College Spotlight: Southern Methodist University

Look quickly at the stately, red-bricked Georgian buildings and lush greens and you might think you are on a rural or suburban college campus; but an aerial view of Southern Methodist (SMU) reveals the true star of the campus: Dallas. Set in a wealthy neighborhood of one of the nation's biggest cities, private SMU has an urban campus, offering students limitless opportunities for interaction with the surrounding metropolis, from world-class museums and performing arts to internships and career networking.

In order to foster a greater sense of community on campus, and improve social opportunities beyond a (strong) Greek culture, SMU recently invested heavily in new residential halls, and now requires all students to live on campus for the first two years. An 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio encourages access to teachers, and students also have the opportunity to interact with faculty residing in dorms alongside them. 

Parents who attended SMU, or know of it by reputation, may be surprised to learn how much the school has changed in the last 5 years. In addition to the efforts to create more of a "campus culture," the school has been admitting much higher numbers of out-of-state students, which has increased national visibility as well as overall admissions standards (there has been a 41% increase in applications over the past 5 years). Gone (or at least fading) is the party school reputation of days gone by, as the university works hard to attract serious students with generous offers of merit money and a strong honors program. And while business remains the most popular major by far, new labs and 28 programs are a big draw for potential students of engineering. Not to be overlooked are the highly-ranked visual and performing arts programs, or the world class Meadows Museum (which houses one of the largest collections of Spanish art outside of Spain). Outside visitors are also drawn to campus to visit the George W. Bush Presidential Library, yet another link the school maintains with the surrounding community. 

Fast Facts:

  • 6,400 undergrad students; 4,500 graduate students (57% from out of state)
  • Cox School of Business is ranked among top business schools both nationally and internationally; the Meadows School of the Arts was named the best music school in the US in 2014; the Dedman School of Law ranked 42/194 nationally
  • Average class size is 23 (freshman English capped at 15)
  • Honors students live and study together, taking 7 courses together and working on unique service projects (those not admitted can reapply after first semester)
  • 75% of freshman receive some financial aid; school's large endowment allows for scholarships and new programs
  • Finance is most popular degree, with real estate the largest of 4 concentrations
  • SAT (superscore) mid-50% range: 600-710; ACT mid-50% range: 28-31 

Fun Facts:

  • SMU maintains a campus in Taos, NM, built on the site of a pre-Civil War fort and home to the excavation of a 13th-century Indian pueblo
  • In the 2013-2014 season, SMU men's basketball set a record for home victories 
  • The school was founded largely due to a conflict between the United Methodist Church and Vanderbilt University; SMU became the church's flagship school when Vanderbilt and the Methodist Church broke ties in 1914
  • Famous alums include: TOM's Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie , Aaron Spelling, Kathy Bates, First Lady Laura Bush, NFL Hall-of-Famer Eric Dickerson and Nobel Prize-winning physicist James Cronin

If you would like to learn more about SMU, give us a call!