3 Tips for Finding the Right College for Business Majors

Is your teen planning to major in business and having difficulty deciding which colleges should be on their list? Keep reading for my top three tips for finding the right college for your teen who wants to pursue a career in business. 


Look at the functional areas within “Business” If you search online for “business majors” you will come up with a list of thousands of colleges, so when students say they’re interested in business, I ask them, “What are the specific areas of business that interest you?” There are many different functional areas within the business realm, such as:

  • accounting
  • marketing
  • finance
  • operations

Looking specifically at one of these areas will help guide them to different sets of colleges. If your teen is looking into a liberal arts college that doesn’t offer business, they could try looking into economics which will touch on business. Again, the first step is thinking about the functional area of interest.


Research summer programs for business majors

One of the key things I recommend to students who are interested in business is to consider a summer program to learn more about specific areas of business, such as programs focused on investment banking, finance, marketing or entrepreneurship. There are countless summer programs out there, many virtual.


What Does the Program Offer?

After your teen considers their functional area of interest and looks into summer programs, my next tip would be to look at what the college programs offer. For example, the University of Southern California has an international program in different areas of business that allows for the opportunity to study abroad. There could also be organizations within the college to help get your teen more involved and around other students in the same field.  

Side Note: Another thing to consider when your teen is fine-tuning their list of colleges is the math requirements for different programs; many require that you take calculus in high school. If they’re not on track for that, it can hurt their chances of being admitted. For some business programs, there may be an option to test out of that course. If that is the case, make sure they take that test by the end of junior year. 


Recap for Finding the Right College for Business Majors 

If your teen is considering majoring in business, they should first look at the functional areas within business to find their area of interest. Narrowing their interests down will help with finding colleges that are a good fit. Secondly, your teen should look into summer programs as a viable way to learn about the functional areas of interest. Finally, look at what the colleges offer to support your teen’s success so they can thrive while they’re there and have rich career opportunities afterwards as well. 

Junior year is a critical year for the college admissions process. I want to make sure that your teen is successful throughout the school year and not overwhelmed by this process. If their initial list is too overwhelming, your teen may lean towards popular colleges they’ve heard of before and that’s not going to serve them well.  


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How to find your people at Northwestern

northwestern blog post

With academics to rival the Ivies and the spirited atmosphere of Big Ten publics, Northwestern combines Division I sports with quality instruction. It’s 231-acre campus, which is set off the town of Evanston, IL and runs a mile along the shore of Lake Michigan, makes for the perfect location for picnicking, fishing, running, or simply daydreaming in between classes.

The sense of community and collaboration at Northwestern belies its highly selective admissions. The students I met at  Northwestern University were sincere about their passions and authentic by nature. If you are passionate about your major, Northwestern may be a good fit for you. 

One of the most interesting traditions at Northwestern is the campus-wide “primal scream” which takes place on the Sunday night before finals. The student body joins in to let out their stress and frustration before buckling down again to continue their studies. Another yearly tradition is the “Wildcat Welcome,” a week-long orientation to acclimate incoming freshman to college life and to build community.

Here are a few quick facts about Northwestern:

Acceptance: 9%

Freshmen retention: 98%

Freshmen from out of state: 70%

Most popular majors: engineering, economics, journalism

4-year Graduation rate: 83%, 6-year: 94% 

Student Community Diversity: 6% Black, 13% Latino, 10% International

Northwestern University



88% of freshmen but only 52% of all undergraduates live in the dorms. There are residence halls available and themed residential colleges. Dorms range from 50 to 600 students. Some residential colleges bring students and faculty together during faculty “firesides” or over meals. Fraternities and sororities have their own houses.


Academics at Northwestern

Prospective students must apply to one of these 6 schools in admissions:

  • Arts and Sciencesnorthwestern campus has a techy and artsy side
  • Communication
  • Education and Social Policy
  • Engineering and Applied Science
  • Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications
  • Music

Each school has flexible requirements that can be taken anytime during the 4 years of undergraduate. The academic programs are so varied and fluid that those “undecided” can still find a home here.

