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Archive for the tag “forensic science major”

Southern Wesleyan University

Southern Wesleyan University (visited 2/26/20)

SWU signSWU (and they pronounce that as one word) is a small, pretty, highly faith-based campus located about 10 minutes from Clemson. The main entrance appears quickly; I was driving in some fog on the morning I visited, and luckily the GPS warned me. Although the sign is large, it’s angled in a way to make it easy to miss until you’re on top of it.

SWU swingThe people I met were friendly and welcoming. I had planned on just asking for a packet of information, maybe talking to a student worker for a few minutes, and taking a bit of time to wander campus. The student at the desk introduced me to a rep who sat and talked for awhile, despite her just getting her day going and (I’m sure) having other things to do. When one of the tour guides came in, she took me on a personal tour on the golf cart since there weren’t any families registered for the 9am tour that day.

The tour guide was a senior bio major from the local community. “I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else!” she told me. Most of her family had come here, and she would make the same decision again if she had it to do over again.

SWU ministry center 2

Ministry Center

The rep emphasized the community and relationships with others on campus. Although that has developed into the totally clichéd catch-phrase du jour, I think it’s probably true here. This is very much a Christian campus, and the students choosing to come here are living by a particular code of ethics that “lends itself well to community.” There are service days, mission trips, and other things to link students to each other and the wider community. That being said, I did ask fairly directly how she would distinguish this school from several other highly religious institutions that are scattered throughout the Bible-Belt (including a few within about 45 minutes of SWU). I’m not sure I got a full answer, but she did try: “I hear that relationships here set it apart from others. This is a great place for students who want a small environment, research, and opportunities for personalization.”

SWU chapel 2

The chapel has lots of media!

“We’re faith in action, not just name. We emphasize making a change and working for Christ. We see every vocation as a calling, not just the ministry.” It is a dry campus, as one would expect, and there are limited visitation hours in the dorms – and signs on the doors clearly stated that doors were to be open and feet on the floor. Students must take 3 required religion classes as part of the Gen Eds, and they must earn 24 chapel credits every semester. “A few people complain, but they chose to come here; if you’re not into this, SWU isn’t for you.” Chapels are held every Monday and Wednesday. Church services on Sundays usually don’t count towards this, “but people go anyway because they want to.” The tour guide told me that the style of chapel services varied; some were musical (they have gospel choirs, chapel band, etc), etc. — they put out a schedule of chapels at the beginning of each term so students can plan to attend those they’re more interested in. They also hold Spiritual Emphasis Weeks where students can earn up to 5 chapel credits; often classes are canceled on Tuesdays and they hold special events. In addition to a Religion major (concentrations in Ministry, Worship, and Youth/Children’s Ministry), students can choose Church Music (BM degree) as well.

SWU media green screen

The communications room with the green-screen against one wall

They have a new program working with the County Disability Services. They have a special education facility for adults; they have jobs here and at Clemson (they can ride the CAT bus) and can even take some classes. Special Education majors work there, and can even be RAs in the facility. The participants are selected by Disability Services since they know who will be successful, would qualify for the classes, and benefit from the program.

SWU old church

Freedoms Hill Church

This is a great community for people who love being outdoors. There’s 100 acres of woods on campus, high and low ropes courses, bike trails, and more. There’s a small town within a couple blocks of campus, and Clemson is about 10 minutes away. Students can participate in Army or Air Force ROTC on Clemson’s campus.

One of the buildings on campus is the Freedoms Hill Church which was a stop on the Underground Railroad (and still has bullet holes in the door). “It smells like history!” said the tour guide. They were going to tear the building down, but the campus saved it.

SWU Crime house

Bard to see through the fog, but this is the crime house

There’s also a Crime House where the Criminal Justice and Forensic Science majors can do hands-on work on forensic investigations.

The new dorm is great! It houses about 250 students, coed by wing. There’s a small fitness center and a small chapel in addition to a great central lounge (the 2 single-gender wings come off of here) with a fireplace and coffee bar. The housing deposit determines placement. The rooms are huge and are set up suite-style (2 bedrooms with a bath in between.

