campus encounters

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Search Results for: “NC A & T

Johnson & Wales, Providence

Johnson and Wales, Providence (visited 4/29/19)

J&W sculptureThis is an amazing college for students wanting a solid education with hands-on components, students who want “to try new things, to succeed and even fail. We support them and help them transition.” Students start with their major on day one – but can work with their advisor to change. They can figure it out early if it isn’t the right fit. “This is the place to come if you want to learn and get a job. Students get hired.”

J&W chocolate lab

Chocolates lab class

J&W’s Providence campus is the flagship (with other campuses in Charlotte, Denver, and Miami). When students apply, they pick a campus but are accepted to all four. The school was founded by 2 women in 1914 before women were even allowed to vote – yet they started a major university as a business school to build opportunities for women and provide them with relevant skill sets in the work force. They still have strong business programs, including Equine Business Management (with Riding or Non-Riding options), Advertising & Marketing Communications, Fashion Merchandising & Retailing, and Restaurant/Food/Beverage Management.

J&W 2The Providence campus now offers 70 programs (majors vary a bit between campuses). Students are allowed to move between campuses, assuming their major is offered at the other location. The university offers Associates (Baking & Pastry or Culinary Arts) through Doctoral (Education) degrees. Students in the AS programs can roll into a related Bachelor’s program in the same or similar majors, including Food Service Management, Culinary Nutrition, Tourism & Hospitality Management, Dietetics & Applied Nutrition, or Food & Beverage Entrepreneurship.

J&W student centerThe university also continues to grow and try new things, as well. In the fall of 2019, 2 new majors are being implemented: Integrated Product Design and Comp Sci. In the fall of 2020, 4 more will begin: Sustainable Food System, Biomedical Science, Economics, and Create Your Own. They also offer accelerated Master’s Programs in areas like Addiction Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Organizational Psychology, Data Analytics, Information Security/Assurance, MBA, Global Leadership & Sustainable Economic Development, and Sport Leadership.

J&W Harborside

The Harborside campus

Classes are capped at 40 (some are capped at a lower point because of the physical work space), but class size averages only 21. Faculty members are experts in their field, many of whom have worked in the industry before coming to campus. They can help with networking, internships, and jobs. J&W has cultivated relationships with multiple companies and has over 1000 internship sites. Students can start interning as early as sophomore year (but junior year is more common).

J&W 3Providence’s campus is split into two parts about 3 miles apart (less than 10 minutes depending on traffic), and students can live on either one regardless of where their classes are held. There is a separate equine center located about 25 minutes away (actually across state lines in Massachusetts!) with regular shuttles running up there.

J&W Downcity res quad

The residential quad on the Downcity Campus

Student parking is located on the Harborside campus because of space issues, and shuttles run regularly between the two sites. We had breakfast in large meeting room in a building that has a dining hall and a res hall. Some of the students have rooms that overlook the water! This campus also has the Cuisinart Center for Culinary Excellence. Their culinary program is absolutely phenomenal! All aspects of the trade are taught. For example, students take a mixology lab: they use colored water instead of actual alcohol (“it would get prohibitively expensive to keep dumping alcohol down the drain,” said our tour guide). For their final exam, they dim the lights and blare music to mimic the industry. They have to prepare 12 drinks in 12 minutes. There’s also restaurant on site that serves lunch and dinner to just over 60 people. Students in a sophomore-level class work the restaurant and rotate through all aspects of it to learn everything from table set-up to service to food prep. The dessert comes from the Baking & Pastry labs. Students rotate through all sorts of labs; materials and uniforms (collar colors indicate different programs and progression: the lighter the color, the further along a student is) are included in tuition. Students learn how to use everything and not waste things. They use cuttings as garnish, they’ll dry and grind up leftover vegetables for powers to flavor dishes, etc.

The Downcity campus takes up 6 city blocks; the same amenities are on that campus including a pretty residential quad. They even have a pet-friendly floor! There is a bit of commuter parking at this campus, but it tends to be pricey. Providence has great arts, music, and restaurant scenes. This is a great college town with several universities nearby (including Brown, RISD, and Providence College), so places cater to students. For example, there’s a nearby event center that sells tickets at 50% off 2 hours before showtime.

© 2019

UNC – Charlotte

UNC-Charlotte (visited 3/19/18)

UNCC 10A fun fact from the info session: there are 16 state institutions in NC, each with a specific designation. UNC-C is the Urban Research school. Opening in 1965, this is the fasting growing campus: 22 new buildings have gone up in the last 7 years. It’s an attractive, easy-to-navigate campus (complete with a botanical garden!) with top-notch technology. This is also a fairly diverse campus with 40% of students self-reporting as underrepresented. Most students do come from North Carolina. Surprisingly, they have a slightly higher male population than female which may stem from their strong engineering program.

UNCC creekFor students who want a large-ish school (24,000 undergraduates) with a fairly strong athletic culture but also good academics, this is a good choice. There is going to be plenty for students to choose from on campus, in and out of the classroom. “Game days get crazy,” said one students. Another agreed: “Game days are really fun!” with tailgating, marching bands, drum lines, and dance groups. Marching band is open to anyone who plays an instrument. Clubs and sports at all levels are plentiful. There is a Greek presence, but fewer than 10% of the students tend to join.

UNCC 4Campus is located 9 miles north of the center of Charlotte, the largest metro in the Carolinas. A light-rail station opened on campus the day before I visited; students can ride for free with their ID. The CATS buses and the Airport Sprinter are also free for students. Cars are allowed on campus for all students; parking decks are “in close proximity to the residents halls so you aren’t parking on one side of campus and sleeping on the other.”

UNCC dormsStudents are not required to live on campus, but they strongly recommend that freshmen do: “There is a strong correlation between living on campus and having a higher GPA.” They don’t technically guarantee housing, but they’ve never been in a position where someone wanted to live here but couldn’t be accommodated. About 80% of freshmen live on campus; 2/3 of students live “on campus or within walking distance,” according to the rep. There are many apartments across the street – it’s technically off campus and there are shuttles, but they can walk. Housing applications are not complete without the deposit (currently $200); some students have lost their spots because they didn’t deposit.

UNCC 3There are 7 academic colleges with 139 majors:

  • The most competitive (those with higher admissions criteria) include: Business, Engineering, Computing and Informatics, and Nursing.
  • University College is for students who come in Undeclared. If a student indicates a competitive major on the application but isn’t qualified, admissions will change that to Undeclared and will assess the application that way.
  • UNCC 8Seminars, taught by alumni or community members working in the field, are offered in all areas to talk about tracks within the schools. Students have to attend this before declaring a major. Students who come in with a declared major must take the Intro class in that field.
  • Some majors worth noting include:

UNCC medicinal garden“You will experience large classes here, but they’re the early ones.” The average class has 35 students; the tour guide’s largest class had 300 (Intro to Psych) and smallest was 10 (Civil Procedure). “It falls on you to build the relationships. Showing up to class regularly and going to office hours go a long way.” They offer Supplemental Instruction which is like a mix of discussion groups and Group Tutoring. They may reteach some class material but will also have time to practice skills, etc.

