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Monday, November 28, 2016

Rowan University

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The most popular major in the school is biological science.

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

Engineering is hands-on with lots of projects.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Whats new at Lynn University

When I met in October with the Lynn University admissions rep, Paul McPhee, I wanted to know what had changed since I had visited Lynn in November 2013. Here are some of the highlights:
  •          An international business center opened.
  •          A new dorm for upper classmen will be complete by the end of this school year
  •          A new University Center will be opening in the 2018-2019.
  •          Every student gets an iPad Pro
  •          Faculty-authored e-books offer cost savings and are tailored to Lynn’s courses
  •          Lynn signed a partnership with General Assembly.  Initially 9 students will go to San Francisco for a 10-week IT boot camp followed by a 6-week internship in the San Francisco area.
  •         The freshman class will be growing from 680 to 700 students.

So what is the typical Lynn student like?
  •          Students come from over 100 countries and most US states.
  •         NJ is the 3rd biggest state that sends students to Lynn.
  •          25% are international students
  •          20% have learning differences
  •          Most were B/B- high school students
  •          44% apply test optional
  •          45% are business majors.

If you want to know more about Lynn, check out my November 2013 blog post.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Christopher Newport University

On September 23rd, 2016 I attended a Christopher Newport University counselor luncheon in NJ and here’s what I heard:

General: Christopher Newport is a public university in Newport News, Va. of about 5000 students which focuses on undergraduates. Leadership, service and honor are valued and there is an honor code. Students must live on campus through their Junior year. The CNU motto is “Leading a life of consequence” and the four pillars are undergraduate research, study abroad, internships and service.  The campus is beautiful.

Special programs/features:

All freshmen are in a learning community where they share two to four classes with the people they live with.

There is an honors program and the Presidents Leadership Program.

About four hundred freshmen join the leadership program each year.  This four year program involves a 21 credit leadership minor, required community service, attending a speaker series three times a year, and mentorship of freshmen by seniors.

Academics: Classes are small so professors get to know the students. Students are required to take a rigorous core curriculum including three semesters of language. CNU is a liberal arts school with an accredited business program and an electrical engineering major.

Social: There are over 200 clubs.  Thirty per cent of the students join Greek life and can “rush” in their second semester.  There are 24 Division III teams, including football.  Sailing, dancing and cheer are varsity sports and compete on an intercollegiate level.  CNU has the winningest athletics in Virginia with 12 national championships and more than 600 All Americans.  They are ranked among the top 10% of NCAA Division 3 teams.  Watching football, basketball and volleyball are popular activities.  More than 3000 students participate in club and intramural sports.  Ferguson Center for the Arts houses CNU’s theatre and concert hall. This is a dry campus so there isn’t a big party scene.

Admissions: One third of the class applies Early Decision and the bulk of the remainder is filled by Early Action (which is due 12/1).  An interview by 12/15 is encouraged; interviews can be via Skype. CNU is test optional for students with a grade point above 3.5.  The school cares about demonstrated interest.

Internship: Students have an opportunity to intern with NASA and Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Seven College Safety Concerns

If you are concerned about campus safety, what should you know or ask?  Most colleges will tell you about their “blue light” system, their security staff, how they keep out people who don’t belong in your student’s dorm, and their campus-wide alert system.  Here are seven other safety concerns to consider:
  • Does the college allow concealed carry of firearms?  
  • Is the college being investigated by the government under Title IX for their inappropriate handling of sexual assault on campus?
  • Does the campus rely on its own campus police or outside local police?
  • What are the crime statistics at the college?
  • Does the college have a cross-functional threat assessment team? This team assesses whether individuals on campus are dangerous to themselves and others and makes recommendations to address the issue.
  • Does the college have a speedy evacuation plan in the case of natural disaster or terrorism, while your student studies abroad?
  • Are students prepared for possible security issues before they study or intern abroad?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Manhattan College, Riverdale, NY

I visited Manhattan College, a co-ed Catholic College in the Riverdale section of the Bronx with about 3500 undergraduate students. 

Campus: Manhattan College has a campus of 22 acres, near Van Cortlandt Park (1146 acres) and near the last stop on the 1 Subway, which goes into Manhattan.  The campus is spread out over several blocks.  There are brick buildings arranged in a square around a grassy quad and a relatively new student union building which opened in 2014 across the street from the quad.  Leaving from the back door of the student union, students pass a sports field on the left and then come to two buildings on the right which include the engineering classrooms.  The campus has steps and hills.

Academics: The most popular majors are Engineering (31%), Business (22%), Communications/Journalism (11%), Education (11%), Psychology (7%) and Biology (5%).  Classes are small with only 0.1% of classes having more than 50 students. The library is open 24/7.  Internships and study abroad are available.  Three religion classes are required of all students, but they do not have to be about Catholicism.

