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 150thanniversary 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.
The high school guidance personnel on the NJACAC panel spoke about their experiences with college admissions trends.
Bernice Hornchak, School Counselor at Bridgewater-Raritan High School indicated that caseloads had grown in the sixteen years she had worked at the school, with the current caseload of about 260 students per counselor. Counselor time is spent about 50% on college counseling, 30% on academic/career counseling, and 20% on other issues including school phobia and depression. Students have the same counselor all four years and the school uses Naviance, including eDocs. She indicated that some parents are misinformed about the application process, are anxious and want to get started on the application process in the 9th or 10th grade, and are overly concerned with selecting electives. She sees increased interest in education, criminal justice, and allied health majors. More students are taking advantage of Raritan Valley Community College, the local community college, and the NJ STARS program.
John Semcer, Director of Guidance (Emeritus) Mother Seton High School and Montclair High School commented on growing college wait lists, merit scholarships being offered by some colleges requiring applications by September 1, colleges wanting commitments for wrestlers and football players in 10th or 11th grade, kids graduating high school early to get a head start on college sports, college application fees rising, and high school guidance counselors having less and less time for college counseling. John indicated that at public schools guidance counselors spent an average of 24% of their time on college counseling and in private schools they spent an average of 55% of their time on college counseling.
If you are a high school guidance counselor or an independent college admissions consultant, do you have any other trends that you would like to share?
The college admissions personnel on the panel spoke about their schools. This focuses on the trends shared by admissions personnel from Rutgers University, Stevens Institute of Technology, and Manhattanville College.
Paul Johnson, Assistant Vice President, Research and Enrollment Services at Rutgers University, indicated that applications were up by 6% this year. Rutgers has a new president who oversaw the merger of Rutgers and the Medical School. On the Livingston campus there is a new residence hall and a new business building. Rutgers handles 32,000 applications and values the right high school courses, grades, and standardized test scores. They admit by school with mid-ranges for GPA and test scores varying by school; this data is on their website. Rutgers would like more out-of-state and international students. While 50% of students change majors, it is very difficult to transfer into popular majors. School- to-school transfer requirements are on-line.
Shane Topping, Director of Admissions at Stevens Institute of Technology, spoke of a 22% increase in applications this year. A new president started in July 2011. The most popular major at Stevens is Mechanical Engineering. There is increased interest in Biomedical Engineering and Environmental Engineering. International applications are up. The school has a popular 5-year Masters program where the scholarship and financial aid from the undergraduate years continues to the 5th year. Stevens students have an average high school GPA of 3.8. A 20-25 minute interview is required and is important. For engineering and science majors they are looking to see students who have had 4 years of Math and Science.
Kevin O’Sullivan, Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Manhattanville College said his school is known for its international students and diversity. One thousand of their 5,000 applications are from international students. The school has students from 56 countries, with the biggest representation from Ecuador, Vietnam, China, Brazil and Canada. Thirty percent of their students study abroad in their European Union (EU) program based in Southern Germany, in which students visit every EU country. Manhattanville has NGO status, allowing their students access to UN programs. The school went test-optional four years ago. The size of the freshman class has grown from 407 to 608 students in the last two years. The undergraduate Sports Management program is new to the school. Manhattanville is working on developing a new accounting major. Management is the most popular major. Manhattanville values demonstrated interest. Admitted students have a solid B average with an average SAT score of 1100 (for Math and Critical Reading).
If you work in Admissions or Enrollment Management at a college, do you have any trends you want to share about your college?
The college admissions personnel on the panel spoke about the admissions trends at their colleges. This post focuses on the comments from Rider University, Fordham University and TCNJ admissions personnel.
Susan Christian, Dean of Enrollment at Rider University commented that there was growth in interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), education, and fine and performing arts programs at Rider. There was an increase in the percentage of Hispanic students. The school had a new academic building, a new residential hall, and had improved their theatres. Rider looked at the strength of the high school student’s academic program and transcript. They had 8500 applications for 950 freshman seats. For the Westminster Choir College, the audition is a critical factor.
John Buckley, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management at Fordham University, noted that 40% of students are undeclared majors to start. At Fordham the biggest majors are biology and communications. When he started working at Fordham, the school received about 4000 applications a year; now they receive about 36000 applications, including 2500 international applications. Fordham admits students with an average 3.7 Grade Point Average (GPA) and an SAT score between 1830 and 2050 (3 sections). They look for an upward trend in grades, students who are leaders, and students who give service to their school/community. It is difficult to do an internal transfer into the business school.
Grecia Montero, Director of Admissions at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) saw a 7% increase in freshman applications this year, with an 11% increase in applications for biology majors. There is a new Education building, as well as a new Arts & Communication building. There was an increase in applicants from Massachusetts and Connecticut. The SAT was optional this year, for the first time. Acceptance is based on the department you are interested in. There were 11,000 applications with 4,000 acceptances. Students are typically from the top 10-15% of their class with SAT scores between 1250 and 1360 (for Critical Reading and Math). High school rank and test scores needed for admissions are more difficult for certain majors including Chemistry, Biology and Nursing. The school keeps track of student visits and communications with the school. TCNJ has no cap on out-of-state or international students.
The next post on college admissions trends will focus on the comments from admissions personnel at the remaining three colleges: Rutgers University, Stevens Institute of Technology, and Manhattanville College.