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Thursday, December 31, 2015

La Salle University

La Salle University is a Catholic collegei Philadelphia.  A new 78,000 square foot business building will be opening in January on the 133 acre campus

The top five majors at LaSalle University are accounting, nursing, communications, education, and psychology.  

The business school provides students an opportunity to get a Bachelor's degree in four years, while having 2 co-op experiences or to get a Bachelor's degree and an MBA in four years.

With 3400 students, La Salle is the smallest of the Big 5 Philadelphia colleges that play Division I basketball against each other.  

La Salle's mission focuses on practical education and serving others.  Their students live that mission by providing over 50,000 hours of service every year,

The Summit Program at La Salle, admits about 130 students with good grades, who don't test well.  The school provides these students with intrusive counseling and help to improve their study skills.

La Salle is diverse in many ways.  About half of the students are first-generation college students. Students come from 35 countries, and thirty per cent of students are from a minority group.  La Salle is accepting of students who are not Catholic.  

Tuition and room and board cost about $54K per year and the average financial aid package is $22K/year.  There is a $10K stackable service scholarship.

La Salle is more concerned with high school grades than test scores.  Typically, they look for students with a 3.3 - 3.4 GPA.  Nursing students need a higher GPA, lots of science in high school, and a score of at least 1000 on the Critical Reading and Math sections of the SAT.  With a lower SAT score, the students might be admitted to pre-nursing.

What is your experience with La Salle?

Monday, November 30, 2015

Neumann University

Here are some highlights from my visit to Neumann University.  The university has the highest acceptance rate of the ten 4-year Catholic colleges in the area, a 94% acceptance rate.  It claims to have the lowest private university tuition in the Philadelphia area. The most popular major areas among the 2100 full-time undergrads are liberal arts, health professions, business, education, psychology, and security.  New for 2015 is a pre-pharmacy major (2+4) with Duquesne University.  Generally, all of the bio-clinical lab science majors got jobs in their field and 95% of the nursing majors pass their nursing exams the first time.  An internship is required for all majors, except Psychology.  There is suite style living.  The school has a TV and radio station, school newspaper, 3 theater ensembles, and five dance groups.  Field hockey is popular at this NCAA Division III school.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Philly-area Catholic Colleges - Immaculata University

In late July, I visited 11 private co-ed Catholic colleges in or near Philadelphia: ten are 4-year colleges and one is a 2-year college with acceptance rates of between 49% and 94%. They ranged in size from about 500 to just over 7000 undergraduates. At most, business or health are the most popular majors.  I hope to share some highlights about these schools with you in my next few postings.

Immaculata University has a beautiful suburban, green campus, twenty miles west of Philly. Popular majors are nursing, psychology, exercise science, business, education and music. Two unusual majors are fashion merchandising and radiologic science. The average class size is just fourteen. The average accepted student had a GPA of 3.2 and an SAT score of 1470 (out of 2400). Nursing students need to have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a minimum SAT score of 1500 (out of 2400). There are five Presidential scholarships (full tuition) and other merit aid of between $7K and $16K. For scholarship consideration, students must apply before December 1st.  

Monday, July 27, 2015

Georgetown University

Overview - In late May, I visited Georgetown University in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C., an area with colonial charm.   Georgetown University is a Jesuit university and is the oldest Catholic University in the United States.  The 102-acre university about 1.5 miles from the Washington Monument was established in 1789 with the principles of “care of the whole person” and “men and women for others.”  The school is home to four undergraduate schools and four graduate schools.  The four undergraduate colleges are Georgetown College, Nursing and Health Sciences, Foreign Service, and the Business School. There are approximately 6400 undergraduates and students apply to one college in the University.  Students in all 4 schools take the same core curriculum which includes 2 English classes, 2 theology courses and 2 philosophy courses.  Government, history and economics are among the most popular majors.  Students can major in one of nine foreign languages students.  Nursing students start their nursing rotation at Georgetown Hospital at the end of the fall of their Freshman year.  The average class size is 26 students.

Sixty percent of students have at least one internship and sixty percent study abroad.  Generally, students studying abroad take classes with students of the foreign college in their language.  An exception are the students taught by Georgetown faculty in the villas in Turkey and in Italy.

