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Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University (visited 2/21-23/2018)

NSU fountain 3This feels like a massive school even though they only have 4800 undergraduates, primarily because of the immense graduate population (17,000 nationwide including online). This creates a nice balance for undergrads who want a larger-feel school without being lost in the shuffle or sit in larger lecture halls. The undergrad division started in the 1980s (shifting from graduate-only): their freshman class increased to 994 in 2017 with plans to be at 1500 by 2020!

NSU stu cntr 1

The interior of the student center

NSU has good ethnic, geographic (50% from outside of Florida), and religious diversity but it is still heavily female (about 2/3). “It’s a great community. There’s a great deal of respect, even for people who hold different views,” said a rep. One student on the panel said, “It’s a respectful campus in how we respond to each other. There are people from both sides of the political spectrum.” They’ve been seeing more political involvement recently, “maybe because of what’s going on in the country.”

NSU 3They’re located in a quiet suburban community near Fort Lauderdale and Miami with a range of things to do. The university runs shuttles downtown, to the airport at breaks, and even to the Miami Dolphins stadium (15 minutes away) where they can attend home games for FREE which more than makes up for no football team on campus!

NSU HS Pavilion

The Health Pavilion building

Because of their extensive medical graduate programs, NSU offers Dual Admissions: if admitted and eligible, students have a reserved spot in one of 30+ professional Masters or Doctoral programs. They can only apply to 1 program: “the idea is that they know what they want to do.” It is NOT binding; they can relinquish their spot if they change their minds. Students can also apply to the Farquhar Honors College: The 400ish students in the program get plenty of mentoring, priority registration, and access to research opportunities.

NSU chem lab 1

A Chemistry lab

The flagship academic program at NSU Experiential Education and Learning (see the ExEL YouTube video here). “Experiential education is nothing new; we’re just embedding it. ‘I reflect and I learn’ is what sets us apart. We want to ask them the right questions at the beginning of their education, let them understand what they’re learning and what it’ll look like at and after graduation.”

  • Students complete 6 units including FYS and Senior Capstone. The other 4 can be study abroad, internships, designated experiential courses, faculty-mentored research, community engagement, etc.
  • NSU oceanography 2

    Part of their Oceanography Center on a separate campus about 20 minutes from the main campus

    They start career development early through coaching, internships, job search action planning, and over 1000 internship placements a year. They’re increasing visibility of social sciences/humanities research.

  • They created a Success Team. All schools provide academic advisors; what’s unique are the certified Career Advisors, “Advisors on steroids,” who plan out a 4-year journey based on the student’s needs. The 2 advisors meet every couple weeks to talk about the 250-student cohort assigned to them.
  • Students work with the professional schools: Health Advocacy Law cases, create lip gloss at the pharmacy school, dissect pig feet at the Health Sciences, examine teeth at dental school.
NSU HS dentistry

One of the dental labs

Beyond that, there are multiple Razor’s Edge (Premier) Programs, the umbrella “organization” allowing students to earn a specialized 16-credit minor; most are open to students from any major. These require a supplemental application and interview. Students can apply to two programs but can only participate in one (they’re all 4-year residential programs) but can combine the program with Honors and/or Dual Admissions.

  • Leadership and Civil Engagement: They look for people who’ve had leadership positions, who’ve led or started an organization. Students complete 7 leadership credits and 9 more across the curriculum as well as a “legacy” project for the benefit of the community.
  • Shark Teach (Teacher Leadership): participants have had experience in tutoring, camp counseling, teaching in Sunday School, etc. and demonstrate a passion for helping students. Educationally-focused community service in expected.
  • Shark Cage: Students do sales pitches, growing in length as time goes on. A group is traveling to Cuba to see how they do it there with heavy government restrictions and almost no money.
  • Fischer Academy: 3+1 Masters in Education, guaranteeing an education job in select Florida counties. There is some flexibility including hybrid online components and modules in a learning center. Students get a free international travel component in the 2nd year and a paid internship as a tutor or SI leader.
  • Global Program (Global Engagement): students do local, state, national, and international projects (usually in that order).
  • Shark Talent (Arts Leadership): They learn how to be arts administrators and promote events, create marketing plans and materials.
NSU Business

The new Business building

I asked the student panelists what their favorite classes have been and why:

  • Sport Supplements for Athletes: “It’s only 7 students taught by the university researcher for the year. I got a certificate and letters behind my name.”
  • Genetics: “It’s pretty cool; I use my own DNA and figure out where I’m from.”
  • Courts and Corrections: “the prof required us to go to federal criminal court. Even though I was in NY, I could do the class and it was really personalized.”
  • Spanish for Business/Health/Legal professions: “They taught a lot of specific stuff, and I had professors from different countries so it was more like a cultural environment.”
  • Microbiology: “We took skin samples and we’re growing our own bacteria. That came from me!”

NSU hammocks 1Just over 1/3 of the incoming class majors in STEM fields, but Business (with 6 specialties to choose from including Sport and Recreation Management) and Arts &Sciences (especially Criminal Justice) have strong showings. Their strong graduate health sciences programs in health sciences leads to strong undergrad programs including:

  • Public Health (the first undergrad program in the College of Osteopathic Medicine) which looks at health from the community level: health of people and communities; track disease outbreaks; disaster emergency management. Students gain expertise in global health, social and behavioral health sciences, epidemiology, environmental and occupational health, and healthcare. The degree allows for flexibility to enter the work force or can segue into Masters programs or dental or med school. They offer the 1st 7-year (3+4) public health/Med degree dual admission in the nation.
  • Speech-language Pathology: they start clinical experiences in the first year for some programs, often in the on-campus speech clinic.
  • Medical Sonography, Cardiovascular Sonography, Respiratory Therapy, and Exercise and Sport Science are also of note.
NSU dorms 2

Some of the dorms.

