Road Trip: "Aha!" Moments at Emory University

Two big aha’s when visiting Emory University!  First Aha!—when you apply to Emory you are applying to two universities: Emory University and Oxford College of Emory University.  You actually do have a choice of whether to check the box, of course.  Second Aha!—the variety of opportunities in the area of health care are more than plentiful.

Though the info session speaker was even-handed and spoke highly of Oxford, three admitted students in the room offered admission to Oxford had not received acceptance to Emory.  There is definitely a pecking order.  That said, applications to Oxford increased 63% last year and Oxford’s 2-year program graduates with a 2.0 GPA are guaranteed automatic continuation as a junior at Emory University (US News ranked #20).  Possible tracts to pursue are a BA or BS at Emory College of Arts and Sciences, a BBA at Goizueta Business School (US News ranked #15), or a BSN at School of Nursing (US News ranked #4).  

Oxford is a different experience than Emory. Its campus is comprised of only Freshmen and Sophomores, about 450 per class.  It is a 5 min walk to class from any dorm and only professors teach, no teaching assistants, with the largest classes ~ 30 students.  There is one common dining hall (Lil's).  The school’s focus is leadership experience and the opportunity to explore various disciplines in a practical as well as academic way. Oxford provides a gentle transition to college.

Oxford College is 38 miles east of Atlanta on Emory’s original campus in the town (village) of Oxford.  Emory University is now nestled in a suburban area five miles from downtown Atlanta.  In the twenty-minute drive from Georgia Tech, where one feels literally in Atlanta, to Emory University you drive through broad streets and neighborhoods.  Still, “just 5 miles” from Atlanta.

The academics at Emory are substantial.  There are distribution requirements typical of a liberal arts school but otherwise few core curriculum requirements.  About a third of students double major and 48% perform research as undergrads.  But the opportunities in healthcare are remarkable: the CDC (Center for Disease Control) is “next door,” American Cancer Society, CARE, a booming health IT industry and a Bioscience industry are all available in Atlanta.  A bridge connects the hospital on campus, which is a massive building with research at one end, to Atlanta’s Children’s Hospital. 

Speaking of campus, a new Chemistry building was completed in 2015 funded by an Emory Chemistry professor who made a discovery related to HIV.  What’s really exciting is several of the classes (Organic and General Chemistry and some Biology classes) are “flipped” classes.  That means that the lecturing is done online and the classroom is used for discussion and problem solving.  Research shows that grades have improved—flipping the classroom is a current teaching methodology, which Emory appears to be on top of. Emory boasts a 85.6% acceptance of its students to med school (if you have a 27+ on the MCAT and 3.7+ GPA).  That’s health care, but Atlanta has the 3rd largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the US. 

Some Fun Facts: President Jimmy Carter still speaks to the freshman class and can submit questions! 25% of the student body is Jewish.  Letters of recommendation are valued more than at many schools and five-six people will review your application. Emory is known for strong merit programs.  The oldest dorm was renovated in 2012…and every room has air-conditioning.

Consider Emory University (and Oxford College) if healthcare is the route you expect to follow and, if your engagement and performance in high school does not reflect your ability, Oxford College is a golden opportunity.