About Fordham University
Location: Bronx, NY
Undergraduate Population: 9,904
Most Popular Majors: Business Administration, Economics, Finance, Psychology, Computer Science
Motto: Sapientia et Doctrina (“Wisdom and Learning”)
Asian/ Asian American 15.4%
Black/African American 5.5%
Native American less than 1%
The oldest Jesuit university in the Northeast–and the only one in New York City–Fordham’s religious roots run deep. The school was founded in 1841 as St. John’s College by Irish-born archbishop John Hughes at the 106-acre Rose Hill Manor farm where Fordham is still located today. Fordham’s first president was The Reverend John McCloskey, who would later go on to become the first American Catholic cardinal. An astounding cast of characters passed through Fordham in the school’s early years, including the writer Edgar Allen Poe, who formed a lifelong friendship with the Jesuit priests at Fordham and whose poem “The Bells” is said to have been inspired by the college’s church bells. Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, commander of the all-Black 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War, attended Fordham’s preparatory school as a teen in the 1840s.
St. John’s College opened its law school and medical school in 1904, and in 1907, the college officially changed its name to Fordham University, after the village where the campus is located. Fordham’s campus at Manhattan’s Lincoln Center opened in 1961, as part of a collaboration between urban planner Robert Moses and Fordham president Lawrence J. McGinley. The School of Law moved to the Lincoln Center campus first, followed by a host of other academic programs. A period of student activism during the Civil Rights era of the 1960s led to the founding of Fordham’s African American studies department, one of the first of its kind in the nation, in 1969. In that same year, Fordham’s Board of Trustees was reorganized with nonclerical members in the majority, thus making the college officially independent of the church; however, Jesuit and Catholic traditions still heavily inform Fordham’s culture to this day.
Noteworthy Fordham alumni include suspense novelist Mary Higgins Clark, award-winning actor Alan Alda, Connecticut congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, former LA Lakers point guard Smush Parker, and actor and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Denzel Washington.
- Fordham’s Urban Plunge is a three-day deep-dive into exploration of New York City’s diverse neighborhoods; incoming first-year students can participate in Urban Plunge before their first semester begins and work on a team service learning project with their peers.
- Spring Weekend is an annual festival to celebrate the end of Fordham’s spring semester, featuring bands, DJs, dancing, and appearances from actors and comedians.
- “Riding the Ram” is a longstanding, if mysterious, Fordham tradition: near Hughes Hall, students climb a granite pedestal, sit atop a ram statue, and have friends snap a picture. Getting caught riding the ram, however, can result in consequences from school administration.
- Undergraduates at Fordham complete four Eloquentia Perfecta (“perfect eloquence”) seminars during their college career. Among these is a senior seminar that culminates in a capstone project on values.
- The Rose Hill Campus features its own TV production studio, and Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus is walking distance from both the CBS and ABC television studios.
- The Global Business Honors program at Lincoln Center sends students to study abroad in London, Chile, Argentina, and China; Global Business students also get the opportunity to manage a real $1 million global investment portfolio as part of the Student Managed Investment Fund program.
Average GPA: 3.81
Test Scores (mid-50% range): 1360-1490 SAT/ 31-34 ACT
Admit Rate: 54.1%
Offers Early Admissions? Yes–Early Action and Early Decision I
Fordham University’s Optional Essay Prompt:
At Fordham, we expect students to care for and engage with their communities. Please share a specific instance in which you challenged yourself or stepped out of your comfort zone in order to be an advocate for your community (for example, your family, friend group, high school, or town). Please provide an example that illustrates a facet of yourself that we would not find anywhere else in your application (150 words)
This prompt is a great example of an invitation to write a “community” essay. When responding to this essay prompt, make sure to consider the part of the question that asks you to talk about an experience not mentioned elsewhere in your application. For tips on how to respond to this and other common supplemental essay questions, read our blog post here.