Centre College and Transylvania U in Kentucky

Centre College, located in Danville, Kentucky, has a national reputation. The college is located in a small town where the college is the happening place. It wasn’t clear, however, if there was a strong relationship between the town and the college. A student described the Centre-Danville relationship as “getting better.” Staff and students consistently described the culture of the campus as “academic” and “All-American.” So, if that sounds like your kind of campus, great, keep on reading! If these descriptors are not appealing to you, keep reading this posting, but perhaps we should talk! ☺

Culture and tradition at Centre

The more telling signs of the cultural spirit may be the strong presence of students from Ohio and Tennessee with a 55% in-state population overall. My own impression of the Centre culture is a Southern/Midwest homey-ness!

All freshman dorms are single-gender with graduated visitation privileges. Upperclassmen have varied housing options. The new upper-class dorm got rave reviews. The dining hall, fitness center, and other academic buildings are also either new or recently renovated. What was nice about the renovations on campus is that they maintained the character of the architecture on campus

What makes Centre College special

A signature differentiator of the college is the “Centre Term.” Centre Term, a 3-week period between the first and second semesters, provides an opportunity for almost every student to study abroad. The main dining hall is adorned with flags displaying all the countries visited by Centre students.IMG_0399

Gotta check out the glass-blowing course if you attend!

While I was in Kentucky, I also visited Transylvania University. Quite frankly, I didn’t know much about the college until I heard the President speak at an IECA conference last November. The fact that the President had been a partner at Goldman was even more intriguing. One of the reasons I visited was to see what compelled him to relocate to Lexington, KY!

Transylvania students love their campus

The Transylvania campus is located in a really hip section of Lexington – not too far from campus. There were several restaurants close by and the homes in the neighborhood appeared well-kept. I was a bit disappointed with being on campus, however, because a campus police officer actually followed me around. Not sure why I was singled out. Nevertheless, it dampened my spirits a bit.

transylvannia university campusStudents that I met were enthusiastic and positive about their experiences at Transylvania. (I didn’t let the overzealous campus police ruin that.) Students remarked on the small class sizes and access to extra-curricular activities. I didn’t get a sense of Transylvania’s distinguishing qualities, but do plan to visit again! Stay tuned.

OSU Buckeye’s Losing Human Touch

One of the key ingredients needed in a very large school environment is a sense of community and connectedness. We sometimes refer to this as “being known by the name” as opposed to a number. Particularly for freshmen who attend large universities, being known by your name or having a sense of connectedness with others on your campus can make or break the decision to return for the sophomore year. Your freshman roommate plays a critical role in how you transition to college and whether you feel connected.

Role of the Freshman roommate

Given the importance that the freshman roommate plays in the quality of life freshman year of college, I was disappointed to learn that Ohio State University is moving toward an automated system for roommate matching. In the past, the 9,900 students who lived on campus were matched by the experienced hand of the housing administration director. The director mentioned in a local campus newspaper that it would take her about five weeks to match new students with their roommate. The students were matched based on their responses to a questionnaire.

A great quote from the assistant director for Housing Services was that, “Not always will the outcome be perfect or anything, but it makes the students feel like a person instead of just a number on campus.” That’s just the message you want to send to the thousands of new students coming to a campus which is equivalent to the population of a city!

After 27 years of the current housing administration director matching students by hand, OSU will now have computerized roommate matching beginning this summer. In the past, the housing department would receive less than 0.2 percent request for roommate changes. Do you think the campus will be able to maintain this strong satisfaction with the computer-generated matches?

Parenting for College readiness

Today and tomorrow, I’m attending an ACT conference and it’s patently clear that parent involvement is a critical element in college-readiness and success. College admissions staff are getting more savvy in their efforts to reach parents early in the college search process and stay in touch with parents during the college years.

In a session today led by a former Dean of Admissions, admissions officers in the audience shared that they are introducing parent newsletters, parent pages on their websites, and parent-only sessions during campus visits. Two of the colleges recognized for their parent pages were Baylor University in Texas and Elmira College in New York. The colleges are recognizing that college selection is the number one way that parents are engaged with their child. It is very common for parents of this millenial generation to research college websites, visit campuses, and contact the admissions office.

There was a point in the discussion where it seemed that the presenter suggested that admissions staff should accept that parents will attend admissions interviews. I strongly disagreed with any hint of such a practice. It’s OK for the admission staff to make some accomodations. However, it’s the student who will be attending the university and not the parent. The admissions interview should be an opportunity for the admissions staff to get to know the student and learn more about what he/she will bring to the campus and how the campus may support their success. If the student has to co-interview with a parent, then how can they ever be able to thrive independently in college.

Parents, would you really want to attend the interview with your child? What about a job interview?