University of Scranton

The last of the four Catholic colleges that I visited this Spring in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area was the University of Scranton.  My tour guide was Sarah, from Basking Ridge, who writes for the college newspaper and runs the women’s weekend retreat.
General – The University of Scranton is one of 28 Jesuit universities in the United States.  The 58-acre campus is in downtown Scranton with 88% of freshmen and 86% of all students living on campus.  There are about 4000 undergraduates and an average class size of 20.  About 62% of students are from outside of Pennsylvania.  The most popular majors are business, biology and communications.  The university also has occupational therapy, physical therapy, and nursing.  About 200 students study abroad each year.  They may study abroad for a short as a break and as long as a year.  There are three honors programs.

Housing – Living on campus is required for freshman and sophomores.  Housing is guaranteed for all four years.  87% of the housing is new or renovated.  The bathrooms are in the hall for freshmen.  Upperclassmen can live in quads, houses or apartments.  I saw a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment with a kitchen and living room for 4 seniors.  Here is a photo of the living room in one of the apartments.
Extracurricular activities – The school has about 80 clubs and students can start a new club.  There are two theatre groups, performance music groups, an art gallery, a radio station, a TV station and 18 NCAA Division III sports; the school dos not have a football team.  The strongest NCAA teams are basketball, soccer and swimming.  There are also many club and intramural sports, including equestrian.  There is a 2.5 year old fitness center, and an indoor pool.  The students completed 180,000 hours of community service in one year.  The school has a retreat center on Chapman Lake; some of the weekend retreats are faith-based.  There is a campus shuttle and zip cars on campus. 
Nearby – The Martz buses take students to New York and Philly.  The surrounding area boasts skiing, a water park, minor league baseball, casinos, shopping, an IMAX theatre, and minor league hockey.
Religion – About 70% of the students are Catholic.  Mass is available daily.  There are Moslem services on campus.  There are three synagogues within walking distance.
Applying – The school has a free on-line Common App application.  The middle 50% high school GPA of accepted students is 3.2 – 3.8, with a middle 50% SAT score of 1050 – 1240 (two sections).  The school is test optional under certain circumstances.  Entrance for the nursing, occupational therapy (OT) and physical therapy (PT) programs is more competitive, with a minimum GPA of 3.5 and  a minimum SAT score of 1150 (2 sections).  The school likes to see evidence of shadowing for nursing, OT and PT. 
What’s new – U Scranton is building a new facility for OT, PT and exercise science.
Financial aid – The cost of attendance (i.e., tuition, room and board, book, transportation and miscellaneous expenses) is around $55K per year.  Merit aid of $8,000 to full tuition is available and given to students in the top 30% of their class with a minimum GPA of 3.2 and a minimum SAT score of 1100 (2 sections).   To get a full tuition scholarship students need to meet certain criteria, including a GPA of 4.0 and a minimum SAT score of 1400. Students who apply test optional can get merit aid of $8,000 – $10,000.  The school is considering becoming a CSS PROFILE school.   

Moravian College (Bethlehem, PA)

Campus Map

Last Wednesday, I toured Moravian College with a Sophomore majoring in Environmental Policy and Economics, who attended a small Catholic High School in Philadelphia.  In addition to being a Tour Guide, she was the Treasurer of the Sustainability Club and she liked going to the free weekly movies with her roommate.

Here are some things she said that made Moravian special:

  • Friendly students
  • Small classes
  • Strength in the Sciences and in Education
  • Free tutoring by students
  • A May term that students can use for study abroad
  • A 10-week summer research program, called SOAR, that pays students $3000, provides free housing on-campus, and a travel allowance.
  • Living and Learning suite style housing is available for Freshmen taking the same freshman seminar
  • Starting in the Fall 2014, each student will be provided with a MacBook Pro laptop and an iPad.
  • A one-week pre-freshman orientation.  Students can come to campus a week early, live on campus while working together on a volunteer activity in the community.  My tour guide volunteered at a local YMCA for the week.
  • Students can develop their own major.

 I toured the Main Street campus, also known as the North Campus.  This is the larger of the two campuses.  Both campuses have classes, house students, and have all-you-can-eat dining, as well as grab-and-go dining.  The two campuses are about a half-mile apart and there is a free shuttle bus that runs between them.  The academic focus of the South campus is Music and the Arts.  Music students give music recitals throughout the year, which are open to the student body.


