campus encounters

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Archive for the category “Indiana”

Earlham College

Earlham College (visited 6/12/17)

Earlham swing“The pool here is too short for competition because …. Quakers!” said the tour guide. Earlham does, however, have an excellent club equestrian team and an Equestrian Center where students can board their horses.

Earlham rain gardenAs a CTCL school, it’s not a surprise that Earlham is known for its cutting edge integrated learning (and Money magazine has ranked them as top college in Indiana). They are vocal in their support for a liberal arts education: “You should be able to parachute into any situation and figure it out. You need to listen to others. It doesn’t mean you have to change your core values, but you need to understand what other people are talking about. They might have ideas you want to incorporate. Liberal Arts gives you the critical thinking and multi-disciplinary perspectives you need in today’s society,” said the college President.

Earlham zen garden

Zen Garden

Earlham is a Quaker-affiliated school; other than perhaps the Japanese Garden in the courtyard of the Student Center (“students like to go there to get their Zen on,” said one admissions rep), there’s no visual indication that there’s any affiliation at all. However, they do embrace Quaker values: respect for one another, integrity, social justice, simplicity, and creation of community – they work particularly hard at this. The Peace/Justice mindset was evident even on the outskirts of campus where “War is Not the Answer” signs sat on lawns of houses, many of which (we later learned) were owned by Earlham and used as an upperclassmen housing option. A professor said, “Students can learn to protest on any campus, but this is one of a few where you can learn to do it and build community, not destroy it. Students will do what they need to do, but they’ll be asking questions along the way.” One student said, “I’m not a Quaker, but it’s what I treasure about the school.” Another said, “We aren’t a quiet student body.”

Earlham quad 2This is primarily a residential campus with most students (about 95%) living on or adjacent to the 800 acre campus. “We’re unapologetic about the 4 year residency requirement.” There are 7 dorms (2 all-female, 1 all-male) including gender-neutral housing. They provide “graduated living options” where first-years are in cohorts in traditional dorms or floors. Seniors can live in one of the 20 houses on the perimeter of campus, many of which are themed housing options. About ¾ of these are consistent every year (cultural or language, faith-based, etc). The others are Friendship Houses: students petition to live with friends, and they have to explain what this group will do to contribute to campus. Applications are read without names attached by groups of other students. “Students get comfortable living in ambiguous environments. This is where self-discovery happens which can take time. We specialize in helping them do this,” said the dean of residential life.

Earlham playing fieldsThe main part of campus sits on 200 of the school’s property; the remaining 600 acres are called “Back Campus” with trails for hiking/biking/running, educational research, horseback riding, and more. Campus is never quiet: “Students tend to get over-involved. Most people here don’t know how to say no,” said a tour guide. 30% participate in NCAA DIII varsity sports. The student-athlete experience is positive here. The town of Richmond is welcoming of students with jobs and internships.

Earlham sci cntr

Science Center

Earlham provides an intellectually stimulating environment which is also close and nurturing. One of the students said, “Academics are so much better than I thought! Maybe also a little less fun …” although he said this good humor with a smile on his face! The stand-out program at Earlham is EPIC: Earlham Plan for Integrative Collaboration. It focuses on:

  • Intellectual Inquiry through Liberal Arts explorations, the major, and Integrated Pathways combining curricular and co-curricular opportunities such as
    • Medical Humanities (ethical and social aspects of medical sciences)
    • Peace Corps Prep School for international development, offering courses in 6 sectors of the PC (Agriculture, education, etc). They get a notation on their transcript.
  • Earlham stu cntr

    Student Center

    Immersion Experiences: internships, research, off-campus study

    • The Border Studies Program is a unique study-away experience; students are based in Tucson but spend time on both sides of the border. This program takes a sociological, ecological, and economical approach to immigration and migration, human rights, food, indigenous cultures, and more. This is open to students from all majors as long as they have completed at least 1 year of college level Spanish.
    • Other immersion experiences include semesters in India (Tibetan Studies), Jordan, Ecuador, and more.
  • Integrated Learning including diverse collaboration, skill and competency development, career explorations

Earlham 3There are 5 Centers for students to choose from within this program:

  • Center for Global Health (looking at things ranging from the degradation of natural habitats, food shortages, and health issues). Students have collaborated with Departments of State, School Districts, and more.
  • Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Social Justice
  • Global Education
  • Career Education and Community Engagement

Earlham 11EPIC’s purpose is to advance the schools’ commitment to interdisciplinary scholarship, innovative teaching, learning, and transformative social action by funding internships or research for all interested students. These are transformative experiences; by funding them, it addresses an equity issue. Some students are in a position to do exciting internships, but others are precluded from those opportunities due to economics. This program makes it available to everyone, not just the privileged students.

Earlham solar chargingThey’ve recently built the CoLab (CoLaboratory) which allows a physical space for interdisciplinary work to happen. Stemming from this type of work, a team of 4 Earlham students won the Hult Prize, a student competition for Social Good. This was an international competition against 25,000 teams; they were in the top 6. The four students created an interdisciplinary team (one of the requirements) representing majors in Econ, Business, and Peace & Justice. They had to create a project to double the income of 10 million people by 2017; they created an “UberBus” in Kenya and are now expanding it with the $1million in start-up money they won!

Earlham qud 4They’ve been named as a Top 10 Most Diverse Campus. International students are well taken care of here. There are 3 dedicated international advisors, and students will even get shuttled from the Dayton airport. 70% of students will study abroad.

Their Museum Studies program (run jointly by the Art, Biology, Geology, and History departments) is amazing! Students curate exhibits and run the museum tours. Many combine this with a business program for marketing and advertising.

