Union College is a private liberal arts college that was founded in 1795. In 2011, Union College was ranked among the 50 Best National Liberal Arts Colleges. The school year is split into trimesters and students have an extended winter break. Class sizes are very small, with a student to faculty ratio of 11:1. Departments at Union include Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Engineering & Computer Science, and Multidisciplinary Studies. The most popular majors at this school are Political Science & Government, Psychology, Economics, History, and Biological Sciences. Students can design their own majors. 60% of Union students participate in a study abroad or international travel experience.
Union College also offers accelerated professional degree programs with its partner schools. Students can graduate from Albany Law School in 6 years or get a medical degree from Albany Medical College in 8 years. There are accelerated master’s degree programs in the business and education fields as well.
Most Popular Fields of Study
A few years ago, Union College implemented a new system of on-campus housing because Greek life was dominating the social environment on campus. The administration created and funded a non-residential “house system,” where all freshmen are randomly assigned to one of 7 Minerva Houses. The houses are student and faculty residence communities where students live, take classes, and participate in extracurricular activities. Each house has its own student council, which is elected each year by the house members and is led by a faculty member and a student representative.
Admission to Union College is more selective. Applicants can use the common application. Online applications require no fee. The Early Decision deadline is November 15, while the Regular Decision and Early Decision II application deadlines are on January 15. Applicants must submit official transcripts, letters of recommendation, and an essay, but standardized testing is optional.
Transfer students may apply to any of the school’s trimesters. The deadline for fall term applications is May 1, the deadline for winter term applications is November 1, and Spring term applications must be submitted by February 1. Transfer students and international students may need to use different procedures, so they should refer to the website or contact the Office of Admissions for more information about the admissions process.
Union College offers a financial aid program that includes more than $40 million in aid from the school itself as well as from federal, state, institutional and other organizations. More than $32 million in scholarships directly from the school are awarded each year. More than 60% of the students at Union College receive some form of financial aid. Financial assistance comes in the form of grants, loans, scholarships, and work-study. The Financial Aid Office, which is located on the third floor of Grant Hall on the Union campus, provides information and assistance with the financial aid application process. Students and their families are encouraged to contact the office for help or guidance.
Student Financial Aid Details
Each of the apartment-style Minerva Houses has special events such as parties, movie nights, and coffee houses. Each house also has a fully equipped kitchen so that students can prepare their own meals. Theme houses allow students who share a particular interest to live together.
Some popular places where students relax include the Jackson’s Gardens, the West Beach lawn, and the Minerva Houses. Students also frequent Ruspi’s, Gespetto’s, Pinhead Susan’s, and Manhattan Exchange for some fun nightlife. Students can grab coffee at the Starbucks on campus, perform plays at the Yulman Theater, watch movies at the Campus Center, have a drink at Chet’s (the on-campus bar), or visit the gallery in the Arts building. Some of the best places to study on campus are the Schaffer Library, the Nott, and Olin. There is a relatively new gym on campus as well.
There are more than 100 student clubs and organizations, which include more than 15 fraternities and sororities. Greek life at colleges and universities in the United States is generally believed to have been founded at Union College. Students can also do volunteer work in downtown Schenectady.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
Union College’s intercollegiate sports teams, known as the Dutchmen, compete at the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III level, and participate in the Liberty League. The Union men’s and women’s ice hockey teams compete in the Division I Eastern College Athletic Conference Hockey League.
Intercollegiate athletics is offered in 25 sports. For male students, there is baseball, soccer, basketball, crew, swimming, cross-country, ice hockey, football, lacrosse, tennis, and indoor and outdoor track. For women, there is basketball, cross-country, crew, field hockey, ice hockey, soccer, softball, lacrosse, swimming, tennis, indoor and outdoor track, and volleyball.
The school mascot is a costumed man known as Dutch and the school color is garnet. Other notable teams include the women’s soccer team and the men’s football team. Intramural sports such as soccer, softball, broomball, and basketball, are very popular at Union College. The Minerva Houses also compete with each other in sports events.
Every year, Union has an event called the Steinmetz Symposium, during which classes are canceled and hundreds of students present their academic, research, or creative projects. Also, students celebrate the changing seasons each year at Springfest, which is a day of concerts that features celebrity performers like Sean Kingston and Matt Nathanson.
- Chester A. Arthur, 21st President of the United States
- Kate White, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine
- Richard Templeton, CEO of Texas Instruments
- Baruch Samuel Blumberg, Nobel-prize winning doctor who discovered the Hepatitis B virus.
- Alan Horn, producer of Seinfeld and the Harry Potter movies
- Rawson Marshall Thurber, director of Dodgeball and Magnum, P.I.
- Ilene Landress, executive producer of The Sopranos
Additional School Information
Union College’s motto is “Sous les lois de Minerve nous devenons tous freres,” which means that “We all become brothers under the laws of Minerva.” The motto is in French because Union College was one of the first schools to place an equal emphasis on French as on Greek or Latin.
Union College was the first liberal arts college to offer an Engineering program, and it was also once referred to as one of the “Big Four,” along with Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.
- Gordon, Lily, and Aaron Edelstein. Union College: Off the Record. Pittsburgh: College Prowler, 2005.
- “Union College.” Education. U.S. News & World Report, 2011. Web. 9 May 2011.
- Union College. Union College. 2011. Web. 9 May 2011.