Johnson and Wales in Denver is one of four universities in the JW system. Once you are admitted to one, you can easily transfer to another, with locations in Providence, Charlotte, North Miami, and Denver. The Denver location has easy access to internships as well as the delights of downtown Denver. Johnson and Wales is best known for its culinary arts program, but they offer many other programs as well such as business, and a new a Health Sciences major to help students prepare for careers in the health field. The Wildcats are NCAA DIII and host a variety of men's and women's teams including soccer, cross country, basketball, and track. The dorms are spacious, and grounds are immaculate. A plus is that they are test optional and evaluate students holistically! https://www1.jwu.edu/denver/
The Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs looks for men and women they can train and inspire to become committed leaders of our future. Their philosophy of whole person development encompasses 3 aspects: academics, athletics, and the academy experience. Students will have access to world-class facilities and teachers who emphasize being thinkers, problem solvers, and the consequences of choice. The Air Force Fighting Falcons offer NCAA Division 1 sports teams in addition to club level and intramural team options. All students take four years of PE. The academy experience includes basic cadet training, and the all important honor code, which is taken seriously. As with all of the service academies, if you are selected to attend, your education is paid for by Uncle Sam, and when you graduate, you know what your job will be! The admissions process starts in the junior year, and is rigorous, but judging by the young men and women I met, they are having the experience of a lifetime! http://www.academyadmissions.com/
Portland State University https://www.pdx.edu/ is located in the heart of downtown Portland and is a great choice for students who are looking for an exciting urban setting with lots of opportunities for internships, and city fun. It's not surprising that business and marketing are the most popular majors. Portland State is a WUE school, (Western Undergraduate Exchange,) which offers reduced tuition to neighboring states if you meet the academic requirements. This makes PSU an affordable option for out-of-state students. Portland State has rolled out a 4 year degree guarantee and many other exciting programs, in fact they have been named in the top 10 for innovation by US News & World Reports! https://www.pdx.edu/insidepsu/us-news-ranks-psu-as-top-10-most-innovative
Today I attended the CSU counselor conference to get the latest updates for the 23 California State University Campuses. There is good news within the CSU, 4-year graduation rates are on the rise and programs such as SB-1450, The California Promise, offer enhanced advising and other support to help students graduate in four years. http://ticas.org/keeping-californias-promise. Campus impaction continues at many schools which can make getting in more difficult. Impaction means there are more applicants than seats, this can be campus wide, or program specific. The campuses with all programs impacted include: San Diego State, San Jose State, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Fresno State, Cal State Fullerton, and Cal State Long Beach. The California State University system was created to serve the top third of California students and that bar keeps getting higher. A sneak preview into the future promises an updated application with a new name, Cal State Apply, coming Fall of 2018. The current application, CSU Mentor, https://secure.csumentor.edu/logon.asp will open on October 1st and close November 30th.
October 20, 2015 · Colorado Springs, CO ·
Colorado Collage in Colorado Springs is a very selective top liberal arts college located at the foot of Pike's Peak. Colorado College is known for the "block plan." It's a unique way of taking classes, one at time! Students are able to study in depth in one subject, typically from 9-noon every day. This allows for field trips, research, and only studying for one final at a time! Colorado College encourages students to become fully immersed in the subject. Imagine sailing in the Mediterranean while reading Homer and retracing Odysseus' adventures. Colorado College has a study abroad program that does just that! The students are engaged, friendly, and have a lot of input with the administration. If a block plan interests you, I recommend you take a look at Colorado College. #coloradocollege #pikespeakview https://www.coloradocollege.edu/
Now that graduating seniors have committed to their colleges, the spotlight is on juniors, or rising seniors, as they are soon to be known. Students think they’ve got all the time in the world until college application season, that’s in the fall—right? Unfortunately, no—college application starts in the summer. Before you can start your essays and applications, you need to have a list. To make a list you need to do research and have good information. You need to know what characteristics you are looking for, what programs of study interest you, how much you can afford, or how to make college more affordable. Juniors, you need to cast a wide net so you can investigate which schools and programs make it to your “short list” by the time you are ready to submit. In addition to online research, you need to visit. Getting your feet on campus is the only way to know if a college will be a good fit. Glossy view books always make the school look great—and it is—for the right student—but is that you? All of this takes time. Juniors, have you started exploring? Do you know how much college costs and how much your parents can afford? Do you know what kind of college you want to attend and what you want to study?
