Rhode Island, University of (URI)

College review by Lisa Bleich

The University of Rhode Island (URI) is a pretty campus built on a hill. There is a small college town with standard college fare such as Dunkin Donuts, pizza shop, and Subway.  95% of freshmen live on campus and upper class students move off campus to live in fraternity or sorority houses or 15 minutes away in Narragansett by the beach.

Student Life

Students look like typical college students, wearing a mix of jeans, sweats, and tops with scarves. They were a fairly homogeneous group, however 17% of this year’s class were students of color.  Most students come from New England, NY and NJ.

Long known as a party school, URI seems to be cracking down on underage drinking.  Students still find plenty of opportunity to party off campus.  However, our tour guide, an English and Creative Writing major from Connecticut, did not seem like the party type.  She spent a lot of her weekends reading and studying.  She enjoyed the English classes, particularly the one where she got to read Lord of the Rings for credit!

About 15% of students participate in Greek life.  Many of these students live in their sorority or fraternity house.   There are also philanthropy based Greek houses that participate in Relay for Life and other community service projects.   Greek week includes the popular event called “Greek Sing” where brothers and sisters sing A cappella, lip sync and dance.

URI students playing pool


Standout programs include: Nursing, Pharmacy, Marine Biology, International Interdisciplinary Programs in Engineering and Business, Animal Science, Textile Design and Fashion Merchandising.  (They boast one of the largest collections of historical clothing.)

URI offers strong advising to students and good academic learning support.  Approximately 30 students go onto medical school each year with an accept rate of 80%.  They weed out students and only present those that they think will get into medical school.

All students take URI 101, which teaches them how they learn best and helps them identify their strengths.  URI also has several living learning communities.  Every college offers one for students of similar majors.  These are very popular and are offered to students on a first come first served basis.   Within these learning communities, upper classmen help students study before big exams.  This helps build a strong sense of community.



The general profile for accepted students is a 3.4 GPA and an ACT 24/ SAT 1660.  The EA deadline for top merit scholarships is December 1.

Scholarships for out of state students range from $4,000 to $13,500.  Tests play a bigger role in determining scholarship awards.  URI also has an honors program.  Some majors require auditions, such as the music major.

The most competitive programs are Nursing (3.64 GPA, 1200 CR/M SAT, only 150 slots), Pharmacy (top 10%, 1300 SAT) and Engineering, Math and Science. (Requires a 550 SAT minimum for Math).  For these programs students must get their completed application in by December 1

Their applications overlap with UMASS Amherst, Northeastern, Stonehill College, Quinnipiac, Boston University and The University of Delaware


URI is a great school for students looking for a smaller state school near the beach and interested in some of the stronger majors.  Keep in mind that while the beach is beautiful, it also creates a wind tunnel; so bring a heavy coat and scarf!

University of Rhode Island
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