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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Johnson & Wales University

I recently attended a Johnson and Wales University (JWU) breakfast reception for independent college consultants and I thought you might enjoy hearing about what I learned. 

Basics: JWU began as a business school in 1914.  The programs are experiential and work-integrated.  Faculty have industry-relevant experience and there are no lecture halls.  79% of students come directly from high school; 21% transfer from other colleges.  Since 2006, the college has become more selective in order to improve its graduation rate.  There is a 79% retention to the Sophomore year.  The 4-year graduation rate is 68%. 

Academics: The school is on a trimester schedule; each trimester is 11 weeks long.  Undergraduates must complete 40 courses to graduate. Students, who take 4 courses each trimester, graduate early.  Students begin to take classes in their major in their Freshman year.  Sophomores do an internship for course credit in their major.  Seniors complete a capstone and a third trimester internship.  4200 students had an internship in 2012-2013 school year. As a senior, students can take 1 MBA course per trimester.  Starting in 2015, the school will offer a Biology major that could feed into the Physician Assistant program. 

JWU has a career focus.  Over 1200 employers came to campus this year.  74% of students on a paid internship received a job offer from the company they worked for which is higher than the national average of 63%. 

Work and/or Study Abroad are available to all students.  All JWU Study Abroad Programs are for 20 students led by 2 faculty members.  Foreign language is not a requirement to do study abroad.  About 500 students study abroad each year.

Each student has 3 advisors: personal, professional and academic. 

Campuses: JWU has four campuses: Providence, RI; North Miami, FL; Denver, CO; and Charlotte, NC.  Some majors are not available on every campus. The number of students at each location is as follows:
  • Providence – 10,369 (There is housing for 3500 students)
  • North Miami – 1952
  • Denver – 1529
  • Charlotte – 2325.

The Rhode Island campus is physically split into two sections, separated by 2 miles and serviced by the University’s own shuttle system.  In addition, the Equine programs are in Rehoboth, which is about 20 minutes away.  Students can also ride buses anywhere in Rhode Island for free.  The university is building a Physician Assistant building on the Rhode Island Campuses.

Colleges: The University has the following undergraduate colleges:
  • College of Business, which includes some unusual majors, like Equine Management and Criminology.  Many students sit for their Series 7 exams while still in school.
  • Hospitality College which includes some unusual majors like Sports/Entertainment/Event Management
  • College of Culinary Arts, which offers Associates and Bachelors degrees.  This college has the only accredited Culinary Nutrition program in the country.
  • School of Technology (only in Providence) has Engineering and Software Engineering majors
  • School or Arts and Sciences.

There are graduate schools in:
  • Providence: including 4+1 BS/MBA, MBA, an MS in Criminal Justice and a new Physician Assistant MS
  • Denver: MBA.

Housing and Extracurricular activities: Housing is required for freshmen.  There is an online roommate-matching program.  Freshmen are allowed to have cars but they are not needed.

JWU has over 100 clubs and has Greek life.  There are NCCA Division III sports in RI; other campuses have NAIA and USCAA sports.

Applying: The school is test optional. Applications are read by major and certain programs are harder to get into (or switch into) than others.  Baking & Pastry, as well as Counseling Psychology are difficult to get into. The college has an Honors program; students with an SAT score of 520 (Critical Reading) and 510 (Mathematics), typically qualify.  JWU accepts AP scores of 3 or higher. 

Visiting: There are daily tours at 9AM and 1 PM, Preview Days (one Saturday a month), and Wildcat Weekends.  Rising high school juniors and seniors who want to get a taste of JWU may want to attend the Culinary & Hospitality Career exploration program weekend over the summer.

Financial Aid: The Cost of Attendance is $38.9 – 40.8K per year.  JWU offers need-based and merit aid.  They do not front load financial aid and they offer:
·        Academic scholarships of up to $15,000. 
·        National Student Organization Scholarships for members of BPA, DECA, FBLA, FCCLA, FFA, JA, TSA, and SkillsUSA.
·        Legacy scholarships of $4000 a year. 

Early Enrollment - There is an early enrollment program where students do their senior year of high school at JWU.  Students pay half tuition for the first year and there is no Federal Assistance available for that year.

What is your experience with JWU?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Delaware Valley College

New Life Sciences Building

Student Union

Academics - In December, I visited Delaware Valley College (DelVal) in Doylestown, PA.  DelVal is a small residential college, only an hour from Bridgewater, with some pretty unusual majors and academic programs, especially for a small private college in the northeast.  These include Agribusiness, Conservation and Wildlife Management, Small Animal Science, Zoo Science, Animal Science, Equine Sciences and Management, Livestock Science and Management, Zoology, Equine Studies, Food Science, Hydroponics, Sustainable Agriculture, and Turf Management.  The school’s motto is “Science with practice” and it requires an experiential-learning component (i.e., all DelVal students will have a real-world experience).  Students with over a 3.5 GPA and 1100 or more on their SAT (2 parts) are typically invited to be part of the Honors Program.

Campus - Most of the buildings are white and are arranged around a grassy quad. In the Spring, the new Life Sciences building will open.  The college includes 225 acres of field crops, 60 acres of orchards, an apiary for beekeeping, greenhouses, dairy and livestock operations, and a farm market.  The school is an arboretum.  I got the feeling that parking may be in short supply.

Extracurricular activities - When you are not studying you can join one of the more than 75 clubs and organizations or one of the 22 NCAA Division III athletic teams.  Go Aggies!  When I visited, the Apiary Club was selling honey and beeswax candles outside the all-you-can-eat Dining Hall.  There is a SEPTA railroad station on campus that will take you to Philly in 30 minutes.

