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Monday, December 15, 2014

College of St. Elizabeth (CSE)

Looking for a Catholic women’s college in central New Jersey?  The Women’s College at the College of St. Elizabeth has about 600 students and about 80% of freshmen live on campus in one of two dorms.  If you want a college with a small, close-knit group in a welcoming and supportive environment, CSE might be for you. 

On the college grounds there are also college classes for adults, and a high school.  Most students study the liberal arts or are pre-professional.  Students can double major or major and minor.  There are a number of 5-year combined Bachelors/Masters programs in areas such as Education, Counseling Psychology, Business, and Theology to name a few.  The most popular majors are Education, Biology, Business and Psychology. Internships are generally available starting in the freshman or sophomore year.   An unusual CSE major is Food and Nutrition, with an option for a 5th year Dietetic internship.

Class size is small with typically 12 – 15 students per class.  The college has study abroad, free tutoring, a medical facility, a counseling center and more.  There is cross registration with nearby Drew and Fairleigh Dickinson.  There are two required religion classes, but no required chapel.  Typically, students with a 3.8 GPA or higher qualify for the Honors Program. 

There are eight NCAA Division III sports.  Students like watching the basketball and softball games.   Community service is popular with students working at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, and non-profits like the Red Cross. There is an Olympic sized indoor pool. Mass is available daily.   Some residential students go home on weekends and some stay on campus. 

The average GPA of applicants is 3.0 and the mid-50% score for the SAT is 1350 – 1500 (for Critical Reading, Math, and Writing).  Merit aid is available.

Across from the college entrance is the Convent Station train station.  Florham Park and Morristown stations are just one stop away.  CSE is less than an hour away from New York City by train. Students can walk to Fairleigh Dickinson for classes or social activities.  Cars are allowed on campus all four years. 

What is your experience with CSE?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Gettysburg College

In October, I had the pleasure of learning about Gettysburg College from Gail Sweezey, the Office of Admissions Director.  Here are some highlights:

Academics:  The most popular major at Gettysburg is political science.  Other popular majors are Organization and Management Studies, Psychology, History, English, and Biology. 
About one quarter of students do a double major.  About 35% of students have a major and a minor.
Gettysburg has a music conservatory which opened in 2005. There are over 150 students who major or minor in music.  Students must audition to be a major or minor.  Students can double major with a major in the conservatory (BA) and another major outside of the conservatory.  25% get a degrees in music performance (B.M.), 25% in music education (B.S.), and 50% in music (B.A.).
Gettysburg College houses the Eisenhower Institute, a center for leadership and public policy.  The Eisenhower Institute has offices in Washington DC as well as operating in the historic Gettysburg home once occupied by Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower.  It combines dialogue among policy-makers with a learning experience for undergraduates in a variety of fields, including energy, nuclear nonproliferation, foreign relations, Middle East affairs, U.S. politics, the U.S. presidency, economics, international security, and environmental sustainability.

There are over forty choices for the first year seminar.  One seminar was on homelessness.  In addition to classroom work, the students lived in a homeless shelter for a week and worked in a soup kitchen. Freshmen live with students in their first year seminar.

The first year orientation includes a walk to the national cemetery, followed by listening to the Gettysburg address there. 
Study abroad: Gettysburg is 5th in the nation for sending students abroad for a semester or longer.  Their financial aid travels with them.  There are also shorter 2-3 week study abroad programs.  Students can participate in a 3-semester bridge course where they study an issue for a semester at Gettysburg, study abroad about that issue for a semester, and spend a semester writing/publishing about that issue.
Career planning:  70% of students were involved in an internship before graduation.  Other career planning options include week long externships, shadowing opportunities, and networking dinners.
Location: The college is in Gettysburg, PA which is very close to the Maryland border.  Students are close enough to Baltimore and Washington, DC to intern there.

Housing: 92% of students live on campus and 95% stay on campus on the weekend.  

