Case Western Reserve University


Case Western Reserve University has seen many large-scale improvements, including those to the undergraduate general education requirements. Most students, including me, dread having to take classes in which they have absolutely no interest, but are required to receive their degree. It can be especially hard for freshmen to adjust to the competitive, high-intensity learning atmosphere at Case while lost in undergraduate classes with hundreds of other students. Starting fall 2005, all incoming students are enrolled in the SAGES curriculum, an undergraduate requirement program enabling students to make selections among diverse course choices, as well as enjoy close personal attention from professors in smaller classes sizes.

In addition to the curriculum, the physical campus itself is getting a major face-lift. Currently, Euclid Avenue, one of Cleveland’s major streets, cuts the campus in half, effectively dividing the undergraduate population by a thirty-minute walk between North and South Residential Villages. Work was completed summer 2005 to centralize most undergraduate housing on the North Side of campus, allowing classmates to more easily interact and creating a much more cohesive atmosphere and culture on campus. The South Residential Village houses some students and a number of fraternities and sororities.


When considering which school to attend, location usually factors into the final decision, so why pick Cleveland? There are no mountains, no rolling green fields or glittering lakes flanked by glaciers, and no antiquated academic buildings smothered in ivy, but there are myriad other things of more value than stereotypical campus aesthetics. Case is integrated into the city of Cleveland and located in the center of University Circle, home to a multitude of excellent cultural institutions, such as the Cleveland Museum of Art, Severance Hall, and the Cleveland Institute of Art and Cleveland Institute of Music. A massive medical complex is positioned in the center of campus, home to university hospitals and the medical, dental, and nursing Schools. The famed Cleveland Clinic is just blocks away.

The architecture is as impressive as the culture, exemplified by the sturdy, modern style of Kelvin Smith Library’s spiral stairways and flowing open spaces, and the eccentrically designed Peter B. Lewis building, which looks, honestly, like a titanic soda can exploded and warped the brick building on which it sits. While it may not be the most classically picturesque campus to choose, it is absolutely jammed with every type of institution possible and all within walking distance of student housing.


Case is known mainly as an engineering school, but lurking within that blanket reputation is a thriving liberal arts community. Case is about variety, with its four undergraduate colleges (nursing, business management, engineering, and arts and sciences), and offers students plenty of opportunity to explore whichever educational options may be tugging at their intellects. Sitting in an English class, you may be surprised to discover that nearly half the students are electrical engineering majors, some of whom are double-majoring in world literature, and others who are pursuing a political science degree. At Case, there is no need to stress over knowing exactly what subject to major in on the first day because there is so much opportunity to try different educational avenues. If you don’t like the direction you’re headed, or want to pick up an extra major, then you are free to do exactly that. In fact, it’s encouraged; double-majoring is far from uncommon. It’s not unusual to pass by a Japanese class and see a math major, or computer science classes and spot several philosophy majors, because it’s that type of explorative, open-minded mindset that Case cultivates.

Experiences at Case can range from brain meltingly boring to rocket-propelled merry-go-round exciting. It depends on who you are and what you’re looking for. If you’re looking to sit down every night with your studies and dedicate yourself fully to your grades, then you will get good grades. A lot of students at Case make the decision to do this, which is, in part, why Case gets a reputation for being a “nerdy” school. This is unfortunate—tragic almost—given the opportunities available to students. Apply and attend and you will be surprised as long as you want to be surprised. Opportunity is here for an amazingly unique experience that is not just academic, but social and cultural and anything else you can think of. You just have to be willing to get off the couch and go find it.

Information Summary

Ranks 4th in Ohio and 114th overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
Overall Score (about) 94.7
Total Cost On-Campus Attendance $67,332
Admission Success rate N/A
ACT / SAT 75%ile scores 34 / 1520
Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 14 : 1
Retention (full-time / part-time) 95% / 100%
Enrollment Total (all students) 11,890


While you may find freshmen sitting in the morning dark, staring at computer monitors with fingers poised over the keyboard as the hour of class registration draws near, you won’t find any upperclassmen doing the same. The fact is, none of Case’s classes are that crowded, and only a handful actually fill up within the first few days of registration, so there is no need to stress about signing up at the earliest possible moment. As a freshman, the introductory math and sciences classes are generally the most populated, but no student should have trouble getting in. If a student does get locked out of a class, there’s always plenty of variety left to choose from.


