What is University of Alabama Known For?

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From its legendary football team to its giant Greek presence to its world-class academics, there are numerous reasons why college-bound high schoolers are hopeful to gain acceptance into the University of Alabama (UA). Roll Tide! 

Overview of University of Alabama Admissions

 

Location: Tuscaloosa, AL

Undergrad Enrollment: 33,000

Acceptance Rate: 59%

Middle 50% SAT: 1080-1340  

Middle 50% ACT: 24-31

 

The University of Alabama has a holistic admissions process that factors in both academic and non-academic criteria. The university considers everything from GPA and standardized test scores to extracurricular activities and characteristics such as leadership when making admissions decisions. 

 

While the University of Alabama looks at the whole student—both inside and outside the classroom—during the admissions process, it does have certain educational requirements a student must meet to gain admissions: 

 

  • 4 units of English
  • 4 units of social sciences—including world history (or a comparable course)
  • 3 units of mathematics—including algebra I, algebra II, and one unit of either geometry, trigonometry, or calculus
  • 3 units of natural sciences—including two courses with lab components
  • 1 unit of foreign language
  • 5 additional units of academic courses—courses in fine arts or computer literacy are recommended, as well as courses in mathematics, natural sciences, and foreign language

 

Students who have not had the need or opportunity to study a foreign language can fulfill the foreign language requirement with a course that demonstrates a heightened understanding of global and cultural perspectives. 

 

Unique Aspects of the University of Alabama 

 

Academics

 

In 2018, the UA achieved Very High Research Activity status in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, the nation’s highest level of research activity for institutions that grant doctoral degrees. This achievement makes the University of Alabama just one of roughly 130 institutions in the U.S. that award at least 20 research/scholarship doctoral degrees and have at least $5 million in total research expenditures. 

 

Very High Research Activity status is just another feather in the cap of University of Alabama academics. The university’s students have a long history of academic achievement—it has produced 59 Goldwater Scholars, 15 Rhodes Scholars, 16 Truman Scholars, 36 Hollings Scholars, and 16 Boren Scholars. In the 2020-21 academic year, 17 University of Alabama alumni earned Fulbright Awards. 

 

The University of Alabama offers 70 majors through its 12 schools, ranging from aerospace engineering to theatre. Engineering and communications are among the most popular majors at the university. Another popular major is business. The 12 schools are listed below:

 

  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • Culverhouse College of Business
  • College of Communication & Information Sciences
  • College of Community Health Sciences
  • College of Continuing Studies
  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering
  • Honors College
  • College of Human Environmental Sciences
  • School of Law
  • Capstone College of Nursing
  • School of Social Work

 

The average student/faculty ratio is 23:1, an impressive number for such a large school. Students have the opportunity to find a community despite the school’s daunting size.

 

Extracurriculars

 

Alabama’s Crimson Tide football team is one of the most winning and respected programs in the nation. Between 2010 and 2020, the already historically great program racked up an impressive collection of achievements: 

 

  • 4 National Championships (the first time a single program won four national championships in a decade since Notre Dame in the 1940s)
  • 5 SEC titles
  • 123 total wins (the second-most during a 10-year span since the 1890s when the University of Pennsylvania tallied 124 wins)
  • 16 unanimous All-Americans 
  • 10 consensus All-Americans
  • 5 SEC Offensive Player of the Years
  • 3 SEC Defensive Player of the Years

 

The University of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium is one of just seven in the nation with a capacity greater than 100,000 and is the place to be on fall Saturdays. 

 

The football team steals the headlines, but great competitors are found all over Alabama’s campus. The university is one of the few schools in the nation that sponsors wheelchair athletics. UA’s powerhouse wheelchair basketball team has won numerous national championships in the past decade. 

 

It’s just not in the classroom or on their field where the University of Alabama goes big. The university’s campus is home to the largest Greek systems in the country when measured by membership—33% of undergraduates (more than 10,000) are involved with the 67 Greek letter organizations found on the school’s campus.

 

The University of Alabama is commonly named among the best party schools in the nation, which makes its roughly 86% first-year completion rate pretty impressive.

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Traditions 

 

“The Capstone” is the name alumni and friends of the University of Alabama often call it. The name was coined by the school’s former President, G. H. Denny, when he referred to the university as the capstone of Alabama’s public school system. 

 

Each year, incoming freshmen pledge to uphold the values of the Capstone Creed, a guiding set of principles and values for life at—and after—college. The Capstone Creed is as follows: 

 

As a member of The University of Alabama community, I will pursue knowledge; act with fairness, integrity and respect; promote equity and inclusion; foster individual and civic responsibility; and strive for excellence in all I do.

 

Another tradition unique to UA is its mascot—it’s the only major university with an elephant as its mascot. “Big Al,” the university’s costumed mascot, made his first appearance in 1978, but the prodigious pachyderm has been associated with the school since 1930, when a sportswriter was stunned by the immense size of Alabama’s football team. 

 

Dorms

 

There are 17 community housing options available and UA can house 8,400 students on campus. All freshmen, with the exception of a few who qualify for an exemption, are required to live on campus.

 

In addition to traditional college housing, the university is home to a variety of living-learning communities. Living-learning communities at UA fall into two categories: academics and shared interest. Academic living-learning communities are geared toward students with similar academic goals or shared majors, while shared interest communities are focused on students with common interests or activities.  

 

Financial Aid

 

The University of Alabama provides a variety of options to help students pay for college—including federal aid, grants, loans, work study, and student employment. Many University of Alabama undergraduates will take out loans to cover the cost of college, according to the website Payscale, the average loan amount for both in-state and out-of-state students is $38,800.

 

The University of Alabama offers generous scholarships for National Merit Semifinalists. In 2019, the school ranked second nationally among public universities and fifth among all universities nationwide in enrollment of National Merit Scholars. 

 

Resources

 

The University of Alabama’s W.S. Hoole Library is home to a large collection of Confederate Imprints and numerous 19th and early 20th century works on the Civil War. Its collection also includes papers documenting the early travel and exploration of the Mississippi Valley, with significant holdings relating to New Orleans. 

 

The W.S. Hoole Library’s rare book collection includes first editions from notable authors such as Mark Twain, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry James, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, and John A. Williams.

 

Location

 

The University of Alabama is located in Tuscaloosa, which is about 45 minutes outside of Birmingham. The surrounding city offers the cozy feel of a small community with the conveniences of a big city. 

 

Two traits that entice people to Tuscaloosa are southern hospitality and warm weather. The city population is diverse, warm, and welcoming—provided you’re not an Auburn fan. Similarly, the city’s humid subtropical climate delivers warm weather year-round, although you’ll want an air conditioner to survive the summer months.  

 

Lastly, the cost of living in Tuscaloosa is 12.1% below the national average, which can help keep college costs down. 

 

What Are Your Chances of Acceptance at the University of Alabama?

 

The University of Alabama uses a holistic admissions process that evaluates everything from GPA to standardized test scores to other activities like volunteering and employment. Likewise, CollegeVine’s free admissions calculator uses similar criteria—grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities—to provide you with an accurate prediction of your odds of acceptance at over 600 universities across the U.S. You can also use it to search for best-fit schools based on your chances, along with factors like size, location, majors, and more.

 

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Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.

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