The North Campus is a compact campus with a mix of old and new buildings.  They have dorms that are coed by floor, all female dorms and all male dorms.  Popular spectator sports are Softball, Baseball, Soccer and Women’s basketball.  “Impact” arranges for activities like movies, trips, and bingo. About 20% of the school is involved in Greek life.
Greek Life
Beautiful old  buildings
Mixed with newer buildings
Impact Bulletin Board with Upcoming Activities

Franklin & Marshall College

The Basics – Franklin & Marshall College (F&M) is a residential college of about 2,000 undergraduates on a 125-acre campus in Lancaster, PA.

Dorm Life – At F&M, you will live with the students in your freshman seminar class in one of the five college houses. Students are interviewed for a half hour to pick a compatible freshman roommate. As a sophomore, you have the opportunity to move to suite style living. As a junior or senior, you can move to a college-affiliated apartment. Even if you don’t live in one of the five college houses as an upper-classman, you can use space in the college house you lived in as a freshman, for all four years.


Common Hour – On Thursdays from 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM, everything closes for common hour, where a talk or performance is provided with free pizza, drinks and fruit. The first common hour of the school year usually is a talk given by the college president. The college president also has open office hours when students can stop by and talk with him.

Surrounding neighborhood – F&M is in Lancaster, which has about 60,000 residents. Students can walk downtown or go by shuttle bus and take advantage of restaurants, movies, the farmer’s market and the art scene (including First Friday). The school is less than a mile from an Amtrak station.

Financial Aid – F&M is a CSS/PROFILE school that meets 100% of need; it does not provide merit aid to freshmen. If you are applying early decision, you can get an early read on your aid package.

Applying – F&M uses the Common Application, does a holistic review of your application, and recommends that you have an interview. The school is test optional; two pieces of graded writing can be used in lieu of the SAT or ACT. The school has a 36% acceptance rate with 52% of students applying Early Decision. Early Decision I has a November 15 application deadline and Early Decision II has a January 15 application deadline.

Academics – Students declare their major after the sophomore year. The most popular major is Business, Organizations and Society; Government is the second most popular major. F&M offers nine foreign languages and requires students take three semesters of a foreign language (or place out of the language).

Study Abroad – F&M has its own study abroad programs in France and in England. F&M students also participate in 200 other study abroad programs. Study abroad programs vary in length from a 6-week summer program, to a semester or a year. Students can use their financial aid package when studying abroad.

Greek Life – 35- 40% of students are in one of the seven fraternities or four sororities. Students can rush starting in the second semester of college.

Sports – The school competes in NCAA Division I wrestling and in NCAA Division III for other sports. Club and intramural sports are popular.

Who would be happy at F&M? – The admissions representative felt that the type of student who would be most happy at F&M is one who wants to be involved in academics, extracurricular activities and the community.

What is your experience with F&M?

Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA



Theatre




Bomberger Hall houses music rooms

  

Art Museum




Campus Map

Campus – Ursinus College is a small liberal arts college of 1750 students, 28 miles northwest of Philly. The school sits on 170 acres, with plenty of green space, lots of outdoor sculpture, and buildings with a variety of architecture styles in the small town of Collegeville. The school houses an art museum and two theatres.

Academics – All freshmen participate in the two-semester seminar where they read and discuss texts to help answer questions like: What does it mean to be human? How should we live our lives?

In addition, every student must participate in at least one of the following: independent research, a creative project, study abroad, internship, or student teaching.

Most classes, with the exception of some introductory classes (e.g., Introductory Psychology), are small.  80% of classes have fewer than 20 students. No classes are taught by teaching assistants. Freshmen meet with their advisor weekly in person, by phone, or by email. The school gives every freshman a laptop.

The school offers 27 majors and 51 minors. Double majoring is popular.  The school has some unusual majors for a small liberal arts college, like neuroscience and East Asian studies.
About eighty students do summer research on campus and receive free room and board, as well as a stipend.

Housing – Housing is guaranteed all four years and 97% of students live on campus. In addition to the usual dorms, there is themed housing in six or seven Victorian houses across the street from campus for upper classmen who apply. The themes change yearly and are selected by the student body.

Extracurricular activities – One third of the students participate in a Division III sports team, with football and women’s field hockey being most popular. Club and intramural sports are also popular.

The school has Greek life, but no Greek housing.  There are more than 80 clubs, organizations and interest groups, as well as many opportunities for volunteering. The Ursinus Center for Advocacy, Responsibility and Engagement is the focal point for community service and civic engagement at Ursinus.

There is a large shopping mall, with a movie theatre a short drive away.

