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Hidden Gem: University of Dayton

April 8th, 2024

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Educational Advocates

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Hidden Gem: University of Dayton

This is a photograph of a building at the University of Dayton, a hidden gem.

The University of Dayton offers programs in business, engineering, education, health sciences, and liberal arts and sciences.

On a recent visit of Ohio colleges and universities, the University of Dayton, stood out as a hidden gem explaining why it’s a top choice for students in the know who are seeking a pre-professional education with experiential learning opportunities and a spirited campus life.

Dayton is a Catholic university (50% of students are Catholic), founded on the principles of service, justice, and peace, and it welcomes students of all faiths, providing non-denominational chapels in some dorms, a Jewish student organization, and a Muslim prayer room, reflecting its commitment to inclusivity.

Academic Excellence Across Disciplines

The University of Dayton, with an undergraduate enrollment of 8,500, boasts an array of academic programs from business and engineering to education and health sciences, there’s something for everyone at this institution. Here’s a snapshot of some of the standout programs offered:

  • Business: With over 2,100 students enrolled, the School of Business Administration provides a dynamic learning environment where students can explore among the nine-degree concentrations such as operations and supply chain management, data analytics, and management information systems (MIS). Notable initiatives like Flyer Enterprises, allow 200 students to manage and operate businesses including coffee shops and a consulting firm. They offer hands-on experience and invaluable skill development—upper-class students hire first years who work their way into management positions over time. There are human resource roles and sometimes students must fire employees (other students). The experiences offer great talking points for seniors during job interviews. There is turnover each year, including a new CEO selected by faculty. This year marked the first time they chose a junior for the role. Anyone on campus can get involved even if they are not business majors.
  • Nursing: The nursing program at the University of Dayton accepts 25 students per year into its direct entry program. Students split their time between the university and St. Claire College, gaining practical experience through clinical rotations at Miami Valley Hospital. This unique setup ensures students receive comprehensive training and exposure to real-world healthcare settings.
  • Education: Education majors have the opportunity to specialize in areas such as pre-K to 5 education, with a focus on gaining 600 hours of teaching experience. The university’s commitment to experiential learning prepares future educators for success in the classroom from day one.
  • Health Sciences: In Health Sciences, the exercise science and movement concentration is popular and prepares students for various career paths, including physical therapy and other graduate programs. Students receive a robust education and hands-on training to excel in their chosen field. Pre-med and pre-dental students have their own advisors, and they report an 83 percent acceptance to medical school. Medical school applications are written by committee. They also offer a physical therapy and physician assistant program at the graduate level.

Academic Facts:

  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15:1, ensuring personalized attention.
  • Average Class Size: 26, fostering intimate, engaging classroom environments.
  • Programs Offered: Known for their innovative curriculum and career readiness. The Honors program is noted for its challenging coursework and community engagement.
  • Unique Facilities: Features a cadaver lab for hands-on learning experiences in the sciences.
  • Academic Support: Offers a Common Academic Program, supplemental instruction, and coaching to support student success. A notable 88% retention rate speaks to the effectiveness of these supports.
This is a photograph of a building at the University of Dayton, a hidden gem.

Beyond academics, the University of Dayton prioritizes the holistic development and well-being of its students.

Holistic Support for Student Success

Beyond academics, the University of Dayton prioritizes the holistic development and well-being of its students. Here are some key support services and initiatives aimed at fostering student success:

  • Pre-Health Resource Center: Designed to assist students in navigating the complex landscape of healthcare-related majors and career paths, the Center offers guidance and resources to help students make informed decisions about their academic and professional pursuits.
  • Career Development: The university’s strong partnerships with leading companies and organizations provide students with ample internship and job opportunities. Programs like Flyer Enterprises and collaborations with firms like Ernst and Young offer valuable hands-on experience and networking opportunities.
  • Student Life and Community Engagement: From professional fraternities to community outreach programs like Christmas on Campus, students at the University of Dayton are actively engaged in campus life and the surrounding community. The university’s commitment to collaboration and service cultivates a strong sense of belonging and social responsibility among its student body.

A Vibrant and Inclusive Campus Culture

The University of Dayton offers a vibrant and inclusive campus community where students from diverse backgrounds thrive. Here are some highlights of the university’s campus culture:

  • Diverse Student Body: With students hailing from all over the country and around the globe, the University of Dayton prides itself on its diverse and inclusive student body. Approximately 47% of students come from out of state.
  • Commitment to Equity and Inclusion: As an antiracist university, the University of Dayton is dedicated to creating an environment where all students feel valued and supported. Initiatives and programs aimed at promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion are woven into the fabric of campus life.
  • Academic Excellence and Student Satisfaction: With top-notch facilities, renowned faculty, and a robust support system in place, it’s no wonder that the University of Dayton consistently ranks among the top universities in student satisfaction and academic excellence. From honors programs to research opportunities, students have access to resources that empower them to excel academically and personally.
  • LGBQT Friendly: More than 15 percent of the student body identifies as LGBQT and there is a chosen name policy, the Brook Center dedicated to LGBQT students, a living learning community, and an LGBQT ministry to support personal and spiritual growth.
This is a photograph of a building at the University of Dayton, a hidden gem.

The University of Dayton offers a vibrant and inclusive campus community where students from diverse backgrounds thrive.

Engaged Students:

The group of consultants with whom I visited campus all felt the student panel we heard from was one of the most impressive we had ever seen. They talked about how surprised they were by the friendliness of the other students, how they held doors. They discussed how accessible the professors were and the research opportunities and internships they were involved with. Several talked about their personal growth and increased confidence. They were a genuine, down-to-earth group.

Campus Life:

  • Housing: Options range from coed by floor dorms to sophomore suites, UD-owned houses, and apartments. The campus is noted for its beautiful green spaces. There is a bowling alley on campus too.
  • Dining: Several dining options are available, with a commitment to reducing waste through composting.
  • Athletics: Division 1, with strong attendance at basketball games (tickets are $5 for basketball and free for other sports). Athletes have access to their own gym, and there is a beautiful pool for all students.
  • Greek Life: 20% of the student body participates in Greek life, with deferred recruitment until the second semester. Greek houses are not segregated into a specific row, and members are not required to live in-house.
  • Faith and Community: The campus fosters a strong sense of community, underscored by its service-oriented mission.
  • Technology: The Flyer app enhances campus safety and convenience by allowing location tracking when activated. The Flyer Connect platform enables networking with alumni.
  • Engagement: The university has a hub downtown in partnership with businesses, including some Flyer enterprises, enriching student engagement with the local community.


  • Cost: 89% of student financial need met.
  • Scholarship Opportunity: Visiting students who file their FAFSA and subsequently enroll are eligible for $500 per semester for books.

Dayton stands out for its holistic approach to education, blending academic excellence, career-focus, spiritual development, and community engagement. Its wide range of programs, commitment to sustainability, and vibrant campus life make it a compelling choice for prospective students.

Learn more about how the Educational Advocates team guides students in their college journeys by scheduling an introductory interview with a college admission consultant.

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