New Providence BOE Hears Summer College Visits Presentation

 

By MARIANNE IVERS

 

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Jillian Shadis, Director of School Counseling, provided an overview of her summertime college visits at the Thursday, Sep. 26 Board of Education (BOE) meeting.

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Shadis explained that prior to her visits she had reviewed data of the colleges where New Providence students had applied and been accepted in the past five years, as well as the history of college visits by the past director of counseling. She considered the current trends and the needs of the students. Her focus was to visit schools that are popular among New Providence students as well as colleges known for their programs for learning differences. Her goal was to establish relationships with admission representatives as well as to achieve better understanding of which schools are a good fit for New Providence students.

Among the colleges Shadis visited this past summer were Northeastern University, Boston College, Boston University, Curry College, Providence College, Western Connecticut State University, Fairfield University, Sacred Heart University, Quinnipiac University, University of Connecticut, Trinity College, Kings College, Bucknell University, Lehigh University, Muhlenberg College, Lafayette College, Marist College and the Culinary Institute of America. Sh gave a synopsis of several of the colleges she visited.

Shadis noted that Northeastern University is very popular among New Providence students. A total of 92 students applied there in the past five years. A big draw, in addition to the location, is their co-op program. Starting in the sophomore year the university has a gender-neutral housing policy, meaning that anybody can share a room regardless of their gender. She also discussed with a college admission representative and found out that there is no advantage of applying either early decision or early action. In fact, these admission rates are lower than regular admission rates. The university also tracks both student and parent contacts, which is not always a good thing. They want to hear the questions directly from the students, she said. The yearly cost for attending Northeastern is approximately $68,000.

A total of 30 applicants from New Providence have applied to Sacred Heart University in the last five years. All its facilities and buildings have been redone, remodeled or newly built during the last five years. The university is actively looking to build relationships with school counselors. The university is aiming to build a 50/50 gender split for the next freshman class. Therefore, male applicants have a better chance of getting accepted even with lower GPA or test scores this year. The price tag for a year at Sacred Heart is approximately 57,000.

Kings College made Shadis’s list because their representatives have been very helpful over the years, although only a few New Providence students have applied there. “Their program for students with learning differences is superb,” she said. The representatives were very welcoming and provided her with a private tour. She learned that the college treats every student who visits the campus with the same hospitality and attention. The campus is within a walking distance from the center of Wilkes-Barre. The price tag with scholarships is $22000, but without scholarship $52,000.

Lehigh University is popular with New Providence Students with 65 applicants in the past five years. Although the admission to Lehigh has become tougher, there will be “a little wiggle room this year”, Shadis explained. The university is looking to increase their undergraduate population by 1,000 students. The university is also opening a new College of Health in the fall of 2020. She pointed out that if students are interested in getting into Lehigh, they need to visit the campus or attend local information events as such contacts are tracked and “heavily weighted”. She also noted that a half of the incoming freshman class is admitted through early decision. The sticker price is just under $70,000 per year.

Shadis visited Marist College because it is popular among New Providence students and because it has programs for students with learning differences. While there, she had an opportunity to speak with the Director of the Admissions. The admission representatives are looking for some sort of evidence of ethics in applications. Marist has a partnership with IBM and the technology of the school is redone every four years by IBM. The college also has a fashion design and fashion merchandising program with connections to New York City. The yearly cost is approximately $50,000.

Shadis had also visited High Point University as a fly-in guest during the school year. “The entire campus is absolutely stunning,” she said. There are fountains everywhere, and the grounds are well-maintained adding to the country club feel. All facilities have been redone or remodeled recently. The dorms are nicer that some hotels with gilded mirrors in the bathrooms. The freshman dorms feature tempurpedic mattresses which are replaced every year. The school slogan of being a premier life skills university was evident in the campus. The admission office keeps an internal ranking of every high school in the country. They also track how many applications come from a particular school and a particular counselor in each school. The sticker price for a year at High Point is $51,000.

The common theme in all schools appeared to be that “they are all recognizing that the experiential portion of learning of higher education is just as, if not more critical, than the academic classroom experience,” Shadis explained. The schools are teaching life skills as many students are lacking them. Although every school calculates their job placement rate differently, they emphasize that they are getting students placed in a job or graduate program shortly after graduation as they are realizing the debt burden many students are facing after graduation.

In a summary note Shadis pointed out that visiting schools is important both for students and for counselors. It is also beneficial that counselors have a direct line of communication with admission representatives, as their mutual goal is getting students into the college with the right fit.