Dorms are spacious and have private bathrooms! Students are allowed to move off campus; the housing office will help students find apartments, many of which are right off campus. There is Greek Life which is fairly popular (but “smaller than at some other places”) and no Greek Housing. This is the first university (especially of this size) that does not have an actual dining hall! Students said that this is something they want fixed. There are food courts; in 2018-19, they’re going to try a hybrid for dinners/weekends where they’ll swipe for a buffet. Students would also like to see money spent on dorms and to buy out houses on SE side of campus.

International Students are considered for all scholarships and programs. They do NOT need test scores for admissions if they have been in the US from 10th-12th grade but must send in scores for scholarship consideration OR if they spent all 4 years in the US.

© 2018

Southeastern University

Southeastern University (visited 2/5/16)

SEU archTo imagine what this campus looks like, think Spanish moss (a la Savannah or Charleston) meets Southwest Architecture. The school is relatively new; although it was established in 1935 in Alabama, it relocated to its currently location in 1952 (accreditation was granted in the 80s). Buildings are new, remodeled, or well maintained so everything looks modern and attractive. Music gets piped around the main quad; when we were there, there were a lot of movie music being played. They were running a film fest, and one of the Pixar guys was on campus leading a seminar on storytelling.

SEU statueThis is a conservative Christian school, and students definitely live the mission. “I feel like the people here walk the walk. They want to be here,” said our tour guide. Applicants need to be highly invested in living their faith here. “It’s not someplace to come to explore if you believe; you come here because you DO believe and want to be surrounded by like-minded people and taught in a way that enforces that. All classes are taught from a Christian world-view, and that involves Creationism.” Another student on the panel said, “A lot of people think that god and science are on opposite ends of the spectrum, but they don’t have to be.”

St Leo treeApplicants confirm their beliefs on the application. Although associated with Assembly of God (Pentecostal), they have students from a wide range of Christian faiths. An admissions rep said, “We do ask about faith on the application. We won’t reject someone outright if they check the No box, but we’ll have a conversation to see why they’re interested in this environment. We have a very small percentage of non-Christians who enroll.” Part of their application is a Christian Character Reference form from someone they’ve known for more than 6 moths.

SEU 2A variety of chapel services are offered multiple times a week. “We know that people worship in different ways. Some are more quiet and reflective. Others are more boisterous.” Southeastern’s Core Values are Academic Excellence, Spiritual Formation, and Social Engagement. More than 50 student-led mission trips happen each year. When the tour guides talked about their trips, it seemed like a lot were conversion-based trips, but after talking more to students, it seems like many really are more help-based as well as having conversations and exchanges of information.

There’s no official dress code here. “Essentially, it’s based on modesty,” said the tour guide. “No cracks in the front or back!”

SUE butterfly statueSoutheastern’s enrollment has been growing steadily over the last several years to its current enrollment of 4,538 total students, 57% of whom are women and 36% are minority. Racial diversity was evident as we walked around campus; geographic diversity showed up in the license plates from all over the country. They currently have 74 international students; the highest number is from Brazil (5). However, there are no shuttles to and from the airport for kids who have to fly in. “A lot will take a SuperShuttle or get a friend to pick them up.” Freshmen can have cars on campus; parking is tough but a garage is in the works.

SEU new LLC bldg

The new LLC construction

There’s space for1600 students to live on campus but they’re adding 450 new beds in the new LLC that’s currently going up and will be open for fall of 2016. The 1st floor will have food, the 2-3rd floors will be offices and classrooms, and dorm rooms will take up the 4-5th floors. There are no coed dorms, and this a dry campus. The myriad of social events has led to the reputation that this is “party school of Christian schools.” There’s plenty to do on campus. Sports are a big deal, both playing and watching. Football is now in its second year, and wrestling is new. When students want to get off campus, they can use town buses for free.

SEU dorms

One of the dorms with a sand volleyball court in front

Overall, it seems like students like it here: “I was worried about whether I could have fun and be a Christian, too, but here you can.” Lakeland is a college town “but on a smaller scale than you might expect.” The beach, water parks, and Disney are all within an hour’s drive. Most students seemed happy, but while on the tour, three girls started saying, “Don’t do it! Don’t come!!” while shaking their heads vigorously behind the tour guide’s back. Another counselor and I went over to talk to them for a couple minutes and asked what they didn’t like about it. They said it wasn’t what it seemed and wasn’t worth the cost. However, when we entered the dorm, we talked to two students in the lounge. “On a 1-10 scale, it’s an 11! I love it here!”

SEU stadium

The football stadium

Of the 50 majors, graphic design, poli sci, and nursing are the newest. The students we talked to said that their largest classes were 115, 40, and 50; the smallest were 4 and 8. All students must complete 18 credits in Religion, so all of them end up with a minor in Bible Studies. They also have to earn 30 Chapel Credits per semester. “It’s pretty easy to do, and people want to go anyway.” The FYE is tied into Chapel; these classes are single-gender. There’s also a student-led workshop team: it’s a selective group involving a lot of singing, and students have to audition; they put out a yearly CD.

SEU sci bldg

The Science building

In the lobby of the science building is a mastodon skeleton named “Suzy.” It was found in Florida and on loan to the university for 6 years.

This school is an amazing bargain at $31,000 per year. The average financial aid package is $18,000 with the top scholarships going up to $15,000. Honors students (the ones getting the most money) need a 3.6 to keep their merit aid. Scholarships are generally given based on the applications; they will superscore both the ACT and the SAT. They accept counselor and teacher recs but don’t require them.

© 2016

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