For some of our students, going to a university with a vibrant Jewish population is important to them. And across the nation, there are many, many universities with vibrant Hillels, Chabads, and such — with thriving Jewish life on campus. It is our belief that the University of California, Irvine is not one such university. In 2007, the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education found “insufficient evidence” to support allegations of harassment and hostility by Jewish students at the University of California, Irvine. But while the U.S. Department of Education may have formally cleared the university of wrongdoing, that doesn’t mean it’s among the friendlier campuses for Jewish students. It, quite simply, isn’t.
We’re not going to spell out many of the allegations of anti-Semitism on the University of California, Irvine campus but a simple Google search will give you plenty of information on the subject. And here is an overview on “Wikipedia,” describing a number of instances in which Jewish students have felt uncomfortable on the California campus. Sometimes all that it takes is doing some Googling to find out the environment for Jewish students on campus. Or Muslim students. Or Indian students. You get the idea.
If you’re a Jewish student applying to college, is a university’s Hillel important to you? Have you given thought to Jewish life on campus? What do you think about allegations of anti-Semitism at the University of California, Irvine? Let us know your thoughts on all of this by posting below! And, while you’re here, check out this post on allegations of anti-Semitism (many years ago) at Emory University.Categories: College Admissions, Selecting Colleges Tags: UC Irvine, UC Irvine Admissions, UC Irvine Anti-Semitism, University of California Irvine, University of California Irvine Admissions
As students and parents go on college tours, they should pay attention to what the tour guide is saying. But that shouldn’t be all that they pay attention to. In order to get a more complete picture of a university, parents and students should wander off after the college tour. They should talk to students. They should smile at students to see if they smile back. In our experience, smiling students equates with a lower transfer rate. Wouldn’t you want to go to a school that students love going to? Much of what your tour guide tells you about a school is informative. But much of it is also the school’s PR. The tour guide is instructed to say much of what they’re telling you. Wouldn’t you like to complement that with some off the record information?
Wander around the campus dining halls if you can. Check out the food. Ask students if they like going to their school. If you’re able to, sneak into a dorm room and see if someone will show you their room. Ask them questions about their experiences. Do you they love it? If so, what do they love about the school? Go to a basketball or football or hockey or soccer game if there’s one going on. Check out the school’s spirit. Do students attend games? If school spirit is important to you, wouldn’t it be nice to see this all firsthand?
And for students who are too embarrassed to walk around with their parents, walk around on your own. Or let your parents walk around on their own. Let them ask questions. Let them wander into dining halls on their own if you don’t want to accompany them. They’ll get the info for you, info that you can even use in your Why College essay if you do indeed want to apply after your campus visit. You’re not going to have many opportunities to visit each school (usually only one) — so make the most of it and get all of the information that you can glean.Categories: College Admissions, Deciding on a College to Attend, Selecting Colleges Tags: College Tour, College Tours, Touring Colleges, Touring Schools, Touring Universities
Ever wonder which colleges produce the most interns? Well, wonder no longer! Menachem Wecker of “US News & World Report” has put out a ranking for the universities in the United States that “produced the largest percentage of interns among the class of 2011.” So who tops the list of college internships? That would be Clarkson University where 86% of the Class of 2011 graduated with internship experience. Clarkson is ranked #115 among national universities in the “US News” rankings. Coming in second on the internship ranking is the Colorado School of Mines, at which 81% of students graduated with internship experience (the school is ranked #77 in the overall ranking).
In third is the Ivy League’s Dartmouth College (ranked #10 in the “US News” overall ranking this year). At Dartmouth, 72% of students graduated with internship experience among the Class of 2011. One reason Dartmouth may appear on this list is because the school requires sophomores to spend their sophomore summer at the college. Because students are required to be on campus during that term, they take off another term at some point to even things out. When students are off from school during the fall, winter, or spring, they often don’t have as much internship competition as most interns intern during the summer months. It gives Dartmouth students a career edge in many ways.
Coming in fourth is Clemson University, where 67% of students graduated with internship experience (the school is ranked #68 overall). After Clemson comes Pace University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Memphis, Syracuse University, DePaul University, and Stevens Institute of Technology.Categories: Deciding on a College to Attend, Selecting Colleges, The Rankings Tags: College Interns, College Internships, Ivy League Internships, University Interns, University Internships
“Noodle” has published a list of eight haunted college campuses. Are you curious if your university is among the haunted? Wonder no longer — let’s get started. Cal State University – Channel Islands is haunted. Why? Because the university is on the grounds of a former insane asylum. Yes, you read that right. An insane asylum. In the ten years that the university has been open, some students have claimed to have encountered some former inmates. Scary, huh?
Penn State University is also haunted. A woman was killed in one of the library stacks in 1969 and the rumor has it that she still haunts those very stacks. How “666 Park Avenue” of her! The University of Georgia is also haunted, according to “Noodle” — by Confederate soldiers and folks who have been killed and/or committed suicide. Boston University is also among the haunted. Its Shelton Hall is allegedly still the stomping grounds of the deceased Eugene O’Neil, a playwright who died in the building which was then a hotel.
