Renee from Unifrog interviews Heidi from Saint-Louis University Madrid
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It's an American university... in Madrid. We investigate some of SLU-Madrid's most important features, what it's like to be a student there, and how to make a successful application.
SLU-Madrid at a glance:
Madrid campus founded in 1967 (the main campus, in the US, was founded in 1818)
Madrid, Spain (the main campus is in Missouri, United States)
4 years (on average)
15 full degree programs in Madrid and some 70 programs that can be started in the US and finished in Madrid
Madrid campus: 900 (Missouri campus: 13,000)
Students interested in flexibility and variety - SLU follows an American liberal arts approach to education where everyone studies specific foundational topics. This allows you to major and minor in a variety of different subjects at the same time.
Students interested in highly vocational courses which need to be accredited in the European Union, like medicine or law.
Heidi Buffington, Director of Admissions at SLU-Madrid, explains what makes SLU-Madrid unique - and how to put together a strong application.
What is SLU?
Saint-Louis University (SLU) is a dual-campus American teaching and research institution. The main campus is in Missouri, in the United States, and boasts 13,000 students. SLU was the first US institution to have a European campus; located in Madrid, Spain, the SLU-Madrid campus was founded in 1967 and is home to 1,000 students from over 50 countries.
SLU-Madrid offers a great deal of flexibility for students interested in moving between the dual campuses. The university offers students the opportunity to earn undergraduate degrees entirely in Spain, study abroad for a summer, semester, or an academic year, or start a degree in Spain which can be completed in the United States.
What is the education system like at SLU?
Both campuses follow a Liberal Arts system which is common in the USA, but which isn't often seen elsewhere. Some cool things about the Liberal Arts system include:
Students can apply ‘undecided’, meaning not for any particular subject, and then have up to two years to decide their majors and minors - which could be any combination of subjects. For example, students could potentially graduate with a major in Computer science, and a minor in Art History.
Alongside each student’s chosen major and minor, students have to take standard courses that develop their public speaking, writing, and critical thinking skills.
This approach is very different to other university education systems, like the UK’s, where students apply for a specific programme, and then spend their whole time focussed on that programme (for example, if you apply for Computer Science, then you will spend all your time studying Computer Science).
What’s the application process like?
During the application process SLU is committed to getting to know their students personally and holistically, which fits their liberal arts theory of education. As part of the application process, students need to submit one written application essay and attend an optional interview (which can be conducted remotely). The university is test-optional, meaning you do not have to submit an SAT or ACT score.
If you are not a native English speaker, you must demonstrate proficiency in English. This can be by submitting scores from a standardised test such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Alternatively, you can submit proof that you have completed a college-level class taught in English.
SLU also requires applicants to submit transcripts, which are a record of your grades and academic history. Typically transcripts should cover the last 4 years of your school education, so going back to GCSEs or equivalent, and including what you got or are predicted in your school leaving exams (A-levels or equivalent). Your sixth form / high school can produce a transcript for you.
How can students make a compelling application to SLU-Madrid?
Students can apply to SLU-Madrid in two ways: through the SLU-Madrid direct application system online, or through the Common Application. The Common Application is an online portal, similar to the UK’s UCAS, which allows students to apply to multiple universities in the US, Canada and Europe.
SLU-Madrid is looking for students who are capable of demonstrating that they could thrive in the American-education system, evidenced through their range of interests and hobbies. SLU encourages students to highlight their strengths and how they can contribute to the wider community in their personal statement. This isn’t just about what you can contribute in the classroom, but also beyond the classroom. Whether you are into sports, debating, or music - SLU wants to hear about it!
Ahead of making an application, SLU encourages prospective students to attend an information session or book a virtual call with university representatives or students. These are great ways to find out more about how you can make a stellar application, and meet staff or students directly.
Where can a degree from SLU-Madrid take students after graduation?
In graduating from SLU-Madrid you receive a US degree qualification from a highly-recognised institution, as well as the opportunity to apply to internships and job placements in Madrid and elsewhere. SLU-Madrid has long-standing relationships with a wide variety of employers which can be useful for sourcing internships. The top sectors for SLU-Madrid graduates include business, education, communication, and IT.
Because SLU-Madrid is such an international community, you can also make use of personal connections to pursue a wealth of other exciting post-degree opportunities. SLU graduates are spread across the globe!