Housing - Students are required to live on campus for three years: the freshman year, the sophomore year, and either the junior or senior year.

What’s New - The university is building a new residence hall and athletic center.  The student center opened in 2014. 

Extracurricular activities - There are 300 student organizations or you can start your own.  .  There are lots of opportunities in sports (NCAA Division IA, club and intramural), arts (e.g., music, theatre), and speakers (i.e., political and non-political).  Basketball is the big spectator sport.  The Center for Social Justice matches students with volunteer activities.  DC Reads is the most popular of the volunteer activities.

Religion – Georgetown has the largest campus ministry in the US.  Campus ministry supports Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Orthodox Christian, Hindu and Buddhist worship services.

Applying – Georgetown is not a Common App school and not a score-choice school.  On 7/1, the first part of the application went live.  Early Action applications are due on 11/1, with a decision on 12/15.  Regular decision application are due in 1/10.  Three SAT subject tests are strongly recommended.  Students need to write a personal statement and an essay for the college to which they are applying.  Recent admission rate is 17%.  The mid 50% of SAT scores are 680 – 760 for Critical Reading and 680 – 770 for Math.

Financial Aid – Admissions is need blind and the college meets 100% of need, with no loans in the financial aid package.  Financial aid forms are due by 2/1.  

Friday, July 10, 2015

University of Scranton

The last of the four Catholic colleges that I visited this Spring in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area was the University of Scranton.  My tour guide was Sarah, from Basking Ridge, who writes for the college newspaper and runs the women’s weekend retreat.

General - The University of Scranton is one of 28 Jesuit universities in the United States.  The 58-acre campus is in downtown Scranton with 88% of freshmen and 86% of all students living on campus.  There are about 4000 undergraduates and an average class size of 20.  About 62% of students are from outside of Pennsylvania.  The most popular majors are business, biology and communications.  The university also has occupational therapy, physical therapy, and nursing.  About 200 students study abroad each year.  They may study abroad for a short as a break and as long as a year.  There are three honors programs.

Housing - Living on campus is required for freshman and sophomores.  Housing is guaranteed for all four years.  87% of the housing is new or renovated.  The bathrooms are in the hall for freshmen.  Upperclassmen can live in quads, houses or apartments.  I saw a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment with a kitchen and living room for 4 seniors.  Here is a photo of the living room in one of the apartments.

Extracurricular activities - The school has about 80 clubs and students can start a new club.  There are two theatre groups, performance music groups, an art gallery, a radio station, a TV station and 18 NCAA Division III sports; the school dos not have a football team.  The strongest NCAA teams are basketball, soccer and swimming.  There are also many club and intramural sports, including equestrian.  There is a 2.5 year old fitness center, and an indoor pool.  The students completed 180,000 hours of community service in one year.  The school has a retreat center on Chapman Lake; some of the weekend retreats are faith-based.  There is a campus shuttle and zip cars on campus. 

Nearby - The Martz buses take students to New York and Philly.  The surrounding area boasts skiing, a water park, minor league baseball, casinos, shopping, an IMAX theatre, and minor league hockey.

Religion – About 70% of the students are Catholic.  Mass is available daily.  There are Moslem services on campus.  There are three synagogues within walking distance.

Applying – The school has a free on-line Common App application.  The middle 50% high school GPA of accepted students is 3.2 – 3.8, with a middle 50% SAT score of 1050 – 1240 (two sections).  The school is test optional under certain circumstances.  Entrance for the nursing, occupational therapy (OT) and physical therapy (PT) programs is more competitive, with a minimum GPA of 3.5 and  a minimum SAT score of 1150 (2 sections).  The school likes to see evidence of shadowing for nursing, OT and PT. 

What’s new – U Scranton is building a new facility for OT, PT and exercise science.

Financial aid – The cost of attendance (i.e., tuition, room and board, book, transportation and miscellaneous expenses) is around $55K per year.  Merit aid of $8,000 to full tuition is available and given to students in the top 30% of their class with a minimum GPA of 3.2 and a minimum SAT score of 1100 (2 sections).   To get a full tuition scholarship students need to meet certain criteria, including a GPA of 4.0 and a minimum SAT score of 1400. Students who apply test optional can get merit aid of $8,000 - $10,000.  The school is considering becoming a CSS PROFILE school.   