This variety has been further expanded with the implementation of the Seminar Approach to General Education and Scholarship program, or SAGES. Incoming students enroll in what is called a First Seminar. These courses are small, limited to seventeen students. Every course will be taught by a Case faculty member who will function as the students’ advisor for the freshman year. That way, instead of being immediately thrust into an open-ended college environment, students will be in close contact with someone who can give advice and help map out the academic path their students wish to follow, which is certainly helpful given the myriad opportunities available. Instead of sitting around and listening to droning lectures for hours, like so many other freshmen courses, First Seminars promote student discussion allowing peer interaction and letting students express their ideas and experiences. The three hours a week dedicated to the First Seminar will be accompanied by “fourth-hour activities” that incorporate the cultural and scientific institutions around University Circle, including the Cleveland Natural History Museum, Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Western Reserve Historical Society, allowing students to get out of the classroom for a change.

First Seminar courses are followed in the students’ later years by University Seminars, Departmental Seminars, and a Senior Capstone course, all of which let students concentrate on and study what interests them. Aside from the main SAGES courses, students are free to experiment with the course selection to fulfill their breadth requirements, which range across Case’s wide variety of subjects. SAGES is designed to focus on students’ writing as well. Instead of taking an introductory writing course, SAGES classes will, in addition to Case faculty, be staffed with writing teachers, usually graduate English students, to give each student close attention to their content and style.

Aside from SAGES, Case’s undergraduate students benefit from a great deal of freedom. Instead of requiring students to be admitted to specific undergraduate colleges such as an engineering college or a physical sciences college, students are free to study whatever subjects they feel like pursuing. This translates to a theater major being able to take an electrical engineering course with no more hassle than clicking the “add course” button through Case’s on-line class registration system. While some may not feel the need to experiment with their course selections, the fact that the option is available is useful, just in case something really interesting pops up in a subject that is not your major. Physical education is also part of the curriculum, where students can golf, play racquetball, practice tennis, or keep up their running regimen.

I was originally planning on majoring in physics. I ended up with an English degree. Because of Case’s open-ended course selection structure I was able to discover and fully explore English after initially taking two semesters aimed at physics, and earn my B.A. within the allotted four years in addition to minors in philosophy and psychology. Ironically, it was at Case, a school known for its engineering, that I discovered my interest in writing for the first time. The courses offered in the two subjects through the English department and the humanities courses in general are excellent, thanks to the dedicated faculty and the intelligent, driven student community.

College Scholars Program

Students have the opportunity to apply to the College Scholars Program (CSP) during their freshman year. If accepted, they would take one CSP course for three credits per semester for the remaining three years of their undergraduate study. CSP courses emphasize studentdirected study and service learning, and allow groups of students to meet and discuss issues with professors and, often, distinguished guests such as, in the past, Kurt Vonnegut and Ralph Nader. The program also provides the option to live in CSP-specific housing consisting of single rooms and fully equipped kitchens.


Because Case is embedded in a metropolitan setting, it’s easy to get some real-world experience through internships. Whether it is with an engineering firm or an independent newspaper, Cleveland companies are eager for student workers, and look to Case to turn out capable candidates. This provides an opportunity for students to gain knowledge that can’t be learned in the classroom. One hundred and sixty employers offer students co-op programs that may be alternated with classroom study. Also available are study abroad programs, a Washington semester, and work-study programs, as well as accelerated degree programs, B.A./ B.S. degrees, student-designed and dual majors, 3-2 binary engineering degrees, nondegree study, and independent study.

Most Popular Fields of Study


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Case accepts a large percentage of its applicants, accepting seventy percent of the pool in a recent year. This doesn’t mean Case opens the floodgates to anyone who submits a completed application, but it’s certainly worth applying if your high school career went well, especially considering the dollars available from financial aid. Case’s student body is comprised largely of highly qualified applicants. Fifty-one freshmen in a recent class finished first in their high school, eighty-two percent of the current freshmen finished in the top fifth of their class, and ninety-six percent finished in the top two-fifths. Of the new freshmen there were forty-three National Merit Finalists. More than thirty percent of students accepted at Case score 700 or above on the SAT Verbal section and more than half scored 700 or better on the SAT Math section. More than seventy percent scored above 27 on the ACT. Applicants are required to submit a writing sample and a recommendation. As a bonus, the application fee of $35 is waived for those who apply online. But admission to Case isn’t all grades. The Admissions Department takes into account Advanced Placement or honors courses taken as well as extracurricular activities and leadership qualifications. Generally, a score of 4 or above on an AP exam receives college credit.

There are more options available to incoming students than just applying to Case’s undergraduate programs. Case allows prospective students to put in for a B.S.N. degree at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, a double major through the Cleveland Institute of Art or Cleveland Institute of Music, or the Preprofessional Scholars Program (PPSP). The PPSP allows applicants, if accepted and able to maintain a certain grade point average, to be conditionally accepted at Case’s medical, dental, or law schools, as well as Case’s Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. Given the difficulty of getting into such professional schools, competition is more heated and admissions requirements more stringent for PPSP applicants. Applicants are free to apply to any school or program they choose, but, if accepted, PPSP applicants always have a reserved spot in one of Case’s professional schools. Applicants have the opportunity to be admitted during the fall, spring, and summer.

