Well-known for its Writers’ workshop, the University of Iowa has strong programs in a number of other areas as well. The Tippie College of Business allows students to double major within the school (which many other business schools do not), and has an honors program which guarantees students job placement in an investment banking setting. In addition to the standard finance, accounting, business analytics and marketing concentrations, Tippie students can focus on entrepreneurial management, event planning or sports and recreation management, where they can get a practicum connection with the San Diego Padres or with a number of professional sports teams based in the Midwest. Business students may be admitted directly as freshman, or they can apply in after taking their first year general education courses.
Iowa’s engineering program is smaller than its cousin across the state (Iowa State’s College of Engineering is the largest college at that school), with about 2000 undergraduates. Biomedical engineering is the largest major within Iowa’s College of Engineering, and students can take advantage of the University’s strong hospital complex, which is located on the west side of campus just over the Iowa River, about a 10 minute walk. Engineering students are required to take one general education course in the arts, and team projects are emphasized.
Almost all freshmen live on campus, and all choose a themed Living Learning Community. New dorms are under construction and the majority of the freshman dorms are immediately on campus. One large dorm, the Mayflower, is about a mile away, and the Cambus campus shuttle runs continuously to bring students who live here to campus. The Greek system does not dominate the social scene – about 15-17% students join a Greek social organization – and women who go through rush are guaranteed to be invited to join a sorority.
The University of Iowa is intimately intertwined with its home, Iowa City – the campus spills out onto city streets and students (and visiting parents!) have dozens of restaurants in the immediate vicinity. It feels like a traditional, fun college town – in fact Iowa City is ranked the #4 college town in the nation. Students who live off campus can live in Greek housing, or in historic homes adjacent to campus.
Iowa students are very active – intramural sports and service are both huge here. Iowa hosts one of the largest college dance marathons in the country, raising over $2.4 million last year. Varsity sports are also quite popular – students get free tickets to all sporting events except for football and basketball games. Iowa competes in the Big 10 conference, and the entire eastern half of the state are Hawkeye fans.
New buildings for the performing arts and music will open in fall, 2016.
Iowa’s student-to-faculty ratio is 16:1, and about 80% of the classes have fewer than 30 students. Only 4% of classes have 100 or more students. Each academic department has its own tutoring or study center. Freshmen are assigned a professional (not faculty) advisor when they enter, and students are supposed to meet with their advisor about 4-5 times during their first year. Iowa does require students to take language courses through the fourth semester, but this requirement can be satisfied by passing a placement exam.
Students who succeed at Iowa, and who make the most out of their experience, are those who performed well in high school both academically and in outside activities. They are leaders, students who will do well in a large and active college environment – Iowa has 32,000 students total, with about 22,000 of them undergraduates.
While it may appear to be less selective, Iowa admits students via the Regents Admissions Index process, which allows decisions to come swiftly after students submit, self-reporting their GPA (they will accept a weighted or unweighted GPA), class rank if available, test scores and high school courses completed.
Iowa feels similar to several other Big 10 colleges – a student who is interested in Indiana, Wisconsin or Michigan should consider Iowa as well!
Evelyn visited the University of Iowa in April, 2016. You can see all of her photos here.