The New Arts building has individual studios for the Fine Arts students. They offer Fibers and Weaving concentration and Photography (about half of the art majors have a photo concentration) as well as extensive metalworking and ceramics labs. “We used to be kind of invisible,” said the Chair of the program. “We had studios and offices and darkrooms scattered across campus. The new building changes that.” The theater and music departments are also well outfitted; Michael C. Hall (Dexter) is an Earlham alum.

© 2017

University of Indianapolis

University of Indianapolis (visited 6/12/17)

UInday 10“What happens in the buildings is way more important than the buildings (which are still phenomenal),” said the school’s President. UIndy is a comprehensive liberal arts school with about 4000 undergraduates. “Some kids come in with a laser focus, but many don’t, and we kind of like that! The first year is meant to expose them to the range of options so they can start to articulate passions. We draw an involved faculty who are interested in helping students see the relevance in what they’re studying and to help them articulate what they’re passionate about.”

UIndy 12This fall (2017), they’ll bring in 1,150 freshmen with 52 nations represented (China is the most highly represented with 250 students followed by 175 from the Middle East). Incoming freshmen had an average of a 3.52 GPA. Because UIndy is so focused on engagement, they’ve hired more staff and added more programs. Even with the enrollment growth, the student-faculty ratio dropped from 15:1 to 12:1.

UInday expressions wallThey’re committed to keeping prices down and providing robust financial aid. They feel that this is one way to demonstrate an ethos of “Education for Service,” their motto and something they want the students to learn to apply as well. Even their sports teams have won awards for being first in their conference for community service. The athletics tend to be strong here with 600+ students in 23 DII sports, 15 of which have gone on to post-season play.

UInday ampitheaterStudents are smart and interested in their educations. “We’ve redone the library, It’s is no longer a book depository. It’s an idea factory. There’s a line at the door at 8am and we’re kicking people out at midnight,” said the President. That doesn’t mean that academics are all they do OR that they have a single focus. Students tend to have multiple interests in and out of their majors. Francesca Zappia is one of their recent alums; she was a computer science major who also loved to write. Now she’s a published author with her second novel coming out this spring: John Greene said she’s the next big thing in that genre!

UInday 1

The new Health Pavilion

Health Sciences are strong here. They even have a cadaver lab for undergraduates! The new Health Pavilion is a gorgeous building with intentional architecture to give students a taste of what the professional life will be; it’s also a place for the community to come together. One of the community hospitals has space there providing clinics (PT, OT, and psychological) for students and the surrounding community. More than 96 clinical placements for students are available on site. This is the first school I’ve visited that combines a PT or OT program with Psychology, Anthropology, and Public Health Education & Promotion.

UInday 6They offer an accelerated 3-year BSN: acceptance depends on how they do the first year and then go year-round after that. Nursing itself is not direct-entry; students complete their first year and apply. The minimum GPA is 2.82; the GPA for a fall entry tends to be higher than that. There are 80 spots in the fall semester and 64 for a spring start; “there’s rarely not a spot for students who qualify and want to be in nursing,” said the Dean of Health Sciences. “Some may have to wait until spring to start, however.” If this is the case, they’ll graduate a semester late since there is no way to catch up over the summer with the clinical rotations.

UInday 3They added 6 Engineering programs 2 years ago, and they’re phasing out the 3+2 program because it’s no longer needed. The design aspect, project-based learning, and unique curriculum makes UIndy’s engineering stand out. They complete 10-week intensive courses followed by a 5-week design experience. The university built a new maker-space supporting collaboration in a realistic setting, and they are able to utilize engineering concepts on projects with real clients.

UInday stu cntrThe new living communities has driven engagement and increased retention. There are 7 dorms, 3 of which are predominantly for first-year students. They’re coed by wing with keys only for that wing. Food is “pretty good” according to the students, “especially Wing Fridays.” The tour guide said that he had 2 traditions he would miss after graduation: Homecoming and the Celebration of Flags, an event held at the beginning of every year where students from different countries hang their flags in the student center. He also said that “President Bob” is well liked by the students and holds highly-anticipated and well-attended events at his house every year such as Super Bowl and Election Result parties.

© 2017

Oakland City University

Oakland City University (visited 6/14/17)

OCU 1

One of the new buildings on campus

This is a small, private, Christian college founded by Baptists in 1885 with 400 students on campus; including their extensive adult education, online, and extension programs in 3 locations around Indiana, their undergraduate population hovers around 1200. This is 1 of the 2 lowest costing private schools in IN (usually alternating with another for lowest cost).

 

OCU arch

Freshmen walk through this arch as part of orientation; the other side says “Exit to Serve” — they walk out from that direction at graduation

OCU is a good school for students who want to get athletic scholarship money but who know they aren’t going pro. Over half the students play on one or more varsity teams; they must live on campus (unless within commuting distance) and sign pretty strict behavior agreements (including not drinking, even if of-age and off campus). They have all the “traditional teams” such as basketball and soccer. I get the sense (as did some other counselors on the tour) that this is the place that a lot of students attend in order to continue playing sports and get their education along the way … rather than coming to get an education and happen to play sports in their free time.

OCU chapel

The Chapel

Other than the Chapel, there is little around campus to indicate the school’s religious affiliation. Chapel service is offered at 11am on Wednesdays when nothing else is scheduled – no office hours, no classes, and even the bookstore closes down. However, attendance is never required. “If you have something else you want or need to be doing, more power to you.” Students are required to take 2 religious courses: New Testament and one another. “A lot of people who aren’t Religious Studies majors take Old Testament. It’s easier,” said the tour guide. There are some typical rules around campus that you’d expect at a religious school: it is a dry campus (although students can drink off campus unless they’re athletes who sign pledges not to drink), and inter-visitation is pretty strictly monitored (doors must be all the way open, only allowed during certain hours, etc).

