How is Muhlenberg College and a few questions...

I just came across this LAC in Allentown PA. Would like to know more about it from the students, parents and alumni.

  1. How rigorous are the academics and professors?
  2. Being a Christian college, what effect does religion / how impacting is the religion in the academics and college for an atheist? Are there any required religious courses to be taken?
  3. How's the Finance major program here? How quantitative is it? Is there OCR?
  4. Is Muhlenberg in a safe area comparatively to the not so safe Allentown?
  5. How's the Financial Aid here? Being a 1600SAT, 4.0GPA, EFC 0 with no assets, the rough estimate NPC gapped me $3,745 not to include health insurance costs. Can it actually be lower than this?
  6. Does Muhlenberg practice front loading of grants?
  7. Overall, how's the college life/Greek and competitiveness here?

Hi! I’m a rising sophomore at Muhlenberg so I can answer a few of these questions :slight_smile:

  1. Academics at Muhlenberg are pretty challenging, and we have very strong theatre and science departments. As a theatre (acting concentration) and neuroscience double major, my first year was full of mostly introductory science classes that I have heard acted as “weed out” classes, but I’ve also heard that it gets better as you progress into upper level classes.
  2. Muhlenberg is Lutheran-affiliated, but this has no impact whatsoever on academics, and there is no religion requirement.
  3. The campus itself is in a residential area, and personally I’ve walked back from studying at the library alone at around midnight and have never felt unsafe. Freshmen are given numbers to Campus Safety and can call for a ride back to their residence halls/other buildings if they feel unsafe.
  4. A lot of the people I know have gotten pretty good financial aid. Personally, the cost was part of why I chose to come to the school. Your stats seem pretty good, so a merit scholarship is definitely not unattainable. We also offer various talent grants and if you’re in an Honors program I believe you get a stipend as well.
  5. Around 20% of the student body is Greek. It’s there if you want it, but it doesn’t negatively affect your overall social experience if you’re not interested. You aren’t allowed to rush until your sophomore year, and this is to give you time to adjust to college life and meet people outside of Greek life. We also have a multicultural sorority, a coed music fraternity, and a coed service fraternity that aren’t your typical “social” Greek organizations. These latter 3 organizations can be joined freshman year I believe, at least the service and music fraternities. My friend is in the service frat and they get lots of community service opportunities.

Sorry I couldn’t get to every question, but hope this helps!

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Many Jewish students attend Muhlenberg College. Its not Lutheran focused anymore.

Have you looked into Swarthmore College? You want to find very generous financial aid colleges
given your high states but low income.

Vanderbilt U in Nashville Tennessee is one of the most generous schools for financial aid, along the lines
of Yale and Harvard, so the very top financial aid in the nation.

Also think about applying to the Quest Bridge program. It matches low income high stats students
to top financial aid colleges.
See this website:
https://www.questbridge.org

Even if you do not get a Quest Bridge match, the process may be helpful to you, to understand more
about full aid schools that may be available to you.

I would not worry too much about Muhlenberg’s Lutheran affiliation. There are not required theology classes or anything like that, and 30% of Muhlenberg’s student population is Jewish! (Hillel lists schools attended by Jews, and Muhlenberg is near the top of the list by percentage.)

@Coloradomama, I’m considering Swarthmore.
The problem with Questbridge is that they take into a/c both parents financial info. Now, I can’t and don’t know anything about NCP except that he earns over $250,000 per annum and has $5-6 million net worth, which when taken into consideration by QB, will make me ineligible for it. If it was only for CP, things would have been different (and easier).

@avonweasley, thanks for the input. That was a very detailed and helpful list of answers.

One doubt though, do they practice front loading of grants? Or at least, have you experienced a change in the amount of grants conferred by the college in succeeding years? I worry that some colleges offer huge grants in the first year to admit students but in the upperclassmen, they don’t. Has it been the case here?

@GuessME5 as far as I know, the financial aid package you receive as an incoming freshman stays with you throughout your time there. There are some things you have to do if you’re on a specific scholarship though, for example maintain a certain GPA for merit scholarships, or be actively involved in theatre productions if you are on a theatre scholarship, etc. As for loans and grants, they should remain constant.

@guessme5 Muhlenberg is a wonderful school. My pre-med daughter ranks it as one of her top choices. However, from what I read in your other posts, Muhlenberg may not be the right place for you. It doesn’t come across as uber competative and cutthroat at all. It has a great reputation in theater and for pre-med, but it certainly isn’t a powerhouse for sending people to wallstreet. I would make very sure that their are strong in the subjects you want.

@gallentjill, thanks very much. That was very useful advice!!

Having visited Muhlenberg several times and having known people who have attended, my impression is that it’s a very happy school with pretty great academics. The town area seems fine (even if the services seem a teensie bit far away from campus). It’s certainly safe. Echoing that the reglious factor is minimal and I know Jewish kids there who love it. I think there’s a special Kosher dining room, but check to see if that’s the case. I know you’re not Jewish but it’s a sign of tolerance of various viewpoints. We are a fine upstanding atheist family ourselves and I would have no hesitation of sending my child to Muhlenberg. It was on our list (and still is for nieces, nephews etc.)

Also consider Haverford if you’re considering Swarthmore. The FA is as good and I feel that the atmosphere is better.

@GuessME5 Muhlenberg will not change your financial aid package. What you get your first year is what you will receive all four years. The academics are challenging and the professors are available. The school has a religious affiliation but no real religious requirements. They do hold a few ceremonial events in the chapel like the honors convocation but there are no religious requirements asked of the student body. Campus and the area around campus is very safe. Financial aid is good. Greek life exists but plays a very small part in campus life. I don’t know a thing about the Finance major, sorry. I will say this though, if you are interested in Muhlenberg College show them. Do the interview, meet your local admissions rep, arrange to sit in on a Finance course, etc. Muhlenberg, more than most colleges wants to get to know you as they put together their first year class. Good luck to you!

@GuessME5

Muhlenberg is a CSS Profile school and considers non custodial parental income and assets, unless you have a non-custodial parental waiver.

https://www.muhlenberg.edu/main/aboutus/finaid/applyingforaid/

There are a few merit scholarships that are either full tuition or full ride, can’t remember which.

Haverford and Swarthmore, mentioned upthread, also require CSS profile/non custodial financial info.