Spelman College – a women’s college educating tomorrow’s leaders

Spelman College is a standout for so many reasons. To begin with, Spelman is one of only two surviving African-American women’s colleges. Add to that the fact that they have outstanding academics and a student body of young women seeking to become leaders in fields ranging from science to the arts and you have a college that is truly special. 

Sophia B. Packard and Harriet E. Giles, two pioneers in women’s education, founded Spelman College in 1881 because they were concerned about the lack of educational opportunities for African-American women. One of the early financial backers was John D. Rockefeller, who named the college after his wife, Laura Spelman Rockefeller and her parents who were longtime activists in the antislavery movement. Spelman’s legacy includes a mission to prepare women for leadership and an emphasis in getting her graduates into courtrooms, board rooms and engineering labs.

 

Here are a few quick facts about Spelman:

Acceptance: 53%

Freshman retention: 89%

Freshmen out of state: 76%

Most popular majors: psychology, biology, political science, economics

4-year Graduation rate: 65%; 6-year: 75%

Student Community Diversity: 97% Black, 0.1% Latino, 0.75% International

 

Housing: Sixty-seven percent of Spelman students live on campus in one of eleven dorms. Some students feel that the dorms could use some renovations, but that overall, accommodations are comfortable. 

The meal plan is mandatory for anyone who lives on campus, and the food gets average reviews. Campus security does a great job of making students feel safe. 

 

Academics: Spelman offers a well-rounded liberal arts curriculum that stresses the importance of critical and analytical thinking as well as problem solving. The core education requirements, which most complete by the end of sophomore year, include coursework in English composition, wellness and health, foreign language, math, African diaspora and the world, computer literacy and international or comparative women’s studies. Freshmen participate in First Year Experience, and sophomores take Sophomore Seminar. All students complete internships or undergraduate research projects in their majors. 

The academic environment can be very competitive – after all Spelman aims to recruit the best of the best. Many of the faculty members are African American and/or female so students have many great role models. Outside of the general education courses, class sizes tend to be small with 60% having fewer than 20 students. 

Natural sciences and the humanities are the two strongest departments at Spelman, and math is a close third. Math and natural sciences have great opportunities for undergraduate research programs and many include opportunities to publish. One of Spelman’s bragging rights is that they lead the nation in the number of African American women who continue on to earn a Ph.D. in the STEM fields. Another opportunity at Spelman is the 3-2 dual degree program in engineering, offered in cooperation with Georgia Tech. 

 

Similar colleges to consider: Agnes Scott, Vassar, Wellesley, Xavier University of Louisiana. 

 

Social: Students have plenty of opportunities for social interaction with nearby colleges thanks to the Atlanta University Center. Sororities are present at Spelman, but only 6% choose to go Greek. The most popular annual events are sisterhood initiation ceremonies, homecoming (with nearby Morehouse College), and the Founder’s Day celebration. And of course there’s no shortage of activities in Atlanta!

Varsity sports have been replaced with a general fitness and nutrition program. However, intramural sports like basketball, flag football, soccer and volleyball are popular. 

 

Financial: Spelman offers primarily need-based financial aid and scholarships. There are no athletic scholarships offered. The average percent of need met is 49%, with 71% being fully met. Although the tuition and fees are $52,700, the average financial aid package is $14,500. 90% of students receive some type of financial aid.

A tech college with a liberal arts curriculum? You must be talking about Harvey Mudd College

What makes Harvey Mudd College unique is its balance of being a school focused on science, engineering, math and technology while also delivering a liberal arts education. HMC has a welcoming attitude toward women (who make up 48% of the student population) and other groups normally underrepresented in the STEM fields. Harvey Mudd’s has the look and feel of an engineering college with its no-frills, symmetrical campus. A recent building campaign added a 131-bed residence hall and the Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning with tech-rich classrooms, a 300-seat auditorium and an art gallery. 