Merit Aid - There is sizable merit aid ($16K or more) for freshman with GPAs of 3.0 or more and SAT scores (Critical Reading and Math) of 1000 or more.

What is your experience with DelVal?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Fairfield University

Basics – Earlier this fall I visited Fairfield University, a private Jesuit University with 3300 undergraduate students on a 200-acre campus in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Academics – The university offers 41 majors and 16 minors. The average class size is 23 students. 96% of the classes are taught by someone with a terminal degree; there are no teaching assistants. Freshmen take a First Year Experience class one hour a week, with their summer orientation group, to learn about the school services. Students can double major or take a major and a minor. Students take 60 credits in the core and 60-70 credits in their major(s). 50 – 60% of the students study abroad and their scholarship/aid goes with them. There is a very high concentration of Fortune 500 companies within a commuting distance from the university.

There are 70 – 80 freshmen in the School of Nursing. The nursing students start their clinicals early and 100% of the nursing students passed their nursing board exam the first time. Nursing students can study abroad in Ireland or Italy.

There are 60 – 70 freshmen in the School of Engineering, which has five engineering majors. Students interested in other engineering majors can participate in a 3/2 engineering program. Engineering students can study abroad in Bolivia and often get internships at Sikorsky.

The students in the Dolan School of Business typically do two or three internships and can participate in a business plan competition. The competition winners get money to launch their business.

The largest school is the school of arts and sciences, which includes many pre-professionals. More than 96% of the pre-med students get into medical school.

Campus Life – 96% of the students live on campus. Housing is guaranteed all four years and is organized by the year of college the student is in. The dorms include a mini-frig/microwave. Juniors and seniors have options for apartments, townhouses or suites. Seniors can petition to move to Fairfield Beach, which is on the water, about one mile from campus.

Freshmen cannot have cars on campus. Sophomores cannot have cars on campus, except for the nursing students. There is a bus on campus, as well as zip cars. There are two train stations within walking distance of the campus. Students can get to New York by train in 1 to 1.25 hours.

There are over 100 clubs at Fairfield University. You can start a club if you have between 10 and 12 students and a club advisor. There are NCAA Division I sports, club sports and intramural sports. Basketball is the biggest Division I sport. The university brings in outside speakers.

Mass is available daily; there is no required chapel attendance.

Admissions and Financial Aid – Fairfield University accepts the Common App. The school offers Early Action, Early Decision, and Regular Decision. The school is test optional and there is an optional interview by a counselor or senior student. Most high school students accepted by Fairfield University had an A-/B+ average in high school.

The Cost of Attendance at Fairfield University is about $56K per year. The school offers both need-based and merit aid and uses the CSS/Profile. The largest merit aid package is $22K a year. It typically goes to students with an A/A- grade point average, who scored 2000 or higher on their SATs, and who had strong involvement in their high school/community.

What is your experience with Fairfield University?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lynn University

Basics – Lynn University is a small, private coed university in sunny Boca Raton, Florida established fifty years ago.  When you arrive you come into a circle of flags from around the globe.  50% of the students are from Florida, 30% are from other states, and more than 20% are international.  Typically there are thirty to fifty NJ students each year.  Perhaps you have heard of Lynn University because they hosted one of the presidential debates.

My tour guide, Katya, was an international student.  She was an undergraduate at Lynn and is currently pursuing her MBA there.  Her sister also attends Lynn.  Katya had been on the dance team, was a Resident Assistant, and was a buddy to students with Autism and Downs Syndrome in the ACCESS program.  She liked Lynn because the professors were very accessible. 

Majors – Popular majors include marketing, hospitality and international business in the School of Business.  Investment management is a new major.  A new business building is being built.

The International School of Communication includes majors in media design, multimedia journalism, film and drama.  I saw the hands-on TV and radio production studios in the communications building.

The conservatory of music has 50 students, all on full scholarship. The liberal arts college includes a criminal justice major.  Lynn University offers aviation management in their flight academy.

Other Academics – All freshmen get a mini-iPad loaded with course material for required classes. 

The school offers three-year Bachelors degrees as well as 3 + 1 Bachelors/Masters degree for many majors.

Lynn offers study abroad in 40 countries for the January term, the summer, a semester or a year.  Lynn has sister schools in Dublin and Greece.

Support Services – 19% of the students take advantage of the comprehensive learning disability services at the Institute for Achievement and Learning, where an academic coach works with students on a weekly schedule.  This institute has 20 professional tutors with at least a Masters degree, a Writing Center with professional staff, and assistive technology.  There is support for students with Aspergers.

Retention – 69% of students return for their sophomore year and 40% graduate within 6 years.  To improve their retention, Lynn has recently instituted a mentor program for all students.  One staff member, who is not a professor, mentors five to ten freshmen. 

Extracurricular Activities – The school has NCAA Division II athletics.  The biggest sport to watch is basketball.  The women’s golf team recently won a championship.  Lynn just started a men’s Lacrosse team.  A new stadium for soccer and lacrosse will be finished in the Spring. 

There are three sororities and two fraternities at Lynn. 

Students are very involved with community service, cultural clubs, the psychology club, the communications club, intramurals and club sports. 

The second photo shows the monument built to remember students and faculty who died while doing community service in the January term in Haiti when the earthquake hit.

Campus housing – The freshman housing was pretty typical of most universities: doubles with a shared bathroom down the hall.  The unique feature of the freshman dorm was a sink in each room.