Extracurricular activities: Greek life, football games, the marching band, orchestra concerts, theatre and dance performances are all popular pastimes.  1 in 7 students is involved musically.  80% of the marching band is not in the conservatory.

Retention: 91% of students return for their sophomore year.

Politics:  The students at the school are politically middle of the road.

After graduation:  95% of students are in graduate school or employed within a year of graduation.  About 15 students per year go on to medical school. 

Financial Aid:  There is both need-based and merit aid.  The Net Price Calculator is usually within $2K of their actual net price.  For need based aid, students need to complete the FAFSA and the CSS PROFILE.  The need-based aid package meets 100% of need and is made up of grants, loans, and work/study.

The largest merit aid is the $25K/year Lincoln Scholarship given to about 30 students who have taken rigorous course with grades of A and have a SAT score of 1400 or more in Critical Reading/Math. 

The Presidential Scholarship of $15K/year is typically given to students taking rigorous courses, graduating in the top 10-15% of their class and have an SAT score of 1300 or more in Critical Reading/Math.  

There are other merit scholarships including the David Wells Scholarship ($10K/year) and the Leadership Scholarship ($7K/year).  There are also scholarships for those pursing a Bachelors of Music in Performance.

Applications:  The Early Decision deadline is 11/25 and 43% of students apply Early Decision.  The school is test-optional, with about 20% applying test-optional.  Students who choose to go test optional can’t get merit scholarships.  The average SAT score is 1290 (Critical Reading and Math).  A student with SAT scores between 1100 and 1150 (Critical Reading and Math) and great grades should apply test-optional.  The college is interested in demonstrated interest and recommends that students take advantage of an interview.

What is your experience with Gettysburg?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What's new at NJ, NY and PA colleges

Admissions representatives from several universities shared highlights of what’s new at their institutions at the NJACAC fall kickoff. 

The Rider representative talked about:
  •  Special activities to commemorate the college’s 150th anniversary, including a gala, special performances, the breaking of a Guinness world record for the longest string of cranberries.
  •  The Westminster Choir College getting a new building. 
  • Sports management being offered as a new co-major.
  • The Musical Theater degree becoming a Bachelors in Fine Arts, requiring an application by January 1.
  • The current college president retiring on June 30th and the search for a replacement.

The Rutgers representative spoke of:
  • The opening of the Residential Honors College housing for 500 students and faculty in September 2015. 
  • Mason Gross having a new digital film making major starting in 2015.
  •  Rutgers planning for a 2016 celebration of their 250th anniversary.

  • Will be celebrating their 150th anniversary in 2015 with a Lehigh vs. Lafayette football game in Yankee Stadium. 
  • Has purchased two Bethlehem Steel buildings and turned them into research space. 
  • Has a new college president who came from the University of Virginia. 
  • Is in the midst of a one billion dollar capital campaign.

·         Has fully integrated the engineering school into the university. Has new majors including Design and Performance Study, and an interdisciplinary Business and Film/TV.
·         Is looking for a new president. 

·         Is building a Campus Town Center which will open in August.  It will have a first floor with Panera,Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, and a pizza place, and a second floor housing 430 TCNJ students. 
·         Has a new STEM facility housing natural sciences, engineering and mathematics. 
·         Will be switching to a 4-1-4 schedule to encourage a higher 4-year graduation rate and to give more students the opportunity to study abroad. 

·         Will require students to complete the CSS PROFILE in order to get financial aid.  They expect this will enable them to give more aid to students whose families make between $75K and $150K per year.

The Rowan representative spoke of:
  •  Bringing in five companies, including Lockheed Martin, on property Rowan owns next to the college campus so students can do research and work with those companies.
  • Two new med schools and the integration of medical studies with arts, business, and STEM.  Students can get accepted into medical school right after high school; the med schools are focusing on community/family medicine. 
  •  The freshman class being 40% bigger than last year. 
  • Rowan focusing on improving their graduation rate and having a goal to reach a 90% graduation rate. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

University of Pennsylvania

In early September, I visited the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), a member of the Ivy League.  While the college is in a busy part of Philadelphia, the layout of the campus gives you a sense that you are away from the hustle and bustle of the city.  UPenn has about 10,000 undergrads in 4 colleges and about another 10,000 graduate students.  The university was founded by Benjamin Franklin with the idea that the university would provide a practical, diverse, well-rounded, broad-based education with a liberal arts foundation.