UNCC 12UNC-C requires that an application file be complete by the stated deadline, including all supplemental materials such as transcripts and test scores. Students must plan ahead if they want to apply; hitting the submit button the application at 11:58pm on the day it’s due will not meet their deadline. If anything is missing for Early Action, they automatically default it to Regular Decision and the student will not get a decision until March. However, many of the “higher volume scholarships” require that students meet the 11/1 deadline (or whatever the Early deadline is for the year if that changes!)

UNCC libraryAs per NC policy, students must have 4 units of English and Math (Algebra 1 & 2, Geo, and an advanced level math that requires Alg2 as a pre-req. Stats would count; business math would not), 3 science (bio, physical, lab), 2 of history, and 2 of the same foreign language. Most admitted freshmen take more than this. “Your senior year should be a full course-load: it should look pretty much the same as the rest of your years.”

UNCC shuttleThere are a couple special scholarship opportunities:

  • Levine Scholars: 20 students get selected annually for this 4-year program including study abroad, summer experiences, and community service. Studentsust be nominated by a HS counselor by October.
  • University Honors Program is the umbrella program with 28 department or school-specific honors programs. Certain scholarships are available to students within the UHP:

© 2018

Johnson & Wales, Charlotte

Johnson and Wales University: Charlotte (visited 3/19/18)

JWU-C culinary lab

Students doing one of their finals for a baking/pastry lab

Although people know Johnson and Wales mostly for their Culinary Arts (including the Baking/Pastry Arts major) program, Business Administration is always the top major at the Charlotte campus. Other strong majors include:

JWU-C culinary classroom

One of the “restaurant” lab classrooms

My tour guide was in the Baking and Pastry track, and she LOVES it. All the chefs have at least 10 years of experience so she feels that they’re learning from people who really know what they’re doing and know the industry. I walked by many of the “labs” and got to see the students working as well as trays full of their creations. I can see why a lot of the students don’t bother with regular meals on campus. “We do tend to eat a lot during labs!” said the tour guide. I toured on a day that they were doing their “finals” in labs, including 2 students who were doing a bartending rotation. “We have a ‘Sip and spit’ policy because most of the students are under 21,” the tour guide explained (although there’s a loophole that allows for underage students to drink small amounts – 1 ounce? – for educational purposes).

JWU-C baked goods

Some of that day’s creations!

The school operates on a trimester system. During their lab trimesters (3 of the 6 for an AA), they complete five 9-day labs during the term. They go to lab for 6 hours a day, either from 7-1 or 1:45-7:45. Two of the trimesters are academics (nutrition, English, etc). These are Gen Ed requirements that they need to fulfill, “but they do try to make it relevant.”

JWU-C hotel

The hotel adjacent to campus where many students do their internships

The last trimester is for their internship. Almost all majors have an internships component. Charlotte is a financial hub, so the business students don’t have any shortage of places to work. “There are over 300 internship sites in Charlotte,” said the rep. Bank of America is a big one. The culinary and restaurant/tourism/hotel management students work at places like Biltmore, Disney (“They love JWU students!”), Hilton, and Marriott (they own the hotel next door!) Most are paid, but JWU will give stipends if it’s unpaid.

JWU-C main building

The main building on campus

There are 4 JWU campuses. JWU-C has about 2,000 students, making it the 2nd largest of the 4 (Providence is about 4 times its size; Miami and Denver have several hundred fewer students). Students are able to switch between them as long as their major is offered at another site. Charlotte does not offer many of the computer- or art-based programs that Providence offers. The Charlotte campus opened in 2004 and is very much integrated into the city. It is slowly expanding with several buildings currently being rented from Bank of America.

JWU-C quad

The dorm quad

Students must live on campus for 2 years unless living with family within 50 miles. Students live in 2-room suites. First year students can have cars on campus. Parking is $135/term with a discount for the full year. There are 6 Greek organizations for students to join, and I saw a lot of activities advertised on the boards around campus. The tour guide said that she was happy with the number of things to do, and certainly Charlotte offers a lot, as well. They can even walk to professional sports games.

JWU-C stadium view

One of the sports stadiums in Charlotte as seen from campus.

Students need only to submit the application and a transcript for admissions; they are test-optional. They can submit extra documentation if they wish but it isn’t required. Students will be considered for a maximum merit scholarship of $18,000 (Presidential), but this could go up with the FAFSA. Tuition ($32,091) includes anything they’ll need for their program such as the uniform, knife kit, and all food for the labs.

© 2018

Providence College

Providence College (visited 9/12/17) (Scroll down for my 2nd visit on 5/1/19)

Providence 5I appreciated that the admission reps and other people presenting information to the visiting counselors made efforts to help differentiate Providence from other solid, similarly-sized liberal arts schools. According to them, their 4 pillars make PC different:

  • Human Flourishing: learn to take of yourself now so you’re able to do it later!
  • Cultural Agility: help to see through your lens AND how to learn from those people around you. “Erase the fear. Help include people who might feel different or alienated.”
  • Contemplation and communication: “We do this in the Dominican tradition. We want people to be intentional about contemplation. Take the time to do it. Share that with others.”
  • Integrated learning: “learning is important, but it’s not all you do. How do you put everything together – the internship, the extra-curriculars – to build yourself and get where you want to be?

Providence outdoor seatingA large part – really, the cornerstone – of their core curriculum is Western Civ. This is a 4 semester, team-taught, interdisciplinary course of study pulling together Theology, Lit, History, Philosophy, “really, the entirety of western civilization.” Students take this every semester of their first 2 years. The first 3 semesters cover ancient, medieval, and modern times; in the 4th semester, students complete a colloquium to “bring knowledge into a contemporary topic.” They can choose classes such as Our Monsters, Ourselves (how do we define monsters?), Ethical Practices in Business, Sustainability and Profits, etc. This is a huge part of PC’s culture and community and is almost a rite of passage: students will sport T-shirts saying things like “Done with Civ.”

Providence quad 2This is a Roman Catholic institution, and 50 priests live on campus. This dictates much of what happens around campus from class work to student services. There are options in some aspects of how religion plays out on campus. For example, teachers could opt into having a crucifix in the classrooms but most did not. “Religion is not heavy-handed here” but it’s clearly around and available. Students must take 2 religion and 2 philosophy classes, one of which must be ethics-based, but Mass or chapel is not required. “It’s is more of a social event,” said one of the tour guides. “We have a post-mass bash.” Catholic policy does dictate other things: “We’re a Catholic school, and our Health Center follows Catholic guidelines. I’m not sure you want me to be more specific … students aren’t always happy about this, but there are referrals for outside things as needed.”

