This article will compare two well-known American universities: Southern Methodist University (SMU) and Penn State University. We will examine various aspects of each institution, such as costs, admissions, academics, and outcomes. By the end of this article, you should have a better understanding of the similarities and differences between these two schools, which will help you make an informed decision about which one might be the best fit for you.
Southern Methodist University is a private research university located in Dallas, Texas. Established in 1911, SMU is known for its strong business, engineering, and liberal arts programs. The university has a total enrollment of around 12,000 students, with a 50:50 ratio of undergraduate to graduate students. SMU’s campus spans 234 acres, offering a mix of historic and modern facilities for students to enjoy.
SMU Costs & Tuition
As a private institution, SMU has a higher cost of attendance than many public universities. For the 2021-2022 academic year, the estimated cost of attendance is $77,664, which includes tuition, fees, room, and board. However, SMU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships, grants, and loans, to help offset these costs. About 75% of SMU students receive some form of financial aid.
Admissions at SMU are considered moderately competitive, with an acceptance rate of approximately 47%. Prospective students must submit their high school transcripts, standardized test scores (either SAT or ACT), and letters of recommendation. The middle 50% SAT score range for admitted students is 1300-1460, while the middle 50% ACT score range is 29-33. Additionally, applicants are encouraged to submit a personal essay and schedule an interview with an admissions counselor or SMU alumni.
SMU Degrees Offered
SMU offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs through its seven schools: Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Cox School of Business, Lyle School of Engineering, Meadows School of the Arts, Simmons School of Education and Human Development, Dedman School of Law, and Perkins School of Theology. Popular majors at SMU include Business, Engineering, Communication, Visual and Performing Arts, and Social Sciences.
SMU prides itself on offering a comprehensive liberal arts education with a focus on research and experiential learning. The student-faculty ratio at SMU is 11:1, ensuring small class sizes and personalized attention from professors. SMU also has a strong focus on undergraduate research, with numerous opportunities for students to engage in projects alongside faculty members.
SMU has a diverse student body, with students representing all 50 states and over 90 countries. The university also offers various programs and resources to support diversity and inclusion, such as the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, Women & LGBT Center, and the Embrey Human Rights Program.
SMU students are known for their strong work ethic and commitment to community service. The university offers over 200 student organizations, providing ample opportunities for students to get involved in campus life. Additionally, SMU has a vibrant Greek life, with approximately 50% of students participating in fraternities and sororities.
SMU’s picturesque campus features a mix of classic collegiate Georgian architecture and modern facilities. The campus offers a variety of amenities for students, such as state-of-the-art academic buildings, residence halls, and recreational facilities. Notable landmarks on campus include the Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Meadows Museum, and the Fondren Library Center.
SMU boasts a strong alumni network, with over 100,000 alumni worldwide. Notable alumni include former First Lady Laura Bush, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Horton Foote, and former CEO of AT&T, Randall Stephenson.
According to the 2021 U.S. News & World Report, SMU is ranked #66 among National Universities and #37 in Best Value Schools.
SMU graduates have a strong track record of success, with a 91% placement rate within six months of graduation. The average starting salary for SMU graduates is $54,000, with popular industries including finance, consulting, and technology.
Penn State University Overview
Penn State University is a public research university with its main campus located in University Park, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1855, Penn State is one of the largest universities in the United States, with a total enrollment of over 90,000 students across its 24 campuses. Penn State is particularly known for its strong engineering, business, and agricultural sciences programs. The main campus spans 8,556 acres, offering an expansive environment for students to learn and thrive.
Penn State Costs & Tuition
As a public institution, Penn State’s tuition costs vary depending on whether a student is a Pennsylvania resident or an out-of-state student. For the 2021-2022 academic year, the estimated cost of attendance for Pennsylvania residents is $33,664, while for out-of-state students, it’s $50,854. These figures include tuition, fees, room, and board. Penn State does offer financial aid options, such as scholarships, grants, and loans, to help offset these costs. Approximately 67% of Penn State students receive some form of financial aid.
