’
Academics at Indiana University
IU offers 200 different majors and 4,000 courses each semester in 10 undergraduate degree-granting colleges! IU’s 33,000 students enjoy very strong programs in music, business, public affairs and environmental affairs. There are no engineering or architecture majors. There are also programs in sports management and kinesiology, as well as a new public health program. The theatre program is well-respected. Here are a few other academic highlights:
The Kelley School of Business is a well-regarded and top-ranked undergraduate business program. After taking a common set of courses during their first two years, all Kelley students take the I-Core – integrative core of business course during the first semester of their junior year. This is when they decide where they want to specialize. Accounting and finance are the most popular concentrations.
The School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering’s motto is “We See Tomorrow.” The three SICE majors are computer science, informatics and intelligence systems engineering, and each of these has specializations and concentrations. SICE students focus on coding and data science, which have growing demand in today’s job market.
Over 70 foreign languages are taught under the umbrella of the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies (HLS)! Majors in this college include International Studies, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, and East Asian Languages and Cultures., and HLS is just launching a new program in International Law & Institutions. All HLS students are required to study abroad at some point, and are offered the opportunity to live in the HLS living/learning community.
One of IU’s claims to fame is that their chemistry researchers invented the process by which fluoride was first able to be used in toothpaste. Urban legend on campus says that Proctor & Gamble purchased the patent from IU so they could use fluoride in Crest, and they gave the university a choice of paying them a penny per tube of toothpaste sold, or a lump sum of money (being strapped for cash at the time, they took the lump sum). I was unable to either validate or discredit this legend.
Indiana University students also enjoy a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio, with the largest lecture class around 375 students. My tour guide Bailey talked about several professors in her business courses and didn’t even think it was odd that most of the professors of whom she spoke were women.
Students benefit it many ways from IU’s size; off-Broadway productions visit campus regularly. The Lilly Library is the permanent home to one of the Gutenberg Bibles, as well as Sylvia Plath’s diaries. The 9/11 Commission members came to campus to speak on the 10th anniversary in 2011. The art museum (which has no right angles) was designed by I.M. Pei. The beautiful campus is filled with buildings made from the famous Indiana Limestone, the same material from which the Washington Monument is made. Two buildings on the sprawling campus, only two, are brick – Purdue brick (Purdue is Indiana’s in-state rival – Purdue offers engineering while Indiana does not).
Admission to Indiana University
All of IU’s programs are direct admit, except for nursing and social work. Each college has its own requirements, cutoff scores and minimum GPA for admission. However, about 60% of IU admitted students enter with an undelcared major, so they apply through University Division. You are not behind if you do not declare a major! IU’s robust exploratory program ensures that all first year undeclared students have academic as well as career advisors, who help them select courses and be prepared to choose their major by the end of sophomore year.
One of my tours at Indiana provided an excellent example of how having an excellent tour guide can influence your opinion of a school. We toured on a day when the admissions office was closed, but I asked Indiana’s Alpha Phi chapter in advance if they would be able to have someone give me a tour (I was an Alpha Phi at a different school.) Not surprisingly, one of their chapter members was a tour guide, as well as a former student body Vice President (this is not surprising as you will frequently find fraternity and sorority members involved in many other activities on campuses with strong Greek systems). Her four years on campus, as well as her perspective as a deeply involved student added up to a great tour of Indiana University.
You can scroll through my photos from two visits to Indiana University below.