Admissions / Financial Aid – Admissions are rolling and the college is test optional.  95% of applicants are admitted.  Students with SAT scores for Critical Reading and Math between 890 and 1040, with a minimum GPA of 2.9, qualify for merit aid between $6,000 and $12,000 a year.  There is one Presidential full scholarship. 

Who would be happy at Lynn? – A student who is open to interacting with students of different nationalities and who is interested in participating in the school’s extracurricular activities would be happy here.

What is your experience with Lynn University?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sacred Heart University

In late September, I set off to Fairfield, Connecticut to visit a private Catholic college, Sacred Heart University. 

First, I had a tasty lunch in the McMahon Commons Food Court with a student I had worked with, who is now a Sacred Heart Sophomore.  He told me, “I fell in love with the school.”  He was looking well and was involved in college life through bowling, the choir, community service, and campus ministry activities. 

Then, off I went to the information session and tour.  Here’s what I learned.

Basics - Sacred Heart was founded in 1963.  It has about 3800 undergraduates with an average class size of 21 and common core classes of between 20 and 30 students.  There are four colleges: Business, Education, Health, and Arts & Sciences.

Extracurriculars - Students can get involved in the over 80 clubs and organizations.  These include athletics, theatre arts, Greek life, community service, and more.

850 students participate in the 31 NCAA Division I teams, including men’s football, women’s basketball, and men’s baseball.  600 students participate in 24 club sports, where they practice two or three times a week and travel to tournaments about once a month.  There are also intramural sports. 

There are four fraternities and six sororities at Sacred Heart.

Students provided over 53,000 hours of community service last year.  Building homes during Spring Break throughout the US, with Habitat for Humanity, is popular.  So are local community service in Bridgeport and Spring Break missionary trips.

Housing - Housing is guaranteed all four years and is required for the first two years.  The dorm rooms include a mini-frig and microwave.  Upper class housing is not on the main campus.  There is shuttle service to upper class housing, the supermarket and the mall. 

Applying and Financial Aid - Sacred Heart is a Common App school.  The average GPA of the high school student who applies is 3.2.  The school is test optional, with an SAT average of 1100 (Critical Reading and Math) and an ACT average of 24.  There is Early Action, Early Decision and Regular admission.  On the financial aid side, Sacred Heart is a CSS/Profile school.  93% of students get financial aid.

What is your experience with Sacred Heart?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Dickinson College

When I visited Dickinson College at the end of August, I was treated to an information session hosted by Greg Boyer, an admissions officer who reads NJ college applications.  Greg wins the prize for the admissions officer most excited by the college he represents. Greg shared the following information about Dickinson College:

Academics – Dickinson has 42 majors.  34% of the students are science majors. Business, economics, political science and history are also popular majors.  Spanish is the 6th most popular major.  Students can develop their own major. 

66% of the majors have a global perspective.  50% of the professors have lived abroad.  Dickinson offers 13 foreign languages, more than any other liberal arts college in the country.

The average class size is between 16 and 17 students.  There is a close student / faculty relationship.

The school studied retention of knowledge and decided to make their classes into workshops with hands-on application.  For example, instead of taking Biology 101, students might take the Science of Cancer. Students studying science, do research.  65% of students will do an original publication before graduation.  Art history majors must curate an art exhibition before graduating.  There are two archeology labs that simulate dig experience, as well as opportunities to participate in archeology digs in two locations. 

There are general education requirements, which include a freshman seminar, a US diversity class, 2 lab sciences, 1.5 semesters of physical education, and classes from three different areas.  Being “green” is integrated into the curriculum.  ROTC is available.

Study Abroad and Internships- 60% of students study abroad with 85% of them on a Dickinson program.  Financial aid can be used for study abroad. The Dickinson study abroad programs are not in major tourist cities; they have their own buildings and staff and students have an opportunity to do an internship while abroad. 

85% of students do internships.  Internships in New York City, Washington, DC, and abroad are available.  Greg studied abroad in Italy and completed an internship there with a boss who only spoke Italian.

Students – 81% of the students are from outside of Pennsylvania.  Students come from many foreign countries, with the largest numbers of foreign students coming from China and Bulgaria.

Surrounding area – Dickinson is in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, which is the county seat.  In addition to Dickinson College, there is the Dickinson Law School, a war College, and ballet training in Carlisle.  There are 33 restaurants within 3 blocks of the college.

Extracurriculars – There are 125 clubs.  35% of the student body goes Greek.  Men can rush in the second semester and women can rush in the third semester.  Students have done 46,000 hours of community service in Carlisle. The men’s lacrosse team was second in the nation last year. There is a strong mock trial and debate team.  Intramural and club sports are popular, including  equestrian.  You don’t have to be a Theatre major to be involved in the theatre productions.
Facilities – There is a “new” $85 million science center.  The college has a 188- acre organic farm six miles from the main campus; the produce is used in the school dining hall and also supports a local food bank.

College president – There is a new college president who was a dean at Williams and on the biology faculty.

College history – Dickinson was founded by Dr. Benjamin Rush in 1786.  Dr. Rush was a physician to George Washington, the founder of psychology, an abolitionist, wanted students to be educated in useful arts and sciences and to push them intellectually.  Dickinson was the first US college to offer modern foreign languages and the first to offer field study.  This history infuses what happens at the college today.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Franklin & Marshall College

The Basics - Franklin & Marshall College (F&M) is a residential college of about 2,000 undergraduates on a 125-acre campus in Lancaster, PA.

