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.

State University of New York – Purchase

State University of New York – Purchase might be especially interesting for you if you are interested in the fine or performing arts. It is one of the few public universities, which is an arts specialty school. There are four theatres on campus, a relatively new Dance Building with 12 dance studios, and the Neuberger Museum.  The movie “Black Swan” was shot here.

Twenty-five percent of students are from outside of New York State.  Politically, the student body is liberal. 35% of the students are vegetarian and the school has a vegetarian eatery, Terra-Ve on campus. There are 70 clubs and Division III Athletic teams. The largest student group on campus is the LGBT group. The Cheese Club is a also very popular group. One of the social highlights of the year is the Zombie Prom. There are no fraternities or sororities at SUNY Purchase.

The school is located in a wealthy, suburban residential area. A short bus ride will take you to White Plains. From White Plains, you can get to Manhattan by train in 45 minutes.

For additional SUNY Purchase photos, check out the Slosberg College Solutions LLC Facebook page.

If you attended or visited SUNY Purchase recently, what were your impressions?