If you are feeling a bit behind, you still have time, if you start now! Waiting until fall will only increase your stress. Remember, you still have classes and activities in the fall in addition to college applications. Applying to college is like homework in another class, and applying to highly selective colleges or more than nine schools is like homework in an AP class. Every fall I get calls from “late breaking seniors.” Many college advisors are full by then. Students and families are in full panic mode and careful planning is hard to do in the heat of the moment. You may be able to find help, but it is more work for everybody when you are trying to do everything in a few weeks. I’ve often heard from families that they wish they had started sooner. It’s only May, but Senior Year starts in summer!
Test planning is essential for you. The class of 2017 is in the unique position of choosing from the old SAT, the redesigned SAT, or the ACT—depending on your testing plan. Have you thought about it? Is your course work rigorous enough to be challenging, but well balanced so you have time to study, do well, and have a life? Have you started thinking about your interests and strengths and how they fit with different types of colleges and programs? Ideally you will want to start visiting colleges this summer and begin to craft a list during your junior year. Do you know how to research to find your best fit?
If you think about it, all of high school is really a long-term plan for college admission: your courses, your grades, your test scores, your extra-curricular activities. Many families find that they have not put much thought into college applications until very late in the game. Working with an advisor can help you focus and keep you pointed on a path to a best fit college. When is the best time to start? I’d say now--there is no downside to planning early.
Colorado State, Fort Collins
CSU Fort Collins is a hidden gem that I wish more California students knew about. CSU is a large university with about 23,000 students and offers something for just about everybody with 190 majors and programs of study. It is a mix of the picturesque historic buildings on “The Oval” along with extensively renovated buildings and new construction. The university is located in Fort Collins which is a mix of a college town and suburbs--with light industry that offers opportunity for internships. The historic downtown is just blocks away from the university and has great restaurants, fun shops, and plenty of charm. You really get the college town feel in this small city.
Colorado State is a leading research university and is committed to the mission of teaching, research, and outreach. At CSU, students have the opportunity to participate in active learning opportunities including field experience, laboratory research, and study abroad. Students are able to work closely with professors who are leaders in their field. You do not need to declare your major when you apply; they are very open to students who are still exploring. CSU is a student friendly institution!
One of the things that most impressed me was the great support for students. There is free tutoring in writing, math, and many other subjects available on a drop-in basis. The class sizes tend to be on the small side which allows professors to get to know their students and take an interest in their success. Lecture classes are taught by professors with an additional 1 unit recitation offered that is supported by graduate teaching assistants. The lectures have about 30-40 students and the recitations about 10. Recitations may be optional or required, but our tour guide recommended taking it because it is like getting a unit of credit to study for the course with a TA. This is quite a contrast to many large public institutions that have lecture classes in the hundreds! There is also excellent pre-professional health advising that will point you to, and keep you on the path toward your chosen professional school. They help with course selection, test planning, applications, and interviewing in a very personal way.
CSU also has an honors program that reminds me of a liberal arts education within a large research institution. The honors program requires 4 seminar courses that satisfy the core curriculum, (general education), and two major courses, along with a senior thesis. This course of study focuses on communication, critical thinking, and problem solving and is available to all majors. There is also an academic village for honors students that is new and roomy.
Student life at CSU also has something for everybody. Freshmen are required to live on campus, and there are plenty of dorms and room styles. I tried the food—it was good! The new recreation center is amazing--from the pool with the lazy river to the classes, equipment, outdoor programs, and of course--the massage studio! It rivals any other rec center I have seen. There are 300 days of sunshine a year, and while it does snow, it melts after a few days, so you don’t get stuck inside for too long. Skiing and hiking are only an hour away in the Rocky Mountains. If you are looking for the big city, Denver is about an hour south down the interstate. There is Greek life-- but you don’t have to go Greek to have fun. There are numerous clubs, sports, and outdoor programs. The Rocky Mountain Showdown is always a big event against their rival, CU, Boulder.