Academics - Undergraduate students apply to one of four colleges:

  • College of Arts and Sciences (known as “the College”) - In “the College” students have general education requirements in seven sectors of knowledge and can take two years before they pick one of the 55 available majors.
  • Engineering and Applied Sciences - The Engineering and Applied Sciences offers both a Bachelors of Engineering and a Bachelors of Applied Science.  Those pursuing the Bachelor of Applied Science have more electives.  Those pursuing a Bachelors of Engineering must pick a major after the freshman year and need to do a Senior design project.
  • Wharton School of Business - At the Wharton School, there are 20 different concentrations.  Forty percent of the classes students take are outside of the Business school.  Freshmen participate on teams of ten to solve a business problem for a company.
  • Nursing - The Nursing School takes 90 – 100 Freshmen each year.  The nursing students begin their clinical rotation in the second semester of their Sophomore year.  There are four hospitals within five blocks of UPenn.  Many nursing students pursue a Bachelors/Masters degree in five years.

Undergrads can take classes in all four undergraduate colleges.  They can double major or major/minor in multiple undergraduate colleges, and they can take classes in all the grad schools (except the Vet school).  Students have both an academic advisor and a peer advisor.  Many of the majors are interdisciplinary.  Study abroad is popular in the Junior year, the summers, and the Fall of the Senior year.  The Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships helps students find research opportunities or identify funding for research they wish to do.

The average class size is 26 students.  There are large lecture classes of up to 600 students, like Intro to Chemistry, Intro to Psychology, and Intro to Political Science.  These classes also have smaller recitation sections.

Applying - Early Decision applications are due by 11/1 and students hear if they are accepted by 12/15.  The Early Decision admit rate is 24%.  Regular Decision applications are due by 1/1 and students hear if they are accepted by 4/1.  The overall admit rate is 10%.  Students apply using the Common App plus a supplement which includes a “Why UPenn?” essay.  Students need to submit the ACT with Writing or the SAT with two Subject Tests.  Two letters of recommendation from core subject teachers are required.

Since Wharton is quantitative-heavy, they expect you have taken the highest level calculus offered by your high school.  The Engineering School is looking to see you have taken high level Physics and the Nursing School is looking to see you have taken advanced Chemistry while in high school.

Financial Aid - UPenn offers need-based aid, but does not offer merit aid.  They meet 100 percent of a student’s need and determine that need from the FAFSA, CSS PROFILE and their own supplement. Their financial aid packages do not include loans.  Their Net Price Calculator does not work well for divorced parents, parents who own a business, and self-employed parents.  If you are in one of these situations, call the financial aid office to get a better early estimate of your net price. The school is need-blind for citizens and residents of North America, and need-aware for others.

What is your experience visiting or attending the University of Pennsylvania?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Saint Joseph's University

Last week, I visited St. Joseph’s University (SJU), a co-ed Jesuit university with about 4500 undergrads in a suburban setting on the western edge of Philadelphia.  At SJU you will see flags and signs that say magis.  Magis is a Jesuit principle that inspires students to think broader, dig deeper, and work harder.

Academics: The university has two colleges: a college of business and a college of arts and sciences, with about half of the students in each.  The typical class size is 23 with the maximum class size capped at 35.  Students can double major or major and minor across the two schools.

The business school requires that students have at least one internship; two or three internships are typical.  Students in the college of arts and sciences have the opportunity to do research over the summer after their Sophomore or Junior year, while getting paid $3,000.

