Great Colleges Go Bold!

It’s been a week to honor the bold.

Last Sunday evening and again the next morning, I rode New Orleans’ historic St. Charles Streetcar uptown to Tulane. I wanted to see for myself why this Southern university is so very popular with my New Jersey students. It didn’t take long to understand. At Tulane, I witnessed happy students, even during finals week. I saw a campus steeped in tradition (like the bead tree pictured here) yet equipped for the disciplines of the future. Walking between Gibson Hall and Yulman Stadium, I took in the line at the Café du Monde food truck, sat near students studying in the Lavin-Bernick Center, and admired the renovations at the Goldring/Woldenberg Business Complex. I have seen numerous campuses around the country, and believe me, Tulane is a winner. Across the campus, banners read, “Only the audacious.”


But this wasn’t a normal week of college visits. On Tuesday, I left NOLA, flew to New Jersey and made it up to Providence with a half hour to spare. Barrett Hazeltine, my professor, advisor and mentor, was teaching his last lecture as a primary professor, and there was no way I would miss a celebration in his honor. I found my way to the newly constructed Engineering Research Center(see photo below). Fittingly, the reception was held in the Hazeltine Commons, honoring the man whose 59 years of teaching had affected countless students.


During the session, Professor Hazeltine, (also known as “the Dean” or Dean Hazeltine because of his dual role in faculty and administration), accepted praise with his characteristic humility. But in reality, he had gone bold for many of his 59 years on campus, teaching wildly popular courses on business, management and organizational behavior. Commenting on the administration, he stated, “I’m grateful . . . it was flexible enough to let me follow my passion and end up teaching not circuits and AND gates but entrepreneurship and management and also technology.” He added, “Not everybody thinks so well of us to do entrepreneurship” [but we could] “do it in a way that’s engaging and exciting.” Successfully shaking up the model at a classic liberal arts university? Audacious.


Many of you know my love for innovative business models, teaching and curriculum. That all blossomed by working alongside the Dean.

Another Purposeful College Last week, I read about a component of the curriculum at Bates College (Lewiston, ME). Bates’ Purposeful Work includes a five-week term during which practitioners come in to teach and the students can shadow workers. Bates even helps fund internships for students drawn to nonprofits. Alluding to the happiness course at Yale, mentioned in a previous blog post, Bates president Clayton Spencer states, “Instead of teaching kids how to be happy, teach them how to figure out the work they want to do—a key factor in creating happiness. The source of personal happiness and fulfillment has to be around meaning and not the psychology of happiness. You find meaning by thinking and acting in the world in a way that aligns with your talents and interests and brings you joy, and makes a social contribution of some kind.” Bates has gone bold.


Testing I continue to receive many questions from parents about SAT Subject Tests. Let me reiterate: SAT Subject Tests are great credentials, and they’re not difficult if your student chooses favorite subjects. Unlike the actual SAT, Subject Tests are only an hour long. While most applicants do not need them for admission, Subject Tests are often required or recommended for prospective engineers. Those students often need Math 2 and a science, but they should also show off prowess in another subject area.

Testing Dates:

  1. June 2 for SAT Subject Tests. (The deadline for registration was last week, but you may be able to do a late registration.)

  2. July 14 for ACT retake

  3. August 25 for SAT retake

It’s Never Too Late (Some Colleges are Still Looking for Students) All too often in this blog, I write about the fierce competition for spots at colleges. But let me be very clear: there is always a college for your student, and some colleges haven’t filled their freshman class. Last week, NACAC, the national college counseling organization, published its annual list of colleges still seeking students. Tell your friends about it. And remember, nothing is final in the world of college. A student can always transfer . . .

. . . unless the target is an elite college. This week, Princeton announced that it had admitted transfer students for the first time since 1990. It accepted 13, or 0.9% of those applying.

The Summer of Love (to Code) The Coding School, founded by fellow Brunonian Kiera Peltz, announces an innovative (but maybe too expensive) summer program. According to Peltz, “Students will receive personalized lessons based on their interests and learn in-depth knowledge in cutting-edge CS fields, from coding fundamentals to cybersecurity, machine learning, game development, mobile app development, and web design.” For more information about the program, go to their site or email  info@the-cs.org.

Financing College When the cost of college comes up, I always remind parents to not get hung up on sticker price. In fact, some of the most elite colleges have the most money to give. Recently, an article in Inc. showed the results when CNBC took a look at the average net price, which “refers to the total annual cost of attendance, including tuition, fees, books, supplies and living expenses, minus the average amount of financial aid from grants or scholarships.” Some surprising average net price results:

Vanderbilt: $18,144

Cornell: $29,711

Hopkins: $34,455

Penn: $25,255

For more, including a college funding strategy based on your objectives and financials, I urge you to get in touch with Beau Kuhn of College Application Training.

The end of the academic year is rapidly approaching. If you’d like to discuss anything college-related, get in touch and follow me, @nberler, to keep informed. And stay bold.

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