College Visit Report - Part 2

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: College Visit Report - Part 2
By Kinshasa (Kinshasa) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 02:38 am: Edit

College visit report – Part 2

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY -- We knew all the good stuff about NYU: tons of internships, study abroad programs, great academics. S felt that NYU was more of a pre-professional school than liberal arts. Emphasis seemed to be on theater, business, and pre-med and pre-law tracks.

Student-faculty ratio 13:1, average class size 25-30. All courses taught by professors except discussions and writing workshops. 70% of teachers live in university “faculty dorm.” Over 300 clubs and organizations.

Housing guaranteed for 4 years. Must sign into dorm you are visiting. All traditional residence halls have private bathrooms. Apartment style housing available as well. S didn’t like idea of some dorms so far from academic buildings. 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. shuttle bus provided.

We didn’t think the security system was that great. Instead of blue light call boxes, NYU has green light buildings: a green light in front of a 24 hour convenience store means you can call for help inside. We didn’t see too many on our tour.

SAT I middle 50% 1350-1450,. ACT 30-32. Acceptance rate 40% ED, and no deferrals – either yes or no answer. 25% regular decision acceptance rate. 74-78% graduate in five years. NYU does not guarantee full need.

We compared apples to apples: Boston University and NYU. Both large, urban campuses. Although S loves New York City, he didn’t fall in love with NYU.

DREW UNIVERSITY – An hour train ride from Penn Station ($11 round trip), the RR station was a 10 minute walk from campus in Madison, New Jersey, a nice suburban town. 1500 undergraduates including 14% students of color. Drew’s president, Thomas Kean, is former governor of NJ and was chairman of the 9/11 commission. Our tour guide told us she attended one of the commission’s meetings which was held on campus. She sang Kean’s praises, very involved, personable leader of the school. He’s been president for 10 years. With this leadership, the political science program is strong.

Most of the academic classes are held in two buildings. Our guide took an introductory philosophy class (60 students, largest class at Drew) and the professor had everyone sign up for a time to meet him personally. We ran into the chairman of the biology department on our tour and he was very friendly, asked our group if he could answer any questions. Professors are accessible, interested and love teaching. Student-faculty ratio 11.5 :1.

Drew gives every freshman a personal computer, printer and software package as part of the tuition. It was the first liberal arts college to adopt this policy.

Campus is beautiful, set in an oak forest. Housing guaranteed for four years. 95% of students live on campus. The dorm rooms were adequate size, and there are theme houses. No microwaves allowed in room, refrigerators are OK. Lounges have microwaves. Students are heavily involved in community service. There’s a student initiated Volunteer Resource Center.

The orientation program for new students, called OC, is well organized. Orientation committee members are responsible for contacting their “siblings” during the summer. A sibling group is 12-15 freshmen. Roommates are paired within the group.

Our tour guide was from Ohio and loved Drew. Overall impression: friendly, tight-knit community, good academics motivated students and faculty, plenty of clubs and extracurricular opportunities. S had an interview after the tour. The adcom told him he was guaranteed admission (male from California). Drew offers lots of merit aid, and if S got about 100 points higher on his SAT, the adcom told him he would get 75-100% tuition. (He’d get at least 50% tuition with his current stats) It’s true that if you want merit aid, apply to a school where your stats put you in the highest bracket.

Seven year dual degree program (BA/MD) with UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, dual degree (BA/BS) engineering program with Columbia, Wash U, and Stevens Institute of Technology. International and off-campus programs, including semester in Washington, U.N., Wall Street, etc. Acceptance rates to law and medical schools and graduate programs total about 85%. SAT I verbal middle 50% 560-670, and SAT I math middle 50% 550-650. General undergraduate acceptance rate is 72%.

S said he could be happy at Drew, but BU was still #1.

By Kinshasa (Kinshasa) on Saturday, August 07, 2004 - 02:38 am: Edit

Next on our tour stop was…

GOUCHER COLLEGE -- Goucher and Drew were the safeties: both small schools at which a male from California would be a slam-dunk acceptance. Goucher couldn’t match Drew.

Beautiful campus, huge dorm rooms (40% air-conditioned). A new dorm will be ready in Sept. ’05. 90% live on campus, and housing is guaranteed for 4 years. All students can have cars, but only juniors and seniors can live off campus.

Students can take classes at other schools in the consortium (Johns Hopkins, Towson State, etc.) to which there is regular shuttle service. 64% acceptance rate. 32% male, 68% female this year and a freshman class of 399, up from 350 the year before. Internship, study abroad, community service or independent research is required. 80% do internships—Goucher is a pioneer in this field. Computer science, wellness and PE required. Two courses, “Frontier” (intro to liberal arts) and “Connections” (sort of an intro to Goucher) also required. Generous merit aid. Global citizenship award—minimum 3.0 unweighted, 1100 minimum SAT, $8500-12,500/yr. Dean’s Scholarship (10 awarded) full tuition, 3.8 unweighted and 1470 SAT. Varsity sports only, no club or intramural sports.

Our male tour guide had transferred from a public Texas college and loved Goucher. Both S and I felt that the academics were more limiting and probably not as challenging as Drew.

Goucher was the first school we visited which asked us to complete surveys of our visit.
I was impressed. Brochures and publications are professional and well-designed. This is a school that invests in itself and its image.

Drew bumped Goucher off the list as the safety school.

JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY-- Instead of a tour followed by an info session or vice versa, JHU started with an interview at 10 a.m. S said the interviewer was a recent grad working in admissions. “If you were a drink which one would you be?” S said diet Pepsi. “If you could switch shoes with someone, who would that be?” JHU has a quirky side. Even the application has an off-the-wall $10 essay question (if you had $10….).

The adcom conducting the info session was the best yet. He was likeable, knowledgeable, and up front about what JHU is and isn’t. JHU is a research university. If you’re not interested in research, don’t come here. JHU was the first college we toured which did not have a printed course catalog. It’s available online. The student has control over the curriculum. Flexibility and exploration are the key words. There are no core courses, only distribution credits.

There are four kinds of students at JHU: engineers (1/3 of students), natural science majors, social and behavioral majors, and humanities majors. All majors involve research. Credit is granted for internships, study abroad and research. Qualities of a successful JHU student – decisive and independent, and interested in research.
96% of freshman return for sophomore year, and 84% graduate on time. 90% do post-graduate work within 7 years, and 45% of graduates do post-graduate work immediately following graduation.

Freshmen are graded the first semester, but grades are covered. No GPA is reported, which deemphasizes competition and allows freshmen to explore social life.

The adcom was bluntly honest about the application process. Of 11,000 applications, JHU can admit about 30%. 80% of applicants are admissible; that is, they have the stats and personal qualities to succeed. When reading an application, he asks himself, “Is this student ‘brochureable’?” a word he’s created to help him decide. Is this a student who can represent JHU? Does JHU want him/her to represent us? He’s looking for interests outside the academic sphere. GPA and SATs are not the sole factors in admission. In fact, he’s worried if a science student, for example, has ONLY science related ECs. Scores are evaluated differently depending on a student’s intended major. Math scores are not as important for an international relations major as for a BME major.

The adcom warned about dual early decision applications. This year JHU broke ED agreements with three students when it discovered they had submitted ED applications to another school as well.

We liked the campus. Red brick, lots of grass, a unified look to the buildings. We’d heard negative comments about the campus and we were pleasantly surprised.

The biggest drawback to JHU was Baltimore. S and I went to the aquarium later (don’t miss this!), wandered around Fells Point and watched the Orioles lose to the Twins. He was disappointed in the city. Maybe if JHU had been in Boston or New York, it would have ranked higher on his list. S also did not like the higher male to female ratio.
Definitely a possibility, but it didn’t grab us like BU.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Saturday, August 07, 2004 - 02:51 am: Edit

I am enjoying your reports.

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Saturday, August 07, 2004 - 11:50 pm: Edit

Kinshasa - Great reports! Interesting to see your reactions to Goucher - I wrote our trip report to Goucher before I spotted yours - it seemed like a good fit for my daughter who loved it.

Were you able to ask at Drew about how many kids go home on the weekends? I'd be curious to know as I've read various reports on whether it's a suitcase school or not. It seems like a good solid safety for your son.

Glad your son like BU so much - good school in a fun city. Isn't it neat how a few college visits can really get kids on track aobut what they want in a school?

By Volley17 (Volley17) on Saturday, August 07, 2004 - 11:58 pm: Edit

Thank you very much for your reports, I really enjoyed the one on JHU as that is my current first choice!

By Kinshasa (Kinshasa) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 03:07 am: Edit

Carolyn, according to our Drew tour guide, most of the kids stay on campus during the weekend. At first some of the local students go home, but then they realize they're missing out on a lot of activities. Our guide said she takes the train to NYC about once or twice a month.

S intends to apply ED to Boston University, so he may not need a safety.

I'll try to post my remaining college visits tomorrow (George Washington, Georgetown and American).

By Thumper1 (Thumper1) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 09:52 am: Edit

I'd be glad to give you more info about Boston University (from the Parent perspective and from what DS has told me). You can email me if you would like...I think I have a profile :)

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 03:23 pm: Edit

Kinshasa - Thanks for the Drew info. It helps to get a first hand report. My daughter just re-read the Fiske guide descriptions of the schools we visited and mentioned that they don't seem like the same schools. Really, visits are the way to go whenever possible.

By Ilcapo (Ilcapo) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 10:49 pm: Edit

Carolyn- you hit the nail on the head.

The second I found a school that I loved, I knew that other schools weren't right for me. After seeing Trinity, for example, I knew that I would hate Tulane!


(by the way, I love the reports)

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 11:37 pm: Edit

Ilcapo - how did you get so smart? If only we could get all of the other kids on CC to follow your lead, there would be a lot less stress around here! LOL! I do think that certain people your age have a stronger sense of self than others and thus can more readily identify what feels right for them...too many people concentrate on prestige or name recognition without really considering who they are and what type of school best fits them. Not that there's anything inherently wrong in a prestigous school - just that that should be a plus after you've already identified what you are looking for.

By the way, good luck on your interview at Conn College tommorrow - come back and give us your own report! I'm looking forward to it.

By Achat (Achat) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 10:38 am: Edit

I agree about ilcapo being smart. He is one of the most interesting kids on the parent's forum.

Good luck to you with the interview, ilcapo.

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 09:40 pm: Edit

Kinhasa, had to go back to read your past visits. Love the narratives.

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 09:48 pm: Edit

>> The second I found a school that I loved, I knew that other schools weren't right for me.

My daughter knew she had found her perfect college on a visit in June after the 10th grade. Two dozen college visits later, including an overnight return visit to her first choice never shook that feeling.

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