SWU new dorm lounge

The lounge of the new dorm

They have a great gap year program called One Life that involves travel. Usually students will do this right out of high school, but there are options for doing it once they’ve started college. They earn 30 credits so they aren’t actually behind. I spoke with a student working at the coffee bar (thank you SWU for the coffee!) who had participated in the program. “It was the best thing I’d ever done. There are a lot of weird boundaries and rules like we’re not allowed to have our cell phones for a lot of the time. Vulnerability is encouraged. Looking in from the outside, you’d ask why anyone would ever do this. We joke that it’s like a cult, but it’s an intense discipleship. It helps you find god’s calling even if you don’t want to go into the ministry.” He’s studying Media Communication and couldn’t be happier. Right across from the coffee bar (which is entirely student-run, by the way) was a new media room with one wall serving as a green-screen.

I asked the tour guide about the LGBTQ community. She did say there were a few people who self-identified as members of the group, “but we are a Christian school. We love the person. We’re all sinners. We don’t condone actions, but we love the person because that’s what we’re called to do as Christians.” We talked about the choice to attend a school with this set of expectations: “It’s like going to Chapel. If that’s not something you’re comfortable with, this isn’t the place for you.”

© 2020

Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University (visited 3/13/17)

VCU 1

One of the dorms; much of campus sits on streets like this

Students looking for an urban campus with lots of diversity, school spirit, and big sports will do well here. However, they need to be willing to advocate for themselves.

This is a state school with 24,000 undergrads, 37% of whom are male and 89% coming from in-state. Gen Ed classes run 150-200 students in lecture halls, but the upper level major classes average 27 students. “It’s the students’ job to take advantage of the opportunities.” Classes are varied, as you’d expect from a school this size. A couple favorite classes were Cultural Text and Context about Egypt and Women in Global Politics.

VCU ped walkway

The pedestrian walkway part of central campus

Campus sits in the middle of Richmond with almost no “central campus” in the traditional sense. However, location means there’s plenty to do, and students have opportunities to connect to the community, get internships, and apply what they’ve learned. The James River is minutes away from campus with hiking and other activities. Richmond itself is centrally located, only 1.5 hours to Virginia Beach and a little more than 2 hours to DC.

VCU 2

One of the older buildings on campus

VCU is a relatively new institution, starting in 1968 when 2 colleges merged. The main campus sits on the site of one school; all the medical programs (including graduate schools) are on the other one a couple miles away. The do offer a Guaranteed Admissions Program for some honors students into several of the graduate health programs as long as they meet the minimum requirements. This is not binding so it’s ok if they change their mind. Applications for this have a hard November 15 deadline; students need a 1330 SAT or 29 ACT and a 3.5 unweighted GPA. Beyond that, they should have done something to stand out such as shadowing or volunteering.

Engineering and the Arts are big here:

  • Engineering has offerings in Biomedical, Chemical and Life Science, Electrical and Computer, and Mechanical and Nuclear.
  • VCU arts 1

    One of the art studios

    The Arts Department includes both visual ad performing arts.

    • Visual arts are very much studio-based. “It allows us to establish ourselves and experiment,” said a junior painting/printmaking major from Kansas. “I wanted to go somewhere where I had the resources of an entire university.” He loves the program and is very happy with his decision to come to VCU, but said the downfall is that they don’t get any help in establishing a design portfolio. “We’re on our own to figure that out.” There also aren’t really any internships easily available or at least advertised. “I looked online; I think this major is the only one with nothing listed for internship opportunities,” he told me.
    • Unusual offerings include Kinetic Imaging and Craft and Material Studies.
VCU plaza

The plaza outside the main dining commons (to the left). The library is the glass building on the right.

Humanities and Sciences, of course, is the biggest school. A few unusual offerings are Military Science and Leadership, Statistical Sciences and Operations Research, Kinesiology, and Forensic Science.

The smallest majors/schools are Social Work (35 freshman) and Life Sciences with 51 freshmen (this includes Bioinformatics, Envi Sci, and Integrative Life Sciences; biology and other sciences are in the Arts and Sciences division).

Students really like the diversity on campus. “Campus shows off the spectrum of people there. I’ve made friends from all over,” said one of the tour guides (we had 3).

