Stevens Institute of Technology

I recently visited Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, where I toured the campus and spoke with the admissions office about the latest trends in admissions. Here are some takeaways from my visit:

· Stevens is a STEM-focused university located on the Hudson River directly across from Manhattan, where students frequently intern or co-op. Students can walk to the 24-hour PATH subway in only 15 minutes to be in lower Manhattan in just 30 minutes.

· Stevens’ campus–despite being located in urban Hoboken–is self-contained and can be traversed in about 10 minutes. Buildings are a mix of older and more modern, with many overlooking the Hudson River and neighboring New York City.

· Stevens enrolls just over 4,000 undergrads in four schools: engineering, business, humanities/arts/social sciences and systems enterprises. While all programs have a substantial tech focus, they often bridge the divide between STEM and arts and humanities, such as those in music and technology, visual arts and technology, science communication and science/tech/society. Other notable programs include concentrations in naval engineering and optical engineering, as well as a popular major in quantitative finance that combines computer science with mathematics and finance (graduates often go on to work as “quants” on Wall Street). Stevens’ business and technology major allows students to combine sub-specialties in both fields, choosing from 35 different possible combinations. Mechanical engineering is also popular, as Stevens was the first institution in the United States to offer this degree.

· The average class size is 25, with some introductory courses running closer to 50-60 students.

· Learning is hands-on, with a focus on teamwork, innovation and entrepreneurship.

· All engineering students complete a series of core engineering courses, regardless of their specialization. As part of this process, students learn about other engineering specialities and work as a team to complete hands-on projects.

· Co-ops are available for engineering and computer science students. Students pursuing co-ops will graduate in five years but spend two semesters working full time for pay in their intended career field.

· Greek life is big at Stevens, with 37% of students participating. Fraternity Row lines the front of the campus.

· Only 37% of students are female, but this number has risen in recent years. There are two on-campus living learning communities for women in STEM.

· There are over 150 student organizations. On weekends, students relax through on-campus parties, club events and performances and trips into New York City.

The School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Stevens.

Barnard College

I recently visited Barnard College in 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:

· Barnard is a small women’s college enrolling around 2,600 students. The feel is different from a typical women’s college, however: Barnard is part of Columbia University, where Barnard students have full access to facilities, courses and extracurriculars. Barnard’s urban location also makes it stand out among traditional liberal arts colleges.

· Unlike neighboring Columbia, Barnard does not have a core curriculum, but a more flexible set of general education-style requirements. 80% of classes have fewer than 20 students. There are no special admission requirements for majors like architecture and dance: these are open to all students.

· Barnard’s campus is compact, and around 75% of students choose to live on campus. Freshman typically live in doubles in the Quad, which also houses the main dining hall and various student support offices.

· All students complete a senior thesis or project, and research opportunities abound, including those at the Vagelos Computational Science Center, the Barnard Center for Research on Women, and the Athena Center for Leadership Studies. 

· 66% of faculty are women: twice the national average. Leadership positions for female students are plentiful.

· Barnard is the only women’s college where students compete on D-I athletic teams (Columbia’s).

· Barnard has around 200 clubs that students can access (in addition to the 300 existing clubs at Columbia). Dance and theater are popular activities on campus.

· A 4-1 combined BA / MS with Columbia is available for students interested in engineering.

Milbank Hall, crowned by the Arthur Ross Greenhouse, where Barnard students with an interest in developmental psychology can complete fieldwork at the Center for Toddler Development.

Marymount Manhattan College

I recently visited Marymount Manhattan College on New York City’s Upper East Side, where I toured the campus and spoke with the admissions office about the latest trends in admissions. Here are some takeaways from my visit:

· Marymount is relatively unique in that it provides a small liberal arts college experience right in the middle of New York City. Around 1600 students attend and enroll in degree programs in the performing arts and liberal arts, with all students required to take a certain number of core liberal arts courses (currently around 10, but projected to shrink to closer to 6 in the future).

· The campus consists of two connected academic buildings on 71st Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. Housing is available all four years, although most students move off-campus sophomore or junior year. The freshman dorm is a 15-minute walk from campus, and the sophomore and upperclassman dorm, located downtown, is only about 20-30 minutes away with the subway.

· Marymount’s vibe is artsy. There are no sports and no Greek life.

· Classes average 10-20 students, with gen ed courses being closer to 20 and courses in your major closer to 10.

· Students who are not arts majors can still minor in the arts and take arts classes with the same faculty.

· Students are very social and divide their time between campus, the dorms and work. On weekends, students explore New York City and make use of free cultural event tickets provided by Marymount.

· Marymount offers a full premed curriculum, with students securing clinical work at the nearby Cornell hospital, Rockefeller University, Hospital for Special Surgery or Memorial Sloan Kettering.

· The undergraduate business program offers unique majors in fashion marketing, media and arts management and social entrepreneurship. The communications program offers a major in digital journalism, with students interning at nearby media organizations.

· Students complete an average of 2-3 internships during their four years at Marymount, mostly in New York City. Courses also take the city as their classroom, often involving field trips, meetings with nearby professionals and case studies of local companies and organizations.

Marymount’s campus on East 71st Street.

Drew University

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

· Technically a university, Drew is a de facto small liberal arts college with around 1700 undergrads and only a few hundred graduate students. The average class size is 18 students.

· Drew is known as the “University in the Forest” for its heavily wooded campus, which is about a 15-minute walk from one end to the other. The nearby downtown of Madison is only a 10-minute walk from campus and features a small, quaint downtown strip with shops and restaurants. New York City is around one hour by train, which departs from Madison’s downtown station. 80% of students live on campus, where there are 90+ clubs and numerous student events.

· There are extensive research opportunities during the school year and summer. Students conducting summer research live on campus for free and receive a stipend. For premeds, the nearby Morristown Medical Center hospital provides clinical opportunities.

· Drew offers a New York City Semester program, where students spend one semester traveling 2-3 days each week to the city to complete an internship and build real-world experience. Students choose from seven different options: social entrepreneurship, museums and cultural management, communications and media, theatre, the United Nations, contemporary art, Wall Street.

· Drew offers an honors program (Baldwin), although Baldwin students take only a few honors courses during their time at Drew.

· Drew offers an extensive range of dual-degree programs in partnership with other universities, including programs in law, medicine, engineering, cybersecurity, public health, teaching and more.

· As is common at many liberal arts colleges, interviews are offered (often in the summer) and are recommended for all Drew applicants.

Connecticut College

I recently visited Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut, where I toured the campus and spoke with the admissions office 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.