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St. Louis: Home to More than the Cardinals

St. Louis: Home to More than the Cardinals

By Kate Clemens

Located on the edge of St. Louis, Missouri, about six miles from downtown, WashU is a private research university with a collaborative atmosphere. All of the classes at WashU are open enrollment, meaning you do not have to be studying in a particular area to take a specific class. This means, for example, that a business major would be able to take a music class as well. Because of this, 80% of students graduate with more than one major. WashU has a focus on interdisciplinary studies that encourages its students to combine their areas of study and broaden their horizons.

First-year students are required to live on-campus in residential colleges, which are groups of two or three dorm buildings that form smaller communities. Each residential college has its own name and traditions, like when faculty members make waffles one night for the residents at their residential college. After their first year, most students choose to continue living on campus for three reasons: comfort, convenience, and community. The dorms on campus are close to classes and provide a tightly-knit community for the students.

35% of students are involved in the eleven fraternities and nine sororities at WashU. There are over 380 student groups including dance, volunteer groups, and around 30 club sports. WashU is D3 for its 19 varsity NCAA sports (nine men’s sports teams and ten women’s sports teams). Around 75% of students are involved in intramural sports.

Students also have the opportunity to study abroad. There are over 100 study abroad programs in approximately 50 countries, and one-in-three students study abroad while attending WashU. Unlike many other universities, students do not have to be taking a language or studying a certain area to have the opportunity to study abroad -- trips are available to every student.

Beyond extracurriculars, students are always excited about WashU’s traditions. Bauhaus is a costume party that the College of Architecture hosts each Halloween; Home Plate is a program that matches students with a local family who provides home-cooked meals several times a semester; Relay for Life is an event that lasts 12 hours to raise money for the American Cancer Society; the Residential College Olympics is an annual event in which the residential colleges compete against each other; and the Moonlight Breakfast is when faculty and staff make a late-night breakfast to give students a break from studying. These are just some examples of the many traditions students have to look forward to.

Washington University prides itself on its diversity. Over 90% of its students come from outside of Missouri, 63% come from at least 500 miles away, and 8% of students are international. Students at WashU come from over 100 different countries and all 50 states. While attending the university, many students fall in love with St. Louis. It is small enough to be more affordable than larger cities, with a population of around 311,000, but there is a lot to do activity-wise. Students can visit the St. Louis zoo, museums, the science center, or professional sports games. If they do not have a car, WashU students can ride the St. Louis bus and train systems for free, making the city very accessible.

The total cost of attendance for the 2018-2019 school year is $69,839, but if cost is an issue, Washington University does offer financial aid. The university pledges to meet 100% of all demonstrated financial need, and offers both merit and need-based scholarships. When applying to WashU, you must choose one of the five colleges to apply to. However, it is fairly easy to switch between colleges if you decide that the path you initially chose is not right for you.

WashU is known for its friendly atmosphere and engaged students. The representative who came to speak to Northside on Wednesday, Oct. 10 emphasized the pleasant feeling of being on campus, saying that WashU students really want to “know the person,” not just the most basic trivia about their classmates. Washington University is a top research university with many opportunities for students. And no, you do not have to be a Cardinals fan to attend.

  • 7,675 undergraduate students

  • 52.97% female, 47.03% male

  • 8:1 student:faculty ratio

  • $69,839 total cost

  • 45% of students receive financial aid

  • $7.2 billion endowment

  • Located in St. Louis, Missouri

  • Around 16% acceptance rate

  • Private university

  • 94.8% graduation rate

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