Dominican University is a small (1658 undergrads), private university tucked into the verdant hills of suburban San Rafael (Marin County), just 12 miles from San Francisco. The friendliness of Dominican is evident from the moment you step foot on campus, as everyone seems to go out of their way to help. Academic advising is strong, and Dominican guarantees graduation within four years, as long as students continue to take full time courses.
The academic choices are varied, and a brand new science center brings Dominican students opportunities for undergraduate research, always a plus. The class sizes are really small, with the average being 15, but our tour guide talked about some of his upper division courses being as small as four people, creating unparalleled discussion groups, and strong one-on-one relationships with professors.
Nursing students are advantaged at Dominican, as they work in hospital environments starting in the sophomore year ( junior year is the norm), getting an extra year of practical experience. Pre-med students have done very well with medical school admissions, and Dominican has a business program which is a 4+1 where students graduate with an MBA and a bachelor’s degree. Psychology is a popular major at Dominican, and all students, no matter what their major, get personalized assistance finding internships in their field of study. Dance students benefit from Dominicans’ Lines Ballet Company in San Francisco, where students earn a BFA in dance, and are taught by professional choreographers and directors, so these students are in SF most of the time.
The Honor’s program offers a more intensive academic experience, and a lot of travel opportunities, as an honors trip is scheduled every single year. The last two years, they have gone to Egypt and the Galapagos Islands. Students are automatically invited into the Honor’s program upon qualified admission.
Dominican students get to enjoy the gorgeous green campus with “Days on the Lawn” activities like BBQ’s and socials complete with bounce houses, slip-n-slides and mechanical bulls. They host political debates and speeches. Recently, Caroline Kennedy delivered a speech and Dominican hosted the Governor’s debate. Poetry and dance performances, concerts and dances every month keep students very active. Clubs and Intramurals are well attended, and some of the more unusual sports include inner tube water polo and dodgeball. Students who like to get off campus can easily get into San Francisco by bus or ferry in about 20 minutes, or go into charming San Rafael where there’s a farmer’s market every week.
The ELS (English Language Center) brings International students to Dominican for a semester or year, so students have opportunities to become friends with students from around the world, and English tutoring jobs are available as a possibility. Study abroad is encouraged with over 80 programs offered.
The religion requirement is two semesters, with one of the semester being Catholic based. Dominican sports are Division 2. There are a lot of merit-based scholarship opportunities, and after one semester at Dominican, if a student maintains a 3.5, a whole lot more scholarship opportunities open up! 92% of Dominican students qualify for financial aid.