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Seton Hall University

Seton Hall University (visited 10/10/16)

seton-hall-chapel-int

Interior of the Chapel

Like many Catholic schools, students here agreed that SHU is “as Catholic as you make it.” This is a Diocesan university, unaffiliated with a specific branch of Catholicism. Just over 2/3 of the 5,800 undergraduates self-identify as Catholic, “but that doesn’t mean we’re practicing.” All faiths are welcomed. The mission is to create a “University of Opportunity for Deserving Students” while teaching respect and understanding based on the vision of “Home for the Mind, Heart, and Spirit.” SHU has a 44% diversity rate; students who come from all over the US and 70 foreign countries.

seton-hall-studentsStudents are engaged with each other and lots were wearing Seton Hall gear. There were so many students around that I was surprised to learn that students were actually on break. 80% of freshmen and 50% of total undergrads live on campus. Housing is not guaranteed, but they’ve never had a student denied if they’ve applied by the deadline. RAs and priests live in each of the 6 residence halls; they also provide 2 apartment buildings for upperclassmen.

The dining hall, an all-you-can-eat option, is spacious and has lots of stations and food choices. Booths have power outlets which is smart. “When they serve chicken tenders or mac & cheese, the line is out the door. Otherwise, maybe it’s a 3 minute wait for food,” said one of the students. I ate lunch there and was pleased with the food.

seton-hall-statueStudents feel that there’s enough to do on campus. As a founding member of the Big East, their 14 DI sports teams are a big draw, particularly basketball. Tickets cost $100 for the season (refunded if they go to all the games). Another student raved about the fact that Seton Hall won “Best College Christmas Tradition”: on the first Monday of December, they light the large outdoor tree, sing carols, and have hot chocolate.

seton-hall-2One student told me that campus can be quiet on the weekends. However, there’s no shortage of things to do. Many students choose Seton Hall because of its proximity to NYC. The train station is a 10-minute walk (or quick shuttle ride) from campus; from there, it’s a 30-minute ride into Penn Station. Luckily, the train station is on the “good side” of campus. I was worried as I drove in: an area close to campus was run-down with boarded-up/gated storefronts, garbage, and people literally wandering in the streets. Suddenly, within a block or two of campus, things changed. “One side of campus is shady; the other is a mega-rich neighborhood,” said students. Campus is beautiful, safe, and gated; students swipe in, and visitors check in with a guard.

Shuttles run every 30 minutes. Only seniors, commuters, and students with jobs or internships can have cars on campus. Commuters are given lots of resources and chances to integrate into the community; the university also recognizes the different needs of commuting students. For example, the Commuter Café is open 10-7 when classes are in session.

seton-hall-6Academics are student-centered, and students like the atmosphere: “We’re pretty chill here. It’s cooperative,” said the tour guide. Freshmen are assigned both an academic and a peer advisor, and they’re enrolled in a 1-credit University Life class to help transition into college. Students get a laptop when they start and a new one 2 years later (they can keep that one after graduation). They rank in the top 5 universities (keeping company with places like UPenn and Duke) for internships: over 80% of students complete at least 1. Clearly they’re doing something right: they’ve had 18 Fulbright awards since 2009.

seton-hall-signThe size of the school “offers all the advantages of a large research university but the support of a small school,” said the admissions rep. Classes average 21 students with Freshman English averaging 15 and languages capped at 15. The tour guide’s larges class was 30 (Intro to Bio) and smallest was 15 (Freshman Eng). Another student’s smallest class was 7 (Russian).

Students take 5 religious classes: the first one, and the only common one, is Journey of Transformation. “It’s mostly philosophy and introspective.” Students then choose 4 others. Students in the Honors Program (requiring a separate application to get in) take a different class in place of Freshman English and the Transformations class.

seton-hall-3There are two early deadlines to be aware of for scholarships. First, students interested in Special Scholarships need to apply by 1/5. Second, to be eligible for the Public Tuition Rate, they must apply by 12/15. For this, students must rank in the top 10% of their high school class and meet various GPA and score requirements. They do not need to be NJ residents to get this award. If the high school doesn’t rank, the school counselor should contact admissions with information.

Information about the different schools include:

  • Arts & Sciences
    • Engineering (electrical, civil, computer, mechanical, biomedical, industrial) is housed in this school
  • Health and Medical Sciences: All the programs in this school are streamlined undergrad majors combined with graduate degrees (Masters except for the DPT).
    • For PA Candidacy: students have to complete the application in junior year
    • All others: students are automatically in as long as they meet minimum GPA
  • Diplomacy and International Relations
    • Seton Hall has an exclusive alliance with the UN
    • 100% do internships or study abroad with UN, USAID, UNESCO, UNICEF, FBI, Embassies, Red Cross, Missions abroad, etc.
  • Business
    • The Leadership program was ranked #1 in the US for the 2nd year in a row
    • They boast a 95% employment rate (within 6 months) and 100% admission to grad school
    • Management Information Systems, Legal Studies, and Finance and Mathematical Finance are worth nothing.
  • Nursing
    • This is a Direct-Admit program.
  • Education and Human Services
    • Students complete more practicum placements and hours (and in a variety of schools) than at other schools.
    • A Joint Masters in speech language pathology is available.
  • Communication and the Arts
    • The student-run radio station and the college newspapers are consistently highly ranked (often in the top 5)
  • The Medical School will open in the fall of 2018; they’ll partner with Hackensack University Medical Center, listed as the #1 hospital in NJ. They’ll have a direct admit, 7-year BS/MD degree program.