 

Here are a few quick facts about HMC:

Acceptance: 18% 

Freshman retention: 92%

Freshmen out of state: 48%

Most popular majors: engineering, computer science, physics, and math 

4-year Graduation rate: 84%,; 6-year: 98% 

Student Community Diversity: 4% Black, 21% Latino, 10% International

 

Housing: All freshmen live on campus, but more impressively 98% of all students live in the dorms. Each dorm has a proctor (i.e. dorm “mom” or dad”) and several mentors (think “older siblings”) which creates a dorm experience that is strong and safe. The majority of HMC students feel that the dining options are decent, and, get this – HMC students can use their meal plan at any of the other Claremont college campuses!

 

Academics: Harvey Mudd’s rigorous Common Core curriculum features coursework in math, physics, chemistry, biology, computer science and engineering, and writing, as well as the humanities. Because of the heavy workload, the administration has taken great steps to relieve stress like setting up a multi-disciplinary care team to help students with any academic and/or personal issues. 

 

Small classes and no graduate students equals a lot of attention for HMC students. Faculty have an open-door policy in addition to hosting regular office hours. The Clinic Program combines real-life math, science and engineering tasks sponsored by major corporations and government agencies –  SpaceX, Amazon and Pixar are among the recent sponsors. All students must either participate in the Clinic Program or thesis-driven research to graduate. About 200 students stay on campus each summer for research experiences working directly with professors, and 16% of students participate in study abroad programs in 20 countries. 

 

Similar colleges to consider: MIT, UC Berkeley, Caltech, Stanford

 

Social: One thing you will notice when at Harvey Mudd is the presence of wheels – unicycles, skateboards, longboards, or even wheels strapped to shoes – these are the most popular modes of transportation around campus. 

 

Dorms host parties almost every weekend, but the party scene is pressure-free and students do look out for each other. The most popular event at HMC is the Wild Wild West party – complete with a mechanical bull. While students are known to travel to other Claremont campuses to socialize, Harvey Mudd has its share of strong traditions. One example is the Noisy Minutes – at the end of each semester students take a break from studying with loud music, snacks and activities. Engineering pranks are popular (welcomed, even) throughout the year, as long as they are reversible within 24 hours, per the honor code. 

 

Varsity teams compete in conjunction with Claremont McKenna and Scripps in Division III. Recent national championships include men’s and women’s golf, women’s volleyball and women’s tennis. Intramural sports, also with Claremont McKenna and Scripps, are even more popular, with inner-tube water polo drawing the largest cheering crowds. 

 

Financial: Harvey Mudd offers need-based financial aid and non-need based merit scholarships. No athletic scholarships are available. HMC is a “need blind” school, which means the average percent of need met is 100%, with 100% being fully met.  Although the tuition and fees are $81,200, the average financial aid package is $43,700. 70% of students receive some type of financial aid. 

University of Dallas – The best Roman Catholic university south of D.C.

University of Dallas is described as the best Roman Catholic university south of Washington, D.C., and while 80% of the student body is Catholic, you don’t have to be Catholic to attend. Located on 744-acres about 15 minutes from downtown Dallas, UD remains dedicated to its classic liberal arts education, focused on Western philosophy and tradition. 

 

Here are a few quick facts about UDallas:

Acceptance: 54%

Freshman retention: 81%

Freshmen out of state: 40%

Most popular majors: biology, business, English, history, psychology

4-year Graduation rate: 62%, 6-year: 69%

Student Community Diversity: 2% Black, 24% Latino, 3% International

 

Housing: University of Dallas has a small, safe campus. Eighty-five percent of freshmen and about fifty percent of all students live on campus. Students under the age of 21 who don’t live at home with parents must live on campus in single-sex dorms with strict visitation regulations. 

The sole dining hall is spacious and has great views, but most students agree that the food is too expensive for the quality. The Rathskellar offers fast food and snacks that are more popular with the student body. 

