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:
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).
Getting into the Rutgers-Newark 7-year medical program is highly competitive. The first three years are spent at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Caldwell University, Stockton University, Rutgers-Newark, The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), Montclair State University or Stevens Institute of Technology and the last four years are spent at Rutgers-Newark. Fifty-two students were admitted into this 7-year program this year, across the seven schools.
Stevens Institute of Technology
The program requirements are:
Top 10% of high school graduating class
Minimum SAT score of 1400 or ACT score of 32, with neither being superscored
U. S. citizen or permanent resident by the start of the medical program portion
Must have a high school GPA > 3.5, although the high school GPA is usually > 4.0
Need a B or higher in all pre-med college classes
Must take the MCAT while in college and score at the national average or higher
Need to maintain a GPA of at least 3.5 each college semester.
Here are suggested activities during high school for students interested in this program:
Volunteer in a hospital
Go on a medical mission trip
Learn about different medical specialties
Participate in research (e.g., in a summer science program)
Be an EMT volunteer
Be a lifeguard
Start a non-profit.
To get accepted, there are two interviews: one is a general admissions interview and the second is a medical school interview. It is a good idea for students to practice their interpersonal and interview skills.
Recently, Stevens had 150 applicants to the program. Of the 150 applicants, ten were interviewed and two were accepted. The Stevens application is due in mid-November and the Caldwell application is due by December 1.
Students are notified if they have been accepted by the medical school by early April, not April 1. The medical school communicates with the student using the Common App email address, so the student should check that email address daily to ensure they don’t miss any time-critical communications.
Thanks to Julie Washington of Caldwell University and Brian Switay of Stevens Institute of Technology for sharing this information at the 2017 NJACAC conference.
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 college admissions personnel on the panel spoke about the admissions trends at their colleges. This post focuses on the comments from Rider University, Fordham University and TCNJ admissions personnel.
Susan Christian, Dean of Enrollment at Rider University commented that there was growth in interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), education, and fine and performing arts programs at Rider. There was an increase in the percentage of Hispanic students. The school had a new academic building, a new residential hall, and had improved their theatres. Rider looked at the strength of the high school student’s academic program and transcript. They had 8500 applications for 950 freshman seats. For the Westminster Choir College, the audition is a critical factor.
John Buckley, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management at Fordham University, noted that 40% of students are undeclared majors to start. At Fordham the biggest majors are biology and communications. When he started working at Fordham, the school received about 4000 applications a year; now they receive about 36000 applications, including 2500 international applications. Fordham admits students with an average 3.7 Grade Point Average (GPA) and an SAT score between 1830 and 2050 (3 sections). They look for an upward trend in grades, students who are leaders, and students who give service to their school/community. It is difficult to do an internal transfer into the business school.
Grecia Montero, Director of Admissions at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) saw a 7% increase in freshman applications this year, with an 11% increase in applications for biology majors. There is a new Education building, as well as a new Arts & Communication building. There was an increase in applicants from Massachusetts and Connecticut. The SAT was optional this year, for the first time. Acceptance is based on the department you are interested in. There were 11,000 applications with 4,000 acceptances. Students are typically from the top 10-15% of their class with SAT scores between 1250 and 1360 (for Critical Reading and Math). High school rank and test scores needed for admissions are more difficult for certain majors including Chemistry, Biology and Nursing. The school keeps track of student visits and communications with the school. TCNJ has no cap on out-of-state or international students.
The next post on college admissions trends will focus on the comments from admissions personnel at the remaining three colleges: Rutgers University, Stevens Institute of Technology, and Manhattanville College.
If you want to go to a state college in New Jersey, but Rutgers feels way too big to you, there are plenty of other choices. The most academically challenging of your alternatives is The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), a school with an undergraduate enrollment of about 6000. TCNJ has a beautiful 289-acre campus in the suburbs with brick buildings, mostly in the Georgian style. The school has liberal arts, business, and education. The classes are small with the biggest class being 40 students and there are plenty of opportunities for research, internships, projects, and study abroad.
Everyone on your floor in the freshman dorm is in the same freshman seminar and there are 2 roommate switch dates just in case your freshman roommate doesn’t work out. Ninety-five percent of freshmen return for their sophomore year, while the average retention for state colleges is only sixty-seven percent. Popular activities include two big concerts per year; dances, concerts, movies, and parties; and free and low cost day trips to NY, Philly and Princeton. There are few classes on Wednesdays so clubs and sports meet then. It is easy to get involved but you need to be proactive about it. TCNJers are friendly, but it gets harder to meet people after freshman year.
I have one caveat for all NJ state colleges. With the NJ economy in the doldrums, state budget cuts may impact school quality, tuition, or a student’s ability to finish in four years.
For additional photos of TCNJ, check out the Slosberg College Solutions Facebook page. If you have attended or visited TCNJ recently, share your impressions.