With experiential learning at its core, Drexel bills itself as “a different kind of university, looking for a different kind of student.” Similar to Northeastern University, Drexel requires students to take at least six months off during their schooling to work a full time job. This experience, generally paid, is called a co-op, and students can choose to spend four years at Drexel with one co-op or five years with three. If they choose the latter, they will have eighteen months of real work experience on their résumé when they graduate from college. The cost for the Drexel education is the same, spread out over either four or five years. Drexel teaches on the quarter system, which better accommodates students being able to take the full six months off for their co-op(s). Almost every Drexel student participates in the co-op and students earn an average of $16,000 for six months of work.
Drexel is truly an urban campus. It’s literally two blocks from Philadelphia’s main train station, 30th Street, and much like NYU and UT, the campus blends seamlessly into the city landscape. While it’s not the gritty part of town, students do need to have a city-living sensibility. There are 48 four-year colleges and universities in the greater Philadelphia area, with 150,000 college students just in the University City community. Drexel students can get into the University of Pennsylvania‘s library with their student ID (and vice-versa).
Some buildings at Drexel are quite old, such as the recently-renovated Main Building, the original building on campus, with beautiful architecture. There are new buildings, like the Papadakis Integrated Science Building, which has the largest “bio-wall” in the United States. Chestnut Square, a new complex across the street from Main, includes space for student organizations, eateries and some academic space. Students are required to live on campus for two years and some living/learning communities are available. Housing is not guaranteed after the first two years but there are over 40,000 college students in the University City District, so rowhomes and apartment buildings are available for students to rent.
Drexel has some interesting programs that may be of interest to California students. The College of Media Arts has a music industry major, in addition to standard arts curriculum including fashion design and merchandising, graphic design, digital media, architecture, film and video and others. Interestingly for students interested in music, Drexel has its own record label. Drexel also has several accelerated programs; for example, focused students can apply to the 7-year medical program and leave with an MD degree in a year less than it would otherwise take.
There is no single core curriculum at Drexel – different programs have different requirements. There are 70 different majors, and each college (there are 14) has an undecided option. Offerings range from entrepreneurship to engineering to environmental science. The nursing program is direct-admit. This page has the full list of major options.
Quick Facts and Admission at Drexel University
Drexel has just under 13,000 full-time undergraduate students. Average class size is 18 and the student-to-faculty ratio is 10:1. About 15% of students join Greek organizations, and most are active in at least one of the 200+ student clubs. Drexel plays Division I sports. The average weighted GPA for incoming freshmen is 3.6. Drexel does not require test scores and has a holistic admission model. Mid-50% SAT scores: CR 510-630, M 560-680, Wr 520-630.
Evelyn visited Drexel in May, 2013, and returned in November, 2022 with Michelle and Chris. Additionally, several of Magellan’s counselors have met with Drexel’s Dean of Admissions during his visits to Los Angeles.
You can see photos from our multiple visits to Drexel below.