Profile Update: Drexel University (PA)
Drexel University is one of the most popular options for New Jersey’s college-bound students. It’s easy to see why: Drexel is the largest university in the country that offers cooperative education aka ‘co-op’ in virtually every major. Each year Drexel hosts an annual counselors event near the end of the admissions cycle, a perfect time for me to write an updated profile and add new photos to my Drexel Pinterest page.
Co-op is not the only reason to choose Drexel. The opportunity to go to college in Philadelphia, America’s fifth-largest city—yes, larger than Boston, often called “America’s College Town,”—is another. So is academic flexibility. Walk in with a semester or more of AP or IB credits, and work the quarter system and co-op to advantage, and you can graduate not only with a good resume, but possibly several credits towards a master’s degree. Drexel offers over 80 majors and over 100 minors, many that you might not find at your flagship state university. It is quite common for Drexel students to double major or carry more than one minor.
A Drexel education can either help students to develop an impressive resume, or discover through their co-op experience what they do not want to do in life after college. In my view, it helps students who have a direction more than those who don’t, when full-time entry-level salaries are the concern. During my last visit I learned that students who have a choice between a four-year, one co-op program and a five-year three co-op program in the same major earn, on average, approximately $6,100 more at the start if they go the five-year route.
While I find more to like about Drexel each time I visit, there are still weaknesses that might not make it the best fit for many students. Classes go by faster in the quarter system. You must grasp material in ten weeks while your friends who go to semester-based schools have 15 or 16. Fall behind in a tough business, math or science class and you will really struggle. The Drexel experience is also more expensive than most, though the university helps the best qualified students with scholarships. Going to school for a fifth year will not mean additional tuition, but it can cost a student an extra year of living expenses. Lastly, while co-ops in engineering and computer science, among other majors, pay quite well, some pay nothing at all. In those cases the co-op becomes an internship, and a student might need to find a second job to cover expenses.
If you want a school with achievable admissions and co-op experience together with a taste of big city life, and you can work the academic calendar and the costs, put Drexel on your list.
The Report Card: Drexel University
- Four-Year/Six Year Graduation Rates: Not Applicable/B
- Freshman Retention: B+
- Costs: C+
- Curriculum: A
- Community: A
- Comforts: B
- Connections: A
Visiting colleges? Daytripper University’s travel guides highlight the best restaurants and hotels as well as the most interesting attractions near Drexel University. Founded by Liora Yalof and Bonnie Klein and relying on a network of parents, locals and current students, this comprehensive website features guides to over 100 campuses and resources to help you navigate the college process.
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