What is Emory Known For? Is Emory a Good School?

The second-oldest private higher learning institution in the state of Georgia, Atlanta’s Emory University was established by the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1836. 

More than a matter of age, Emory’s reputation for academic excellence has established it as one of the country’s elite private schools, often confused with an Ivy League institution.

Thanks to its $11 billion endowment, Emory has become a leader in many fields, earning a tier-one rank for its very high research activity.

Emory does not go about these pursuits alone but in cooperation with other impressive intuitions. Working alongside Bejing’s Peking University and the Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory hosts the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering. 

In cooperation with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Emory provides students with access to cutting-edge resources. Together with Nanjing University, Emory operates the Confucius Institute in Atlanta and has a research partnership.

Thanks to these connections, Emory has been associated with the most influential people in the world

Several heads of state have graduated from Emory, including U.S. Vice President Alben W. Barkley and the prime ministers of Georgia and South Korea. 

Emory alumni and faculty have won nearly every major award, including the Pulitzer and the Emmys. Numerous MacArthur Fellows worked with the school, as have CEOS of Fortune 500 companies.

Impressive as this list of achievements certainly is, these accolades aren’t all that Emory is known for. The school features respected academic programs, fun traditions, and even championship sports.

What Majors & Academics Are Emory Known For?

As one of the most elite private schools in the South, Emory University boasts first-class programs in several fields.

Some of those great programs are part of the Goizueta Business School, including Emory’s unique JD/MBA degree. 

Offered in conjunction with the university’s School of Law, the degree prepares students who wish to use their legal degrees in the world of business. 

In a joint program designed for efficiency, students can finish their degree in four years, leaving time for internships in each of the three summer sessions.

For those who want to begin their work even more quickly, there’s the one-year MBA program that Goizueta provides to those who have completed two years of law school. 

Participants may only have two summers for internship opportunities, but they can earn their JD/MBA degree in just three and half years.

Drawing from the school’s religious history, the Candler School of Theology’s M. Div. degree is one of the most respected in the nation. 

A professional degree designed for future church leaders, ministers, or social workers, the M. Div. degree puts an emphasis on practical skills. 

Leaning on the school’s theological tradition in Methodist Episcopal Church, Candler covers everything from leadership practices to critical thinking.

Emory’s medical school is one of the best in the country, especially its award-winning dermatology program. 

Working in conjunction with the 587-bed Emory University Hospital, the program seeks to train practitioners from diverse backgrounds, putting equal attention on classroom and clinical training. 

With a range of service opportunities available, the program ensures that graduates will become excellent doctors.

Is Emory a Good School?

Emory University
Daniel Mayer, Emory University – Dobbs University Center, CC BY-SA 3.0

If you think that Emory may just have a few good programs and is otherwise a run-of-the-mill university, a quick look at lists from ranking outlets will prove otherwise.

According to the most respected outlet U.S. News & World Report, Emory is the 21st best school in the nation, coming in above the University of California at Berkley, Georgetown University, and the University of Michigan. The school earns similar recognition on the site’s list for Best Value Schools, also coming in at number 21.

Niche.com concurs with the findings of U.S. News, awarding Emory with an A+ grade overall. The site points to Emory’s strong academics, overall value, and diversity. 

Emory also comes out quite well on the site’s specialized list, ranking among the top ten on the lists for Best Christian Schools in America, Best Colleges for Nursing in America, and Best Colleges for Chemistry in America.

As these numbers show, Emory is one of the best schools in the United States.

Emory Traditions

Emory’s proud history doesn’t just stop with academics. Over the decades, Emory students have established unique traditions to connect newcomers to the school’s past.

Every week, students and faculty celebrate Wonderful Wednesday, an opportunity to break from the regular grind to relax and spend time together. 

Sometimes, Wednesdays are low-key affairs, no more than a nice meal in the food court. 

Other times, Wonderful Wednesdays constitute a significant event, as is the case with the annual kick-off, which takes place across Atlanta.

To help first-year students get to know their new students, the school hosts Songfest, a competition between those in first-year residence halls. 

The annual competition draws people from all over campus, to watch first-year students put on their best show, which is judged by second-year students. This connection between first-year classes and upper classes helps build cohesion on campus.  

This small sampling makes it easy to see that Emory strives to situate its students in the school’s larger culture.

Prominent Clubs & Extracurricular Activities at Emory

Emory may be a smaller campus than other schools of the same quality, but it has an incredibly active student body. Without question, the most popular clubs at Emory are the various Greek organizations. But if that’s not your thing, you can either start a new club or join one of the several already in place.

For those who have a heart for helping others, Volunteer Emory equips students for working in the community. 

For more than four decades, Volunteer Emory has been locating needs in the Atlanta area and letting members make real improvements.

Volunteer Emory ensures that learning doesn’t just happen in classrooms, from short one-day projects to weekly service trips to social justice education sessions.

Musically inclined men should check out No Strings Attached, the oldest student-run acapella group at Emory. Spinning out of an open-mic night in 1994, No Strings Attached has grown into a true school tradition. 

No Strings Attached puts on a campus-wide concert each year, and the group has performed at major events, including Atlanta Falcons and Braves games.

Best of all, Emory strongly welcomes the formation of new clubs. So even if you can’t find a place to belong among the school’s already great offerings, you can start a new club and gather with others.

What Sports Are Emory Known For?

While best known for its academic achievements, the Emory Eagles fields 18 varsity teams in NCAA Division III, earning recognition as a great sports school from the Directors’ Cup of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. 

Across its many teams, the Eagles have taken home 31 NCAA championships.

Perhaps the most successful programs at Emory are the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams. 

The teams have taken home 15 national championships since 2005, with the men’s team winning the 2022 championship, earning coach Jon Howell his second CSCAA National Coach of the Year award. Howell earned his first award in 2018, thanks to women’s swimming and diving team victories.

Emory is on the cusp of establishing a new winning tradition with its women’s golf team, which won the national championship in 2022. The victory came as the team broke the previous Division III record for a four-round total. The team posted a total of 23-over par 1175, almost 40 strokes less than the record last set in 2001.

So while the Emory Eagles may not sell as many hats and t-shirts as the Michigan Wolverines or the Duke Blue Devils, the school stands second to none in athletic excellence.

Why Emory?

As we’ve seen, Emory University is one of the best schools in the south. Emory has earned the respect of academics worldwide, a first-class private institution.

With that level of renown comes a great deal of attention, including many applicants. In 2022 alone, 33,517 hopefuls applied to come to Emory as freshmen. Out of that group, only 5,303 received letters of admission, for an acceptance rate of just 15.8%

While that rate is higher than the Ivy League schools to which Emory is often compared, it is undoubtedly highly competitive. Out of every ten students, eight will be rejected half of the time, and nine will be rejected the other half.

In short, the large majority of those who apply to Emory will not be offered admission. So why should you even try?

The answer to that question can be found throughout the rest of this article. In terms of academics, Emory is one of the best schools in the nation, with countless first-class thinkers and researchers doing their best work on its Atlanta campus. 

The school’s alumni have gone on to make a real difference in the world, setting a tradition that anyone would be proud to follow.

When combined with the university’s wonderful traditions and active campus life, it’s easy to see why the best and the brightest flock to Emory.