Providence hockey

Practice time for the hockey team!

Although diversity and inclusion are, on paper anyway, part of the Dominican tradition, people we talked agreed that the college was not as diverse as they’d like but it’s gotten a lot better in recent years. “It’s the #1 strategic goal. We’re 18% non-white. We’d like to get to 25%.” The LGBTQ community is “not a closeted presence” and seems to be well supported. “Our students are overwhelmingly involved in service, athletics, etc. That’s a major characteristic.” They’ve put a lot of money into athletic facilities: all of them are new within the last 10 years (most within 5). PC has been ranked as the #1 school for intramural involvement. This is also a big hockey school.

Providence business int

Interior of the Business Dept

Academic programs worth noting include:

  • Arts and Sciences: every person takes classes in this school regardless of major.
  • Providence 8Professional Studies is the smallest school and consists of Applied Programs such as Education (Secondary and Elementary/Special), Health Policy Management (one of the fastest growing majors), and Social Work.
    • The BSW is so strong that students can often start their MSW with advanced standing. “We’re the liberal arts in service to others.” This school gives them flexibility to pursue things like pre-med, MPH, hospital admin, etc.
  • Business: Students become proficient in writing, oral communication, civic engagement, and diversity. They offer 4 majors in a new building (opened in January 2017).
    • First-year advising workshops are offered every other week for the first semester covering career education, study abroad, the curriculum, etc. They bring in alumni and faculty to talk about what they do with the majors.
    • The Finance lab has 12 Bloomberg Terminals. They’re pushing for more people to get certified on these

Providence 1Admissions is test-optional: “It doesn’t drive the process. Almost 40% of applicants didn’t submit them last year,” said an admissions rep. “It will not affect merit awards” (given to about ¼ of the students). They recalculate transcripts based on a 4.0 unweighted scale looking only at academic subjects. Last year was the first time admissions didn’t pull students from the waitlist, and in fact, they’ve been slightly overenrolled. 31% came from the ED pool which they’d like to max out at 35%. “We’re talking about the people we want to bring to our community, be part of our family. They want to be here because they love the place!”

© 2017

Providence College (5/1/19)

“I’m so content. I’m where I’m supposed to be,” said our tour guide who was amazing. It’s hard to find one who is so forthcoming about the benefits as well as any potential drawbacks. She recognizes that this isn’t the place for everyone – but it’s really right for a lot of people!

This is a Dominican university with 45 Friars living on campus. Many of them teach, particularly theology, philosophy, or the required Civ core classes. Mass/chapel attendance isn’t required, but many students will attend one of those offered on campus. “Last Chance Mass is offered at 10pm on Sundays, and it’s usually standing-room only.”

The Business school is the only one that students must apply directly to get into, however students can minor in one of the subjects without applying to the program. The Business School is big on teamwork, building much of their teaching on “The Power of We” and experiential learning. Students all attend a First Year Advising Workshop taught by their advisor. This program brings in alumni, faculty, and others to give students a broad and deep understanding of what business is. They offer a fast-track program for those wanting to go into elite firms/Wall Street. They’re also very much about building students’ cultural agility. Students can study abroad, including short-term faculty-led abroad for 10ish days. Last year, trips went to Japan and Australia. “It wasn’t hard to go to Sydney in January,” said one student. International Business majors must intern abroad.

Education majors can also go abroad to Puerto Rico, Ecuador, and Italy without worrying about losing credits or time towards graduation.

Admissions is test-optional, and 36% of applicants do not submit scores. About 1/3 of the incoming classes are admitted under Early Decision. The admissions office recalculates GPAs to an unweighted one. Last year, only 21% of students got merit scholarships. “Less merit means more need-based aid – which means more access for students. We’re putting our resources into meeting as much demonstrated need as possible.”

© 2019

 

UNC School of the Arts

UNC School of the Arts (visited 3/17/17)

UNCSA statues 2This is a really impressive school! I walked away ready to gush over it to students looking to go into the arts. Although there was not an information session, per se, they did show us the school’s “Awe and Wonder” video before taking us out on tour; it’s worth a watch.

This is UNC institution, but the admissions rep told me that they are not bound by the 18% out-of-state rule, and in fact, they pull almost half of their student body from outside North Carolina. Although run very much as a conservatory, students do need to complete liberal arts coursework, usually 1-2 classes per semester. “Our liberal arts classes are usually in the morning. By noon, we’ve moved onto our major classes and are there well into the evening,” said the tour guide. He has design classes for set-building that run until 11pm twice a week.

UNCSA display 3

Some of the student-made costumes

There are 5 main areas of study:

 

  • Dance: modern ballet or contemporary dance
  • Music: Composition or Performance
  • Design and Production: This has the most options within the division, including Scene Design, Stage Properties, Stage Management, Wig & Makeup Design, Sound Design, Scenic Technology, Lighting, and Costume Design & Technology
    • UNCSA lighting specs

      lighting specs for a current production

      They go through all the rotations as freshmen to understand what all the different areas do and are more able to work together since none of this exists in a vacuum.

    • In the 2nd year, they choose a concentration
    • They have a prosthetics studio!
    • This is the only school with a Wig and Makeup Design specialty
    • Costume Design and Costume Tech are 2 different things:
      • Design creates the 2D conceptual drawings and do the initial creative work.
      • Tech takes the Designers’ drawings and create the pattern, take actors’ measurements, and then create the actual physical costume. They need to understand how fabrics work. “They’re kind of like engineers.”
      • They do have a Dance Costume class to give students a sense of what this entails, but most students do not specialize in this.
      • They usually bring in 6-9 students a year (out of about a dozen accepted).
    • UNCSA display 2

      Wigs, Prosthetics, and props for past productions

      Drama: acting or directing

      • The 3 main theaters on campus serve as production spaces as well as classrooms.
      • The Thrust Theater has a turntable on it
      • The Black Bock is huge and everything is movable. There’s a tension grid for the techs which can be walked on. This will be updated soon. “It was state-of-the-art 8 years ago, but technology changes.”
    • Filmmaking: Screenwriting, Animation, Cinematography, Directing, Producing, Production Design & Special Effects, and Picture Editing & Sound Design
      • There are soundstages on campus, but students are also allowed to film within 20-25 miles of campus. “Those trucks over there will get loaded up on the weekends and off they go.”
UNCSA soundstage

One of the sound stages

Facilities are outstanding; we walked through sound stages, prop rooms, design workshops, theaters, costume making workshops with literally walls of fabric, and “Narnia,” a warehouse of costumes stacked 2-racks high. In prop rooms, our tour guide said, “We have lots of connections: different places will lend us equipment or even donate their old stuff.”

Although there are only about 1000 students on campus, they manage to put on 1000+ events annually. “We don’t have sports because we don’t have time,” said the tour guide.

