School Profile: Academics & Athletics at Washington University in St. Louis

Founded in 1853, Washington University is a visually stunning private research university that sits primarily on the 169-acre Danforth campus and the 164-acre Medical campus in suburban St. Louis, Missouri. It is ranked #21 on the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. With a student population of nearly 14.000 students, a little over half are undergraduates. The University is dedicated to providing opportunities for students to discover, explore, and pursue their passions. This medium-sized university draws students and faculty from more than 120 countries worldwide and every ethnic group from the U.S.

Washington University offers nearly 1900 courses in 90 degree programs, including both undergraduate and graduate work, and is committed to creating new knowledge for a sustainable future. Flexible interdisciplinary degree programs allow students to graduate with a major/minor, double major from one school, double major from two schools, or a combination undergraduate/graduate program. Students are encouraged to choose from these more demanding academic paths, and well over half the students graduating from the University choose one of these combinations. Most students also participate in nearly limitless research opportunities, study abroad programs, and internships. The schools within the University include arts and science, social work, engineering and applied science, design and visual arts, law, business, and medicine. Pre-professional programs are among the top in the country. The most popular majors are social science, business, pre-med, biomedical science, and engineering.

Nearly 80% of WashU students live on campus owned property, most of which has been upgraded in recent years and has a reputation for being far above average. Over twenty dining facilities are also above average, and there are Subway and Einstein Bros. Bagels franchises on campus. The University offers kosher foods at many of their on-campus dining facilities. There is an active Greek life at WashU with ten fraternities and eight sororities on campus. One of the unique aspects of student life is the fascination with a cappella groups. There are actually eleven competitive a cappella groups on campus representing several different genres of music. Some groups have won national awards. Washington University has a vibrant arts community that includes music, performing arts, an amazing visual arts museum that even displays original works by Pablo Picasso, and an Art Deco symphony hall. There are many ways students can get involved at WashU, from student leadership to service to sports.

The Washington University Bears have 14 NCAA Division III teams competing in men’s and women’s sports in the University Athletic Association, competing against seven other leading independent research universities. Among Washington University athletic teams, they have amassed 19 NCAA Championships, 164 UAA titles, and 137 student-athletes have been named Academic All-Americans. No scholarships are awarded solely on the basis of athletic ability. The WashU athletic complex consists of the WU Fieldhouse, Francis Field, Kelly Field, Bushyhead Track, Tao Tennis Center, and Gateway National Golf Links, among others. Those not interested in competitive sports can participate through WashU’s 25 intramural teams that are open to all students and faculty.

Washington University traditions include Red Alert, which is the school spirit fan group for student athletics. WILD, Walk In Lay Down, is a music festival held twice a year on campus and featuring nationally recognized bands. Other event traditions include Residential College Olympics, Moonlight Breakfast, Vertigo Dance Party, and Art Prom. If you are looking for the advantages of a research university with the intimacy of a liberal arts college, where academic interests trump athletics, and college is serious business, Washington University could be the school for you.

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By Colleen Hill