A Profile of DeSales University

With its lush landscape of rolling hills in the background, DeSales University looks straight out of a painting.

At that picturesque school, students are encouraged to live by a quote from St. Francis DeSales, the school’s namesake, “Be who you are and be that well.”

CB South graduate and current DeSales freshman Mary McGeehan said she finds that motto to be true. “I think DeSales just tries to help you be the best person you can be.”

CB South guidance counselor Mrs. Ladley agreed. “There’s a culture of acceptance and a welcoming feel,” she said.

At DeSales there is the Character U program to help students transition into college life. It includes a three day freshman orientation, a placement of students in a pod of classmates, and mentors with an emphasis on developing core values.

McGeehan said the orientation helps to “really get you into the school spirit,” and the peer mentors “help you get a hold of things.”

Throughout a student’s freshman year, there are plenty of opportunities to continue participating in the Character U program, such as monthly speaking engagements, traveling opportunities, and ways to support the athletic teams.

The Character U program is part of “The DeSales Experience,” a program dedicated to student development in areas such as leadership. The “DeSales Experience” is a voluntary program that requires the completion of the Character U: First Year Experience, leadership experience, 40 hours of community service, the completion of career development experience, the completion of four separate academic courses, the completion of the Senior Success Series, and a good student conduct record upon graduation.

Students who participate in the DeSales Experience for all four years of school are honored at their graduation for their accomplishment.

Both programs strive to help students develop the seven core character values based on the teachings of Saint Francis: respect, courage, compassion, humility, honesty, responsibility, and purpose.

“What Saint Francis did is very prominent in our school, and a lot of what his teachings are, are what the school tries to emphasis on,” said McGeehan.

Saint Francis DeSales is known as “The Gentleman Saint.” He is the patron saint of writers, journalists, and the deaf.

Religion plays a prominent role at this Catholic university. All students, including those who are not Catholic, are required to take three Catholic theology courses.

On campus there are statues of Saint Francis and his close friend Saint Jane de Chantal, two churches, priests and one nun.

However, with its strong education programs, DeSales is still a good option for students who are not Catholic or even religious.

McGeehan said, “They don’t force the religion down your throat, but it’s there.”

In addition to requiring Catholic theology courses, DeSales also requires all students no matter what major they are in, to take two semesters of either a foreign language or world culture courses, philosophy, and physical education courses.

There are 37 majors and 28 minors offered available to take, ranging from Dance to Marriage and Family Studies to Computer Science.

“A lot of our students look there for nursing, criminal justice, and business,” said Mrs. Ladley.

DeSales also offers accelerated programs in some majors for students who are confident in their career program and able to keep up with rigorous curricula.

For students who are not confident in a career choice and are undeclared, DeSales has a program called Exploratory Studies. It includes taking exploratory courses to help students figure out which major is right for them and taking classes that fulfill core requirements.

The exploratory courses are Major Decision Making, which is taken in the fall semester, and for students who are still undecided in the spring semester, Career Development and Planning.

Whether a student is confident in his or her career choice or still undecided, finding a way to pay for college can be uncertain. DeSales offers scholarships to its applicants regardless of need.

Financial aid is on a first come, first served basis, and students are encouraged to apply early. The deadline for priority scholarship consideration this year was December 1st.

Something unique to DeSales is the Heritage Scholarship. Graduates of DeSales can give any student an extra $1,000 in their financial aid package.

“They’re also pretty competitive,” said Mrs. Ladley. “They’re usually pretty good with our students, I have to say.”

Students at South whom Mrs. Ladley said she would recommend DeSales to include, “a student who values being closer to home,” those who appreciate having smaller class sizes and a closer professor relationship, and students who are “genuinely interested in their education.”

Students interested in applying should know DeSales is interested in involvement in extracurricular activities and academic achievement within a demanding curriculum. It’s highly recommended that applicants take college preparatory classes.

The average accepted GPA is a 3.78, and the average SAT score, from the previous version of the SAT, is just over 1150. College preparatory classes are highly recommended.

McGeehan said that she felt very prepared entering DeSales after graduating from South. “I think that South does a really good job helping you with critical thinking.”

South students looking for a smaller college should feel at home at this picturesque school. Learn more about DeSales here.