(3) Searching Students x (1) Motivated Mom = Beaucoups Memorable College Visits
May24

(3) Searching Students x (1) Motivated Mom = Beaucoups Memorable College Visits

by Lisa Campbell Warren To talk with Laetitia Krisel, a high school junior at the Lycee Francais de New York, in NYC, and her mom, Donna Zilkha, about the college-search process is to learn something about the delight of the “match.” Finding out about schools and about yourself (and, for a parent, about your child) are described as intertwined threads in one exhilarating exploration. No strangers to adventure, Laetitia’s family lived in France through her third-grade year, after which they moved to New York. Laetitia and Donna visited nine college campuses in New England over a four-day period in February 2011, and Laetitia blogged about the visits as an intern on “Artistotle Circle.” In love with learning When I spoke via Skype with mother and daughter recently, what impressed me most was their thoughtful and joyful approach to learning—about schools, various subjects, other places and people, and themselves. For example, when I asked about Advanced Placement courses, Laetitia said, “I’m taking AP Economics now, and I’m falling in love with economics!” Isn’t that really what it’s all about–when you’re trying to choose the right college–being willing and able and prepared to fall in love? Read on for some thoughts about conducting a college search that could lead to your perfect match. SCV: Laetitia, how did you decide which colleges you would visit? Laetitia: I knew I wanted to go to college on the East Coast, so that I would be able to come home on weekends whenever I want. From there, I looked at schools that I thought would be a good fit for me academically. I saw 12 schools in all, and I liked all of them! SCV: Donna, you have two older children as well. How has your college-search with Laetitia compared with those of her older brother and sister? Donna: The three kids looked at different kinds of schools, based on their interests and where they were likely to fit best academically. So while all three “tours” focused on East-Coast schools, each child’s list of schools, and thus their experience, was unique. My son, who is the oldest, was not very interested in visiting colleges or even going to college, to be honest. I knew I would have to make the trips interesting and fun to engage him. We wound up visiting Washington, D.C. , area schools, and he really liked American University. Going there meant we could also see the sights in D.C. He actually flew home early to see his girlfriend, but Laetitia and I visited the Smithsonian after he left! SCV: Where else did you go in conjunction with college visits? Donna: My other daughter,...

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Smart Learning at University of Rochester

By Lisa Campbell Warren Dream it, do it! KEY Program Jumpstarts Enterprising Students “If you can dream it, you can do it,” Walt Disney said famously. What he said next is worth noting too: “Always remember this whole thing was started by a mouse.” Substitute “an undergraduate student with a great idea” for “a mouse” to describe the principle behind the University of Rochester’s Kauffman Entrepreneurial Year program. Within a supportive framework that provides expert advising, skill-and-knowledge-building course work, and up to a year of tuition-free enrollment, KEY (or “Kauffman”) scholars pursue the transformation of their dreams.  For example: ArtAwake  ArtAwake was born of the combined passion of a group of students for urban exploring, community, and the arts.  Working with the university’s student activity office to get approval and support, the group started an above-board* UE club, with an architectural photography bent. [*Above-board means members request permission to explore private property.] The club quickly became popular, and its founders “wanted to do something bigger that would involve and touch more people,” explained Zach Kozick, physics major and co-founder of ArtAwake. Thus, the idea was born to create a student-run arts-and-music festival, housed in an abandoned urban space in downtown Rochester. Acceptance to the KEY program allowed the founding partners to work together to achieve their dream of annually transforming a different space into a gallery and music/performance venue. The project successfully united the university community with the general public, while creating the foundation, structure, and organizational model to continue and improve the festival year after year. Our Trash is UR Treasure  With her “Our Trash is UR Treasure” project, Katie Maloney is developing a safe, clean, efficient method of making liquid soap from the by-products of environmentally friendly biodiesel fuel formulation. Said Katie, “I had been thinking about working on soap production during my undergrad, but I never had enough time to devote to the project, so KEY was the perfect chance to do it.”  Working independently, Katie keeps in contact with a biodiesel team on campus and a chemical engineering senior design team that is pursuing a similar project.  “It’s encouraging to see how active entrepreneurship is on this campus,” she said.  The biomedical engineering student plans to enroll in grad school next fall.  “I’m not sure if entrepreneurship will directly be incorporated into my plans,” she said, “but I will definitely use the skills I have learned to my advantage.” Creating value  The process of developing entrepreneurial ideas into “for-profit” or “not-for-profit” ventures that will create economic, social or intellectual value is what it’s all about, according to Professor Robert Tobin, associate director of the UR Center for...