OCU 2OCU currently has 4 single-gender dorms. Dorm Wars (a college version of a high school Spirit Competition) is a big deal, apparently. Dorms have colors assigned, and they’ll have games and other competitions throughout the year where students can win gift cards. The tour guide was pretty excited about Water Pong … There are two big building projects for campus including a suite style dorm and an alumni center. Part of that will have restaurants (including a drive-through) which will be accessible to town residents as well.

OCU dorm

One of the dorms

Weekends are quiet. There isn’t much in the way of planned activities, our tour guide told us, but they’ll usually head to other schools and hang out. The town is also small and quiet. I asked her what there was to do within walking distance. “Well, there’s an ice cream place….” Driving away from campus took us by some houses and then quickly into farmland. Cars would be pretty essential here even for basic shopping trips. All students can have cars, and parking is free and not hard to find.

OCU game roomClasses are hands-on. The tour guide’s biggest class had 20 in one of her Gen Ed classes; now she’s often in classes of 3-5 students. Students on campus are allowed to take 1 online class per semester if they want. Their 3 biggest/most popular majors are:

  • Education has a 100% placement rate, “Not surprising given Indiana’s shortage,” said the Dean of Admission. “It’s a pretty cool department. They have a floor that looks like and elementary school.”
  • Business (offering everything from Associates to Masters).
  • Criminal Justice is attracting students from all over. They’ve hired a new professor who has “done some crazy stuff in law enforcement.” They’ll have a crime scene house within the year. OCU will be one of maybe a dozen schools in the US that has one on campus. Blood splatter dummies. Soon, students will be able to investigate cold cases. Can take one of two tracks: more science or more CJ.

They also offer a Seminary program.

For merit scholarships, they don’t look at test scores and base it all on GPA. Students with about a 3.75 qualify for the top scholarship of $10,000. There are also athletic scholarship of up to $10,000 (which are not stackable with merit).

© 2017

 

 

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (visited 6/13/17)

SMWC 1The students who attend SMWC love it here… but it is a self-selecting sort of place. “People who come here pretty much know what they’re in for,” said the tour guide. For the student who is looking for small and Catholic – and possibly an equestrian program – this is the school. Most of campus is pretty with attractive buildings and amazing landscaping (making parts feel very wooded – go figure!); however parts of it raise eyebrows such as the weeds on the tennis courts. “You can tell we don’t have a team,” said the tour guide.

SMWC statues

Some of the statues around campus.

This liberal arts college sits 10 minutes outside of Terra Haute which is very much a college town (Indiana State and Rose-Hulman are both here). “We’re trying hard to keep kids here on the weekends. We have a great student-life staff,” said an admissions rep. There are things to do, but it’s not a bustling campus, and nothing is walkable from campus. “I would rank the craziness factor at about a 3,” said the tour guide. “There’s definitely a social life and I’ve made lots of friends, but events end early. But that means that I can also get my work done. It’s kind of the best of both worlds.” Anyone can have cars and there are currently no shuttles offered to students to help get around town. It’s also a dry campus.

SMWC dorm room

One of the dorm rooms; many are suite-style and some even have balconies!

SMWC is growing with the largest incoming class to date entering this fall. This is also their 3rd year of being coed. “In real numbers, that’s about 40 guys out of about 380-400,” said the rep. They’re actively trying to change perceptions about the school (particularly in terms of them accepting men), and they’ve added golf last year with Cross Country and Equestrian (Western Hunt Seat) starting this fall (2017). In 2018, they’ll add soccer. Our tour guide didn’t pick the college because it was all-female, “but I ended up loving it!” However, she thinks that going coed is also a positive change for the school.

SMWC chapel ext

The chapel; the dining hall is in the building attached at the left

They can currently accommodate 400 students in the dorm (there’s only 1), but there are two floors in another building that can be renovated to re-use as dorm rooms as the need arises. About 240 will live on campus this fall. The single dorm building also houses security, the chapel, some departmental offices, mailboxes, and a place for breakfast to be served. Lunch and dinner are across campus in the building attached to the convent. “Meals are good! I’d rank food as about an 8. The community can eat brunch here on the weekends. We get that as part of our meal plan.”

SMWC shell chapel

The interior of the Shell Chapel

Campus is very clearly Catholic, although mass is never required and the only religious requirement is 1 philosophy or religion class. There are statues (including a walkway with the Stations of the Cross), a large chapel, a small chapel, a churchyard where many of the nuns are buried, a grotto, etc around campus. Campus was founded by the Sisters of Providence from France, and many still live on campus, “but it’s like a retirement home. They don’t teach, but will sometimes come in to do guest lectures on campus,” said the tour guide. This order is very liberal, and they’re often seen protesting the death penalty and other social justice issues. The nuns run an alpaca farm and use the wool in fair-trade goods. Students and community members can take spinning classes.

SMWC horses

Some of the horses on campus with the barns in the background

Classes average 11 students with an option for online classes for undergraduates. Their strongest program might revolve around the extensive equestrian center. They offer Equine Studies, Equine Training and Instruction, and Equine Business Management as majors with Equine Assisted Therapy and Equine Science as minors. Students in the equestrian programs/majors are assigned a horse which they must take care of as part of their grade. The school also gets a number of yearlings that students train as part of a class.

SMWC grotto

The campus grotto

Other notable programs include Music Therapy, Professional Writing, Human Resource Management, 3+1 Leadership Development program (pairing any major with a Masters in LD), Healthcare Administration, and Nursing. Music is coming back; it had been gone for awhile because of budget cuts.

