First Impressions: Misericordia University (PA)
Located in Dallas, Pennsylvania, just outside of Wilkes Barre, Misercordia University is a small (1,800 undergraduates) school where over 40 percent of the students have declared or have intentions towards a health-related major.
While not exceptionally selective, Misericordia University had over a third of its accepted students deposit last fall, impressive for a regionally known school. The yield rate is strong (most comparable schools are fortunate to get commitments from a fifth of their accepted students) due in large part to the university’s academic opportunities. I gathered information to write my First Impressions and collected photos for a Pinterest page.
Misericordia University has an impressive selection of health-related majors, minors and certificate programs for a small school. The university recently launched a unique Medical and Health Humanities program that, among other things, combines the liberal arts with the core courses to gain admission to graduate programs in the health fields, dental school, osteopathy school or medical school. Business students who qualify may take graduate courses during their senior year, at the undergraduate tuition and fees, and complete their MBA a year later. Communications and Design students are supported not only by internships but also by their own in-house public relations and graphic design group. There are also options in Sports Management and Sports Communications. Misericordia is also one of the smallest schools in Pennsylvania that offers Early Childhood, Elementary and Middle School Education programs as well as opportunities to earn secondary school certification.
Misericordia was also one of the first colleges in the US to offer a Guaranteed Placement Program. Started in 1999, the university asks incoming freshmen to sign a pledge, and most do, to maintain a 3.0 GPA or better, work with academic and career advisors and participate in career services programs on campus. In turn, students will not only receive these services; they are guaranteed a three-month paid internship if they are neither employed nor in a graduate or professional school six months after graduation. While Misericordia has put the resources in place to either fund or connect a student into this internship, the Guaranteed Placement Program is more valuable as a signed commitment between a student and the university. For the most part it has helped. The most recent four-year graduation rate is a very good 64 percent.
There’s other things to like about Misericordia. It has a reasonable sticker price (around $48,000 for tuition and fees, room and board) for a small private college. The university has a very attractive and well-maintained campus with sufficient first-year and upper-class housing. It also offers attractive opportunities for prospective Division III (non-scholarship) student-athletes, competing in 22 sports, including football.
This is one school where its helpful to have access to a car. Misercordia is set atop a hill, not an easy walk to local shopping and eating, and you must drive to take advantage of jobs and social/recreational opportunities in the Scranton/Wilkes Barre area. However, Misercordia is still better known as a regional school where most alumni do not trek far from either Eastern Pennsylvania or New York City.
There will always be a need and demand for small schools such as Misericordia that offer achievable admissions, reasonable costs as well as academic programs that lead to rewarding career opportunities and truly give their students the opportunity to succeed.
Report Card: Misericordia University
- Four-Year/Six Year Graduation Rates: B/B+
- Freshman Retention: B
- Costs: B+
- Curriculum: A
- Community: B+
- Comforts: B+
- Connections: B