UNCSA set design

Set and prop design

UNCSA is the only conservatory-focused school on Money Magazine’s list of more than 700 schools, and is the #1 school in NC. Program standards are high. Students are creative as well as having a business focus; they think about budgets and schedules. They make things happen. “That’s imperative in this world,” said the sophomore Design and Production major who was leading the tour. This pays off with 96% of graduates having a job in their field within 6 months of graduation.

UNCSA posters

Some of the student productions on campus

According to the Awe and Wonder video, “Top professionals in their fields come here to teach by doing. Students are ready to go into the workforce.” During our tour, we got to talk to 2 students concentrating in Wig and Makeup Design who were working in one of the labs. They couldn’t say enough about the program or the faculty. I asked how many of the professors were still working in the field. “All of them. I’m pretty sure it’s a school requirement that they’re active. A lot of them come in a few days a week to teach because they’re still working.”

UNCSA display 4

A miniature set-design done before the full-size was created

“I really love the faculty. They’re willing to work with us and let us try things out. The attitude is ‘Let’s figure it out and make it happen!’” said the tour guide.

Masters Classes are held regularly. Producers, directors, and lots of other people come in to run these. “There’s even one on how to live in New York!” The students said that these are great ways to start making connections with people in the industry. They’ve lead to internships and shadowing opportunities. Students are always out working and getting experience whether its with a local festival or in LA, NYC, or another major area.

UNCSA dorms 2

Dorms

There are a variety of dorm options from traditional to apartments, but “many students move off” after the 2-year residency requirement. There are plenty of rental places in town. Cars are allowed and parking is decent. Shuttles run periodically to the mall and to downtown. Food “is a 7. It’s nourishment, but there are some options around.”

UNCSA 4Admissions requires a portfolio, and interview, and/or a audition. Often students will sit with faculty in their intended area to talk through their preparation and what they hope to do/their trajectory. This helps them make sure they’re in the right program and lets people counsel out students who might do better at a different type of institution (like a comprehensive school). “This is not a fit for everyone!”

“If you’re a loner, think you can do it all on your own, or are arrogant, you won’t make it here. That being said, you don’t have to fit into a mold. There are lots of quirky people here and that’s cool! We all get along.”

© 2017

Missouri University of Science and Technology

Missouri University of Science and Technology (visited 2/23-25)

MST civil engo student

A student working in the Civil Engineering lab

Missouri S&T is perfect for dedicated students who want hands-on experience at a medium-sized school and a job at graduation. In 2015-16, 1158 employers recruited on campus. “Students get the outcomes they want,” shown in top rankings for return on investment.

 

As one of 4 state universities (and the Land Grant school), MST is a top public research university and ranked #3 Best Engineering university after Colorado Mines and Georgia Tech beating out RPI, WPI, and MIT! Students are problem solvers; most students complete a Freeform lab where they have to figure out how to do the labs! “Math and science are our tools. You need to be capable. That doesn’t mean you love it or use it every day.” Non-engineering students take Business Calculus (except bio and chem majors who take engineering calc).

MST wave machine

Wave Machine lab

“Engineers know this is a top-notch school – but we’re hidden because we’re in Missouri,” said a student. Located about 1.5 hours from St. Louis, Rolla is a small city but there’s still plenty to do. One of the counselors asked about racial issues and the general climate in town. “This can be a difficult sell,” said a rep. “I understand the fear. It’s rural Missouri, but in a liberal bubble. That being said, it’s also a STEM school which makes it heavily male.” However, the women graduate at an 8% higher rate and can say why they’re doing what they’re doing … this was evident through multiple conversations with students over 3 days on campus. The gender ratio is going up. “You get used to it. It’s less pronounced at the beginning, but is more so as you get further into the major. The professors definitely know who the girls are!”

 

MST design center 2

The Design Center for Design Teams

“Students are excited to be here. These are serious students. College is on purpose. They’re not doing it to get away from home,” said a professor. A rep echoed that: “It’s a point of pride to have the highest GPA in the fraternity.” Everyone loves what they do. That goes for athletics, too: “There are lots of athletics, but no one is going pro. They know that. We don’t have the winningest football team, but we do have the smartest!”

 

Another rep said, “Our kids come from the top of their classes. They’ve been the ones helping others. The big challenge is getting them to ask for help when they need it.” A professor said something similar. “Most of them have never needed help before.” Student success is a high priority. If grades drop “beyond a percentage of the student’s normal grades,” the system alerts the faculty who talk to the students. They think this is partly responsible for retention rising to the high 80s.

MST civil engo int

The Civil and Architectural Engineering building

With 15 engineering programs, the College of Engineering and Computing draws the most students. In addition to the more common types of engineering, they offer:

 

  • Ceramic: One of the students wants to work on shuttle tiles for NASA
  • Petroleum: this is one of the highest paid degrees
  • Geological: Students are helping to develop grasses that absorb specific elements to help determine where mines are in minefields.
  • Mining
    • The experimental mine is about 10 minutes off campus.
    • Undergrads can earn a certificate in Explosives (Explosive Engineering is a graduate program)
  • Nuclear: There’s a working nuclear reactor on campus, 1 of 9 available to undergrads in the US.
  • Architectural: 1 of less than 25 in the country
  • Metallurgical
  • There are several engineering minors including Biomedical, Mineral Process, Automation, and Humanitarian Engineering and Science. These pair well with a major directly related to what they want to do.
MST mine 6

The experimental mine

Regardless of which engineering degree they choose (or being undecided), freshmen spend 3 semesters taking pre-req coursework and career exploration. The students we spoke to found this invaluable. One student didn’t change his mind, “but it confirmed what I thought I wanted.” Another student changed her major, and a third said that it helped her figure out what was out there.

 

Students tend to be well rounded. They want STEM but don’t want to give up on the other interests they have. This shows up in the minors and extra-curriculars they participate in. One engineering major we spoke to is double-minoring in 2 theater areas.

MST student hammockMST also offers liberal arts degrees (ranked in the top 10% for LA salaries) and looking to grow these. They’re starting a BS in History in addition to the existing BA. This includes the same Gen Ed courses as the sciences and without the BA language requirement. Students can get certified to teach (they have the #1 Secondary Teacher Education Program in MO) including a STEM Elementary Ed program and Program Lead the Way certification.

MST solar house 9

One of the solar houses

All students are required to complete an experiential learning experience. Almost 1000 students completed a co-op (semester+summer/8-9 months) or internship (summer OR semester/3-4 months) in 43 states and 3 international locations earning over $3200/month on average.

