Fairfield University

Basics – Earlier this fall I visited Fairfield University, a private Jesuit University with 3300 undergraduate students on a 200-acre campus in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Academics – The university offers 41 majors and 16 minors. The average class size is 23 students. 96% of the classes are taught by someone with a terminal degree; there are no teaching assistants. Freshmen take a First Year Experience class one hour a week, with their summer orientation group, to learn about the school services. Students can double major or take a major and a minor. Students take 60 credits in the core and 60-70 credits in their major(s). 50 – 60% of the students study abroad and their scholarship/aid goes with them. There is a very high concentration of Fortune 500 companies within a commuting distance from the university.

There are 70 – 80 freshmen in the School of Nursing. The nursing students start their clinicals early and 100% of the nursing students passed their nursing board exam the first time. Nursing students can study abroad in Ireland or Italy.

There are 60 – 70 freshmen in the School of Engineering, which has five engineering majors. Students interested in other engineering majors can participate in a 3/2 engineering program. Engineering students can study abroad in Bolivia and often get internships at Sikorsky.

The students in the Dolan School of Business typically do two or three internships and can participate in a business plan competition. The competition winners get money to launch their business.

The largest school is the school of arts and sciences, which includes many pre-professionals. More than 96% of the pre-med students get into medical school.

Campus Life – 96% of the students live on campus. Housing is guaranteed all four years and is organized by the year of college the student is in. The dorms include a mini-frig/microwave. Juniors and seniors have options for apartments, townhouses or suites. Seniors can petition to move to Fairfield Beach, which is on the water, about one mile from campus.

Freshmen cannot have cars on campus. Sophomores cannot have cars on campus, except for the nursing students. There is a bus on campus, as well as zip cars. There are two train stations within walking distance of the campus. Students can get to New York by train in 1 to 1.25 hours.

There are over 100 clubs at Fairfield University. You can start a club if you have between 10 and 12 students and a club advisor. There are NCAA Division I sports, club sports and intramural sports. Basketball is the biggest Division I sport. The university brings in outside speakers.

Mass is available daily; there is no required chapel attendance.

Admissions and Financial Aid – Fairfield University accepts the Common App. The school offers Early Action, Early Decision, and Regular Decision. The school is test optional and there is an optional interview by a counselor or senior student. Most high school students accepted by Fairfield University had an A-/B+ average in high school.

The Cost of Attendance at Fairfield University is about $56K per year. The school offers both need-based and merit aid and uses the CSS/Profile. The largest merit aid package is $22K a year. It typically goes to students with an A/A- grade point average, who scored 2000 or higher on their SATs, and who had strong involvement in their high school/community.

What is your experience with Fairfield University?

Sacred Heart University

In late September, I set off to Fairfield, Connecticut to visit a private Catholic college, Sacred Heart University. 
First, I had a tasty lunch in the McMahon Commons Food Court with a student I had worked with, who is now a Sacred Heart Sophomore.  He told me, “I fell in love with the school.”  He was looking well and was involved in college life through bowling, the choir, community service, and campus ministry activities. 
Then, off I went to the information session and tour.  Here’s what I learned.
Basics – Sacred Heart was founded in 1963.  It has about 3800 undergraduates with an average class size of 21 and common core classes of between 20 and 30 students.  There are four colleges: Business, Education, Health, and Arts & Sciences.
Extracurriculars – Students can get involved in the over 80 clubs and organizations.  These include athletics, theatre arts, Greek life, community service, and more.
850 students participate in the 31 NCAA Division I teams, including men’s football, women’s basketball, and men’s baseball.  600 students participate in 24 club sports, where they practice two or three times a week and travel to tournaments about once a month.  There are also intramural sports. 
There are four fraternities and six sororities at Sacred Heart.
Students provided over 53,000 hours of community service last year.  Building homes during Spring Break throughout the US, with Habitat for Humanity, is popular.  So are local community service in Bridgeport and Spring Break missionary trips.
Housing – Housing is guaranteed all four years and is required for the first two years.  The dorm rooms include a mini-frig and microwave.  Upper class housing is not on the main campus.  There is shuttle service to upper class housing, the supermarket and the mall. 
Applying and Financial Aid – Sacred Heart is a Common App school.  The average GPA of the high school student who applies is 3.2.  The school is test optional, with an SAT average of 1100 (Critical Reading and Math) and an ACT average of 24.  There is Early Action, Early Decision and Regular admission.  On the financial aid side, Sacred Heart is a CSS/Profile school.  93% of students get financial aid.
What is your experience with Sacred Heart?