Every autumn the New Hampshire College and University Council (NHCUC) hosts a five-day tour to acquaint high school guidance counselors, college prep advisors and independent educational consultants with the Granite State’s mix of campuses and programs. Each institution on the tour dedicates several hours to put forth their views, showcase their strengths and share their visions for student opportunities and success.
This October, about thirty college advisement professionals from about ten states and Puerto Rico joined the NHCUC tour. Their goal was to investigate not only the variety of academic programs, learning experiences and resume-building opportunities for their students back home; but also to determine the general feel of the campus and what types of students might fit in well and be happy there.
Here are some highlights from each of the 11 schools visited:
“Our students are always learning – and our faculty are dedicated to creating hands-on learning opportunities for them.”
A hands-on learning project created for Colby-Sawyer College (CSC) students is The Science of Maple Sugaring, an Applied Science course established over the past several years by Natural Sciences Professor Nick Baer, with assistance from other CSC faculty, alumni and community members. Each season, class participants produce maple syrup on campus while studying the science, history, technology and management of maple sugaring. The project also brings in CSC students from other programs: Graphic Design and Creative Writing students craft custom labels, Communication Studies students create audio documentaries and Business Administration students assist with marketing and financial analysis.
More student learning experiences take place at recently renovated Windy Hill School, the campus early childhood center for the Department of Social Science and Education. The School provides toddler, nursery school and primary programs to area children, and serves as a learning laboratory for CSC Child Development and Psychology majors, who can observe, research, plan and teach activities while guided and mentored by faculty.
What’s next? CSC will expand the campus pub to better accommodate the new Brewing Science course initiated by Chemistry Professor Darrell Kuykendall, who envisions eventually growing and harvesting hops on this sprawling, forested campus surrounded by lakes, streams and mountains. (Speaking of mountains, all CSC students ski free at nearby Mt. Sunapee!)
Additional opportunities at CSC include pre-professional curricula in Law, Medicine, Physical Therapy and Veterinary Medicine; a 50-seat nursing program with test optional admission; both a men’s and women’s Equestrian Team (stables are nearby); and a campus-wide commitment to sustainability through their GreenROUTES initiative.
“We look for students whom we can imagine working alongside Dartmouth faculty.”
Well-known Dartmouth College has a beautiful campus and exceptional students. The question every counselor wanted an answer to was, How can we assist our own exceptional students with admission to a school such as Dartmouth?
In response, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Maria Laskaris, said she and her staff look for students who are excited to be in the classroom, to engage with their peers, and especially, to be on the Dartmouth campus. “We consider how applicants might better the community, the ways they might interact with staff and faculty, and even what they might be like as a roommate.” Laskaris added that it’s important for students to tell them not just what in their essays, but why. “We want to know how students think and why something is meaningful to them.”
Once they have matriculated, students will experience Dartmouth’s unique Flexible Study Plan of four 10-week terms. The Plan encourages students to choose three terms on campus and one term per year working, volunteering, interning or studying abroad. One requirement: all sophomores spend their summer term on campus together for an opportunity to be in charge of campus and transition into leadership roles.
One avenue where any student can take a leadership role is to propose a new Living and Learning Community, a residential option for any undergraduate from the second year on. Currently, there are ten such Design Your Own communities (from Herbifloor: Ethical and Plant-Based Eating to Community for Technological Advancement), as well as a few dozen other themed residential spaces.
FRANKLIN PIERCE UNIVERSITY
“The world needs more Franklin Pierce graduates.”
Franklin Pierce University (FPU) faculty and staff promise students “an education that matters,” where “leaders of conscious” graduate prepared for their careers. As examples, they pointed to their peer mentoring programs; their efforts to connect with undergraduates beginning the first day of freshman year; the close relationships students have with faculty; their commitment to align undergraduate programs closely to grad programs to “help students find their way” to an educational path that will support their career goals; and the methods used at FPU to combine “a liberal arts core curriculum with professional preparation” so that graduates are ready to enter the working world.
To get an inside look at what it means to integrate liberal arts with professional programs – to see how “teaching comes alive” – counselors were invited to sit in on a class. One of the offerings was English 209, Introduction to Creative Nonfiction taught by Dr. Donna Decker. In this workshop-style class, Health Science majors learn to write in the genres of memoir and medical biography as they investigate issues they will encounter in their future work. For one assignment, students find and interview someone being treated for a chronic disease to relate the patient’s perspective; research the illness from a scientific perspective; and present their combined findings with their personal response in a written report to the class.
30% of the undergraduates at FPU, by the way, are Health Science majors, a pre-professional program for students interested in careers in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, public health, physical therapy, pharmacy or health care management. A Pathway Program is available for those interested in becoming doctors or physician assistants.
Business is also popular at FPU, and their Business PLUS Programs offer accelerated degree completion and automatic admission into their graduate business programs.
Also of note: over a third of FPU students participate in one of the 23 D-II sports; 95% of the students live on campus; every admitted student receives merit aid – the average amount is $17, 500; and the average financial aid package is $36,400.