SMWC staircase

The main stairwell in the dorm

One of the favorite traditions is the Ring Ceremony. Juniors get class rings towards the end of the year during a formal ceremony after a dinner where they’re wearing their caps and gowns. This ring is presented to them by an alum, and they can choose who gives it to them. At this point, they wear it with the letters facing towards themselves. At the end of senior year, they have the Oak Leaf Ceremony where they wear oak leaf crowns (“I’m not sure if this will change now that we’re coed,” said the tour guide) and they turn their rings around to “face the world.”

In addition to regular merit scholarships, they offer a competitive, full-tuition scholarship. Students write essays for the first round; from these, admissions will select students to interview; 4 get the scholarship.

© 2017

University of Evansville

University of Evansville (visited 11/15/16)

evansville-walkway-2Evansville is a surprising school; on the surface, it appears to be a low-key school, but they have amazing programs ranging from DI athletics to a highly selective theater department. “You have all sorts of people here. We all fit in. If you want a close-knit feel, this is it.”

This is a traditional, residential liberal arts college with additional professional options offering over 80 majors. The university is organized into 4 schools: Liberal Arts & Sciences, Business, Engineering, and Education & Health Sciences (the only division with Grad programs). They are currently starting several new programs:

Health sciences and pre-med are strong: they boast a 100% placement rate at Med School for the last 10 years). Many allied health programs are Direct Entry either for the undergrad program or for a spot in the graduate school (as long as benchmarks are met along the way). They’ll require an interview from some applicants (it can be by phone).

  • evansville-lab-2Nursing: They want someone who is passionate about the subject AND has a minimum skill set. They take about 25 students a year.
  • Physician Assistant (started last fall): This year, they brought in 20 direct-entry freshman on the PA path who will have a spot in the grad program.
  • Physical Therapy: This is a little more competitive than Nursing: applicants must have a minimum test score to get invited to interview for Direct Entry. Those selected will earn a spot in the DPT program. Students not accepted into DE can still come, do the program, and apply to the graduate school. The program averages about 70 students per year.
  • Baccalaureate to MD: This is an accelerated program only open to IN residents.
evansville-acad-bldg

The theater building

More than 1000 students audition annually for 40 spots in Evansville’s Theater program; this number includes students interested in behind-the-scenes work (costumes, tech, etc), requiring a portfolio review/interview instead of audition. They put on a musical every fall (but it’s not a Musical Theater program) and Shakespeare every spring along with 3-4 other productions. Tech students do everything from making their own wigs and make-up to sets and ticket sales. There are several well-known alumni including Rami Malek, Ron Glass, Kelli Giddish, Kelly Preston, and Jack McBrayer.

evansville-main-bldg

The main building

UE now offers a 5-part Guarantee:

  • 4-year graduation: UE will pay for additional time if students can’t graduate in time as long as they’re in good standing with the university (not failing things, have met regularly with the advisor, not changing major in senior year, etc).
  • No classes are taught by TAs.
  • Scholarship guarantee: all freshmen this year receive one. Most scholarships range from $10K-20K. Some are more (ie, National Merit finalists get full tuition).
  • Internship or Co-op experience. Co-ops are mostly offered to Engineering students (Toyota is a big place for co-ops; there’s a plant about 30 minutes up the road).
evansville-engo-projects

Several engineering projects

About 2/3 of classes have 20 students or fewer; 18 is the average. The largest class (Organic Chem) has 40. Some of the students’ favorite classes have been:

  • Organic Chem (2 students chose this!): “It can be scary, but as a Pre-med, it’s applicable. The prof is one of those teachers who makes something so complicated seem so easy. He’s really personable and puts students first. He’s just awesome.”
  • Business Law: “The professor makes the class. He’s a full-time lawyer and takes real-world cases and applies them to what we’re learning. He’s also really funny.”
  • Intro to Theater and Intro to Ancient Greek Philosophy: “These are so different from my major and I get a bit of a break. I didn’t know how great the theater program was until I saw it in action. The philosophy makes me think in a way that I don’t in my math and science classes. It challenges me in a way that I’m not in math.”
  • Spanish Conversation: “We had to read, write, and speak all the time. We got to write and act out plays. We’re terrible actors, but we got to display the skills we had.”
evansville-fountain-1

The fountain commemorating the basketball team that was killed in a plane crash in the ’70s

Last year, they saw a 4% increase in the freshman class with 3 enrollment records:

  • 540 new freshman including an increase of international students (71 started this fall, bringing it up to 15% of the population).
  • Domestic Diversity is up from 10% to 15%. They’ve set a new goal of 18%.
  • Retention has gone up to 89% with the class that started in fall 2015.

UE owns Harlaxton, a “castle” (Victorian Manor) located in an hour north of London. “It’s our version of Hogwarts,” one student said. “Do you like Hogwarts? How about Downton Abbey? No? Then you can’t go.” Almost 60% of undergrads will study there, either for a 5-week summer program or a full semester, with150-160 attending per semester including 16 senior nursing students doing clinical rotations. To be eligible, students must have a 2.0 GPA after finishing 2 semesters at UE. Classes are not held on Fridays to encourage travel. Some trips are built in, and others are offered at a reasonable cost. Everyone takes a British Studies class taught by a British UE faculty member. There’s no difference in cost to study there (but students pay airfare and travel within Europe that they choose to do); all financial aid and scholarships get applied.

evansville-chapel-1We asked students what surprised them about the university. They said:

  • How friendly everyone was. People would smile and say hi, ask how you were and meant it, and asked if you needed help.
  • How challenging the academics were.
  • How different college is from high school. You don’t see the same people all the time. You can find your niche and spend time there.
  • How easy it is to get connected and meet people.
evansville-bball-game-2

The opening basketball game of the season; the stands get increasingly full as the season goes on. 

