Curry College

Curry College is a small, private college in Milton, Massachusetts with about 2100 students. The majority of the students are from Massachusetts. The rest come from 35 states and 21 countries.

Academics – The most popular majors at Curry College are Health Professions, Business, Security and Communication. Curry has a 5-year Bachelors/Masters in Education and a 5-year Bachelors/MBA in Business. The most competitive major at Curry is Nursing. There is also an Honors program.

Learning Differences Program – Curry has a fee-based Learning Differences program called PAL (Program Advancement Learning) for students with language-based learning differences and/or ADHD. This program was established in 1970.

Typically about 20-25% of the freshman class participates in PAL. The PAL program costs about $7000 a year and students typically stay in the PAL program for one or two years. PAL students need to be able to advocate for themselves and they are not segregated in classes or housing. The PAL building includes an assistive technology center and a study lounge.

Over thirty learning specialists work in PAL. Students in PAL are matched with a specific learning specialist for consistency, and that learning specialist is their first year academic advisor. PAL students typically meet with a learning specialist twice a week for one and a quarter hours each time.

PAL students receive an iPad containing assistive technology. There is a full-time assistive technology professional aided by ten students knowledgeable in the use of assistive technology available to help PAL students.

Academic Supports – All Curry students can take advantage of the Writing Center, Speaking Center and Assistive Technology center.

For Fun – About 37% of the student body is involved in NCAA Division III Athletics. Students participate in many clubs and sports activities; they like to watch the hockey and basketball games. There is no Greek life on campus.

A shuttle takes students to Boston, the Legacy Place Shopping Center and the T station. The Orange and Purple line T station is about a mile from campus. There is also a small ski resort in walking distance from campus.

Internships – Some students get internships at Dunkin headquarters about a mile from campus. Students can work at the on-campus day care.

Admissions – Students with a high school GPA of over 3.3 are considered for the Honors Program. There is Honors housing.

There are 105 seats in Nursing each year. Students accepted into the Nursing program must have a GPA over 3.0 and average a 3.5 GPA. Their average SAT score is 1250 and their average ACT score is 24.

Merit aid – Merit aid of $2K – $30K is available.

Dean College

General – I visited Dean College in Franklin, Massachusetts as part of the Higher Education Consultants Association Conference in June. Dean has about 1200 undergrads. About 80% of students pursue a Bachelor’s degree and about 20% pursue an Associate’s degree.

The college is in a safe town in walking distance to stores. It is next to the Franklin Library, the oldest public library in the country.

The Dean motto is “Never Give Up” and their mascot is a bulldog.

Majors and Academics – The two most popular majors at Dean are Dance and Arts & Entertainment.

Dance and theater majors make up about one third of the student body with approximately 180 dance majors and 100 theater majors. The school has connections with the Disney Center, The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, the Boston Ballet, and the American College Dance Festival.

Dancers can receive a BA or a BFA. The BA students can study abroad and have more class choices. The Dance BFA can be in either choreography or performance. There is conservatory-style dance training. Students can study ballet, jazz, tap and modern dance. There is a Dance Abroad program in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Dean College is one of the few colleges with a full-time certified and licensed Athletic Trainer for the Dance majors.

The newest major is Biology.

The MAP program is for undecided students; by the end of their first year they select a major.

Classes are small and students make personal connections with faculty and staff, many of whom live on campus.

To ensure students are not surprised with a poor grade at the end of the semester, there is college-wide monitoring for student grades every 3 – 4 weeks. This helps with student retention and graduation rates.

Arch Program for Learning Differences (LD) – The school has the Arch Learning program, a fee-based program available for 200 students with LD. Students with documented LD can participate in this program for one or more years. For this program, the college is looking for motivated students who can self-advocate, have independent living skills (e.g., get up in the morning on their own, take medication on their own, eat healthy food, get out of their dorm room, solve problems without mom or dad, can handle a part-time job) and with the ability to do college level work (i.e., typically with an IQ of 90 or above).

Typically, the most intense support is in the freshman year. For example, freshmen on the program often do three hours of executive function coaching per week. Students in the Arch program take 1 Freshman Arch-designated class in the Fall and 2 Freshmen Arch-designated courses in the Spring taught by LD professionals. The content of these courses is the same as the courses taken by other students; it is not watered down.  They take 2 Arch-designated class in the Sophomore year and 1 Arch-designated seminar in the Junior year and in the Senior year.

