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Archive for the tag “Equine Studies”

Centenary University (NJ)

Centenary University (visited 11/12/19)

Centenary main 2

The main building as seen through the gates from the street. 

My visit totally started off on the wrong foot. I arrived about 20 minutes early for my 2pm tour. I arrived at the given address and found the large main building with the gold dome; it’s hard to miss. However, there’s no parking to be found. No visitor lot, no signs for admissions parking, nothing to direct people arriving from off campus. No signage is a huge red flag for me. I circled the area, pulled onto a couple small roads into campus thinking it might lead me somewhere. I saw a lot of old buildings, nothing that looked well kept up, no signs for anything. Pulling onto another main road, I saw a small (like the size of a sheet of paper) sign that said “Centenary Parking” with an arrow. I followed it. Saw another one indicating I was still in the right direction. I ended up at the Hackettstown train station about 3 blocks from campus (which is a bonus, I’ll say – so there’s a plus in the university’s favor). I pulled into the lot and called the admission office, explaining that I had no idea where I should be going or parking. “Oh, you need to park on the street!” – which they never indicated on the website or in any of the emails confirming my visit. I explained that I had been circling for about 10 minutes; no spots available. “Then just go to this other place.”

Centenary chapel 1

The balcony of the chapel which sits under the gold dome.

I finally found someone who had pulled out, I parked on the street, and I made my way into the building. Right inside the main doors is a Welcome Center; I figured that was maybe the admission hub since there were no other signs for admissions. I thought that was great! A lot of schools don’t have that. I went in, introduced myself, and said I was there for the 2pm tour. “You’re in the wrong spot. You want Admissions.” Nothing else. Ok … where would that be?? I got pointed in the right direction.

I seriously almost walked away at that point. It’s hard to feel good about a place that seems to almost go out of its way to not welcome people – especially when they’re trying to get enrollment up. How can I recommend a place in good faith when I’m not sure that students will be taken care of, and that starts with visiting Admissions.

Centenary quad 1

The main quad where there are often activities held, including a massive Easter Egg hunt,

Once I got into Admissions (at least it was just around the corner from the Welcome Center), the student worker at the desk was friendly, and things turned around a bit. I introduced myself, and he was enthusiastic and told me that he was going to be the one taking me on tour. While I was waiting for him to get his coat, none of the admissions officers who saw me come in introduced themselves or said hello … and this office was NOT busy. I was the only visitor there; I heard no phones ringing; nothing much seemed to be going on. As a side note, the woman who I had been emailing/talking to also never introduced herself.

Centenary tablesThe tour was fairly quick – maybe 40 minutes, and we dawdled because I asked a lot of questions. He was totally not scripted and was good about answering things openly. As a senior, he’s got a lot to say, and I walked away feeling like I had a decent grasp on the place.

So, here’s what I can say about Centenary:

  • This is a great school for students who are maybe C students in high school and who need small classes and possibly academic support: they offer a couple for-pay support programs.
  • Centenary equestrian 1It has a spectacular Equestrian Center. The center is about 8 miles away, about a 15-minute drive through some very pretty countryside.
    • “The center is amazing; the classrooms are right there and you can actually watch people riding and doing the things you’re talking about in class.”
    • They offer Equine Studies with a variety of concentrations, including: Equestrian Media/PR, Equine Business Management, Equine Training/Instruction, Animal Health (pre-vet track), Equine Science, and Equine Studies.
    • Centenary equestrian classroom

      One of the classrooms in the equestrian center that looks onto the indoor arena

      They run shuttles several times an hour to and from the center; they even have a kitchen there “Because a lot of them are there for a big chunk of the day for classes and riding; they can even use their meal swipes out there.”

  • They have a very cool “double-decker” (2-storey) chapel on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the main building.
  • Campus facilities leave a lot to be desired, although they’re slowly improving upon them.
  • Centenary theater

    The interior of the new theater lobby. The black box theater is straight ahead; the large theater is the left.

    They have new theater facilities which brings in community members both to perform and as audience members.

  • Their DIII athletic teams draw fans, including wrestling, but I get the feeling that it’s because there’s not a ton of other things to do.
  • It’s very much a regional school (70% from NJ) with a lot of commuters. “One of my friends commutes from Newark which is like an hour away.”
    • They offer 2 cool freshman dorms (attached to the main building), 2 transfer student dorms (which is incredibly smart of them), a couple sophomore dorms (“Middle Campus”) and 2 fairly new Apartment-style buildings. The apartments have 4 singles, 2 baths, a living room, and a kitchen. “You can move in here as soon as sophomore year, but usually only if you have older friends who are willing to have you live with them.”
    • Centenary middle campus

      The Middle Campus (sophomore) dorms

      They have a “Move In Crew” – volunteers from a bunch of clubs that will help unload stuff from onto golf carts and will bring them to the dorms.

