Search This Blog

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Rutgers University Honors College

The Rutgers University Honors College, which is two years old, is not to be confused with the Rutgers honors programs. The Honors College takes the top 7% of each school (except nursing) from Rutgers New Brunswick. The Honors College brings together students from across disciplines, creating an interdisciplinary experience.
Freshmen in the Honors College are required to live together in their own housing, a Living and Learning community on College Avenue. When I visited the building, I got to see great seminar spaces, as well as spaces designed for group collaboration, socializing, and studying. Campus Honors Cohort housing is available the sophomore through senior years for those students who wish to take advantage of it.
Academically, the Honors program is special in three areas: curriculum, research and co-curricular programming.
The curriculum includes:
  1. A 1-credit Freshman seminar on curiosity and how to develop new ideas
  2. The Honors College Forum, a 3-credit freshman class on social innovation which includes a group social innovation project
  3. Interdisciplinary classes over first two years, some of which include a study abroad component.
Students in the Honors College take a minimum of four honors classes.
Research is built into the program. Freshmen get an introduction to research, with summer research available after the freshman year. Sophomores have an Aresty Assistantship, in which they assist a professors with their research. Juniors do major research and seniors complete a capstone project.
Special co-curricular programs include honors academic advising, service-learning, internships, and global education. Students have a requirement to do a minimum of 30 hours of volunteer activities in their first three years,
The freshmen and sophomores I met on my visit, were very happy they had chosen the Rutgers University Honors College, over the other highly-competitive colleges and universities that had accepted them. What is your experience with the Honors College?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Union College

Union College in Schnectady, NY is unusual in many ways, including:
  1. Being a small college with majors in the liberal arts, sciences and engineering.
  2. Having three 10-week semesters each year as well as two 3-week semesters during the winter break. Students generally take 3 classes during each 10-week semester; engineering students need to take 4 classes during some 10-week semesters. Students can relax, take a class, work, have an internship or study abroad during the two three-week semesters, which is also the winter break.
  3. Having interdisciplinary majors. This is like a double major, but it focuses on the relationship of the two majors and the senior thesis/project combines the two majors.
  4. Seniors do a thesis or project which is presented/displayed at the Steinmetz symposium in late May.
  5. Everyone (i.e., students and staff) is assigned randomly to a Minerva house. Each Minerva house offers events open to the entire student body and is run by its own elected student board. The first floor of the building has a full kitchen which students use and places to hang out. Upperclassmen can choose to live in their assigned Minerva house.
  6. First years (aka freshmen) have separate housing and dining.
  7. Students can join a fraternity or sorority in their sophomore year and can live in Greek housing starting in their junior year.
  8. Some classes are jointly taught by professors in two departments. For example, we saw a class jointly taught by a biology professor and an art professor on drawing organisms.
  9. Students in the Scholars program (Union College’s Honors program), do research in their sophomore year, in addition to in their senior year.
  10. A new Integrated Science and Engineering Complex is being built to foster collaboration and to integrate teaching, research, labs and offices. A new addition is scheduled to be complete in the Summer of 2018 and renovations to existing facilities are scheduled to be complete in the Summer of 2019.
  11. Eight students have a post-graduation opportunity to be a Minerva fellow. They receive an all-expenses paid fellowship for a “Peace Corps-like activity” for 9 months, and then they return to campus to mentor the next group of Minerva fellows. Minerva fellows create an entrepreneurial project to improve an international community in a sustainable way.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

ZeeMee Intro

What is ZeeMee?

Lynn University is a ZeeMee partner
ZeeMee lets students use images and videos to let others get to know them for free. It can be used as part of a college application, to find a college roommate, or to provide information to a counselor or teacher writing a letter of recommendation. Currently, over 190 colleges are partnered with ZeeMee.

What are the parts of ZeeMee?

