University of the South (Sewanee)

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Discus: College Admissions: December 2003 Archive: July 2003 Archive: University of the South (Sewanee)
By Justplayin104 (Justplayin104) on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 08:26 pm: Edit

Can you guys tell me about this place? I've had a few friends go there on visits and they all say the same thing about the campus (beautiful!), but can anybody tell me anything else? Student Body? Professors (I hear they're great), Social Scene? Greek Life, if any? Aid?

I'm considering applying there. It ranked high up with the "Professors Get High Marks" along with a lot of well-respected colleges. But I'm wondering, if this place and others like it (Rhodes College comes to mind) have such high rankings with their professors, why aren't they more selective? Just a side note if you care to comment.

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 08:58 pm: Edit

Ah, you're fighting a bit of the "any club who would let me be a member must not be very good" syndrome. Once you get past the very top tier schools in the Northeast, I think selectivity is somewhat overrated as an indicator of quality. Colleges, like clothing fashions, tend to go in and out of popularity --- I remember, for example, that when I was in high school way back when George Washington U was considered an inferior safety school no one wanted to go to and now, of course, it's very popular. Additionally, less well known and smaller schools tend to get fewer applications to begin with and so may not seem as selective at first glance. Other schools are self-selective: they attract a certain type of student or students primarily from a certain geographic area. The University of the South seems like it might fit the self-selective description: it's rather isolated and has a very formal academic atmosphere. All of this doesn't mean that a school with "lower" selectivity is an inferior school.

That said, here's what the Kaplan Guide says about the University of the South:
At the university of the south, known to many as Sewanee," you'll find a formal respect for, reverence for, and involvement in serious academics. The school turns out a large number of Rhodes Scholars and a high percentage go on to law, medical, veterinary and other graduate programs...The extensive distribution requirements include courses in math, science, literature, history and social science, fine and performing arts, foreign language, philogophy, and religion, writing and phys ed...classes are intense, and most have fewer than 20 students. The Honor code taken very seriously...Although not an actual rule, students dress formally for class,(men in coats and ties, women in skirts or dresses) to demonstrate their high regard for their peers and teachers. Students with outstanding GPAs become part of the prestigious Order of the Gowsnmen, who, along with the faculty, where black flowing garments to class...The Honor Code fosters a sense of respect among studetns, and there's no cuttrhoat competitiveness."

If you want to read a review of the school by a recent alumni, go to and do a search for "University of the South" I believe there are some reviews for Rhodes as well.

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