Auburn University is the first land-grant school established in the South. A land-grant school is sanctioned by local and federal governments, “to teach agriculture, military tactics, and the mechanical arts as well as classical studies so that members of the working classes could obtain a liberal, practical education.” It began as an all male school in 1859, became co-ed in 1892, and was re-named numerous times. Currently, the school is named for the city in which it resides. It in located in the state of Alabama just 50 miles from Montgomery, AL and only 35 miles away from Columbus, GA. Today, the university has a staff of nearly 1200 and a student body numbering over 25,000. Academic programs offer degrees which range from Business to Veterinarian Medicine via its many schools and colleges within the university. The College of Agriculture and Engineering began in 1872. Other schools, e.g. Nursing, Education and the College of Architecture, Design and Construction began in the early 20th century. Still others, like the College of Liberal Arts (1986) and the school of forestry and wildlife sciences (1984) began later and are instrumental in attracting students and staff alike.
The course catalog offers over 140 classes in various disciplines. Veteran students can sign up by registering one week before a semester begins. The spring semester begins in January and runs through May. The summer semester is from May to August. The fall semester runs from August to December.
Once registered, students are approved to begin the admissions process after meeting certain criterion. Registration is done on line and in person and each potential candidate is given a time ticket which is simply a deadline to complete registration and begin admission into the university. Freshmen and new applicants should have their applications in by early August. There is a $50 application fee and some new students are eligible for this fee to be waived. All new students must submit transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Different standards apply for students who have some college credits and wish to transfer, such as having a 2.5 grade point average. New transfers also should have taken some basic courses in English, math, literature, and history.
International applicants have additional proficiency tests to take in order to apply. These tests are designed to show international students have the necessary aptitude in English, computer skills, and language arts like reading and writing.
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All students, new or current, have to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine financial aid eligibility. The FAFSA allows applicants to find out how much funding they can receive. Types of aid include need-based grants and unsubsidized and subsidized loans from the federal government.The University also offers institutional grants and scholarships to incoming freshmen and current students.
Several scholarships are awarded each year, including scholarships associated with affiliate schools in Georgia, Tennessee and Florida. Residents of Alabama can apply for special scholarship programs and some of the departments within the university offer scholarships as well. Scholarships that Auburn students have received in the past include the National Scholars, the Spirit of Auburn, the Elite, and the Auburn Spirit Foundation. Other undergraduate scholarship categories are in athletics, ROTC, Alumni, Board of Trustees, Transfer, and General. Some are renewable each year while others cover a full four year term. Award amounts can range from $500 to $20,000 or more. Most require students to maintain a 3.0 G.P.A or better along with a SAT score of 1250 or higher.
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The athletics department offers sports for men and women. Both men and women can choose basketball, cross country, golf, swimming and diving as well as track and field and tennis. Men also have football and baseball. The women’s athletics clubs include equestrian, gymnastics, softball, and volleyball. The equestrian team has a particularly strong reputation. The football and baseball teams are members of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
The school mascot is a tiger and the colors are orange and blue. The football team plays in the famous Jordan-Hare stadium which seats nearly 88,000 fans. It is named after the football coach with the most wins for Auburn, Ralph Jordan and a Mr. Clifford Hare, who was a well known and well respected football player for the Tigers. The stadium is one of the 10 largest in the country, and has been in existence since 1939.
Because of the university’s excellent programs in the sciences and liberal arts, alumni have gone on to achieve great accomplishments. A retired astronaut, Thomas Mattingly, graduated in 1958. Forest McCartney, a former director of the Kennedy space center and retired lieutenant general, graduated in 1952. Hank Hartsfield, Jr. graduated in 1954 and worked alongside McCartney in piloting the final flight of the Columbia space shuttle in 1984. He is also a retired NASA astronaut and retired Air Force pilot. Kathryn Thornton, a 1974 graduate, is also a retired astronaut. She flew on the Discovery, the Columbia, and the Endeavor space shuttles.
Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.