 

Academics: The foundation of academics at University of Dallas is the 4-semester Western civilization Core curriculum, which includes courses in philosophy, English, math, fine arts, science, American civilization, Western civilization, politics, economics, foreign language, and two theology courses. Seniors must complete a thesis or project, comprehensive exam, and/or senior seminar, depending on their major. Eighty percent of undergraduates complete a semester in Rome, usually during sophomore year, including rigorous coursework, as well as trips to northern Italy and Greece and time for personal travel. 

When it comes to majors, UD offers 25 majors and 33 concentrations. For students studying business, there are plenty of internship opportunities in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. University of Dallas also offers combined degrees, like the 3-2 dual-degree program in nursing and electrical engineering and 4 + 1 bachelor/master’s programs in a variety of fields. 

UD does not use any teaching assistants and more than half of all classes enroll fewer than 20 students, so undergraduates get the opportunity to really get to know their professors and vice versa. 

 

Similar colleges to consider: Baylor, Trinity University, Austin College, Rhodes

 

Social: University of Dallas does not have any fraternities or sororities, so the Campus Activities Board sponsors most of the on-campus entertainment, including free movies, dances and visiting speakers. In the fall, the junior class organizes fundraising events for the annual Charity Week. The most popular event on campus is Groundhog, which features a week of events celebrating Groundhog Day and culminates in a huge on-campus party at Groundhog Park. For students who want to venture off campus, Dallas offers endless opportunities, and San Antonio and Austin are also not far away. 

While football doesn’t draw as much attention as in other Texas schools, Crusaders baseball and men’s and women’s basketball and soccer teams are pretty competitive in Division III Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference. UD also offers intramural sports, and about a quarter of students participate. 

 

Financial: University of Dallas offers both need-based and non need-based merit aid. UD does not offer any athletic scholarships. The average percent of need met is 85%, with 24% being fully met.  Although the tuition and fees are $63,400, the average financial aid package is $33,490. 97% of students receive some type of financial aid.

5 Tips for your College Essay to Stand out among thousands

By now, high school seniors should be starting their college essays. A growing number of colleges use the Common Application, which opened on August 1. The CommonApp offers a choice of prompts for its main essay, which gives students a range of topics to write about. Because the main CommonApp essay is sent to all colleges that the student selects, it is very important that students do not say anything specific to any college in their CommonApp essay. (The supplemental essays, however, should be very specific to the college.)

Admissions officers are reading hundreds (sometimes even 1000+) essays of prospective applicants so students need to write compelling essays. If you want your essay to stand out, it absolutely cannot be a run-of-the-mill, boring essay. I constantly remind my students that the college application essay comes from the heart!

To write an essay that stands out among thousands, here are my top 5 tips:

The Ohio State University Oval
The Ohio State University Oval is the heart of the Columbus campus.

1.Brainstorm before writing – most students will look at the choice of prompts and start responding with a first draft for the prompt that’s “easiest” to write. If you want to think and write at a deeper level, brainstorm ideas for each essay first. This exercise will help with recalling experiences that may go unnoticed but offer a more vivid example of who you are.

2.Take breaks in between drafts – rather than cranking out drafts in one sitting, you can improve your essay by writing a draft, then returning to the essay after several days to continue on the next draft. This, of course, implies working on the essay well in advance of the deadline! When working on the main CommonApp essay, I even suggest drafting 1-2 supplemental essays prior to finalizing the main essay. The time in-between drafts allows your thoughts to refresh and re-read the draft with a new perspective.

3. Read aloud – reading your essay aloud helps you to hear what the essay sounds like to the reader. It may feel awkward or uncomfortable but makes a difference, and it’s not the same as silent reading. Remember, if you don’t want to read your own essay . . . don’t expect the admissions officer to want to read your essay!

4.Revise off-line – the best way to spot errors and make edits to your essay is on a printed version. Yes, it may save paper and time to revise on your computer screen. Seeing the printed essay, however, gives you a different feel for the flow of the essay. Try it and please let me know if it works for you!

