Due to Covid-19, I cannot go to college campuses or meet with college admissions officers in person. However, I am still connecting with and learning from individual colleges and also from the College Board and other companies and professional associations that play an important role in college admissions. I am very busy these days while I am on the Virtual Road!
Ohio 6 Webinar: a consortia of six liberal arts colleges. Their interactive webinar touched on the majors their colleges offer, their admissions landscape and what is new or being discussed on their campuses. Of course, some questions during this Pandemic still have no answers, such as if they will have classes on campus in the Fall of 2020.
- Denison University: Drew Riley, Director of Admissions
- Kenyon College: Diane Anci, Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid
- Oberlin College: Manuel Carballo, Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid
- Wittenberg University: Kelsey Ellis, Director of Admission
- The College of Wooster: Scott Friedhoff, Vice President for Enrollment
- Ohio Wesleyan University: Stephanie Niles, Vice President for Enrollment and Communications
Syracuse University Webinar: I have toured Syracuse twice and after participating in this webinar, I can see how much has changed in just a few years. Camille Crites, Associate Director of Admissions shared so much information. New interdisciplinary majors, students can now apply directly to the Maxwell School and a brand new Student Support building which houses everything from the health and wellness office, a 24-hour pharmacy, gym and track, disability support services, counseling and more!
Florida State University Webinar: Hege Ferguson, Director of Admissions gave us an overview of FSU with 287 academic and professional programs to choose from. They boast the highest freshmen retention rate of their Florida public sister universities–93% of freshmen return for sophomore year. Like all of the 12 public universities in Florida, they recalculate the GPA to their own scale when evaluating college applications. Ms. Ferguson also discussed the ongoing issues Covid-19 presents and how the university is planning to meet the needs of their students and faculty.
NACAC: Covid-19, Plan B for Campus Visits: A guide for counselors and colleges on how to have a successful “virtual” college experience for high school students and their families.
University of Pittsburgh Webinar: I was treated to an expansive presentation by Barry Duerr, Associate Director of Admissions of the University of Pittsburgh. He spoke about the type of student who will be a good fit, how they read applications and the direct and non-direct majors to which students can apply. Which is the most competitive undergraduate major to which students can apply? Nursing, of course! Pitt students also have an Internship Guarantee – if they work with and meet the requirements, students are guaranteed an internship in their field before they graduate. Mr. Duerr also shared a great video of the the university and the city. I have been on the campus- it’s in the Oakland neighborhood, a great location, and I was able to walk to nearby museums and great restaurants.
Michigan State University Webinar: Larry Alterman, Manager of East Coast Recruitment—whom I have had the pleasure of meeting with several times over the years—gave a great presentation of Michigan State University. This is a large university in East Lansing with over 39,000 undergraduate students. These students choose from over 200 programs in 17 degree granting colleges and 2 Residential Colleges. What do students do for fun? MSU offers 900 different clubs and organizations, including 25 Division I Athletic teams as well as 25 Intramural and 28 Club Sports. They have 25 different Residence halls in 5 Unique Residential Villages in this classic college town. And, of course, we heard about the types of students who thrive at MSU and what it takes to be admitted.
Indiana University, Bloomington Webinar: I enjoyed a very interesting presentation by Sacha Thieme, Assistant Vice Provost and Executive Director of Admissions and Rachel Salinas, Director of International Admissions. Bloomington has been voted the #3 Foodie Town and #6 Best College Town to Live in Forever. Their 33,000 undergraduate students can choose from 4,000 courses in 200 majors in 12 schools that make up the university. They can even create their own major through their Individualized Major Program. Will Shortz created his own major here. (A name you will recognize if you do crossword Puzzles!) Interested in studying languages? IU offers 70 -80 languages. When not in the classroom, Indiana students can choose from over 750 student Groups/Clubs including 55 Intramural Sports. And IU is part of the Big Ten Conference.