KEENE STATE COLLEGE
“Students here take ownership of their own scholarly inquiry, which gives them not only subject mastery, but also self-confidence.”
Keene State College (KSC) points to the numerous research and internship possibilities available to their students, who “have access to experiences typical of a small private school,” but at a public school price.
Science majors, for example, enjoy small class sizes, even in introductory courses such as Chemistry, which is limited to 32 students, and Biology, which is limited to 24; and can participate in undergraduate research “as soon as they arrive on campus.” An additional plus for Science students is the Building Excellence in Science and Technology (BEST) program, which provides mentoring, one-on-one contact with faculty, alumni networking, field trips, leadership development and community service opportunities in their fields of study. A BEST living and learning community is planned for 2015-16.
A specialized degree unique to KSC is Holocaust and Genocide Studies. This one-of-a-kind program offers students access to one of the nation’s oldest Holocaust resource centers, the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and the opportunity to study in Poland at Jagiellonian University’s Centre for European Studies.
Another Keene State exclusive: it’s the only public institution in New Hampshire to offer a Film Production major. Students benefit from Keene State’s close association with acclaimed documentarian Ken Burns, whose Florentine Films facilities are nearby, and other local opportunities at the Modnadnock International Film Festival and Cheshire TV. More film, network and production internships for Keene students take place in Boston, New York City and Philadelphia, to name a few.
Additional programs at KSC include Architecture, Athletic Training, Nursing, Safety & Occupational Health, and Sustainable Product Design & Innovation.
NEW ENGLAND COLLEGE
“We amplify engaged and experiential learning to prepare students for their first – and their last – jobs.”
In 2011 New England College (NEC) implemented a 5-year strategic plan to become “renowned as one of the most creative, innovative, and supportive learning environments where transformation is at the core of all that we pursue.”
Curricular innovation has included developing their First Year Program to support new students; setting aside Wednesdays as non-instruction days to give students and faculty opportunities for field trips, learning activities and consultations; and offering extended spring breaks with free (yes, free!) travel opportunities – this spring NEC is taking students to both Africa and New Orleans.
Flexibility at NEC helps students complete their degrees efficiently and cost-effectively: admission is rolling, with seven entry points and five year-round terms; there is no application fee or standardized testing requirement; credit may be granted for AP, IB, and CLEP exams; and students can even earn graduate credit while still an undergrad.
The most popular majors are Education (NEC boasts a 100% job placement rate from its nine programs) and Business. Majors in Health Science and Biology are other popular choices; students in these programs conduct their own research projects during their Senior Science Seminar. Other degree programs include Outdoor Leadership, Kinesiology, and Sport & Recreation Management.
NEW HAMPSHIRE INSTITUTE OF ART
“We don’t want students with common sense; we want students with uncommon sense!”
Faculty at the New Hampshire Institute of Art (NHIA) made clear their mission to attract and nurture original-thinkers who want to create, not copy. To find them, NHIA requires portfolios from applicants that ask for critical reflections of their own work to better understand how students view their creativity, to gain insight into their creative process and to “sniff out potential.” Once a student is admitted, faculty members seek to strengthen the young artist’s critical thinking skills and individualism as they explore their craft within the context of a liberal arts education.
Degrees offered are a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics, Creative Writing, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interdisciplinary Studies and Photography. Students who would like to teach can complete an additional year for K-12 Art Education licensure.
NHIA’s annual Mt. Washington Summer Workshop provides students with a weeklong immersive opportunity to explore painting and photography; and the summer abroad program in Athens, Greece or Florence, Italy gives students an opportunity to “understand their artistic work within a greater world context.”
Artistic high school students who would like to develop their own portfolios, explore the world of art and earn college credit can do so during NHIA’s 2015 Pre-College Summer Program July 5-17. Applications will be available on the school website early in January.
PLYMOUTH STATE UNIVERSITY
“We can’t fill demand.”
With a 100% placement rate and multiple job offers prior to graduation, Plymouth State Business majors are sought-after graduates. The robust Department of Business Administration offers an Honors Program, six majors (Accounting, Business Administration, Finance, Management, Marketing, and Sports Management) and four minors (Business Administration, Economics, Human Resources and Professional Sales).
Business students, like all Plymouth State students, are taught to make connections to real world settings as part of their instruction. Students are encouraged to learn what they do well, then translate those strengths to the workforce and become “adept at doing what is needed,” whether it be, for example, technology, social media, communication or critical thinking.
Restricted admission applies to both Plymouth’s Nursing program (offering both a B.S.N. and R.N. to B.S.N.) and Meteorology program (the only one of its kind in New Hampshire) – students must be accepted into these programs at admission. Applicants to the Art Department must submit a portfolio and applicants to the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance must schedule an audition/interview.
55 majors include Adventure Education, Biotechnology, Exercise & Sport Physiology, and Tourism Management.
“We give students a chance to experience real-life professional scenarios in a safe environment.”