5. Avoid too many readers – 1-2 reviewers for your essay is plenty. When you have too many people reviewing your essay, you will more likely get contradictory feedback. Also, incorporating other people’s edits can change your voice. It will be obvious to admissions officers if your essay comes across as over-edited or too polished, which may hurt your admissions chances.

The net benefit of each of these tips is that it leaves the voice and control of the essay in the hands of the student. The most important quality of the college essay that stands out among the thousands of others is authenticity. The essay has to be real and that’s easy to do when it comes from the heart.

What has helped your college essay stand out? 

New York University – Where challenging academics and big-city living meet

If you are looking for challenging academics at a college where you can also enjoy a thriving city scene, you may want to consider New York University. Located primarily on Washington Square and in the heart of Greenwich Village, students will find trendy shops, galleries, bars and eateries in the surrounding blocks with SoHo, Little Italy and Chinatown nearby. 

 

Here are a few quick facts about NYU:

Acceptance: 21%

Freshman retention: 90%

Freshmen out of state: 72%

Most popular majors: business, nursing, theater, individualized majors

4-year Graduation rate: 79%; 6-year: 88%

Student Community Diversity: 7.5% Black, 16% Latino, 21.7% International

 

Housing: While there was a time when NYU students had to “fend for themselves” in the outrageous New York housing market, students are now guaranteed four years of housing in one of the 22 residence halls. Most rooms have a private bath and are nicer than a lot of city apartments. Freshmen live in one of the freshman residence halls, many of which have themed floors. 43% of undergraduates live in university housing. NYU offers a free shuttle service to dorms that are farther away from academic buildings.

 

Campus dining halls offer extensive options, including a dedicated kosher eatery. Students also have plenty of inexpensive options  in the restaurants located downtown. Safety is taken very seriously at NYU. Students state that they see plenty of security officers patrolling, both on foot and in patrol cars. NYU Trolley & Escort Van Service provides door-to-door transportation until 3:00am so students (and parents) can be assured they will get back to their dorm safely.  

 

Academics: New York University’s Under the Core Curriculum prescribes freshman and sophomore to take courses in foreign language, expository writing, foundations of contemporary culture, and foundations of scientific inquiry. The foreign language options are much broader than most universities and include Arabic, Cantonese, Hindi, Modern Irish, Swahili, and Tagalog. 

 

Despite the large student population (27,000 undergraduates plus 25,000 graduate students), 59% of classes have fewer than 20 students. Even though many classes are taught by graduate students, most of the introductory courses are taught by a well-known, “top notch” professor. NYU students describe the faculty as being reasonably accessible. To help ensure student success, students meet with their academic advisor at least once every semester.

 

New York University boasts many noteworthy schools and programs. The Tisch School of the Arts has trained many successful actors and directors including Marcia Gay Harden and Martin Scorcese. The Stern School of Business is known for having an accounting program with a high job-placement rate. Students who are looking for more flexible schedules and the opportunity to engage in independent study can find that in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study. 

 

Opportunities abound for the NYU student. The career center is very well-run and helps connect students to one of thousands of on-campus jobs, full-time jobs and internships. Also, with eleven academic sites internationally as well as exchange agreements with universities around the world, it’s no wonder 56% of NYU students take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad. 

 

Similar colleges to consider: U of Southern California, Cornell, Boston U, Northeastern

 

Social: Understandably, the majority of social life takes place off-campus. Students can attend Broadway performances, shop in SoHo, or hang out in Greenwich Village without having to go too far. That’s not to say there is nothing to do on campus. Students can become involved with their choice of more than 600 clubs and organizations and attend on-campus concerts and movies. Fraternity and sorority events are another popular on-campus activity, although only 5% of men and 7% of women “go Greek.” 

 

In the spring, NYU hosts their Strawberry Festival, which features free berries, and many students march in the Halloween Parade that takes over Greenwich Village each October. The Violet Ball is another well-attended event, which gives students an excuse to get dressed up. 

 

Sports is not NYU’s greatest strength. However, they do have several successful programs, including men’s and women’s golf, swimming and diving, and men’s wrestling which all compete in Division III. One-third of students participate in intramural sports. 