 

MST solar house design team

The 2017 Solar House team

Design teams (18 to choose from) count as Experiential Learning. “You need everyone on the team, and there are lots of ways to participate. It opens doors they haven’t considered. It builds a culture of research that’s infectious.” All teams do their own marketing and some fundraising, but there’s lots of corporate and alumni donations. Options include:

 

  • DrillBotics
  • Solar Car
  • Solar House
  • Mars Rover: won a national championship and competed in Poland.
  • Engineers without Borders: There are 4 Teams and 4-5 trips offered every year for ongoing water and sanitation projects.
  • MST steel bridge team 2

    The steel bridge team putting together their project

    Concrete canoe: this has to be filled with water and hold 3 people and still float/perform in races

  • Steel Bridge = 1/10 size
  • Solar House
    • First they submit a design. About 18 are selected to move on.
    • Second, a student-led team builds it on campus and ship it to the contest and without breaking. All must be 0-Net but often produce more energy than they use. Part of the contest is marketability. One house was made out of shipping containers with carpet made from recycled fishing nets. Students now live in the houses!
MST dorm room 1

One of the triple rooms in University Commons

Students must live in university housing until they complete 60 credits. This includes Greek housing (mostly off campus; 22% go Greek but not all live in housing) and the Christian Campus Houses (run by an off-campus entity). Thomas Jefferson Hall offers traditional dorm-style living with a dining hall attached. University Commons offers suite styles with an option for a triple room. These are cheaper and never required. “We found that lots of students came to us in trios from high school and wanted to room together. It’s just another option.” The Student Center is directly across the road with several food options.

 

MST frat house

One of the smaller frat houses sitting right next to campus; the large new ones are off campus

Safety is good. Students said they frequently walk around alone at night and never had an issue. Things are well lit, and no one ever heard of a blue light being used. Parking is available – but not always where they want it! Spots/lots are assigned based on seniority. One student we talked to just parked in town and found it as convenient. “I got 4 parking tickets over 3 years. At $10 a pop, it was cheaper than 1 year of paying to park on campus.” Parking stickers are $135.80 per year.

 

MST quad 1Admissions will take a risk on some kids who have low GPAs with high test scores (“they’re not following through with the work,” said a rep). They’ll bring 160 students into the Success Program and assign them a mentor to get them on track. For scholarship purposes, they only look at GPA through the end of junior year, but students can take the standardized tests through December if they need to increase the score. MST won’t superscore either exam but do not penalize for multiple testing. The Priority deadline is 12/1; based on available funds, they’ll look at apps through 2/1.

MST chem eng bldg

The Chemistry and Chemical Engineering building

New students attend 2 orientations: first, “Preview, Registration, and Orientation (PRO)” starting in February where students take their math placement, get academic advising, Financial Aid and parent info sessions, etc. Then they complete a full-week orientation where they’re assigned to a group of 20 to complete social and team projects. They have Reconnection 1 a few weeks into the year and Reconnection 2 right after midterms. They also have one of the best transfer programs in the country and are known as a model for this.

MST arch engo 1

Some of the Architectural Engineering projects

The big tradition revolves around St. Patrick’s Day; MST gives students 2 days off for “spring recess.” For weeks in advance, they have countdowns, chants on Fridays, etc. In the middle of the night, they’ll paint the street green “using some eco-friendly paint.” On the day, they carve shillelagh and act out mock killings of rubber snakes. They hold contests such as wearing the most green or who can put on the most St Pat’s sweatshirts. There’s a formal ball held that weekend. The official school colors are gold and silver – “it is a mining school!” – but the unofficial color is green because of St. Patrick, the patron saint of miners.

© 2017

 

Emory & Henry College

Emory & Henry College (visited 11/4/16)

eh-quad-1This is the only college I know of that has a “retirement home” for horses – and the only I’ve heard of that enable students to earn a semester’s worth of work for through-hiking the Appalachian Trail (or another of similar scope).

eh-barn-1

The Equestrian Center barn

When E&H bought Virginia Intermont University in 2014, they took over their barn and equestrian program. One student rider we spoke to told us, “I’m glad they bought it because I wouldn’t have achieved this success without it.” About 50 horses live at the Equestrian Center, 16 miles from the main campus (3 shuttles a day run back and forth). All the horses are donated, including “some famous ones” like a horse from the Beijing Olympics. An alum, concerned about what would happen when they got too old for the 60-ish riders in the Equine Studies program, donated $250,000 for a retirement barn for the older horses. That barn, currently with 5 residents (and room for 6 more per year after this) sits adjacent to the main campus.

eh-studentE&H is another CTCL school that did not disappoint. Students we spoke to – ranging from tour guides to random kids in the café to the singers performing for us over dinner – couldn’t say enough about the school. One said, “People are so nice, it’s almost creepy!” Another one had this to say about academics: “Classes are challenging but not so much that you get down on yourself.”

It’s no wonder kids rave about their classes: E&H has more Virginia Professors of the Year than UVA and VTech combined!

eh-quad-and-chapelAt any CTCL school, I ask students how the institution has changed their lives. Here’s what I got:

  • “I can be myself here.”
  • “The music program is amazing and I’ve learned so much. It’s pushed me well beyond my comfort zone.”
  • “Individual attention I get here is outstanding. I really didn’t expect that from college.”
  • “People are really accepting. We’re not labeled here. We can spend hours in rehearsals or in a practice room. People don’t see that as weird. They just say that we’re hard working.”
  • “We go to a lot of auditions. We met people from schools where the students there didn’t even know each other. Here we do, and we support and help each other all the time.”
eh-statue-henry

The Patrick Henry statue

E&H is named for Patrick Henry (yes, of “Give me liberty or give me death!” fame – also the 1st Governor of Virginia) and John Emory (a Bishop of the Methodist Church); statues of the 2 men stand prominently in the middle of campus facing each other (and will often get dressed up

eh-statue-emory

The John Emory statue

by students for special occasions). A third statue of Ephraim Wiley (the longest standing college president) sits on top of one of the main buildings. This statue and the Chapel are the same height to show Wiley’s belief of their equal importance in the students’ education. E&H is associated with the Methodist church, and students must take 1 religion course. However, that’s where the religious requirements end.

There are a few academic programs worth highlighting:

  • eh-tech-workshop

    The theater tech workshop

    The music and theater programs are great, with BFAs offered in Acting, Directing, Musical Theater, and Production & Design. They put on 4-6 productions a year. They were putting on Rocky Horror Picture Show right after we visited (including a midnight performance!), so the students performed several numbers for us during dinner. There are several scholarship for music based on audition. The Chorale competes internationally (they went to South Africa last year). Students tend to get involved cross-disciplines (ie, the marching band Drum Major is in chorale).

