The 25 Best Colleges for ISFJs

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ISFJs make a large portion of the population (13%, and that’s a good thing. ISFJs are defined by their altruism, selflessness, and humility. Above all, they want to defend and care for others, many of whom are unable to do so for themselves. They’re doctors, social workers, lawyers, community organizers, non-profit leaders, and more. ISFPs want to make an impact on the world, leaving it in better shape than they originally found it. And thanks to a tireless work ethic and strong intellect, they’re often quite successful. But they’re not ones to boast. Often, in fact, their efforts go unnoticed or (worse) taken for granted. They are shy, soft-spoken, and occasionally harbor their emotions. They take on a lot for others, sometimes to the detriment of their own well-being. But that’s just who they are: if their work is recognized, all the better, but that’s not the endgame. They’re just here to help. For ISFJs in search of the right college, the least we can do is return the favor. Here are the top schools for ISFJ personalities.

Looking for advice on what type of school and major to choose? Check out our Interview Series. Are you an ISFJ? Check out our Best Career and College Advice for ISFJs from 3 Successful ISFJs.

Methodology:

  • (1/3) Number of Majors in the Social and Natural Sciences
  • (1/3) Religious / Minority Groups per Club and Organization
  • (1/3) Alumni Giving Rank

1. Dartmouth College

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Dartmouth College Hanover, New Hampshire, is one of the oldest and most prestigious colleges in the country. Among its distinguished alumni include a long, varied list of altruists, philanthropists, and highly impactful intellectuals and statesmen: Nelson A. Rockefeller, Henry Paulson, Timothy Geithner, Salmon P. Chase, Dinesh D’Souza, Jake Tapper, numerous leaders in medicine, MacArthur Fellows, and three Nobel Prize winners. Its list of political alumni is endless. All of its alumni are devoted benefactors to the college; the school ranks second overall in the nation for alumni giving. There are 168 student organizations and clubs, including 34 religious groups and 32 minority and international organizations. Among the most popular are the Dartmouth Outing Club, an a capella group, several politically-affiliated newspapers, Greek organizations, and more. Among the school’s most popular area of study are in economics, government, history, psychological and brain sciences, English, biology, and engineering sciences.

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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MIT is located in Cambridge, considered among the most distinguished technological institutions in the world. Its alumni, faculty, and associates’ awards speak for themselves: 85 Nobel laureates, 52 National Medal of Science recipients, 65 Marshall Scholars, 45 Rhodes Scholars, 38 MacArthur Fellows, 34 astronauts, and 2 Fields Medalists. Suffice it to say, MIT graduates are changing the world for the better. They are also among the most generous alma mater donors on our list, ranking fifth overall in the nation. The school has 450 student organizations and clubs, including 25 religious groups and 64 minority and international organizations. Among the most noted activities on campus are the annual entrepreneurship competition, a student newspaper, radio station, and more. MIT’s unique Independent Activities Period allows students a four-week amnesty period in which to explore new areas of study they may not have considered. Its most popular areas of study are in the physical sciences, engineering, biology, economics, linguistics, and management.

3. University of Pennsylvania

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The University of Pennsylvania, or Penn, in Philadelphia is among the several universities claiming to be the first in the country. Founded by Benjamin Franklin, Penn’s commitment to world-changing advancements in the sciences, medicine, commerce, and politics started on day one. Among its distinguished alumni include 12 heads of state (one U.S. president), 3 Supreme Court Justices, and numerous CEO’s, noted academics, and university presidents. And as one of the leading research institutions worldwide, Penn has also contributed to the first general purpose electronic computer (ENIAC), the rubella and hepatitis B vaccines, Retin-A, cognitive therapy, conjoint analysis, and more – all of which have the hallmark fingerprints of ISFJ-type work. The school offers 350 student organizations and clubs, including literary societies, performing arts clubs, and 20 religious and 50 minority and international organizations. Its business, nursing, English, and engineering programs are routinely ranked among the top five int he country.

4 (tied). Boston College

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Boston College is located in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, about 6 miles west of downtown Boston. Graduates have earned Rhodes, Marshall, Mellon, Fulbright, Truman, Churchill, and Goldwater scholarships; Boston College has among the highest rates of Fulbright scholars in the country. Among its alumni include John Kerry, Tip O’Neill, Governor Paul Cellucci, Governor Dannel P. Malloy, and many more. Further, BC’s alumni rank 20th nationally for giving. The college’s motto “Ever to Excel” might very well be the credo of many an ISFJ. BC offers nearly 250 student organizations and clubs, including 5 student-run newspapers and magazines, a radio station, TV station, and 26 religious and 64 minority and international organizations. Forever earnest devotees to their alma mater, BC alumni are among the top benefactors in the country. Some of the central areas of study include education, nursing, and the humanities.