CSU, Fort Collins, can be a real financial plus to a California student. They are part of the Western Undergraduate Exchange, WUE, which offers 150% of in-state tuition to California students who qualify. At CSU, the WUE is a scholarship that is calculated on a sliding scale of GPA and test scores. If you don’t qualify for the WUE, there are other scholarships available that can make this out-of-state school financially viable.
The University of Denver
The University of Denver, or DU, while located in a large urban area, doesn’t have a big city feel until you go off campus. The buildings, both old and new, are beautiful with wide expanses of lawn and a covered walkway over the streets that go through campus. Though it was established as a Methodist seminary, it no longer has ties to any religious organization. DU is a medium sized university with about 5,000 students. They combine the best qualities of a liberal arts college with the size and career focus of a professional school. They have a large study abroad program that prepares students for the global society we have become. DU offers a wide variety of courses of study, with well-appointed facilities. There is a real feeling of community here and the university fosters this in their students by teaching them how to build communities and companies that will flourish. They believe in taking responsibility for one another, which shows in the friendliness and caring for others exhibited on campus. There is also an emphasis on community service that is dedicated to the public good.
DU has a wide variety of majors and programs and students can use electives to count towards a double major or pick up a minor. Classes are taught by professors 99.8% of the time and the average class size is 21 students. This fosters intimacy within the class and with professors whose priority is coaching students in research and creating your own knowledge. Business is the most popular major, but there are many majors and programs to choose from. Music is wonderful at DU, and you don’t have to be a music major to participate. There is an amazing performing arts center with a concert hall that is a replica of the opera house in Vienna, a flexible theater allowing for numerous configurations, and a smaller recital hall for intimate performances. There are also practice rooms and instrument storage facilities, so you can bring your instrument to college. The school of hospitality management emphasizes a foundation in business with specialized classes in hospitality management for well-rounded and skilled graduates. In fact, DU graduates in this program have to complete at least 1,000 hours of work experience. There is a film school as well as social sciences, hard sciences, and great pre health advising.
Student life is buzzing on and off campus. Students have easy access to the downtown area on the light rail system that stops at the edge of campus. Tuition and fees include a light rail and bus pass, so students will often take the light rail downtown to the 16th street mall which has shopping and great restaurants. Students can live on campus all 4 years, and there is housing in the neighborhoods adjacent to campus that students still consider “on campus.” Greek life is popular, but you do not have to “be Greek” to be included. DU is in NCAA division I. While there isn’t a football team to cheer for, students get caught up in hockey and lacrosse, especially when playing their rivals at Colorado College. The Ritchie Sports Complex rivals a professional center with an ice arena, Olympic sized swimming pool and separate fields for the club and intramural teams so they don’t have to vie for practice time with the D1 teams.
Though DU is a popular choice for locals, the university makes a point of having a geographically diverse student body with students from nearly every state in the union. They also offer generous merit scholarships and an extra stipend to out-of-state students who live in the residence halls. The food is good and there are a variety of configurations of halls to suit your living preferences. Many students ski, but that is not essential for you to fit in. The mile high city has lots of sunshine, (good for California kids), and 4 seasons--sometimes all in one day!
Students are happy, learning, and excited about the possibilities as they move on from college. The career center offers resume guidance, interview help and placement assistance. In fact 97% of graduates are employed or in grad school 6 months after graduation. Some of the top companies that recruit from DU are: The Big 4 accounting firms, Kaiser, Nike, and numerous start-ups. Denver is slated to be a city that millennials will flock to as job opportunities continue to be on the rise.
It may be a little shocking. You may feel sad or angry--definitely disappointed. Try not to take it personally. The most selective schools deny numerous qualified candidates. Remember that the most selective schools are a statistical reach for all students. But, whether you were denied at a top-tier school or Big State U, they can’t accommodate all applicants. In this case it’s them not you!
Take Some Time for Yourself
Allow yourself some time to grieve your dream. You may want to talk it over with friends, family, or your school counselor. You may not want to tell anybody at first, and that’s ok too. The first few days are the worst as you process the fact that you won’t be going to the school you’ve pictured yourself at for months. Take care of yourself with exercise, friends, a little TLC, and realize that this disappointment will fade over time.
