Featured College Visits

You can read about some of my campus visits by scrolling down or using the following links:

Barnard College
California Institute of Technology
Clemson University
Columbia University
Connecticut College
The Cooper Union (Nerken School of Engineering)
Davidson College
Drew University
Elon University
Fisk University
Fordham University (Rose Hill)
Furman University
Guilford College
High Point University
Hunter College (CUNY)
Lafayette College
Loyola Marymount University
Macaulay Honors College (CUNY)
Marist College
Marymount Manhattan College
Middle Tennessee State University
The New School
NYU (Gallatin School)
NYU
Occidental College
Pace University
Pepperdine University
Purchase College
Princeton University
Queens University of Charlotte
Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Sarah Lawrence College
Sewanee: The University of the South
Stevens Institute of Technology
University of California San Diego
University of Pennsylvania
University of Southern California
Vanderbilt University
Vassar College
Wake Forest University
Wofford College
Yale University

Fisk University

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

· Fisk is one of America’s premier Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), having graduated illustrious alumni like W.E.B. DuBois, John Lewis, Ida B. Wells, Diane Nash and Nikki Giovanni. It is located in North Nashville, the city’s historic black cultural hub.

· With 900 undergrads and only 30-50 graduate students, Fisk is a de facto liberal arts colleges where faculty are deeply invested in students and the “Fisk Family” provides a tight-knit, welcoming and inclusive environment. The average class size is 15 (there are no large lectures) and students come from across the country. 90% are African American, while a small percentage are not of African descent, including some international and white students (3%). Two-thirds of students live on campus, and a new co-ed, suite-style dorm is opening soon. 70% of students are female.

· Given its location in Music City (a moniker given to Nashville by the Queen of England after hearing Fisk’s famed, Grammy-winning Jubilee Singers perform), music is the most popular major on campus, which is dotted with over 20 baby grand pianos. Students can also pursue a concentration in Music Business offered through a partnership with neighboring Belmont University.

· Biology is also popular, and Fisk offers a BS/MD program with Meharry Medical College next door. Many students also major in business and computer science, with over half of students interning at elite corporations.

· A new career center building helps connect students to internships at organizations like Cravath, Swaine & Moore (which has a historical partnership with Fisk), Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Google, Apple, Deloitte, Microsoft and Warner Music.

· Additional partnerships include a 3+2 engineering program with Vanderbilt and Case Western, as well as a BA/MBA program with Vanderbilt. Top students can also join Fisk’s W.E.B. DuBois Honor Program to special perks.

· One of Fisk’s unofficial mottos is “good trouble,” taken from alumnus John Lewis, and Fisk is defined by its ongoing commitment to service and activism. There is a day of service built into freshman orientation and a full-ride scholarship available to students who have demonstrated an extensive commitment to service.

· Student life is rich and varied. Around 50% of students participate in Greek life (Fisk hosts 8 of the 9 “Divine Nine”), and while there is no football team, basketball, volleyball, golf, gymnastic, cheer and dance provide athletic teams for students to rally around. There are many active student clubs and organizations, including the popular Out:Loud LGBTQ+ club.

Vanderbilt University

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

· A mid-sized, private university with just over 7,000 undergrads, Vanderbilt has risen fast in popularity to become one of the most selective colleges in the United States. While Vanderbilt offers rigorous, high-powered academics, it emphasizes balance as well as student collaboration. Nearly all students reside on campus four years, an experience Vanderbilt views as essential to growth and learning.

· Vanderbilt houses four undergraduate schools: Arts & Sciences, Engineering, Music and Education. Once admitted, students have the flexibility to double or triple major across all four schools. Each college has general education requirements, but there are flexible ways to fulfill them.

· 80% of classes have 30 students or less. Undergraduate research is accessible and popular (60% participate), and all undergrads are required to complete a culminating, student-driven project, whether a thesis, internship or civic engagement project. Many majors require internships, which departments often help students secure, and some are available for academic credit. Experiential learning is generally emphasized.

· All freshmen live together in one of ten houses on the Commons portion of campus. Each house has an attached faculty member, and most dorms feature faculty-in-residence. Like Yale, Vanderbilt offers residential colleges that feature classrooms, dining, programming and live-in faculty. 30% of undergrads reside in residential colleges, but Vanderbilt is building more to move toward a full residential college system.