Ohio University makes the list as well. Apparently, a whole basketball team haunts Wilson Hall. Bizarre, huh? Students have heard lots of voices in Wilson Hall and Room 428 was permanently sealed due to strange voices. Permanently sealed — oh my! Flagler College too is haunted, with ghosts from the time when the college was a report still lingering. And The College of William and Mary is among the haunted universities as well. Native American drumbeats can be heard in the Brafferton building. Spooky!
What other universities are haunted? Share your stories with us! We’re anxious to hear them.Categories: Other Tidbits, Selecting Colleges Tags: Haunted College Campuses, Haunted Colleges, Haunted Universities, Haunted University Campuses, Haunted US Colleges
Many of our students end up joining fraternities and sororities once they go to college. The fraternity and sorority scenes at various colleges vary and if it’s something that our students express an interest in, we do encourage them to check out the scene — or lack thereof — prior to deciding upon a school to attend. But on the topic of college fraternities and sororities, we thought we’d share with you an article that we came across a little while back by Abigail Sullivan Moore. The article, which ran in “The New York Times” discusses the lengths college-aged females are going to to gain admission…to sororities!
Apparently, there are folks who deem themselves sorority consultants. As sorority consultants, these folks offer their expertise about how to get into the sororities of their clients’ choice. Yes, you read that correctly. According to “The New York Times” article on sororities, “Margaret King of Birmingham, Ala., was at a loss about how to help her older daughter prepare to rush at the University of Virginia. In the South, where sororities have long been a momentous rite of passage, the road to sisterhood is long and not so clearly marked. So Mrs. King, who graduated from Yale in 1984, before it had any sororities, enlisted the aid of Marlea Foster and Pat Grant, local consultants who had coached their own daughters through rush at Furman, the University of Georgia and Auburn University. Naming themselves the Rushbiddies, they opened shop in 2009 after hearing about the rush misfortunes of their daughters’ friends.”
Oy vey. We initially thought that this article was a prank. But it seems “The New York Times” doesn’t have that kind of sense of humor — it’s serious. These folks really consult with college-aged women to help them get into sororities. So what does their help entail? They teach them how to make “appealing facial expressions,” they work on their conversation skills, and they correct their body language to improve their odds of sinking bids at sororities among other things.
Well, heck, it’s a free market economy and these folks seem to have found some kind of niche where their services are needed. So good for them. We’ve now seen it all. Really.Categories: Deciding on a College to Attend, Selecting Colleges Tags: College Fraternities, College Fraternities and Sororities, College Frats, College Sororities, University Sororities
Here’s a college visits tip for you: Do the smile test! What’s the smile test, you ask? It’s quite simple! When visiting colleges, smile at students as you pass them on the lawn, in the dining halls, and in lecture halls. Give them a full, ear-to-ear smile. Then, see if they smile back at you. In our experience, we’ve found that students tend to smile when they’re happy at the college they attend. At schools with higher transfer rates, many students tend to fail the super simple smile test. Isn’t that funny?
While we don’t have the data to support our theory, we suspect it’s true. Walk around Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire and everyone will smile back at you. Even if there is three feet of snow on the ground. Walk around Williams College and you’ll find the same is true there. Walk around Binghamton University…and not so much! Then, look at the transfer rates at the respective universities!
Doing the smile test seems silly, but we would argue that it’s as important as anything when deciding upon colleges to apply to. Why would you want to attend a school where students aren’t happy? Why would you want to subject yourself to that? Why not just go to a university where people are happy, where they smile, where they are excited and energized? If you learn nothing else from all of our blogging about highly selective college admissions, we urge you to do the smile test. It’s worth it.
While you’re here, check out this newsletter on College Visits.Categories: College Admissions, Deciding on a College to Attend, Selecting Colleges Tags: Campus Visits Tips, College Visit Tips, College Visits Tips, University Visit Tips, University Visits Tips
If you’re someone who wants to work in the business world after college, that doesn’t mean that you have to be one of the many undergraduate business majors. Just as med school applicants can major in philosophy (so long as they satisfy medical school course requirements), students who want to work in corporate America or as entrepreneurs do not in any way have to major in business. It’s completely not necessary and, in many cases, it can even hurt these students during their career.
According to an article on undergraduate business by Melissa Korn in “The Wall Street Journal,” “The proportion has held relatively steady for the past 30 years, but now faculty members, school administrators and corporate recruiters are questioning the value of a business degree at the undergraduate level. The biggest complaint: The undergraduate degrees focus too much on the nuts and bolts of finance and accounting and don’t develop enough critical thinking and problem-solving skills through long essays, in-class debates and other hallmarks of liberal-arts courses.”
The fact is that businesses value and seek out students with certain skills (i.e., the ability to program in Java, PHP, etc.) rather than seek out students who have certain degrees. Take a film major as an example. Do you think a film executive in the entertainment industry is going to hire an applicant because she majored in film? No. She’s going to hire her because she thinks she’ll do a great job, because she’s a strong writer, an avid reader, and eager to do grunt work. Sometimes a major in an area outside of what you end up working in can really be to your benefit. A major in computer science can often prove more valuable as students seek out employment in Silicon Valley than a business major. Even if they are seeking employment at a startup. The same is true on Wall Street. A psychology major can sometimes be more helpful than a major in business. The list goes on and on.