Financial: New York University offers both need-based and merit scholarships. NYU does not offer any athletic scholarships. The average percent of need met is 66%, with 12% being fully met. Although the tuition and fees are $77,000, the average financial aid package is $37,000. Fifty-one percent of students receive financial aid.

Choosing a College: How to Find the Right Academic Fit

Choosing a College: How to Find the Right Academic Fit

Choosing a college isn’t a quick or easy decision for most students. Students must consider five key features of a school when choosing a college: Academic fit, Social fit, Financial fit, Vocational fit, and Cultural fit. 

Choosing a college based on academic fit.

Today, we’re going to discuss academic fit. As you can imagine, choosing a college with the right academic is critical. But what does it mean?

Academic fit refers to how the faculty teaches, the academic priorities of the college, and what the learning environment is like. It also refers to the distinct curriculum types a college may offer. A complete review of the college’s website and a campus visit can help with determining the academic fit and choosing a college that’s right for you. 

Make the most of your campus visit with these five top tips. 

Before even taking your first steps, it helps to understand the bigger picture of how colleges are distinguished by their different academic curriculums. In my experiences working with families, few give consideration to these distinctions. Often, they aren’t even aware they exist.

From a college admissions perspective, students should at least be aware of these distinctions when they write their application essays or interview at colleges. Once admitted, the college that the student attends can make a significant difference in the classes that students can take in college and their satisfaction with the academic rigor.

So, what are the three types of academic curriculums? Open, core, or distributed.

Let’s briefly discuss each type and their key differences, along with colleges to explore.

Is an open curriculum the right academic fit?

There are only a hand-full of colleges and universities that provide a truly open curriculum.

This means students are free to choose which classes they want to take. There are no general education requirements and students can design their own path to a major or concentration. There may be specific requirements within a particular major, but students are free to pick from any range of classes.

Some schools with an Open Curriculum:

The thing is, not every student can handle an open curriculum. Sure, these colleges may have the brand name. But students must be very disciplined to navigate four years of undergraduate in a school with an open curriculum.

Is Columbia University’s Core the right academic fit?

The use of a Core curriculum started in 1919 at Columbia College. It remains their primary approach to higher education. A Core curriculum means there are specific courses all students must take, regardless of their majors. (In fact, when you visit the Columbia campus, a building lists the authors of core readings for all undergrads.)

The idea is to provide every student with a broad range of knowledge in many subjects and to support intellectual growth.

Other colleges with a core curriculum:

  • Auburn University
  • Boston University
  • Purdue University
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Notre Dame

Academic fit can be different at most colleges.

A distributed curriculum is a hybrid of a core and open curriculum.

There aren’t specific classes that every student is required to take. But, there are guidelines to the number of classes that each student must take in a given academic area. This curriculum provides the student with the flexibility to choose a class that interests them. At the same time, still providing a structure to their education.

Most colleges in the US have distribution requirements. What I enjoyed about a distributed curriculum when I attended Stanford is that I took classes in areas that I may not have learned about otherwise. For example, as an undergraduate, I studied Calculus, Petroleum Engineering, Philosophy. But I fell in love with Linguistics (a topic I had never heard of before college!).

A photo from my trip to Georgetown University

Colleges with distributed curriculum:

  • Bowdoin College
  • Cornell University
  • Dickinson College
  • Georgetown University
  • Northwestern University
  • Reed College
  • Stanford University
  • Swarthmore College
  • University of Tampa
  • Wellesley

Now, the next step to take with this insight is to match the needs and interests of the student. Let’s say a teen has an interest in engineering and doesn’t enjoy writing. Then, it’s important to research colleges that offer engineering with little to no writing requirements for graduation. An official campus visit is the next step before applying if a teen is still interested after the research is completed. 

How have you helped your teen with finding the right academic fit?

If you’re looking for one-on-one guidance to help you find the school with the right academic fit, click here to learn about my webinar.

