Getting To Know: Elon University (NC) Better In Person
Elon University was the next stop on my North Carolina college tour. This is one of the most attractive college campuses that I have visited. You will come to believe that yourself after you check out my updated Pinterest page.
This school has gained quite a following where I live in Central New Jersey. In fact, the Garden State sends more students to Elon than any other, excluding North Carolina. Since 2005-06, Elon’s undergraduate student body has grown from 4,700 to 6,300. There are also more than 800 graduate and professional students in business, education, health professions, law and the media.
I did a virtual interview with Kevin Napp, Associate Dean of Admissions, about four years ago.
I hope you will listen in, since many of his comments are still relevant today. You can also learn more about Elon’s highly-regarded experiential learning opportunities in the post. Elon has some of the best career development services that you will find at any school of any size. though the school competes within tough job markets in North Carolina as well as the student’s home states.
Elon University has some interesting peers.
I hope that you will click that link and review that list.
- Each school offers unique experiential learning opportunities and some academic departures from the liberal arts
- All but Bucknell and Furman are research universities
- Some of those schools have a religious affiliation, some are public.
- Two, Furman and Bucknell, have about half as many undergrads. Others are much larger
- Some are in or near cities, though James Madison and Miami-Ohio are similarly isolated
I would imagine that prospective students cross shop Elon vs. some of these schools, especially James Madison, which was formerly in the same sports conference. But the statistical profile of an Elon freshman class (3.7+/1250/29) is also similar to the College of New Jersey or the University of Delaware. Test scores don’t matter much in admissions for most of the academic programs. But grades, extracurriculars (talent and leadership) and rigor do.Like its peers, TCNJ and UDel, Elon does an excellent job of retaining and graduating a freshman class. Elon has retained no less than that 88 percent off a freshman class for the past 18 admissions cycles. At least 77 percent of every class since the Class of 2009 has graduated on time.
I have been to a few of these peer schools and reviewed one (U of Denver) virtually. If someone told me that Elon was a smaller, less intimidating, but equally innovative version of Miami-Ohio, I would not argue. However, North Carolina weather is far warmer in the winter. Study abroad/away programs, residence life and Greek life are quite strong at both schools and the social life is quite campus based. Both schools also have a mix of older and newer housing options, even during the freshman year.
Who is Elon’s target market?
Until the 2019-20 academic year Elon topped US News’ rankings as a Regional University-South. More recently, Elon was reclassified as a National Research University, just like Duke, NC State, UNC-Chapel Hill and Wake Forest. I can understand why. Elon is considered versus all of those schools, and is becoming more invested in the sciences and health professions. For those who care about these rankings, Elon is ranked 89th, tied with BYU, Colorado School of Mines, Howard, TCU, SUNY-University at Buffalo and UDel.
During my visit I came to think of Elon as ‘a place you’d like if you if you don’t want the bigness of Home State U or Neighboring State U.’
Elon offers some amazing pre-professional opportunities and less competition to get them. In addition, you won’t see 100+ students in any of your classes, even the traditional gatekeeper intro courses in Biology, Chemistry, Economics and Psychology. Elon has a 12 to 1 student-faculty ratio, smaller than any big school.
It’s also easier to walk into Elon undecided between a business, communications, education or liberal arts major, and possibly engineering if you get the math and science courses in early. Elon also makes it easy do a liberal arts major with one or more skills-based minors.
However, you really need to have the money to make this work.
Elon’s administration knows how to appeal to a full-pay family seeking to get a good educational value for their money through the campus, academics and experiential opportunities. That says a lot in the world of college admissions.
There are some very nice Fellows and Scholars programs, but the scholarships are less generous than a cost-conscious family might like. But on average Elon meets less than two-thirds of financial need. While only 40 percent of 2021 graduates needed to take out student loans, their average debt was nearly $34,000. Elon’s direct charges–tuition & fees, room & board– for 2022-23 were just over $59,000. When costs for books, travel to and from home, entertainment and more are added, you’re probably looking at a cost of attendance around $66,000.
The Odyssey Program is targeted to the neediest students, who must also be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant. There are scholarships as well as additional opportunities and academic support services with this program. Based on what I have seen on campus and learned about Elon’s career development programs in my past work life, I am quite confident that the services and opportunities will be among the best available at a mid-sized university. However, as I stated earlier, the costs must work out,
Students who are looking for a strong campus-based social life as they test out potential career opportunities will love Elon, provided that the costs work out. Elon is also likely to attract a statistically stronger student body as it grows its offerings in engineering and the health professions. This place still has room to grow its physical campus as well as its intellectual capacity. Like its peers Elon is an excellent school for a very good student.
Report Card: Elon University
- Four-Year/Six-Year Graduation Rates: A/A
- Freshman Retention: A
- Costs: B
- Curriculum: A
- Community: B+
- Comforts: B+
- Connections: A (North Carolina/NYC/Washington DC)/C (elsewhere)
Want to know more about me?
Listen to my talk, What Exactly Is a Good College? hosted by test-prep experts Amy Seeley and Mike Bergin on Tests And The Rest!
Listen to my talk, College Is A Learning AND Living Community hosted by Dr. Cynthia Colon from Destination YOUniversity on Voice of America Radio!
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