Standardized tests should be taken by the fall of your senior year in high school, though Case recommends you take them during your junior year. For fall entry, admissions materials need to be filed by January 15th and applicants will be notified of a decision by April 1st.

Financial Aid

Ask any undergraduates about why they decided to attend Case and you’ll hear one common answer: money. To the students who are accepted it’s true, Case hands them a respectable chunk of money, whether it is in financial aid grants or scholarships. Most recently, eighty-four percent of undergraduate students at Case received financial aid, the average financial aid package being $35,584, which, needless to say, is a lot. There are many varied scholarships available to freshmen, including President’s, Trustee’s, National Merit, and Creative Achievement scholarships, all of which are awarded on the basis of achievements and credentials.

Students, much like me, will find it necessary to work during school just so they’re not completely without a little pocket money. For that, Case offers work-study awards as part of the financial aid packages. There is a wealth of jobs available to students on workstudy, most with flexible hours that can be worked around class times since employers recognize education as students’ priority. All positions anywhere, even if you’re just handing out towels at the Veale Athletic Center, pay really well. It’s without a doubt an option worth looking into, even if you’re not a student with a work-study award, though the work-study students are given priority.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 4416th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Ohio.


A lot of people like to knock Cleveland for being a run-down city with nothing to do, but they obviously have never been here or looked around very hard. Cleveland is absolutely brimming with opportunities for entertainment, whether you are looking for cinema, music, food, art, theater, anything, it’s pretty much right around Case’s campus.

Off-campus Places of Interest

Since Case is located directly in the center of University Circle, students are a short walk away from the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the Cleveland Botanical Garden, Severance Concert Hall, which is home to the Cleveland Orchestra, and many more cultural institutions. While those things are great for a Saturday afternoon or a quiet evening, or just impressing your parents, Cleveland is ripe with opportunities for college students to toss the books out the window and have some fun.

One of the first things that usually comes to mind when a person mentions Cleveland, is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And that’s great to visit. Once. In all honesty, it’s a bland tourist attraction, but it seems to be a beacon that brings in some of the best music acts. It’s amazing how many bands make Cleveland one of their stops, and there are plenty of places for them to play as well, all located fairly close to campus. These aren’t just big, headliner bands playing at major venues, but also popular underground bands and others more obscure. You’ll find music and see acts in Cleveland that you’d never have the opportunity to see on other campuses.

The school’s shuttle service, small buses oddly called “Greenies” (they’re not green at all), cart students around campus and the near vicinity. One of their regular routes is to Coventry, about a two-minute drive from campus, where students can find dingy stages that boast an incredibly diverse lineup of live acts. Any night of the week, if the books are getting to be too much, which is more than likely to happen (students at Case will spend most of their time studying), students can shuttle over and catch a music show—be it death metal, psychedelic electronics, or folk music—then walk right down Coventry and get a burrito, or a fine Chinese dinner. They can shop for trendy clothes, buy a video game or DVD, browse for antiques, buy a classic novel, pick up milk and cereal for tomorrow morning, and do their dry cleaning. Or students could walk over to Little Italy, pretty much right on campus, for fine dining, drinks, doughnuts, or to browse through art galleries. Or, if students feel adventurous, they could step onto the RTA, Cleveland’s transit system, for a ten-minute ride downtown to see professional baseball, football, and basketball games, or yet more shopping, fine dining, and entertainment.

But more likely, you’ll be sequestered in your dorm room, poring over books and battling the urge to flip on your computer to distract yourself. Again, students at Case study a lot. Those who aren’t ready to fully commit themselves to their academics drop out fast. The SAGES program might make it a little easier to transition into Case’s environment, but without the understanding of school as the main priority, things can start to pile up pretty quickly.

Clubs and Organizations

As one might expect from a group of motivated students, new groups and organizations are being created and expanded all the time. Whether it is philanthropy, media, or honorary groups, Habitat for Humanity, Mortar Board, or Ignite (Case’s student-run television station), in addition to academic, performance, political, ethnic, religious, and athletic groups, there is plenty of opportunity for students to get involved. There’s also a thriving Greek community on campus, in which thirty percent of Case’s students actively participate. In fact, Greek Week, along with the Hudson Relays and Springfest, is among the most popular events on campus.

Campus Groups

Like to get involved around campus and in the community? Case has a wide range of groups organized to give every student a chance.