Don’t blame yourself and go over “would’ve, should’ve, could’ve-s.” Retracing your academic or extra-curricular path is not going to change the result, but it will make you feel worse thinking about how things might have turned out if only you had been more motivated your sophomore year. You can’t change that lazy summer or “C” in algebra, so looking toward the future will help you move on.
Appealing an admission decision is usually strongly discouraged by universities. Appeals can be successful in rare occasions such as a violation of admission policy. You may be able to appeal an admissions decision early in the process if you have compelling new information to offer such as significantly improved test scores, grades, or a circumstance you left out of your application. However, this generally applies to less selective schools which still have seats to fill. Appeals also keep you “stuck in the dream,” and make it hard to move on and embrace your Plan B. So while it might be tempting to try an appeal, most of the time it is best to accept the decision and move on.
What you do with your education and opportunities is so much more important than the name on your diploma. There is no “golden ticket” school. A Harvard degree is not a guarantee for a successful life. This article, entitled How to Survive College Madness, has a wonderful take on how being denied can be an opportunity-in-disguise for many students. http://www.nytimes.com/…/frank-bruni-how-to-survive-the-col…
Now that you have eliminated “Dream School U” from your list, take a look at the schools that have accepted you. Are there any you haven’t visited or need look at again? Attending the admitted student events that are available in late March and throughout April can give you a new perspective. When you attend the admitted student event you are the one being wooed by the school. It feels pretty good to know that they want you and are trying to entice you to say yes. It will be easier to picture yourself there knowing you are “in.” While you are there, spend time on campus, eat in the dining commons, talk with students, sit in on a class, or meet with a professor in your major. These are all good ways to get a deeper feel for the college.
Being waitlisted may actually feel more challenging than getting an outright denial. It prolongs the unknown and keeps you from “going all in” on a final decision. Keep in mind that the waitlist is devised for the benefit of the college, not the student. The college has seats to fill, the waitlist ensures this. Most colleges will not start admitting off the waitlist until after May 1. It is possible you will not know the final outcome of the waitlist until June or July and remember, many students do not get admitted at all. Here are the steps to take if you are waitlisted:
1. Opt-in: most schools will have a procedure for indicating that you would like to remain on the waitlist. It could be an essay to write, a survey to fill out or a muse click. If you want to stay on the waitlist, be sure you follow the instructions.
2. Find a viable second choice school you can be happy with. Remember back in the fall when you applied? You should have only applied to schools that you would want to attend—so go visit if necessary and pick another school.
3. Submit an enrollment deposit at “Second Choice U” by May 1. Then sign up for orientation, choose your housing and make a housing deposit. Submitting an enrollment deposit by the May 1st deadline is essential so that you will be able to go to college. (You may only deposit at one school.)
4. Start picturing yourself at “Second Choice U”—it may become your first choice! If you do end up getting the call from “First Choice U” that you have been admitted, you will have to make an enrollment deposit with them. After your spot is secured with First Choice, then you can call Second Choice and let them know that you were admitted off the waitlist at another school and you will not be enrolling there. It is important to note that you will forfeit your enrollment deposit at that point. You should, however, be able to get your housing deposit refunded. You will also have to notify the college housing department to get that initiated.
Handling disappointment and failure is part of life’s journey. However, the old saying, “When one door closes another one opens,” is the perfect metaphor. Sometimes the best journey is the one we didn’t expect.
One of the important aspects of choosing a college that is “the right fit” is understanding how colleges and universities differ. A liberal arts college focuses on a well-rounded education as opposed to a career-based education. It offers a philosophy of education that goes back to the ancient Greeks, emphasizing ideas and ways of thinking that aren’t specific to a particular job. Liberal arts colleges value communication, critical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork--all of which are valuable assets in the work-force and society as a whole.
Liberal Arts in a Technical World?
