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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Johnson & Wales University

I recently attended a Johnson and Wales University (JWU) breakfast reception for independent college consultants and I thought you might enjoy hearing about what I learned. 

Basics: JWU began as a business school in 1914.  The programs are experiential and work-integrated.  Faculty have industry-relevant experience and there are no lecture halls.  79% of students come directly from high school; 21% transfer from other colleges.  Since 2006, the college has become more selective in order to improve its graduation rate.  There is a 79% retention to the Sophomore year.  The 4-year graduation rate is 68%. 

Academics: The school is on a trimester schedule; each trimester is 11 weeks long.  Undergraduates must complete 40 courses to graduate. Students, who take 4 courses each trimester, graduate early.  Students begin to take classes in their major in their Freshman year.  Sophomores do an internship for course credit in their major.  Seniors complete a capstone and a third trimester internship.  4200 students had an internship in 2012-2013 school year. As a senior, students can take 1 MBA course per trimester.  Starting in 2015, the school will offer a Biology major that could feed into the Physician Assistant program. 

JWU has a career focus.  Over 1200 employers came to campus this year.  74% of students on a paid internship received a job offer from the company they worked for which is higher than the national average of 63%. 

Work and/or Study Abroad are available to all students.  All JWU Study Abroad Programs are for 20 students led by 2 faculty members.  Foreign language is not a requirement to do study abroad.  About 500 students study abroad each year.

Each student has 3 advisors: personal, professional and academic. 

Campuses: JWU has four campuses: Providence, RI; North Miami, FL; Denver, CO; and Charlotte, NC.  Some majors are not available on every campus. The number of students at each location is as follows:
  • Providence – 10,369 (There is housing for 3500 students)
  • North Miami – 1952
  • Denver – 1529
  • Charlotte – 2325.

The Rhode Island campus is physically split into two sections, separated by 2 miles and serviced by the University’s own shuttle system.  In addition, the Equine programs are in Rehoboth, which is about 20 minutes away.  Students can also ride buses anywhere in Rhode Island for free.  The university is building a Physician Assistant building on the Rhode Island Campuses.

Colleges: The University has the following undergraduate colleges:
  • College of Business, which includes some unusual majors, like Equine Management and Criminology.  Many students sit for their Series 7 exams while still in school.
  • Hospitality College which includes some unusual majors like Sports/Entertainment/Event Management
  • College of Culinary Arts, which offers Associates and Bachelors degrees.  This college has the only accredited Culinary Nutrition program in the country.
  • School of Technology (only in Providence) has Engineering and Software Engineering majors
  • School or Arts and Sciences.

There are graduate schools in:
  • Providence: including 4+1 BS/MBA, MBA, an MS in Criminal Justice and a new Physician Assistant MS
  • Denver: MBA.

Housing and Extracurricular activities: Housing is required for freshmen.  There is an online roommate-matching program.  Freshmen are allowed to have cars but they are not needed.

JWU has over 100 clubs and has Greek life.  There are NCCA Division III sports in RI; other campuses have NAIA and USCAA sports.

Applying: The school is test optional. Applications are read by major and certain programs are harder to get into (or switch into) than others.  Baking & Pastry, as well as Counseling Psychology are difficult to get into. The college has an Honors program; students with an SAT score of 520 (Critical Reading) and 510 (Mathematics), typically qualify.  JWU accepts AP scores of 3 or higher. 

Visiting: There are daily tours at 9AM and 1 PM, Preview Days (one Saturday a month), and Wildcat Weekends.  Rising high school juniors and seniors who want to get a taste of JWU may want to attend the Culinary & Hospitality Career exploration program weekend over the summer.

Financial Aid: The Cost of Attendance is $38.9 – 40.8K per year.  JWU offers need-based and merit aid.  They do not front load financial aid and they offer:
·        Academic scholarships of up to $15,000. 
·        National Student Organization Scholarships for members of BPA, DECA, FBLA, FCCLA, FFA, JA, TSA, and SkillsUSA.
·        Legacy scholarships of $4000 a year. 

Early Enrollment - There is an early enrollment program where students do their senior year of high school at JWU.  Students pay half tuition for the first year and there is no Federal Assistance available for that year.

What is your experience with JWU?


  1. I attended JWU and I couldn't be more pleased with my experience. I was an NSO Student (DECA and FBLA) and received a lot of financial support as a result.

    Due to the trimester schedule, they can offer classes within your major from day one, which is a huge factor in figuring out what you really want to do, or if you want to fine tune your major from something more general into something more specific.

    The Hospitality College is top-notch, and is truly considered one of the top 5 programs in the country. JWU graduates are generally viewed within industry as being better prepared for the workforce as a result of the career oriented education and sophomore year internship. I never had a lecture hall or a class with more than 35 students, which meant a lot of one-on-one interaction with professors and instructors.

    Providence is a great college town, with students from JWU, RISD, RIC, RWC, Brown and PC, there's always someone around, someplace to go and something to see.

    While there is not a centralized campus on the Downtown (Downcity) Campus, it does give you more of a feel like you're living on your own, versus on a sterilized campus. I lived off campus for part of my time and found it to be just as good as on-campus life.

    The structured 4-day week also allowed me to work without impeding my grades or education.

    I wouldn't have changed anything about my education there.