Student body:  Most students come from NY, NJ and CT and they appear to be racially diverse.

Housing and Dining: Freshman housing includes traditional style and suite style buildings.  There are freshman living and learning communities in the suite style building.  Students in the living and learning community take three classes with the people they live with, as well as having opportunities for social activities and community service together.  There are also apartments for upper classmen.  Housing is guaranteed all 4 years. There are several dining opportunities including an all you can eat dining hall and a Starbucks.  The all you can eat dining hall had a separate frig and counter space for gluten free students, as well as a vegetarian/vegan station.

Athletics: There are 19 Division I Sports.  There is a large indoor track around the basketball courts.  There is a large outdoor sports field.  The swim team and the baseball team practice off-campus.

Applying: Manhattan College accepts the Common Application. 67% of their applicants were accepted to the college. The mid-50% SAT scores (old SAT) were CR: 490-580, MA: 500-610, and WR: 480-590.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Some of my favorite college references

Here are a few of my favorite college planning reference books and websites organized by category.  What other references do you like and use?

Figuring out what makes a college right for you: College Match

College Majors: Book of Majors

College Guides:
·         The Princeton Review, The Best 3xx Colleges
·         Fiske Guide to Colleges
·         America’s Best Colleges for B Students
·         Colleges That Change Lives
·         Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers
·         The K&W Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Differences
·         Rugg’s Recommendations on the Colleges

College Search Sites:

Chance for acceptance: Naviance scattergrams from your high school

Financial Aid:
·         Financial Aid information-
·         FAFSA Web site -
·         CSS Financial Aid PROFILE -
·         Federal Student Aid -
·         Some legitimate college scholarship search sites:
Net Price Calculator – on each college’s website
College Visits:
·         “A Pocket Guide To Choosing a College: Questions to Ask on Your College Visits” by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) -
·         On-line visit –

Common Application:

College Essay: Conquering the College Admissions Essay on 10 Steps

Going to College Advice Guide:  The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College

Expected Pay when you Graduate:

For students with Learning Differences:
·         “K&W Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder” by Marybeth Kravets and Imy Wax.
·          Information on SAT and ACT accommodations – and

·         “Questions for the Office of Disability Support” by Rana Slosberg on

Friday, July 8, 2016

Six Unusual Colleges

New College of Florida
Here are six unusual colleges and what makes them different:
  1. Colorado College – Students take one course at a time.
  2. Deep Springs College – With a total enrollment of no more than 30 men, this elite college is a working ranch in the Nevada desert that awards associate’s degrees and charges no tuition.
  3. Landmark College – This Vermont college is just for bright students with learning disabilities, ADHD or Autism Spectrum Disorder.  
  4. New College of Florida – New College, Florida’s public honors college, has no grades or GPAs. Students develop a contract with their adviser each semester and get a written evaluation, instead of grades. Students do individual research and/or group projects.
  5. St. John’s College – With campuses in Annapolis, Maryland and Santa Fe, New Mexico, all students read and discuss the Great Books, about 150 of them.
  6. Webb Institute – Webb is a tuition-free engineering college on Long Island with 100% job placement. Students can get a Bachelor of Science Degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering.
      Landmark College

What's your favorite unusual college and what makes it different?

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

FAFSA Changes for the High School Class of 2017

FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is a form families need to fill out to get financial aid for college, including grants, loans and money for work-study.   Additionally, some colleges, states and scholarship programs also use the FAFSA. Historically, families with high school seniors filed the FAFSA starting on January 1 of their senior year using the federal tax data due on April 15 of the senior year (known as Prior Year). 
Starting with high school graduating class of June 2017, the timetable and tax year associated with the FAFSA will be changing.  The high school class of 2017 will be eligible to file the FAFSA starting on October 1st, 2016, three months earlier than in previous years.  They will use 2015 Federal income tax returns (known as Prior-Prior Year (PPY)). 
I am hoping this change will be positive for families, because: 
  1. Filling out the FAFSA should be a little easier. Families:
    1. Should be able to use the software (i.e., the IRS data-retrieval tool) to fill out much of the FAFSA, reducing the time to fill out the form. 
    2. Families won’t need to estimate their income or correct it later as was often the case in previous years. 
  2. They will potentially find out about their financial aid earlier in their senior year, giving them more time to consider their options.
There is still some uncertainty for the high school class of 2017.  For example:
  1. The deadlines for institutional aid may change at some colleges. 
  2. Students may initially receive estimated financial aid packages, because college costs for the coming year may not be finalized and/or because state grant data may not be available.  If this is the case, the families will subsequently receive confirmed financial aid packages. 
On the whole, I am expecting these FAFSA changes to be positive.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Iona College

