New College of Florida

When I think of a state college, I generally think of a medium to very large college with big lecture halls.  New College of Florida (NCF), however, is an honors state college with only 800 students and an average class size of 18. The liberal arts and sciences college is on the water, in Sarasota.

Not only, is the college unusual in its size, but it is unusual in its academics.  There are no grades.  All students do independent research for three years  in the January term and all complete a senior project or write a thesis which they defend before a faculty committee. In lieu of grades, there is a written narrative for each class taken. Each semester students prepare a contract of work that they negotiate with heir advisor, a professor.  About 80% of graduates go on to graduate school.

A student who would fit in here is a liberal student who can drive their own education.  There is no core curriculum.  Everyone must take 1 course in humanities, 1 course in social sciences, 1 course in natural sciences and a total of 8 liberal arts course.  On the Thursday and Friday before a new semester’s registration, professors give 15-minute snippets of their classes, which students can take before registering.  Tutorials, which are self-designed classes are popular.  Professors generally teach 2 classes and may support up to 5 or 6 tutorials.  The college offers about 300 classes per year.

The cost for out of state students isn’t too bad either.  While the Cost of Attendance is $43K per year, every out-of-state student who gets accepted gets a minimum of a $15K merit scholarship making the price comparable to in-state fees for Rutgers.  Currently, about 20% of students are from outside of Florida and they are trying to increase this percentage.  NCF is a member of the National Student Exchange so you can attend another college in the US or abroad, and pay the NCF tuition.

This is a residential college which can accommodate up to 640 students with on-campus housing.  The rest of the student body lives locally.  There are 60-80 clubs and organizations and students can start their own club or organization.  While there are intramural and club sports, there are no NCAA sports teams.  Sailing is the only intercollegiate team.  There is no Greek life at NCF.  The college accepts the Common App and has rolling admissions with a priority deadline of November 1.

Eckerd College

In January, I visited Eckerd College, a small, private college on the water in St. Petersburg, Florida.  Eckerd has about 1800 students from 48 states and 40 countries on 188 acres and  eighty percent of the students are from outside of Florida.  The school is good match for a politically liberal, liberal arts, science or business student who is adventurous, likes the outdoors, would like to volunteer, and wants to study abroad.  Eckerd is one of the forty “Colleges That Change Lives”.  If you haven’t read the book by that title, I heartily recommend it. 
Academics – Eckerd is a liberal arts and sciences college, with business and management majors.  Its biggest major is environmental studies and it is well-known for its marine science major.  One third of the students are majoring in the natural sciences, Students can double-major or take a major and a minor.  Every student has an academic mentor.  In addition, Freshman also have an student mentor.
Freshmen take a 3-week term in August.  This helps them get acclimated to college before the rest of the students arrive.  During that term they take one class, have orientation, and participate in a host of activities.  
All students, except Freshmen, take a January term where they take one course on-campus,  study abroad, participate in an internship or independent study.
Above average students can get money to do research with professors starting as Freshmen.
About 500 students go abroad each year.  Students can study broad for a month, a summer, a semester or a year.  
Campus – The newest building is the $25 million James Center for Molecular and Life Sciences.  The campus has a beach and a waterfront with free sailboats, canoes, kayaks, and tents for student use. 
Boats on Waterfront
Waterfront Equipment
Housing – Housing is guaranteed all four years and there are no triples.  The school has special- interest housing which lets you bring your dog or cat to live with you.  There is even a fenced-in dog park on campus.
Extracurricular activities –

The school has Division II sports.  Sailing is very popular. Rugby is a popular club sport.
All students are required to do at least 40 hours of volunteer work. The school has emergency volunteers on the water in the form of a search and rescue group.  They respond to over 500 marine distress calls each year.
There are plenty of clubs at Eckerd.  One popular club is the Improv club.  If at least two students get an advisor, they can start a new club.  Lots of the extracurricular activities are held outdoors.
There is no Greek life at Eckerd. 
Getting In and Aid– Both need-based and merit aid are available.  The average GPA for admitted students is 3.3.  The middle 50% of the admitted pool earned between 1010 aand 1230 on the SAT; the school does not look at the SAT Writing score.

Do you think you would like attending Eckerd?  Why or why not?

