Connecticut College

I recently visited Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut, where I toured the campus and spoke with admissions about the latest trends in admissions. Here are some takeaways from my visit:

· Connecticut College is located on Long Island Sound, slightly closer to Boston than NYC. A train station right in the town of New London provides service to both cities (+/- two hours), and the nearest airport is about 45 minutes away in Providence.

· A small liberal arts college, Connecticut College currently enrolls 1,865 undergrads. The average class size is 17.

· Connecticut College emphasizes interdisciplinary study, career readiness/real-world impact and research. 54% of students work with a professor on an independent study or project.

· Distribution requirements are minimal and easy to fulfill, so students have a lot of freedom to explore different areas of interest (and can even design their own major). In addition to traditional majors and minors, 80% of students participate in an interdisciplinary “pathway” or “center,” which focus on a special topic (often related to a real-world career field) and integrate academics, real-world experience and special advising. Students complete these programs in small cohorts, which provide another avenue for building community on campus.

· Connecticut College has a robust learning center where advisors can work extensively 1-on-1 with students to help them become more independent learners, especially those with learning differences and/or ADHD. Students are still responsible for requesting their own accommodations, however.

· 98% of students live on campus, where most social life takes place (student performances, athletic games, parties; there is no Greek life). Students also sometimes make the five-minute drive into the town of New London, located right on Long Island Sound. The small waterfront town has a diverse array of restaurants and shops.

· Connecticut College meets full demonstrated need.

The New School

I recently visited The New School in Manhattan, where I toured the campus and spoke with the enrollment office about the latest trends in admissions. Here are some takeaways from my visit:

· There are currently 7,632 undergrads, and 92% of classes are under 20 students.

· Interdisciplinary learning is a large focus. Students in Lang can design their own interdisciplinary major, and students can sample from classes across the broader university.

· Lang’s curriculum is very reading and writing-intensive, and applicants are welcome to submit additional writing samples to showcase their strength as a writer.

· A towering 30-40% of students are international.

· The downtown campus, located right next to NYU, is thoroughly integrated into the city. Most freshmen live on campus but then move off after their first year. Almost all students who want on-campus housing for four years, however, can receive it. Most of the dorms are a 20-minute walk from the primary academic buildings.

· Lang graduates often work in design, publishing, museums, and media like local newspapers and NPR.

· Lang isn’t the best choice for pre-med students, as they lack all of the required lab courses.

· With few exceptions (such as fashion design or the Parsons Paris program), students applying to Lang and Parsons do not need to declare a major when applying.

· Many Lang students are also artists, and they can take classes and complete minors through Parsons. There is also a joint 5-year BA/BFA degree program.

· Students can elect to study in Paris for some or all of their time at Parsons.

University Center, the heart of The New School’s urban campus, houses classrooms, dorms, a library, cafeteria and more.

Princeton University

I recently visited Princeton University in New Jersey, where I toured the campus and heard from the admissions office about the latest trends in admissions. Here are some takeaways from my visit:

· Princeton distinguishes itself from many of its Ivy peers by its intense focus on undergraduate research and teaching. Students can become involved in research as early as freshman year, and research projects are required both junior and senior years. The campus lacks many traditional graduate schools (business, medicine, law), and the majority of students are undergrads.

· Because of Princeton’s unique senior thesis requirement, students can only major in one subject. There is also a narrower range of majors – 37 – than at many of the university’s peer institutions.

· While most classes are small, some lectures have up to 120 students (or, in the case of Introduction to Computer Science, 200).

· Students live in one of seven residential colleges their first two years but belong to the college all four years. Social life for the majority of upperclassmen centers around Princeton’s “eating clubs,” which each have their own culture and flavor.

· Princeton fields some of the strongest athletic programs in the Ivy League and has a total of 38 D1 teams and as many club teams.

· Students can opt for a fully-funded gap year abroad through the Novogratz Bridge Year Program. Students will complete a work project based on their interests.

· A unique feature of Princeton admissions is that they require a graded paper, ideally from within the last two years in English or history. Princeton will consider the writing within the context of the student’s high school.

· The optional interview is encouraged, and submitting an arts supplement “can only help” an application.

· Engineers also fulfill liberal arts distribution requirements but are exempt from the foreign language requirement.

· Princeton no longer caps the number of A’s at 35% of each class, but there is still some grade deflation in programs such as engineering.

· The entire campus is a 10-15 minute walk from one end to the other. Most students are not allowed to have cars on campus.

· Students can elect to take up to four classes in total pass/fail.

· A new art museum is currently under construction and the gym is undergoing renovations.

Mathey College, one of Princeton’s seven residential colleges.

Pace University

I recently visited Pace University in lower Manhattan, where I toured the campus and spoke with the admissions office about the latest trends in admissions. Here are some takeaways from my visit:

· With small classes, a compact campus (a five minute walk from one end to the other) and just under 6,000 students, Pace offers a less abrupt introduction to big city living than nearby campuses like NYU.

· While more traditional outdoor campus space is limited, there are various areas where students can congregate within Pace’s buildings, including a cafeteria, student center and library.

· The majority of undergraduates study in the Lubin School of Business, while a small contingent of students major in the highly selective School of Performing Arts.

· Some of the largest employers of Pace grads are Goldman Sachs, KPMG, NBC and Universal. Many students intern at the UN.

· Housing is guaranteed all four years. There is one traditional-style dorm (with common bathrooms and lounge spaces on each floor), and three quieter apartment-style dorms (with doubles/triples and a common space in the basement). A fifth dorm is in the works. 25-30% of students commute from home.

· There are various online learning options: some classes can be taken asynchronously, and others allow students to “Zoom in.”

· Around 3,000 undergrads attend the more traditional campus in Westchester, which is where the selective nursing program is housed. Sports are also present on the Westchester campus, but not the Manhattan campus.

· The university practices need-blind admissions, and SAT/ACT scores are not required for merit aid.

Loyola Marymount University

I recently visited Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where I toured the campus and spoke with the admissions office about the latest trends in admissions. Here are some takeaways from my visit:

· Class sizes are small and faculty very supportive. LMU provides help for students who need extra support transitioning to college-level academic expectations.

· LMU admits by major. Admit rates for popular majors are lower than the college’s overall admit rate. Students can minor in any field at the university, except for film and television.

· LMU is a Jesuit university. Although the school does not have a strongly religious flavor, its students are very focused on the Jesuit traditions of service and social justice. There is a two-course theology requirement, but it can be fulfilled through a wide range of courses speaking to many different interests.

· LMU’s School of Film and Television is considered one of the top 10 in the nation.

· Housing is guaranteed for the first two years. Upperclassmen who want on-campus housing are usually able to secure it. Those who choose to live off-campus typically live no more than 10 minutes from campus.

· LMU has a joint 4+1 MBA program with Notre Dame.

· Double/triple majors and minors are popular since most majors only take one year to complete and most minors one semester.

· Students receive academic credit for internships, with many working in tech in the adjacent “Silicon Beach” neighborhood of Playa Vista.

Sacred Heart Chapel overlooks the center of campus at LMU.