Friday, June 5, 2015

Misericordia University

Misericordia University is a private Catholic university in Dallas, PA with values of mercy, service, justice and hospitality.  It has a lush green campus on 123 acres, approximately 10 miles from Wilkes-Barre, PA.  The school has about 2000 undergraduates with almost half pursuing degrees in Allied Health, including direct admittance into programs for Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physician’s Assistant and Speech Pathology.  Collaborative work is encouraged. 

Community service is an important extra-curricular activity with students performing about 150,000 hours of community service a year, placing them in the top 20 schools in the nation for community service.  Misericordia has over 30 clubs and 23 NCAA Division III sports, including football.  A shuttle to Wilkes-Barre is provided.

Ninety-one per cent of freshmen and 50% of the undergrads live on campus.  The freshmen dorms have boys on one wing of the floor and the girls in the other wing with communal single-gender bathrooms.  For upper-classmen, there are boys’ suites with their own bathroom next to girls’ suites with their own bathroom.

About fifty percent of the student body is Catholic and two courses in religion are part of the Core curriculum.  These do not have to be courses in Catholicism.

The school has rolling admissions.  The grades and SAT scores required for admission vary by major.  In general, students had an average high school GPA of 2.7 and an average SAT score of 850 (Critical Reading and Math).  Students admitted to the Nursing or Allied Health majors had higher grades and test scores (i.e., Nursing – 2.8 GPA and an SAT score of 960; Allied Health majors – GPA of 3.0 or higher and an SAT score greater than 1050).  If you want to learn more about the school consider attending the overnight stay program.  There are also 2 - 3 day camps for a small fee to get more of a flavor of different majors.  In addition to need-based aid, the school has academic and extracurricular scholarships. 

Misericordia has the Alternative Learners Project, a special program for 15-20 students with Learning Differences and/or ADHD, for an additional fee.

The university has a Guaranteed Placement Program, which guarantees a job offer or enrollment in graduate school within 6 months after graduation, if you meet the requirements of the program which include maintaining a GPA of at least 3.0, completing an internship or approved work experience, and conducting an active job search.  If you don’t get a job in your field, the school will guarantee you a 3-month paid internship in your field. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

King's College (Wilkes-Barre, PA)

King’s College is a Catholic college in the city of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. It is part of the Holy Cross network of colleges which includes colleges like the University of Notre Dame and the College of Holy Cross. The school has about 2000 undergraduate students who are pre-professional or studying liberal arts and sciences. About 35% of the students are first generation college students.  The school is in an urban environment with buildings spread out over several blocks and little green space.

King’s wants students to learn to speak, write, solve problems, be moral and ethical, and motivate others. They focus on the theme of community, and the students completed about 180,000 hours of community service in 2010.

Their method of grading is a little unusual for college.  Teacher’s take attendance.  15% of a student’s grade is for participation.  There are quizzes every week.  There is a speaking grade, a writing grade and a group project grade in each class.  Professors have five hours of office hours a week.

Things that are relatively new at King’s College are the exercise science major, a 3-2 engineering program with the University of Notre Dame, and a new, impressive Physician’s Assistant building.  The Physician Assistant program is well-established but it appeared that many of the Physician Assistant students were unable to maintain the grade point needed to graduate in that major.

The admissions officers and students we met seemed very friendly and upbeat.  We heard from students on a panel who were studying  accounting, criminal justice, mass communication and to be a Physician’s Assistant,  The student who had lunch at our table was a student with four majors who was going to the University of Virgiania for law school next year.

Wilkes has about 50 clubs.  They have Division III sports, including a football team.  I didn’t see the sports fields which were a 10-minute drive away.  Some nearby leisure activities are skiing at the Snow Mountain Ski resort and a 14-plex movie theatre.  The school sponsors trips to New York City and Washington DC.  Other popular events include comedians brought on campus and “King’s Idol.” The school supplies shuttle buses that run to Walmart and local malls.

