Providence College

Providence College original campus building
The original campus building at Providence College used to house dorms, classrooms and the dining hall.

If you ask Providence College administrators what separates PC from other mid-sized colleges, including Catholic universities, they’ll tell you that the Friar Four Pillars are incorporated into both the academic and extra-curricular life here:

  • Human flourishing: Helping students become better individuals and professionals.
  • Cultural agility:  Helping students see and operate in a diverse environment.
  • Contemplation and communication:  Think about the consequences of your decisions; don’t just go with the flow.
  • Integrated learning:  Adding community service and internships into the academic experience

Providence College Academics

PC’s liberal arts core requires that all students take courses in the College of Arts & Sciences.

The required Western Civilization class is a four-semester, team-taught, interdisciplinary course that combines philosophy, theology, literature and history.  In the fourth semester, called colloquium, students examine a more contemporary topic.

There’s a huge emphasis on community engagement, and Providence College is one of the few colleges offering a major in public service.  Students here do 50-60 thousand hours of community service per year.  While it’s the smallest of the undergraduate schools, the School of Professional Studies offers health policy management, social work and education (including elementary, secondary, and special ed).  Providence College education majors are able to study abroad, which is unusual because of teaching requirements.  Through the social work program, students can complete an MSW in one year because undergraduate classes count toward the master’s degree.  Health policy management is the fastest growing major in this school.

With its location close to downtown Providence, PC’s Business school gives students lots of team-based project and consulting work.  There are also many options for short-term study abroad (i.e. a 12-day China program).  There’s the option to do a 4+1 MBA program, and Providence College sends students to case competitions (both internal and external) to apply what they’re learning in a competitive environment.

A “game changer” for the Providence College physical campus has been the acquisition of Huxley Avenue from the city of Providence.  Previously, traffic used to run right through the middle of these four blocks which connect the two sides of campus, but now it’s pedestrian-only, making the campus much safer.  About 75% of students identify as Catholic here, which is higher than most Catholic colleges, but students say there’s no pressure at all to attend any of the religious services on campus.

Providence College's brand new ice hockey rink
Providence College’s brand new ice hockey rink

Providence College Athletics

PC has Division 1 sports, and every athletic facility at Providence College is new in the last 10 years, many in the last three.  The NCAA championship trophy is proudly displayed in the lobby of the brand new hockey stadium, with a view of the brand new lacrosse field immediately adjacent.

Providence College Admissions

Providence College Admissions will recalculate your GPA to a 4.0 unweighted scale.  They’re only interested in your performance in your academic core subjects, plus religion or theology if you are at a religious school.  Then they will rate the strength of your high school curriculum on 10-point scale, based on what you had the opportunity to take, informed by your school profile.  You get 5 for meeting your high school’s graduation requirements; 10 would be taking the highest course offered in each subject.

Providence College is test-optional, believing that success in your high school curriculum is a better predictor of success here.  About 38% of applicants did not submit tests in 2017.  “We believe in the transcript, the curriculum and students’ performance,” says Admissions Director Raul Fonts, who has been in this role for about five years, during which time PC’s admission rate has dropped from 63% to 51%.  Essays are very important, as Providence College Admission officers try to determine why you think PC is a good fit for you.  Submitting the optional essay counts as demonstrating your interest.  PC has both ED1 and ED2; about a third of their class of 1,050 come through the two rounds of Early Decision.

Evelyn visited Providence College in fall, 2107; you can scroll through all of her photos below.

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