|By susan on Tuesday, August 28, 2001 - 06:32 pm: Edit|
My son graduated HS this June. He applied to 2 colleges and was
accepted to one. He deferred admission so that he could take a year off and
"have a real life." Real life turned out to be too real, and now he is very
motivated to go to college. How might we find a good liberal arts college
(hopefully on the east coast) that might conside
|By David Hawsey on Tuesday, August 28, 2001 - 06:39 pm: Edit|
It sounds like your son needs to get things going rather quickly. I want to
make sure I'm understanding you correctly concerning the semester he wishes
to enroll in. Is he trying to start right away this fall? Or is he
thinking about a spring start date?
If it is the fall, be aware that almost all colleges started their fall
semester last week, or will commence classes this week. The first thing you
should do is check with the college he was accepted at to see if he can
still start. A deferral is just that: you have secured a seat in the class
next year. Some colleges would be delighted to change that to this current
year, depending upon seat and residence hall availability. Call the
admissions office first, although they (and your son) will most likely have
to check with the registrar's office to determine class availability.
Depending upon the major your son declares, it might be difficult to start
now if the classes are well underway. Some labs, for example, are hard to
make up, and he might be at a disadvantage having missed even a few lab
sessions. Additionally, most schools have an orientation and registration
period that helps all new students get used to managing their time and
finding their way around campus. While he won't have the same orientation
experience, a few appointments with the appropriate offices (student life,
housing, etc.) should get him going.
If he is not interested in the college that accepted him, you may still have
a number choices. If you tell me more about his academic and co-curricular
interests, I can suggest a few liberal arts colleges in your area. Also,
tell us what state you reside in, how far your son is willing to travel, and
whether or not you will be applying for need-based financial aid.
To give you a brief example of how this works, a student just called this
morning at my own college. She wants to start here right away, after
deciding on the local state university earlier this spring. Although
classes are already underway, the registrar will hand her a form which she
will have to take around campus, obtaining the signatures of professors in
the classes she wishes to take. The signature indicates the class has an
open seat, or if "filled" the professor can take additional students. While
she is doing this, her mother will be visiting the financial aid and
accounting offices, with her checkbook, any financial aid transcripts and
current FAFSA form, and academic transcripts from her high school. Once she
arranges for payment, and her daughter finds enough classes to build a full
schedule, she is considered enrolled. Her GPA and SAT wll qualify her for
the same level of scholarship as if she had been enrolled here in the first
place. However, this policy differs from college to college.
In summary, ask the college that accepted your son if he can convert the
deferral into an immediate start. If not, we'll help you find a college
that still has room. With the GPA and SAT score you quoted, there are many
fine schools with seats available right now, but time will run out most likely at the end of this week. And he should expect some
academic scholarship dollars, although a few schools might limit the amount
because of the late start date.
If all else fails, there are a number of colleges that operate under a quarter model. That is, instead of two semesters, they have four, equal-length quarters, such as ten weeks. Most have brief breaks between quarters. While he won't start right away, if your son gets into a college or university with a quarter system, he can start attending as early as November 1st. Drexel University in Philadelphia operates on the quarter system, alternating two quarters in class with two in a paid, cooperative education assignment.
|By anonamom on Saturday, September 08, 2001 - 11:39 pm: Edit|
The Chronicle of Higher Education has a list of schools which still have openings.
|By George Meany on Sunday, September 09, 2001 - 08:09 pm: Edit|
Thanks for the Chronicle link. However, it leads to the password-protected story pasted below, placed here at the risk of copyright violation. I claim "fair use"! :-)
Looks like there are some stern consequences for not meeting those enrollment goals. I wonder if Mr. Hawsey has any comments about this. I believe he is an enrollment dean for a small LAC. Here's the Chronicle story:
Ripon College Cuts Staff After Freshman Enrollment Falls Below Expectations
By AUDREY Y. WILLIAMS
Ripon College is cutting positions after freshman enrollment at the small liberal-arts institution fell short of projections.
Ripon budgeted for a freshman class of 280, which has been the first-year enrollment for the past two years, said the college's president, Paul B. Ranslow. However, only 203 freshmen enrolled for this year.
To make up for the 77-student shortfall, which had a $1-million impact on the college's budget, Ripon cut five administrative positions, seven support-staff members, and 1.5 library positions. Mr. Ranslow said the college also would not fill five open faculty positions and would cut six more faculty jobs at the end of the school year.
The job cuts, the largest in the Wisconsin institution's 151-year history, "needed to happen," Mr. Ranslow said. "Virtually every institution has to bring its expenses in line with its income."
The layoffs will save Ripon $2.5-million over the next two years, he said.
The dip in Ripon's enrollment comes at a time when the U.S. Department of Education reports that college enrollment this fall will continue its seven-year increase, largely because of the growth in the college-age population. Mr. Ranslow attributed Ripon's smaller freshman class to the sputtering economy -- a factor that he said is likely to make an education at the larger and less expensive University of Wisconsin System more attractive to prospective students.
Tuition, fees, and room and board at Ripon amount to about$24,000. On the University of Wisconsin's 11 comprehensive campuses, the same total can run as low as $6,817.
Ripon had accepted 709 of its 846 applicants for this fall, Mr. Ranslow said.
The college is near the end of a three-year plan to increase its enrollment to 1,000 by 2002. It is on track to meet that goal, but "we're not going to staff for that number until we reach it," Mr. Ranslow said. "In the past, we've been staffing in anticipation of it."
This year, Ripon's student body of 900 is the largest since 1984, the college said.