There are 8 residence halls.  Two of these buildings are for freshmen: an all boy’s building and an all girl’s building.  11% of students live off-campus, but within walking distance.  About one third of the students are commuters.  The rest of the students live on campus.

Online applications are free and the school accepts the Common Application.  There is a 12/1 early action date and rolling admissions.  The average high school GPA is 3.25 with an average SAT score of 1010 (Critical Reading and Math).  The school is test-optional, using a graded paper in lieu of the SAT or ACT.  Merit aid is based on grades, test scores and community service.  Merit aid can cover up-to full tuition.

About 170 students a year do internships for credit.  Twenty-five to thirty employers come on campus each year to hire, including finance companies and Target, for management trainees.  They have 1-credit course in career planning and offer about 60 workshops per semester by alumni and companies to help students get ready for work and life after college.

King’s College has a higher level of disability support for students with Learning Differences and ADHD than most colleges.  They have 80-100 trained tutors.  There is a first-year academic studies program (FASP) with a dedicated staff person and its own-application.  They have Live Scribe Smart Pens for note taking.  They indicated that they can also provide support to students with food allergies, psychiatric conditions, and Asperger’s.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Marywood University

I visited four Catholic colleges in April in the Scranton / Wilkes-Barre vicinity: Marywood University, King’s College, Misericordia University, and the University of Scranton.  Students at all four seemed friendly and steeped in community service.  Each school had features that would appeal to different kinds of students.

Marywood University which has about 2000 undergraduates has some unusual features including:

      - Academics
o   Believe in practical, hands-on experiences
o   Aviation program
o   Information Security program
o   Five year Bachelor’s to Master’s programs in accounting, biotechnology, communication arts, criminal justice, education, financial information systems, health services administration, physician assistant, speech-language pathology, architecture (6-years)
o   Gateway Program for students accepted with lower GPAs and test scores including remedial work and extra advising
·         - Facilities
o   A unique LEED Gold Certified Center for Architectural Studies which was special and which I feel has a positive impact on the architecture studies

o   Suite style living with two bedrooms sharing a bathroom in the freshman residence hall.
o   Is an 115-acre national arboretum.

Marywood is in a suburban setting with a free bus to downtown Scranton.  Popular majors are:
  •         22% Health Professions
  •         12% Business
  •         12% Visual Arts
  •         11% Education and
  •         7% Architecture. 

Traditions include Christmas tree lighting, bonfires, and the flapjack festival.  There are over 60 student clubs and 20 NCAA Division III teams.  Here were some of the upcoming events while I was visiting.

The school has rolling admission and looks for an SAT score of 900 or higher for Critical Reading and Math.  The SAT scores for certain majors (e.g., Education, Speech Pathology, Nursing, pre-Physician Assistant and Architecture) are a little bit higher.  A portfolio is required for entrance to the art programs, but not to the architecture program.

What is your experience with Marywood University?

Monday, March 2, 2015

New College of Florida

When I think of a state college, I generally think of a medium to very large college with big lecture halls.  New College of Florida (NCF), however, is an honors state college with only 800 students and an average class size of 18. The liberal arts and sciences college is on the water, in Sarasota.

Not only, is the college unusual in its size, but it is unusual in its academics.  There are no grades.  All students do independent research for three years  in the January term and all complete a senior project or write a thesis which they defend before a faculty committee. In lieu of grades, there is a written narrative for each class taken. Each semester students prepare a contract of work that they negotiate with heir advisor, a professor.  About 80% of graduates go on to graduate school.

A student who would fit in here is a liberal student who can drive their own education.  There is no core curriculum.  Everyone must take 1 course in humanities, 1 course in social sciences, 1 course in natural sciences and a total of 8 liberal arts course.  On the Thursday and Friday before a new semester’s registration, professors give 15-minute snippets of their classes, which students can take before registering.  Tutorials, which are self-designed classes are popular.  Professors generally teach 2 classes and may support up to 5 or 6 tutorials.  The college offers about 300 classes per year.

The cost for out of state students isn't too bad either.  While the Cost of Attendance is $43K per year, every out-of-state student who gets accepted gets a minimum of a $15K merit scholarship making the price comparable to in-state fees for Rutgers.  Currently, about 20% of students are from outside of Florida and they are trying to increase this percentage.  NCF is a member of the National Student Exchange so you can attend another college in the US or abroad, and pay the NCF tuition.