VCU LLC 1

An LLC building

There are plenty of living opportunities such as LLCs and Global Living. There is no residency requirement, but 74% of freshmen do live on campus. Food gets good reviews from the students: “There’s so much food! They keep adding new options every year.” The dining hall sometimes runs what they call ‘Upper Cuts’ which serves “really, really great food!” according to one of the tour guides. It requires a second swipe on the meal plan. Restaurant Row, on one of the main streets running through campus, takes Rams Bucks. For students living off campus, it’s easy to find apartments and houses to rent near campus.

VCU dormAdmissions is rolling, and it takes about 4-6 weeks to get a decision after application is complete. They recommend that students include their SSN on the app to facilitate the link to FAFSA. This streamlines, the process, reduces mistakes, and allows them to get the package to students earlier. Students applying by Jan 15 will get an answer by April 1 at the latest. Test scores are optional for students with a 3.3 GPA at the time of application BUT are required for merit scholarships, the Honors College, Engineering majors, and for homeschooled applicants. If you want to get considered for automatic-consideration scholarships – apply by 11/15!!!

VCU stu cntrThe Honors College will look at writing on standardized tests; regular admissions does not. Priority deadline for freshman Honors Program is 2/1. The Guaranteed Admissions program falls under the honors college: if you’re admitted to GA, you’re admitted to HC, but not vice versa! The application for GA is on the Honors College website and is completely separate from the Common App.

© 2017

Trinity Washington University

Trinity Washington University (visited 9/13/16)

twu-sign

The interior of the main building.

Students who thrive here are those who want an education in an urban environment, a women’s-college educational environment, and who are more concerned with individual competitiveness than competing against others. “Lots of our students have overcome academic or other difficulties. We empower women to find their voices and intellectual lens.”

Some students may be initially reluctant about a woman’s college, but “we’re not about excluding or taking anything away. Instead, we want to support them,” said the Director of Admissions. There were certainly guys around campus, and with the university’s location directly in between Catholic University of America and Howard University (each less than a mile away), there’s no shortage of other college students around.

twu-main-bldg-2

The main, original building housing offices, classrooms, and more. One of the main statues “looks on.”

The Undergraduate School of Liberal Arts and Sciences is still single-gender. Men are accepted to the university’s graduate programs (Education, Professional Studies, and Business).

twu-chapel-2

The Chapel

This is a Catholic institution, but nothing is required (but there’s a beautiful chapel on campus for those who are interested). “We’re committed to the whole person here.” This is very much a regional institution right now (90% of their students come from DC and the MD/VA counties immediately surrounding it), although they’re reaching further afield as time goes on. They do have students on campus from CA, VA, NC, and other states. “It’s part of our mission to serve from local neighborhoods, to look out for our own.” They work very hard to provide access to education to students who might not otherwise feel that they do have access to higher education.

twu-1

The new Science Academic building

Brookline, a Red line metro stop, is a 10-15-minute walk from campus. Shuttles run back and forth every 20 minutes, “but it’s an easy walk, and lots of people do that.” Parking costs $45 per semester, but few people drive despite this being very much a commuter campus. Their residence halls hold about 250 students, and they first fit in students who come from a distance. Generally only freshmen and sophomores live in campus housing. They take security very seriously; people have to show ID upon entering buildings around campus.

twu-gardenDespite very few students living on campus, there are plenty of extra-curriculars available. They offer sever DIII sports with soccer being the most competitive. “Lots of kids play it in high school.” Everyone can play. There are currently about 50 clubs, all student-run. There are no active sororities; students who are interested may connect with groups at Howard or American.

Their sciences (including health sciences) are strong, and they now have a brand new building with labs, simulation labs for nursing, and more. They offer many typical undergraduate degrees. A few notable exceptions are:

  • Occupational Therapy Assistant: This is a 2-year AA degree. Students in the School of Professional Studies who complete this can transition right into a Bachelor’s in psychology, health science, or human relations. This allows them to work in the field as an OT assistant, get experience, earn some money, and continue their education if they choose to do so. They do not offer an OT Bachelor’s, but they do offer a Master’s in this field.
  • Human Relations: this combines psych and sociology.
  • Forensic Science: housed in the College of Arts and Science, this combines biology, chemistry, and criminal justice.
  • Business Management with specializations in Human Resource Management or Hospitality Management

Tuition is charged by the credit ($700 each), even for students registered as full-time. The university awards a leadership scholarship up to $10,000 which would cover about half of full-time tuition for the year. Applications are done online and are free. They’re also test-optional. They admit 2 cohorts: spring and fall with fall seeing the largest influx of new students.

