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Monday, April 9, 2018

Why hire a college consultant

For many families, college is the largest expenditure they will make, with the exception of a home purchase.
They hire a college consultant to:
1.      Help their student select colleges that fit academically and socially, where they will be happy and successful, and that they can afford.
2.      Maximize financial aid through college selection strategies.
3.      Help their student identify and effectively highlight their strengths in college applications, essays, and interviews to increase their chance of acceptance.
4.      Reduce stress by breaking down the process into manageable meetings and assignments.
5.      Help their student meet their application deadlines.
6.      Enable them to enjoy time as a family, instead of arguing about completing applications.
If a family decides to hire a college admissions consultant, they should look for one who:
1.      Is a good match for the student’s personality.
2.      Is well-trained and experienced.
3.      Visits colleges regularly.
4.      Keeps abreast of changing trends in college admissions.
5.      Is connected to a network of professional college consultants.
6.      Maintains high ethical and professional standards.
If you are considering hiring a college admissions consultant, I would be very happy to talk with you about my services and qualifications.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Johnson and Wales University Update

In March 2018, I attended Johnson and Wales University (JWU) brunch for NJ counselors and educators. I wanted to hear what had changed since I visited the Rhode Island campus in 2014. The highlights were:
  • The culinary classes have been reworked based on industry input and now look at market segments like chef-driven corporate dining and chef-concept restaurants, in addition to fine dining.
  • The College of Health and Wellness was opened in 2016 offering a B.S. in Health Science, a B.S. in Public Health and a B.S. in Dietetics and Health Nutrition. On the graduate level the school has a Physician’s Assistant program in which they hold 12 seats for JWU graduates.
  •  In the College of Engineering and Design, the hottest program is the two-year old Cyber Threat Intelligence & Defense program. A new major in Digital Marketing and Social Media starts in Fall 2018.
  •  A new building, the Center for Science and Innovation opened just over a year ago.
  •  Early action admission was offered for the first time in Fall 2017.
My earlier JWU posts are one from December 2013 and another from January 2014.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Will I get accepted to my dream college?

Princeton University (photo by Rana Slosberg)

High school students often worry whether they will get into their first choice college or university. One way to assess their chance for admission is to use Naviance scattergrams as described in this Forbes article.

Here are three additional considerations when using Naviance scattergrams. If:

  • Very few or no students from your high school have attended the college you are interested in, there won't be a scattergram for you to use. Don't let that discourage you from applying. You can still assess your chances for admission by looking at data like acceptance rate, GPA distribution, and mid-50% ACT or SAT scores of accepted students. This data is generally available on the college's website and/or or college search sites like the College Board's Big Future (which includes it under the "Applying" tab for each college).

  • There is a Naviance scattergram with only a few points, the scattergram will be less reliable than if many students from your high school had applied to this college. You may want to use the techniques listed in 1. to better assess your chance for acceptance.

  • The college you are looking for has an acceptance rate of less than a third, the college will most likely be a reach school.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Rhodes College

In the late Fall, I attended a luncheon for independent college admissions consultants with Lauren Sefton, Associate Director of Admission from Rhodes College. Here is some of what Lauren shared with us:
Overview: Rhodes College is a liberal arts college of around 2000 undergraduate in Memphis, Tennessee.  The college draws students from around the country and the world with 76% from outside of Tennessee. There are students from 46 states, Washington, D.C., and 43 countries.
The college has a beautiful 100-acre campus with stone Gothic architecture buildings, thirteen of which are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Academics: Rhodes offers more than 50 majors and minors. Classes are small with an average class size of 14.
Rhodes has strength in the sciences. It has a new $34 million science facility. Biology and neuroscience undergraduates benefit from partnerships with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Neuroscience Institute at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. Rhodes sends more students to medical school than any other liberal arts college.
Computer science and neuroscience are among the college’s fast-growing majors.Study abroad or off-campus is big, with 65% of students participating. 75% of students complete internships.
Extracurricular activities: There are over 100 clubs, organizations and intramural and club sports. Greek life is popular, with students rushing in the 2nd semester. Volunteerism is huge, with 80% of students volunteering. Rhodes has 21 Division III athletics teams, with a strong rivalry with Sewanee.
Applying: You can apply to Rhodes using the Common App with NO fee. There is no additional essay. Demonstrated interest is important.
Financial Aid: Merit aid ranging up to full tuition, is typically offered to the top third of the incoming class, without any separate application. There are four fellowships that require a special application process: Taylor Physics Fellowship, Fine Art Award, Jewish Community Fellowship, and Bonner Service Scholarship.
Students seeking need-based aid must complete the FAFSA and the CSS PROFILE.
International students are considered for both merit and need-based aid. Admissions is more competitive for international students looking for need-based aid.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Temple University

