On a clear day, you can see Mt. Rainier from the windows in Seattle University’s Lemieux Library stairwell (but you know how many clear days there are in Seattle!). Location plays an important role in what makes Seattle University so attractive to its 4,500 undergraduates, plus 3,000 graduate students. For the senior I interviewed (see this post), location, size and internship/volunteer opportunities drew her to Seattle from her home in Southern California.
Seattle University is a Jesuit institution, which all share several characteristics, according to President Fr. Stephen Sundborg:
- Professors care about students (know students’ names, available, interested in how each student learns)
- Emphasis on personal reflection (lots of writing, finding your own way of thinking)
- Students are expected to adopt a moral stance (but it’s never imposed on them)
- Soft on G-d, heavy on spirituality (which makes it welcoming for those with all religious backgrounds)
Now embed those values in a major metropolitan city that many consider the only city in the world you come to to get closer to nature, a city that’s entrepreneurial, has a high level of education and is very progressive. That’s Seattle University.
Sixty-four percent of Seattle U students are from out of state; about a quarter of the students who will enter in fall, 2015, are from California. The student body here is incredibly diverse; 30% of students identify as racial minority, making Seattle U the most diverse university in the Pacific Northwest. Only about a third of students identify as Catholic, and there are active organizations for atheist and agnostic students.
Seattle U has 8 colleges and 113 certificate and degree programs. Business, engineering, law, nursing, criminal justice and public administration are nationally ranked. Students are required to complete the school’s core curriculum, which combine a cross-section of liberal arts course requirements (mathematics, science, humanities, social sciences) and theology/philosophy courses. The exploratory “pre-major studies” program helps undecided students dabble and figure out what they are interested in. 60% of courses have 20 or fewer students. “We don’t hover,” says Provost Isaiah Crawford, but Seattle U is small enough that professors “notice when students aren’t in class.”
Students at Seattle U share a focus on social justice and environmental sustainability, and many are committed to community service. The Center for Service and Community Engagement runs the Seattle University Youth Initiative, the school’s permanent commitment to the surrounding community, which has a large population of Asian and African-American families living at the poverty level. Seattle U students run an afterschool program at the local elementary school, and students lead athletic and academic activities at the local middle and high school, giving neighborhood parents the ability to work full days. Business students also work with small business incubation in the community.
Seattle University is affordable and generous; total cost of attendance (including tuition AND room and board) is about $48,000. Ninety-three percent of students receive financial aid, and the average award is over $26,000. There are leadership-based scholarships as well as merit-based and those for students interested in the STEM disciplines.
Seattle University is a great place for students who want to go away from home, but not too far, are interested in being in a city environment (downtown is a 5-minute walk to the west!), and who are socially and environmentally conscious.
Admissions Stats: Middle 50% GPA: 3.3-3.9; SAT CR: 530-630; M: 530-640; ACT: 24-29
Evelyn visited in May, 2015. You can see all of her photos here.