  • eh-art-displayThe Art program is developing a Museum Studies Track. Students curate shows from the college’s permanent collection. They bring in visiting artists who give talks to the students (the community is invited as well). When we visited, the art on display in the main gallery was fresh from Renwick Gallery (Smithsonian). 30-35 students from all disciplines including EnviSci helped to install it. The insects are all real, mostly from SE Asia and the Pacific Rim. The exhibit is meant to make a positive out of negative; the Skull symbolizes what could happen and the eye is meant to represent the Evil Eye.
  • Lyceum Program: students must attend a certain number of lectures and cultural events. All arts count towards this.
  • Along with standard majors, they offer unique programs like Civil Innovation; Politics, Law, and International Relations; and a 5-year, BA/MA program in Community and Organizational Leadership. Students can build their own major if they choose to do so.
eh-debate-room

The Hermesian Literary Society room

Something unique are the debate rooms set aside for the 2 main Literary Societies/Debate clubs on campus. The Hermesian Literary Society (Lincoln-Douglass style debating) was founded when the school was founded; it stopped for awhile and was restarted 4 years ago; students interested in joining must take part in an introductory debate in which they can decide the topic. The Calliopean Room is across the hall; they debate in Parliamentary Style. There’s a friendly rivalry between them, and they’ll have intersocietal debates.

eh-dorm-1

One of the new dorm buildings

Most freshmen and 80% of all students live on campus. Two new apartment-style dorms have been built recently, both having about 250 beds. About 35% of the students join one of the 15 Greek organizations. While there’s no Greek Housing, members can choose to live together on a floor (although the college limits the number of students from any particular organization who can live on a single floor). This used to be a dry campus but that’s been rescinded, although a clear alcohol policy remains in effect.

eh-outdoor-arena

One of the outdoor riding areas

This has been named a Best Small School for Outdoor Activities. The Outdoor Program is well utilized by students. They’re located near the 2 highest peaks in Virginia, and they have a 9-hole golf course on campus. One of the most amazing programs is the Semester A.T.rail which lets students hike the length of the Appalachian Trail for a semester. They plan their program with the Director, but Nature Writing (an English Course) is required of all hikers.

eh-chapelStudents admit that there’s not much going on in the town of Emory, but “There’s a good farmer’s market in town.” On campus, however, there’s plenty to do. Football brings out big crowds. Homecoming is a big deal; lots of alumni come back for it. Tailgating becomes a networking event in addition to just being fun.

© 2016

Jefferson College of Health Sciences

Jefferson College of Health Sciences (visited 11/3/16)

jefferson-classroom

One of the classrooms

Jefferson is an Allied Health Science College, offering degrees from associates (PTA and OTA are the most competitive) up to doctoral programs (2 offered in nursing and health services). However, they do have a Core component in the Humanities and Social Sciences, offering a minor in Healthcare Humanities. Because the programs here are so specific, students need to know that this is what they focus on, but they do have some options to transfer programs if they don’t like or aren’t doing well in their first program.

 

jefferson-iv-dummies

Practice “dummies” for IVs

One of the benefits of Jefferson is its size. “We’re small. We have just over 1000 students.” A huge benefit of this is that the professors are helpful and invested. “We can call and text them all the time,” said one student. All academics are housed in one building so students don’t have to track them down. The professors are here to make sure students are successful and ready to go out into the workforce: “Give me someone with common sense and I can train them,” said one.

 

jefferson-signThe college president was a hospital administrator when this building was a full-service hospital. During the switch, in-patient services were moved to another hospital, and the 5th and 6th floors were gutted and converted to the school, now the largest occupant of the building. The 1st floor is a quasi-urgent care center; the 2nd has pediatric rehab, and the 7th floor houses inpatient rehab services (people transitioning to home or other facilities). Students have access to lots of clinical rotations without even leaving the building. Other clinicals are often done at Roanoke Memorial or Carillon Hospital, the 2nd largest in the state. Carillon is a 20 minute walk or 5 minute drive; trolleys run over there and parking is free.

jefferson-hospital

A view of the hospital from the school

In addition to the basic academic skills within their field, students are taught to work in groups across disciplines. Students participate in an annual Disaster Event, an inter-professionalism event coming out of McMillan in Canada. They get evaluated on how well they work together as a team, on ethics, etc (they aren’t being critiqued clinically on skills for this).

 

During our visit, we got split into 2 groups to talk with the Heads of 2 departments and tour the facilities:

  • jefferson-ambulance-2

    A model ambulance used for training, mostly by the EMS students

    Students can get an AAS in Surgical Tech (this technically falls under Nursing) and become nationally Board Certified (students have a 100% pass rate on the exam). Surgical Techs help prep patients and then monitor and keep things sterile in ORs. Students get more than 200 clinical hours in before graduation and are almost always hired before graduation.

  • jefferson-xrays

    Some of the Respiratory Tech training

    Respiratory Therapy is one of the Bachelor’s programs. This was the most amazing program! The Head is dynamic and passionate about what he’s doing. I was ready to sign up for the program right then. We got to look at x-rays to see how a diagnosis might be done, machines that help Cystic Fibrosis patients, and even 2 sets of real lungs that he inflated for us!

    • 75% of RT students are employed before graduation, and everyone has a job within a month of graduation. This isn’t unusual. A nursing student said that she has gotten job offers on the floor as she did clinicals: “You can come back and work for me.”
jefferson-table-2

The Anatomage; the student demonstrated how it can show different layers of the body

Resources are “top notch. Often they’re one generation out of date – we get a lot of things donated – but they’re free and similar to what they use in hospitals,” said one of the teachers. An exception to this is the Anatomage which is table with a top that works like a giant ipad. They can pull up a picture of full-sized body that students can rotate, “dissect,” and use to learn skeletal, muscular, and other structures. Not many schools have it.

Additionally, they had a Cadaver lab which gets used by many programs including Occupational Therapy. OT also has labs that include a play room for kids and a mock house so they can learn to work with patients in that environment.

jefferson-dorm

A view of the dorm (the tall brick building) from the school. It’s a quick walk across the park. 

Students we spoke to chose Jefferson for the direct entry programs, the 4-year EMS, and the nice dorms. Dorms are a 4 minute walk from the school. Even though there’s no traditional campus, students feel like they get a full college experience. There are extra-curricular options and events just like any other college. A couple they mentioned were:

  • Taste of Jefferson: Departments have different foods, students get a passport to be stamped, they get a t-shirt when they fill it up.
  • Chocolate Day: “the best part is the chocolate fountain!”
jefferson-ot-lab

One of the OT labs

All students can have cars on campus, and parking is easy in the garage. It’s helpful to have one for clinicals and just getting around; the closest grocery store is a mile. However, it’s not needed.

© 2016

Lawrence University

Lawrence University (visited 4/17/15)

~Lawrence backpack“Lawrence takes the weirdest, quirkiest, most awkward people and puts them all in one place. Go with it,” said one student.