Two unusual majors that SJU offers are Food Marketing and Autism Studies.  The Food Marketing can be taken as a 4-year program or as a 5-year co-op program.  Students in the co-op program typically get paid $17-$24 per hour for their co-op work while gaining valuable experience in their field of study.

The most popular countries for study abroad are Italy, Spain, Ireland, and Australia.  Study abroad is popular as a semester in the Junior year, a summer program, a spring break program or a winter break program

All students must take two religion courses. 

My tour guide Dan, was double-majoring in Economics and Political Science.

Extra-curricular activities: The college motto is “men and women with and for others” and 90% of students will do some type of community service while a student at SJU.  For example, during Spring Break, 500 students go to Appalachia and build homes with Habitat for Humanity. 

The Division I athletics also bring out the school spirit, especially the St. Joe's vs. Villanova basketball games.  Students can get basketball season tickets for just $80.  My tour guide recommended that visiting high school students attend a basketball game, if possible, to get a sense of the Hawks school spirit.

There are over one hundred clubs and organizations, including Greek life.

SJU runs two bus routes which take students to the train station, stores, and popular off-campus housing locations.

Admissions: St. Joe’s accepts the Common Application. They have both Early Action and regular admission.   The mid-50% of SAT scores is 1100 – 1280 (Critical Reading and Math).  The school is test-optional.  Admissions to SJU is not by major.  There is merit and need-based aid.  All students receive some sort of financial assistance.

What is your experience with SJU?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

If Your Life Is Not A Bowl of Cherries

So you want to go to college, but there has been a significant problem during your high school years.  Perhaps you have been suspended, been arrested, have abused drugs or alcohol, or have suffered from a mental illness.

You might wonder what your options are, so first ask yourself these three questions:
  1. Have I healed from the problem? 
  2. Do I want to go to college?
  3.  Am I ready to start college with the rest of my high school graduating class?

If you answered no to one or more of these questions, you may need professional help to recover from the problem and/or you may want to work or take a gap year (or more) before pursuing further education.
If you answered yes to all three of these questions, I recommend that you write an extra essay, a special circumstances essay, as part of your college application.  This essay should be focused on your recovery, not your problem, and should describe how the problem led to who you are today.  In this essay, you will let the college know what the reason for your suspension, arrest, drop in grades, and/or missed semester was.  You will need to take full responsibility for what happened, explain how you have changed, and what you have learned from your decisions.  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Changing SAT and ACT Landscape

Here are the highlights of a recent HECA webinar on testing by Jed Applerouth, founder of Applerouth Tutoring Services

SAT changes: The SAT is morphing into an ACT.  It has been changing from an aptitude test to an achievement test.  In 2016, it will undergo a major shift.  It will:
  • Drop sentence completion
  • Add more difficult math
  • Eliminate calculator use for one math section
  • Include grammar questions in the context of paragraphs
  • Add science tables, charts and graphs to verbal and math sections
  • Include evidence-based essays
  • Eliminate questions that are not aligned with the Common Core standards
  • Allow more time per question.

The math will include new topics including trigonometry, radians, equations of a circle, and congruence theorems.  There will be less geometry and there will be more algebra, requiring a deeper understanding of equations. 

Students will have twice as much time for the new essay.  “[The] essay should not explain whether you agree with [the author’s] claims, but rather explain how [the author] builds an argument to persuade his audience.”

The current SAT allows more time per question than the ACT.  The new SAT will allow even more time, which will be a plus for students with slower processing speeds.

ACT changes:  The ACT changes are subtler and include:

  • Essay changes - Students will be asked to analyze a complex issue, after being provided several perspectives.
  • Extra scores/reporting – There will be four new college readiness indicators: a STEM score of math and science; an English Language Arts score of English, Reading and Writing; a Progress Towards Career Readiness score; and a Text Complexity Progress indicator.
  • Digital assessments – Computer-based tests will be introduced in some districts and states in 2015 and will be introduced more widely in 2016.
  • Reading changes – Students will be asked to compare and contrast two reading passages (as has been done in the SAT).
  • Optional constructed response subject test. – Optional 30-minute subject tests in reading, math and science, that assess whether students can justify, explain and use evidence to support claims, will be added.

