High school juniors who are starting to develop their college lists might want to consider including a hidden gem (that is, a college or university that offers top quality academic programs, but is not as recognized as some of its peers) in order to explore options beyond the most well-known.
Salisbury University (SU), part of the University of Maryland System, is one such hidden gem.
Located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, SU occupies the center of the Delmarva Peninsula. (The name Delmarva is derived from the names of the states that comprise it: Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.)
Popular destinations within a 30 to 60 minute drive of Salisbury include: Ocean City, Rehoboth Beach, Chincoteague Island and Assateague Island National Seashore. Salisbury students frequently take advantage of beach excursions for relaxation and outdoor recreation, such as kayaking, surfing and sailing.
The university’s location is also ideal for many distinctive experiential learning opportunities. Environmental Studies majors, for example, have unique access to study regional ecosystems, marine life, wetlands, conservation and sustainable farming practices.
A commitment to sustainability is another distinctive feature of SU. The school has won numerous environmental awards for its leadership in implementing “green” practices, such as the creation of additional green space on campus; the care of its nationally accredited arboretum; the development of recycling, energy conservation and alternative transportation programs; and the construction of numerous LEED certified buildings.
One of the more recently constructed buildings is the Richard A. Henson Medical Simulation Center, which provides experiential learning in a safe and learner-friendly environment for students studying health care, such as those in the Respiratory Therapy, Medical Lab Science and Nursing programs. (SU nursing graduates, by the way, have the highest five-year average NCLEX-RN pass rate in Maryland at over 93 percent.)
A current project under construction is the $117 million Patricia R. Guerrieri Academic Commons, with library, academic, research and meeting spaces, and a $19 million stadium. Both are scheduled for completion by next year.
Also in the works is an Honors College. For now, SU’s Honors Program offers top students scholarships, priority registration, tailored courses, smaller classes, individualized research opportunities, field trips and four Living Learning Communities.
Other students in the residence halls at Salisbury also have the opportunity to select a Living Learning Community. Most are focused around academic interests, such as biology, business or education, but some are focused on personal interests, such as music, healthy lifestyles and living “green.”
Additional student opportunities for personal and professional growth include study abroad (minors in Asian Studies, African Studies, European Studies, International Studies and Conflict Resolution Peace Studies give students a global perspective and facilitate applied learning experiences overseas); athletics (Division III sports and a variety of intramural teams and sports clubs keep students active and fit); and music (performance ensembles are available to non-majors and include percussion, pep band, jazz, opera, chorale and musical theatre).
SU also provides ongoing opportunities for students to connect what they are learning and doing with their career goals through the comprehensive resources available at Career Services, which include locating appropriate internship and volunteer experiences, mock interviews, resume samples, an online alumni network and career planning workshops. Career development activities take place during Salisbury’s Sophomore Year Experience, and during senior year, career counselors make sure students are on track for employment or further education.
Faculty advisors from SU’s four Schools (the Fulton School of Liberal Arts; Henson School of Science and Technology; Perdue School of Business; and Seidel School of Education and Professional Studies) also help students navigate their way. For the many students planning to work in health care and health care related fields, SU’s Health Professions Advising Program facilitates their career planning and serves to position pre-professional students for admission to graduate school.
With a smaller student body than most Maryland public universities (under 8,000) and smaller class sizes (usually fewer than 20 students), students at SU have additional opportunities to engage with instructors and enjoy close, mentoring relationships that will support their success.
High school students interested in learning more about Salisbury University can schedule a visit or attend one of several Open Houses in the fall or spring. For those who can’t wait, a virtual tour is available, too.