Johnson & Wales University

I recently attended a Johnson and Wales University (JWU) breakfast reception for independent college consultants and I thought you might enjoy hearing about what I learned. 
Basics: JWU began as a business school in 1914.  The programs are experiential and work-integrated.  Faculty have industry-relevant experience and there are no lecture halls.  79% of students come directly from high school; 21% transfer from other colleges.  Since 2006, the college has become more selective in order to improve its graduation rate.  There is a 79% retention to the Sophomore year.  The 4-year graduation rate is 68%. 
Academics: The school is on a trimester schedule; each trimester is 11 weeks long.  Undergraduates must complete 40 courses to graduate. Students, who take 4 courses each trimester, graduate early.  Students begin to take classes in their major in their Freshman year.  Sophomores do an internship for course credit in their major.  Seniors complete a capstone and a third trimester internship.  4200 students had an internship in 2012-2013 school year. As a senior, students can take 1 MBA course per trimester.  Starting in 2015, the school will offer a Biology major that could feed into the Physician Assistant program. 
JWU has a career focus.  Over 1200 employers came to campus this year.  74% of students on a paid internship received a job offer from the company they worked for which is higher than the national average of 63%. 
Work and/or Study Abroad are available to all students.  All JWU Study Abroad Programs are for 20 students led by 2 faculty members.  Foreign language is not a requirement to do study abroad.  About 500 students study abroad each year.
Each student has 3 advisors: personal, professional and academic. 
Campuses: JWU has four campuses: Providence, RI; North Miami, FL; Denver, CO; and Charlotte, NC.  Some majors are not available on every campus. The number of students at each location is as follows:
  • Providence – 10,369 (There is housing for 3500 students)
  • North Miami – 1952
  • Denver – 1529
  • Charlotte – 2325.
The Rhode Island campus is physically split into two sections, separated by 2 miles and serviced by the University’s own shuttle system.  In addition, the Equine programs are in Rehoboth, which is about 20 minutes away.  Students can also ride buses anywhere in Rhode Island for free.  The university is building a Physician Assistant building on the Rhode Island Campuses.
Colleges: The University has the following undergraduate colleges:
  • College of Business, which includes some unusual majors, like Equine Management and Criminology.  Many students sit for their Series 7 exams while still in school.
  • Hospitality College which includes some unusual majors like Sports/Entertainment/Event Management
  • College of Culinary Arts, which offers Associates and Bachelors degrees.  This college has the only accredited Culinary Nutrition program in the country.
  • School of Technology (only in Providence) has Engineering and Software Engineering majors
  • School or Arts and Sciences.
There are graduate schools in:
  • Providence: including 4+1 BS/MBA, MBA, an MS in Criminal Justice and a new Physician Assistant MS
  • Denver: MBA.
Housing and Extracurricular activities: Housing is required for freshmen.  There is an online roommate-matching program.  Freshmen are allowed to have cars but they are not needed.
JWU has over 100 clubs and has Greek life.  There are NCCA Division III sports in RI; other campuses have NAIA and USCAA sports.
Applying: The school is test optional. Applications are read by major and certain programs are harder to get into (or switch into) than others.  Baking & Pastry, as well as Counseling Psychology are difficult to get into. The college has an Honors program; students with an SAT score of 520 (Critical Reading) and 510 (Mathematics), typically qualify.  JWU accepts AP scores of 3 or higher. 
Visiting: There are daily tours at 9AM and 1 PM, Preview Days (one Saturday a month), and Wildcat Weekends.  Rising high school juniors and seniors who want to get a taste of JWU may want to attend the Culinary & Hospitality Career exploration program weekend over the summer.
Financial Aid: The Cost of Attendance is $38.9 – 40.8K per year.  JWU offers need-based and merit aid.  They do not front load financial aid and they offer:
·        Academic scholarships of up to $15,000. 
·        National Student Organization Scholarships for members of BPA, DECA, FBLA, FCCLA, FFA, JA, TSA, and SkillsUSA.
·        Legacy scholarships of $4000 a year. 
Early Enrollment – There is an early enrollment program where students do their senior year of high school at JWU.  Students pay half tuition for the first year and there is no Federal Assistance available for that year.
What is your experience with JWU?