· While there is no business major (there is a minor), many students with an interest in business major in Human and Organizational Development, housed in the Peabody College of Education and Human Development.

· Despite the strength of the Blair School of Music, non-music majors still have access to a wide range of ensembles, which they can audition for the summer before starting at Vanderbilt.

· Vanderbilt fields DI athletic teams that compete in the SEC.

· 25-30% of students participate in Greek life. Only six students live in each Greek house (and usually only for one year), so most Greek students reside in the dorms.

· On-campus dining is relatively high quality, and The Princeton Review rates Vanderbilt as a having some of the best college food in the country. This is generally in keeping with Vanderbilt’s overall focus on balance and quality of life.

Lafayette College

I recently visited Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, where I toured campus and spoke with the admissions office about the latest trends in admissions. Here are some takeaways from my visit:

· With an enrollment of around 2,700 undergrads, Lafayette offers all the benefits of a small liberal arts college while providing a larger community than most peer LACs. It also offers something else uncommon at most liberal arts colleges: engineering programs.

· Although not a major metropolitan area, Easton has a decidedly urban, walkable and architecturally handsome historic downtown at the confluence of the Lehigh and Delaware Rivers. The college is perched on a hill above downtown, and steps built into the hill lead right into the city. The school also has a separate arts campus located in the downtown. Restaurants, music venues, art galleries and a theater are some of the Easton amenities students enjoy. There is also nearby hiking, biking, skiing and other outdoor activities. When looking for something bigger, students can hop on a bus to Philadelphia or New York City, both under two hours away.

· Like most liberal arts colleges, class sizes are small, research readily available and nearly all students live on campus. Upperclassmen can choose from a range of Lafayette-owned “off-campus” housing options, although these are conveniently located right along the border of the small campus.

· Lafayette offers an impressive selection of majors for a liberal arts college, including multiple engineering disciplines, art, theater, interdisciplinary programs and the ability to create your own major. A BA in Engineering Studies is available for students who might want to work in project management or other engineering-adjacent roles. Students do not have to commit to a major coming into Lafayette and have time to explore their options once on campus.

· The academic environment is collaborative, and professors intentionally design their courses to encourage collaboration.

· While there is no business major, students can minor in organizational studies as well as to apply to be a Dyer Fellow at Lafayette’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, where students can find support developing their entrepreneurial ideas.

· Lafayette’s Gateway Externship Program pairs students with college alumni and community members for short externships to help them learn more about different careers.

· Students are not very politically vocal, although there are opportunities for students to get involved in local Easton politics. Athletic events are popular on campus, especially basketball, football and soccer games, and there are 23 DI sport teams. Lafayette has a historic football rivalry with neighboring Lehigh, and each year the big game is preceded by a festive rivalry week and enormous tailgate.

· 33% of students participate in Greek life, which is relatively non-exclusive. While available for those who want it, students not interested in Greek life report still finding ample community and activities at Lafayette. There are over 220 clubs, a host of on-campus events (like poetry readings, comedy skits, movie screenings, music ensemble performances), and frequent students outings into Easton.

Middle Tennessee State University

I recently visited Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where I toured campus and spoke with the admissions office about the latest trends in admissions. Here are some takeaways from my visit:

· Located in a suburb of Nashville 30 miles from downtown, MTSU enrolls just under 16,000 undergraduates and offers over 180 undergraduate programs. The average class size is 25, and many classes are capped at 20 students.

· Given its proximity to Music City, it’s not surprising that MTSU has the top-rated audio engineering program in the US. The school’s College of Media and Entertainment houses many other standout programs, including animation, recording industry music business and video and film production. Many professors come from industry (which helps students land internships and jobs), and students and faculty have racked up numerous accolades, including 39 Grammys since 2001 and a recent Emmy for a student commercial. Animation alumni have worked on a variety of notable productions, including Netflix’s BoJack Horseman show.

· Aviation is also popular at MTSU. Under the umbrella of aerospace engineering, students can concentrate in aviation, unmanned drones, aviation management, flight dispatch or traditional aerospace engineering. MTSU partners with Delta and Southwest to provide students with mentorships and paths to aviation careers at those airlines. MTSU owns a fleet of 45 DA-40 aircraft just five minutes from campus at the school’s airport.

