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.

College Trends and Hot Topics – Part 2

The panel of admissions personnel at the Higher Education Consultants Association Conference discussed “What intangible factors make a student stand out?”

Chris Hooker-Haring, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Muhlenberg College, valued energy, sustained commitment, intellectual curiosity, and authenticity.

Lou Hirsch, Director of Admissions at the University of Delaware, indicated that he didn’t expect applicants to be Olympic Gold Medalists.  He wanted to know who the student is and how did he get that way.  He wants to learn how the student’s activities shaped them.  When the letters of recommendation and student’s essays mesh, he found it compelling.

Mark Spencer, Director of Admissions  at Brandeis University, said that admissions officers sometimes have a bias.  If the admissions officer feels connected to the student because of their story, that student had an advantage.

Brian Estrada, Director of Admissions at Dartmouth College, talked about valuing students who are open to learning from others, as well as students who others can learn from.  Dartmouth College considers moral development and peer recommendations.

Courtney McAnuff, Vice President of Enrollment Management at Rutgers University, said the Rutgers admissions office does not see race, gender or high school when evaluating applications.  Rutgers University is concerned about how students work with diverse situations and want to have a well-rounded class. 

What intangible factors do you think make a student stand out?

College Trends and Hot Topics – Part 1

I attended the Higher Education Consultants Association Conference this week.  Here’s what’s happening in college admissions, according to key admissions personnel who participated in a panel entitled “College Trends and Hot Topics: Admissions 2012.”

Courtney McAnuff, Vice President of Enrollment Management for Rutgers University indicated that he was looking at a proposal to merge UMDNJ with Rutgers, which now seems likely. He was also looking into the merger of Rowan and Rutgers Camden. The size of the Rutgers freshmen class will be reduced for the next three years, because retention is up.

Brian Estrada, Director of Admissions at Dartmouth College said, with the April nomination of their college president to lead the World Bank, Dartmouth is looking for a new college president. This year Dartmouth had 23,000 applicants and accepted 2200 of them. 1104 students will be attending, and Dartmouth may accept 5 more students from the wait list.

Mark Spencer, Director of Admissions at Brandeis University said parents are becoming more concerned about college costs. This year a lower percent of students stayed on the wait list and a lower percent of students are accepting a spot off of the wait list.

Lou Hirsch, Director of Admissions at the University of Delaware indicated that his school had the same situation with the wait list as Brandeis. Parents seemed more concerned with college cost and “have gotten over if their child doesn’t get into their first choice school.”

Chris Hooker-Haring, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Muhlenberg College told the independent counselors that Muhlenberg had over 5000 applicants this year. They admitted about 50% of their incoming class through Early Decision. It took longer to get to their target class size this spring and there were more conversations with parents about money and value.

In a future blog post, I will cover the panel’s input on college essays, gender imbalance at college, how high school students should spend the summer, college interviews, college use of social media, and spring admits.

Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey

My tour guide, Emily was enthusiastic about Montclair State University, a diverse public university in suburban Montclair, NJ with over 14,000 undergrads. She took us through the 250-acre campus, consisting primarily of Spanish mission-style buildings, some with a view of the Manhattan skyline. She was among the nearly 5000 students living on campus.

Montclair State has over 250 undergraduate programs in the College of the Arts; College of Education and Human Services; College of Humanities and Social Sciences; College of Science and Mathematics; and School of Business. The average class size at Montclair State is 23. If a class is offered as a large lecture, the school also offers a smaller class as an option.
The school has over 120 clubs, Greek Life (which is not a dominant force on campus), and Division III athletics (Go Red Hawks). There are two train stations and a bus stop on campus, enabling students without a car access to Manhattan. There are also travel abroad opportunities that range in length from one week to an academic year.

If you’ve visited or attended Montclair State, what was your impression?

William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ

You think you want to attend a New Jersey public college, but Rutgers isn’t for you.  Perhaps Rutgers is too big for you or is too hard for you to get into.  In late March, I visited two schools in Northern New Jersey that you might want to consider: William Paterson University and Montclair State University. 

In this blog post, I’ll focus on William Paterson University (shown in these photos)  The next blog post will be on Montclair State University.

William Paterson University sits on a 370-acre campus in suburban Wayne; there are one or two buildings off-campus with a shuttle bus servicing them, including the “messy” art building.

The school has a diverse undergraduate enrollment just shy of 10,000, with a quarter of the student body living on campus. Housing, made up of suites and apartments, and is guaranteed all four years. Commuters should allocate time to find parking and to walk to class.

Students attend small classes, averaging 21 students and can major in one of 48 majors in 5 colleges: Arts and Communications; Business; Education; Humanities and Sciences; and Science and Health. Four new majors are being added in the Fall: Sports Management, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Legal Studies, and Environmental Sustainability. Students need 120 credits to graduate. Forty credits make up the general education requirements. There are pre-professional programs as well as an Honors College.

Some special facilities on campus are the new science building, nursing simulation labs, financial learning center, TV broadcast studios, radio station, and redesigned student center. Travel abroad and National Student Exchange (i.e., where you spend a semester at another US college) are available.

The average high school student admitted to WPU had a 3.1 GPA and a 1050 SAT (Critical Reading and Math); credentials for the nursing school are more stringent. To qualify for an academic scholarship, students need a minimum of a 3.0 GPA and 1050 on their SATs. There are also scholarships for talented artists ranging from $1K to $10K.

