TENNESSEE COLLEGE TRIP STOP #7, February 2019
Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee is striking with its red, yellow, and brown “collegiate gothic” sandstone buildings, thirteen of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Additionally, Rhodes is classified as an Arboretum and is located across the street from the Memphis Zoo. Rhodes, a nationally-ranked liberal arts and sciences college, is filled with collaborative and involved undergraduates (2,000), many of whom aspire to attend medical school, participate in research early and often, and who enjoy music and culture. As a liberal arts college, students can choose majors at the end of their sophomore year, and they can switch majors many times those first two years (74% graduate in four years). It is strong in the natural and social sciences, with state-of-art labs, equipment, and on-campus institutes, including the Mike Curb (Music) Institute offering fellowships designed to provide real-world experiences to students interested in exploring Memphis’ music tradition. Student fellows work with community partners and professionals in the Memphis area on real projects that include PR/Marketing, Community Engagement, Video, and Audio Production, and Research/Writing.
It is not uncommon for up to 50% of the incoming class to be “pre-med”, but after having two years to explore a number of other fields, many of those students choose different paths. For those that continue on the pre-med track, St. Judes Hospital is nearby and Rhodes sends 34-45 students to medical school each year (we were told it is a “top college for sending students to medical school”). We heard from a student who has been doing research since the summer after his freshman year and he shared his appreciation for the many opportunities he has had to do research and work/shadow in the local hospitals. Students at Rhodes have been co-authors on research papers and are very involved in labs, research, and presenting at conferences. Computer Science is also a fast-growing program.
Students are required to live on campus for two years (70% live on campus; the rest mostly live within a three-mile radius). Greek life encompasses 50% of students but the Greek houses are social houses not living houses as the Tennessee legislature limits the number of students in a Greek organization to live together (an attempt to control hazing and other Greek-related issues). Rush does not occur until spring so students have time to explore friendships before deciding; parties are open to everyone. Only 10% of students are from in-state but 40% stay in Memphis after graduation (98% of 2016 graduates are employed, attend graduate/professional school, or volunteer full time).
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