Meanwhile, Ripon will continue a $55-million capital campaign that began a year and a half ago. Much of the money raised will be used to increase the college's $35-million endowment to $100-million, Mr. Ranslow said.
The college already has raised $22-million for the campaign, which ends in June 2005.
|By Domer97 on Monday, September 10, 2001 - 01:17 pm: Edit|
Whoaaa... looks like ripon is a ripoff, and the word got out. Not too choosy, are they, if they took 709 out of 846?
|By George Meany on Monday, September 10, 2001 - 07:45 pm: Edit|
Domer, you disappoint. I was looking for you to say something like, "Ripon is grippin'." How about this for their new marketing tagline: "No waitlist. No waiting."
|By David Hawsey on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 - 03:03 pm: Edit|
A short history of this mess:
Back in the 1980's, colleges like Upsala (NJ) and Spring Garden (Phila, PA) closed their doors for good when the birth rate among baby boomers (a decade or so prior) caused approximately one-third of the population of all college-bound seniors to drop. Fewer customers, same number of colleges. Failing to distinguish yourself as a college caused drops in enrollment. Severe drops caused cuts, etc. The need to advertise was born - the "marketing era" begins for all of the nation's 4,000 schools. Ivies included.
Extra marketing, along with support services, and other administrative tasks once covered by faculty now in the hands of a growing collegiate staff, caused prices to rise (like most other American products and services, by-the-way).
Two decades later, we see another trend: The demographics have been restored, but with a huge number of students with a diminished ability to pay for college. And with higher costs to attend, the scramble for both smart and wealthy students is at an all-time frenzy. Fewer students in this category, same number of colleges.
If you fail to distinguish yourself as a student, you end up at "lesser-known, lower-priced" schools. If you fail to distinguish yourself among peer colleges nationwide, you end up with fewer students, many of whom will require more aid than the college can afford to pay out. When this happens, a college puts unfunded (no endowment - sheer discount on price) sources out there to lure in enough students. Remember, they still make room and board revenues. More discounting sometimes is paid for internally by folks losing their jobs, budgets being cut elsewhere within the college, and generally making it very hard to focus on quality teaching. It is a slippery slope, indeed.
A few will discount themselves right out of business. Some tried a gimmick of lowering ther tuition (but lowered their grants as well, causing no change in the bottom line for need-based families!).
What's all of this mean? Schools that understand branding, and can articulate exactly what they sell, how the academic product is delivered, who teaches, why they are better (or different) than any other faculty or college's programs, and finally can model the value for the net investment they are asking students and families to make, will survive the latest market challenges.
Those that play games with rankings, admissions statistics, fancy and often untrue advertising and promotional campiagns, and generally spend more time touting their wares than investing in students in the classroom will find themselves among the Ripons of the higher ed world.
Ripon might very well be a wonderful school. But without the resources to say so on a national scale, they face an uphill battle.
The travesty of all of this is that, while prestige might be a weak indicator of actual quality (and there is scant evidence that any college can prove they deliver any degree with an outcome that is superior to another) many good schools are not sought after by students who might do very well there. See Loren Pope's Colleges That Change Lives and "Beyond the Ivy League". Here and there, you discover a school that is a fine place to be, but has fiscal challenges not created by the faculty, but by --- what else -- the marketing and media machine, and perceptions of quality.
Like I said, it is a mess.
|By anonamom on Thursday, September 13, 2001 - 09:10 am: Edit|
To clarify, The Chronicle of Higher Education is accessible but requires free registration.
|By California Mom on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 06:26 am: Edit|
I find that article interesting, because Ripon seemed to be very agressively trying to market itself last year. We're in California, and we got tons of mail from Ripon, including offers to pay for my son's airfare to visit the campus, and a letter about some sort of scholarship offer to the "first [#] California students" who decided to enroll after the visit. I don't even remember what the number was - I think it was about 20 students. The scholarship was a big chunk of money too, but not full tuition.
I guess they knew early on that they were having problems.
In the meantime, my son is now at an east coast LAC that had 1000 MORE applicants than last year, and an unprecedented percentage of acceptances from the students it admitted. They now have 250 more students on campus than they expected to have, resulting in a housing crunch + hiring of new faculty to keep the student/faculty ratio the same.
|By Dadster on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 03:42 pm: Edit|
Free airfare for a visit... that's pretty aggressive, all right. Too bad it wasn't University of Hawaii offering that deal. Or even Miami... ;-)
|By David Hawsey on Friday, September 28, 2001 - 01:32 pm: Edit|
Dear California Mom:
Sounds like Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. They have too many students, but the issue is not having recruited too many, it's the fact that one of their key residence halls is off-line for restoration. A good thing for students and the college, but a short-term nightmare for student life and housing officers. Check into room discounts for triples, alternative housing or off-site housing if they exist at schools like this. Could be a good deal for a semester or two!
|By Dadster on Saturday, September 29, 2001 - 08:28 am: Edit|
These kinds of things have to drive admissions offices crazy. As long as application numbers and yield rates are following a historic trend, things are fine. But what do you do when you get a thousand more apps? Admit the same number as the previous year? More? Fewer, because maybe demand for your school has increased and your yield will go up?
I guess one secondary benefit for increased ED emphasis at some colleges is better predictability of the size of the class. The more you take ED, the less big swings in RD yield rate will affect your class size.
|By GatorDad on Sunday, November 04, 2001 - 09:35 pm: Edit|
Hey Susan, if you are still around, is there a happy ending to this story?
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