Dorm Life - At F&M, you will live with the students in your freshman seminar class in one of the five college houses. Students are interviewed for a half hour to pick a compatible freshman roommate. As a sophomore, you have the opportunity to move to suite style living. As a junior or senior, you can move to a college-affiliated apartment. Even if you don’t live in one of the five college houses as an upper-classman, you can use space in the college house you lived in as a freshman, for all four years.

Common Hour - On Thursdays from 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM, everything closes for common hour, where a talk or performance is provided with free pizza, drinks and fruit. The first common hour of the school year usually is a talk given by the college president. The college president also has open office hours when students can stop by and talk with him.

Surrounding neighborhood - F&M is in Lancaster, which has about 60,000 residents. Students can walk downtown or go by shuttle bus and take advantage of restaurants, movies, the farmer’s market and the art scene (including First Friday). The school is less than a mile from an Amtrak station.

Financial Aid - F&M is a CSS/PROFILE school that meets 100% of need; it does not provide merit aid to freshmen. If you are applying early decision, you can get an early read on your aid package.

Applying - F&M uses the Common Application, does a holistic review of your application, and recommends that you have an interview. The school is test optional; two pieces of graded writing can be used in lieu of the SAT or ACT. The school has a 36% acceptance rate with 52% of students applying Early Decision. Early Decision I has a November 15 application deadline and Early Decision II has a January 15 application deadline.

Academics - Students declare their major after the sophomore year. The most popular major is Business, Organizations and Society; Government is the second most popular major. F&M offers nine foreign languages and requires students take three semesters of a foreign language (or place out of the language).

Study Abroad – F&M has its own study abroad programs in France and in England. F&M students also participate in 200 other study abroad programs. Study abroad programs vary in length from a 6-week summer program, to a semester or a year. Students can use their financial aid package when studying abroad.

Greek Life - 35- 40% of students are in one of the seven fraternities or four sororities. Students can rush starting in the second semester of college.

Sports – The school competes in NCAA Division I wrestling and in NCAA Division III for other sports. Club and intramural sports are popular.

Who would be happy at F&M? - The admissions representative felt that the type of student who would be most happy at F&M is one who wants to be involved in academics, extracurricular activities and the community.

What is your experience with F&M?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Insider’s Guide to the College Interview

Admissions personnel, alumni, or students may interview prospective students as part of the admissions process.  The interview lets the college get to know the prospective student as a person, not just as a name with list of grades and scores.  As much as the interview is a tool for the college to see if they want an applicant and to woo them, it is an opportunity for an applicant to learn more about the college and see if they want to attend.  Two alumni interviewers provided the following advice.

George Gawrys, a former alumni interviewer for MIT recommends:
1.      Be ready to describe why you’d be a good choice for the school (what will you contribute to the student body besides your brains, grades, and SAT scores).
2.      Be ready to talk about what you’ll major in and why, even if you are not sure.
3.      Act like the school is your first choice, even if it’s not.
4.      Have important questions ready to ask about the school and its locale.  Do some research on the school and familiarize yourself with the departments, reputation, and even some of the faculty.
5.      Don’t be shy, but don’t be arrogant either.

Curt Schmidt, an alumni interviewer for Lehigh University, indicates that Lehigh interviews are considered informational and that most students from central New Jersey interview on-campus with a representative of the Admissions Department, because of Lehigh’s close proximity.  An interview with a local Lehigh alum can be arranged, upon request.  Curt shared the following advice for those interested in interviewing with an alum:

1.      Request an interview with an alum that has a similar major or career to the one you are considering.  Alumni can provide insight into the college placement and career counseling available.
2.      Stay relaxed and confident, and answer honestly. 
3.      Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.  I will have to think about that.”

If you accomplish the following four things at the admissions interview, it is likely to be a success:
1.      Demonstrate good interpersonal skills.
2.      Show that you are knowledgeable and strongly interested in attending the college.
3.      Share information about yourself and your interests that make you desirable to the college.
4.      Get answers to important questions you have about the college.

Please chime in and share your insights.  If you interview prospective students for a college, what advice would you give?  If you recently had a college interview, what do you wish someone had told you, before the interview?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Academic term types

Academic term types vary from college to college and include semester, trimester, quarter, 4-1-4, 4-4-1, and block plan, also known as one course at a time. A brief description of these academic term types can be found towards the end of the “Academic term” entry in Wikipedia under the heading “Collegiate calendars.”

Would you be more likely to attend or avoid a college because of the schedule of academic terms?

Which of these schedule of academic terms appeals most to you and why?

What do you see as the pros and cons of these schedules?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Ten College Essay Tips

Here are ten college application essay tips shared by the young adult author, Hillary Frank, at the New Jersey Association for College Admission Counseling annual conference:

1. If you are having trouble with the essay, consider:

  • Telling your story to a friend

  • Recording yourself telling the story

  • Writing a letter about the story

  • Reading the draft out loud.

2. Don’t tell me what you think I want to hear.

3. Don’t be boring. Use compelling visual details.

4. Tell me something I’ve never heard before.

5. Use your authentic voice.

6. Use your speaking, rather than your writing voice.

7. Write a first sentence that:

  • Piques the reader’s interest

  • Is worded artfully

  • Provides a memorable visual image or point of view.