© 2016

 

East Carolina University

EAST CAROLINA UNIVERSITY (visited 3/14/14)

ECU pirate and quad

ECU mascot statue and the quad

Coming into Greenville for an hour in any direction, there’s nothing but cow farms and cotton fields, but within town, there’s a lot to do. I was impressed with the small-city feel with stores, hospitals, their Greenway (Riverwalk), etc. ECU was founded in 1907 as a teacher’s college and became a comprehensive university in 1967. It’s now the third largest public school in the state with 21,000 undergrads (28,000 total). Greenville has a year-round population of 80,000 residents; town-gown relations are strong with lots of purple and gold displayed in stores around town.

ECU has the largest nursing program in the state, but they also have several other programs of note including Hospitality, Interior Design, Coastal Studies, Animation, and the brand new Forensic Science program. Sciences are strong with specialized opportunities such as the Cadaver Lab and the telescope in the physics building. They have a total of about 100 majors across 10 Academic colleges. The average class size is 28. Some of the upper level classes in specialized majors have 2 or 3 kids; the largest classes have about 200.

ECU library arch

Library Arch; chimes sound when motion is detected

The average for Fall 2013 admitted freshmen was a 3.2 unweighted GPA, and a 1080 SAT (M/CR) or 23 ACT (with writing). They’ll superscore both SAT and ACT. UNC Schools require: 4 English, 4 Math (1 higher than Algebra 2), 3 Science, 2 Social Studies (including US History), 2 language. The application opens in September; the final deadline is 3/15, but they release decisions on a rolling basis within that time. The rep strongly encourages students applying for popular majors and out-of-state students to apply early so space doesn’t run out (UNCs cap out-of-state population at 18%). If students apply early in the year and are denied, they can request a reevaluation if they meet any deficiencies (ie, they didn’t have the additional math class, etc).

Students interested in scholarships must apply by 12/1. If applicants meet the minimum criteria of a 3.5 unwighted or 4.0 weighted GPA plus 1200 SAT/27 ACT, the name will be sent to Honor Scholars. If they get in, they get a scholarship equal to in-state tuition. There is a limited number of EC Scholars who receive a $45,000 scholarship plus $5,000 stipend to study abroad. Additionally, there are 4 Early Assurance seats to the Medical School, 2 seat for the PT program, 1 to Audiology, OT, and Nursing, and 10 Business Scholars seats.

ECU dorm quad

Quad in a dorm unit

Dorms

Dorms

All incoming freshmen are required to live on campus; there are both hall style and suite style dorms (all with AC). Several Special Program Dorms are available including First-year Experience, Honors, Leadership, and LLCs. Off-campus housing is easy to find; they host housing fairs during the spring. Transportation around town is easy with the largest university transit system in the state (this is included in student fees) with multiple routes all over campus and Greenville. Freshman can bring cars, but “parking is a commodity.”

ECU quad

Main Quad

There’s plenty to do on campus with 400 student organizations, including Greek life, an underwater hockey club, and Pirate Club (booster club). School spirit is high: the air is “electric” during football games, said our tour guide. There are 8 men’s and 9 women’s DI sports. Club sports include rugby, bass fishing, scuba diving, and ski/snowboarding. ROTC is available on campus; their program includes a Virtual Shooting Lab.

© 2014

Becker College

Becker College (visited 3/22/14)

Becker Quad

Becker Quad

Becker surprised me; I knew almost nothing about it before visiting (and embarrassingly, only vaguely knew the name). I left with a very positive impression. The college is small enough to be personal, but large enough to give the students options – including being able to move back and forth between the two campuses in Worcester and in Leister, situated less than 20 minutes apart from each other. The college has a clear mission, and no one seems to be forcing it to be something it’s not – or to be all things to all people. Because of that, they do what they do very well, and the students get an excellent education and overall experience.