ZeeMee has three sections:
  • Meet Me – a video, ideally between 30 and 90 seconds in length to introduce you
  • My Story – an elevator pitch limited to 300 characters.
  • My Activities – Three to five of your most important “activities” that you share with pictures, video and/or documents. These can be activities in your Common App or something totally different (e.g., family stories, personal challenges, talents, passions, interests).

What does ZeeMee look like?

Here are several ZeeMee samples.

How long does it take to set up a ZeeMe?

ZeeMee can be set up in as little as 30 – 45 minutes.

Who can see my ZeeMee?

Your ZeeMee link can be public (i.e., anyone can see it and it is searchable) or private (e.g., you send the link only to those you want to see it; it is not searchable).

Do colleges look at ZeeMee?

Brittany Werts, an Elon University Admissions Counselor said she spends 2 to 5 minutes reviewing the ZeeMee of Elon applicants, who she is on the fence about admitting.

What should I do if I have ZeeMee questions?

Check out the ZeeMee FAQ.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida (UCF), a public university in Orlando with over 54,000 undergraduates, is the country’s second-largest university. The main campus, on more than 1400 acres, seemed overwhelming when we first arrived on campus, but once we understood the school layout, it was much more manageable. Most of the buildings are laid out in circles with the Student Union in the center.

There are undergraduate degrees offered in twelve colleges and over 600 clubs and organizations. The most popular majors are Psychology, Health Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Nursing, Mechanical Engineering and Hospitality Management.

Engineering Building
Admissions are rolling. UCF recommends that you get your application in early for the best chance for scholarship opportunities. Over 25% of the students get merit aid between $1,500 and $5,000 per year. 

The mid 50% of students have a new SAT score of 1270-1380 and a weighted GPA between 3.7 and 4.3.  UCF re-computes your weighted GPA using only academic core classes and adding a half point for honors classes and a full point for AP or IB classes.


The Burnett Honors College accepts about 500 freshman with an average SAT score of 1402 and a weighted GPA of 4.4. The honors classes are capped at 20 students. 


Freshman housing is not guaranteed; another reason to apply early is to improve your chances to get one of the 11,640 beds on campus.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Rollins College

General - Rollins College is a private college with about 2000 students.  The Spanish Mediterranean style buildings are located on about 80 acres on a lake in Winter Park, Florida, not far from Orlando.  Winter Park is suburban with many restaurants and boutiques in walking distance from the college.

Academics – The school offers business and liberal arts majors. About one third of a student’s classes are in their general education requirements, one third in their major and one third electives.  Most majors require one internship. Double majoring is popular. Three quarters of the students study or intern abroad, for between 1 week and a year for no additional charge.

Campus life - Students are required to live on campus the first two years (unless their parents live within 50 miles of the college) and 70% live on campus all four years.  There are about 200 student organizations including Division II sports, Division I water skiing, and Greek life. Students can join a fraternity or sorority starting in January of their freshman year. Community service is valued and there are opportunities for alternative spring breaks for little or no cost.

Admissions – Students can apply Early Decision or Regular Admissions. The admissions profile of the accepted student is a 3.7 average weighted GPA with the middle 50% scoring between 1150 and 1280 on the SAT or between 25 and 30 on the ACT.  Rollins College is test optional and suggests that students with an ACT score below 23 or an SAT score below 1100 apply test-optional. 

Merit Aid - Students who apply by 11/1 are automatically considered for merit aid, even if they apply test-optional. Academic scholarships are between $10K per year to full tuition, room and board.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

University of Florida

While on vacation, I visited the University of Florida (UF), a public university in Gainesville, with about 36,000 undergraduates, about 90 minutes north of Orlando. My guide was a senior finance major who had studied abroad in Barcelona one summer. He also had a summer internship that he got through UF which led to the job which he has accepted for after graduation.  

UF is among the largest universities in the nation. It has over 100 undergraduate majors, more than 1000 student organizations, and is on more than 2000 acres. Most of the buildings are low-rise brick buildings.  One fun fact about UF is that Gatorade was invented here.

