COLLEGE VISITS

29
Apr

Westchester

SARAH LAWRENCE COLLEGE
It was a beautiful spring morning when I visited SLC, and the guard at the gate wished me a friendly hello as I walked up the small hill leading to the admissions office, housed in the mansion that was once the home of the college’s founders William and Sarah Lawrence. Workers were busy setting up a tent on the front lawn for an end of the year dance, and I couldn’t help but be amazed that this jewel of a campus existed just off the highway in Bronxville, only 15 miles north of New York City.

Though the campus may be wearing at the edges a little, it houses such a wonderful, creative academic environment that it all feels warm and cohesive. People are friendly here. The student body is hyper intelligent, but with a generous world-view, not the quiet hipster type but a “let’s change the world, put on a show” type. The academics reflect this attitude (or is it visa-versa?) with their small, seminar-style classes, and unique “conference work” based coursework, where most classes are half taught by the professors in discussion-based classes, and the rest of the work is done by the student, guided by the professor, as a research paper or creative project. A strong interdisciplinary culture exists on campus, as does a global outlook. There are no majors here – only concentrations – which allow students to tailor studies to their individual interests. A core curriculum does exist in order to give you that true liberal arts experience, and you’re assigned a faculty member advisor, called a “Don” who makes sure you stay on track. There is a strong emphasis on creative arts and humanities, though one of the newer buildings on campus houses the science department.

They also have a unique way of registering for classes which they jokingly refer to as “speed dating for classes,” where you talk to each professor for ten minutes before deciding which classes to choose. They recently joined the NCAA and have 15 varsity sports, though I think it may be a while before a sports culture catches on here.

With only 1400 undergraduates and 350 graduate students on campus, it makes sense that the two words that come up frequently when describing SLC are “personal” and “interdisciplinary,” and I think it describes this college perfectly.

 

FORDHAM UNIVERSITY
Make no mistake, Fordham University is an institution, and the bucolic, Gothic-style Rose Hill campus is impressive, to say the very least. This is traditional education at its finest. Fordham is a Jesuit University first and foremost, characterized by “excellence in teaching, the care and development of each student and a commitment to the promotion of an ethical society.” What that also means is, from what I observed, they stick to traditional teaching methods here. The classrooms I saw were lecture-style in nature, but as their 91% retention rate implies, Fordham’s students are happy with this. It’s urban location gives rise to traffic noise and sirens, but also offers students unlimited access to New York City and all the excitement, culture, and internships that has to offer, as well as to Fordham’s Lincoln Center Campus, which offers a similar curriculum but with specialized programs in Communications, Fashion studies and New Media and Digital Design. Popular majors here include Business, highlighted by the fact that they have an entire building, the Gabelli School for Business, at their fingertips, Speech Communication, Finance, Psychology and Economics. They also offer an accelerated five year masters degree program in business, as well as pre-professional programs in pre-health and pre-law, and boast an 80% medical school acceptance rate.

There’s tons of school spirit for their Division I, Atlantic 10 Conference sports, offering 22 men’s and women’s varsity teams. And the students keep very busy with over 165 registered student clubs. Housing in guaranteed for all four years, though it sounds like freshman housing can be pretty cozy. Community Service and cultural immersion are stressed at Fordham, and according to their President, Father Joseph McShane, who I was encouraged to hear speak because “he is amazing,” “Fordham’s students are characterized by a need to want to change the world,” and “are bothered by injustice.” A wonderful way to send graduates into the world.

 

MANHATANVILLE COLLEGE
Manhattanville is a small, private college in Westchester, New York, just 40 minutes north of New York City. Its 1700 undergraduates are a close-knit community, and most students live on campus all four years. It is an eclectic student body, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on a type of student, but I guess that’s a good thing, as diversity is strong here. Students can choose from over 50 majors but most classes take place in their one major academic building that also has a music and performance wing. In addition, there is a new building housing an art gallery, fitness center and dance studio. The most popular majors here are Business administration and management, finance, psychology, the social sciences and education, and it also offers graduate programs in education, business and creative writing, as well as continuing and executive education programs.

Internships, both domestic and international, are stressed, and all are readily available because of their close proximity to New York City. Community service is also emphasized, and Manhattanville’s students contribute nearly thirty thousand hours each year through more than fifty programs. Athletics are played in Division III, and there is no Greek life on campus. It is also a test optional school.

