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For College Applicants, It’s Off to the Races

And they’re off . . .

Could we have a bigger week for celebration (other than the last week of school)? Monday, May 1, was National College Decision Day, when accepted students officially committed to a college. Today, of course, is el cinco de mayo. Knowing it falls on a Friday will likely spark festivities on many college campuses. And just when we think it’s safe to go back and visit colleges, tomorrow is Kentucky Derby Day. (I first heard about mint juleps at college. They were legal then and sipped by budding engineers.)

Speaking of horses, equine science is a serious major. At the beautiful University of Vermont, for example, Animal Science students can pursue an Equine Concentration in which they select from courses such as Equine Instructing Techniques, Equine Enterprise Management, and Horse Health and Disease. UVM has its Morgan Horse Farm. Students go on to a variety of careers and graduate programs, including veterinary school.


The Morgan Horse Farm at UVM

For students who love horses but don’t want to make a career of it, the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) established an equine science program open to all at UD. (See featured image.)

. . . unless they don’t know where to go

A college counselor’s favorite question: “What if my child doesn’t get in anywhere?” For those who want to matriculate in the fall, the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) has just released a list of colleges that still have spaces. No, they’re not Harvard and Princeton, but they’re mighty good. I read the entire list, and noted these colleges that are popular with New Jersey students:

  1. Drew

  2. Elon

  3. High Point

  4. Loyola MD

  5. Providence

  6. Skidmore

  7. University of Maryland

  8. UVM

(By the way, Skidmore’s mascot is the thoroughbred, which makes sense since the college is in Saratoga Springs. They’ve got to be celebrating tomorrow!)


“Race” to Skidmore! It has spots remaining.

But seriously, why would fine colleges still have openings? In an article in, Chris Teare, Drew’s Senior Associate Director of Admissions, provides insight. “In my experience, there are two main reasons: admissions standards and market volatility.”  Put simply, colleges have a reputation to maintain, and they may not want to compromise. They also never know with certainty how many students will accept offers of admission. Comments Teare, “Any institution with standards would rather fall short of its enrollment target than admit students they are uncertain can handle the work.”

For juniors, it’s still a long way to the finish line.

Tomorrow, many juniors have a pre-party destination: the SAT. For those who need more time, or those affected by AP testing, there are more opportunities.

Tuesday, May 9, is the deadline for the June 3 SAT or SAT Subject Tests. (Some of the Subject Tests are repeated during the year, but the time to take them is while material is fresh.)

Friday, May 5, is the deadline for the June 10 ACT.

College Board is offering the SAT on August 26 for those who are not otherwise engaged. (To compensate, it is eliminating the January administration.)

Is your student adequately preparing for the tests? At a minimum, preparation should include getting familiar with the format of the test and the look of the answer sheet. Within particular sections, the students should use the SAT blue book, the ACT red book, and publicly available tests to analyze how sections are put together and identify the types of questions that repeat from test to test. Students with questions about approaches to standardized tests should make an appointment. Students who need in-depth guidance should check out Noodle Pros. They’re the best at tests!

Colleges race to find the best-fit curriculum.

Many posts have touched on the liberal arts versus career orientation of higher ed curriculum. Changes continue, and you bet they’re in the direction of liberal arts schools that link to career initiatives. Last week, the Wall Street Journal indicated that “Liberal Arts Colleges, in Fight for Survival, Focus on Job Skills.” Here are some noteworthy mentions in the article.

At Mount Holyoke, part of the Five College Consortium, students can take advantage of newly created programs in computer science and data science. (See my article on the Consortium.) Google is now recruiting from the single-sex, liberal arts college.

Emory University, considerably larger than Mount Holyoke, has a new degree program that “marries traditionally qualitative disciplines such as anthropology, English and history with math and statistics.”

Both Dartmouth and Denison have integrated data science within their liberal arts offerings.

Big data is big business. According to the professor who created Emory’s program, “There has been an explosion in data and there’s a huge demand for people who know how to harness it. Most students coming out of the liberal arts have at best a consumer’s knowledge of basic statistics, but they’re rarely trained to rigorously and effectively answer questions using data.”

Big data takes the stage at Emory.

At NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, which is in Brooklyn, students can attain VIP status on campus with the Vertically Integrated Projects Program. If selected, students are teamed to work on research projects over at least three semesters. Projects include Smart Internet of Controlled Things, Smart Cities Tech, RePrint Bot, and a Music Experience Design Lab.

At Tandon, students can be VIPs.

Indiana University, highly regarded for its Kelley School of Business, has taken a next step with its bachelor of science in Game Design. Students must take the Media Core (Managing, Making, Thinking Media).

It’s off to the races!


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