At Newman University in Wichita, health care training and the liberal arts result in a 94 percent job placement rate.
“We’re extremely service-oriented, that’s rooted in our Catholic founding,” says Kristen English, director of undergraduate admissions at Newman University in Wichita, Kansas. “Many of our students are very social justice-oriented and interested in serving their campus, local, and global communities.”
Focusing on the liberal arts and pre-professional training (especially in health care fields), Newman University, an Edmit Hidden Gem college, works closely with students and families to determine financial fit and affordability, while also emphasizing strong career preparation. Ninety-four percent of Newman alumni were employed or enrolled in graduate school within a year of graduating.
Studying at Newman
“Our core curriculum, the Newman Studies Program, is specifically designed to arm students with the skills employers value most based on NACE surveys,” says English. “What’s unique about us, from an academic experience perspective, is Newman is very focused on interdisciplinary teaching. We offer professional programs, but we’re really grounded in the liberal arts, and our core curriculum is designed to prepare students for jobs that may or may not exist yet, which we feel is an important role for colleges in this 21st century economy.”
The Edmit team was especially interested in Newman’s Exploratory Program, which enables undecided undergraduate students to check out multiple study tracks before declaring a major, while also working closely with students to ensure an on-time graduation. This controlled experimentation set-up provides students with the opportunity to test out different majors while not falling behind--and not taking on additional costs (e.g., student loan debt) to do so.
Additionally, Newman is especially welcoming to transfer students, and has been designated a 2018 Phi Theta Kappa Transfer Honor Roll institution, which recognizes colleges making significant investments in community college transfer programs.
“Our campus culture is interesting because we have a lot of traditional-aged students who come to us as freshmen right out of high school, but we also have a lot of transfer students,” English says. “We’re a very transfer-friendly institution.”
And while Newman is a Catholic college, students don’t have to be Catholic to attend. “Only about 41 percent of students are Catholic; we have a lot more diversity in terms of faith tradition than some people might think,” says English. “We welcome students of all faiths.”
When it comes to financial aid and affordability at Newman, “we try to do a lot of education on the front end because it doesn’t make any sense for us to enroll students who aren’t a good fit financially,” says English. “We have an ethical responsibility to try to do as much as we can to help students identify whether or not they’re a good fit financially. What we’re trying to do is enroll future graduates.”
The average net price for the 2016-17 year at Newman is $13,906, and both merit-based and need-based financial aid is available. Financial aid discussions start immediately upon acceptance and precede official enrollment.
“Every student receives, in addition to a financial aid award letter, a cost estimate that helps them understand what that means they would owe with us, in terms of bottom-line out-of-pocket costs,” says English. “Then the counselors review those cost estimates with families to discuss: ‘Here’s what it looks like you’re going to owe, here are the options you have for covering that balance, let’s talk about what your plan is.’”
“We actually actively discourage students from depositing until we’ve had that conversation because we want to ensure that they’re making a commitment with a full understanding of the cost associated,” English continues. “We’re having these conversations very candidly on the front end.”
Newman Career Prep
Newman’s most popular majors are nursing and pre-med, which shows in its 94 percent job placement rate. “We send a disproportionate number of our students to medical school or they go straight into nursing with a BSN,” says English.
While Newman has a Career Center with traditional services such as interview practice, resume reviews, and networking, English emphasizes the integration of career readiness activities into both academics and community initiatives around campus.
“A lot of [career prep] happens in the schools and majors here at Newman just because of the model we have,” says English. “Our faculty are extremely teaching-oriented … we are really focused on, collectively as a community, helping students pursue and explore different job opportunities after graduation. Because we have such a high percentage of students going into graduate school, medical school, there’s a lot of focus on preparation for that transition at the same time as preparing those students who are going to go straight into the workforce.”
Photo by Newman University on Flickr.