 

24
Apr

Ohio

COLLEGE OF WOOSTER

 

 

OBERLIN COLLEGE

 

 

04
Apr

California

CHAPMAN UNIVERSITY

 

THE CLAREMONT COLLEGES

 

LOYOLA MARYMOUNT LOS ANGELES

 

OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE

 

UC SANTA BARBARA

 

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

 

WESTMONT COLLEGE

 

WHITTIER COLLEGE

20
Mar

North Carolina Colleges Visit

DAVIDSON COLLEGE is located just 19 miles north of Charlotte on a gorgeous 665-acre campus bordering the sweet college town of the same name. The campus gives the impression of housing a much larger student body than the 1800 undergraduates that attend.

Grounded in the liberal arts, this is a writing intensive school where the most popular areas of study are Political Science, Economics, the physical sciences, English and psychology. Davidson also offers pre-professional advising in engineering, law and medicine. Eighty percent of students study or perform community service abroad during their four years, and a global outlook is key here. Greek life is big, with a full 50-percent of students participating.

Davidson’s Honor Code, Division I sports, and need-blind admissions make it a standout college, on-par with it’s northern competitors Amherst and Williams, but with a lot warmer weather.

 

ELON UNIVERSITY is home to almost six thousand undergraduates on its sprawling, park-like campus in suburban Elon, not far outside of Greensboro. It likes to boast that it “has the resources of a university in a close-knit community atmosphere,” and I certainly got that feeling on the decidedly friendly campus. Elon is home to five schools and colleges including the College of Arts and Sciences, the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, the School of Communications, which is highly rated, and the Schools of Education and Law. There are over 50 majors offered, and study abroad is very popular with over 78% of the student body participating.

The most popular major here is clearly business, but is it closely followed by communication and media studies, psychology, international relations, political sciences and theater. The performing arts curriculum was surprisingly professional, as is the dance department. All areas of the performing arts are pre-professionally oriented and require an in-person audition in order to be considered for admission. It has earned a strong national reputation for conservatory-style training grounded in the liberal arts and sciences. They offer a BFA in Acting, Dance and Musical Theater. Sports are played in the NCAA Division I Southern Conference.

 

GUILFORD COLLEGE is located in Greensboro. It is a small liberal arts college that looks, at first glance like any northeast school. But you soon realize that the style here is distinctly southern and laid back. It is a Quaker school, though not religious in nature, and it core values of community, equality, integrity, peace and simplicity are honored here. In addition, a big difference from other schools and another tip to its Quaker heritage, is that everyone, regardless of age or position, is on a first name basis.

The themes of equality and diversity are strong here and carry through all aspects of the academics. Classes are small and discussion based, and students have an active voice in the running of the college. Popular majors include business, psychology, the social sciences and biology and biomedical science.

Student-athletes compete in Division III and there is no Greek life on campus. Guilford is unique in that, in addition to the 1200 undergraduates on campus, there are also 800 non-traditional students, who are older than 23, and non-residential. This includes many returning service men and women. It makes for an interesting and exciting mix of students on campus, as well as some lively classroom discussions, I’m sure. Students are well supported here academically through the “Student Success” program, where each student is assigned a personal mentor in an effort to help with students transition into college and to increase freshman retention.

 

HIGH POINT UNIVERSITY is equidistant to both Greensboro and Winston-Salem, and is home to over 4000 undergraduates. The campus sits on 320 of the most beautifully manicured acres I’ve ever seen. High Point has gotten a reputation as a “Country Club” school, and though it certainly looks that way from the outside, with gleaming new buildings, piped-in music (outside!) and finely manicured lawns, the administration is doing their best to bring the academics up to meet the exterior polish.

The business major is king here, with a full 30-percent of students taking it on, followed by communications, whose school boasts state-of-the-art equipment and studios. Elementary education and teaching, organizational behavioral studies and psychology round out the other top majors. All majors feel pre-professional in nature and there is great emphasis placed on careers after college and the idea of success in the workplace. These students are being groomed for it.  From the look of it t there’s nary a slouch in the bunch.

There is an active Greek community with it’s own “Greek Village,” and sports are played in the NCAA Division I Big South Conference. You are required to live on campus through junior year, but who wouldn’t want to? The dorm rooms have full-sized beds, Jack and Jill bathrooms, kitchenettes and a cleaning service!