West Chester University of Pennsylvania (West Chester) is a public university located about 25 miles west of Philadelphia. The university has been in existence since 1812 and has seen many changes, including name changes, throughout the years. In 1983, the university assumed its current name when it became a member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
The school is especially well-known for its attractive campus. One section, featuring buildings made of native serpentine stone, is a designated Historic District by the National Register of Historic Places. The historic district includes the Old Library, Recitation Hall, and Ruby Jones Hall.
Students can pursue the following undergraduate degrees: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Education, and a Teaching Certificate. Graduate programs include Masters of Science, Masters of Business Administration, Masters of Arts, Masters of Education, Masters of Public Health, Masters of Music, The university also offers graduate studies in law, theology, and medicine and a variety of certificates in computer science, health, kinesiology, music, mathematics, and more.
Areas of Strength
This college is remarkable for its strengths in formal poetry and Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Interdisciplinary studies are also a featured part of academic life. Areas of study with transcript recognition include American studies, ethnic studies, Latin American studies, Russian studies, peace and conflict studies, women’s studies, and linguistics.
Dual Degree Programs
WCU participates in a 3-2 dual degree program with Pennsylvania State University to expedite master’s degrees for students in liberal arts, physics, and engineering. The school also has admissions agreements with the Drexel School of Medicine, Temple University School of Medicine, Widener School of Law, and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Frederick Douglass Society
West Chester is considered to be a particularly welcoming and nurturing environment for African American students, in part due to the Frederick Douglass Society. The society is an organization of faculty and staff and raises money for several scholarships.
The Institute for Women
The Institute for Women oversees the Women’s Studies Program, the Women’s Center, and a number of other programs and awards on campus, including scholarships for older female students.
National Student Exchange Program
The university is a member organization of the National Student Exchange Program, allowing their students to study for as long as a year at one of over 170 schools in the United States.
The admissions office evaluates applications on a rolling basis. Prospective students must submit an online application, a modest fee, a personal statement, a high school transcript with high school counselor form, and official SAT or ACT scores. Applicants should have a combined SAT of 1020 or higher, a GPA of 3.0 or better in college preparatory curriculum, and should graduate in the top 40% of their class. The average admitted student has a high school GPA of 3.45, a combined SAT or 1078, and ranks in the top 31% of his or her class. Students are also expected to have studied 4 years of English, 3 years of math, 3 years of science, 3 years of social studies, and some foreign language.
Further Requirements by Department
Students applying to the music programs will need to audition as well. Interviews are required for students applying for Athletic Training, Pre-Medical, Pharmaceutical Product Development, and Respiratory Care.
Students who show promise but do not meet the standard academic requirements for admission may enter West Chester through a reduced course load program or, for Pennsylvania residents, after successfully completing the Summer Academic Development program.
In addition to the wide range of state and financial aid options open to any college or university student in Pennsylvania, West Chester offers several of their own need- and merit-based scholarships. The majority of students receive aid of some kind. Merit based scholarships are available to students with SAT scores of over 1200 and who rank in the top 20% of their class. Students who meet these criteria are encouraged to apply early in the fall of their senior year. Many students in math and science degree programs receive scholarship funds from the Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium.
Student Financial Aid Details
There are more than 25 Greek organizations on campus. Fraternities and sororities sponsor campus-wide activities and events, participate in service opportunities, and provide leadership opportunities on campus.
West Chester is known for its large and disciplined marching band, which has performed in such venues as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Philadelphia Eagles games, and the Bands of America Grand National Championships.
Dining on Campus
There are eleven different dining locations on campus, including both traditional dining halls and convenient options such as Starbucks, Einstein Bros Bagels, and a Taco Taco Food Truck. There are many vegetarian and vegan options, and students with special dietary restrictions are encouraged to meet with the executive chef to ensure that their needs are met.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The athletics department is known as the Golden Rams. The Golden Rams compete in NCAA Division II. Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, and track & field. Women’s sports include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, field hockey, golf, gymnastics, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, and volleyball.
The Campus Recreation department offers sports clubs, intramural sports, group fitness, recreational swims, and a fully equipped fitness center free for student use.
Well-known alumni include Second Lady of the United States Jill Biden, composer Melissa Dunphy, rapper Asher Roth, actor Tom Wright, New York Yankees second baseman Pat Kelly, and professional hockey player Jim Gehring.
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.