4 (tied). Agnes Scott College

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Agnes Scott College, an all-women’s college just outside of Atlanta in the unique town of Decatur, has an enrollment of under 1,000 and an excellent student-to-faculty ratio. Among its distinguished alumnae include Rhodes, Fulbright, Goldwater, Kemper, and Gates Millennium scholars; and Pulitzer Prize and Oscar winners. Agnes Scott’s alumnae also rank in the top 25 nationally for giving. ISFJs should also note that the school is one of just 40 colleges in the country that were named in “Colleges That Change Lives.” Among student lifestyle rankings by the Princeton Review, Agnes Scott is eighth in “Dorms Like Palaces,” fourth in “Most Beautiful Campus,” tenth for “Best Quality of Life,” and eleventh for “Diverse Student Population,” among others. AGC offers 72 clubs and organizations, including a literary magazine, newspaper, and 24 special interest and volunteer groups. It has four majors in the natural and social sciences, and its alumni rank among the highest in the nation in giving.

6. California Institute of Technology

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The California Institute of Technology is located in Pasadena, with a total enrollment of a little over 2,000. Long considered one of the top research universities in the world, CalTech attracted such famed scientists as George Ellery Hale, Arthur Amos Noyes, and Robert Andrews Millikan in its early history. For a research school of such exceptionally small size, CalTech alumni and faculty have nonetheless managed to win 34 Nobel Prizes (including Linus Pauling, the only two-time recipient in the award’s history), 6 Turing Awards, and 71 National Medals of Science or Technology. Other notable alumni to ISFPs include Arnold Beckman (founder of Beckman Instruments), William Shockley (who all but invented Silicon Valley), Benoit Mandelbrot, and the founders/co-founders of Varitronix, Hotmail, Compaq, Mathworks, Intel, and more. There are more than 80 student organizations on campus, including social houses, several musical groups, and 17 special interest and volunteer groups. For ISFPs with an interest in making an impact in any of the sciences, CalTech is among the best in the world.

7. Universiy of Michigan – Ann Arbor

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The Universiy of Michigan, with over 40,000 students, is considered on the premier public research universities in the world. Its alumni include such varied alumni as President Gerald Ford, Arthur Miller, Larry Page, John Robert Beyster, Theodore Roethke, Gilda Radner, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, and many others who have left enduring legacies. UM’s alumni are also ranked in the top 50 nationally for giving. Michigan offers 1,400 (you read that correctly) student organizations and clubs – in other words, there’s plenty to do and/or get involved with. Among these include several political groups, cause-based groups, numerous engineering teams, community service organizations, intramural sports, fraternities and sororities, 400+ special interest groups, and countless more. With a particular emphasis on STEM field, four of the universities most popular majors are in the social and natural sciences.

8 (tied). University of Chicago

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The University of Chicago, among the most prestigious schools in the country, is a great for ISFJs, and has long been considered home to some of the most progressive programs in economics, sociology, law, literary criticism, and psychology in the world. For ISFJs who value hard work, you may have met your challenge: according to Uni in the USA“Among the academic cream of American universities – Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, and the University of Chicago – it is UChicago that can most convincingly claim to provide the most rigorous, intense learning experience.” Its alumni include Milton Friedman, Carl Sagan, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, David Brooks, Enrico Fermi, Vernon Johns, and 89 Nobel Laureates, 49 Rhodes Scholars, 21 Marshall Scholars,9 Fields Medalists, 13 National Humanities Medalists, and an arrary of U.S. congressmen. Chicago’s alumni are also among the most eager to give back to their university, ranking fourth nationally. The school also offers numerous opportunities to get involved, with 450 student organizations, including 83 religious, minority, and international clubs. Among the central areas of study for undergraduates include biology, the physical sciences, and the social sciences.

8 (tied). Emory University

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Emory University, in the Druid Hills neighborhood of Atlanta, has programs tailor made for ISFJs, with a particular curricular focus on healthcare that’s among the nation’s best. It is one of just four institutions involved in the NIAID’s Tuberculosis Research Units Program and leads the Department of Health’s National Ebola Training and Education Center. It is also the headquarters of The International Association of National Public Health Institutes and nationally affiliated with the neighboring Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Cancer Society. In short, if you’re an ISFJ that thinks you may be interested in healthcare and medicine, Emory is a good bet. There are also 72 student organizations and clubs, 24 of which are religious, minority, or international organizations. The college’s distinguished alumni include Nobel, Pulitzer, Presidential Medal of Freedom, and Bancroft Prize winners, among a slew of other honors. They also rank 26th nationally for alumni giving.