On campus you’ll find:

  • 10 honorary societies
  • 16 athletic clubs
  • 37 special-interest organizations
  • 12 religious groups
  • 5 political organizations
  • 16 service clubs
  • 19 performance groups
  • 23 ethnic clubs
  • 5 competitive teams
  • 27 academic groups
  • 9 media organizations
  • 25 fraternities and sororities
  • 5 governing organizations

The Network

One thing Case is particularly proud of and what students may find most appealing is what is referred to as The Network. Case students’ computers are linked to each other through a switched-gigabit connection that allows blazing fast transfer speeds of any file types. In total, about 12,800 locations are linked to each other around Case including libraries, residence halls, laboratories, and pretty much every other building on campus. This allows for the material and handouts of many courses to be posted online and remain easily accessible, which is certainly a welcome alternative to lugging around binders bursting with files and those pesky course syllabi that seem to consistently escape through holes in students’ backpacks. What’s even more impressive is that Case’s network has gone wireless. This makes it possible to head out to one of the many parks in the area with your computer on a clear day and type that essay that’s due next week without being stuck inside. Having a computer on campus, whether it’s a desktop or a laptop, really makes things easier.

I used to be that guy, sitting around the dorms complaining about having to constantly study and how there was nothing fun to do. So I went Greek, like many of the people I knew in my dorm. I think the entire floor in my dorm went Greek. It turned out to be a great decision, putting me in touch with a large network of like-minded individuals and leading to my finding some of my closest friends in school.


Though many students like to knock the dorms for being for dorks, few will have reason to do so with the construction of the new residential village. Case is completely revamping how it houses its students, placing them now in what is being dubbed the NRV (North Residential Village). The first phase features three building complexes comprised of seven residential “houses” that are home to approximately 750 upper-class students who get to bask in the apartment-style housing. The actual living quarters boast several bedrooms, each with its own double bed and closet, a bathroom for every two students, and a kitchen with full-sized stove, refrigerator, and microwave. Freshmen and sophomores will certainly have something to look forward to.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


Though at Case you might not expect it, there are plenty of competitive sports and facilities on campus. Intercollegiate sports for men and women total nineteen, with sixty intramural sports for both genders. Dotted around campus are multiple athletic facilities, providing students with tennis courts, all-weather tracks, wrestling, fencing and weight rooms, racquetball courts, facilities for badminton, basketball, volleyball, and squash, as well as an archery range, softball diamonds, baseball, football, and soccer fields. But keep in mind, Case’s focus is academics.


Then there’s graduation. When it comes time to don ridiculous robes and hats and walk across the stage, the degrees you might hear being called out most frequently are in management, biology, and mechanical engineering, which together make up about twenty-five percent of Case’s graduates’ majors. A little more than sixty percent of the students will graduate in four years or less, and more than seventy-five percent will graduate in five years or less. Coming out of college, around forty percent of graduates in a recent year enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation; the other approximately sixty percent found jobs or had other plans.

Aiding students about to graduate is the Career Center, an on-campus office students are free to visit anytime for advice on what opportunities exist. They can put you in touch with alumni among Case’s 95,000 graduates who volunteer their contact information and invite students to ask them about finding jobs. Students can contact those who work in similar fields of interest and set up informational interviews, inquire about what sorts of skills are needed for that type of work, or discover who else might be a good and helpful person to talk to. This sort of networking is crucial in finding the best opportunities, and is readily provided by the Career Center.

Additional resources include Case Career Link, an online campus job search engine where employers post positions and student internships. All the contact information is easily accessible and students are able to create a profile and resumes and cover letters, which they can use to apply to positions or post online and make available for employers to read. For writing the materials necessary for job application, students can set up appointments with Career Center staff for tips on interviewing, help with career assessments, and insight on the job search process.

Prominent Grads

  • Paul Berg, ’52, Cahill Professor of Biochemistry, Emeritus, at Stanford University, 1980 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, in 1991 Chosen as Chairman of the U.S. Human Genome Project Scientific Advisory Committee
  • Andrew Vachss, ’65, Lawyer, Author
  • Christiane Northrup, ’71, Author, Founder of Women to Women Healthcare Clinic, 2004 Recipient of the American Heart Association’s Learn and Live Gold Heart Award
  • Susie Gharib, ’72, Co-anchor of the Nightly Business Report, Won the Gracie Allen Award for Best Anchor
  • Alan Rosenberg, ’72, Actor, TV Credits include ER, The Guardian, L.A. Law, Cybill
  • Dennis Kucinich, ’73, Former mayor of Cleveland, United States Congressman, Campaigned for the Democratic Presidential Nomination in 2004
  • Gary Galbraith, ’86, Artistic Director and Associate Professor of Dance at Case Western Reserve’s Mather Dance Center, Principal Dancer in the World-Renowned Martha Graham Dance Company

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