Liberal arts colleges still offer degrees in science and mathematics as well as the behavioral sciences, arts, and languages. A liberal arts education is an excellent springboard to medical school, graduate school, and the world of work. Even people with technical degrees can benefit from a liberal arts experience. As my engineer friend put it, “Engineers should all have liberal arts educations because the world is full of well-trained people who can solve technological problems. Innovation will come from the people who solve social problems, not technical problems.” He used the iPhone as an example, “The problems that drove its desirability were social problems; the value is what the phone does for you and how you interact with it, not how it is made.” He emphasized, “A person needs both a liberal arts view point and a technical specialty. The former, to have the perspective, persuasion, and critical thinking skills; the latter is to have enough credibility that people will hire and listen to you.” Michael Dickerson, of Etsy summed it up this way, “You need to understand how people think and how people live, and knowing calculus isn’t going to help you with that.” There are many successful CEOs of tech companies that have a liberal arts degree. Having those “soft-skills,” such as communication and problem solving abilities helped position them for success, even when their degree was not related to the company’s product. This article goes into more detail: http://www.inc.com/laura-entis/6-cases-for-the-value-of-a-liberal-arts-education.html Even if you opt for a research institution, getting a liberal arts foundation will be beneficial for any field you choose.
Characteristics of a Liberal Arts College
Another benefit to liberal arts colleges is that they usually offer small class sizes that are taught by professors. Undergraduates are the focus and since graduate programs are limited, if they exist at all, undergrads get to participate in professor lead research as early as their freshman and sophomore years. The professors are there to teach and interact with students. Students will get to know their professors, and more importantly, the professors get to know their students, this enables students to get excellent guidance and recommendations towards career paths or graduate programs.
Isn't a Liberal Arts College Expensive?
Benefits of a Liberal Arts Education
The University of Arizona
I just got back from visiting some really great universities in Arizona and I want to share the highlights!
Our first stop was at the University of Arizona in Tucson. The U. of A. is a large flagship research institution with approximately 34,000 undergraduate students. Though Tucson is a large city, it has a college town feel. The university is a big part of Tucson’s economy, community, and spirit. Why would you consider the University of Arizona? It has strong academics while preparing students to be “real-world” ready. There are programs for student engagement, and because it is primarily an undergraduate school, undergrads are able to participate in research. There are over 300 majors here, in addition to the only medical school in the state.
The U of A has great opportunities for California students. The total cost of attendance is lower than many neighboring states’ big public universities. There are also scholarships available to out-of-state students. In addition, you can stack private scholarships on top of the institutional scholarships to help cut costs. College entrance exams, (SAT/ACT) are optional in limited form. So, if you want to go into engineering, architecture, or receive merit-based aid, you will need to test. However, if testing is not your strong suit, you will still be considered for admission without sending scores. 40% of “out-of-staters” are from California, New York, or Illinois.
The University of Arizona has an excellent honors college that is built into the initial application. The Honors College has a separate dorm, and has courses that are taught exclusively by professors. If you want to have more personal academic engagement, then the Honors College might be a great choice for you. With 15-25 students per class, you can explore the subject in depth and participate in discussion based courses that get you to think!
Another amazing feature is the SALT, (Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques), Center. This program is a good fit for students who want the full college experience, but have some learning differences to overcome. Each student is assigned a learning specialist and has access to tutoring, time management tools, and organization strategies. There is an additional application and fee for this support, but it can really help students navigate though college and emerge skilled, confident, and ready for work.
The Wild Cat spirit is as vibrant as the desert sun and students are into athletics, clubs, Greek-life, as well as internships and studies. U of A students know how to “Bear Down” to get the job done—“Go Cats!”
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
This private university is located in picturesque Prescott. This is a school for students who know what they want to do and like to “get their hands dirty.” Flight is the big draw here. You can get your flight ratings for fixed wing single engine, multi-engine, helicopter, and flight instructor. The program is so good that ERAU grads get 500 qualifying hours waived before being hired as pilots at the regional airlines. The flight line has fixed wing aircraft and helicopters. There are flight simulators, wind simulators, and hands-on flight experience. Many ERUA grads continue on as flight instructors as they accrue the flight hours necessary to get hired at the “regionals.” Flying is not included in the cost of attendance, it is an extra investment, but ERUA graduates usually have no trouble finding jobs. Some students major in aeronautics or air traffic control with an eye on becoming a commercial pilot,while others pursue flight as a hobby.
Embry-Riddle is more than an aeronautical university. They have an excellent engineering school with hands-on experience in the “design-build-test” engineering process. The projects are team based and often interdisciplinary with funding from industries such as Honeywell and NASA. We saw wind tunnels and pressure vessels, machine shops and robots under construction. The CSI, College of Security and Intelligence, is the newest, with majors such as Global Security and Intelligence, and Cyber Intelligence and Security. Graduates of these majors often get jobs with the “three letter agencies.”
