College review by Beth Cassie
Flowering trees and bright red flags welcomed us as we drove onto the campus. I immediately saw the appeal. The University buildings are attractive, well maintained, and nicely situated on the rolling landscape. Good looking, well dressed students gathered in small groups dotting the campus. It seemed like a picture-perfect poster for college.
Fairfield U is home to 3300 undergraduates across four schools: Arts & Sciences (the biggest with popular majors English, Communications, Psychology and Biology), Engineering, Business (best known for Management and Marketing) and Nursing (the most competitive and the only direct admit school). Most students double or even triple major, while others major and minor in different subjects. A small number of students are selected to join the Honors Program (about 50 per year) either at the time of admission or near the end of freshman year.
Fairfield believes its students should have a broad liberal arts foundation. There is a 60 credit required core curriculum which accounts for close to 50% of a students total course load. FU wants its students to have real world experience and offers their students good opportunities for internships and research. The University is devoted to job recruitment and grad school placement. The vast majority of students study abroad. Many students take advantage of one of the seven study abroad programs sponsored by FU, while others choose to study in one of the more than 100 affiliated programs in over 40 countries.
Service is really important and an estimated 80% of students participate in some sort of community service. Many FU students choose to volunteer locally with organizations such as Boys and Girls Clubs and Habitat for Humanity and to participate in domestic and international service trips offered over winter and spring breaks.
Fairfield takes a careful look at the progressive challenge of the transcript (honors and AP classes), and upward trend in grades. They look to see what courses you are taking senior year, especially if you apply EA. GPAs are recalculated to consider the 5 core academic courses (they do not factor Religion classes into the GPA). A-/B+ is what they are looking for. They consider all three sections of the SAT and they do superscore. Mid 50% range is 1690-1910. They do not superscore the ACT. ACT mid 50% range is 25-28.
Counselor recommendations are very important. They encourage students to be very thorough when filling in the activities section of the Common Application, as they look at activities when making scholarship decisions. Interviews are optional, however if you are applying without test scores (they are test optional) they strongly encourage you to interview. Test scores are not required for scholarship consideration. They specifically said do not submit test scores if you think it will hurt you! (So if your scores are below the mid 50% range, best not to submit). Applicants are automatically considered for merit awards of 6-22K. The Magis Scholarship ($22,000 per year) is granted to students with an A average, 2000 SAT or 29-30 ACT. The award is renewable for 4 years provided at students maintain a 2.8+ GPA. FU also offers athletic scholarships (DI ).
95% of students live on campus and housing is guaranteed for all 4 years. Freshmen live in traditional hall-style dorms along the Quad. Upperclassmen have more housing options, which include suite-style rooms, townhouses and apartments. Seniors can live off campus and some rent houses or apartments at the beach. (Our tour guide was doing that for the next year.) 2/3 of students are athletes and there are 20 DI teams. Basketball is the biggest spectator sport. There is no Greek life.
Students say there is always something to do on campus thanks to regular programming by the Fairfield University Student Association (FUSA). The town of Fairfield is a quick shuttle ride away, and students flock to restaurants and shops on the weekend. (The University bookstore is downtown.) The shuttle also allows easy access to Metro North trains to NYC. The Long Island Sound beach is minutes away from campus.
The Jesuit presence is obvious with resident priests playing an active role on campus including teaching classes. Students say the Jesuits are friendly and approachable. The chapel is centrally located, and our tour guide shared that attending the student run mass is a big part of her week.
The student Center is new and appealing with meeting spaces and different dining options. We saw the traditional dining hall upstairs and had a great lunch in the Stag snack bar. Einstein Bagels is also located in the building for a quick bite. This seems to be a nice hub on campus for students to meet.
The current student body at FU is fairly homogenous – white, Catholic, from CT and the surrounding area. They are actively looking to increase diversity on campus.
FU is a great school for students looking for a traditional college campus within the context of a Catholic education and student body. It’s also great for students looking to combine pre-professional programs with a strong liberal arts core.
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
Main: (203) 254-4000