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College Tour Halloween Haunts
Oct27

College Tour Halloween Haunts

by Lisa Campbell Warren Dare to Visit… The Haunts of Famous American (Scary) Storytellers! Late October, with the trees dressed up in brilliant yellow, red and gold, and the added thrill of Halloween festivities, is a fantastic time to visit colleges on the East Coast. Students and parents who appreciate the “spooky” literature of Washington Irving (“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” “Rip Van Winkle,” and other stories) and Edgar Allan Poe (“The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Raven,” and many more) might enjoy visiting some of the haunts of these uniquely American writers, including universities and historic sites in New York, Maryland, and Virginia. Caution: Headless Horseman Born in 1783 in lower Manhattan, and later a famous resident of Tarrytown, in New York’s Hudson River Valley, Washington Irving continues to be celebrated in both New York City and at the riverside estate of Sunnyside. By age 16, Irving traded formal education for what he could learn and write about from daily ramblings through the city. Some of his brothers attended NYC’s Columbia College (now Columbia University), and a quick check of CU’s online library catalog produces a long list of items connected to their literary brother, including manuscripts, drawings, and first editions. The city Irving nicknamed “Gotham” is home to dozens of prestigious colleges and universities; this list may include one or more that you’ll want to visit. Outside the city, on the banks of the Hudson River, in an area named “Sleepy Hollow” by the author (but called Tarrytown in real life), Irving’s Sunnyside estate was a popular gathering spot for artists, writers, politicians and other notables of the time. Tours of Sunnyside, through December, are led by a guide dressed as Washington Irving. The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery at the Old Dutch Church is where to find the author’s final resting place (and hope NOT to encounter the legendary, night-riding “headless horseman” he created!). Within an easy and scenic drive up- or downriver are several campuses worth checking out, according to this list of Hudson Valley colleges and universities. The Raven on the Lawn In 1830-1831, while the middle-aged Irving was writing and entertaining luminaries of the day at Sunnyside, young Edgar Allan Poe was attending the U. S. Military Academy just up and over the river at West Point, New York. He stayed for just one semester, but was considered a bright student of mathematics and French. Later, he would attend Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, living in one of the spartan scholars’ rooms on the Lawn in front of the Rotunda. Visitors to the U.Va. “grounds” (as they term the campus) can...

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Smart Learning at the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University

A business school after Aristotle’s heart “What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing,” said Aristotle (384-322 BC). If the Greek philosopher chose to study business today, he’d feel right at home as an undergraduate at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management.  Experiential learning, aka “learning by doing,” is at the core of  Whitman’s bachelor of science programs in accounting, entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises, finance, marketing, management, real estate, retail management, and supply chain management. It’s not surprising, then, that internships, community service, and international experience related to the student’s program of study all are required (and not just options) for all undergraduates and are actively facilitated by faculty and staff.  In the classroom, experiences that at many business schools usually would be reserved for MBA students are the norm (think: real-life case studies, simulations, hands-on research and development projects, team efforts, competitions for seed-money prizes, and more).   The Most Unique Thing “The most unique thing about Whitman is its EEE457* class, in which students come up with an innovative product or service, write a business plan on it, and then present it to a panel of judges. "Tons of work," one graduate of the school’s top-ranked entrepreneurship program, reported on BusinessWeek.com. “However, it was a great experience that enabled us to apply everything we learned in all of our other Whitman classes, as well as learn much more.” Ask a finance major about the most unique thing and you’re sure to hear about the Orange Value Fund**, a $1.1 million student-managed fund created with the objective of training Whitman students to become money managers. Through participation, students gain meaningful firsthand experience and a deep understanding of value investing. The program is housed in Whitman’s Ballentine Investment Institute, which was founded by alumnus Steven Ballentine (’83), to “bring the markets alive to the students.”  For a close-up look at these and other unique learning opportunities, check out online video presentations by and interviews with Whitman students and alumni, as well as student news programs and more. An Environment for Learning To support all this teamwork- and technology-enhanced learning-by-doing, the Whitman School’s new 160,000-square-foot building, completed in 2005, is student-focused by design. It features 20 team meeting-rooms each for undergraduate and graduate students, all outfitted with the latest technology, and wireless Internet access throughout. Numerous conversation areas encourage casual interaction among students, faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors. There are 22 state-of-the-art classrooms, 74 faculty offices, a 100-seat café and 200-seat auditorium, an awesome three-story, 4,000 square foot Grand Hall, and a special events room with an outdoor terrace and a view of the campus and nearby...