Lynn University

Basics – Lynn University is a small, private coed university in sunny Boca Raton, Florida established fifty years ago.  When you arrive you come into a circle of flags from around the globe.  50% of the students are from Florida, 30% are from other states, and more than 20% are international.  Typically there are thirty to fifty NJ students each year.  Perhaps you have heard of Lynn University because they hosted one of the presidential debates.
My tour guide, Katya, was an international student.  She was an undergraduate at Lynn and is currently pursuing her MBA there.  Her sister also attends Lynn.  Katya had been on the dance team, was a Resident Assistant, and was a buddy to students with Autism and Downs Syndrome in the ACCESS program.  She liked Lynn because the professors were very accessible. 
Majors – Popular majors include marketing, hospitality and international business in the School of Business.  Investment management is a new major.  A new business building is being built.
The International School of Communication includes majors in media design, multimedia journalism, film and drama.  I saw the hands-on TV and radio production studios in the communications building.
The conservatory of music has 50 students, all on full scholarship. The liberal arts college includes a criminal justice major.  Lynn University offers aviation management in their flight academy.
Other Academics – All freshmen get a mini-iPad loaded with course material for required classes. 
The school offers three-year Bachelors degrees as well as 3 + 1 Bachelors/Masters degree for many majors.
Lynn offers study abroad in 40 countries for the January term, the summer, a semester or a year.  Lynn has sister schools in Dublin and Greece.
Support Services – 19% of the students take advantage of the comprehensive learning disability services at the Institute for Achievement and Learning, where an academic coach works with students on a weekly schedule.  This institute has 20 professional tutors with at least a Masters degree, a Writing Center with professional staff, and assistive technology.  There is support for students with Aspergers.
Retention – 69% of students return for their sophomore year and 40% graduate within 6 years.  To improve their retention, Lynn has recently instituted a mentor program for all students.  One staff member, who is not a professor, mentors five to ten freshmen. 
Extracurricular Activities – The school has NCAA Division II athletics.  The biggest sport to watch is basketball.  The women’s golf team recently won a championship.  Lynn just started a men’s Lacrosse team.  A new stadium for soccer and lacrosse will be finished in the Spring. 
There are three sororities and two fraternities at Lynn. 
Students are very involved with community service, cultural clubs, the psychology club, the communications club, intramurals and club sports. 
The second photo shows the monument built to remember students and faculty who died while doing community service in the January term in Haiti when the earthquake hit.
Campus housing – The freshman housing was pretty typical of most universities: doubles with a shared bathroom down the hall.  The unique feature of the freshman dorm was a sink in each room.
Admissions / Financial Aid – Admissions are rolling and the college is test optional.  95% of applicants are admitted.  Students with SAT scores for Critical Reading and Math between 890 and 1040, with a minimum GPA of 2.9, qualify for merit aid between $6,000 and $12,000 a year.  There is one Presidential full scholarship. 
Who would be happy at Lynn? – A student who is open to interacting with students of different nationalities and who is interested in participating in the school’s extracurricular activities would be happy here.

What is your experience with Lynn University?

Flagler College, St. Augustine, Florida

Flagler College, in St. Augustine, Florida, several miles from the beach, is the most beautiful campus I’ve visited, with many buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. The main building is a resort, built by oil magnate Henry Flagler in 1888, with Spanish-Moorish Renaissance Revival architecture.

The school is a private liberal arts college with an in-state, public university cost. The 2011-2012 cost for tuition, fees, room and board was $22,500. If you are a B/B+ student, somewhat conservative, and looking to go South you may want to consider it.

The school has around 2,500 students, small classes, a small campus in the center of St. Augustine and a 19-acre athletic complex two miles away. About 40 per cent of students are from out of the state of Florida. The school is a member of NCAA Division II.

Flagler has a limited number of majors in selected liberal arts and pre-professional disciplines. The most unusual majors are deaf education and sport management. The biggest majors are business administration, psychology, sport management, communication, and education.

The college has been making changes academically. Freshmen take a keystone seminar investigating cultural identity and communal values, drawing materials from a variety of disciplines. To improve transition to college, Flagler developed clusters of courses around a central interdisciplinary theme with each class attended by the same students.

All Freshmen are required to live on campus. The residence halls are all single-sex residence halls and students are not allowed to visit rooms or halls of students of the opposite sex.

For additional campus photos, check out the Slosberg College Solutions Facebook page.  If you visited or attended Flagler College, what were your impressions? 

Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Florida


Looking to go South to study engineering, aeronautics/aviation, or marine biology.  You may want to consider Florida Institute of Technology in the small city of Melbourne, not far from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.  Florida Tech is a private national research university with small classes, a flight school, and co-op opportunities for engineering majors. 
The school offers up to $19K/year in academic scholarships. Eagle Scouts and Gold Awards (Girl Scouts) receive a minimum of $10K/year in academic scholarships, as do members of high school FIRST Robotics teams.

Melbourne is not a college town and there is a low male/female ratio, so college life may be limited. There is, however, Greek life and over 100 clubs. The school is starting up a Football program in Fall 2013 and is a Division II school. About half the students are from out of the state of Florida; 20% are international students.

The school wants to encourage you to attend so the application is free and if you visit and subsequently attend, you will receive a $1,000/year Florida Visit Grant.

Have you attended or visited Florida Tech? What were your impressions?

For additional photos check out Slosberg College Solutions LLC Facebook page.