On the Road with Betsy Woolf – The Two Sides of Emory University

Emory University

It was a few blogs ago that I wrote about somehow visiting colleges on grey and rainy days, and my visit to Emory was no exception. It was pouring in Atlanta and Covington. Covington? Yes. Emory has a campus in Atlanta and a campus about 45 minutes away (an easy highway ride).

This is how it works: A student can apply to Emory College or to Oxford College (that’s the Covington campus) or to both. Most students apply to both, according to Senior Associate Dean, Timothy Fields. Oxford is small – 900 undergrads, where classes are under 30 people and students like the idea of knowing everyone and making close connections. Emory College is bigger – 5500 students. No matter whether a student spends his or her first two years  in Atlanta or in Covington, he or she finishes his stint at Emory on the Atlanta campus. There is a daily shuttle between the campuses. 

Despite pouring  cats and dogs, as the saying goes, I had a wonderful experience and three of the most enthusiastic and terrific tour guides ever. Three because my tour of the Atlanta campus was led by twins. 

Students on both campuses must take general education requirements that include writing, foreign language, fine arts, humanities, social sciences, physical education and natural science with a lab, all of which can be spread out over four years or during a student’s first two years. Of particular note for students who are not facile in foreign language: Emory does not exempt students from studying a foreign language, nor is American Sign Language a substitute.

The emphasis at Emory is that it is a liberal arts college within a research university. In fact, over 60% of students participate in research. SURE is a signature program in which students partner with faculty members as early as freshman year to conduct sponsored research. Since Emory shares a campus with the CDC, students can do research there, as well as at its primate center, the Cancer Institute, the Carter Center, the Art History Museum and Emory Hospital. 

For students interested in the Goizueta Business School, there are no classes on Fridays so that students can enjoy business experiences during the academic year at such companies as Coca Cola, Porsche, and Mercedes Benz, as well as technology and accounting companies in Atlanta, which hosts a bevy of startup and nonprofits. The city is also a favorite location for feature film production. 

There’s a particular tradition on the Emory campus but not necessarily what you’d expect. It’s called Dooley, and it is a biology lab skeleton who supposedly safeguards the Spirit of Emory past, present and future. It came to life in 1899. Right now its full name is Claire E. Dooley, after the first name and middle initial of the president of the university. In the spring, students celebrate Dooley’s Week, a time of fun and frolic with Dooley. You can learn more about Dooley at https://www.emory.edu/home/about/history/dooley.html.

Who’s a right fit for Emory? According to one of my tour guides: someone who is fun and driven!

[Note that this year, the university accepted 725 Early Decision candidates into Emory College and 440 into Oxford College for an overall admit rate of 40%. In Regular Decision, Emory College admitted 4,142 students or 16.6% of applicants and Oxford admitted 3,531 for a 23.8% admit rate.]