The college has about 80 clubs, Greek Life, Division III athletics, trips off-campus on weekends (e.g., ski trips, trips to Canada, trips to Atlantic City), and a NJ Transit bus that takes students to places like New York City and the Willowbrook Shopping Mall. On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30 – 2 PM no classes are scheduled; this is a great time for clubs to meet. The big issue in the Pioneer newspaper was that the Student Government Association ran out of funds for the remainder of the spring semester, causing many club events to be cancelled or postponed.

Cheap College Travel in the Northeast – Updated

Here’s an update on the Bolt Bus for New Jerseyans.  The Bolt Bus now leaves from Newark Penn Station.  If you are taking the Bolt Bus to visit colleges in Boston, there is no longer any need to go into Manhattan to catch the bus.  This should save you both time and money!

Last summer I wrote:

Need a cheap way to visit an out of town college or to get to and from college without a car? Consider the Bolt Bus which serves locations including New York, Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington D.C.

If you book early enough you may qualify for the $1 fare. If you take eight trips you get one free! The bus fare includes wireless internet.

If its slow by car because of inclement weather or holiday traffic, it will also be slow by bus.

Fairleigh Dickinson University, College at Florham, Madison, NJ

Fairleigh Dickinson’s Madison campus has about 2500 students on over 175 acres and offers Bachelors degrees and some combined Bachelors/Masters in liberal arts, business, allied health, and hospitality management. The average class size is between 25 and 30 students. There is a study abroad program on Fairleigh Dickinson’s own campus in Wroxton, England (75 miles outside of London).
The school has over 80% of students living on campus and freshmen are guaranteed housing. Students are involved in Division III athletics, non-residential Greek life, over 40 clubs/organizations, and alternative break programs in the US and abroad. Students can get to NYC easily by taking the train which is close to campus.

The Honors program requires a GPA of 3.0 or higher and over 1100 on the CR and Math sections of the SAT.

As the Regional Center for Colleges with Learning Disabilities, there is an extensive program for 25 –30 students each year on the Madison campus at no extra charge.

The college is need blind with 92% of students receiving an average of $19,700 in aid. Merit scholarships of between $3500 and $24000 are available based on SAT scores. Students can get an Alumni grant of $1000 by getting an alumni, trustee or faculty member to sign; children of alumni get a $1500 grant.
If you’ve visited or attended the Madison campus lately, share your observations.

Monmouth University, West Long Branch, NJ

A student who wants a pre-professional or liberal arts education in a private school with small classes near the beach might find Monmouth University to be a good fit. The school is set on 156 acres and includes Woodrow Wilson Hall, a National Historic Landmark (pictured to the right).

The school has just under 4000 undergrads with housing on campus for 2000 undergrads.  Classes are small with an average class size of 22 and no lecture halls.  Experiential learning is part of the graduation requirement (e.g., internships, co-op education, and service learning courses).  Bachelors and Masters degrees can be completed in 5 years.  There is an Honors programs with a Senior thesis and special housing (if desired).  Merit awards of up to $16K a year are available.

The school has Division 1 athletics featuring excellent soccer teams, a nice athletic center, and sports fields.  There are 70 student groups with an involvement fair each semester.  Greek life, travel abroad, music, drama, theatre, a radio station and a TV station are available.  Students can travel to NY by train. 

If you’ve visited or attended Monmouth U, share your observations.

Stevens Institute of Technology

Stevens Institute of Technology is a great choice for an engineering major who wants to go to a small school in or near a city and participate in Greek life.
The college is set on 55 acres on the Hudson River, overlooking the Manhattan skyline. It has a mix of old and new buildings in various styles, a gym with an indoor pool, fields for sports, and limited parking. It is just two blocks from a main street in Hoboken, New Jersey (a hot town featured in the TV show “Cake Boss”) and walking distance to a train that will transport students to New York City in ten minutes.
Stevens has some great features including a free laptop for each student, lots of research opportunities, a co-op program, 5-year Bachelors/Masters programs, internships, externships, and excellent job placement.
Ninety per cent of the approximately 2200 students live on campus. Unfortunately for the men, only about a quarter of the class is female. Thirty per cent of the student body goes Greek. Students participate in 120 clubs, 26 Division III varsity sports (excluding football), intramurals, club sports, alternative spring break, and study abroad.
If you’ve visited Stevens Institute of Technology lately, share your impressions of the school. To see additional photos I took of Stevens, check out

Drew University

In February 2010, with snow blanketing the ground, I visited Drew University, “the university of the forest”, in suburban Madison, New Jersey. This is one of a few small private liberal arts colleges in New Jersey. It is also an SAT-optional school. A graded high school project/paper can be supplied instead SAT scores. Drew provides each student with a free notebook computer.

Drew is famous for its theatre program and plays are written, directed and designed by students. There is a new arts building with art, theatre, and music wings. It includes an art museum and gallery, as well as performance spaces. The other popular majors are economics, political science, psychology, arts, biology, and English.

The general education requirements require an off-campus experience and travel abroad is very popular. There is a train from Madison to New York City and students take advantage of this for social and educational opportunities. There are four special programs, which take place two days a week in New York. They are the Wall Street semester, the United Nations semester, the Contemporary arts semester, and the Theatre semester.

Another special feature at Drew is the Dana Research Institute for Scientists Emerti (RISE) program. Retired science professionals have office space at college, do research and take students under their wing.

Students who want a liberal arts education in a small school with travel opportunities and interest in learning/socializing in NYC would be happy at Drew.

To see the rest of my photos of Drew University, check out my Web page.

If you visited or attended Drew University, share your experiences with us.