Want to see more posts like this? Don’t miss these: 

7 College Essentials Worth Investing In For Your Freshman Year

Top 10 must-dos for college-bounds juniors

7 ways to support your child during the college application process

Morehouse College – an HBCU where strong academics meet a strong alumni network

Morehouse College is the only historically black 4-year liberal arts college for men and has an impressive roster of alumni,  including Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, Spike Lee and Samuel L. Jackson. Founded in 1867, this campus features 42 buildings (many of which are historic) on 61 acres near downtown Atlanta. Known as the most prestigious of the HBCU’s, one of Morehouse’s cornerstones is a strong alumni network ready to help with jobs and other opportunities. 

 

Here are a few quick facts about Morehouse:

4-year Graduation rate: 33%, 6-year: 54%

Acceptance: 31%

Freshman retention: 85%

Freshmen out of state: 74% 

Most popular majors: business administration, biology, social sciences

Student Community Diversity: 95% Black, 0.5% Latino, 1% International

 

Housing: Students are required to live on campus their first three years, while seniors find their own off-campus housing. Students recommend Graves Hall for freshmen, which is Morehouse’s oldest dorm, built in 1889. Meal plans are required, which not everyone is thrilled about, but dining services has recently expanded to include more fast-food options and a coffee shop. 

 

Academics: Morehouse’s academics can be described as competitive and rigorous where classmates strive to do their best, while at the same time supporting their classmates. The general education program includes coursework in four major disciplines (humanities, natural sciences, math and social sciences), as well as “the unique African and African American heritage on which so much of our modern American culture is built.” To that end, the university hosts a series of campuswide assemblies called the Crown Forum presented by community leaders and national figures from different industries. In order to graduate, students must attend 6 presentations per semester for 6 semesters. 

 

Traditionally, STEM fields at Morehouse have been strong, although business and economics have recently risen in prominence. One of Morehouse’s gems is their engineering 3-2 program, which works in conjunction with Georgia Tech and other larger universities. The cinema, television and emerging media studies major is growing in popularity and a new major in Chinese studies is now available. For the student interested in participating in research, there are plenty of opportunities in the sciences, including a research partnership with NASA. 

 

Similar colleges to consider: Davidson, Furman, Howard

 

Social: One of the most celebrated events is homecoming week, which is a joint effort with sister school, Spelman. This event is one of the largest at any of the HBCUs. Morehouse has four fraternities, which attract just 3% of students. Other crowd-drawing events on campus include football games, concerts, movies and religious programs. 

 

The Maroon Tigers compete in Division II Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, with track and field being a recent conference champion. The basketball team has enjoyed some recent success as well. During football season, students road-trip to Hampton, Howard and Tuskegee. 

 

Financial: Morehouse offers need-based merits scholarships and 126 athletic scholarships. Although the tuition and fees are $47,700, the average financial aid package is $28,800. 80% of students receive financial aid.

Get ahead and stay ahead! Get my FREE Toolkit.

Why You Want To Avoid This Essay Trap At All Costs

You have good grades. You have good activities, recommendations, and test scores.

You have all the right credentials to get into your dream college.

But guess what?

Thousands of other students have the same GPAs, SAT scores, and teachers fawning over how smart they are.

I’m not telling you this so you don’t feel special.

I’m telling you this to make sure your essays are as special as possible.

With your Common Application essay and your supplements, you have the chance to show admissions officers the value that only you can bring to their school.

Cliché essay topics and phrases must be avoided because you risk sounding like every other student.

Do not write about the time you got cut from soccer tryouts and worked hard to make the team the next year. Thousands of other students have the exact same story.  Do not write that you are a “hard-working person”—that will be clear from your transcript and your recommendations.

Admissions officers want you to show them, in detail, your drive, curiosity, and passion without using any of those words.

They want you to paint a picture of something that is important to you. Tell them something that they could not deduce from anything in your transcript, activities resume, or recommendations. This element of surprise will bring the best writing out of you and will be just as enjoyable to read.