Northwestern takes advantage of its location and global alumni network to support students through co-op and internship opportunities. The Chicago Fields program offers credit for full-time work, with Monday through Thursday spent on the job and Fridays are supplemented with classroom debrief and discussion.

Northwestern University offers unusual flexibility combined with a wide choice of academic concentrations. There are also several certificate programs available, which is 4-6 courses in a specific area, like Financial Economics or Managerial Analytics from Kellogg School of Business, since there’s no undergraduate business program.

The philosophy of the engineering program is that there’s no one solution to problems and students start with real-world projects. All first year engineering students take a course in “Engineering Design Thinking and Communication” which includes a design project with a local organization.



Much of the social life on Northwestern’s campus is centered on the Greek system, with roughly one-third of the students go Greek. For non-Greeks, on-campus entertainment opportunities are still numerous, including theater productions, concerts, and movies. The student government and Activities and Organizations Board sponsor a variety of campus-wide events, such as the very popular 30-hour Dance Marathon and Dillo (Armadillo) Day, an end-of-the-year “festival of music, debauchery, and Greek life,” in the words of a journalism major.

One of the most well-known traditions is when representatives of student organizations slip out in the dead of night to paint their colors and slogans on “the Rock.”

Northwestern has the winningest debate team in the country. In all, there are more than 480 student organizations. My personal favorite is the Happiness Club which spreads love around campus offering hugs, high fives, puppies during finals and hot chocolate in the winter.



Northwestern offers need-based financial aid, with 100% of need fully met. There are no merit-based scholarships. Although the tuition and fees are about $79,000, the average financial aid package is $56,000 and 81% of students receive financial aid.

What do you think about Northwestern? What about this college is a good fit? Please post your comments below.

What Loyola Marymount University has to offer for college-bound

Ideal weather year round and solid programs in film and television, liberal arts and sciences, and business – this is what you will find at Loyola Marymount University. Established in 1911, LMU is situated on a 142-acre bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Marina del Rey and is the only Roman Catholic University in Los Angeles. 

Here are a few quick facts about LMU:

4-year Graduation rate: 76%, 6-year: 84%

Acceptance: 47%

Freshman retention: 90%

Freshmen out of state: 40% 

Most popular majors: Management, Marketing, Communication Studies, Film and Television Production

Student Community Diversity: 7% Black, 22% Latino, 10% International

Housing: Fifty-three percent of students live in on-campus housing, which is described as “pretty nice.” Many first-year students opt to participate in themed living/learning communities, for example, some are dedicated to specific academic disciplines. LMU students will find a variety of meal plan options and all types of food available. Students report that campus security is good and that they feel safe on campus.

Academics: Loyola Marymount’s general education requirements (the Core Curriculum) is designed to encourage “intellectual breadth.” Themes include faith and reason; virtue and justice; culture, art and society; and science, nature and society. The main tenant of this curricular requirement is that it encourages students to be open to various studies. Freshmen will find lots of support through programs such as the honors program and first-year seminar. 

While Loyola Marymount is known for the majors mentioned previously, it also has solid programs in engineering, theatre arts, political science, English, and economics. Students in the School of Film and Television have access to a student-run production office, a television stage and a film soundstage with a professional quality green screen. Students are encouraged to produce their own documentaries that are exhibited at film festivals in both Germany and the United States. 

The College of Science and Engineering takes part in national competitions to design steel bridges and race eco-friendly cars. Need another reason to choose LMU? There are lots of internship opportunities (Disney, MTV and Warner Brothers are on the list of participating companies) and study abroad options are offered on six continents. Nearly a third, 29%, of students participate in one of these experiences during their time at LMU. 

