First Impressions: Rosemont College, Lower Merion PA
There are small colleges. Then there are very small colleges. Rosemont College located along the Main Line into Philadelphia, has only 600 undergraduates. Formerly all-female, Rosemont became a co-ed college in 2009.
Aside from being a very small school, Rosemont College reset its tuition and fees in 2016-17. The college now charges less than $20,000 in tuition and fees, second lowest among private liberal arts colleges in Pennsylvania. I found much to like about Rosemont College during a recent visit, enough to share First Impressions as well as a link to a Pinterest page.
Rosemont College is committed to remaining small, as well as to taking a middle ground between the liberal arts and pre-professional majors. In addition to personalized instruction—students are not likely to see more than 30 students in a class through most of their education—the college offers seven combined degree programs as well as three-year Bachelor’s degree programs. Rosemont students may also take up to 18 credits at nearby Villanova University. These courses are likely to be electives in a major or free electives. Applicants who score 1220 or higher on the SAT and have a GPA of 3.5 or higher may also be considered for three-year degree programs in 12 majors or opt to use advanced placement to pursue a combined degree program. Honors students had an average GPA of 3.9.
Walk around Rosemont’s campus, then follow-up with walks around nearby Bryn Mawr and Villanova. Rosemont College could easily fit into the middle of the campus at either of the larger, more endowed schools. The Main building, a former 19th century residential estate, was the college’s first building when it was founded in 1921. Other buildings follow Gothic styles popular at very selective colleges. The Immaculate Conception Chapel on campus is one of only two in the US that features only female leaders of the Catholic Church on its stained glass windows, a link back to its heritage.
Rosemont College can best be described as a unique opportunity for B students in high school to become A students in college, if they enter ready to do the work. its also an opportunity for A students to get a far more personalized college experience that they are unlikely to find anywhere else. There are more than enough opportunities to receive help, for those who are ready to ask. It also helps to have at least a supportive interest in sports. Rosemont expanded the athletic program with an eye towards attracting students who were more likely to help build stronger bonds within the campus community.
It is not fair to make a Report Card for Rosemont College given the very small size of the student body as well as its transition from an all-female to a co-ed college. The freshman class that entered in 2016 was 40 percent male, although men represented 30 percent of the full student body. The tuition reset also set the college on a different direction towards providing an affordable and more personal alternative to the larger public and private colleges in the area and to recruit a more geographically diverse student body. That can work in Pennsylvania, where in-state charges at the larger public universities are higher than most. This will be an interesting school to watch, and to visit, when you’re interested in a small school that is located in a very nice place.
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