Six Reasons to Choose Denison

Why Denison? Here's what our first-year students have to say about why they chose Denison.

Why come to Denison? At the top of the list are Denison’s excellent academic reputation, generous financial assistance and great prospects for a meaningful career. Add the abundant social activities, small class sizes that allow for truly significant faculty mentorships, and the picture-perfect campus, and you’ve identified what matters most to the vast majority of Denisonians. Here are the data and anecdotes to prove it.

In August 2014, we asked entering first-year students (Class of 2018) what contributed to their decision to attend Denison. While many different reasons influenced individual students’ decisions to enroll here, six factors rose to the top:

  • Denison’s very good academic reputation (98%)
  • The outstanding financial assistance awarded from Denison (93%)
  • Denisonians’ strong employment outcomes (90%)
  • Denison’s reputation for its social activities (89%)
  • The good impressions formed during a campus visit (89%)
  • Denison’s small size (88%)

Strong academics are the number one reason our students choose Denison. Intelligent, accessible and inspiring, our professors are dedicated teachers and mentors. They also are charged up about their own scholarship, where they are breaking new ground in areas like solar power and laser technology, neuroscience and fine arts. Their energy is contagious and students benefit from it — in stimulating class discussions, through independent research projects, and by informed advising from faculty who know their fields inside and out and who can support students in their goals.

Denison’s irrefutably strong academic reputation is a compelling asset in applying to graduate schools; our graduates are admitted to law and medical schools at a far higher rate than the national average. In recent years, both law school and medical school applicants from Denison have experienced a 100 percent acceptance rate.

Betsy Fisher, ’10, who earned her JD/MA from the University of Michigan and now serves as a staff attorney at the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project on Amman Jordan said, “Many of my classmates, even from prestigious Ivy Leagues, had never engaged with their professors as peers in the ways that I had been able to.”

“Reading legal texts critically, learning a new style of teaching, writing in a new style, and being willing to approach professors with questions were all things that came to me more easily than my peers.” She added, “In turn, that has translated to success academically. I continue to receive support from my network of Denison mentors — staff, faculty and colleagues — that make themselves available to me for advice and encouragement.”

Denison is committed to making its world-class education affordable, with 96 percent of students receiving need- or merit-based financial aid. The college offers upwards of 1,000 merit-based scholarships to first-year students each year, many ranging from $60,000 to $180,000 across four years. Last year, Denison students received more than $70 million in financial assistance, significantly supported by generous alumni who believe in the power of a Denison education.

These alumni are also great sources of networking and career advice, a substantial asset as Denison leads the charge to position its students for a lifetime of personal and professional success. The skills and experiences gained here continue to serve to alumni as they develop and advance their careers as well as their personal goals. Data collected from the most recently graduated class, with 96 percent of alumni reporting, indicates that within the first six months, more than 85 percent were engaged in work relevant to their careers, with 55 percent employed; more than 20 percent in graduate school; and more than 10 percent in service such as Peace Corps or Teach for America. The remaining graduates, just over 13 percent, were pursuing other interests.

“As a Denison student, I was expected to think critically, write cohesively, grapple with some complex problems, and meet tight deadlines in and outside of the classroom.”

But this early snapshot just begins tell the story. Denison is in the process of surveying alumni who graduated five years ago about their careers and life goals. The college also has established robust LinkedIn groups that connect alumni and current students with peers across many fields, including finance, communication and law.

When reflecting on how Denison prepared him for professional success, Abdi Ali ’13 who majored in history and is now an asset management analyst at Brown Brothers Harriman reflects, “As a Denison student, I was expected to think critically, write cohesively, grapple with complex problems, and meet tight deadlines in and outside of the classroom.”

Ali added, “Because of those rigorous academic standards and training, I am now able to thrive in a very fast-paced and deadline driven environment. In addition, my Denison education has taught me how to apply acquired knowledge and analytical skills to new situations and career opportunities, and that has been a great benefit to both my personal and professional life.”

The depth and breadth of the college’s co-curriculum provides students with opportunities to develop skills, engage in meaningful ways with others on and off campus, and discover interests and passions. Through involvement in student organizations, athletic teams, leadership programs, service projects, and musical and theatrical performances, Denison students forge the skills necessary for professional success — written communication, critical thinking, problem-solving, public speaking and collaboration. They also make deep connections with people that will support and influence them all their lives.

Dan Crawford ’11, who is finishing his master’s in education and applying to optometry schools states, “More than anything, my education at Denison taught me how to think. Denison provided an ideal environment to explore my potential as a leader, a learner, and a global citizen. The culture here forced me to interact with a diverse array of high-performing individuals at the highest level. My experience at Denison set me up to approach every opportunity in my adult life with an awareness and aptitude to succeed. I feel practiced and prepared to make the world around me.”

The small student-to-faculty ratio (9 to1) has an immense impact on student experiences and directly translates into professional success post-Denison. In fact, many alumni attribute their success in the workplace to small class sizes. Julia Douglass ’13, current graduate student in corporate communication at Duquesne University, reflects on how this environment provided her with the confidence to succeed in her professional life: “The smaller class sizes at Denison allow students to volunteer and to voice their opinions — to have the courage to speak in front of and among others. This translated into confidence for me upon entering networking events and group settings.”

The Denison campus, designed by the Frederick Law Olmstead firm, which also designed New York’s Central Park, is strikingly beautiful, with the academic and residential quads all well within walking reach. Upon visiting campus, many current students reflect that they just knew this would be their home for the next four years. And with a less than 30 minute drive to Columbus, the 15th largest city in the nation, Denison is a stone’s throw from the full range of urban experiences, including great shopping and dining, Broadway shows and many opportunities for internships and co-curricular learning.

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February 25, 2015