Century Tower
Housing and Food – Freshmen are not required to live on campus but 75% do. There are about 8000 beds available on campus, including traditional doubles, suites, and apartments.    Housing is on a first-come first-serve basis so make a $25 deposit even before you get accepted, if you want to increase your chance of getting the housing you want. 

The school offers all-you-can-eat dining, as well as food from many chain eateries including Chick-fil-a, Starbucks, Subway, and Einstein Bagels. Hare Krishna sells the popular all-you-can-eat $5 vegetarian lunch.
Student Union

Scooter & Motorcycle Parking

Transportation – There are a lot of buses to take you around campus and around surrounding Gainesville. 

The most desirable parking is allocated to scooters and motorcycles.

Library – The libraries are organized from noisiest to most quiet floor as you go from the first floor up.

Football – Go Gators! Football is huge at UF.  Students pay $20 per game or $120 per season for seats.

Football Stadium
Applying – UF uses the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success Application.  Students apply by 11/1 and get a decision on the 2nd Friday in February at 6 pm. Students can apply to start in the summer or the fall.

UF re-calculates your GPA using only English, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Foreign Language classes.  They weight grades depend on the difficulty of these classes (e.g., Honors, AP, IB).  The mid 50% recomputed GPA is between 4.2 and 4.5.  The middle 50% test scores are 28-32 for the ACT and 1290-1440 for the new SAT. UF also look at your senior year classes. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Rowan University

General Rowan University is a public university in New Jersey with about 14,000 undergrads.  The Glassboro campus is flat and set on 200 acres, about 20 minutes from Philly.  Most of the buildings are red brick and there is a street going through the middle of campus. A new business building and a new engineering building are slated to open in January. Bikes and skateboards are popular ways to get around campus.

Admissions –Freshmen had an average high school GPA of 3.6 and an average new SAT score of 1290.  The mid-50% of new SAT scores are 1140 -1330.

The school is test optional for students with an average 3.5 high school GPA who write an extra essay, except for engineering or honors students. 

The grades and scores needed for admissions into engineering are higher; engineering students need at least a 3.3 GPA and 1290 on the new SAT. 

Art students have a portfolio requirement and music students need to audition.  
Freshman retention is 91%. The scholarship deadline is 1/31 and the application deadline is 3/1.

Student body -  About eighty per cent of freshmen live on campus and twenty per cent are commuters; this is not a suitcase school.

Academics – The average class size is 22 with classes capped at 40 students.  No Teaching Assistants teach classes.  

Internships are popular, with over 250 companies recruiting each semester. Study abroad is available. There are no co-ops.

The newest school at Rowan is the School of the Earth and Environment and the newest program is Nutrition.

The most popular major in the school is biological science.

Education majors can start student teaching in their first year and there is a child development center on campus. There is a 5-year Bachelors/Masters program in education. 

Engineering is hands-on with lots of projects.

Popular majors in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences are Exploratory Studies (undeclared), Sociology and Law and Justice.

There is a 5-year Bachelors/Masters program in athletic training.

There are a number of majors where students can complete their Bachelors degree in three years, saving about $22,000.

The Honors program is by invitation only.  Honors students generally have at least a 3.5 GPA and at least a 1775 on the old SAT.  Honors students have special housing, honors classes, and special trips.

Financial – Tuition, fees and room and board cost about $25,000 per year.  Merit aid of between $2,000 and $21,000 per year is available. 

Student Center with Law School Fair
Social – The school has over 100 clubs, Greek life and NCAA Division III athletics.  The student center was bustling with a law school fair on the day I visited.  The rec center has two pools, racketball courts, an indoor track and much more.  There is plenty to do on-campus on the weekends and there are also off-campus trips.
Rec Center


Food and housing – There are ten on-campus dining options.  Learning communities are available.  There is hall style and suite style housing available for freshmen.  The newest housing, Holy Pointe, has air conditioning.  Upperclassmen have on-campus housing opportunities, including townhomes.