This is one of the smallest DI schools in the country. Basketball and soccer pull in a lot of fans. They’re starting Track and Field (indoor and outdoor) this coming year; the coach they have on board was asked to coach the High Jump at the Olympics.

About 30% of students go Greek, and those tend to join a lot of other activities. They plan a lot of events open to everyone including philanthropic events. “There are lots of events to raise money” such as Friday Night Live, Watermelon Bust, and cook-outs.

evansville-pep-band

The pep band at the game

Some favorite traditions include:

  • Road Trip: “I love meeting new people.”
  • Freshman orientation and being a leader: “you get close to other leaders and get to meet the freshman before other people which is cool – and going through orientation with them and helping them deal with things and seeing campus again through their eyes is great.”
  • “Basketball season!”
  • Fall Festival: This is the 2nd largest street festival in the nation after Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

evansville-4Evansville itself offers a lot; it’s a decent sized city with a population of 120,000 (300,000 in the metro area). Everything is close; students don’t need cars: There are bike-shares, buses, shuttles, and friends with cars.

© 2016

Purdue University

PURDUE UNIVERSITY (visited 9/15/14)

Twenty-three astronauts, including Neil Armstrong (for whom their engineering building is named), graduated from Purdue.

~Purdue quad 2 Purdue is Indiana’s land-grant public institution, home to 29,400 undergraduates: 57% are male, 57% are in-state, and 17% are international. We visited on a drizzly day, but the students were out in droves. The level of diversity seen in the student body impressed me.

~Purdue Boilermaker

The Boilermaker

As part of the counselor tour, some of us chose to ride the “Boilermaker,” a small “train” that goes around campus. We had about five minutes to talk to the students who ranged from sophomores to seniors. Most were in-state; 2 were from other Midwestern states. They were all thrilled with their education and excited to talk about their experiences. One student said that she was surprised at how manageable the campus felt for such a large school; the others agreed that it feels small quickly through the majors, living communities, clubs, etc. Three were involved in Greek life (about 20% of all students are, making it one of the largest Greek systems in the state). The unaffiliated ones didn’t feel left out of the social scene or pressured to rush.

Purdue sign and acad A few things the students particularly like about Purdue are:

  • The President who was a 2-term Indiana Governor. He’s making some good initiatives, including freezing tuition for 3 years.
  • The town. It’s very walkable with lots to do. They are two hours from Chicago; shuttles run all the time. (Freshmen are not allowed to have cars on campus because of parking limitations).
  • SPORTS! Students can buy a “Boilermaker VIP card” for $250 which gets them tickets to the games.
  • The strong ROTC program in all 4 branches.

There is no residency requirement but almost all freshmen live on campus. “It cuts in half about every year after that,” said the tour guide. A total of 11,500 students live in one of 16 dorms or a learning community (each housing 30-40 students) A new Honors College residence hall is about to be built. Greek housing is cheaper than other on-campus housing.

~Purdue walkwayStudents can be directly admitted to most of the 200 majors; undecided students enter the Exploratory Program. Many of the programs are largely hands-on with the goal of graduating marketable students. The admissions rep talked about their 4-3-2-1 “program” (although it’s not really advertised as such): they want students to graduate in 4 years, keep a 3.0 average, complete 2 hours of study for every hour of class, take 1 leadership role. The university boasts the largest student-run job fair in the country, and students do tend to transition easily into the job market. Our tour guide, an agri-business major, has a job already lined up for graduation (almost a year away!)

Purdue acad bldg 5Classes tend to be large. There are 2 lecture halls with 470ish seats and other halls that hold 120 students. Our tour guide’s smallest classes were 30 (Instructor-led) and 20 (TA-led). There’s support for people who want it, but no one will hold their hands. The OWL lab (writing center) is free. “It’s available online; I used it even as a high school student,” said the tour guide. However, other tutoring costs money.

During our visit, there were two sessions where we had options of seeing several different departments. I first went to the anthropology department and got a tour by one of the archaeologists who works in Egypt. She took us into the osteology lab where a several-thousand-year-old Sudanese skeleton was assembled on the worktable. She showed us some of the discoveries about lifestyle, and explained what type of work the students do in the class she teaches. Eventually it will go back to Sudan, but since they don’t have facilities to store human remains for study, they’re not anxious to get it back.

One of the kitchen classrooms for the Hospitality School.

One of the kitchen classrooms for the Hospitality School.

~Purdue fountain 3The second tour was the school of Health and Human Sciences. This encompasses everything from Hospitality and Tourism Management and Consumer Science to Nursing, Psychological Sciences, and Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. I talked to a Dean and a current Hospitality student. He showed off the school, including the sit-down restaurant on campus where all students must complete an internship.

Notable majors include:

  • Hospitality and Retail. Students can specialize in things like Sporting Events or get certified in Wine Tasting. Students all complete 4 concentrations including labs and internships on campus and must also complete 3 paid internships in different positions, totalling more than 300 hours. There’s one in China at the Shangri La Resorts. The student I spoke to had all his expenses paid, including travel and uniforms. He completed a research project in Employee Retention, so he spent a lot of time with HR.
  • PHASE (Purdue Hearing and Acoustics in Science and Engineering) which includes Acoustic Engineering and Biomedical Acoustics.
  • A new Brain and Behavioral Science Major, popular with the pre-med crowd (as is the Nutrition Science program).
  • Fashion Merchandising: They can spend their junior year at FIT in New York.
  • Financial Planning (one of the majors requiring an internship).
  • Aviation – complete with an airport on campus.
  • Selling and Sales Management. “They do lots of improv; they know how to deal with lots of situations,” said the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Education – they work in their first year.
  • Pharmacy is # 7 in the country. Students complete 2 years of pre-pharm then 4 years of pharmacy.
  • Film/TV and Communications is overlooked.