Arch students live among all the other students and their classes are all over campus.

93% of Arch students return to Dean for their Sophomore year of college.

Learning Support – The entire school population has the following learning supports at no additional cost: Math Center, Writing Center, peer tutors, faculty tutors, and workshops for students. In addition, students who had an IEP or 504 Plan in high school may be eligible to use the school’s assistive technology at no additional cost.

Internships and After Graduation – Every student does at least one internship. There are more internships available than they Dean has students. The Sports Management major has a relationship with the stadium for the New England Patriots which is only 15 minutes from campus. They also have a relationship with soccer’s New England Revolution, as well as the Red Sox minor league baseball team.

The College indicated that they had a 96% placement rate for their graduates. They have direct admissions to certain graduate schools.

Extracurricular activities – There are performance, academic, athletic, multicultural and community service clubs. Students run the school radio station. Students can act starting in the freshman year; there are two musicals and three plays each year. An orchestra is hired for the musicals. Athletics are in NCAA Division III.

Diversity – Dean is diverse in many ways. Students come from about 40 states and 20 countries. About 35% of students are African-American or Hispanic. There is a large LGBTQ population on campus. 35% of students are athletes. 35% of students have a learning difference.

Renovation – The College is currently renovating the TV and radio station. The Library is scheduled to be renovated next summer. For sustainability, the school is changing all the light bulbs to LEDs.

Applications – Dean accepts the Common App and their own App and they are both free. The college is test optional, but they encourage students to send their scores even if they are low. They also encourage students to submit an essay and a letter of recommendation. Admissions are holistic.

Admission to the Dance major requires an audition.

Financial Aid – All domestic students are considered for merit aid, currently between $10K and $25K. International students qualify for a merit aid although the amounts are lower. There is no required GPA needed to keep your merit aid in future years.

Crossover College – Nearby Curry College is a crossover college which I also visited. I plan to write about Curry College in my next blog post.

Some of my favorite college references

Here are a few of my favorite college planning reference books and websites organized by category.  What other references do you like and use?
Figuring out what makes a college right for you: College Match
College Majors: Book of Majors
College Guides:
·         The Princeton Review, The Best 3xx Colleges
·         Fiske Guide to Colleges
·         America’s Best Colleges for B Students
·         Colleges That Change Lives
·         Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers
·         The K&W Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Differences
·         Rugg’s Recommendations on the Colleges
College Search Sites:
Chance for acceptance: Naviance scattergrams from your high school
Financial Aid:
·         Financial Aid information- http://www.finaid.org/
·         FAFSA Web site – http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/
·         CSS Financial Aid PROFILE – https://student.collegeboard.org/css-financial-aid-profile
·         Federal Student Aid – http://studentaid.ed.gov/
·         Some legitimate college scholarship search sites:

Net Price Calculator – on each college’s website

 

College Visits:
·         “A Pocket Guide To Choosing a College: Questions to Ask on Your College Visits” by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) – http://nsse.indiana.edu/pdf/NSSE_PocketGuide.pdf
·         On-line visit – www.youniversitytv.com
Common Application: http://www.commonapp.org/
College Essay: Conquering the College Admissions Essay on 10 Steps
Going to College Advice Guide:  The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College

Expected Pay when you Graduate: www.payscale.com
For students with Learning Differences:
·         “K&W Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder” by Marybeth Kravets and Imy Wax.
·          Information on SAT and ACT accommodations – http://professionals.collegeboard.com/testing/ssd and http://www.act.org/aap/disab/index.html.

·         “Questions for the Office of Disability Support” by Rana Slosberg on http://tourcollege.blogspot.com/2010/09/questions-for-office-of-disability.html.