8. Uses similes never heard before.

9. Make characters complex.

10. Show surprising personal growth.

What tips would you share about writing the college application essay?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Gap Year Basics

A gap year is a structured period of time when students take a break from formal education to explore areas of interest in the United States and/or abroad via one or more planned activities like travel, foreign language immersion, internships, volunteer work, and/or work. For many, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Often students postpone starting college for a year and the gap year is taken between high school graduation and the deferred start of college.
Some gap year benefits – After a well planned gap year, students typically:
  •  Have pursued and clarified their interests through real-world experiences. They are therefore less likely to change majors in college and more likely to finish their Bachelor’s degree in four years
  • Gain insight about themselves and their goals.
  • Are more mature, focused, independent and self-confident.
What kind of student might benefit from a gap year? – Many different kinds of students might benefit from a gap year, including students:
  •  With multiple interests
  • Unsure whether they want to pursue a particular major/career
  • Without a clear academic focus
  • Who are burned-out after high school.
How much will a gap year cost? Gap year programs range from free to thousands of dollars. In free programs, students often get room and board, in exchange for work.
Before taking a gap year – Here are six steps to take before taking a gap year: 
  1. Apply to college. 
  2. Get accepted to college and defer your college enrollment.
  3. Decide on the interests you want to pursue during the gap year and your budget.
  4. Identify gap year programs within your budget, that let you explore your interests.
  5. Check the quality and safety of those programs.
  6. Select and register for the gap year programs, you wish to pursue.
Pay it forward - What is your experience with a gap year?  How did it change you? Who would you recommend it to? 
References – Here are three on-line gap year references that may be helpful:

Monday, May 13, 2013

University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware

Inside the student union building

Plenty of green spaces and brick buildings

Admissions building
Basics - The University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware is a Tier 1 research university. It has 16,000 undergraduates and 3400 graduate students. There are students from all 50 states and 100 countries. 35% of these students are from Delaware. New Jersey sends the most students, after Delaware. Housing is guaranteed all four years for students who enter as freshmen. The campus is physically large, covering 1,241 acres.

Academics - Class sizes vary with 62% of classes having 25 or fewer students, 24% having 26 – 50 students, 10% having 51- 100 students, and 4% having more than 100 students. In the 7 colleges, there are over 145 majors and 100 minors.

450 students in the freshman class, including my tour guide who hailed from Georgia, are part of the Honors program. Students applying for the Honors program need to write an additional essay as part of their application. These students take many honors classes, which are capped at 25 students, and have honors housing.

The University of Delaware has had study abroad since 1923. The school is on a 4-1-4 calendar so students can study abroad for a full semester or during the optional 5-week winter session.

Summer scholars have an opportunity to do research over the summer while receiving a $3,000 stipend.

Extracurricular activities - There are over 300 student organizations; Division I athletics, including football; 32 club teams, hundreds of intramural teams, and Greek life, with 20% of students going Greek. The main drag outside of campus is full of restaurants, stores, and students.

What’s New - There are a number of construction projects on campus that are near completion. The following are slated to open in the Fall: a new freshman residence hall that will house 767 students, a 194,000-square-foot Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Lab, and a renovated and largely-expanded sports building.

Applications and Financial Aid - The admissions office looks at the applications holistically. They evaluate each student’s core classes, look at the SAT (all three sections) and/or the ACT (which they superscore). They consider how well prepared students are for their major (i.e., did you take honors or AP classes in the area of your planned major). The University of Delaware uses the Common Application. They are looking for recommendations from your high school counselor and one teacher. They offer optional, evaluative interviews to high school students between June of the junior year and Thanksgiving of the senior year of high school. The University of Delaware offers both need-based and merit aid, with merit aid ranging from $1000 up to a full ride.

If you are a student at the University of Delaware, what do you like most and least about the school?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA


Bomberger Hall houses music rooms
Art Museum

Campus Map
Campus - Ursinus College is a small liberal arts college of 1750 students, 28 miles northwest of Philly. The school sits on 170 acres, with plenty of green space, lots of outdoor sculpture, and buildings with a variety of architecture styles in the small town of Collegeville. The school houses an art museum and two theatres.

Academics – All freshmen participate in the two-semester seminar where they read and discuss texts to help answer questions like: What does it mean to be human? How should we live our lives?

In addition, every student must participate in at least one of the following: independent research, a creative project, study abroad, internship, or student teaching.

Most classes, with the exception of some introductory classes (e.g., Introductory Psychology), are small.  80% of classes have fewer than 20 students. No classes are taught by teaching assistants. Freshmen meet with their advisor weekly in person, by phone, or by email. The school gives every freshman a laptop.

The school offers 27 majors and 51 minors. Double majoring is popular.  The school has some unusual majors for a small liberal arts college, like neuroscience and East Asian studies.
About eighty students do summer research on campus and receive free room and board, as well as a stipend.

Housing – Housing is guaranteed all four years and 97% of students live on campus. In addition to the usual dorms, there is themed housing in six or seven Victorian houses across the street from campus for upper classmen who apply. The themes change yearly and are selected by the student body.

Extracurricular activities – One third of the students participate in a Division III sports team, with football and women’s field hockey being most popular. Club and intramural sports are also popular.

The school has Greek life, but no Greek housing.  There are more than 80 clubs, organizations and interest groups, as well as many opportunities for volunteering. The Ursinus Center for Advocacy, Responsibility and Engagement is the focal point for community service and civic engagement at Ursinus.

There is a large shopping mall, with a movie theatre a short drive away.

Transportation – There is a city bus that takes students to a train station, where they can catch a train to Philly.  Freshmen are not allowed to have cars on campus.

Financial aid – In addition to need-based aid, there are scholarships and academic awards of up to $30,000 a year, including a creative writing award.

Tour Guide – My tour guide was a well-spoken, enthusiastic senior, who was going to med school in the fall. He had participated in summer research, which led to a presentation at a conference, and had participated in an intramural sport while at Ursinus.

