A Gettysburg education involves a rigorous liberal arts curriculum along with a strong science curriculum. Activities offered to student are designed to promote academic excellence along with community responsibility and international study experiences. Students are able to access unique leadership opportunities through the subjects in the curriculum and extracurricular activities.
The college offers undergraduates the chance to work with faculty mentors in research studies that are relevant enough to be published in leading scholarly journals. Students also get to present their results in national conferences along with their mentors. The support for undergraduate research is tremendous, with grants awarded to many student-faculty collaboration projects.
Gettysburg College started out as a sister school to the Lutheran Theological seminary in 1832. Both schools came into existence through the help of Thaddeus Stevens, a Radical Republican and abolitionist from Gettysburg. The original name of the institution was Pennsylvania College and was founded by Samuel Simon Schmucker. Barely a decade after founding, the college’s medical school was set in Philadelphia but this institution was closed in 1861 when the college funds became insufficient to continue keeping the medical school opened, partly due to the secession of southern states.
Confederate forces invaded the area in 1863, and local military organized around Chambersburg and Philadelphia. Among the units deployed to defend the state was Gettysburg’s 26th Pennsylvania Emergency Militia Regiment, which comprised students from the College and Seminary. During the Battle of Gettysburg, one college building Pennsylvania Hall was used as both a signal corps station and field hospital. Penn Hall is historic in that both the Confederate and Union troops used the facility for signal work and surgery during the battle.
Students of Gettysburg college will enjoy the technologically strong network of the institution. The campus buildings have full network capabilities, and all dorms have internet access. All library materials are accessible through any computer terminal on campus. The on-site library has a large collection of books, journals, videos, sound recordings, online publications, rare books, manuscripts, and digital collections. The Musselman library also has a media theatre, a computer laboratory, and media production center, and is open for twenty four hours during the week. The library offers free refreshments such as coffee, tea and hot chocolate for students that study late at night, as long as they bring their own mugs.
Students can join one or more student organizations, which are 120 in total. With almost 20 fraternities and sororities on campus, Greek life and consequently social life is in full swing. More than 40% of the students are involved in Greek societies, but students can only rush after the freshman year. There is also a nightclub in town, The Attic, where many students hang out on weekends. Most students live on campus. Freshmen are required to live on campus and are assigned rooms based on the first year seminar or writing course they joined.
A significant percentage of the student body is involved in student media. The media groups on campus coordinate annually to set up a journalism and media conference. Celebrated journalists and broadcasters are asked to speak in panels in these conferences, which is open to students of Gettysburg college and other colleges nearby.
Financial aid packages are available for students with demonstrated financial needs, and may comprise work study programs, loans, scholarships and grants. Merit-based scholarships are also available. The average debt after graduation is $25,000.