Iona College Main Entrance
At the end of April, I visited Iona College, a Catholic college in New Rochelle, NY with about 3300 undergraduates from 35 states and 30 countries.  Iona has a compact campus of mostly red brick buildings on about 43 acres in Westchester County, about 30 minutes by train from NYC.  A new dormitory will be opening in the Fall 2016.
New Iona dorm under construction

Popular majors at Iona include business, speech pathology, education, social work and mass communication.  Academically, Iona can support all kinds of students. It has an Honors program, as well as a comprehensive Learning Disabilities program.  91 percent of applicants are admitted.  The mid-50% of SAT scores are 450 – 550 for Critical Reading and 440-550 for Math.

In addition to studying, the students can join in Greek life, participate in or watch NCAA Division I sports in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, including Iona’s winning men’s and women’s basketball teams, join in over 80 clubs, do community service, study abroad, and have internships.  The school has performing arts opportunities, and a TV and radio station. 

Some of the April programs at Iona were “The Government Inspector” by the Iona College Theatre Ensemble, a performance by the Iona College Instrumental and Vocal Ensembles, a town hall meeting with Republican candidate John Kasich, a Relay for Life event, a panel on issues in the presidential race, a black light pool party, a Paint Party, Kid Ink in Concert, and a student Fashion Show. 

Iona offers both need-based and merit aid, with merit aid up to the full price of tuition.  98 percent of freshmen receive financial aid.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Transfer Forum

About two months ago, I attended a Transfer Forum sponsored by NJ Association of College Admission Counseling (NJACAC) at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC).  There was a panel of transfer personnel from RVCC, Middlesex Community College, and the County College of Morris.  Here are some of the highlights of the program.

Transfer: One of the most common questions asked is, “Will my credits transfer?” The answer is, “it depends.”  It depends on the:
  1.          Grades you get.  Typically you need a C or better for your credits to transfer.
  2.          Major you select.
  3.          Articulation agreement between the community college and the 4-year college.
  4.          Type of class (i.e., on-line classes may not transfer).
So, have your transfer discussion with transfer services personnel at the community college and at the 4-year college you would eventually like to attend, while you are still in high school.

Community College Price: Generally, you pay less for your local public NJ community college, than another public NJ community college in the state.  If your local public NJ community college doesn’t have the major you are interested in, you may be able to attend another public NJ community college for the same price, through a charge back. 

Look into the NJ STARS program which waives tuition at community college, for the top 15% of the graduates from your high school.

Disability Services: Not all public NJ community colleges have the same level of disability services.  For example, County College of Morris offers disability services to about a quarter of its students.

Middlesex County College
Remedial Coursework: The panel members indicated that about 75% of their community college students need at least one developmental (aka remedial) course. Students need to take an Accuplacer placement exam unless their SAT or ACT scores are above a threshold.  Currently, they need at least an SAT score of 540 in Critical Reading (old SAT) and 530 in Math (old SAT) or a 23 subscore on the ACT to be waived from the Accuplacer exam.  Students cannot use a calculator for the Accuplacer exam.  It is not unusual for a two-year associates degree to take 3 years, because of remedial classes.

Unique Programs and Opportunities: Some public NJ community colleges have unique programs and/or opportunities.  For example:
  •         Middlesex Community College has Dental Hygiene degree.
  •         RVCC has a medical coding  degree.
  •         Students at Glassboro Community College can live on the Rowan campus.
  •         Middlesex Community College gives credit for military experience. 
      If you attended a NJ community college and transferred to a 4-year college, what tips/advice do you have?

Monday, April 4, 2016

East Stroudsburg University

General: East Stroudsburg University is a medium sized public university with about 6800 undergraduates in the Poconos.  About three quarters of the students are from Pennsylvania with one quarter from 30 states and 25 countries.  New Jersey sends the most students from outside of Pennsylvania.  Most of the campus is made up of low-rise red brick buildings of 5 stories or less.

Academics: ESU has five undergraduate colleges: College of Arts and Sciences (the largest), College of Business and Management, College of Education (where you will get into the classroom early), College of Health Sciences (the most competitive for admissions), and the University College (for undecided students). 

Science Building with Planetarium

Housing: There are 18 residence halls with traditional, suite and apartment living.  There is special interest housing and honors housing.  Freshman housing is guaranteed and laundry is free.  Wi-fi is available throughout the campus.

Campus Life: There are 139 clubs and organizations, including 20 NCAA Division II sports teams and Greek life.  The biggest spectator sport is men’s basketball.  There are club hours from 2-4 PM, twice a week; during those hours there are no classes.  You can start your own club with 9 or more students.