The Best Essay I’ve Read

One of the best college essays I’ve helped edit was about singing in the shower. Why was it so compelling? They were able to describe singing in the shower with the same detail and emotion as someone would describe singing on stage at the Lincoln Center. It showed that they could bring their intellectual vibrancy to even the simplest activity.

Cliché topics are not limited to “hard work pays off” stories. For this year, I can guarantee that thousands of students will write about being isolated during the quarantine. They will talk about the quietness of their life, what it was like to be away from friends, and how they began a new bread-making hobby. Unless you truly have a unique, vulnerable, or creative moment to share about your experience with coronavirus, I suggest avoiding using the words “quarantine” and “coronavirus” because they will be so widely used this application season.

To ensure your essays are cliché free, I have a quick two-step process.

1.) Ask yourself—Is this a story only I can tell?

If you are writing about an experience that you know several friends could also write about, you have not thought of a story or topic personal enough to you.

2.) Show, Don’t Tell

This phrase should be written on a post-it note and stuck right above the computer you write your essays on. This is the number one rule that will make sure you are not using any clichés. That’s because when you go into detail and describe settings, emotions, and observations, you enter a world that is entirely your own. No one has your unique perspective and that is why all the best essays are written with this phrase in mind. 

DePaul University – a politically liberal Roman Catholic university devoted to experiential learning

DePaul university offers a unique environment to learn and grow, one focused on students gaining field experience before graduation. Though it is the largest Roman Catholic university in the nation, DePaul has a reputation for being politically liberal and diverse. DePaul has two campuses: Lincoln Park is set in a fashionable Chicago neighborhood and houses the colleges of liberal arts and social sciences, science and health, education, and theater and music, while the Loop campus (20 minutes away by “the El”), is home to the colleges of business and communications, digital media, computing, and law, as well as the School for New Learning.

Here are a few quick facts about DePaul:

4-year Graduation rate:58%, 6-year: 71%

Acceptance: 70%

Freshman retention: 83%

Freshmen out of state: 36% 

Most popular majors: accounting, public relations/advertising, finance, psychology

Student Community Diversity: 8% Black, 19% Latino, 3% International

 

Housing: DePaul has traditionally been a commuter school, with only 18% of students living in university housing. Lincoln Park’s campus has 6 co-ed dorms and 6 townhouse and apartment buildings, while the Loop campus boasts a 1,700-student residence hall that includes a rooftop garden, fitness center, as well as music, art, and study rooms. Food choices on campus are limited, especially for students who eat a strictly vegan diet.

DePaul takes safety very seriously. Campus security is visible, patrolling both in cars and on foot. All dorms are accessible only by the swipe of a student ID at two doors (and in some dorms, three).

 

Academics: All freshmen are required to take either Discover Chicago or Explore Chicago to learn more about the city, as well as completing courses in composition and quantitative reasoning. Sophomores all take a course on multiculturalism in the United States, and every DePaul undergraduate participates in an experiential learning program which requires an internship, research, study abroad, or a service-learning experience. The School of Cinematic Arts has a partnership with Cinespace Chicago, the city’s premier movie studio to give students in those programs film and television production experience. Game design and animation are two other popular programs. DePaul offers a 6-year bachelor’s/law degree, as well as a number of other 5-year bachelor’s/master’s programs. 

 

Class sizes are often small; 41% of classes have fewer than 20 students. Professors teach at all levels and clerics teach some courses and celebrate Mass everyday. Mass is optional for students,  and students have the opportunity to join student organizations that represent all different faiths, ethnicities and backgrounds. 

 

Similar colleges to consider: University of Illinois at Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, University of Indiana at Urbana-Champaign

 

Social: It should come as no surprise that with the number of concert venues, sporting events, clubs, restaurants and bars in Chicago (and such a small percentage of students living on campus), that most of the social scene happens away from campus. Fraternities and sororities attract only 5% of men, and 11% of women, respectively. In the warmer months, Lake Michigan is a popular spot, and the annual outdoor Fest concert draws large crowds from both DePaul campuses. 

