Transylvania University: Liberal Arts in the Heart of Lexington
by Kenny Larson
Most students tend to envision small liberal-arts colleges as an isolated community tucked away from large metropolitan areas. While in many circumstances this tends to be true, Transylvania University is the exception to the rule. Northside students recently had an opportunity to meet with a representative from one of the oldest colleges in the United States, which is located in the heart of Lexington, Kentucky. “We’re the 16th oldest college in the country” said Ms. Carly Wynn, Transylvania admissions counselor, “so we have a lot of history.”
Despite only having a student population of slightly less than 1000, Transylvania University offers diverse resources that allow students to pursue their own interests. Whether someone enjoys running for student government, participating in speech and debate, theatre, or sports, Transylvania enables students to explore themselves and develop new passions. For those more career focused, Wynn expressed the opportunities available at the university. “We have over 50 clubs” said Wynn. “Being in the city allows for internships and networking.” In addition, Transylvania also has 27 intercollegiate athletic teams that students can participate in if interested.
Academically speaking, Transylvania University ranks as one of the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the United States, and specializes in business, biology, and pre-med courses. Transylvania offers nearly 40 other majors, ranging from neuroscience to religion, as well as 38 additional minors. In order to earn a major, one-third of required classes are specialized major courses that vary depending on the field of study a student is pursuing. The other two-thirds are divided equally between general education courses and elective courses that students can take for pleasure. Students take classes in a 4-4-1 format, which involves two four-month terms and a final four-week long term in May. During the May term, students are able to take specialized classes, which oftentimes involves traveling internationally to places such as the Netherlands, Germany, or Belize.
In addition to the academic opportunities during a student’s undergraduate years, Transylvania University provides students with a competitive edge when they apply to graduate school. In recent years, over 90% of undergraduate alumni who apply to medical schools are admitted, as well as 100% of all students recommended to law schools. Transylvania University has special partnerships with other graduate programs as well, including a unique program with the University of Kentucky allowing engineering students to receive a degree from Transylvania University and a master’s degree from the University of Kentucky in only five years.
Students who are interested in applying to Transylvania University should also be aware of the available scholarships and college application process. Most of the scholarships are merit based, providing students anywhere from $8000 to full tuition payment. Transylvania also features a unique Premier Scholar program that can cover the entirety of a student’s tuition, and is granted to students based on application materials, essays, and an interview.
When applying to Transylvania, prospective students have various options. Wynn emphasized that the University of Transylvania is test-optional, understanding that many students may have a stronger GPA or academic ability than their standardized test scores may indicate. Students should also be prepared to write a college admissions essay and provide a letter of recommendation. In terms of admissions advice, Wynn was brief and to the point, saying that “the earlier you apply, the better.” Wynn also indicated that Transylvania University uses the Common Application for the admissions process, which students should submit as soon as possible.
While Transylvania University may not be as well known as various other high ranking colleges and academic institutions, its competitive national ranking and wide variety of resources make it an attractive choice for Northside students interested in pursuing liberal arts. Given Lexington’s relatively large metropolitan area, students used to Chicago’s urban setting will find themselves comfortably at home at one of the select few top-100 liberal arts colleges located in a city with 300,000+ people. For more information, visit the Transylvania University website at www.transy.edu.