Have you attended or visited Ursinus College recently?  If so, what was your experience?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ

Seton Hall University is a Catholic university in South Orange, NJ with about 5300 undergraduates.  It is 14 miles from New York City, which can be reached by train in thirty minutes.

Financial Aid - The big news at Seton Hall might be the financial aid. 96% of students get aid and 86% get grants or scholarships, which don’t have to be repaid. Students in the top 10% of their high school class, with 1200 on their SAT (Critical Reading and Math) who apply by 12/15 get the “Public Tuition Rate” (i.e., they pay the same tuition as in-state Rutgers students).

Academics and beyond – Most Seton Hall University classes are small with an average class size of 21. Seton Hall has over 80 majors to choose from and hands-on learning is stressed. 75% of students have at least one internship.

The School of Arts and Sciences has dual degree programs in Physician’s Assistant, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Athletic Training.

The School of Diplomacy requires 2 internships or an internship and a travel abroad experience.

The School of Business boasts a 91% placement rate within six months of graduation. In addition to the usual business majors, they have a sports management major.

Seton Hall has the oldest and largest school of nursing in New Jersey. The program is a direct admit program and includes eight clinical rotations.

The College of Education and Human Services includes Education majors with 75-hour placements in four different school environments, as well as Speech and Language Pathology majors.

Freshmen are assigned a professor, as a mentor and an upper classman, as a peer advisor.

The school gives everyone a new laptop or tablet as Freshmen and again as Juniors.

550 employers come to the Career Fair.

Campus - The architecture on campus is mixed. The gym is currently being expanded and the new facilities should be open by the Fall or 2013. The science building was renovated a few years ago. The entire campus is wireless.

Residential Life - 82% of Freshmen live on campus. Students get to pick upper class housing based on a point system, with points for GPA and points for participation in activities. There is a free mini bus that takes students to South Orange; downtown South Orange is about three quarters of a mile from campus.

Extracurricular activities – Seton Hall University has over 100 clubs and it has Greek life. Students perform over 25,000 hours of community service each year. The NCAA Division I Big East Conference basketball team is popular. They play at the Prudential Center in Newark, with the university providing bus transportation for students. The day I visited Seton Hall, the students were hosting a health fair on the lawn.

Admissions – Seton Hall University accepts the Common App and does a holistic review of applications. On the average, students have a 3.4 GPA and an SAT score of 1100 (Critical Reading and Math). Seton Hall has Early Admissions with applications due on 11/15 and 12/15 and Regular Decision with applications due 2/1 or 3/1.

Monday, April 29, 2013

St. John's University - Staten Island Campus

St. John’s University is a Catholic University with its main campus in Queens, NY. They have a small, satellite campus on 16.5 acres in Staten Island, NY. The Staten Island campus is primarily made up of commuters, with 20% of students living on campus. Students wanting a small school with a small class experience might consider this campus. The average class size is only 15. Students often intern in Staten Island or Manhattan. The school provides students with a free laptop.

A unique program that the Staten Island campus offers is a three-year Bachelor’s degree including fourteen majors to choose from and a study abroad experience. Students in this program attend class for six fall/spring semesters and two summers.

Be aware that some St. John’s undergraduate majors are unavailable on Staten Island and that students, playing on one of the St. John’s Division I sports teams, should be on the Queens campus.

Greek life and community service are popular in Staten Island. There are over 40 clubs with club meetings typically take place during club hours, on Mondays and Thursdays between 1:50 and 3 PM. Students often go to New York City on the weekend; the school provides a shuttle to the Staten Island Ferry, which takes students into lower Manhattan. There are intramural teams on Staten Island and the fitness center is open seven days a week. St. John’s also provides a shuttle bus between their Queens and Staten Island campuses.

Staten Island students join the Queens students for study abroad and often study at the St. John’s campuses in Rome and Paris. Close to half the students will study abroad for at least two weeks.

Campus housing is adjacent to campus and consists of 83 apartments. Each apartment is a furnished, garden apartment with one or two bedrooms, a kitchen with refrigerator, microwave and stove, a bathroom and a dining/living room area. Three students share these apartments. A meal plan, wireless internet, and cable connection are provided. No alcohol is allowed in the apartments, even if the students are over 21. Students can have a car on campus in the freshman year. Daily mass is available.

If you attended the Staten Island campus of St. John’s University, what was your experience like?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Third Anniversary Sweepstakes

Slosberg College Solutions LLC celebrated our third anniversary this week.  In honor of our anniversary, we are sponsoring a sweepstakes.  Like the Slosberg College Solutions Facebook page for a chance to win.

You can win: 
  • Grand Prize - University of Mary Washington paperweight, mug and pennant (shown above)
  • First Prize - Lycoming College mug
  • Second Prize - Seton Hall University drawstring bag.
Winners will be selected on 5/3/13 and need to pick up their prize by 5/9/13 at Slosberg College Solutions LLC in Bridgewater, NJ.

Wagner College, Staten Island, NY

Are you looking for a small, private, residential New York City liberal arts college with small classes, a beautiful campus, Division 1 sports, Greek life and a great theatre program? If so, Wagner College may be for you. Located in Staten Island, the school has 1850 undergrads and eighty per cent of them live on the 105 acre campus all four years. The school provides an hourly shuttle to the Staten Island ferry which takes you to lower Manhattan, providing great internship, social and educational opportunities. There are plenty of opportunities for travel abroad (from 10 days to a semester), service learning, and internships.

If you walk onto the Wagner College campus and it looks familiar, it may be because you’ve seen the Main Hall portrayed in the movie School of Rock.