Transportation – There is a city bus that takes students to a train station, where they can catch a train to Philly.  Freshmen are not allowed to have cars on campus.

Financial aid – In addition to need-based aid, there are scholarships and academic awards of up to $30,000 a year, including a creative writing award.

Tour Guide – My tour guide was a well-spoken, enthusiastic senior, who was going to med school in the fall. He had participated in summer research, which led to a presentation at a conference, and had participated in an intramural sport while at Ursinus.

Have you attended or visited Ursinus College recently?  If so, what was your experience?

Lycoming College, Williamsport, PA

Lycoming College has 1600 students on a compact campus of 42 acres, in Williamsport, PA.

Education – Business, biology and criminal justice are the bigggest majors. Lycoming has some unusual undergraduate majors, including Archeology and Culture of the Ancient Near East, Biblical Languages, Creative Writing, Art History, Astronomy and Actuarial Mathematics. There are two archeological dig sites, one in Cyprus and one in Israel, associated with the archeology program.

The core curriculum includes a writing intensive course and a foreign language. In addition to the more usual selections of Spanish, French, and German, Lycoming offers Greek, Latin and Hebrew.

The library is open until 1 AM (and until 2 AM before finals); there are review sessions with professors before finals.

Extra-curricular activities – The school has Division III sports, with basketball being the most popular spectator sport.

The largest club on campus is the dance club.

Thirty per cent of students are involved in Greek life; students can rush the second semester. Sororities and fraternities have their own floors in the dorms.

Big campus events include the Fall Concert, which is free for students, and the Campus Carnival.

You can start a new club, if you have four students who will join.

There are two theatres on campus and you don’t need to be a drama major to be involved; they were doing Threepenny Opera.

The campus is next to downtown Williamsport; it is a 5-minute walk to restaurants and shops.

Admissions – The average SAT score of accepted students is 1060 (Critical Reading and Math) and the SAT is optional. The SAT can be replaced by two graded writing samples. The average high school GPA of incoming students is 3.25. 38% of students are Pell grant recipients.

Dorms – Students, other that commuters living with their parents, must live on campus. Ten per cent of students are commuters. Freshmen have dorms with bathrooms down the halls. After the freshman year there is a selection of suites, campus apartments, and townhomes.

What’s New – The current president is retiring this year; under his leadership the endowment went from 18 million to 180 million dollars.

Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA

Elizabethtown College, called E-town for short is a small private liberal arts college in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania with the motto “Educate for Service.”

Academics – Classes are small and students have good relationships with their professors. There are more than 50 majors and 80 minors. The school offers BS, BA, BM, and a MS in Occupational therapy. The school has some special academic opportunities including an Honors program, a 5 year Occupational Therapy (OT) program, a music therapy program, an international business major, and an actuarial science major. The Bowers Writing House sponsors many speakers. Experiential learning is valued with 86% of students having an internship, research project and/or study abroad experience. Since 2008, the school has added funding to global learning, student research, residential life and career services. Freshmen take a first-year seminar (FYS) and their FYS instructor is also their freshman advisor. In addition, every freshman is assigned two trained upperclassmen to be their peer mentors.

Physical – The school is made up primarily of brick buildings on a 200-acre campus. Currently dam reconstruction is taking place in front of the chapel/performance space. There are music practice rooms and a black box theatre.

Dorms – 85% of students live on campus. Freshmen and Sophomores live together. The dorms are air-conditioned. Freshmen are allowed to have cars on campus.

Extracurricular – E-Town has 20 NCAA Division III sports. The biggest spectator sport on campus is Soccer with the big game of the year against Messiah College. There is no football team. There are over 80 clubs and organizations with the biggest clubs on campus being Emotions, a dance club, and Call to Lead, a community service club. The school has service project days. Students mentor Milton Hershey High School students, as well as E-Town freshmen. Students frequent art galleries in Lancaster on the first Friday of each month. A much-loved school tradition is the pre-Thanksgiving turkey dinner served by faculty followed by the tree lighting. There is no Greek life on campus.

Financial Aid – Merit aid is given to over half the students and requires no separate application. Five students get full-tuition scholarships plus $4K for study abroad, research, internships, public service or leadership. There are also merit scholarships valued at $16K, 19K, and $22K.

Admissions – Most majors have rolling admissions with application review starting in mid-October. Decisions are generally sent out in 2 – 3 weeks. OT and Honors require an interview. Music majors require an audition. The school uses the Common App. For most majors, students can waive the SAT if they are in the top 10% of their class or have a GPA greater than 3.5 (if their school does not rank). The mid-50% of accepted students has an SAT score between 1030 and 1230 (out of 1600).