~Lawrence SLUG and river

The “SLUG”

I loved Lawrence. Students were open, straight-forward, and interested in lots of things – and therefore were interesting people. Students sat with us at breakfast and provided great information that didn’t come up in the more formal presentations. One student was active with the Sustainable Life Undergrad Garden (“SLUG”); another rowed on the crew team. A third told us that he wasn’t sure he wanted to come to Lawrence. “What convinced me was the conversations in the cafe. People are smart, and that doesn’t end in the classroom. They want deep, meaningful conversations and want to know what others think.”

~Lawrence underpassPeople are extremely open and accepting here. This is a great place for LGBTQ students or who just want be themselves without judgment. Interestingly, though, religion isn’t talked about much. Students talk about just about everything else: politics, race, sexuality. The yearly Campus Climate survey data supports that students of faith sometimes feel left out; the administration is aware that this is an area of growth. However, there are student-run religious groups and a Religious Studies major so there’s a space for these discussions to happen.

~Lawrence chapel ext 2Lawrence is a College That Changes Lives. I asked the student panelists how it has changed their lives:

  • It forced me to learn how to deal with people I don’t necessarily agree with. I can manage difficult relationships. That’s a good skill. It’s shaped me to be prepared for the world as it is.
  • I’m from a tiny town and fortunate to be here. I’m engaging with diversity, going to eye-opening speakers, taking part of great conversations.
  • The opportunities – there are so many ways we can engage with each other.
  • The conversations are different. My friends at big schools don’t talk late into the night about big-picture, real-world problems trying to figure things out. It’s life changing.
  • Lawrence’s mantra is teaching you how to think differently. I used to roll my eyes, but I’ve looked back on papers, and I thought, ‘Wow, I was WAY less smart!’ I’m a better thinker now.
  • I was a leader in high school in terms of being able to do things I was told to do, but here, I’m a leader in terms of pursuing my own interests.
  • There’s so much passion here. It’s why there are so many groups and so many individual studies. We want to learn things and bring other people along for the ride.

~Lawrence ampitheaterOne counselor asked, “What frustrates you?”

  • Sometimes the people. It’s a small school. Usually that’s great, but sometimes we push each other’s buttons.
  • There’s so much on campus and people get stretched thin.
  • High and low is the size of the school. Now it feels a little too small. I wish I could have lived in an apartment and had a bit of independence.
  • The bugs . . . but we aren’t supposed to mention them!
  • The winter but Lawrence handles it well.

Someone asked, “What surprised you?”

  • How many smart people there are.
  • The talent. You’re always finding out new things. There’s a girl in my house who yodels. How cool is that?! Next thing you know, there’s someone there with a fiddle.
  • The Academic and Social Honor Codes. People take them so seriously.
  • The campus has a fully functioning cinema including free popcorn.
~Lawrence acad lounge

Student lounge overlooking the Fox River

~Lawrence quad 1Campus is a manageable size with the Fox River running along one side (although much of the sports complex is on the opposite side of the river, hockey being the only exception; the rink 4 miles away). The Club Sailing and Crew teams practice on the river, and the on-campus gym has an erg loft for rowers. They have 22 DIII sports and Club fencing that competes on DI level (against Notre Dame, Ohio State, Northwestern, etc). About 25% of students participate in sports. Basketball, soccer, hockey, and volleyball draw the most fans.

Students hanging out outside a dorm

Students hanging out outside a dorm

~Lawrence Gaming House

Gaming House

Housing is mostly clustered together, and except for one upperclassman-only dorm, has a mix of majors, years, etc. They have 2 floors of Gender-Neutral housing, substance-free housing, and group houses. Groups such as Gaming, Swing Dancing, and Multicultural clubs, must be in existence for 3 or more years before applying for a house. Clubs are generally highly active, and there’s more to do on campus than time to do it in. Favorite traditions include the 50 Hours of Trivia and Stealing the Rock.

Greek Life attracts 20% of students. Three students spoke about Greek life. One got a scholarship from the frat he ended up joining; at the dinner for scholarship recipients, he was blown away by how much it wasn’t about the social aspect but more about philanthropy and helping each other with school. The 2nd person said, “Each one is different and provides a different sort of support system.” The 3rd wasn’t even thinking about joining a frat when he came to college. “I didn’t think it was for me but all my friends were joining. It’s inclusive. Events are open to all of campus.” Rush is delayed to winter term so students have the fall to establish themselves.

~Lawrence sci bldg

Side of the science building

Classes range from 40 (Biological Anthro) and 60 (Intro to Biology) to 2 (Independent Study) and 8 (Sr. Experience and Statistics). Students call professors by their first names. Favorite Classes include:

  • Topics in Middle East and India Through Ethnomusicology
  • Geology
  • Intro to Drawing: “I draw like a 5 year old, but that’s ok at Lawrence!”
  • Computer Science: “So hard and so good!”
  • Gender in Cinema: “We watched Clueless and Top Gun. We queered up that movie so bad! We talked for 2 hours about the relationships in that movie.”
  • Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion – uses HP to learn about Medieval Witchcraft
  • Defining Frenchness

Notable majors include: Linguistics, Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, Biomedical Ethics, Chinese, and Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

~Lawrence Con building

Conservatory with a food truck – makes for easy lunches between rehearsals

Lawrence has an excellent music conservatory. Classes in “The Con” are open to all students regardless of major. Productions are inclusive and mostly based on ability: if you can do it, you can get in. We asked if there was a divide between the Con and other students; most agreed that if there was any divide at all, it was between the Conservatory and Athletics. In an effort to keep that at bay, they hold “Flip-flop Weekend” when those 2 groups go to the other one’s activities.

There’s only one application regardless of whether a student applies to the Conservatory or not. Con students apply ONLY regular decision and go through the audition process then without a pre-screening. If a student can’t attend an on-campus or one of the 12 regional auditions, they can send in a video. They’ll get the decision for admission to Lawrence and the Conservatory at the same time. If a student applies for a dual-degree program, they’ll still be looked at academically for the university if they aren’t eligible for the Con.

Appleton is a great small college town; town-gown relations are good. The airport is 10 minutes away making it easy for the international students and others who need to fly to and from school to get there and back home.

(c) 2015

North Carolina A&T State University

North Carolina A&T University (visited 3/22/13)

Several things surprised me about NCA&T. First, I had driven by campus and had seen a tiny portion of it; from this small glimpse and from what I had heard from others, I expected the campus to be fairly ugly. It wasn’t! Second, as an A&T, I expected the sciences to be strong (and they are), but they have an impressive array of other majors and programs as well.

The Greensboro 4 statue

The Greensboro 4 statue

A&T 2

The newest dorms on campus, named for the Greensboro Four

Most of the campus is beautiful. There are a few older buildings that could use work, but those are being taken care of bit by bit. There is a lot of construction going on around campus. A new Union is being built and the school recently completed several new dorms; the four newest and nicest are named after the Greensboro 4, the students from A&T credited for starting the Sit-In movement at the Woolworths counter in downtown Greensboro. They have a large statue memorializing the Greensboro-Four, and every year on February First, they commemorate the sit-in. The three men who are still living come back to campus every year, and after a large breakfast on campus, the three lead a march to the Woolworth’s (which is now the International Civil Rights Museum, complete with most of the original counter – part of it has been donated to the Smithsonian US History Museum).