    • There is no residency requirement.
    • Housing is more difficult off campus because “it’s an older town and it’s hard to find landlords to rent out houses, but there are some, and there are some apartment complexes not too far away.”
  • Centenary sci bdg

    The Science (and fashion) building

    Students have to complete 10 hours of community service. “Most of them get it done in freshman year because there’s a service project they do as a group during orientation.”

  • Enactus is a social entrepreneurship organization and/or class. Students can get a Social Media Marketing My tour guide loved this and got a social media internship between junior and senior years which he credits entirely to Enactus and his concentration.
  • They offer a fashion design major – which is housed in the science building. I didn’t get to go in and see the labs, but the building looked like an old elementary school.
  • Town is small. “It’s hard to get food late-night, so the school has offered some late night options. People love that!”

© 2019

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

Morrisville State University (SUNY)

SUNY Morrisville (visited 7/24/15)

~Morrisville main plaza 2

School mascot

School mascot

Although this school sort of has the reputation as a “forgotten step-sibling” of the SUNY system, this is rapidly changing. The buildings are being renovated and new buildings are going up around the beautifully landscaped campus. This is a perfect school for students who are more of the hands-on types of learners; in fact, it ranks in the top 10 in the country for students who do internships. Classes are small, even for first-year students. “40 students would be a big class,” said the tour guide. Her largest class had 28 students; the smallest had 8.

Auto Tech building

Auto Tech building

~Morrisville academic quad

Academic quad

Morrisville is the first SUNY school to provide laptops to all its students back in 1998, and many of its programs require one as part of the curriculum. Majors include such areas as Applied Psychology, Renewable Energy Technology, Resort and Recreation Management, Journalism and Communication for Online Media, Dairy Tech, Automotive Management and/or Auto Tech, Equine Science, and several Info Tech specializations (Network Admin, Web Development, End-User Support, Electronic Marketing, Application Software Development). Design and architecture (including landscape architecture) has its own building, as does Auto Tech. That large structure with 12 auto bays sits on top of the hill overlooking much of campus. The Equine Center, which opened in 2011, is about 3 miles from the main campus and can house 40 horses.

~Morrisville dining 2

Dining hall

There’s a lot to do on campus. Movies are shown three times every weekend, there are plenty of clubs (the more unusual ones are the Casino Management Organization and the Pagan Alliance), and trips are offered most weekends. If 10 or more students want to go somewhere, they can request a van. Sports are popular (they’re DIII); they offer the usual sports plus Hunt Seat and Western Equestrian in the winter. They have an Ice Plex on campus with 2 full rinks. Their women’s hockey team is new this year. There are plenty of open skate times and students can use skates for free. Students do not automatically pay the $65 fee for the Fitness Center (located in the student center); they’re welcome to join if they want to use it. This is a nice change from so many schools that charge it regardless of interest.

One of the dorms

One of the dorms

~Morrisville dorm 3

Another dorm quad

Approximately 1800 students (of the 3200 undergrads) live on campus. Housing is grouped into 3 areas: Pond Quad, Iroquois Quad, and the Commons. Each dorm and area has its own “personality” or attraction. The Commons offer apartment style living and are some of the newest buildings. Fountain View Hall (in Pond Quad) is the 24-hour quiet dorm. Mohawk just got renovated and now has a full kitchen in it. Two more dorms are about to be renovated as well. Most dorms have suites (2 bedrooms and a main room), singles, and doubles. “Parking can be tricky since so many students commute,” said the tour guide, but all students can have cars, and their cars can be fixed for free by the auto tech students. They just pay for parts.

Another cool fact: all the milk served on campus comes from the campus dairy, and much of the produce is grown by the aquaculture students. “Breakfast is amazing!” There’s a make-your-own-waffle station with batters like apple cinnamon or blueberry. Omelets are great, too.

(c) 2015

Vermont Tech

VERMONT TECHNICAL COLLEGE (visited 4/14/14)

Vermont Tech sculptures and quadVermont Tech has some wonderful, unusual programs. About a third of the students enroll in one of the engineering programs, and another quarter in nursing and allied health programs. The Dean of Enrollment said that during a conversation with a CEO of a company, he was told “Vermont Tech grads are ready to work on the first day.”

Vermont Tech sculptureVermont Tech Clarke HallThe main campus houses about 950 students with another 700 more using the satellite campuses around the state. Only about 500 students live on campus in one of the 4 residence halls. Some degrees are only located on particular campuses, such as the Aviation Degree at Williston because of the proximity to Burlington airport (students in this program can graduate with their pilot license). Other campuses are primarily nursing and some respiratory majors. Architectural Engineering is math and science based. A Farm is attached to campus. The equine and agricultural majors have chores.

Vermont Tech dorm

A VT dorm

VTC hosts the Vermont Academy of Science and Technology (or VAST) for HS seniors; now in its 25th year, this is an early-entry program in which students complete 1 year of college while finishing High School (they can go back to walk in their home ceremonies). They live on campus with other VAST students. It’s free for Vermont students, and “reasonable for out-of-staters.” The dean described this as a program for “academically hungry students.”