10. Swarthmore College

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Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, about 11 miles outside of Philadelphia, has a student body of just 1,500. A member of the “Tri-College Consortium,” students are able to register for classes at Bryn Mawr and Haverford. Its distinguished alumni have won 5 Nobel Prizes, 30 Rhodes Scholarships, 8 Marshall Scholarships, 151 Fulbright Scholarships, 22 Truman Scholarships, and many other honors. Swarthmore alumni are almost among the most generous in the country, ranking 16th in the nation for giving. With 120 student organizations and clubs (including several for religious, minority, and international interests), students are given plenty of opportunities to explore a variety of activities; among these include the voluntary the Swarthmore Fire and Protective Association, a computer society, an award-winning mock trial team program, debate club, a radio station, and numerous student publications. Among the school’s most popular majors, 4 are in the social and natural sciences.

11 (tied). Stanford University

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Stanford University needs no introduction for range and significance of influence. Its alumni have gone on to found the likes of Google, Hewlett-Packard, Nike, Sun Microsystems, Instagram, Snapchat, and Yahoo!; in all, Stanford companies generate more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, collectively enough to make them the 10-largest economy on the planet. Other honors include 60 Nobel laureates, 2 Field Medalists, and 17 Turing Award winners. Stanford are happy to give back to their alma mater, too: Cardinal graduates rank 9th nationally in giving. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved on campus and the community, with 650 student organizations and groups, including 33 religious and 106 minority/international organizations. Among the most popular of these are entrepreneurial clubs, fraternities and sororities, student publications, performing arts troupes, and many more. Of Stanford’s most popular majors, 4 are in the natural and social sciences.

11 (tied). Harvard University

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Harvard, synonymous with Cambridge, Massachusetts, is also synonymous with accomplishment. Among its distinguished alumni include 8 U.S. Presidents, 335 Rhodes Scholars, and 242 Marshall Scholars. Nationally, Harvard ranks 11th for alumni giving. The school also offers a wealth of opportunities for ISFPs to get involved, including nearly 450 student organizations and clubs, 27 of which are religious and 63 of which are minority and international. ISFPs can also enjoy the famous Harvard University Library System, which consists of 80 individual libraries and over 18 million volumes, the largest in the U.S. and one of the largest in the world. The school also has arts, cultural, and scientific museums. Its student newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, is considered among the very best. Of the most popular majors among undergraduates, 4 are in the social and natural sciences. Anyone would be happy to attend Harvard, but ISFJ’s particularly can appreciate Harvard’s unique ability to prepare them for a life of meaningful, impactful work.

13 (tied). Wellesley College

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Wellesley College in Massachusetts is one of the best all-women’s colleges in the U.S. and ranked as the 4th best liberal arts school overall. Among its many distinguished alumnae include Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Soong Mei-ling, Cokie Roberts, Nora Ephron, and Diane Sawyer – emblematic of the diverse and highly successful student body at large. Wellesley alumnae are also among the biggest donors in the country, ranked 7th overall in giving (tied with Carleton College, below). The school offers 150 student organizations, including 15 religious and minority/international organizations. Thanks to a cross-registration agreement, Wellesley students have an opportunity to take classes at other elite schools, such as MIT, Babson College, and Brandeis University. (An exchange program includes Dartmouth, Amherst, and Wesleyan, among others.) Of the most popular majors at Wellesley, 4 are in the social and natural sciences.

13 (tied). Carleton College

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Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, is one of the top-10 rated liberal arts colleges in the country. Its alumni include multiple Supreme Court Justices, the editor-in-chief of Politico, Garrick Utley, a U.S. Secretary of Defense, Jonathan Capehart, 104 National Science Graduate Fellows, 91 Fulbright Scholars, 21 Watson Fellows, 13 Goldwater Scholars, and 2 Rhodes Scholars. Nationally, Carleton College alumni are tied for 7th overall in alumni giving. With a 880-acre arboretum and scenic, rural campus, Carleton is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful schools in the country. ISFJ’s will enjoy the opportunity to participate in nearly 200 student clubs and organizations, including a highly regarded radio station, several comedy troupes, six a cappella groups, a mock trial team, 14 religious organizations, and 26 minority and international clubs. Among Carleton’s most popular majors, 4 are in the natural and social sciences.

