Thursday, December 30, 2010
Everyone on your floor in the freshman dorm is in the same freshman seminar and there are 2 roommate switch dates just in case your freshman roommate doesn’t work out. Ninety-five percent of freshmen return for their sophomore year, while the average retention for state colleges is only sixty-seven percent. Popular activities include two big concerts per year; dances, concerts, movies, and parties; and free and low cost day trips to NY, Philly and Princeton. There are few classes on Wednesdays so clubs and sports meet then. It is easy to get involved but you need to be proactive about it. TCNJers are friendly, but it gets harder to meet people after freshman year.
I have one caveat for all NJ state colleges. With the NJ economy in the doldrums, state budget cuts may impact school quality, tuition, or a student’s ability to finish in four years.
For additional photos of TCNJ, check out the Slosberg College Solutions Facebook page. If you have attended or visited TCNJ recently, share your impressions.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
When you consider Bryn Mawr, also look closely at Haverford since you have the opportunity to take classes there. Bryn Mawr also has relationships with Swarthmore and University of Pennsylvania.
The school was impressive, but the article that I subsequently read about our tour guide, Jomaira Salas, was inspiring. She is making a difference in the community. If she is representative of the Bryn Mawr woman, you will be in good company.
Friday, December 10, 2010
1. Is there a Hillel? What kind of activities does it sponsor? How many students typically attend?
2. Does the school participate with other colleges in regional Jewish programming?
3. How many Jewish Studies classes are offered? Is Hebrew offered?
4. Are there travel abroad opportunities to Israel? Does the school sponsor a Birthright Israel trip?
5. What Jewish social, social action and arts activities are there?
6. Are there celebrations for Jewish holidays? Is there a Passover Seder?
7. What Shabbat and holiday services are there?
8. Is there a kosher meal plan? Is Kosher for Passover food available?
9. Are there Jewish opportunities in the surrounding community (e.g., work in synagogue, invitations to holiday dinners, attendance at services).
10. Are there Jewish alternate spring break opportunities?
To find the answers to these questions and more:
1. Review Hillel’s Guide to Jewish Life on Campus on http://www.hillel.org/ for the colleges you are interested in
2. Check out college bulletin boards and see what Hillel activities are posted.
3. Check out the Hillel calendar of events
4. Visit the Hillel building or office. Talk with the Hillel staff and students who frequent Hillel.
5. Try out the kosher food on campus.
6. Attend a Hillel activity.
7. If you stay on a Friday night, try out the Shabbat service and dinner.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
|Catherine Angelastro, |
Director of Guidance at
Watchung Hills Regional High School
|Hillary Charney, |
Director of Guidance at
Hillsborough High School
Catherine Angelastro, Director of Guidance at Watchung Hills Regional High School offers this advice, “Get applications in early. The earlier the better.” She also strongly recommends the use of Naviance scattergrams, which shows the GPA and SAT scores of students from the high school who were accepted and rejected at a particular college. “Naviance is a great reality check.”
“Start doing your homework [on colleges] in the sophomore year,” said Sean Siet, Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Ridge High School. “Visit [the colleges]. Make sure you can fit in,” he continued. Mr. Siet also recommends that students “use Naviance.”
Students should “be willing to consider schools they haven’t heard of” in order to find “schools that are a better fit,” offered Hillary Charney, Director of Guidance at Hillsborough High School. “Go look at colleges. You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it,” she continued.
CHANGES IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS
In the last five years there have been a myriad of changes in the application process. The changes included more early action and early decision applications, rising application and college costs, additional of families applying for financial aid, increasing instant decision days on site, and a larger number of students taking the ACT, according to Sean Siet of Ridge High School.
Admissions have become “much more competitive”, according to Hillary Charney of Hillsborough High School. A lot of students are switching from private to public colleges because of the financial situation, and students are applying to more colleges. Some “students are applying to ten or more colleges,” she continued.
Catherine Angelastro indicated that many high schools, including Watchung Hills Regional High School, switched to a paperless application process. Once everyone learned the system, it made preparing applications easier and less expensive for the school district.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Unlike many other colleges, the core curriculum is a set of specific courses, not just distribution requirements. The core curriculum consists of a third of the courses and ensures that all the students have a strong foundation in literature, the humanities, contemporary civilization, foreign language, and science.
While the cost of attendance is $56K per year, the school meets 100% of need, is need-blind, and excludes loans from its financial aid packages.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
- Muhlenberg College is opening a new rehearsal hall for theatre arts, music, and dance. They will also be opening a new dining hall which will offer a kosher meal plan.
- Columbia University went to the Common App
- Duke University introduced a neuroscience major and a finance minor; they are building a new dorm on the west side of campus for upperclassmen.