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Smart Learning at Alma College

Where Spring Term Knows No Boundaries Do you like to think outside the box? At Alma College, in Michigan, during the four-week Spring Term, students and professors together step outside the proverbial box—and across disciplinary, geographic, and cultural boundaries. For example, they: Explore the rain forest and the indigenous communities along the Amazon River. Conduct archival research at the John F. Kennedy presidential library in Boston. Study Virginia Woolf's novels and essays in both London and Cornwall, England.  These represent a few of the nearly 50 courses available in Spring Term—40 percent of which are travel courses, including 10 international options.  Whatever the course, focusing intently on a single topic results in a greater depth of understanding about the subject and awakens new areas of interest. Says Marc Setterlund, Associate Provost and Professor of Psychology, “For me, the greatest educational benefit of Spring Term is the amount of time professors and students have to devote to an academic topic.”  Unfortunately, heavy course loads and other obligations during regular semesters can render such opportunities impractical or impossible for most college students. But Alma’s  “4-4-1” academic calendar–with 14-week terms in fall and winter and the 4-week spring term in May—makes it work. Spring Term courses are offered both on campus and off. On-campus courses may feature an abundance of field trips or other unique experiences. Off-campus locales range from nearby southwest Michigan and the Great Lakes region to San Francisco, Boston, Washington, D.C., Great Britain, Ecuador, China, and more.  During their four years, students are required to successfully complete two Spring Term courses, and one must cross geographical, cultural or disciplinary boundaries. Many find the experience so rewarding that they choose to attend every year. Those enrolled full time in the preceding Fall and Winter terms pay tuition and board but no room charge to live on campus in Spring Term. Equipment, laboratory, travel, and off-campus room and board fees vary, and are outlined in the course list.  Spring Term travel courses change every year, but a list of past domestic and international travel courses shows just how exciting it can be to think outside the box at Alma. What might be a good question to ask during a college tour of Alma College? How about this:  How can I immerse myself in unique learning experiences and still graduate on time? The answer is likely to involve one or more Spring Term courses that cross the usual boundaries. *** A researcher, writer, and editor with a special interest in education, Lisa Warren is a featured contributor to SmartCollegeVisit.  *** For more videos related  to our on-going series: Smart Learning™, Smart See, Smart Do™, and...

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A Little Class Goes a Long Way
Nov19

A Little Class Goes a Long Way

The purpose of a college visit is to get a feel for life on that particular campus and to determine whether or not life there is a good fit. A tour of campus and a visit to the dorm, and even eating on campus can provide a snapshot of a day in the life of a college student, but if you don't take the time to visit a class, then you'll miss out on a great learning opportunity. All it takes is a little additional planning to work attending a class into your day on campus. Here are some tips to help you out: Arrangements to visit a class (or two) should be made in about two weeks in advance by contacting the academic department or adviser that houses the major of interest. Make plans to visit on weekdays when classes are in session. Avoid scheduling your visit during exam weeks or on reading days (the days prior to the start of exams). Ask for the name of the instructor or professor and location of the classroom. Arrive early or plan to stay after class so you'll have a chance to meet the instructor in person. If you don't plan to stay for the entire class period, then sit near the door so you can leave without disruption. If there are major facilities related to the major, such as labs, rehearsal halls, galleries, etc, then make arrangements to add these to your tour stops as well. For a parent's perspective on the importance of visiting a class while on campus, please read Go With Class(es), published 11//05/09 on SmartCollegeVisit. *** Lisa Warren contributed to this...

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