It’s never easy deciding what college is right for you and what major is right for you. While some know from a young age that they desire an Ivy League education or want to study under talented doctors at Johns Hopkins, not everyone decides so easily.
There is no one right answer as to why JWU would be right for you or not. Everyone is different and will fit in differently at each school. I don’t wish to sound like a paid advertisement for Johnson and Wales, and I won’t try to convince you. But when I was trying to decide between JWU and a few other schools, I wished there was an article about some of the qualities about Johnson and Wales and what sets them apart. So that is what I would like to do.
You Are a Person
Johnson and Wales is a smaller university. The school as a whole isn’t small, but each campus has a smaller number of students enrolled. While this can have its disadvantages at times (i.e. a more of a high school feel), I believe this is more of a positive. To the administration, you are not just a number but a real person. You get to know the staff and faculty quite well and even become friends with some. Most of the administration will come to know you and take a personal interest in your well being and success. This is great–not only do you feel more comfortable, but if you need help with anything, everyone is more than willing to help you out.
The class sizes are fairly small and it is easy to get to know your professors and chefs and to receive one-on-one instruction or mentoring. Sitting in a lecture hall with 300 other students and your professor not even recognizing your name on paper sounds very unattractive to me.
A university and not a college
Johnson and Wales is a university. Period. Most culinary schools are trade schools and only offer labs and possibly a few lectures. But, with JWU part of your culinary arts or baking and pastry arts degree is an array of academic classes that assist your degree: management, accounting, storeroom keeping, business, and leadership classes are some of the required courses. This not only prepares you to be a manager and leader but is also valuable knowledge if you plan to open your own business or be a manager in any capacity, not only as a chef.
With this, you have a typical university feel. Johnson and Wales offers Greek Life on each campus, along with a long list of clubs and even sports teams. You have the option of living on campus in dorms and residence halls, like most typical universities. This differs from a lot of culinary schools, which do not offer on-campus housing, sports, clubs, or Greek life. There are constantly events happening on campus, from carnivals, movie and popcorn nights, and even dances!
Tuition Is Lower That it Looks
When you receive brochures and look on the website you can see the cost of tuition and all of the fees that are required, plus the cost of room and board if you are planning on living on campus. This may seem very daunting at first, but don’t let that first number throw you off. Another aspect of Johnson and Wales is the help of the amazing financial staff. You can sometimes receive half of your tuition and all other costs paid for by scholarships and grants. The financial staff work very hard to help you get as much money for school as they can. The majority of my friends have almost half of their expenses paid for. Even if you think you are someone who wouldn’t receive scholarships, you are most likely wrong. Even if you don’t get the maximum amount of scholarships, having part of it paid for is great! If you need additional help beyond that, the financial advisers can help you sign up for loans or make month-to-month payment plans.
Quality of Education
While you may be attracted to the schools that promise you are done with your certificate in 6 months, there is a reason that Johnson and Wales is a 2-year associate’s degree.
The classes that we take in any of the majors are very extensive and cover just about everything on the subject. I have gone through the baking and pastry program and am currently working on a food service management degree. Reviewing all of the labs my first 2 years, I am amazed at all of the information we went over. You work on everything on the subject and do not stick to just one region of cooking or one technique.
Yes, it may take you longer to get a degree, but would you want to see a doctor who got his degree from an express medical school?
Time to Decide
While there are many other factors about Johnson and Wales that I personally love, I believe that this information is key to deciding what school is right for you.Johnson and Wales may not be for everyone but it is the right fit for a lot of students. Besides doing research into all of your options, make sure you take a tour of the college of your choice and talk with the students about the pro’s and con’s of the school.
Culinary school, and any college for that matter, is a decision that should not be rushed. Finding the right fit is vital to your success in school.