Timeline: The timeline of SAT and ACT changes are as follows:

  • December 2014 – Practice PSAT released
  • March 2015 – Practice SATs released with College Board book to follow
  • Spring/Fall 2015 – Digital ACT and ACT changes
  • October 2015 – New PSAT for Class of 2017 and 2018
  • January 2016 – Final old SAT
  • March 2016 – New SAT released and first digital SAT.

The Class of 2017 (rising Sophomores) will be able to take either the old SAT or the new SAT or both.

Are you looking forward to these changes?   

Friday, June 20, 2014

Visual and Performing Arts

Here are some important points made by Beth Dombkowski of Rowan University and Laura Arbogast of Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) on Visual and Performing Arts from the June NJACAC Conference:

  • Look at the college’s accreditation.  You would like to see accreditation by NASM for Music, NASAD for Art and Design, NAST for Theatre, and NASD for Dance.
  • Consider the school’s location.  Being in or near a large city is a major plus (e.g., it will provide you more opportunities for art internships).
  • Consider whether you would prefer a discipline-specific school (e.g., FIT) vs. a Larger University (e.g., Rowan)
  • Consider whether you would prefer a Traditional program (e.g., all Visual Arts students start by taking the same basic art courses) or a Direct Entry program (e.g., need to know what type of art you are most interested in and begin courses in that area of art immediately).
  • Attend a Performing Arts and Visual Arts Fair – These are college fairs that focus on schools with strong programs in performing and visual arts.  There are upcoming fairs in our area in the Fall including:
    • Philadelphia, Monday, 10/6
    • New York City, Tuesday, 10/7
  • Some good questions to ask the school are:
    • What are students producing?
    • Who will teach me?
    • What are support services?
    • What performance opportunities are available to me as an undergraduate?
    • What internship or employment opportunities are available to me?
    • Can I perform professionally outside of school while I am an undergraduate?
  • Tips on creating an art portfolios:
    • Different colleges have different portfolio requirements.  Review the requirements for the colleges you are considering.
    • Summer is a good time to work on your portfolio.
    • Go to a National Portfolio Day to get feedback on your portfolio from the colleges you are planning to apply to.  Typically high school juniors and seniors attend National Portfolio Days.   Upcoming 2014 dates in our area include:
      • Philadelphia – Sunday, 11/9
      • SUNY Purchase – Saturday 11/15
      • New York City – Sunday, 11/16
  • Tips on music auditions and placement exams:
    • Colleges generally list what is required for their music audition on their Web page.  Make sure you can do and are prepared to do all the parts of the audition.  This varies from college to college.
    • Colleges often require placement exams.  For example at Rowan, all music majors are required to take placement exams in Theory, playing the piano, and sight singing.
  • Theater major tips:
    • Bring a resume listing your theater performance experience to your audition
    • Before your audition, rehearse you piece in front of a live audience.
  • The job outlook for the visual and performing arts in the Northeast shows growth in:
    • Film & video editors (19%)
    • Interior design (14%)
    • Art director (11.7%)
    • Fine artists (10.3%)
    • Set and exhibit design (9%)
    • Photographer (7%)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

DeSales University

 My tour guide at DeSales University was a junior studying to be a Physician Assistant.  In addition to working for Admissions as a tour guide, she worked in Catering on campus, was involved in Character U serving as a peer mentor for freshmen, and loved to do Zumba.  Some key campus buildings include Dooling Hall (classrooms), University Hall (dining hall, conference center, campus store, radio-station), Gambet Center (newest classroom building for business, physician assistant, and nursing), Hurd Science Center (science classrooms and labs), Trexler Library, and McShea Student Center (open 24 hours for student events and entertainment).

