The DEC NETWORK plans several college tour adventures over the next month. The first stop- the exciting international city of Toronto which played host to the Independent Educational Consultants Association’s semi-annual conference. Perks were many including the opportunity to set foot on amazing Canadian university campuses. What’s the best adjective to describe these diverse schools? Large…University of Toronto, University of Guelph, University of Waterloo, University of York, Ryerson University, and Ontario College of Art and Design…public universities with ”small” class size defined in different terms than their American counterparts. Most impressive…the University of Toronto (established in 1827) and its 168 -acre St. George campus set in the midst of downtown Toronto (total population of three campuses- 75,000 students!). For US citizens/students considering an international experience, University of Toronto (www.utoronto.ca) offers excellent programs across several majors. Admissions factors weigh heavily on academic performance, curriculum rigor, and standardized test scores. In addition to these campus visits, other conference perks included educational sessions on Gap Year programs, graduate school advisement, and nonverbal learning disabilities. Convention speakers and authors, Nora Spinks and J.P. Pawliw-Fry presented powerful messages on emotional intelligence and work family balance, respectively. With renewed energy from extensive colleague and admissions staff networking, campus tours, and informational sessions, we”re continuing our journey on American soil. What’s next on the travel circuit? Vassar College. Stay tuned.
Archive for the ‘College Visits’
I met recently with Katie Jordan Warmington, Associate Director of New England Admissions for a delicious lunch and informative update on Susquehanna’s college profile. A beautiful and historic liberal arts college located on 300 acres in Selinsburg, Pennsylvania, Susquehanna offers its 2,000 plus students over sixty academic majors/minors within three schools: Sigmund Weis School of Business, the School of Arts, and the School of Natural and Social Sciences. There are no graduate students on campus so professors (92% PhD or highest equivalent) are focused entirely on the undergrads. And, in addition to classroom study, students are encouraged to include internships, “faculty mentored” research, and study abroad as part of their learning experience. Pre-professional programs for the career minded range from ministry and dentistry to teaching, veterinary medicine and law. Over 80% of Susquehanna’s student population lives on campus with access to excellent facilities such as the performance/recital hall, fitness center, art gallery, recreational center and much more. Athletes compete in the Landmark Conference and Liberty League with 23 Division III varsity sports as well as several club and intramural options. The average admissions profile of a Susquehanna student: 3.25 GPA, 530-610 SAT/math and 520-610 SAT/critical reading. Not a great test taker? The “Write Option” allows an applicant to substitute required test scores with two graded writing samples. To learn more about what Susquehanna offers, go to www.susqu.edu or contact Katie directly at email@example.com.
Last stop of the Southern campus visit journey- the Charlotte area. I was excited and impressed with the leadership, administration, academics, student life and campus environs related to several schools. Take a look at their distinguishing characteristics: 1) Davidson University-Admissions/Most Selective, 1674 full time students, 12:1 Student/Faculty ratio, NCAA Division I, Popular Majors-English, History, Biology, Economics, Political Science; 2) University of North Carolina/Charlotte- Admissions/Selective, 14826 full time students, 15:1 Student/Faculty Ratio, NCAA Division I, Most Popular Majors- Business, Education, Engineering, Psychology, Communications; 3) Queens University of Charlotte-Admissions/Selective, 1106 full time students, 12:1 Student/Faculty Ratio, NCAA Division II, Most Popular Majors- Business, Health, Communications, Psychology, Education; 4)Wingate University- Admissions/Selective, 1407 full time students, 13:1 Student/Faculty Ratio, NCAA Division II, Most Popular Majors-Business, Parks/Recreation/Fitness, Education. The admissions offices of each of these schools were extremely engaging and approachable! And speaking of engaging, Johnson and Wales University- a renowned school for the Culinary Arts, hosted a not to be missed dinner reception. The food was superb! The school also offers undergraduate degrees in Business and Hospitality. With the rental car safely back at Hertz, I was ready to be off the road and in the classroom at the IECA semi-annual conference. Stay tuned for highlights…
Day three of our journey sent us north to two well known rivals. We toured the highly touted Duke University and University of North Carolina. We weren’t disappointed! Each a high selective academic institution and athletic powerhouse, the campuses left us wishing we were undergrads again. Our travels also took us to the less known Guilford College. We admired the small, charming campus which is recognized for its close knit campus community, strong academic programs and excellent learning resource center. Days four and five continued in this region with visits to Wake Forest University, Elon University and High Point University. Wake, (most selective) and Elon (more selective) were repeat visits as family and clients alike are successful students/alums of these fabulous southern schools. My biggest surprise of the day came from High Point. US News & World Report heralds the school as one of the hottest campuses in the nation. I wouldn’t disagree. Led by the inspiration of Nido R. Qubein, High Point (3750 students) is a magnificently manicured campus that boasts gorgeous new buildings with state of the art facilities such as the University Center, School of Commerce and School of Communication. Admissions to High Point is competitive with a mean GPA 3.1/SAT1068/ACT 23. For the right student, this school is a must-see! Read more about President Qubein’s mission in his recently published Stairway to Success or go to www.highpoint.edu.