Located one hour from Boston, Rivier’s small campus offers a family-like environment heartened by Roman Catholic values “to educate the whole person in the context of an academic community that cultivates critical thought, sound judgment, and respect for all people.” Established in 1933 by the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary and named after their French foundress, Anne Marie Rivier, whose mission was to teach and serve the poor, Rivier “makes social justice and service to others a special focus…”
Top majors are Business (to include a 4+1 MBA program;) Education (there are ten undergraduate options, to include Special Education, Early Childhood Education, and Education and Community Leadership); and Nursing (an A.S. in Nursing is also available through evening courses).
A new degree from the Nursing Department debuted this fall: the Bachelor of Science in Public Health. This degree requires a 6-credit hour internship as part of the core curriculum; a study abroad component through the Rivier University Institute for Global Health Project will add a global perspective to a student’s professional preparation.
Top Rivier students can take advantage of the Global Scholars Leadership Program, a one year experience to elevate their education through a living-learning community, activities, workshops, mentoring and study abroad.
SAINT ANSELM COLLEGE
“The Benedictine College with a box seat on America’s most riveting political theater.”
We all know New Hampshire is where the first party primary election takes place every four years. But did you know it takes place on the lovely, hilltop campus of Saint Anselm, a private, Catholic liberal arts college in western Manchester?
Saint Anselm’s Institute of Politics and Political Library, which includes a state-of-the-art auditorium, fully equipped television studio, and the school’s Department of Politics, hosts “more election events than any other venue in America.” Students at Saint Anselm have exclusive opportunities to participate in the democratic process, to meet national and global political leaders and to hear major policy speeches live as history unfolds on their campus. Each of the last eight presidents has visited the Institute; and the Library “maintains the only comprehensive collection of election campaign papers and memorabilia from over half a century.”
When asked, a student panel assured the visiting counselors that the campus is non-partisan, and “our College Democrats and College Republicans clubs are both active.” Counselors also asked students about whether or not it was necessary to be Catholic, or at least Christian, to fit in at Saint Anselm. No, they said, we are “more about embracing Benedictine values” rather than following a particular religion. Students who attend Saint Anselm must complete two philosophy courses and two theology courses as part of their core curriculum.
Atypically, admissions staff at Saint Anselm College are happy to consider any additional letters of recommendation a student may like to send with their application; their character is considered right along with their academics. “We take pride in our holistic review” and look for students who will have a positive impact on our community and be involved in campus activities. To support this, Saint Anselm guarantees housing for all four years; and 88% of students live on campus.
Top majors include Nursing, Business, Criminal Justice and, of course, Politics.
SOUTHERN NEW HAMPSHIRE UNIVERSITY
“Our ‘Degree in Three’ is a designed path – with flexibility.”
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) proffers its six semester, 10-option Business program, Degree in Three, as a way students can launch their career early, at a reduced cost; or gain a year to spend doing something they love, such as traveling or volunteering; or spend their fourth year at SNHU earning a graduate degree, studying abroad, or taking additional, non-required courses while maintaining athletic eligibility.
To complete the program, students blend core business courses and liberal arts courses with team-based projects, civic involvement and internships. Degree in Three students have their own advisor, and although they may switch to the traditional four year plan if they decide Degree in Three is not a good fit, most students stay; the retention rate is 93%. Top applicants may be invited to interview for SNHU’s 3 year Honors Program in Business Administration, which includes all the benefits of the traditional Honors Program, such as a private lounge, unique opportunities, and a renewable $2000 merit scholarship.
All entering freshman must take a three-part series of 1-credit hour Career Development courses to first define and develop their career aspirations; then assist with their career exploration and job hunting skills; and later, to reflect upon their education with the presentation of a professional portfolio.
SNHU not only offers more than 100 traditional undergraduate degree programs, but also more than 80 online degree programs to give students more options for degree completion.
UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
“Our higher retention and graduation rates reflect our students’ positive experience.”
The University of New Hampshire (UNH) in Durham appeals to a broad range of students, and once they are there, “students want to be a part of the fabric of the institution.”
Located in the pretty New England seacoast region between Boston, MA and Portland, ME, UNH students enjoy a medium size campus with top research facilities (UNH is a Land, Sea and Space Grant Institution;) more than 100 majors; a residential Honors Program; and D-I athletics (including men’s and women’s skiing and ice hockey.)
Because UNH also offers a non-residential, urban campus in Manchester and houses their JD program in Concord, the 12,500 undergrads dominate the Durham campus. About one-third of incoming freshman are First Generation students and the average GPA, recalculated to include only core courses, is 3.4.
The most competitive programs at UNH are Occupational Therapy and Nursing. “Our demand and supply are out of balance;” therefore admitted students have a higher than average GPA of 3.8. Students admitted to the College of Engineering and Physical Science also have a higher than average GPA, 3.6.
Newer programs to explore include Bio-Engineering (with a pharmaceutical focus), Ocean Engineering, Neuroscience & Behavior, and Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems.
When you visit, be sure to stop by the UNH Dairy Bar to sample Gifford’s slow-churned ice cream and find out more about sustainable agriculture at UNH and their focus on serving local, organically grown foods.