This is a residential college which can accommodate up to 640 students with on-campus housing.  The rest of the student body lives locally.  There are 60-80 clubs and organizations and students can start their own club or organization.  While there are intramural and club sports, there are no NCAA sports teams.  Sailing is the only intercollegiate team.  There is no Greek life at NCF.  The college accepts the Common App and has rolling admissions with a priority deadline of November 1.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Eckerd College

In January, I visited Eckerd College, a small, private college on the water in St. Petersburg, Florida.  Eckerd has about 1800 students from 48 states and 40 countries on 188 acres and  eighty percent of the students are from outside of Florida.  The school is good match for a politically liberal, liberal arts, science or business student who is adventurous, likes the outdoors, would like to volunteer, and wants to study abroad.  Eckerd is one of the forty “Colleges That Change Lives”.  If you haven’t read the book by that title, I heartily recommend it. 

Academics – Eckerd is a liberal arts and sciences college, with business and management majors.  Its biggest major is environmental studies and it is well-known for its marine science major.  One third of the students are majoring in the natural sciences, Students can double-major or take a major and a minor.  Every student has an academic mentor.  In addition, Freshman also have an student mentor.

Freshmen take a 3-week term in August.  This helps them get acclimated to college before the rest of the students arrive.  During that term they take one class, have orientation, and participate in a host of activities.  

All students, except Freshmen, take a January term where they take one course on-campus,  study abroad, participate in an internship or independent study.

Above average students can get money to do research with professors starting as Freshmen.

About 500 students go abroad each year.  Students can study broad for a month, a summer, a semester or a year.  

Campus – The newest building is the $25 million James Center for Molecular and Life Sciences.  The campus has a beach and a waterfront with free sailboats, canoes, kayaks, and tents for student use. 

Boats on Waterfront
Waterfront Equipment
Housing – Housing is guaranteed all four years and there are no triples.  The school has special- interest housing which lets you bring your dog or cat to live with you.  There is even a fenced-in dog park on campus.

Extracurricular activities –

The school has Division II sports.  Sailing is very popular. Rugby is a popular club sport.

All students are required to do at least 40 hours of volunteer work. The school has emergency volunteers on the water in the form of a search and rescue group.  They respond to over 500 marine distress calls each year.

There are plenty of clubs at Eckerd.  One popular club is the Improv club.  If at least two students get an advisor, they can start a new club.  Lots of the extracurricular activities are held outdoors.

There is no Greek life at Eckerd. 

Getting In and Aid – Both need-based and merit aid are available.  The average GPA for admitted students is 3.3.  The middle 50% of the admitted pool earned between 1010 aand 1230 on the SAT; the school does not look at the SAT Writing score.

Do you think you would like attending Eckerd?  Why or why not?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Arcadia University

In mid-November, I visited Arcadia University, a school with a global focus.  Three unusual things about Arcadia are that students can study abroad starting in their first semester, there are some Bachelor’s degrees that are designed to be completed in three years, and the school has a castle. 

Arcadia has about 2500 undergraduate students and about 65% graduate within 6 years.  Business/marketing, biology, psychology, interdisciplinary studies, social sciences, and visual and performance arts are the most popular majors. The school has a physical therapy program.

Travel abroad is very popular.  In addition to studying abroad for a semester, students can go abroad for 7 – 10 days during spring break for just $600 (including room, board, airfare, and touring), after taking a course related to the trip.

My tour guide, a junior majoring in Math from Connecticut, was also a resident assistant and participated in the dance club.  As we walked around campus, I saw that a number of the buildings were connected.  Freshman may be excited to hear that the castle has some freshman housing on the third floor.  The flags on campus reflect countries where students are studying abroad or where international students are from.

Extracurricular activities that I saw advertised during the week I visited included NCAA Division III sports, a comedian, a hypnotist, a student dance club recital, movies, and midnight Bingo.  

There is a bus stop by the school that goes to a local mall.  Students can walk to a train station in ten minutes and catch a train that takes them to Philadelphia in under thirty minutes.

What is your experience with Arcadia University?