Wow! Words can’t describe how impressed my colleagues and I were with our day traveling to both the University of South Carolina/Columbia and the College of Charleston. Each campus (1.5 hours apart) exuded richness in history, culture, and Southern charm. Here’s a recap- after a lovely stay at The Inn at South Carolina (owned by the school), our morning began with a campus tour of USC and meeting with CT Admissions Rep, Brett Butler (no, not Rhett!). His enthusiasm was contagious as he discussed the Honors College, popular majors (International Business, Hospitality and Tourism), Division I Athletics (Equestrian, too), and much more. We then drove to Charleston and self-toured the gracious campus set in park-like gated areas within a town of chic shops/restaurants. Popular majors include Business, Social Sciences, Communications and Visual Arts. Athletics are NCAA Division I and, like USC, include Equestrian Sports. The friendly, diverse students were everywhere in the bustling town. Note: the price tag on these public institutions is highly attractive for out of state students, USC-$29,000 and Charleston- $28,000.
Our first stop on the college visit circuit took place at a small, liberal arts (2700 students) school set in Greenville, South Carolina. We were all taken with the beautiful lakeside campus with rose gardens, water fountains and well-maintained traditional architecture. The friendly admissions office touted the Furman Advantage, emphasizing the college’s active education through collaboration, civic engagement, technology, research, study away, and internships. 97% of Furman grads are employed or attend graduate school after leaving upon graduation. From Furman, we headed to Clemson University-a large private university known for its excellent academic programs and spirited campus community. The Tiger enthusiasm was evident throughout the campus with students and administrators alike donning the Clemson trademark color- ORANGE. Students can walk to the small town adjacent to campus which houses many Clemson oriented shops. The $32,000 price tag for out of state students is a great value for families, with over 29% of the student population coming from outside South Carolina. Go Tigers!
What is one of my most important services to clients? Providing feedback on colleges based on first-hand knowledge gained from campus visits. A college visit is invaluable! Each year, I travel to more than 50 campuses to stay on top of the current environment. Next week, I begin a seven day journey with IECA colleagues which takes us to schools throughout North and South Carolina. Our campus destinations are diverse and include Furman University, Clemson University, University of South Carolina, College of Charleston, Elon University, Davidson College, Wake Forest University, University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill, Duke University, Guilford College, High Point University, University of North Carolina/Charlotte and Winthrop University. I’ll be blogging from the road as much as possible to provide you with my impressions. Characteristics covered will include academic majors, campus environment, facilities, student life, admissions statistics, merit and financial aid, town/gown relationships, career placement and more. I hope to connect with representatives from each of these colleges. Let me know if you have specific questions and I’ll be happy to provide you with the answers. Stay tuned!
Add a human component to your application. Let your personality come alive not only in words but also in actions. As noted by a recent quote in US News & World Report from the National Association For College Admission Counseling (NACAC), “For the last five years, we have noticed a distinct tendency for the colleges to attribute more weight or emphasis to an applicant’s interest in attending a school”. What to do? Visit the campus, attend information sessions/open houses, take student tours, schedule interviews, go to college fairs, communicate with the admissions office and more. What about the optional interview? I couldn’t agree more with David Marcus, author of Acceptance, on his advisement to take advantage of the optional interview when offered by a school. Now more than ever, colleges are looking for sincere applicants in order to maximize student enrollment percentages amidst budgetary woes. If you have found a fabulous match, show your passion by demonstrating interest.
Students are heading in droves to college, some for the first time and others back to campus to resume their studies. At different points during their college career, most kids learn the hard way that poor nutrition, lack of sleep and no exercise is a formula for disaster when it comes to staying healthy. And this year, as noted in The New York Times, staying healthy is especially on the minds of college administrators and parents alike due to the Swine Flu epidemic. In a survey conducted by the American College Health Association, over 2,000 cases of the Swine Flu (H1N1 virus) have been reported on campuses across the US. What are colleges doing to protect their students? Several schools such as Davidson, Emory, and Carnegie Mellon have set up quarantined quarters for infected kids suffering from body chills, high fever and aches & pains. “A typical stay lasts two to four days. Students check out after going 24 hours without a fever or medication, although technically they may leave at any time.” Since the virus is highly contagious, colleges are wise to head off the major disruption in campus activities including prospective student open houses that a widespread breakout would certainly lead to. Email opinions on how your school is responding to the Swine Flu epidemic and or if any campus visits have been cancelled given posted flu outbreaks.
It’s that time of year. Many students will opt for college visits over the summer given busy school years packed with academics, athletics, activities, socializing and more. Although colleges will be quieter with only summer sessions in place, students can still “take the pulse” of the campus environment. Plan ahead by signing up for the group information session, student led tour and any required or recommended interviews. Get a bite to eat in the cafeteria and don’t forget to drive around the outskirts of the campus to get a feel for the locals. A great resource for mapping your college road trips is Mapquest, College Quest which “pinpoints” 1500 plus four –year colleges on 94 different maps. Have fun and make sure to send your impressions.