Purdue acad bldg 1Students must apply by November 1 to be eligible for scholarship money. They will superscore the SAT or take the highest composite ACT. They only need 1 recommendation letter which can come from the high school counselor.

© 2014

Indiana University

INDIANA UNIVERSITY (visited 9/17/14)

~IU students in treeFor a large state/Big 10 School, IU is wonderfully landscaped and attractive. There’s a stream through campus, lots of trees, and even 2 cemeteries (the university can’t move them because of purchase conditions of the property). Near the chem building is the Dunn Family Sweetheart Tree, named for the family who had sold the university the land for that part of campus. One stipulation they made during the sale was that this tree had to remain on campus. The new chem. building is built around the tree. The 2nd stipulation was that for every tree cut down, the university has to replace it with 1 more, but they went one better and replaces every lost tree with 2 more.

~IU class changeThe main part of campus was swarming with students moving between classes. During the student panel, someone asked the students what it was like getting around campus for the first couple days and how they avoided getting lost. One student said that there are “IU Guides” – upperclassmen — who are posted around campus for the first couple days to help people. There’s also a mobile app. “I could look like I’m texting instead of a lost freshman,” said another student. There are also buses that circulate every 7-10 minutes which helps get them where they need to go.

With 4,000 classes each semester, students can’t possibly be bored. Average classes have 33 students, and only 7% of classes have more than 100. The largest lecture hall holds 420 students. “It’s the smallest largest lecture hall in the Big 10!” said the tour guide. Her largest class was close to that number. Despite the size of campus, professors make sure the students get hands-on experience. This is not the place for students who don’t like group work.

~IU arts

IU Art Building

Some academic information to note:

  • The Kelley Business School, ranked the #7 Business program in the nation, has about 5000 undergraduates. The program is designed for students to explore options through a first-year 12-credit Integrative Core to help them choose from the 12 programs including: Professional Sales, Economic Consulting, Public Policy Analysis, Real Estate, and Supply Chain Management.
    • Co-majors include Law, Ethics and Decision-Making, Technology Management, and Sustainable Business.
    • There are several accelerated 4+1 Master’s programs (the +1 is from the Kelley Business School.)
  • The music program competes with Eastman and Julliard. Thy have a full opera company which performs at the Met. Students have to audition and submit materials by 12/1. There’s a pre-screening process in the popular areas such as violin, saxophone, voice etc.
  • There are more languages taught here than anywhere else in the country with a total of 70, 50 of which are taught on a regular basis.
  • Physical Sciences are some of the smallest majors (and tend to have the smallest classes).
  • Many majors offer direct admission, and 26% are directly admitted into the program of choice. Students need to indicate on the application that they want that major.

    ~IU chem window

    A Chemistry Building window carving.

  • Nursing and Social Work are not direct admits.
  • Students interested in theater or studio arts can apply for the BFA program (requires an audition or medium-specific portfolio) or a BA (no audition/portfolio).
  • The Chem building is shaped like the periodic table. The elements are carved under the windows with a few blank for future discoveries.

IU admitted 24,000 students from the 38,000 who applied last year. From that, they enrolled 7716 first-year students, the largest in history. About a third came from outside Indiana; 9% were international. Students had a 3.73 median GPA and 1216 average SAT. They admit on a rolling basis (answers take 4-6 weeks).

~IU flowers bldgNovember 1 is a hard deadline for scholarship consideration but students can submit test scores through January 15 to increase scholarship money. Students are automatically considered for many scholarships, but not all. Selective scholarships require an additional application. Students are notified via mail and email regarding the link to their personalized Selective Scholarship Application, used for Hutton Honors College, Cox Research Scholars Program, and more. A couple scholarships worth noting are:

  • The Dean’s scholarship is worth up to $8,000 and given to non-residents.
  • The Global Engagement Scholarship for incoming freshmen, up to $11,000.
  • The Wells Scholars Program requires a nomination from the applicant’s high school, due by 10/1. Nomination packets are mailed to eligible high schools in August. Students from non-nominating high schools should submit all required materials to the admissions office by 9/20

Students are invited to the Honors College with an SAT of 1450 or 34 ACT, and a 3.8+ GPA. Honors housing is available but not required.

~IU BikesStudents must live on campus for freshman year. They’re housed in “neighborhoods” with academic support advisors with offices right there. There is also themed housing as well as beautiful Greek Housing (about 18% of students are affiliated, but not necessarily living in Greek Houses). There are 730 clubs and organizations on campus, including an Ushering Club (which gets them into some of the 1100+ music and theater productions for free). There’s a now-defunct Leaf Raking Club. Several students from California

~IU fountain 1

The infamous fountain, missing one of the statues

thought it sounded like fun; “that lasted about 15 minutes,” said the tour guide. One of the favorite activities is “Little 500,” a bike race modelled after the Indy 500. Students like going into town for food; Bloomington has the 2nd highest density of ethnic restaurants per capita after NYC. “It’s a tough life when you have to choose between Ethiopian restaurants”

Not surprisingly, sports are huge here. “We bleed Crimson . . . which isn’t so impressive come to think of it,” said one student on the panel. When IU last won the NCAA, the Arts Plaza got flooded during the celebration. The fish from the fountain were taken (“They weigh about a ton each. I don’t know how that happened,” said the tour guide. Although 4 were found (one of which was on a roof!), the 5th fish is still missing. There are several legends surrounding this: one says that it won’t be brought back until Bobby Knight apologizes, “and that’s not gonna happen!” Another says it’s gone until IU wins again.