They have a large Air Force ROTC detachment as well as Army ROTC. Embry-Riddle is actively recruiting women and expanding their athletics programs for both men and women. As part of the NAIA they currently offer cross-country, soccer, golf, wrestling, women’s softball, and have just added basketball! The Golden Eagle Flight Team is a big deal here, they compete both regionally and nationally and have many championship titles to their name.
If you aren’t quite ready college, Embry-Riddle also has some wonderful summer camp programs for younger students, such as flight, robotics, and even a balloon camp, which has students building, launching, and analyzing the data collected. Check out this link to see all of the options. http://summercamps.erau.edu/camps/index.html
Northern Arizona University
“Northern” is located in Flagstaff up in the mountains. It is at 7,000 feet elevation, so the climate is a lot like Tahoe. Cold in the winter, warm in the summer with lots of sunshine makes this Arizona destination a great place to attend college. Skiing is only minutes away, and the quaint town has lots of fun and funky shops and restaurants that attract tourists as well as college students. Flagstaff has a true college town feel.
NAU is an affordable option for California students because it is part of the Western Undergraduate Exchange, WUE. This means that students from California can attend for 150% of in-state tuition, which when added to the cost of living makes it competitive with California public universities. However, there is no WUE for nursing or dental hygiene majors. NAU also has merit scholarships for out-of-state students—even just visiting before you apply can net you a small scholarship! NAU is a test optional school; however, if you want to be considered for any scholarships, you must submit test scores. There are a host of majors from business, to criminal justice, health professions, and many more. There is a small engineering department as well, and an honors college whose motto is “Work smarter, not harder.” There really is something for just about everybody.
The university started as a teacher’s college, but has expanded its’ horizons in the last 115 years. The school is divided into “North Campus” and “South Campus,” and a convenient shuttle bus will take you where you need to go, or you can ride your bike or skateboard. The school is a mix of some old and lots of new, with several projects under construction. The social scene on campus is vibrant with something for everyone. If you are interested in Greek life, they have a Greek dorm, instead of a Greek Row. If fraternities and sororities aren’t for you, there are plenty of clubs and outdoor activities to keep you busy in your “down time.” Beautiful Sedona and the Grand Canyon are both an easy day trip, and if you long for lights and the big city, Phoenix is 2 hours down the interstate. I can see why California kids like this school!
ASU Polytechnic Campus
The “800-pound gorilla” in Arizona has to be Arizona State University, ASU. It is now the largest university in the country. In fact, it has 4 campuses. The main campus in Tempe is the best known and has the Sun Devil Stadium and vibrant social scene. We visited the Polytechnic campus in Mesa, southeast of Phoenix. It is only a 20 minute shuttle ride between campuses, and the Polytechnic campus may be ASU’s “hidden gem.” It is housed on the former Williams Air Force Base, but there has been so much growth and refurbishment, you would hardly know this formerly belonged to the military. ASU Poly offers flight and air traffic control, as well as engineering, business, aerospace, education, sciences, and technology. ASU evaluates students based on 16 core competencies instead of comparing student to student, which means if you are qualified, you will be admitted. They have certain programs that are WUE eligible, but you must take your classes at the campus to which you are admitted. Poly is not a “back-door” into the Tempe campus! However, you can participate in all of the activities in Tempe, including football, Greek life, and clubs. Poly has a beautiful new recreation center that was designed with input from students. Poly also boasts state-of-the-art labs. Freshmen are required to live on campus and are housed in residential colleges with other students in the same major. Barrett, The Honors College, has a program at Poly that has separate dorms and allows students access to small class sizes, internships and the in-depth exploration of subject matter that typifies the honors experience. If you want a little quieter atmosphere, and hands-on learning, then ASU Polytechnic might fit the bill!
Each of these schools has so much more than I could absorb on my short visits. If you are interested in exploring these schools, I encourage you to take the tour, make appointments with the departments you are interested in and have a meal on campus. We ate at three of the four campuses we visited and found the food to be good! When you visit, try to talk to students, ask questions. The only way to get the flavor of a school is to visit!
Notes from Beth
Helpful insights to finding your perfect college match.