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Prospective student...

ps13ps13 Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
edited July 2009 in Denison University
Can anyone tell me what life is like at Denison. My D is looking at applying here but website is not too informative. Can anyone tell me what kind of merit aid they received. We were told this was a very good school for this. She is ACT 30, 4.+ GPA, top of class. What are dorm rooms like?
Post edited by ps13 on

Replies to: Prospective student...

  • Whistle PigWhistle Pig - Posts: 4,093 Senior Member
    For past 2 years, DU has been the only LAC I ranked in top 10 institutions giving merit FA. Our experience was consistent w/ very similar stats to yours. Denison FA is one piece of a strategic plan driven to enhance the academic community and reputation of the school. There have been several other key elements to this process, the major one which took place some 15-20 seasons back when Greek residence houses were transformed into housing units not connected to the frats. Undoubtedly these dynamics are impacting the reality of Denison vs. it's reputation of some years back, and it is a much more academic friendly, focused place today. Another piece of this was requiring students to live on all 4 years, a rather unusual notion even among residential colleges. The idea is to foster that community of students learning, living, socializing together.

    In response, the U. built a number of residential apartment style units (available solely to seniors and possibly a few straggler juniors) and to renovate residence units. Our observation is the former are really delightful, the latter are basic ho-hum dorms. Not bad, not great. We've seen none that are trashy, not kept reasonably clean, liveable. No animal house stuff. Also, those frat houses have become special interest living areas. There is also an honors living house which we've heard good things about.

    This year DU claims students from all 50 states and 27 countries. They have a significant group from China, due to a Chinese prof who nurtures that pipeline. The U. has a reputation for being preppy, and if you look at where students come from, there is some merit to the reality of many students coming from prep schools all over the country. Conversely, while not insignificant, this demographic does not constitute the majority, nor close to it. Most students come from public HS. It may be fair to say however, that even those students like Uggs and puddle boots, thus magnifying perception that is not more than surface covering. It is a social place though, by the nature of it ...geographically separated from its community and beyond, with requirements to live as well as learn there. The Greek scene is there for both men and women, but it does not seem to dominate or exclude in any regard, no doubt primarily being without any residential houses, suites, etc. Students really seem to have little regard for their Greek affinities when it comes to living, socializing. It's a very mixed bag, it seems.

    The town of Granville is picture-postcard New England lovely, with a modest few attractions for students. Pizza places, a few pubs, churches (and there is a church community on campus as well), and the world's BEST custard place (Whit's). Honestly. To die for. So parents and alums love the place, students pooh-pooh it pretty much. But there are many restaurants, movie places, etc. w/in 5-10 miles and many students have cars. The U. also provides free bus transport to the huge nearby Easton mall. Also, sorority/fraternity functions provide free bus transport to social affairs off campus. It's about 25 miles to Columbus, OSU, airport. Our view is that it's the best of most living worlds. The town is increasingly upscale bedroom community for Columbus, Newark, Heath professionals.

    Like virtually every LAC on the planet, it's predominantly white student body chronically working to become less so. They have some notable successes including a long and growing recognition with the Posse Foundation that prepares and sends inner-city students (read mostly minority) for higher-level, competitive campus environments like DU. DU has been one of their great success stories, sending a slew of kids to little Granville from Boston, Chicago, and other urban areas. They seem to do quite well there.

    Conversely, DU gets a lousy rap, and it is most undeserved but seems to somehow always catch the media attention for flares between minorities and other students, which probably means there's progress to be made still in integrating more genuinely. Ex: IM teams seem to be white or black. Accapella singing groups are fabulous ...but they are white and black. Not mixed. Still have BSU group.

    And speaking of that ...this spring, that group screwed up clearly, failed to submit the required paper work to the student gov which funds ALL student groups. This despite multiple warnings, pleas, communiques. In the end, the student gov determined, no funding for BSU. Well, you and the entire planet could predict the outcry of "discrimination" on one side and "failed responsibility to play by the rules and many requests" on the other.

    In the end, the President did, what IMO was the ONLY thing left to him. He agreed with the student gov ruling, implying that the BSU did NOT do its part but of course NOT saying that. He can't w/out generating a bruhaha. And then he told the offenders, he'd fund them from his budget.

    You see, either way, he knew it was a loser. But he's a sufficiently mature administrator and political realist to know that either way, he loses ...and DU loses. So he made a painful decision that is unpopular yet serves the PC realities of DU. Now, there may be more to this event come fall as it was all going down as students were taking their finals, departing campus. My guess is that it'll be a non-event in the fall with hard lessons learned, hopefully. And the president's budget will have less capacity for addressing other needs. Such is life on a college campus, and DU cannot and does not escape eventls like this one. Again, IMO, this reflects an administration that is mature and able to keep its focus on those things that can best serve the U. that has hired them to do just that. Students, no matter their color, make that a tough job.
  • Erin's DadErin's Dad Super Moderator Posts: 35,915 Super Moderator
    DD1 attends (and may be in the same class as WhistlePig's). She loves it. Gets full tuition based on NMF. She lived in Beta house as a frosh (the honors dorm for freshman) and lives in Curtis now. She has made many close friends and is very active in things going on there (at least debating things with me). It certainly has helped her grow.
  • ps13ps13 Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    Great information. Thank you. What is the process (if any) with roommate assignment. The Univ of Richmond says they give an intense survey on your personality/habits etc to try to match you up with a compatible roommate.

    Both of you mentioned an honor's dorm as freshman. Do only the NMF winners get that opportunity?
  • Whistle PigWhistle Pig - Posts: 4,093 Senior Member
    They'll assign or pick your own. People and places. But of course, there are always problems. Everyone does not get the perfect roomie, nor do they always get preferred locale. Ours got both. Cannot speak in any more detail about the honors house or frosh honors dorm. They are different places, I believe.

    Ours too was admitted to Richmond and, no doubt like yours and most DU students, a bunch of other highly selective places with name recognition. The diff is that DU is clearly taking the approach, perhaps of some necessity, of aggressively recruiting these students vs. having the luxury of saying ..."you don't want to pay, we've got someone waiting for your spot." For us it came down to the reality of value and recognition that she'd be going to school with many of the very same students at these other institutions, all of which are excellent. But DU is paying THEM to be there vs. the students (and their parents, more specifically) paying for the privilege of being there.
  • Erin's DadErin's Dad Super Moderator Posts: 35,915 Super Moderator
    I just checked with DD1 and the honors dorm was just that, not just NMFs. Also roommates were matched based on a questionnaire for sleep schedules, study habits, etc.
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