 

DePaul’s Blue Demons compete in the Big East Conference in 15 Division I sports, with men’s basketball being the biggest headliner. Men’s track and field, and women’s basketball, tennis, and softball have all won Big East tournaments recently. While Loyola is DePaul’s oldest rival, the games against Notre Dame draw the largest crowds. 

 

Financial: DePaul offers both need-based, as well as non-need based merit scholarships, and a small number of athletic scholarships. The average percent of need met is 71%, with 14% being fully met. Although the tuition and fees are $61,000, the average financial aid package is $21,100. 91% of students receive scholarships.

Get ahead and stay ahead! Get my FREE Toolkit.

The key to helping your junior get in and get money for college

Parents of juniors…I want college admissions to be a stress-free process for your teen. Don’t see how that’s possible? Let me share some intentional things you can do to support your teen’s success to help them (and you!) avoid stressing out. The key is to approach the process in a way that makes sense for your teen, beginning with ownership. 

Own the Process 

First off, having your junior own the process (being engaged, responsible and accountable) will take a lot of pressure off you as a parent. But it goes deeper than that. I know from the research, and from experience with my own children that when your teen takes ownership of the process, they:

  • are much more successful in the college admissions process and more likely to get into the top colleges on their ist
  • can be sure they are a good fit for the college, and as a result, 
  • end up getting scholarship money. 

 

The key takeaway is to be sure your teen is in charge so that they are owning the process

 

Now that we’ve established that, where can you and your teen start with finding money for college?

 

External Scholarship Opportunities 

Let’s talk about external scholarships, which are scholarships that are not from the colleges, but from external sources. Oftentimes families are unaware of the other resources that are out there. This year especially, you want to be intentional around external scholarships. Here are five in particular that you may not have considered. 

 

1. Scholarships from Companies

Many companies, including law firms, major restaurants and retail companies offer scholarships. One widely-known example is the Coca-Cola scholarship for seniors which is a very large scholarship. However, your junior can position themselves to compete for that scholarship going into senior year. Also look at some of the companies in your own community that offer scholarships, which you can often find on their websites.

 

2. Scholarships from Civic Organizations 

Another great resource is civic organizations and foundations. Sometimes they are need-based (which require you to provide proof of need) while others involve a contest, where you complete an application with an essay to qualify. Now is a good time to research the civic organizations in your community that offer scholarships.

 

3. Scholarships from Credit Unions 

Credit unions are wonderful community neighbors, and they often will have scholarships as well. Sometimes, there are additional offerings for members of that credit union. If you’re a member of a credit union, definitely check that out! I recommend that you look into these opportunities in junior year; some of the requirements are junior-year specific.  Another note regarding credit unions: if you know that there is a credit union that offers a scholarship and you’re not a member, now is the time to become a member. If you plan ahead your teen can position themselves for that particular award now. 

 

4. Scholarships from Your Employer 

There are a lot of employers that offer scholarships. I believe that NiSource, the energy company here in Columbus, offers scholarships. See if your employer offers scholarships as well. Again, junior year is the time to look into the criteria. 

 

5. National Merit Scholarship Program 

Most students take the PSAT in junior year and their score will determine whether they qualify for national merit. One thing to know regarding the PSAT, is that it is not really considered for college admission. However, when your junior takes the PSAT and scores in the 99th percentile, then they qualify for a national merit scholarship. Have your teen research the criteria for the National Merit scholarship. 

 

Who Can Apply for External Scholarships?

Although you have a junior, be aware that you can apply for an external scholarship beginning at age 13 (keep that in mind if you have younger children as well). If your child wins a scholarship, that money is held and then sent to the college when they enroll. I encourage families with younger teens to apply for scholarships. Not only does it develop their resilience, it also helps to instill that growth mindset that we want our students to have. Plus, they will be adding to their portfolio of writing samples as well.