DeSales University is a co-ed Catholic University with about 1600 undergraduate day students in Center Valley, PA which was founded in 1964.  It is about 7 miles from Allentown and Bethlehem, PA.  Around 85% of students return for their sophomore year and 70% graduate in six years.  The most popular majors are health-related (e.g., Nursing, Physician Assistant, Biology), business, and visual and performing arts.  DeSales hosts the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. 

Housing is guarantees all 4 years and about 80% of students live on campus.  Housing is all single-sex.  One nice feature of the freshmen dorm we saw was that each room had a sink and every two rooms shared a shower (i.e., 1 shower for 4 students).  There are 16 Division III sports, with basketball and soccer being the biggest spectator sports.  There are no fraternities or sororities.  

Friday, April 4, 2014

University of South Carolina

On 3/26/14, Kate Balboni, the Regional Admissions Representative from the University of South Carolina for Northern New Jersey, spoke to a group of high school guidance counselors and independent college admissions consultants in Bridgewater, New Jersey.  Here are some highlights from her presentation.

The University of South Carolina is in the state capital, Columbia with a population of around 800,000.  There are about 23,000 undergraduates.  A large percent of the University’s students are from outside of South Carolina.  New Jersey is the number five state sending students to the University.  The University is 12 hours by car from NJ. There are direct flights from Newark to Columbia, or connecting flights through Charlotte.  The mid-50% SAT scores (Critical reading and Math) for Freshmen are 1120-1280.

There were 591 applicants from Northern NJ this year with 277 admitted (47%) and 87 enrolling.  Of the 87 students, 11 are in the Honors Program and 28 are in the Capstone Scholars program.  Fifty-five percent received merit aid.

There are 95 majors.  The school is known for its international business, its hotel, restaurant and tourism management, and its risk management and insurance majors.  The university has the largest sport and entertainment major in the country.  Other popular majors are nursing, psychology, biology, biomedical engineering, marine science, mechanical engineering, exercise science, and the 6-year pharmacy program. 

The Honors College has its own academic building and dorms.  Honors students get first pick at research opportunities, do a senior thesis, and are eligible for 6-year law and 6-year Pharmacy program.  They can take their Gen Ed requirements at the Honors College.   The mid-50% SAT scores (Critical Reading and Math) for the Honors program are 1390-1470.

The Capstone Scholars program is a two-year enhancement program where students engage in one activity in Leadership, Community Service, Academics, and Social. These include special classes, their own residence hall, and opportunities to compete for travel grants for the May semester or summer study abroad.  The mid-50% SAT scores (Critical Reading and Math) for the Capstone Scholars program is 1290-1360.

Cost of Attendance for out-of-state students is $38.4K per year.  There are out-of-state scholarships, some of which are substantial.  The top out-of-state scholarship is the McNair Scholars, worth $32,000 a year.  It is awarded to 20 out-of-state students.    The Horseshoe Scholars Award is worth $28,000 a year and is awarded to another 20 out-of-state students.  Last year McNair and Horseshoe Scholars had an average SAT score of 1507 (out of 1600).  There are other out-of-state merit scholarships valued between $8,000 and $23,000 a year. 

The school has over 400 clubs.  There are 17 Division I teams.  There are free tickets for students to watch the Division I sports. Football is the big spectator sport in the Fall and Baseball is the big spectator sport in the Spring.  

Twenty percent of student go Greek.  Greek students attending the Football games get dressed up (i.e., guys wear jackets and ties and gals wear heels and pearls).  

If you are a student looking for a large State University the South, with Greek life, and strong Division I sports, the University of South Carolina might be for you.  If you are a very strong student academically, the Honors or Capstone Scholars program along with the merit aid for out-of-state students might seal the deal for you!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Moravian College (Bethlehem, PA)

Campus Map

Last Wednesday, I toured Moravian College with a Sophomore majoring in Environmental Policy and Economics, who attended a small Catholic High School in Philadelphia.  In addition to being a Tour Guide, she was the Treasurer of the Sustainability Club and she liked going to the free weekly movies with her roommate.