LLC for Interior Design

LLC for Interior Design

Our tour guide was Sarah, a senior Interior Design major from New Jersey who is headed to graduate school next year for Interior Architecture. She loves Becker and couldn’t ask for a better school. Her major, along with Nursing and the Animal Sciences, are the biggest majors. She took us into the Health Science building which didn’t feel like a classroom building – in fact, the hallways had carpeting. The labs are state-of-the-art including simulation dummies. Nursing has a 12:1 student to faculty ratio allowing students to get a lot of hands-on experience in these labs before they even start their clinicals (and they had a 99% placement rate for their nursing graduates). All majors have current technology to support the education, including a 3D printer in the Game Design house.

Lounge of the Game Design building

Lounge of the Game Design building

Game Design seems to be their fastest growing major, and they’re adding labs to accommodate the expansion. They’ve added a Game Management major dealing with the business side of the industry, and they brought in someone from Babson to run it. Exercise Science is also big. The brand new Forensic Science Building will open next month. They have a blood splatter room, a bullet room, etc. Even Game Design has made a “solve a murder” game that ties into this. They also started a Japanese minor because of the tie-in to anime.

Game Design House

Game Design House

Becker's largest dorm

Becker’s largest dorm

The university has made wonderful use of the neighborhood surrounding the school and has become part of the area. They have bought many of the Victorian homes in the several blocks on which the university sits and have maintained them as dorms. Each House has 25-45 students living in it, and all dorms are coed. They have Learning-Living Communities as an option for students starting in their sophomore year. The only large dorm is a brick building housing about 100 freshmen. This building also has 1 wing on the 4th floor designated as 21+; this is the only place on campus that students are allowed to have alcohol (and even then, only “small quantities”). Their Game Design building, a lovely two-story ivy-covered building is the newest property acquired by the college. They convert spaces as needs change: the library used to be their gym, and is not a spacious and light study area. Although they don’t house as many books as many other university libraries, they make sure not to duplicate resources between the libraries on the two campuses, and they shuttle books back and forth; students often get requested books on the same day so it’s easy to get what they need.

Library

Library

The campus isn’t far from Elm Park which the school has “adopted” and helps take care of. It was designed by the same guy who designed Central Park (supposedly this was the “trial run”!). There are lots of town-wide events like Art in the Park held there. The university recently acquired an apartment building with 708 upperclassmen on the main drag past the park.

~Becker 2The new President has placed a high priority on Global Citizenship. Students have worked in a sustainable garden in West Virginia and building houses in Haiti. They’ve provided scholarships for two students from Sierra Leone and they now have a partnership there where students are travelling to work. Students in classes are working on how to solve problems. Twenty percent of the faculty are international (born somewhere else). If all goes well, they’ve have the first Global Citizenship major in the country.

~Becker 5The average class size is around 16; the largest lecture hall on campus only has 70 seats. The classrooms we saw had about 24 seats in them set up around two-person tables and with nicely upholstered chairs. Any classes not available on Becker’s campus can be accessed through the Worcester Consortium of Colleges (Anna Maria, Clark, WPI, Holy Name, and Worcester State). Freshmen can have cars on campus (and there’s no parking fee), but there are also city buses and shuttles if students want or need to get to other campuses.

Food is pretty good on campus, but “it is campus food,” Sarah said. She’s never had more than a 5 minute wait for food even during rush times. The meal everyone rushes for is spaghetti; pasta is a huge deal here! Hawk’s Nest, the snack bar/ grill, is a popular hang-out. They will usually make what students want (if they have the ingredients!) even if it’s not on the menu. So many students were asking for chicken quesadillas that they ended up making in a permanent option.

Leister campus:

Student Center and classrooms at Leister campus

Student Center and classrooms at Leister campus

Although only about 20 minutes away, this campus has a distinctly different feel; whereas the other is incorporated into residential neighborhood in Worcester, this is a traditional campus. All the Animal Studies programs are on this campus, and there are plenty of open spaces to accommodate these. They have a 30 Acre equestrian center and students can board horses. Becker is the #1 producer of Vet Techs in NE (#15 nationally). Many of the athletic programs are also out here; their football field is turf. School spirit is huge! Soccer, football, and basketball pull in the most fans – but Hockey actually pulls in a lot of students to the school, and Becker now boasts 70% out-of-state student population, many of whom come from OH, NJ, CA, and CO.

The May House sits on this campus, which was owned by Louisa May Alcott’s family and where she wrote one of her novels. The 1812 House is supposedly haunted.

© 2014

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