- Rutgers University had a record enrollment. Their experiment with students self-reporting their academic record on their college application was a success and some of the State University of New York (SUNY) colleges will adopt it. Many new dorms are in the works.
Friday, October 15, 2010
- Significant deferred maintenance
- Faculty and staff layoffs
- Closed programs
- Dropping of varsity or extra-curricular activities
- Closed residence halls
- Downgraded bond ratings.
Monday, September 27, 2010
If you are a student with Learning Differences and/or ADHD, I recommend that you research and visit with the personnel in the departments that provide disability services at the college. These services may be in one department or spread over several departments with names like Disability Support Services, Office of Disability Support, Learning Support Center, and Academic Support Center. Think about what information you need to help you decide whether the program meets your needs.
Some questions you may have are:
- What is the philosophy of the program?
- How many professionals are on staff?
- What services, accommodations, workshops, and adaptive technology are available?
- What is the procedure for students to receive accommodations from a professor?
- How many tutors are on staff? Are they peer or professional tutors? How often can students be tutored? What subjects is tutoring available for?
- Are there organizational coaches?
- How many students are accepted in the program each year? How many apply?
- Is there a fee for the program? How much is the fee?
- How does the graduation rate for students in the program compare to the overall graduation rate?
- What documentation is needed to apply for the program? Is there a separate application for the program? Is an interview required?
- Is there an orientation before the freshman year?
What other questions would you ask?I will be giving a talk on "College Support for Students with Learning Differences or ADHD" on Tuesday, November 16 at 7 pm in Somerville, NJ. For more information and to register, call 908.725.7799 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
If you have a colleges that you would like to visit now, find out when the Fall semester college classes resume. You can do this by calling each college or by going to their Website and searching for the "academic calendar". If the college classes resume before your high school opens, you may have an ideal opportunity to visit a few colleges which are in session in late August or early September.
A few colleges in the Northeast which begin classes before Labor Day are Clark University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Quinnipiac University, and the University of Connecticut.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
While I was on campus, I saw a group of mechanical engineering students, working with local middle school students, racing plastic molded injected cars that they had designed and built. I also saw students working on different research projects, including a wheelchair with audio controls. In the halls, I observed numerous Integrated Product Team project displays.
Venture capital of between $200 and $200,000 is available to students to translate their ideas into a business. One former student, now 28, went this route and currently has a $6 million business in aquarium filters.
Lehigh University has strong career placement. In 2009, 95% of students were placed within 6 months.
Social life at Lehigh is thriving as well. The school has Division I athletics, with a strong rivalry against nearby Lafayette. There are over 40 club and intramural sports. 37% of the student body is involved in Greek life. There are over 150 clubs. Music, theatre, and visual arts are popular, with practice rooms open to all students. While I was visiting Lehigh University, I saw one of the clubs in action. A group of students who meet weekly to do arts and crafts, were painting pottery.
Financially, Lehigh has loan elimination for families with incomes of less than $50,000 and loan reduction to families with incomes between $50,000 and $75,000. Merit scholarships are an automatic program with 5 - 8% of students receiving merit aid. Academic merit aid can be up to full tuition. If a student graduates Lehigh with 3.75 grade point, they get a 5th year free.
Friday, August 6, 2010
NSSE collects information from thousands of students at hundreds of colleges through a 4-page survey. Responses to the survey provide information about the quality of their college experience. Some colleges provide their NSSE results to prospective students, if asked or post results on their Web site. If the colleges you are considering share their results, you can learn a lot about the college by reviewing them.
Share what you discovered from using the pocket guide or the NSSE results.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
There are almost as many women as men, which is unusual for a school where a large percentage of the students are studying engineering.
Freshmen are integrated with upperclassmen in the dorms. Each dorm has a faculty Housemaster who lives in the dorm. Freshmen move in and then are given an opportunity to change their housing assignment. Each of the dorms has its own personality. They have options I haven’t seen elsewhere. There are dorms where you can smoke, keep a cat, and paint your room any color you like. All freshmen don’t have to take a meal plan. It’s optional at certain dorms.
Majors are referred to by numbers. Classes are not listed as being 3 or 4 credits. They are listed with units, which is how many hours a student is expected to spend each week in and out of class. Students spend hours working collaboratively on p-sets (problem sets).
The first semester is Pass – No Record.
There are great pre-orientation and orientation programs. Pre-orientation lets you discover an area of study in a fun way, often with a trip. Perhaps you’d like to Discover Earth Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at Yellowstone on your pre-orientation trip.