Vermont Tech dining hall

Dining Hall

There’s not a lot going on around campus. Our tour guide said that weekends can be slow and that a lot of people leave, but they’re working on providing more to do so people stick around. Karaoke drew a big crowed. A couple big events on campus include Spring Bash (with fireworks, dunk tank, slip and slide, and more) and Country Dance (complete with a mechanical bull), and trips to Boston. Basketball (their teams are DII) draws a big fan base, but “soccer, not so much.” They have a small ski slope with a tow-rope on campus, and students built a heated ski hut at the bottom.

Vermont Tech vet lab

The Vet Tech lab

They have rolling admissions except for nursing, dental tech, and vet tech which all have a 12/1 deadline because of limited spots in the programs. Admissions are looking for “good solid students who know what they want to do.

© 2014

Otterbein University

Otterbein University (visited 4/17/12)

Otterbein 1One of my former students had gone to Otterbein and had a great experience, so I was particularly excited about getting to see her alma mater. As a particularly big fan of small liberal arts schools, I was hoping for great things. I knew very little about the school other than they were on the quarter system, the student had good things to say about it, and a few things that I had read on the website (and let’s face it – one website starts looking a lot like every other website after a while).

The bus pulled up to the Equestrian Center for the first part of our tour; this was a good move on their part since it highlighted a unique program at the very beginning. The Center was extensive and new; after being able to meet the representatives for our regions and a brief welcome from the President of the college (and being able to help ourselves to some very tasty cookies!), we got a tour of the riding rink and the barns where we also got to play with some of the horses, many of which looked expectantly for peppermints, the new treat of choice. Students in the Equine Studies program have priority for space in the barn for their horses, but other students can board horses as space allows. The university also owns many of the horses, most of which were donated from a variety of sources – rescues, ex-race horses, etc. Equine Science is a selective program; this year, they had about 70 applications for 22 new spots.

Theater is the most selective program on campus, accepting 16 students out of the approximately 400 who apply for the BFA in acting. We talked to several students who had auditioned for a spot in the acting program but didn’t make it; however, they liked OU so much that they came anyway and are majoring in another area of theater such as Design & Technology, Musical Theater, and Theater Management, or they’ve gone into communications, another very strong program with concentrations in areas such as broadcasting and journalism. Business is the largest major; popular concentrations include accounting, economics, finance, human resource management, and international business. Education and Nursing are both strong, popular programs, and students have high levels of success on the respective Board exams. The university is instituting several new programs this year; Sustainability Studies, Zoo/Conservation Science, and Public Administration are new and unusual, and the Arts department allows students to concentrate in areas usually only found in much larger universities (Computer Art, Sculpture, and Printmaking).

Otterbein 2Several of the schools I visited in Ohio had some sort of claim to fame about being among the first to accept or educate women and/or blacks . . . Otterbein is no different. Their claim is that they opened their doors in 1847 and were the first to have equal graduation requirements for men and women. (Oberlin, on the other hand, was the first coeducational college in theory – meaning it took them several years to actually accept female students — as well as being the first to accept and graduate black students, but apparently they didn’t have the same requirements for the degree as the men did). Depending on their wording, I guess a lot of colleges can be the “first” to have done very similar things.

Otterbein continues to lead the way in several regards. The Association of American Colleges and Universities awarded a large grant to Otterbein and four other colleges (including Tufts and Georgetown) to develop an integrative curriculum which will serve as models for other institutions. Students tend to be very happy at Otterbein; the university continues to earn high marks on the National Survey of Student Engagement. As is becoming more and more popular on campuses, they have a First Year Experience; I feel like it’s more uncommon to find a school without some sort of FYE. Otterbein has revamped their curriculum to address multidisciplinary perspectives and points of intersections. They have opened a new Living-Learning Community revolving around leadership. They are big on immersive learning (ie, travel tours) and experiential learning through internships, community service, global perspectives, and original research. They have switched over this year from quarters to semesters with an added 3-week January term to allow for more time and flexibility for immersion learning.

In terms of applications, they work on a Rolling Admissions basis, providing answers in two to three weeks. They accept the Common App, and the transcript is one of the most highly weighted parts of the application. The average GPA of accepted students hovers around a 3.4-3.5 with ACT scores in the mid-20s.

I enjoyed seeing Otterbein and learning more about the programs; it’s an attractive campus and they’re clearly putting effort into making the education worthwhile for the students. I was disappointed that their tour guides were not better trained; I heard from all the counselors (we were split into about 8 tour groups) that the tours were among the worst they had encountered. Most of the guides were freshmen, and while I think most of us had had good experiences with tours led by freshmen on other campuses, most of these students didn’t really seem to know what they were doing or how to answer questions. It can be very difficult to separate the experience on the tour from the quality of the school, so I hope this is fixed before it becomes a detriment for potential students and families visiting.

(c) 2012

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