· Other notable programs include concrete construction engineering, mechatronics, engineering technology, insurance and risk management. The nursing program boasts a 97% NCLEX pass rate, and nursing students complete their clinical hours at Vanderbilt.

· Undergraduate research is emphasized and supported by university grants. Students present their research each year at the campus-wide Scholars Week event. An Honors College offers priority registration, additional advising, smaller honors classes and the option to complete a senior thesis.

· Although primarily a commuter campus, there is on-campus housing for 3,000 students, and students who want it are usually able to secure it. Weekends can be quiet, but students on-campus socialize, take part in weekend club events (there are over 300 student organizations) and enjoy the student union, which features a game room, ping pong table, pool table, air hockey, video games and movie theater. More than 200 concerts take place on campus each year, and Murfreesboro offers bowling, ice skating and additional movie theaters. Outdoor trips are also popular with students.

· LGBTQ students report feeling very welcomed on campus. The Center for Non-Traditional Students offers support and resources for the LGBTQ community, and there is an LGBTQ club that holds events on campus. The university also participates in LGBTQ Safe Space training.

· Greek life is not a big part of the campus experience, with only 9% of students participating.

· There are 17 Div I teams on campus and over 50 intramural sports.

Sewanee: The University of the South

I recently visited Sewanee, also known as the University of the South, in Sewanee, Tennessee, where I toured campus and spoke with the admissions office about the latest trends in admissions. Here are some takeaways from my visit:

· Sewanee is a small liberal arts college of just over 1,700 undergraduates. A stunning Gothic campus set atop a mountain in southern Tennessee near the Alabama and Georgia borders, Sewanee boasts a tight-knit, supportive community, small class sizes and accessible faculty, and a range of liberal arts programs along with a finance major and business minor.

· The campus, known as “The Domain,” is the second largest campus in the US at 13,000 acres and marked by forests, meadows, lakes, caves and rock outcroppings. It is also a living laboratory for students, who can major in seven different types of environmental science/studies programs. Students who love nature are often drawn to Sewanee, and there are ample opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, rock climbing, fishing and hunting.

· Sewanee is famous for being home to the Sewanee Review, the oldest literary quarterly in the US, and hosts the Sewanee Writers’ Conference each year. The creative writing major is among Sewanee’s strongest.

· The Babson Center for Global Commerce at Sewanee hosts the Carey Fellows Business Honors Program, which includes a semester-long, paid internship and trips to major cities to meet with Sewanee alumni in leadership positions at top companies. Students apply to join the program their freshman or sophomore year at Sewanee.

· Although Sewanee has modernized somewhat over the years, it is still marked by a range of celebrated campus traditions. The “Order of the Gown” mandates that all professors wear their academic gowns while teaching, and many students who have been inducted into Sewanee’s honor society wear their gowns to class. Some professors still enforce the “Dress Tradition,” requiring male students to come to class dressed in coat and tie.

· Sewanee is Episcopal, but there are no required religious services. The college library’s first volumes were donated by Oxford and Cambridge.

· 18% of students are students of color, and increasing diversity is an institutional priority. There is a DEI office and multicultural center on campus.

· Greek life is very popular, with 57% of men and 64% of women participating. Students rush spring of freshman year, and Greek events must be registered and publicly shared on a campus app so that all students have access. Since the Greek houses only house 2-4 students each, parties often happen block-party style outside the houses, with campus security overseeing them to ensure student safety.

· Students also enjoy a range of regular on-campus events (there are 100+ student orgs), and Sewanee sports games are popular (especially football, soccer and golf). Around 60% of students participate in either Div III, club or intramural sports. Students tend to be middle-of-the road politically.

· The town of Sewanee is very rural, comprising only 3,500 people, including students. Sewanee’s Vice Chancellor is the town mayor, the fire department is staffed by students, and students are generally very engaged in the local community. There’s a Walmart and Piggly Wiggly 15 minutes from campus, and the Nashville airport is about an 80-minute drive.

· 98% of students live on campus all four years. Themed housing is available, including language-based houses, pre-health housing, the Queer and Allied House and the Global House. Some single dorms are available for students who need them.