Penn State Admissions
Admissions at Penn State are considered moderately competitive, with an acceptance rate of around 56%. Prospective students are required to submit their high school transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, and letters of recommendation. The middle 50% SAT score range for admitted students is 1160-1360, while the middle 50% ACT score range is 25-31. In addition to these requirements, applicants are encouraged to submit a personal essay and participate in an optional interview with an admissions counselor or Penn State alumni.
Penn State Degrees Offered
Penn State offers a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs through its 15 colleges, including the College of Agricultural Sciences, College of Arts and Architecture, Smeal College of Business, and College of Engineering. Popular majors at Penn State include Engineering, Business, Health Professions, Social Sciences, and Biological Sciences.
Penn State Academics
Penn State emphasizes research, innovation, and hands-on learning experiences for its students. The university has a student-faculty ratio of 15:1, which allows for more personalized attention from professors. In addition to its strong academic programs, Penn State offers numerous opportunities for students to engage in undergraduate research, internships, and study abroad experiences.
Penn State Diversity
Penn State is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive campus environment. The university’s student body represents all 50 states and over 130 countries. Penn State offers various programs and resources to support diversity and inclusion, such as the Paul Robeson Cultural Center, the Gender Equity Center, and the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity.
Penn State Students
Penn State students are known for their strong sense of school spirit and community involvement. With over 1,000 student organizations available, there are countless opportunities for students to get involved in campus life. Penn State also has a vibrant Greek life, with approximately 17% of students participating in fraternities and sororities.
Penn State Campus
The University Park campus at Penn State boasts a mix of historic buildings and modern facilities. Students can enjoy a variety of amenities, including state-of-the-art academic buildings, residence halls, and recreational facilities. Notable landmarks on campus include Beaver Stadium, the Bryce Jordan Center, and the Pattee and Paterno Libraries.
Penn State Alumni
Penn State has a strong alumni network, with over 690,000 living alumni worldwide. Notable alumni include former NASA astronaut Guion Bluford, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon, and former NFL player and coach Frank O’Harris.
Penn State Rankings
According to the 2021 U.S. News & World Report, Penn State is ranked #63 among National Universities and #23 in Top Public Schools.
Penn State Outcomes
Penn State graduates enjoy a high rate of success, with a 93% placement rate within six months of graduation. The average starting salary for Penn State graduates is $47,000, with popular industries including engineering, technology, and finance.
SMU vs Penn State Cost Comparison
Comparing the costs of attending SMU and Penn State, it’s clear that Penn State is more affordable, especially for Pennsylvania residents. However, both institutions offer financial aid options to help offset costs. SMU’s estimated cost of attendance for the 2021-2022 academic year is $77,664, while Penn State’s cost of attendance is $33,664 for Pennsylvania residents and $50,854 for out-of-state students. It’s important to consider your financial situation and potential financial aid opportunities when choosing between these two universities.
SMU vs Penn State Admissions Difficulty
Both SMU and Penn State have moderately competitive admissions processes, with acceptance rates of 47% and 56%, respectively. While their standardized test score ranges are somewhat similar, SMU generally has slightly higher middle 50% SAT and ACT score ranges than Penn State. This may indicate that SMU has a slightly more competitive applicant pool. However, both schools emphasize a holistic review of applicants, so it’s crucial to consider all aspects of your application, including your high school transcript, extracurricular activities, and personal essay.
SMU vs Penn State Academic Difficulty
SMU and Penn State both provide rigorous academic programs and a strong focus on research and experiential learning. With SMU’s smaller student-faculty ratio of 11:1 compared to Penn State’s 15:1, students at SMU may receive more personalized attention from their professors. Both schools offer a wide variety of degree programs and opportunities for undergraduate research, internships, and study abroad experiences. Ultimately, the academic difficulty may vary depending on the specific program and major you choose at each university.
SMU vs Penn State Outcome Comparison
Both SMU and Penn State graduates have high placement rates and successful outcomes. SMU has a 91% placement rate within six months of graduation, with an average starting salary of $54,000. Penn State boasts a slightly higher placement rate of 93% within six months of graduation, but with a lower average starting salary of $47,000. Popular industries for graduates of both universities include finance, technology, and consulting. The differences in outcomes may be attributed to various factors, such as geographical location, industry preferences, and the specific majors and programs available at each university.