University Center

Financial Aid:  There is out-of-state merit aid of $7K for students with a GPA over a 3.0.  There is also a $3.5 K merit scholarship for some out-of-state students with a GPA less than 3.0.

Services: ESU has a tutoring/writing lab, mentorship, as well as counseling and career services. Professors are required to have 5 hours a week of office hours.  The school provides college buses into town and an Enterprise car share.  There is a hospital “next door” which is handy if you become seriously ill.

Open House: If this sounds interesting to you, you may want to attend one of the upcoming 2016 Spring Open Houses on April 9, 16 and 23.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

General:  For many, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is the golden ring.  The school has about 18,000 undergraduates from all 50 states and over 100 countries.  18% are first generation college students.

Location:  The school is in an area with other colleges and over 200 companies.  To walk from one end of campus to the other takes about 25 minutes. Across from the university is Franklin Street, home to many local restaurants.  There are plenty of free buses.

Academics:  The school has 70+ majors and 75+ minors.  Sixty percent of the students participate in undergraduate research.  36% study abroad in over 70 countries or elsewhere in the United States.  Students complete their gen ed requirements during their first two years.  Many classes consist of two lectures and a recitation section, with the recitation section capped at 20 students.  Foreign language classes are also limited to 20 students and freshman seminars are capped at 24 students.  

 Extracurricular activities:  UNC Chapel Hill has 875 student organizations, and students can create new clubs.  There is Greek life, NCAA Division I sports, and over 50 club sports.  Students can attend the basketball games for free.
Student Club Fair for Spring Term
Financial aid:  UNC Chapel Hill is need-blind.  Eligible low-income students who earn admission have the opportunity to graduate from Carolina debt-free.

Applying:  Early Action applications are due by 10/15.  The freshman class is made up of 82% North Carolina students and 18% out-of-state students.  Two thirds of applicants are from out-of-state.  The school superscores the SAT (old or new) and superscores the ACT.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina

General:  North Carolina State University is the largest university in North Carolina. The school is in the state capital, Raleigh, only 2 miles from downtown.  The motto is “Think and Do” and there are plenty of opportunities to “do” through internships, co-op programs, and research with private industry in Research Triangle Park, one of the largest research parks in the world. The campus is filled with red brick buildings and red brick walkways,

Applying: When you apply to NC State you are admitted by major.  You can select up to two majors on your application or you can apply undecided and be in University College Exploratory Studies during your freshman year.

NC State accepts the Common App and recommends you apply as early as possible.  Apply by October 15 to be considered for merit aid and to hear about admissions by January 30.  Portfolios for architecture, art, and design majors are due by November 1.  January 15 is the final date to send in your application.  

There are the same requirements for admission for in-state and out-of-state applicants. Out-of-state students are capped at a maximum of 18%.

Students should have at least a B+ average.  The average test score is 28 for the ACT and 600 per SAT section.  The school superscores the ACT, as well as the SAT.  

There are 45 full scholarships open to both in-state and out-of state students.

Room and Board: The school recommends that you apply for housing as soon as you are accepted.  Traditional, suite and breezeway housing styles all cost the same. Housing is guaranteed all four years.  There are three main all-you-can-eat dining halls, as well as other food venues on campus.

Transportation: Freshmen can have cars on the Centennial campus.  There are free bus routes that take students between the main and Centennial Campus, to football and basketball, to stores, to downtown, to the Triangle bus, and to the airport.

Extracurriculars: There are over 700 extracurricular activities including Greek life, the Quidditch Club, the I Love Shoes Club and the I Love Sleeping Club.  The Carmichael Gym has 2 Olympic size swimming pools, a rock-climbing wall, and an indoor track.  You can participate in the school radio station, TV station, newspaper, or yearbook regardless of your major.

Academics: Classes come in a variety of types, including lecture and recitation, lecture and on-line, and all on-line.  For your Freshman Gen Ed requirements you can pick classes that are capped at 25 students. 

There are opportunities for an Honors program which focuses on research or a Scholars program which focuses on leadership.  These are by invitation only.

An unusual academic college at NC State is the College of Textiles. 

The upper class Engineering classes are not on the main campus.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Manor College

Manor College is a  two-year Catholic college in the suburbs of Philadelphia. The total enrollment is about 800 students. The school has three buildings and has room for 100 students to live on campus. Manor College has transfer agreements with Arcadia, Temple, Drexel and some of the local Catholic colleges. Popular programs are dental hygiene, vet technology, and the paralegal program. There is a new criminal justice program.  The most competitive programs are the Expanded Function Dental Assistant and Dental Hygiene programs which have only a 10% acceptance rate and only half the students finish the program. The mid-50% SAT scores for the entire school are Critical Reading 340-430, Math 310-430, and Writing 310-510.