Lebanon Valley College, Annville, PA

General: Lebanon Valley College (LVC) is a private residential college of 1630 students on a 345-acre campus in Annville, Pennsylvania, 10 minutes from Hershey. The buildings are architecturally mixed and the college has impressive physical education facilities. The 4-year graduation rate is 70%. About one quarter of students are commuters. The remaining students have housing for all four years.

What’s new: The school has just started a self-designed major, which must include at least two disciplines.  The school has a new President, Dr. Lewis Evitts Thayne, who came on August 1. He would like to increase the school’s diversity geographically, ethnically, internationally, and racially. Arnold Field was renovated over the summer with artificial turf, track resurfacing, and new lighting.

Academics: Teaching is the #1 priority for professors. Classes are generally small, with an average class size of 20. The largest classroom on campus holds 70 students. The school encourages students to study abroad/away, do internships and/or research. Students often do travel abroad in the summer (e.g., education majors in London, business students in the Netherlands). In addition to travel abroad in about a dozen countries, there is study away in Philadelphia and Washington DC. Education placements start in the freshman year. One hundred employers come to campus in January.

The school is probably best-known for its 6-year Physical Therapy (PT) program. The school also has other unusual majors including actuarial science, music business, music recording technology, and digital communications.

Extra-curricular activities: The school has Greek life, Division III sports, including football, and a Marching Band. There are 540 student athletes, 120 students in the marching band, and 100 students involved with the theatre. There are 90 clubs and organizations, including many faith-based groups. The students do over 18,000 hours of community service a year. There is a 4-day social justice program in January. 300 to 400 students attend the Friday night comedy series.

Admissions: The school has rolling admissions with 60 – 65% acceptance rate. The school is test optional.

All of the 4 types of music majors require an audition.

In order to apply for the PT program students must have shadowed physical therapists for at least 15 hours in each of two different clinical settings. Only 85 students are accepted to the PT program out of about 500 applications. PT students are admitted to the college first and then considered for the major.

Financial Aid: 98% of LVC students get some form of financial aid. There is both need-based and merit aid.

The top 30% of students get academic scholarships. Merit aid of 50% off of tuition is provided to students in the top 10% of their high school class. Merit aid of one third off of tuition is provided to students in the top 20% of their high school class. Merit aid of 25% off of tuition is provided to students in the top 30% of their high school class. Students with an SAT score of 1100 (2 sections) with no ranking or ranking lower than 30%, have an opportunity for a merit scholarship via an interview.

There are multicultural scholarships valued between $2 and $12K.

PT majors receive one-third off scholarship for their 5th and 6th year of school.

LVC and Bias: When I visited in mid-November, a freshman had found a piece of paper with a sketch of a person lynched. The school responded quickly. There was a special edition of the school newspaper, a student and faculty gathering to raise awareness and speak out against racism, and the president responded. The school has a Bias Response Team, which was created in 2005 after several incidents of racial and homophobic comments in which two students were charged.

Albright College, Reading, PA

The Basics – Albright is a small college in Reading, PA. Most of the classes have 15 to 25 students; only 2 classrooms hold more than 40 students. Two thirds of the students take a dual major and 1 in 3 students is a minority or international student. Albright is known for its business and arts programs.

Academics – The school is on a 4-1-4 calendar and has a new Gen ed (general education) requirements. Gen ed requirements include a first year seminar class of 15-18 students with lots of reading and writing, a composition class, a foreign language requirement, foundations (i.e., one course in each of five areas), connections (i.e., two classes on cultural or biological diversity), synthesis (i.e., a class with two teachers) and experience events (e.g., study abroad, study off-campus, internship, research or service learning). Students can study abroad after two semesters and there are some scholarships available for study abroad. Some majors require an internship.

Extracurricular Activities – Greek life and athletics, especially Division III football, basketball and swimming are important here. 12% of men and 18% of women go Greek. There is a great health and wellness building. Popular activities are ultimate Frisbee, rugby, and the comic club. One school tradition is to throw you in the pond, which is more like a fountain, on your birthday.

Admissions – The school has rolling admissions with decisions starting on October 1. Students generally hear if they have been accepted two weeks after they apply. This year there were 1500 applications by Labor Day. The school uses the Common App without a supplement. The mid 50 % for GPA was 3.1 to 3.7. The mid 50% score for the SAT (for Critical Reading and Math was 1000 – 1170. The school is test-optional.

