GRAND Report: Elon University
Updated: Mar 11
Last April, I had the opportunity to spend the day at Elon University, a mid-sized, private institution located about half an hour from Greensboro, North Carolina. After a fabulous campus tour led by an outgoing and engaging guide, I wandered around campus for a bit. I talked to various students, faculty members, and admissions counselors, and could tell this was a pretty special place. Keep reading the GRAND report to see if Elon could be your GRAND fit school.
Elon felt like a quintessential college campus. The town of Elon supports the college, and the college supports the city. The 6000 undergrads create an environment that isn’t too overwhelming, but also not small enough where you will see the same people each day. While ethnic diversity can be improved (80% white), geographic diversity is strong. 82% of students come from outside the state, and 47 countries are represented on campus.
Elon evaluates students holistically, and students can apply via the Common Application, the Coalition Application, or the Elon Application. Beginning Fall 2021, Elon is test-optional for admissions, but students must submit a standardized test before enrollment. Additionally, Elon pays close attention to academic rigor, grades in academic courses, and the admissions essay. Students can apply Early Decision, Early Action, or Regular Decision, and Elon accepts about 78% of applicants.
Elon boasts about student-centered learning, a phrase that is heard on many college campuses. However, with a student to faculty ratio of 12:1 and no class over 50 students, I believe this to be an accurate claim. Elon is lauded for its undergraduate teaching and innovation. All students at Elon must take the Core Curriculum, made up of 6 interrelated parts: First-Year Foundations, Experiential Learning, World Languages, Studies in the Arts and Sciences, Advanced Studies, and Interdisciplinary Capstone. While the Liberal Arts education makes Elon who it is, Elon is also one of 7 private universities in the US with accredited schools of business, communications, education, law, and health sciences. Additionally, Elon operates on a 4-1-4 calendar, which includes a traditional Fall and Spring term, plus a 4 week January term.
Elon makes sure first-year students get off on the right foot by offering several programs that ease the transition. In addition to new student orientation, incoming students can also participate in a First-Year Summer Experience, like hiking part of the AT or travel to the Outer Banks. Additionally, all first-year students take Elon 101, taught by your academic advisor.
Elon has an engaged student body, and there are more than 280 organizations to choose from. 89% of students participate in some sort of service, and 27% of students conduct faculty-mentored research. By far, the most popular activity on campus is studying abroad. Elon has the number 1 program in the nation, and 83% of students participate in Global Study. Students can travel to another state or the other side of the world, choosing from over 100 programs that last one week to two years. Elon also has 17 Division-1 teams and is a member of the Colonial Athletic Association.
Elon is a traditional campus, with 8 residential neighborhoods, and each neighbor has it’s unique theme/vibe and community leaders. Some are exclusive to first-year students, like the Historic Neighborhood. The Loy Center is home to fraternities and sororities, and upper-level students tend to live in The Oaks or the Station at Mill Point. All Freshmen live on campus, and 68% of all students live in school housing. Elon strives to transform the mind, body, and spirit of each student while encouraging freedom of thought and liberty of conscience. Honesty, integrity, responsibility, and respect are core values and make up the honor code. Students at Elon are critical thinkers, open-minded, relational, and future-focused. To learn more, schedule a visit, or take a virtual tour.
Elon’s cost of attendance (tuition and fees) as of July 2020 is $51,062. Need and merit-based awards are available. Despite this price tag, Elon is consistently considered a “Best Value“ school. Elon has a 79% 4-year graduate rate, well above the national average for private universities. For the Class of 2018, 89% of students complete at least one internship before graduation, and 97% of graduates were employed, in graduate school, completing a fellowship or working for a service organization. Part of the success is due to the Student Professional Development Center, where students receive dedicated and lifelong support. They receive support throughout their Elon career, and create personal development plans, resumes, practice for interviews, and develop their networking skills.