Wagner Plan: Wagner has a unique educational program, the Wagner Plan. As part of the Wagner Plan, every freshman is part of a Learning Community of a maximum of 28 students who take three linked courses which explore a theme or problem from different perspectives and includes learning through experiences outside of the campus. Students also take part in a Learning Community during the intermediate years, and in the senior year, in their major.

Majors: Popular Wagner College majors include biology, business, psychology, nursing, physician assistant, and theatre. An unusual major is arts administration.

Admission and Financial Aid: Accepted freshmen have an average GPA of 3.5 and an average SAT of 1720 (Wagner is test-optional) and 72% of students applying are accepted. The school offers need-based aid and merit aid (up to 24K per year).

What's your experience with Wagner College?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, Virginia

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of having lunch with Shelley Hillberry, Assistant Dean of Admissions of the University of Mary Washington who is the admissions rep for New Jersey. Shelley described Mary Washington students as intellectually, civically and socially engaged.

Physical campus / history - The University of Mary Washington is in historic Fredericksburg, Virginia on 172 acres. Before the school became co-ed in 1972, it was the woman’s college for the University of Virginia. The buildings are of Jeffersonian and Georgian architecture. There are no public roads through campus. The college is about 50 miles away from Washington DC and Richmond. The school’s location means there are plenty of internship opportunities.

The basics - University of Mary Washington is a public state college in Virginia. It is a mid-sized school with 4000 undergraduates and 1000 graduate students. The school has undergraduate colleges for Education, Business, and Arts & Sciences. There is an 83% retention from the freshman to sophomore year and 77% of students graduate in four years with a Bachelor’s degree. Students abide by an honor code.

Courses - Students have 40 credits of general education requirements, 40 credits in their major, and 40 credits of electives. The 40 credits of electives allow students to pursue a second major or a minor. The general education requirements include experiential learning (i.e., students must do at least one internship, study abroad, research, or community service learning).

Class size - Most classes have 22 to 24 students per class. The first year seminar is capped at 15 students. There are twelve larger general education classes with about 60 students.

Majors - Students don’t declare their major until after the sophomore year. Mary Washington is only one of six schools in the nation with an undergraduate historic preservation major. Popular majors are business, English, psychology, biology, history, international affairs, political science, historic preservation, computer science, foreign languages, and geography (with a GIS certificate).

Admissions - Admissions are holistic. The mid-50% of SAT scores for Critical Reading and Math are between 1050 and 1250 with the mid-50% of GPAs between 3.2 and 3.9. The school admits about 70% of the applicants. Interviews are recommended and are informational.

Students from outside of Virginia - The University of Mary Washington does not have an out-of-state quota. About 25% of the students are from outside of Virginia. There is merit aid available for out-of-state students. This year there were 114 applications from New Jersey with 24 depositing.

Honors Program - There is an Honors program, which takes about 50 students a year, typically students with SAT scores of 1300 or higher (Critical Reading and Math) and GPAs of 3.9 or higher. Students in the Honors program receive a $1-$2K grant.

Pre-med/Pre-vet - Pre-med students take advantage of internships at the hospital across the street from the campus. 80% of them go on to medical school. The pre-vet students often do an internship with whales.

Friday, March 22, 2013

College Admissions Trends 2013 - Part 4

The high school guidance personnel on the NJACAC panel spoke about their experiences with college admissions trends.

Bernice Hornchak, School Counselor at Bridgewater-Raritan High School indicated that caseloads had grown in the sixteen years she had worked at the school, with the current caseload of about 260 students per counselor. Counselor time is spent about 50% on college counseling, 30% on academic/career counseling, and 20% on other issues including school phobia and depression. Students have the same counselor all four years and the school uses Naviance, including eDocs. She indicated that some parents are misinformed about the application process, are anxious and want to get started on the application process in the 9th or 10th grade, and are overly concerned with selecting electives. She sees increased interest in education, criminal justice, and allied health majors. More students are taking advantage of Raritan Valley Community College, the local community college, and the NJ STARS program.

John Semcer, Director of Guidance (Emeritus) Mother Seton High School and Montclair High School commented on growing college wait lists, merit scholarships being offered by some colleges requiring applications by September 1, colleges wanting commitments for wrestlers and football players in 10th or 11th grade, kids graduating high school early to get a head start on college sports, college application fees rising, and high school guidance counselors having less and less time for college counseling. John indicated that at public schools guidance counselors spent an average of 24% of their time on college counseling and in private schools they spent an average of 55% of their time on college counseling.

If you are a high school guidance counselor or an independent college admissions consultant, do you have any other trends that you would like to share?

Monday, March 18, 2013

College Admissions Trends 2013 - Part 3

The college admissions personnel on the panel spoke about their schools.  This focuses on the trends shared by admissions personnel from Rutgers University, Stevens Institute of Technology, and Manhattanville College.

Paul Johnson, Assistant Vice President, Research and Enrollment Services at Rutgers University, indicated that applications were up by 6% this year. Rutgers has a new president who oversaw the merger of Rutgers and the Medical School. On the Livingston campus there is a new residence hall and a new business building. Rutgers handles 32,000 applications and values the right high school courses, grades, and standardized test scores. They admit by school with mid-ranges for GPA and test scores varying by school; this data is on their website. Rutgers would like more out-of-state and international students. While 50% of students change majors, it is very difficult to transfer into popular majors. School- to-school transfer requirements are on-line.

