I keep copious notes of my college visits, and when I looked back at my last visit to the University of Hartford, I was shocked to read that it had been almost ten years! Of course, I’ve kept up with developments at the university since then, but it’s nice to return and eyeball a school and talk to students and administrators. So on a warm day in early June, off I went to West Hartford, the school’s suburban home.
What I found was a green campus in great physical condition, where classes are small and there is a lot of emphasis on getting to know students and not allowing them to “fall through the cracks.” Hartford is a university comprising a number of colleges – arts and science; business; education, nursing and health professions; engineering, tech and architecture; art; and perhaps the best known of them all, The Hartt School, a conservatory for music, dance and theatre. Needless to say, there are a lot of opportunities for students to attend performances during the school year – more than 400 each year, in fact. The music programs in Hartt focus on classical and jazz. In addition to the BFA program in music, the university offers a BA in music, as well.
The main facility for the BFA in theater and dance is located outside campus at the Handel Performing Arts Center. When I was told that the facility is a short shuttle ride away, I was skeptical. But my drive there really was brief – perhaps five minutes – and the renovated industrial building provides performance and rehearsal spaces, classrooms and studios, as well as two theaters. I was surprised to learn that Dionne Warwick is an alum.
The university’s main campus is divided into academic and residential areas, connected via a footbridge over a small river with picnic benches along its banks. Currently, the library is undergoing a renovation and expansion, and there is a search for a new president. Admissions did not as yet have numbers regarding acceptances for the Class of 2020, but the overall acceptance rate for the Class of 2019 was 63%, although admission is much more competitive for Hartt and for the Hartford Art School, which require auditions and portfolios, respectively.
Copyright 2016. Betsy F. Woolf. All rights reserved.