On sunny days, students at St. Edward’s University, a Catholic college run by the Order of the Holy Cross (the same order as founded the University of Notre Dame), plug their laptops into the electrical outlets at the base of the trees in front of Main Building and work on the university’s front lawn to enjoy the spectacular view of the Austin skyline.
While it is a religious school and requires students to take two religion OR philosophy courses, St. Ed’s is really a liberal arts education with strong focus on social justice. During my visit, I met with an extended family member (whom I’d never met) who is Jewish, and while we were sitting and chatting, another Jewish student came up and talked to me about their Hillel group (called the Hilleltoppers, funny because St. Ed’s mascot is the Hilltopper goat). They both told me about their theology courses and said they had been extremely interesting and not overly religious-feeling. Chapel is not required and there are both a mosque and a temple ON campus.
The most popular majors among St. Ed’s 3,500 undergraduates are psychology, business, communication and biology. Unique majors include interactive games, digital media, entrepreneurship, forensic science, bioinformatics, environmental science and policy. St. Ed’s boasts strong schools of education and business. There is no engineering program here but St. Ed’s does have a 3+2 agreement with both Carroll College (Montana) and Washington University in St. Louis.
Students can live on campus for all four years here, and can have their cars on campus. There is no Greek system but students can join UT fraternities or sororities, and downtown Austin is an Uber or a bike ride away. Austin is the live music capital of the world, and has an amazing diversity of ethnic food to explore.
Who is a good fit for St. Ed’s? Students who are interested in live music, the arts, film, the outdoors and have an entrepreneurial spirit, who are interested in research and internships (students do research and publish as undergrads, and have access to Austin’s vibrant business community for internships), and who want an active, spirited campus life would fit well here. St. Ed’s is a great place for students with a solid B average in college prep curriculum; the mean SAT range (including only the Critical Reading and Math sections) is 1030-1210.
Evelyn visited St. Edward’s University in February, 2015; you can see her photo album here.