© 2014

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

IUPUI (visited 9/17/14)

Quad with the Indianapolis skyline in the background

Quad with the Indianapolis skyline in the background

I was expecting not to be impressed with Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, but it surprised me and is an absolute gem of a college. Located a very walkable mile from the downtown area of Indianapolis, this urban college is still very much a campus surrounded by a lot of opportunity. “It’s the best of both worlds,” said one student. The school opened in 1969 “and has been under construction ever since,” said my tour guide. “There are so many opportunities, and the school is really invested in keeping up with the times and what students are looking for in terms of their education.”

One of the nicest things about this university is that students complete exactly the same programs and degrees as they would find at either IU or Purdue, including the highly ranked Kelley Business School at Indiana or the engineering at Purdue. My tour guide will graduate this year with a double major in Bio (her degree will be granted by Purdue) and Spanish (granted by IU) with minors in Chem and Psych (granted by Purdue) – and she can walk in both schools’ ceremonies if she wants. She said that one of the major advantages of attending IUPUI is not only being able to combine things, but that the students have all the resources of downtown at their disposal, including a huge array of internships. My tour guide is currently shadowing a doctor and doing stem-cell research. A friend of hers is interning with the mayor. Others have done work with the police, in business, with the sports teams (including the Colts).

Campus Center

Campus Center

The Campus Center is an amazing 4-story glass building and is really the hub of campus. There’s food, student offices, entertainment, the post office, study spaces, and much more, including the health center. “I’ve had to use it a couple times and loved the care I got there.” Lots of clubs have offices or meet in this building. There are over 300 organizations available for students, and Greek Life is growing. My tour guide has started a Donate a Holiday club which collects presents, packages them up, and gets them to people who might otherwise not have anything for the holidays.

With over 200 majors to choose from, students really can do anything here. There are a few worth pointing out:

  • They have the only accredited art school in the state, including art therapy.
  • They offer a BS and MS in Motorsports Engineering; the master’s is the only one in North America. The students in this program beat Purdue in their own race!
  • Some of the more specialized/unusual majors are:

Other notable programs, opportunities, and facts include:

One of the many walkways on campus

One of the many walkways on campus

Confucius Institute

Confucius Institute

  • A Confucius Institute. This offers language classes and activities surrounding Buddhist and Chinese culture. There’s also a Zen Garden on campus.
  • The Scholarship Office. They are nationally ranked for their scholarship opportunities. A male accidentally applied for a Single Mother scholarship – and got it because no one else applied for it!
  • The Honors College provides an $8000 scholarship, a study abroad stipend, and housing that comes with a stocked kitchen! Students need a 3.75 and 1250 SAT to get in when they first start, or they can apply to get in once on campus if they have a 3.5.
  • 71% of the campus is connected by walkways or tunnels.
  • The have one of the fastest pools in the country. I asked what made it so fast and she said it had something to do with the way water was circulated through the system. They have a lot of banners up of swimmers who swam a personal best in that pool. Michael Phelps was up for a long time until he beat his own record in Beijing.
  • They have some of the best job rates around, ranking #2 in Indiana.
  • IUPUI is highly rated for the diversity on campus. The tour guide said that the level of diversity was one thing that really surprised her when she arrived on campus.
Library with a rooftop garden

Library with a rooftop garden

IUPUI has 30,000 students, but only 2,000 live on campus. There are 2 freshman dorms, including the Tower which had been a 4-star hotel. The New England Patriots stayed there when Indianapolis hosted the Super Bowl. As the tour guide said, “If it’s good enough for Tom Brady . . ..” There are also the Riverwalk apartments, townhomes, and other options with more being added. She raved about the food. The breakfast bar is open until 11 pm; that’s a big hit with the students.

Students can have cars; parking costs $135 per semester. They do have a parking garage. However, a lot of students take advantage of public transportation which is convenient because of its location in the city.

© 2014

Hanover College

Hanover College, IN (visited 9/16/14)

~Hanover Ohio River 2

View of the Ohio River

There are two fun facts to report about Hanover right off the bat: first, Woody Harrelson is a graduate. Second, Hanover was the answer to a Jeopardy question that asked which college campus was the only place from which it was possible to see 3 bends in the Ohio River.

“Hanover is strategically placed among the cornfields,” the admissions rep told us. It’s situated 1.5 hours from both Indianapolis and Cincinnati, 45 minutes from Louisville (the omnibus goes there all the time). “The town also has the first historic district in the state. It’s not easily walkable from campus, but there are plenty of shuttles.” Because of this, it’s not a suitcase school. There’s always something going on. “Students are conscious of creating fun but also helping others.” Students can bring cars starting in freshman year, although they’re encouraged not to bring them until October break.

~Hanover acad bldg 3

Our tour guide outside an academic building

Our tour guide said that something that surprised her was “how genuine people were here.” The President of the college said something along the same lines: “The best things about Hanover are intangible. It’s in the relationships. People go out of their way to maintain contact after graduation. I’ve been in higher ed for 45 years, and I’ve never seen people who have as many reunions as they do here.” The President is highly involved on campus; students call her by her first name, and she opens her home every year for the annual Halloween Party, one of the best-attended events of the year.

This is a lovely campus, often cited as one of the prettiest in the country. The brick buildings are attractive and well-maintained, and there’s lots of open space with trees and flowers. “Campus has waterfalls and deer posses,” said a rep. There’s a wildlife reserve 15 minutes away used by students in the biological sciences, one of Hanover’s strengths. It’s the only undergraduate institution in Indiana with a cadaver lab.

~ Hanover Busi poster

Poster by a student in the Business program

Another academic strength is Business Scholars Program. It’s not a major; any student can apply during freshman year to become of this program. Just over 25% of the students get involved. The BSP professors will help student tie any major into the Business world, such as students who major in studio art and can learn how to run an art gallery through BSP.

