I am a Science Major at Ursinus College finishing my senior year.
What drew me to Ursinus College was the "beautiful campus, outstanding accommodations, access to Philadelphia and the renowned pre-health professionals program." I weighed Ursinus carefully with several other small, liberal arts colleges before deciding it was "the best fit."
However, the more time I spent at the school, the more I realized that Ursinus College is just another overpriced and underfunded Liberal Arts safety school.
Let me first start off my saying that you should NOT trust the website pictures or the tour guides. "Some people I may know" have been paid very handsomely by the school to wear "preppy and collegiate" clothing, which the college provides, while posing with other, good-looking students. The tour guides are instructed to avoid certain topics that may put the school in a bad light, even if it means completely lying to our tour group. Common lies are:
1. Ursinus is conveniently located near Philadelphia and the King of Prussia mall (there is no direct transit to Philadelphia or KOP, you must take 2.5 hours of roundabout trains and buses)
2. The sciences are the backbone of the college (The school has been making dramatic cuts to science research and education at the expense of Division 3 sports, which they feel will help promote the school better)
3. Ursinus has a friendly social environment (Alcohol and Drug culture is OUT OF CONTROL. EMS is constantly shipping people to the hospital at all hours of the night. There is no little-to-no oversight by faculty or police, meaning that students of ALL AGES drink openly and without consequence. There is a serious risk of sexual assault and alcohol poisoning compared to other liberal arts colleges. Greek life runs the campus like something out of a very dark Animal House. Be VERY aware of bullying.)
4. The food is great for a college. (Lie of the Year award for this one. It is common knowledge that the only days students look forward to eating on campus are the days that Ursinus is running tour groups. It is on these days that you are less likely to get violent diarrhea from the food served. If you get a chance, ask someone on campus what they call the "follow up" to eating at Wismer Dining Hall...it is actually pretty funny...and sad.)
However, in fairness, the school does have some positive aspects.
1. The Chemistry Department is OUTSTANDING. They EASILY compete with Ivy League schools. The professors are brilliant, inspirational, approachable and wonderful to learn from. If you are someone pursuing a degree in Chemistry (especially Organic Chem) then it may be worth it to ignore some of the negative aspects of the school.
2. Most professors care. The school is going through a "rough-patch" since the death of our former president. There have been financial strains and policy disagreements. The Office of Admission, the Board of Trustees and Athletic Directors are fighting over money at the expense of students and faculty. However, you can always be sure that your professor knows what is going on and that they are there for you.
3. While the music department still needs work, the Theater Department puts on GREAT productions. Theater is one of the only things other than athletics that thrives at Ursinus. They fight tooth and nail for every penny and resource they can get, but they pull through and manage to put on memorable and inspired performances that are accessible to ALL students.
4. Special Accommodations. They are taken very seriously and all conditions can accommodated for, if it is special housing, academic accommodations or something more specific, the school does a good job making your college experience a little better.
In summary, Board of Trustees ("The Man") = Evil
Professors = Great
Students = Disheartened or too drunk to care.
Things to do (other than drugs and alcohol) = Scarce
Housing = Not bad
Food = Laxatives
Athletics = Get more than they deserve Should you go here = Only if your are alum, a chemistry major or an alcoholic.