There is a 4-week term in January called the Independent Activities Period (IAP). It is a time to try something new for credit or not for credit. Maybe you’ll want to participate in the Mystery Hunt. You can attend a lecture series, participate in a seminar, do independent research or just extend your winter break.
There are a large variety of educational opportunities. Many freshmen get involved in research. There are opportunities to work in groups on world problems and to do research abroad.
MIT overlooks the Charles River. It is close to the Red Line of the subway so you can travel around Cambridge and Boston easily.
To see another photo of MIT, check out the photo gallery on my Web site. If you’ve visited or attended MIT, share your experiences.
Monday, August 2, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
In February 2010, with snow blanketing the ground, I visited Drew University, “the university of the forest”, in suburban Madison, New Jersey. This is one of a few small private liberal arts colleges in New Jersey. It is also an SAT-optional school. A graded high school project/paper can be supplied instead SAT scores. Drew provides each student with a free notebook computer.
Drew is famous for its theatre program and plays are written, directed and designed by students. There is a new arts building with art, theatre, and music wings. It includes an art museum and gallery, as well as performance spaces. The other popular majors are economics, political science, psychology, arts, biology, and English.
The general education requirements require an off-campus experience and travel abroad is very popular. There is a train from Madison to New York City and students take advantage of this for social and educational opportunities. There are four special programs, which take place two days a week in New York. They are the Wall Street semester, the United Nations semester, the Contemporary arts semester, and the Theatre semester.
Another special feature at Drew is the Dana Research Institute for Scientists Emerti (RISE) program. Retired science professionals have office space at college, do research and take students under their wing.
Students who want a liberal arts education in a small school with travel opportunities and interest in learning/socializing in NYC would be happy at Drew.
To see the rest of my photos of Drew University, check out my Web page.
If you visited or attended Drew University, share your experiences with us.
Friday, July 23, 2010
If you book early enough you may qualify for the $1 fare. If you take eight trips you get one free! The bus fare includes wireless internet.
If its slow by car because of inclement weather or holiday traffic, it will also be slow by bus.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
In January 2010, I left the cold of New Jersey and visited the University of Miami, which by the way is not in Miami. It's in Coral Gables. I was greeted by warm weather and students in bathing suits sunning themselves out on the lawn. The 260 acre campus was filled with lush green lawns, palm trees and a lake.
This private college of about 9500 boasts small classes (three quarters of classes have 25 or fewer students) and excellent programs in Business, Pre-Med, Communications, Theatre, Marine Science, Biology, Film and Jazz.
The student body was diverse in terms of states and countries represented, as well as ethnicity.
The college has an outstanding career center with resume/cover letter feedback, mock interviews, many internships, and many prospective employers. With today's slow economy this is a big plus. My husband interviewed students there for a Fortune 500 company and they were well-polished. They also have many merit scholarships!
Popular student activities included:
· Cheering on Division 1 Football, Basketball and Baseball teams
· Club sports
· Going to Coconut Grove and Miami
· Greek Life social events
· Attending movies which are screened 2x a week
· Hanging out at the Ratskeller on the outdoor gliders
· Free live music outside on the patio on Thursdays
· Using the $14 million fitness center which has exercise classes, a juice bar, personal trainers, and indoor and outdoor pools
The school provides free buses to take students around campus, Coconut Grove, Miami, and the Key Biscayne campus (for Marine Science). I think students really enjoy the stores and restaurants in Coconut Grove. The bus service is especially helpful to freshmen who can't keep cars on campus and for those who don't want to deal with the heavy traffic to Miami.
If you are wondering if you can get in, know that the Middle 50% SAT scores were 1250 – 1390 (Critical Reading and Math); ACT scores 28 – 31. Their Honors program is open to those in the top tenth of their high school class with an SAT score greater than 1360. There is also a 7-year medical program open to those with an SAT score of 1400 or an ACT score of 32.
Freshmen housing is in air-conditioned doubles in high-rise dorms, with shared bathrooms in the halls. While the building is co-ed, the floors are not. One plus is that a professor and his family live in each dorm and serve as the Resident Faculty Master.
If you are a pre-professional student or student concerned with job placement after graduation who wants a diverse school of about 10,000 students with small classes in a warm climate, near a big city, the University of Miami might be your dream school.
If you visited or attended the University of Miami recently, does this jive with your impressions? Do you have something to add?
I started visiting colleges when my oldest son Jeff was in high school. I resumed my visits when my daughter Michelle starting looking for the college of her dreams. These days I visit colleges in support of my business Slosberg College Solutions LLC so I can provide the families I work with first hand information on colleges and universities. My website, www.slosbergcollegesolutions.com has photos of some of the colleges I've visited to date.