© 2016

Marietta College

Marietta College (visited 4/18/12)

Marietta 2At first glance, it seemed like there were way more jocks/athletic types walking around campus than there had been at other colleges; however, as we got going on the tour, we ended up seeing more of the jeans and t-shirt clad students walking around. Sports are fairly big here; they are particularly proud of their Crew teams (the women recently ranked #7 in the country and the men compete at the DI level despite the size of the college) and their basketball programs (the men just won the championship). Socially, I did not see as much interaction between students as I had seen on some other campuses. Not everyone was listening to music, but quite a few were; even a majority of the baseball players, who were in full uniform and huddled in a group waiting for transportation to a game, had music going. Some had their earphones out, but several others would either talk over the music if they wanted to talk to a teammate, or just not engage in conversation at all.

Marietta 3The campus was pretty; someone had described it as having some “New England charm” and while it did have a bit of that rolling-hill, older brick-building feel to it, I’m not sure I’d completely agree with that description. However, campus was clearly cared for: buildings were neat and maintained, although several were older and starting to feel a bit worn-out. During the student panel, one of the counselors asked the students how they would improve campus if they had $10 million to donate; one said they would improve the student center since it was older and not much of a student center (in terms of spaces for students to congregate, feeling comfortable, etc) and another said she would build a new theater/fine arts building since it didn’t really fulfill all the needs and demands for the space. A third student said that she would add a pool to the athletic facilities. Food was also on the list of things to fix: across the board, the students gave Food Services mediocre ratings at best. One student said that the food itself is ok (not great), but flex dollars/meal swipes didn’t roll over from week-to-week. Other students said that the food quality was better than it had been a couple years ago, but still not great. There isn’t a ton of variety, nor is it prepared especially well. She told us that she was hopeful that it would change next year; the contract with the current company is ending this year so she hopes they will get a new group in to provide the food.

MariettaStudents do tend to stay on campus on the weekends. The school just completed a study based on the use of Student ID cards – swiping into meals, athletic center, dorms, etc, and found that 80-90% of students are on campus on any given weekend.

Three unique things stood out for me on campus:

  • First was the Planetarium, which was funded mostly through a major donation from an alum after the school considered downgrading the physics department from a major to a minor or even eliminating it completely. People energized and rallied around the major, and now they have a full-time astronomy professor and a planetarium. Astronomy 101 is one of the most popular science classes on campus. They also give generous scholarships to physics majors; clearly they are in high demand on campuses, and Marietta is doing everything they can to attract these students to campus.
  • The second unusual program on campus was the Petroleum Sciences/Engineering major within the Geology major, both of which fall under Marietta’s Energy and the Environment signature program. Marietta is the only small Liberal Arts college with a major in Petroleum Sciences/Engo. Because it has grown so quickly in popularity, they are now limiting the incoming class to 90 students in that major; last year, they had three times more applications for the major than spaces for students.
  • Finally, the McDonough Leadership Program is well developed and is listed in the top five in the country; Harvard is loosely basing their program off of Marietta’s. Marietta has partnered with Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership, a pilot project with the New York Times, and a leadership program at Annapolis. The department offers two majors (Leadership Studies and International Leadership Studies), and three certificate programs (Leadership Studies, Leaders in Action, and Teacher Leadership – only 1 of 2 in the country at the undergraduate level).

Marietta 1A major teaching focus at Marietta is critical thinking/problem solving, although these are common “buzz words” on a lot of campuses these days. They want to graduate students who know how to look at issues from a variety of lenses. Communication skills – verbal and written – are a major component of the education here, as well as demonstrating practical applications of what they learn in the classroom. There are heaps of internships available. Our tour guide had her internships set up for both this summer AND next one already. There is an expectation that students will be involved on and off campus. This extends Internationally as well; there are some unusual majors including Asian Studies with a focus on China (which makes a lot of sense given the current trends in globalization) and Latin American Studies in which students can study Portuguese in addition to Spanish.

Several scholarships are available, including 1 entirely free ride. The Scholars Program targets the top 30-ish% of the incoming class. This group comes to campus to compete for varying levels of scholarships; they write a timed essay, meet with students and faculty, and participate in a class-type discussion with 12-15 other competitors and two faculty. One student gets everything covered; about 20 students get a full-tuition scholarship, and another 60 or so get a half-tuition scholarship.

(c) 2012

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