Washington University in St. Louis

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#8, overall score 77.83/100

Fun Fact:

Princeton Review ranked WashU as having the best dorms in the country in 2013 and 2017.

Why should Jewish students attend WashU? This is a great time to be Jewish at Washington University! WashU’s Chabad House offers students so many ways to participate. The Chabad House is packed for Shabbat dinner each week, and holidays are celebrated on an even larger scale. Rosh Hashanah draws 500, and the largest dining hall on campus can barely contain the Seder! Of course, the Chabad House offers much more than inclusive Shabbat and holiday events; it is a nurturing community for students of varied backgrounds and observances, and the Chabad team takes pride in the relationships they form with students. First-year students are welcomed through “JewCrew” to help the newest members of the community navigate college life. A successful leadership board creates exciting social and cultural programs. Volunteer opportunities include an award-winning Hebrew school where WashU students are paired with children who have special needs. Jewish study options include the Sinai Scholars Society, the Ari Fellowship, one-on-one study and guest speakers, and over 1,000 young people have gone on Birthright Israel trips staffed by Chabad professionals. Chabad and Hillel work together to build a unified campus Jewish community by taking turns hosting Shabbat lunch and jointly sponsoring events. — Chana R. Novack, co-director of Chabad on Campus - Rohr Center for Jewish Life at Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University in St. Louis prides itself in knowing every student “by name and by story.” This personalized approach permeates through all facets of the undergraduate student experience and sets Washington University apart from other institutions. With approximately 1,800 Jewish undergraduates (24% of the total undergraduate population), a robust Hillel founded in 1946, and an active Chabad on campus, WashU also boasts one of the most vibrant and thriving campus Jewish communities in the country. Jewish students from all backgrounds and levels of observance come together to build connections and foster a cohesive community. WashU Hillel’s mission is to be a catalyst for Jewish life among college students attending WashU. We connect students with one another and with Jewish culture and traditions through service and social justice, Israel engagement, religious life and social and leadership programs. Our popular “Rosh Hashanah In-A-Bag,” “Shabbat Around WashU” and “Do Your Own Seder” initiatives allow hundreds of students to create their own enduring Shabbat and holiday traditions each year in their dorms, fraternity houses, campus spaces and apartments with friends. For more information about the types of programs and opportunities available to students through WashU Hillel, please visit our website or our Facebook page. — Jacqueline Ulin Levey, executive director and CEO, Hillel at Washington University in St. Louis

CAMPUS INFORMATION

  • Location: St. Louis, Mo.
  • Region: Midwest
  • Campus type: Big city
  • Public/Private: Private
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 7,540
  • Jewish undergraduate enrollment: 1,800
  • Jewish population share: 24%
  • Student origin: 9% in-state / 91% out-of-state
  • Student newspaper: Student Life
  • NCAA Division: III
  • NCAA team: Bears
  • Ultimate Frisbee teams: Contra / Iron Horse

COST & AID Score: 10/15

  • Score: 10/15
  • Tuition: $51,533
  • Room & board costs: $16,006
  • Average annual scholarship/grant package: $48,169
  • Average loan debt: $22,592
  • Starting median salary: $60,100
  • Scholarship for Jewish students: Washington University in St. Louis awards an annual scholarship in the College of Arts & Sciences to a student involved in Hillel.

ACADEMICS Score: 20/20

  • Score: 20/20
  • Acceptance rate: 16%
  • Student/faculty ratio: 8:1
  • Median SAT range: 1470-1570
  • Jewish Studies program: Yes
  • Jewish Studies major: Yes
  • Hebrew major: Yes

What Students Say:

“Although it is a highly-ranked and academically rigorous university, everyone wants everyone else to succeed. Not once have I been refused help from a teacher or even from any of my peers. I never study alone for tests or exams, and am constantly supported by my friends and classmates as a student.”

ISRAEL Score: 16/20

SAFETY Score: 1.67/11

  • Score: 1.67/11
  • Anti-Semitic incidents in 2017: 2
  • Campus crime rate: 9.64/1,000 students (high)
  • City crime rate: 78.44/1,000 people (high)
  • LGBT center: Yes

JEWISH LIFE Score: 30.17/34

  • Score: 30.17/34
  • Hillel: WashU Hillel
  • Chabad: Chabad on Campus - Rohr Center for Jewish Life at Washington University in St. Louis
  • OU-JLIC: No
  • Other Jewish outreach group: Jewish Learning Experience
  • Jewish fraternities: AEPi, ZBT
  • Jewish sororities: AEPhi
  • Jewish a capella group: Staam
  • Can you get kosher food on the school meal plan? Yes
  • Chicken soup hotline: Yes
  • Active Hillel clubs: 10
  • Hillel Friday night services: 3
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Hillel: 75
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Chabad: 150
  • Synagogues within 10 miles: 9 (5 Orthodox, 1 Conservative, 3 Reform)
  • Eruv: On campus
  • Most famous Jewish alum: Harold Ramis
  • Most unique/noteworthy club: WIPAC, WashU’s campus-trained AIPAC group advised by Hillel, received the 2018 “Campus Activist of the Year” Award at AIPAC’s annual Policy Conference in Washington, D.C.
  • Where do Jewish students come from? All over the country.
  • Kosher food details: WashU offers freshly prepared hot meals for lunch and dinner each weekday, and a brunch on Sundays. This is provided by Dining Services, certified by the local Vaad, located in a main dining hall and integrated into campus life. Additionally, pre-packaged meals are available at all the campus eateries, including bagels, omelets, sandwiches, salads and wraps. Kosher food is also available at Hillel and Chabad events, holiday meals and programs.

What Students Say:

“I love the openness of my Jewish community at school. I attend Chabad, which is nationally known as an Orthodox organization, but their doors are always open to everyone regardless of their level of observance. I’ve even brought my non-Jewish friends to Shabbat dinner before, because they just HAD to try the challah!”…“I think that Hillel and Chabad should work together more. Although both are known for different sects/levels of observance of Judaism, I feel that there is a little bit of “competition” on campus — as if the Jewish students have to choose one or the other. I think that having more events combined would show students that they can go to either place.”

Do you attend this school? Do you want to tell us more about what life there is like? Take our survey here, and your feedback could be featured in next year’s guide! And if you’re a student or campus professional, join our online community Jewish Campus Confidential, and apply to become a Forward Campus Ambassador.

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