Recently I visited Hofstra University, which is located 25 miles east of Manhattan in Hempstead, Long Island. Hofstra is a midsize university with approximately 7,000 undergraduate students. Although Hofstra began as a commuter college, today approximately 70 percent of its students reside on campus.
It’s impeccably manicured grounds and well placed sculptures made me forget that we were just steps away from the busy Hempstead Turnpike. Three enclosed, pedestrian viaducts span the busy highway and enable students to walk freely between the residential and academic areas of campus.
Hofstra is home to six colleges. The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and The School of Health Sciences and Human Services are its newest colleges. Prospective students apply to the University, not a particular college. Health sciences, business and media studies are the most popular areas of study. Hofstra’s impressive state of the art TV studios were in part the reason why the university was selected to host and broadcast the 2008 and 2012 Presidential debates.
Many students take advantage of the more than 100 dual programs, where students can earn combined bachelors and masters degrees in five years. Hofstra also offers two highly competitive, accelerated programs to law and medical school.
Students consider NYC to be an extension of their campus. With its close proximity to Manhattan, students take advantage of NYC internship and externship opportunities in the business and the entertainment fields. Additionally, Hofstra regularly offers free and discounted tickets to Broadway shows, sporting events and concerts.
The student population is very diverse racially and ethnically. More than 35 percent of students identify themselves as non-white. Although the largest percentage of students hale from NY and NJ, all 50 states are represented. The students I saw did not fit a “type” nor did they conform to a specific “dress code.” Many students were wearing jeans and sweatshirts. Some girls had a more trendy or eclectic style.
Hofstra students are active outside the classroom. Hofstra is a Division I school; Pride lacrosse and basketball teams are traditionally very competitive and games are well attended. Our tour guide told us that many students attend campus performances at the new campus black box theater. About 10 percent of Hofstra students are active in Greek life, however, there are no Greek houses.
Hofstra is a Common Application school. Admissions encourages all students to meet the early action deadline, in order to be eligible for merit aid and be considered for the honors program. When reviewing applications, admissions takes a holistic approach. The average admitted student has a 3.51 GPA with 1135 (CR and M; writing is not considered) on the SAT or a 25 on the ACT. Hofstra super scores the SAT and ACT. No separate application is required for the Honors College. GPA and test scores are the only criteria. Students selected for the honors program take an honors seminar class each semester and attend special events.
Academic support services are very strong at Hofstra. PALS, Hofstra’s comprehensive support services program, offers academic coaching, tutoring and workshops to qualified students. I met with the director of disability services on my visit. She told me that prospective students who wish to enroll in PALS should indicate their interest on their application.
Hofstra University is a good choice for the student who wants a university with a diverse population, close proximity to Manhattan and strong health sciences and media studies programs.
Hempstead, New York