Gettysburg College: Small Liberal Arts in an Inclusive Community
by Kenny Larson
As college application deadlines loom ever closer, Northside seniors have continued to meet with college representatives from across the country. As part of that process, Northside has sponsored dozens of special events, offering students an organized platform to ask their questions to representatives directly. Last week on Sep. 11, students had the opportunity to meet Darryl Jones, senior associate director of admissions for Gettysburg College, and learn about what characteristics of the school makes it a top choice for them.
Jones began the event by sharing some background information about the school. Gettysburg College is located in historic Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and has an undergraduate student body of 2700. Students have access to 69 unique majors and special programs, as well as over 100 international and domestic off-campus study opportunities. Even for a liberal arts school, Gettysburg has relatively small classes, with about 18 students maximum in each class and approximately a 10:1 student-teacher ratio.
Later in the event, Jones emphasized that at Gettysburg, international learning opportunities are not only popular, but allow students to explore their majors much more in-depth. Available for all majors, the various off-campus opportunities allow students to engage in fieldwork, internships, and language immersion, providing dynamic experiences even within a limited class environment. While students are able to visit a variety of countries including China, Tanzania, or Peru, Jones said that Norway tended to be the most popular destination, despite its colder environment and long winter nights. “Life outside the classroom,” said Jones, discussing the merit of international studies, “is what makes you whole as a human.”
Thanks to Gettysburg’s generous financial aid programs, all international learning opportunities are of no additional cost to students. In addition, Gettysburg provides over 60 million dollars to students throughout a variety of need and merit-based scholarships. Approximately 64 percent of the student body receives at least some form of aid from the college, which helps substantially with the lofty 64,000 dollar annual tuition fee (including room and board).
During the presentation, Jones spoke in great detail about the community that Gettysburg College students join as students. Thanks to the relatively small size of the student body, Gettysburg College offers a tightly-knit atmosphere in which students can develop close relationships with their peers and professors. Although other liberal arts colleges are similar in size, Jones commented that Gettysburg College’s focus on inclusion helped to distinguish them from other schools. “I won’t tell you that Gettysburg is the right place,” said Jones, “but as a non-alum I’ve been there for thirty-four years. When I talk about inclusion, I really mean it. It’s more than diversity. Inclusion means [all people] lead, they belong, and they run things [on campus].”
As part of Gettysburg community, Jones said that students will have access to over 130 unique clubs, with dozens of opportunities to participate in intramural sports. Students host about 40-50 events per week, including Midnight Madness - a tradition in which students are able to visit the dining hall from midnight to three in the morning, sing karaoke, and design their own desserts for the kitchen staff to create.
To conclude the event, Jones offered several tips to prospective students to improve their application. “Authenticity wins,” said Jones, commenting on how to improve admissions essays. “It’s not the twenty activity resume, but the six or seven who are committed.” Jones also said that being on time with your application is the best way to signal your interest in the school to admissions staff. As part of that process, Jones recommended frequently meeting with Northside’s counseling department to ensure that all necessary forms are submitted on time.
Students interested in applying to Gettysburg can apply to the school through the Common Application. Although the regular decision and early decision II deadline are on Jan. 15, 2019, students must submit an early decision I deadline by Nov. 15 of this year. For more information, visit http://www.gettysburg.edu.