Here are some things she said that made Moravian special:
  • Friendly students
  • Small classes
  • Strength in the Sciences and in Education
  • Free tutoring by students
  • A May term that students can use for study abroad
  • A 10-week summer research program, called SOAR, that pays students $3000, provides free housing on-campus, and a travel allowance.
  • Living and Learning suite style housing is available for Freshmen taking the same freshman seminar
  • Starting in the Fall 2014, each student will be provided with a MacBook Pro laptop and an iPad.
  • A one-week pre-freshman orientation.  Students can come to campus a week early, live on campus while working together on a volunteer activity in the community.  My tour guide volunteered at a local YMCA for the week.
  • Students can develop their own major.
 I toured the Main Street campus, also known as the North Campus.  This is the larger of the two campuses.  Both campuses have classes, house students, and have all-you-can-eat dining, as well as grab-and-go dining.  The two campuses are about a half-mile apart and there is a free shuttle bus that runs between them.  The academic focus of the South campus is Music and the Arts.  Music students give music recitals throughout the year, which are open to the student body.

The North Campus is a compact campus with a mix of old and new buildings.  They have dorms that are coed by floor, all female dorms and all male dorms.  Popular spectator sports are Softball, Baseball, Soccer and Women’s basketball.  "Impact" arranges for activities like movies, trips, and bingo. About 20% of the school is involved in Greek life.
Greek Life
Beautiful old  buildings
Mixed with newer buildings
Impact Bulletin Board with Upcoming Activities

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Yale University

My visit to Yale University was out of the ordinary.  We went to the University’s Battell Chapel, on a Sunday in mid-January, for a memorial service of a family friend.  He was a Yale alum (Class of 2008) in his late 20s who clearly loved Yale and was loved by his classmates.  His friends and family came out in full force to celebrate his life.  His former Yale classmates spoke beautifully and eloquently about their friend and their time together.  They sang a cappella, as they had with him in Yale’s Society of Orpheus and Bacchus (SOBs), the second-longest-running a cappella group in the nation... or, as they prefer to put it, 20 male friends who love to sing and have fun together.  I could see and feel how these Yale students built strong, lasting friendships while working hard and playing hard at Yale.

Before the memorial service, we took the self-guided tour of Yale and visited the Yale Art Museum.  Here are some photos from our tour.


Monday, January 27, 2014

DECA Marketing Competition at Middlesex County College

Chambers Hall, Middlesex County College

In January, high school students from various Marketing Education Programs across the State of New Jersey participated in the first of their DECA (an Association of Marketing Students) competitions. The regional conference brought me to Middlesex County College, where I was a volunteer judge serving in the role of a CEO of a nationwide supermarket chain.  

College Center, Middlesex County College
Teams of two students were given a hypothetical situation that the supermarket chain was facing. They prepared for thirty minutes, and then pitched a marketing campaign for the changes to the business that they proposed.   Each team was judged and scored.  This was a wonderful opportunity for high school students to compete, get real-life experience with business people, and to have the opportunity to earn scholarship money for college. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Special food needs at college

Food sustains us and provides us a social outlet.  I typically suggest that all students visiting a college try the food and watch the interaction among students in the college dining facilities.  For some students, food is more important.  Eating can be a life and death decision for a student with a severe food allergy.  Gluten can make a student with celiac disease become ill.  There are also many students who have a diet based on religious and/or moral principles.  They may only eat vegetarian, vegan, Kosher or Halal food.  So what is a student to do?

Food allergies or celiac disease.  If you are a student with a food allergy or celiac disease, consider the guidance on Choosing a School, Dorm Living, Alcohol and Epinephrine, and The Kiss Study provided by Food Allergy Research & Education.  Make sure to ask questions of the dining hall staff and to speak to students with your health problem and see how well or poorly they are doing with the college’s food services.

