Rich Educational Opportunities at College

Rich educational opportunities support student learning and development at college according to the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) at Indiana University for Postsecondary Research. NSSE suggests that students ask colleges the following questions to learn about the college’s rich educational opportunities:

  • “How many courses include community-based service-learning projects?
  • What types of honors courses, learning communities, and other distinctive programs are offered?
  • How many students get practical, real-world experience through internships or off-campus field experiences?
  • How many students study in other countries?
  • What co-curricular activities are most common (performing arts, athletics, fraternities and sororities, guest speakers, etc.)?”

Here are examples of rich educational opportunities at colleges and universities:

The College of New Jersey
  • 91 percent complete internships (American University).
  • All students study abroad (Goucher College).
  • More than seventy courses combine academics with service work in the community (George Washington University).
  • As an alternative to a major and a minor, students can do the Nexus program which builds opportunities for internships, off-campus research, and public presentations in addition to coursework. Participating students can select from one of nine pre-professional tracks (Mount Holyoke College).
  • Community service organization arranges for students to volunteer in about 600 placements (Smith College).
  • Students dorm their freshman year with those in their first year seminar class (The College of New Jersey).
  • Students complete an independent study project in the last two years of college (College of Wooster).
  • Students staff and manage nine campus businesses (University of Massachusetts – Amherst).
  • The Outside the Classroom curriculum is an optional co-curricular program that rounds out the college experience with activities in leadership development, sense of self, service to others, and art appreciation (University of Pittsburgh).
  • Students can spend a semester getting hands-on conservation education from the Smithsonian Institution, George Mason University, and wildlife protection agencies (George Mason University).
  • All students do independent research for three years in the January term and all complete a senior project or write a thesis that they defend before a faculty committee (New College of Florida).
New College of Florida

Tulane University

Tulane University is a private, residential, research university in New Orleans, Louisiana with about 6800 full-time undergraduates from all over the country and the world. The location in a big city, known for great food, night life, jazz music and interesting architecture is big draw, especially since the school has a campus. A big campus tradition is throwing your Mardi Gras beads on this tree in the academic quad.

One distinguishing factor is Tulane’s focus on community service. Tulane has public service graduation requirements including:

·    One service learning course no later than the fifth semester 

A second distinguishing factor is that students do not apply to a particular school or major within Tulane University and they can take classes in any of Tulane’s colleges.

According to Tulane’s website “applications to Tulane have increased more than 65 percent over the past five years, with 41,365 applications arriving this year. The university’s selectivity rate, the number of students who apply versus the number of students who are accepted, also improved to just over 13 percent – matching or surpassing some of the nation’s top schools.”