~ Hanover sci centrThe school supports students to compete for Richter Grants which support off-campus learning opportunities. One student studies in the Amazon; one budding writing student went to Japan to study cartoon characters for children’s books; another studied street art in Europe. They also have a 3-week May term during when students take one class. There are several study-travel classes, including one led by the president to Italy to study early Christianity. “I wish more people knew what great opportunities there are here,” said the tour guide.

Students can’t skate by here. People who want to do that won’t make it. Our tour guide’s biggest class had 42 students: “It was an astronomy class; it’s really popular!” Her sociology class was her smallest with 8 largest was 8 in a sociology class. Her favorite class was Sociology of Childhood.

Housing

Housing

~ Hanover quad 2

The quad

All students must live on campus unless they live within 30 minutes of campus. There are 4 freshmen dorms, all traditional bathroom-down-the-hall style, and all but 1 are without AC. There are upperclassmen dorms that are mostly suites and quads; only 1 does not have AC. Despite the lack of AC in many dorms, the biggest gripe from 2 different students was the fact that the internet could get spotty at times.

Forty-five percent of the study body is Greek-affiliated. Students don’t rush until the beginning of second semester giving them time to adjust to college life and make friends before affiliating. Frat-Run Night (when students get their bids) is one of the big traditions on campus. Other notable traditions that our tour guide talked about was the massive snowball fight on the first night of significant snowfall, Syllabus Eve party right before the first night of classes, Homecoming, Bell Game against Franklin (their rival), and the Whiffleball tourney that will draw about 64 teams each year.

~Hanover dining hall

Dining Hall

Greek-affiliated housing is available starting in sophomore year; 90% of the Greek students take advantage of this. Thirty-six girls live in each sorority house; the tour guide didn’t know about the numbers in the frat houses. There is no alcohol in the sororities; parties are in the frats. “More drugs are found off campus; kids think they’re more likely to get away with it because they think it’s less patrolled – but it’s not.” She said that there was one fight on campus during her time here between a student and a non-student. That’s the only time she’s heard of anyone using the blue lights.

The student body is socioeconomically diverse; they’re almost equally divided across the income spectrum. Almost half of the students are first-gen students. There are a lot of scholarship opportunities, including scholarships for involvement in extra-curricular activities aligning with the major. This $5,000 can be stacked with most other scholarships. They will adjust merit aid through the February ACT test date. The school is working hard to increase scholarship and financial aid opportunities; one of the primary reasons that students transfer out is because it’s expensive.

The most competitive scholarship is the Templeton, a full-tuition award. It’s based on extra-curricular involvement and potential. This requires a separate application, resume, and essay. Forty applicants get invited to campus to compete; 12 are awarded the scholarship. Because of a recent grant, some of the students will get a partial scholarship, called the Jordan. They’re still subject to the same requirements: 20 hours of community service per semester, at least 4 hours of study time at the library/learning center per week, involvement in at least 1 activity with the expectation that they take a leadership position by Junior year.

© 2014

Butler University

BUTLER UNIVERSITY (visited 9/18/14)

~Butler Arts 2

Arts Center

If you want a top-notch education in Dance, Butler is your place. Students here have turned down acceptances to Julliard to attend Butler instead. In fact, their music and arts programs in general tend to be excellent.

~Butler planetarium

Planetarium

Butler’s campus is spacious (about 300 acres) compared to the student population (about 4200 undergrads). Most of the buildings are attractive, much of it made from stone. One of the prominent buildings on campus is the planetarium; the Astronomy and Astrophysics department is well-regarded.

Unfortunately, I didn’t walk away from the tour feeling like I knew much more about Butler than I did when I started. I visited as part of a Counselor event; we didn’t get any sort of info session so we tried to get as much as possible from our tour guide. She worked very hard and was definitely perky, but it was almost impossible to get her “off script” from what she learned for the tour. She had a hard time answering questions such as what her favorite traditions were, her favorite classes, etc. Even getting her to tell us about the numbers of students in her largest and smallest classes was difficult; she reverted to telling us statistics about averages. We did learn, however, that Butler has an “8 Before You Graduate” program: students are expected to go to 8 cultural events over their time there. “It’s pretty easy – it’s only 1 per semester and there’s a ton of stuff happening.”

~Butler Athletics

Athletic Complex

Many people know Butler because of its sports teams; they have 19 DI teams competing in the Big East and generally do well for themselves. We weren’t able to go into the gym, unfortunately, due to some refurbishing, but the building itself is impressive (and we did get to meet the bulldog mascot). Not surprisingly, they offer a Sports Media major!

~Butler real bulldog 2

Bulldog mascot

Butler is offering some interesting Interdisciplinary degree programs such as Psychology combined with Anthropology, Criminology, PoliSci, Philosophy, or Sociology; (Anthropology can also be combined with History, and History can be combined with PoliSci). The Engineering Dual Degree Program allows students to major in Math, Physics, Bio, Chem, CompSci, Econ, or Science, Tech, and Society at Butler, and then earn an engineering degree in Biomedical, Computer, Electrical, or Mechanical Engineering at Purdue.

The Pharmacy program is direct-admit, and in 2011, they ranked #6 in pass-rates on national exams. The pass rate for the Physician’s Assistant program is also higher than the national average.

About 70% of students live on campus; they have a 3-year residency requirement unless the students commute from home. There are 2 traditional-style freshmen dorms. A large new dorm is in the works.

~Butler Greek 3

One of the Greek Houses

This will also have a parking structure. Affiliated upperclassmen can opt to live in Greek Housing, which is considered on-campus for residency requirements. A little over 1/3 of students are affiliated with Greek Life. The tour guide said that it’s “Prominent but not Dominant.”

© 2014

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