The new Union building

The new Union building

There are lots of open spaces and gathering places for students to congregate. “The Bowl” is a large space near the new union; this used to be the school’s football field and is now used for large campus events – fairs, orientation, etc. There were lots of students using these spaces and interacting with each other on the day I visited, even though it was chilly. People really seemed to enjoy being on campus, even though no one is required to live on campus. The dorms are decent with both traditional and suite style to choose from, and most people who want to live on campus can. They also have several theme-based Learning Living Communities. Interested students fill out application and agree to certain aspects of behavior. Students find that this helps them to focus. The tour guides (we had two) both agreed that the food is good, and there’s plenty of variety. Campus is safe; gates close at 11pm so students need ID to drive onto campus, and officers will ask students they see walking around at night for ID, as well. Neither tour guide could remember anyone ever needing to use the blue lights. There was one incident last year off campus involving A&T students but nothing has happened on campus that they’ve heard about.

A&T libraryFor the first hour of the counselor day, about a dozen students had research posters set up around the room where we were eating breakfast. Some sat and ate with us before getting up to stand with their posters to explain their research. I had a chance to talk to about eight of them during the hour. A sampling of what these students were doing include:

  • A sophomore Agricultural Education Major. These majors are usually in high demand, and since she’s already done internships in the field, she has a job waiting for her when she graduates as long as she keeps a 3.0. “If you’re an Ag major and you don’t have an internship every single summer or if you graduate without a job offer – it’s something YOU’RE doing wrong. There are a ton of opps.”
  • A&T acad bldgsA sophomore Computer Engineering major who completed her research in a different department helping to analyze handwriting by using a computer matrix. She’s from Maryland, and was ready to go to GMU but was tempted here for a summer program attracting women into engineering. She and her cohorts got a full semester of college under their belts before they started. She LOVES it here and is glad she came. She can’t imagine anything better.
  • A senior engineering major who designed a robot to enter into a competition and proudly showed off the robot which was able to pick up materials and sort according to color.
  • A Social Work major and Philosophy minor who, as a freshman, has already done quite a bit of original research and oral histories of people in the foster care system, and has presented at several major conferences such as the Daniel Memorial National Foster Care Conference in Canada, the UPenn Multi-disciplinary conference, NACAC, and more.
A&T 1

One of the newest Academic buildings

One of the many eating places on campus, with an attached courtyard.

One of the many eating places on campus, with an attached courtyard.

The students couldn’t say enough good things about A&T. They gushed about classes, professors, academic and social opportunities, and the city. Their class sizes ranged from 6 to 60. The best classes that a couple students said they had taken taken include Soil Science (she said it was really hard, but she walked away with a lot) and a Hazmat class (mostly grad students so it really pushed him). I had a chance to ask some of them what they would like to change. An agriculture major wanted more money invested in the A&T farm: “a lot of students don’t even know we have a farm.” An engineering major wanted more equipment because the technology is changing so fast. Another wanted more money for scholarships. Although there are several available, students who get merit aid are really the top of the top; he would like more students to be able to afford to go. I asked our tour guides how they felt about the administration’s push towards more diversity. A&T is a HBCU, and they’re trying to get more racial/ethnic diversity. He said it was a good thing, and went on to talk about the diversity already on campus. There’s a bunch of religious and political diversity already, and students come from across the country. There’s so much of this geographic diversity that they actually have clubs based on where people are from (like the 336 Club is the local group named after the area code).

A&T dormsA&T dorms 2The application process is fairly straightforward. Students can use the Common App or, for NC residents, through CFNC. The application fee is waived during CFNC week! However, if students are going to do this, don’t start an app through CA. When students start two apps, A&T will attach a transcript to the FIRST app started, so the app submitted through CFNC will register as missing documents and this will slow down the process. The UNC system has set minimum guidelines for all state schools: 2.5 GPA and SAT 800 (M&CR) or ACT 17, but each university can create thresholds above that. NC A&T, like lots of other state schools, is becoming more competitive. Applications are up almost 40% from last year. The average GPA is up from a 3.2 to 3.4. SAT is up a bit; ACT is about the same. About a quarter of accepted students are the top 5th of the class. Because of the increasing competitiveness, denied students who want to appeal need to write a letter and attach new academic information (new test scores, new grade report with a higher GPA, etc). Otherwise, it’s just like saying, “please” which is nice, but won’t get you far in this situation. The Director will read all appeals and respond.

A&T acad bldg 2There are 6 academic schools and programs within the university:

  • Honors: Students take 24 honors credit which includes two required interdisciplinary seminars. The classes are smaller, they have a specialized lecture series, they have a dedicated Fellowship/Scholarship advisor, and students tend to do better and progress more quickly towards a degree. To get in, students need a 3.75 GPA and a 1160 SAT (CR&M) or a 26 ACT, and must maintain a 3.5 to stay in the program.
  • Agriculture: This is the world’s largest industry. “We’ll have to produce more in the next 30 years than we have in the last 10,000 years.” There’s a lot of variety of majors that fall within this school. Family and Consumer Sciences falls under this school. They also have the only accredited landscape architecture undergraduate program in NC. There is also a 540 acre farm not far from campus. They do agricultural work and also have 8 species of animals such as goats, emus, cattle, and poultry. This is a learning-lab, so it’s very much a hands-on place. Students learn about plant and soil quality, forestry, etc. The equine riding and training team is housed there, as well.
  • Nursing: This has been going for 60 years. Students need a 3.0 GPA and a 930 SAT for entrance. Students are admitted into Pre-Nursing and remain there during the Lower Division (Fr/So years). The minimum GPA is a 2.8 to apply into the Upper Level Nursing program, but they really need a 3.0 to be competitive. 85-90% of students persist and graduate.
  • Arts and Sciences: this is the largest college at A&T with about 1/3 of the students. Most of the minors (which is a new thing at A&T) are in the A&S college. They don’t have majors in foreign languages anymore, but they can minor in French and Spanish and can take elementary Japanese. Their Secondary Teacher Education program is in the A&S division since students major in a subject area found within the school.
  • Technology: One of their unusual majors is Applied Engineering and Built Environments. They also offer architecture. Students can be admitted directly to the Technology School with 1000 SAT and 3.0 GPA.
  • Education/Human Performance and Leisure Studies: This is one of the fastest growing departments on campus. Majors include Pre-Physical Therapy, Hotel Management, Tourism, Parks and Rec Admin, Business Admin, Athletic Training, Sports Management/Athletic Management, and Elementary Education.

(c) 2013

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