Introduction: Temple University is a public university with its main campus in North Philadelphia. There are other campuses including:
  1. The Ambler campus, a suburban campus with majors in Horticulture, Criminal Justice, Community and Regional Planning, and more         
  2. A Health Science Campus, just 1.5 miles from the main campus, housing a hospital, medical school, pharmacy program, and clinicals        
  3. The Harrisburg campus for freshmen and graduate programs       
  4.  Overseas campuses with housing, Temple faculty, and Temple courses in Rome, Italy and Tokyo, Japan.
Temple University has about 27K undergraduates with an average class size of 27. There are lectures with teaching assistants teaching the recitation sessions.
Ambiance: There is a major street going through campus. There are lots of students around. Food trucks abound and there are many fast food outlets. The campus does not have a uniform building style and there is not much open green space.
Safety: The campus has 600 security cameras, 259 security officers and is the most-lit campus in Philly. The patrol zone is about 5 blocks outside of campus. Part of freshman orientation deals with being safe in an urban area.
Extracurricular activities: Temple has over 300 clubs and provides free student tickets and transportation to their football and basketball games.
Something surprising: The Tech building was filled wall-to-wall with hundreds of students on computers doing work quietly.
Construction: The Morgan Residence Hall was opened five years ago. A new health and wellness center opened in the Fall 2017. A new science building is being constructed and when it is finished, the two old science buildings will be knocked down and will be replaced with a green quad. A new library will open in Fall 2018 with a robot-retrieval system, the third in the nation..
Price: For out-of-state students the tuition averages about $28K/year and the Room/Board averages at about $11K/year. Tuition varies by college, with the Fox School of Business being the most expensive.
Applying: Temple University is a Common App school. Students who apply are automatically considered for merit aid and the honors program. Students who apply Early Action by November 1 are notified of acceptance by 1/10. Subsequent to that date, admission is rolling with a typical acceptance response in 4 – 8 weeks.
Temple recommends that students with an SAT score of less than 1000 who write well apply test optional. Test optional students are considered for merit aid.
Merit aid ranges up to full tuition plus one $4K summer educational stipend. Scholarship notification is by 3/1.
The average accepted student has a 3.56 GPA (weighted) and a 27 ACT or 1220 SAT. The ACT is not super-scored.
The average Honors student has a 3.9 GPA and a 32 ACT or 1450 SAT.
Housing: The Freshman housing deposit deadline is May 1. Students can pick their building usually starting in February. Housing is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Morgan Hall fills fast. Living/Learning community students can get rooms later. The View at Montgomery, is privately-owned off-campus housing right next to campus. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Marist College (Poughkeepsie, NY)

This fall, I visited Marist College to get an update on the information I shared in my December 2012 blog post. In addition to learning more about the college, I got to see a stunning campus.
Focus - Marist seemed very focused on hands-on practical skills, internships, and jobs after graduation for all majors. Examples of this include:
  • On-site fashion show for fashion majors.
  • Fashion students are paired with designers during New York Fashion Week.
  • History majors intern at the nearby FDR House and Library.
  • Those interested in the environment can make use of the river laboratory, the aquatic pontoon boat, and many intern at the nearby Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.
  • Students in the School of Social & Behavioral Sciences are required to have a semester long fieldwork assignment. There are over 100 approved fieldwork opportunities in the Hudson Valley.
  • Bloomberg tools are used in the School of Management.
These are in addition to the special programs described in my earlier post which included semester-long internships in New York City and Washington D.C., a partnership with IBM, students investing the Marist endowment, freshman year in Florence, and the branch campus in Florence.
Academics - Class size is capped at 35 students so students don't need to worry about being in large, impersonal lecture hall classes.
Clubs - All clubs must do community service and Campus Ministry is the largest club.
Housing - Marist is building additional housing for juniors and seniors on the North side of the campus, as well as additional dining and athletic facilities. Housing is guaranteed for all freshmen and sophomores. There is no Greek housing.
Other new building - A new studio art facility will be opening in the Fall of 2018.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Tips for College Freshmen

I hope these tips will help your children or students get through the first semester of college with good grades, good health, new friends, not too much homesickness, and no regrets.
Academic Tips:
1.      Attend class regularly.
2.      Do your homework. Plan on doing two hours of school work out of class for every hour in class.
3.      When you don’t understand something in class, get help from the school’s tutoring center and/or visit the professor during office hours with your questions right away.
4.      Find a good place to study on campus, like the library.
5.      Don’t leave big projects until the last minute.
Social Tips:
1.      Find and join some clubs, as soon as possible. Take advantage of the activity fair during orientation or early in the first semester to learn what clubs are available.
2.      Keep your dorm room door open when you are in. This makes it easier for you and your hallmates to get to know each other.
3.      Eat your meals with other students. Make mealtime a social event.
4.      If you are a residential student, don’t go home on the weekends.
5.      Set up groundrules with your roommate.
6.      Talk with your Residential Advisor about problems you are having.
Other tips:
1.      Get at least seven hours of sleep a night.
2.      Eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and supper.
3.      Know and use the services the school has to offer, as needed. These may include health services, job placement services, recreation facilities, tutoring service, disability services, and more.
4.      Exercise regularly.
5.      Manage your time and your money.
6.      Do things in moderation.
7.      Be true to yourself and your values.
8.      Don’t do things that are illegal, immoral or unethical.
9.      And last but not least, communicate with your family.
What other tips would you give?