Misericordia University

Misericordia University is a private Catholic university in Dallas, PA with values of mercy, service, justice and hospitality.  It has a lush green campus on 123 acres, approximately 10 miles from Wilkes-Barre, PA.  The school has about 2000 undergraduates with almost half pursuing degrees in Allied Health, including direct admittance into programs for Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physician’s Assistant and Speech Pathology.  Collaborative work is encouraged. 
Community service is an important extra-curricular activity with students performing about 150,000 hours of community service a year, placing them in the top 20 schools in the nation for community service.  Misericordia has over 30 clubs and 23 NCAA Division III sports, including football.  A shuttle to Wilkes-Barre is provided.
Ninety-one per cent of freshmen and 50% of the undergrads live on campus.  The freshmen dorms have boys on one wing of the floor and the girls in the other wing with communal single-gender bathrooms.  For upper-classmen, there are boys’ suites with their own bathroom next to girls’ suites with their own bathroom.
About fifty percent of the student body is Catholic and two courses in religion are part of the Core curriculum.  These do not have to be courses in Catholicism.
The school has rolling admissions.  The grades and SAT scores required for admission vary by major.  In general, students had an average high school GPA of 2.7 and an average SAT score of 850 (Critical Reading and Math).  Students admitted to the Nursing or Allied Health majors had higher grades and test scores (i.e., Nursing – 2.8 GPA and an SAT score of 960; Allied Health majors – GPA of 3.0 or higher and an SAT score greater than 1050).  If you want to learn more about the school consider attending the overnight stay program.  There are also 2 – 3 day camps for a small fee to get more of a flavor of different majors.  In addition to need-based aid, the school has academic and extracurricular scholarships. 
Misericordia has the Alternative Learners Project, a special program for 15-20 students with Learning Differences and/or ADHD, for an additional fee.

The university has a Guaranteed Placement Program, which guarantees a job offer or enrollment in graduate school within 6 months after graduation, if you meet the requirements of the program which include maintaining a GPA of at least 3.0, completing an internship or approved work experience, and conducting an active job search.  If you don’t get a job in your field, the school will guarantee you a 3-month paid internship in your field. 

Update on Landmark College

Earlier this month, Landmark College, a college serving students with language-based learning disabilities, announced three new academic programs would be starting this Fall:

  1. BA in Liberal Studies
  2. Associate of Science in Life Sciences
  3. Associate of Science in Computer Science/Gaming.

For more information on Landmark College, see my original blog post on this school.

What’s your experience with Landmark College and how do you view these new academic programs?

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.

Landmark College

After spending a day and a half at the “Professional Visit Days for Educators” at Landmark College this month, I feel strongly that Landmark College is a college that changes lives.

Landmark is a unique college in Putney, Vermont that offers an associate degree program to a student body of about 500 students who learn differently and who are likely to struggle in a traditional college setting.  The students (69% male) are average and above average students with learning differences and/or ADHD.
In addition to giving the students an opportunity to earn their Associates degree, Landmark prepares these students to transfer into Bachelor’s degree programs with the:
· Ability to read and write with a high level of independence
· Knowledge of their strengths and challenges in learning
· Ability to ask for services and support
· Ability to keep track of assignments, organize materials, and manage time effectively.
The Landmark staff members have all been trained to teach and work with students with learning differences and/or ADHD. Many of the staff members are graduates of Landmark or have children who attended Landmark.
Landmark also offers summer programs for:
· Rising High School Juniors and Seniors
· College-Bound Seniors (not going to Landmark)
· Visiting College Students.
I have Professional Day Scholarship Referral forms, which will allow up to three of my clients to receive a $75 application fee waiver and priority consideration for financial aid for the Fall 2011 Semester and/or one of the Landmark Summer Programs for the Summer of 2011.

If you have attended or visited Landmark College, share your experiences.

Questions for the Office of Disability Support

If you are a student with Learning Differences and/or ADHD, I recommend that you research and visit with the personnel in the departments that provide disability services at the college. These services may be in one department or spread over several departments with names like Disability Support Services, Office of Disability Support, Learning Support Center, and Academic Support Center. Think about what information you need to help you decide whether the program meets your needs.

Some questions you may have are:

  1. What is the philosophy of the program?
  2. How many professionals are on staff?
  3. What services, accommodations, workshops, and adaptive technology are available?
  4. What is the procedure for students to receive accommodations from a professor?
  5. How many tutors are on staff? Are they peer or professional tutors? How often can students be tutored? What subjects is tutoring available for?
  6. Are there organizational coaches?
  7. How many students are accepted in the program each year? How many apply?
  8. Is there a fee for the program? How much is the fee?
  9. How does the graduation rate for students in the program compare to the overall graduation rate?
  10. What documentation is needed to apply for the program? Is there a separate application for the program? Is an interview required?
  11. Is there an orientation before the freshman year?

What other questions would you ask?

I will be giving a talk on “College Support for Students with Learning Differences or ADHD” on Tuesday, November 16 at 7 pm in Somerville, NJ. For more information and to register, call 908.725.7799 or email admin@jewishfamilysvc.org.