Shane Topping, Director of Admissions at Stevens Institute of Technology, spoke of a 22% increase in applications this year. A new president started in July 2011. The most popular major at Stevens is Mechanical Engineering. There is increased interest in Biomedical Engineering and Environmental Engineering. International applications are up. The school has a popular 5-year Masters program where the scholarship and financial aid from the undergraduate years continues to the 5th year. Stevens students have an average high school GPA of 3.8. A 20-25 minute interview is required and is important. For engineering and science majors they are looking to see students who have had 4 years of Math and Science.

Kevin O’Sullivan, Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Manhattanville College said his school is known for its international students and diversity. One thousand of their 5,000 applications are from international students. The school has students from 56 countries, with the biggest representation from Ecuador, Vietnam, China, Brazil and Canada. Thirty percent of their students study abroad in their European Union (EU) program based in Southern Germany, in which students visit every EU country. Manhattanville has NGO status, allowing their students access to UN programs. The school went test-optional four years ago. The size of the freshman class has grown from 407 to 608 students in the last two years. The undergraduate Sports Management program is new to the school. Manhattanville is working on developing a new accounting major. Management is the most popular major. Manhattanville values demonstrated interest. Admitted students have a solid B average with an average SAT score of 1100 (for Math and Critical Reading).

If you work in Admissions or Enrollment Management at a college, do you have any trends you want to share about your college?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

College Admissions Trends 2013 – Part 2

The college admissions personnel on the panel spoke about the admissions trends at their colleges. This post focuses on the comments from Rider University, Fordham University and TCNJ admissions personnel.

Susan Christian, Dean of Enrollment at Rider University commented that there was growth in interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), education, and fine and performing arts programs at Rider. There was an increase in the percentage of Hispanic students. The school had a new academic building, a new residential hall, and had improved their theatres. Rider looked at the strength of the high school student’s academic program and transcript. They had 8500 applications for 950 freshman seats. For the Westminster Choir College, the audition is a critical factor.

John Buckley, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management at Fordham University, noted that 40% of students are undeclared majors to start. At Fordham the biggest majors are biology and communications. When he started working at Fordham, the school received about 4000 applications a year; now they receive about 36000 applications, including 2500 international applications. Fordham admits students with an average 3.7 Grade Point Average (GPA) and an SAT score between 1830 and 2050 (3 sections). They look for an upward trend in grades, students who are leaders, and students who give service to their school/community. It is difficult to do an internal transfer into the business school.

Grecia Montero, Director of Admissions at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) saw a 7% increase in freshman applications this year, with an 11% increase in applications for biology majors. There is a new Education building, as well as a new Arts & Communication building. There was an increase in applicants from Massachusetts and Connecticut. The SAT was optional this year, for the first time. Acceptance is based on the department you are interested in. There were 11,000 applications with 4,000 acceptances. Students are typically from the top 10-15% of their class with SAT scores between 1250 and 1360 (for Critical Reading and Math). High school rank and test scores needed for admissions are more difficult for certain majors including Chemistry, Biology and Nursing. The school keeps track of student visits and communications with the school. TCNJ has no cap on out-of-state or international students.

The next post on college admissions trends will focus on the comments from admissions personnel at the remaining three colleges: Rutgers University, Stevens Institute of Technology, and Manhattanville College.

Monday, March 4, 2013

College Admissions Trends 2013 – Part 1 of 4

On February 26th, I attended a workshop at Rutgers University featuring a panel of college admissions and high school guidance personnel. They reviewed college admissions issues, concerns, and trends for members of the NJ Association of College Admission Counseling (NJACAC). The common themes were increased applications, more applications from international students, more demand for certain majors, continued building on-campus, and NJ state colleges looking for students from outside of NJ. Do any of these trends surprise you?

Some questions discussed included the impact of the economy on colleges and financial aid. Some private colleges are offering additional financial aid, with some discounting up to 50%. The panelists didn’t see how that could be supported on a long-term basis. Parents are asking more questions on college completion rates; it is taking students 5.6 years to graduate on the average. Some colleges are seeing the willingness to pay for college going down among those who can afford to pay. There is also an increase in families appealing financial aid awards. As parents, how has the economy impacted how you view a college education for your son or daughter?

In my next post, I will review the comments from the admissions personnel from Rider University, Fordham University, and The College of NJ (TCNJ).

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Big Decision

The time for the “big decision” for high school seniors is quickly approaching. For those who have been accepted to more than one college, it will soon be time to make the final choice.

Now is a good time to visit or re-visit the campuses and surrounding areas of the colleges you are considering. It is time to ask and get answers to any final questions. Here are some things to consider:
  •  Academics – Review the core curriculum courses and the required and available courses in likely majors and minors. Consider class size; opportunities for internships, research, a senior project, and travel abroad; accessibility to professors, and support in finding a job and/or graduate school when you finish your undergraduate studies.
  • Social – Consider school environment (e.g., location, size, weather, distance from home), as well as your social, political, extra-curricular and religious needs.
  • Financial – Know how much tuition, room and board, books, travel, and miscellaneous expenses will cost. Make sure you understand your financial aid package, including how much you will need to pay back each month on loans and how long it will take you to pay back those loans.
What other tips would you give high school seniors faced with the big decision?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Common Application Essay Prompts for 2013-2014

The 2013-14 essay prompts for the Common Application, used by 488 colleges, have been announced. There will no longer be a topic of your own choice. The word limit will be enforced and will be limited to between 250 and 650 words.  The essay instructions and prompts are as follows:

“Instructions. The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don't feel obligated to do so. (The application won't accept a response shorter than 250 words.)

• Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

• Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?

• Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?

• Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?

• Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.”

What do you think about the changes? What would you write about, given these prompts?