There's a lot to say about the nation's oldest public university. This Athens, Ga. university boasts top notch academics, a powerhouse athletics program and a truly beautiful campus. Here's the scoop:
- The College: The University of Georgia is actually older than its town. UGA was chartered by the Georgia General Assembly in 1785 and describes itself as the birthplace of higher education. Now, a couple of other universities - namely the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the College of William & Mary - would contest that, because UGA didn't begin welcoming students on campus until 1801, but the point is, this is an old and venerable school no matter who gets the "oldest" bragging rights. And it's a splendid one, with federal, classical and antebellum buildings settled on an expansive, tree-lined 615-acre campus. UGA's 34,000 undergrads attend classes on the semester system, so classes typically begin in August and end in May.
- The Tab: UGA is a public university so the tuition tab varies depending on whether your child is a Georgian or not. In-state tuition and fees was $9,472 in 2011-12; out-of-state was $27,682. Freshmen are required to live on campus, so the total bill, including a shared dorm room and meal plan clocks in at $18,180 for in-state and $36,390 for out. Add on another $1,078 for books and $1,562 for incidentals. By the way, UGA's dining halls have a national reputation and the Snelling Dining Commons is one of the few anywhere that's open 24 hours a day, so it's possible that your child may not end up with the pizza expenditures of kids on other campuses. About 24% of UGA's students are involved in Greek life.
- The College Town: This vibrant college town and its 110,000 residents - so really, it's a college city - lies in the rolling hills of northeast Georgia, about 90 minutes drive from Atlanta. Athens is particularly proud of its frequent appearance on lists ranking the top college towns and best arts destinations. You'll find plenty of restaurants and cafes, and more than 40 pubs and nightclubs, many walking distance from campus. If you're doing a big college tour, visiting Agnes Scott, Emory and Georgia Tech, for example, you may want to stay in Atlanta. But if UGA is your primary focus, you'll find plenty of delightful things to fill your time here - this campus houses the 312-acre State Botanical Garden of Georgia, the State Museum of Art and the State Museum of Natural History. And the campus has its own hotel, the Georgia Center, right on campus.(There's a promotional code to use - UGAVC - to get discounted rates.)
- More Important Details: UGA is absolutely enormous - 34,000 undergrads, 140 academic majors and a huge graduate school as well, including a law school that dates back to
1859, a College of Pharmacy that was founded in 1903, and a brand new medical school. UGA also boasts an impressive performing and visual arts complex that includes the Hodgson School of Music, an 1,100-seat Performing Arts Center, the Lamar Dodd School of Art and, as mentioned above, the Georgia Museum of Art. You've heard of the Peabody Awards? Those are awarded by UGA's School of Journalism.
UGA is a Division I school that has won 30 national athletic championships - 20 of them since 1999 alone. Women's gymnastics, swimming, diving, tennis, equestrian and golf are huge here, and Sports Illustrated ranks this campus among the nation's best schools for female athletes. UGA's football fans are a particularly passionate bunch, especially when the game is against arch-rival Georgia Tech, against whom they harbor what they call a "Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate" that dates back to the 1890s. How passionate is the rivalry? We're told that Georgia fans refuse to eat mustard, because the condiment is the same hue as Georgia Tech's school colors.
One final, important note: when strolling the campus, make sure your kid does not walk beneath The Arch, a cast-iron landmark near the main entrance. Campus legend says that anyone who walks under the arch will not graduate in four years.
- Incoming Frosh Stats: UGA accepts about 54% of its applicants. The typical incoming freshman has a 3.8 GPA and an SAT around 1,253.
- The Law School: The typical first year student at UGA's venerable law school, which was founded in 1859, had an LSAT score of 164 and a 3.7 GPA, which puts the school among the most competitive in the country.
- Find Out More: Explore more by visiting the campus web site for information on campus tours and admission requirements. Looking for the actual campus? Head for 405 College Station Road, Athens, Georgia.