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Webinar: We had a presentation by Debbie Willard, the Assistant Director of Admissions. Did you know why this campus is called Urbana-Champaign? Because the campus runs right down the dividing line between these two cites. Students who want to apply to UIUC apply to a specific major and some of the most competitive majors on this campus are Computer Science, Bio-Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. I learned how they read their applications and what they want to hear in their essays. Students at UIUC have great school spirit for their Fighting Illini. They also have the most “Greek” chapters and about 25% of their students participate.
Tulane University Webinar: We had a very frank information session with Jeff Schiffman, Director of Admission. Jeff is a graduate of Tulane and his work in admission coincided with Hurricane Katrina. He and Tulane have already dealt with a major disruption and they will bring this knowledge and experience when making decisions about Covid-19 and their students. Tulane has many great features– it is a mid-sized Tier 1 Research university with DI athletics and a geographically diverse campus located in a great city. Tulane also has the ability to give students an opportunity to make a difference in their community. They are the first to have a public service component to graduate. The city of New Orleans offers amazing opportunities for students- great music, food festivals and a rich history.
University of Michigan Webinar: This was a comprehensive webinar from Lindsey Taggart, Senior Recruitment Coordinator at the University of Michigan. I learned the ins and outs of how they want students to apply to Michigan and how they read the applications. Like many large public universities, they recalculate the high school GPA to their own system. The University of Michigan received about 66,000 applications this year! The majority are from in-state students, which is not surprising. What is the social vibe on campus? Lots of school spirit! Students are very happy to be there and love to cheer on their teams! Greek Life? About 20% participate in social fraternities and sororities.
Case Western Reserve University Webinar: An excellent presentation by Robert McCullough, Dean of Undergraduate Admission and Assistant VP for Enrollment. Happy to hear all about their new Health Education Campus where their Medical, Dental, Nursing and PA students learn with and from each other all under one (very large!) roof! What has been happening at Case since my last visit in 2009? Well, in 2009, they received about 8,000 applications for admission. This past year? Over 29,000 applications. So, like many excellent colleges and universities, they attract more applications and from a larger geographic area every year.
University of Central Florida Webinar: Elizabeth Costello, Director of Admission gave us a comprehensive information session about UCF– the largest of the 12 public universities in Florida with 58,000 undergraduate students. They have over 200 majors to choose from in 13 colleges that make up the university. They have four campuses in the greater Orlando area. The college was founded in 1963 to support the space program at NASA in Cape Canaveral. If students are interested in UCF, they have Rolling admissions– apply early!
College Board Webinar: Covid-19 and the SAT: David Coleman, CEO of College Board told us about the plans for students to take the SAT and the SAT Subject Tests and the significant obstacles facing high school students in the Class of 2021. They plan to add more testing sites and dates from August – December. This, of course, is dependent on school being open to administer the exams. Their back up plan is to administer an at-home SAT. It remains to be seen if colleges will accept a test that has not been validated.
College Admissions & Covid-19 Webinar: An excellent presentation arranged by PrepMatters where we had a Q&A with admissions leaders from American University, George Washington University, and the University of Maryland. These admissions officers understand the challenges students and the colleges are facing in this unprecedented time. Each of them expressed their desire to be able to connect with students virtually. We discussed the wait-list for the Class of 2020 and the elephant in the room: will the campus be open this fall.
College Board Webinar: Covid-19 and the AP Exams: I learned from the College Board their plans for administering the AP Exams, virtually, to students at home in May of 2020. A major concern is cheating and College Board let us know some of the ways they plan to curtail this. Including, but limited to, using a type of software like “Turn It In.”
University of Oregon Webinar: We had a comprehensive presentation by Jim Rawlins, Assistant VP for Student Services and Enrollment Management. Among other important and interesting information, we learned about the new Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact that will be opening in Fall 2020. This will include “incubator space” and add depth to disciplines they already have. They plan to add these scientific areas of focus:, Bioengineering, Materials for Biological Application, Precision Medical Technologies, Predicting Complex Biological Systems and Synthetic Biology/Molecular Engineering.