15 (tied). Princeton University

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Princeton University’s alumni roll call is too extensive to run through here, but this is the gist: 2 U.S. Presidents, 12 U.S. Supreme Court Justices, numerous congressmen, 41 Nobel laureates, 17 National Medal of Science winners, the most Abel Prize winners and Fields Medalists of any university, 10 Turing Award laureates, and countless other highly distinguished graduates across a wide variety of fields. Princeton alumni also have an excellent record of giving back to their alma mater – in fact, the best. Princeton ranks 1st nationally in alumni giving. The university also offers numerous opportunities for students to get involved on campus and in the community, with 300 student organizations and clubs, including 27 religious clubs and 18 minority and international organizations. Five of Princeton’s most popular majors are in the natural and social sciences.

15 (tied). Carnegie Mellon University

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Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has a student body of about 13,400 (half undergraduate). Founded as Carnegie Technical, the school has long had a reputation as a top draw for the sciences; in particular, its programs in engineering (computer, environmental, materials science, etc.), computer science, business, and economics are routinely ranked among the top 5 and top 10 in the nation. As of 2015, Carnegie Mellon is ranked as the nation’s best IT school. For more creative ISFP’s, the university also has top-rated drama, performance arts, and MFA programs. Its alumni and faculty have been awarded 9 Nobel Laureates, 14 Members of the National Academy of Sciences, 50 Members of National Academy of Engineering, and 12 Turing Awards Recipients; alumni include the inventor of Kevlar, the creator of Java programming language, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems, and more. Alumni giving ranks among the best in the country, and there are nearly 300 students clubs and organizations in which to participate (25 religious and 33 minority/international). Five of the school’s most popular majors are in the social and natural sciences.

17. Bucknell University

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Bucknell University sits alongside the West Branch Susquehanna River in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Classified as a “Hidden Ivy,” Bucknell has top ranked programs in engineering, electrical engineering, computer engineer, and mechanical engineering. Among the school’s varied and accomplished alumni include writer Phillip Roth, CBS CEO actors Ralph Waite and Edward Herrman, Les Moonves, and many others. Bucknell also ranks in the top 50 nationwide for alumni giving. Students have numerous opportunities to get involved on and off campus, with 150 student organizations, including numerous fraternities and sororities, a student newspaper, radio station, 12 religious clubs, and 27 minority and international organizations. Other draws include a number of student performances, historic movie theater, and formal year-end ball. Of the 44 majors Bucknell offers, 4 are in the natural and social sciences.

18 (tied). Johns Hopkins University

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Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, is considered one of the best universities in the country, but ISFPs may especially take interest in its science and medicine programs, which are among the best in the world. Its schools of public health, nursing, medicine, and education are all ranked in the top 3 in the nation. In fact, Johns Hopkins has been associated with ISFP-like virtues since its namesake – an entrepreneur, abolitionist, and philanthropist – founded the university in 1876. Alumni and faculty have been awarded 36 Nobel Prizes, 18 of which were in Physiology or Medicine. JHU alumni also rank 9th in the nation for giving back to their alma mater. With nearly 400 student organizations and groups, including 26 religious clubs and 29 minority and international organizations, students have no shortage of opportunities to get involved on campus. Civic-minded students and ISFPs also help in the community of Baltimore at large. Of the school’s most popular majors, 5 are in the natural and social sciences.

18 (tied). Duke University

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Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, is an excellent option for the ISFP looking to make an impact, having produced 10 Nobel laureates, 3 Turing Award winners, and the fifth-most Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, Goldwater, and Udall Scholars in the nation. Distinguished alumni include the CEO’s and chairmen of Chesapeake Energy, Cisco Systems, Procter & Gamble, Pfizer, Apple, the philanthropist Melinda Gates, Charlie Rose, Martin Dempsey, Ron Paul, and more. Alumni are also among the nation’s most generous to their alma mater, ranking 11th nationally in giving. Students have numerous opportunities to get involved on campus and in the community, with 40 student organizations and groups, including 28 religious clubs and 31 minority/international organizations. More than 75% of the student body take on service-learning opportunities through the school’s unique DukeEngage, which promotes altruistic efforts that ISFPs can surely appreciate. Other activities Greek life, sports events, student newspapers, and more. Among the school’s top majors, 5 are in the social and natural sciences.