At The Ivy Coach, we believe in the merits of a strong liberal arts education. If you’re at Wharton (the business school at the University of Pennsylvania), you’ll be studying undergraduate business. But, at most schools, don’t think that you need to major in business to get a leg up in the business world (as it’s often not a leg up at all!).Categories: College Admissions, Deciding on a College to Attend, Selecting Colleges Tags: Business Majors, College Business Majors, Undergrad Business Major, Undergraduate Business Majors, University Business Majors
With summer approaching, you’d think it would be the perfect time to go and visit colleges. Students have a couple of months off from school. Their schedules are emptier. They’ve got the time and the weather is nice! But summer college visits are not a great idea. A number of folks in the college admissions community recommend visiting colleges over the summer. They think it’s an opportune time to check out schools. But they’re wrong. Don’t listen to them. And why’s that? Because, at most universities across this nation, college students aren’t on campus during the summer.
Are there exceptions to this rule? Yes. For instance, sophomores at Dartmouth College spend their summers at the College on the Hill, taking classes and going off the rope-swing into the Connecticut River (when the administration isn’t busy taking it down). But overwhelmingly, most college students are not on campus during the summer months. And when you visit colleges, it’s important to get a sense of the kinds of students who attend each school. What if you were to like the weather at a school over the summer when the campus was devoid of students, only to enroll the following year and realize that every student at the school has purple hair? What if you don’t like jocks and you realize when you enroll that the school is full of jocks?
You can’t get a sense of the student body during summer college visits. It’s just not possible (except at a couple of colleges). You can’t ask students questions. You can’t see if students are smiling, if they’re happy. You can’t walk inside a dormitory and chat with first-year students. You can’t do any of this. Because they just aren’t there over the summer. So visit in the fall, winter, or spring of your junior year of high school. Visit in the fall if you still haven’t made up your mind. But summer visits — they are, in many ways, a waste. In spite of what others in the college admissions community might say to the contrary!Categories: College Admissions, Interest, Selecting Colleges Tags: Summer College Visits, Summer Ivy League Visits, Summer University Visits, Visiting Colleges in the Summer, Visiting Universities in the Summer
Don’t be surprised if you learn about your college admission decisions via phone. Imagine being an admissions officer. For months, you’ve gone around the country urging students to apply. You’ve gone into high schools and given your sales pitch. You’ve gone to China to let students know why they should consider studying in the United States. You’ve spent countless hours reading college applications. College essays about winning soccer goals and deceased grandparents, about trips to Europe and yearbook club. Get the picture? So now is the exciting time…the time when admissions officers have the chance to relay great news to selected applicants.
It’s only human that admissions officers would want to relay this news to anxious students who are anxiously awaiting word of their fates. Harvard called some applicants who were going to be receiving Likely Letters that they would be receiving Likely Letters! How funny is that? They called to tip off students that they’d be receiving a tip off that they’d likely be admitted. How silly! But it’s great! It relieves stress, it’s fun for students to hear from real humans (rather than through a website or mailing), and it’s fun for admissions officers to relay terrific, life-changing news!
So, college applicants, keep your phones on. Not in class. Not at the library. Not while you’re sleeping. But keep them somewhat nearby so you won’t miss a call from an excited admissions officer at a university that you applied to. But if it doesn’t ring, don’t worry. Admissions officers don’t have the time to call every applicant! It’s one of those things that’s fun a few times but then gets a bit repetitive.Categories: College Decisions, Selecting Colleges Tags: College Admission Decisions, College Admissions Decisions, College Decisions, Harvard Admissions Decisions, University Admissions Decisions
There’s an article out today in “The Daily Pennsylvanian” in which The Ivy Coach founder, Bev Taylor, is quoted that discusses how in light of these tough economic times, some students are choosing to take gap years before enrolling in college. According to University of Pennsylvania Dean of Admissions Eric Furda, whom we recently saluted for his efforts at reaching applicants through non-traditional ways, betwen 50 to 65 students each admissions cycle choose to defer a year. That year is called a “gap year.”
According to the “Daily Pennsylvanian,” “‘It’s a mistaken idea that it’s better to do something strictly academic,’ [Furda] said. “[Work experience] teaches them some humility and some survival skills … that they almost don’t learn anywhere else, certainly not to the same degree.’” As our founder stated in the article, the gap year isn’t a luxury and it shouldn’t be considered as such.
Students taking gap years shouldn’t just hang out on the beach in France. They should work or find a way to pursue their passion. But if that passion is riding waves and soaking in the sun, forget the gap year and go to college! That would be such a waste of a year of your life! If you’re taking the year off, broaden your horizons, learn, and grow! And also know that gap years aren’t for everyone.
Be sure to read more about Gap Years and College Admission and let us know your thoughts on gap years and college admissions by posting below!Categories: Admissions Process, College Admissions, Ivy League, Selecting Colleges Tags: Gap Years and College Admissions, Gap Years and Ivy League, Gap Years and University Admissions, Gap Years Before College, Year Off Before College