Building on Campus – The college is building a new $30 million science facility, is doing a $5million upgrade to the building that houses business, accounting and political science, and is doing a $10 million library renovation.

Financial Aid – The big news at Albright is that starting in the Fall of 2013, Albright will meet 100% of demonstrated financial need! Expect to have a Stafford loan and to do work-study. The school is need blind. There is also merit aid available. Most scholarships are between $5K and $25K. There are 2 full scholarships per year. There are also awards of between $500 and $5K for arts, participation, being a member of National Honor Society, and for Methodists.

Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA

Science Building (Biology, Chemistry, and some Environmental Science)

Performing Arts Building

Academic Center

College Center



Concert Choir

 Just the Facts – Juniata College is a private, residential liberal arts and sciences college of 1600 students on a 110-acre main campus with a 315-acre Nature Preserve and a 365-acre Environmental Studies Field Station. The school is located in the small town of Huntingdon, in central Pennsylvania.

Academics – Juniata students can develop their own major, called a Point of Emphasis, and 30% of students do. Every student has two advisors, to help them every step of the way. Classes are small and professors are available. The school is well known for its science programs.

Study abroad is very popular. 48% of the class of 2012 had an international experience. Juniata is one of 5 schools to receive the Paul Simon award for promoting internationalism.

What’s new – Juniata will be getting a new college president. They are down to 4 candidates and the students have been involved in the selection.

Juniata received a $1 million research grant in May to implement and integrate a Genomics Leadership Initiative. They plan to establish a structured research program, with 40 summer research fellowships in which undergrads use state-of-the-art science and technology related to genomics.

The food court is being renovated. A new residence hall with singles will be built.

Socially – There are more than 90 clubs and organizations. Popular clubs include Star Wars, Circle K (volunteer), ultimate frisbee, and student government. Seventy percent of students are involved in community service. Volleyball is most popular sport to watch on campus. There are no fraternities or sororities at Juniata.

Fun things to do on campus include Mountain Day (classes cancelled for a day of outdoor fun), Madrigal Dinner (formal dinner and dance), Springfest, Storming of the Arch, Mountain Day of the Mind (conference for undergrad research), artist series, movies, speakers, and the Pig Roast.

Financial Aid – Juniata has both need-based and merit-based aid. On the average, the college meets 90% of need. There are significant merit scholarships with values up to the full Cost of Attendance.

After college – 95% of graduates were employed or in graduate school six months after graduation. One hundred companies were represented at the February career fair for jobs and internships. 94% of pre-med and health profession students are admitted to medical or professional school. 100% of students applying to law school were admitted.

What’s your experience with Juniata College?

Messiah College, Mechanicsburg, PA

Messiah College is a private, residential, co-educational Christian college with about 3000 undergrads, about 12 miles from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Religious faith is central. Students come from many different Christian backgrounds – non-denominational, Baptist, Methodist, and Brethren in Christ. The college mission is to “educate men and women toward maturity of intellect, character, and Christian faith in preparation for lives of service, leadership, and reconciliation in church and society.” Students and Faculty sign a statement of faith and abide by the community covenant. There is a required chapel.

Messiah is a college of liberal and applied arts and sciences that offers more than 80 majors. The largest and strongest departments at Messiah are nursing and the engineering departments. Sustainability is a relatively new major; Messiah is 1 of only 4 Christian colleges offering this major. There are 8 new majors since 2011: Chinese business, Chinese studies, Dance, Digital media, Ethnic and area studies, Film and media arts, Public relations, and Musical theatre. Messiah has an Honors program.

Through the Collaboratory for Strategic Partnerships and Applied Research, students can work with international mission agencies in areas like communications, education, energy, microeconomic development, sustainability, and transportation. Study abroad is very popular with students studying in over 40 countries. There is a branch of campus in Philadelphia that allows students to spend a semester taking classes at Temple University.

Division III sports are huge, with men’s and women’s soccer being outstanding. In 2005, 2008, and 2009, Messiah won men’s and women’s soccer national championships. Messiah has had 12 national team championships in the last decade. Messiah athletes meet weekly for Bible study. There is no football team.

Messiah has over 70 clubs and organizations. Messiah students volunteer more than 124,000 hours of community service annually.

The school has a new center for Worship and the Performing Arts opening in January 2013. The school has a natural history museum.

Messiah has both need-based and merit/talent-based aid. The merit/talent-based aid can cover up to 100% of tuition costs.

Messiah reviews applications on a rolling basis with decisions announced starting in mid-September.