20 (tied). Bowdoin College

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Bowdoin College in scenic Brunswick, Maine, 18 miles from Portland, is ranked among the top 5 liberal arts schools in the country. Its varied and distinguished alumni include U.S. President Franklin Pierce, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Alfred Kinsey, Mayo Clinic co-founder Augustus Stinchfield, Thomas Pickering, many politicians, and more. Bowdoin alumni also rank 4th nationally in alumni giving – impressive for a school of its size (around 1,800 enrolled). With 110 student organizations and clubs, students have plenty to do outside of their studies, despite the school’s relatively remote locale. All students are assigned a social house upon entry (Greek life was abolished in the 1990s), and there are also outdoor clubs, literary and intellectual societies, a student newspaper, a cappella groups, and 19 special interest and volunteer organizations. Of the school’s most popular majors, 4 are in the natural and social sciences.

20 (tied). United States Military Academy

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The United States Military Academy, or West Point, is situated above the Hudson River, about 50 miles north of New York City. Considered one of the most prestigious service academies, West Point values hits many of the ISFP bullet points: selflessness, humility, committed work-ethic, loyalty, and innate desire to defend. Its alumni, collectively called “The Long Gray Line,” include 2 U.S. Presidents, numerous generals, 75 Medal of Honor recipients, and the presidents of Costa Rica, Nicaragua and of the Philippines. It should be little surprise that West Point alumni also rank among the highest in the nation for alumni giving. There are plenty of extracurricular activities available to cadets, including 88 clubs and organizations, which range from intramural sports teams to 19 special interest and volunteer groups. Four of West Point’s most popular are in the social and natural sciences.

22 (tied). George Washington University

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George Washington University, in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C., is one of the prestigious schools in the country and, unsurprisingly, ranked by the Princeton Review as among the nation’s most politically active schools. Impactful alumni include Harry Reid, Colin Powell, Jacqueline Kennedy, J. Edgar Hoover, Peter Pace, Allen Dulles, John Foster Dulles, and many others. In addition to serving the country, GW alumni are also generous with their wallets, ranked 8th overall in the U.S. for alumni giving. There are numerous opportunities to get involved on and off campus, with 378 student organizations and group, including 28 religious clubs and 40 minority/international clubs. Students also enjoy attending sports events, partaking in student government, writing for student newspapers and magazines, and volunteering for the student-run Emergency Medical Response Group. Four of the universities most popular majors are in the natural and social sciences.

22 (tied). Connecticut College

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Connecticut College is located in the city of New London, with a student enrollment just under 2,000. Its alumni include philanthropist Nan Kempner, journalist Joshua Green, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, and many more. Collectively, Conn College alumni rank among the most generous in alumni giving. Students enjoy access to 60 student organizations and clubs, 14 of which are special interest and volunteer groups. Some other popular activities are a cappella groups (there are 7), a student newspaper, radio station, and work through the Office of Volunteers for Community Service. The Student Activities Council plans events year-round, the most popular of which is a concert series, Friday Nights Live; past acts have included Jon McLaughlin, Paranoid Social Club, Land of Talk, Langhorne Slim, Locksley, Stephen Kellogg, and others. Four of the college’s most popular majors are in the social and natural sciences, and the college is especially known for its service learning, which ISFPs can appreciate.

24 (tied). Brandeis University

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Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, just outside Boston, is known for a liberal arts foundation, with high ranked programs in economics and policy. ISFPs with an interest in social research and activism should definitely take a look, as should those with interests in foreign affairs and international studies. Among the school’s alumni include Thomas Friedman, Paul Solman, Abbie Hoffman, Angela Davis, and Nobel Prize, Field Medal, and Pulitzer Prize recipients. They also rank 20th nationally for alumni giving. There are nearly 250 student organizations and groups, including 13 religious clubs and 21 minority and international organizations. Other popular groups are in a cappella groups (11 total), comedy troupes (5 total), theater companies (6 total), and numerous newspapers and other publications. Among the school’s most popular majors, 5 are in the social and natural sciences.

24 (tied). Union College

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Union College in Schenectady, New York, is unique in that, while offering a liberal arts curriculum, the school also offers degrees in computer engineering, bioengineering electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering, ideal for ISFPs who value both a broad-based education and a practical, specialized degree. Students also enjoy the college’s study abroad programs: 60% take on some form of international study. Among its varied and distinguished alumni include William H. Seward, President Chester Arthur, President Jimmy Carter, Richard K. Templeton, and numerous Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize recipients. Union’s alumni also rank 44th nationally in alumni giving. There are more than 100 student organizations and clubs on campus, including 16 special interest and volunteer groups. Other groups include fraternities and sororities, theme houses, and several arts, theatre, and cultural organizations. Approximately 25% of students major in the social sciences; 10% in psychology; 11% in engineering; 10% in biology; 9% in history; and 10% in the humanities. 5% create their own independent study.

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