What’s new at NJ, NY and PA colleges

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 Insider’s Guide to the College Interview

Admissions personnel, alumni, or students may interview prospective students as part of the admissions process.  The interview lets the college get to know the prospective student as a person, not just as a name with list of grades and scores.  As much as the interview is a tool for the college to see if they want an applicant and to woo them, it is an opportunity for an applicant to learn more about the college and see if they want to attend.  Two alumni interviewers provided the following advice.

George Gawrys, a former alumni interviewer for MIT recommends:
1.      Be ready to describe why you’d be a good choice for the school (what will you contribute to the student body besides your brains, grades, and SAT scores).
2.      Be ready to talk about what you’ll major in and why, even if you are not sure.
3.      Act like the school is your first choice, even if it’s not.
4.      Have important questions ready to ask about the school and its locale.  Do some research on the school and familiarize yourself with the departments, reputation, and even some of the faculty.
5.      Don’t be shy, but don’t be arrogant either.
Curt Schmidt, an alumni interviewer for Lehigh University, indicates that Lehigh interviews are considered informational and that most students from central New Jersey interview on-campus with a representative of the Admissions Department, because of Lehigh’s close proximity.  An interview with a local Lehigh alum can be arranged, upon request.  Curt shared the following advice for those interested in interviewing with an alum:
1.      Request an interview with an alum that has a similar major or career to the one you are considering.  Alumni can provide insight into the college placement and career counseling available.
2.      Stay relaxed and confident, and answer honestly. 
3.      Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.  I will have to think about that.”
If you accomplish the following four things at the admissions interview, it is likely to be a success:
1.      Demonstrate good interpersonal skills.
2.      Show that you are knowledgeable and strongly interested in attending the college.
3.      Share information about yourself and your interests that make you desirable to the college.
4.      Get answers to important questions you have about the college.
Please chime in and share your insights.  If you interview prospective students for a college, what advice would you give?  If you recently had a college interview, what do you wish someone had told you, before the interview?

Lehigh University

In April, I walked the hilly campus of Lehigh University with its beautiful gothic architecture. Lehigh is a blend of liberal arts, business, and engineering in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. While the School of Liberal Arts is the largest, the university is best known for its business and engineering programs. Lehigh has small classes, with 72% of classes having fewer than 30 students. There are also about 200 study abroad programs in 60 counties available.

While I was on campus, I saw a group of mechanical engineering students, working with local middle school students, racing plastic molded injected cars that they had designed and built. I also saw students working on different research projects, including a wheelchair with audio controls. In the halls, I observed numerous Integrated Product Team project displays.

Venture capital of between $200 and $200,000 is available to students to translate their ideas into a business. One former student, now 28, went this route and currently has a $6 million business in aquarium filters.

Lehigh University has strong career placement. In 2009, 95% of students were placed within 6 months.

Social life at Lehigh is thriving as well. The school has Division I athletics, with a strong rivalry against nearby Lafayette. There are over 40 club and intramural sports. 37% of the student body is involved in Greek life. There are over 150 clubs. Music, theatre, and visual arts are popular, with practice rooms open to all students. While I was visiting Lehigh University, I saw one of the clubs in action. A group of students who meet weekly to do arts and crafts, were painting pottery.

Financially, Lehigh has loan elimination for families with incomes of less than $50,000 and loan reduction to families with incomes between $50,000 and $75,000. Merit scholarships are an automatic program with 5 – 8% of students receiving merit aid. Academic merit aid can be up to full tuition. If a student graduates Lehigh with 3.75 grade point, they get a 5th year free.

For another photo of Lehigh, check out the photo gallery on my Website. I’d love to hear your impressions of Lehigh University.