The food service provider Sodexho has recently started the Simple Servings station, a station containing food prepared without milk, eggs, wheat, soy, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, and gluten.  This should be a good match for students with a gluten-sensitivity, like those with celiac disease, as well as the most common food allergies. 

According to the Department of Justice, food allergies may constitute a disability under the ADA. That doesn't mean I haven’t heard of cases where a student transfers after a year at a college because they have ended up in the hospital emergency room several times because of a severe allergic reaction to food from the college dining hall. 
Vegetarians and vegans.  If you are a vegetarian or vegan student, check out what food choices will you have on campus.  Check if vegetarian and vegan foods are clearly marked in the dining facilities.  There are often vegetarian or vegan food stations and occasionally, a vegetarian or vegan dining hall, like State University of New York Purchase's all-vegetarian eating facility, Terra Ve.

Terra Ve, Vegetarian Dining Hall at SUNY Purchase

Kosher or Halal food.  If you are looking for Kosher or Halal food, here are some questions you might have.
  • Is the food available and acceptable to you?
  • Is it fresh food or just “frozen” dinners, which you can reheat? 
  • Is the food part of the normal meal plan or will you have to spend extra for a special meal plan?
  • Where on campus is the food available?
  • Is there special food available during Passover or Ramadan? 
The Hillel College guide and the Heart to Heart’s Map of Kosher Food on Campus are great starting places for students looking for Kosher dining on campus.  Since Kosher dining on campus is often both Kosher and Halal certified, this may also be a good starting place for Muslim students wanting Halal food.  Muslim students may also want to check with the Muslim student organizations on campus.  

What is your experience with special food needs at college?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Johnson and Wales University (JWU) - Part II

In January 2014, I visited the Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.  The university has two campuses in Providence: Harborside, with a view of the water and Downcity, in downtown Providence.  Both campuses have housing, dining, and sports facilities and there is free bus transportation between the campuses.  My tour guide Rain lived in campus housing at the Downcity campus, while attending class in the Harborside campus.

JWU is a good match for a student who knows what they want to study, wants to take classes in their major starting in their Freshman year, and wants practical, hands-on, experiential learning.  To learn more about Johnson and Wales University, see my December 2013 blog post.

Cuisinart Center for Culinary Arts
Harborside Campus -  The Harborside campus is the home of the College of Culinary Arts.  The Cuisinart Center for Culinary Arts, built in 2009, is the jewel of the campus.  This $38 million, LEED-certified four-story building is a unique facility filled with “labs” for culinary and baking students.  As you walk by each of the labs, you can watch the students cutting, cooking, baking, making chocolate, etc.
Baking Lab

During the 1st two years at the culinary college, the students spend two trimesters a year in cooking or baking labs and 1 trimester a year in traditional classes.  The labs are 6 hour a day, 4 days a week.  The culinary students earn an associates degree after two years and can stay for two more years for a variety of Bachelors degrees. 
Dough sculpture made by JWU students

Sugar sculpture made by baking students

Decorated cakes on display

Wildcat Center - Gym facilities in Harborside Campus

The Harborside campus has most of the green grass, and has the sports playing fields.  Freshmen in Harborside live mostly in triples or quads.  There is apartment style housing available for upperclassmen.  Housing for juniors and seniors is very convenient; housing for Sophomores is a bit of a walk.  School cost includes knives and uniforms that the students wear in the lab.     

Downcity Campus -  The Downcity campus houses the College of Business, the School of Technology, the Hospitality College, and the School of Arts and Sciences.  The Hospitality College students run the Radisson Hotel in nearby Warwick, Rhode Island, where I stayed overnight.  Freshmen in Downcity live mostly in doubles.  There is also housing for upperclassmen.  The food at the Snowden Dining Hall where I ate was tasty and cooked by students.  JWU is building new facilities for the Physicians Assistant program and for additional parking in the Downcity campus.  JWU is planning to move the building that houses the School of Technology closer to the other Downcity campus buildings.