Similar colleges to consider: University of Southern California, UCLA, Santa Clara, Chapman

Social: Loyola Marymount students can expect to have an active social life both on and off campus, with student organizations and clubs frequently hosting events and activities, and beautiful surroundings for those who like to get outdoors. Marina del Rey and Santa Monica are a short car or bus ride away, and those who have a case of wanderlust may find themselves on a road trip to San Diego, Santa Barbara, Las Vegas or Mexico, some of the most popular destinations for LMU undergrads. 

Greek life attracts 17% of men and 29% of women, but students say there is little pressure to drink. The university’s Jesuit heritage has led to a social atmosphere that motivates students to improve themselves through a dedication to helping others, evidenced by the 200,000 hours of volunteer service students put in every year. 

LMU’s varsity teams compete in the Division I West Coast Conference with women’s water polo being a recent champ. Men’s and women’s soccer teams and the women’s volleyball team are also pretty competitive. The LMU Lions’ rivalry with Pepperdine draws a large crowd and the basketball team’s annual pep rally, referred to as “LMU Madness” is another big event. Not to be overlooked is the debate team, which has placed first in more than 250 national and international tournaments over the past 40 years. 

Financial:  Loyola Marymount offers both need-based and non-need based merit aid and scholarships. The average percentage of student need met is 68%, with 23% being fully met. Although the tuition and fees are roughly $73,000 (tuition is the same for in-state and out-of-state students), the average financial aid package is $29,012. 90% of students receive financial assistance in the form of scholarships and grants.

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College of the Week: University of Michigan

University of Michigan, one of the nation’s elite public universities, strives to offer its students a balance of academics, athletics, and social activities. On its 3200+ acres on the main campus (be prepared to use your GPS to get around!), you will find a world-class university with outstanding faculty and top-rated programs designed to make its graduates ready to compete in the 21st century job market. 

Here are a few quick facts about University of Michigan:

4-year Graduation rate: 79%, 6-year: 92%

Acceptance: 23%

Freshman retention: 97%

Freshmen out of state: 45%

Most popular majors: computer science, business administration, psychology, and economics

Student Community Diversity: 4.5% Black, 6.6% Latino, 7.3% International

Housing: The dorms at University of Michigan are described as “mostly comfortable and well-maintained.” Despite being a large campus, only 32% of students reside there. Freshmen are guaranteed housing, but not all sophomores will get a spot, and almost no juniors or seniors live on campus. So where does everyone else live? Many who have pledged live in one of the  fraternity or sorority houses. There are also a large number of college-owned and private co-ops and plenty of off-campus rentals. 

Academics: UM boasts 600 degree programs, which includes 250 undergrad majors as well as individualized concentrations. There are no courses that are required of all freshmen, but all students must complete coursework in English (including composition), foreign language (UM offers over 40, including several that can’t be found at many other institutions), natural science, social sciences and humanities. Students describe courses as being challenging, but not cutthroat. The engineering and business programs are well-respected across the country, and programs in health-related fields are also top-notch. There is excellent academic and career advising for those who seek it, and the Campus Career Center works with 950 companies in their recruiting efforts.

Similar colleges to consider: UC Berkeley, University of Indiana at Urbana-Champaign, Stanford, Cornell

Social: While Detroit is less than an hour away, many UM students flock to nearby Ann Arbor, which has more of a “college town feel.” The Huron River, as well as many lakes and swimming holes are a short drive away for those who like to get outdoors. You will find a large Greek party scene although only about 17% of men and 25% of women “go Greek.” 

In the fall, you can expect Division I football to overshadow nearly everything else. Attending games and cheering, “Go Blue” is a pretty integral part of the University of Michigan experience, with the Little Brown Jug football competition with Minnesota and games against Ohio State being the most popular. Several teams have brought home Big Ten championships in the past year, among them men’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, as well as women’s field hockey and gymnastics. For those looking for a more casual form of athletics, there are plenty of intramural sports, which were invented at University of Michigan. 

Financial: University of Michigan offers hundreds of merit scholarships, averaging $5,600 as well as 711 athletic scholarships in 27 sports. Average percent of need met is 91%, with 71% being fully met. UM is the only public university in the state that meets the full demonstrated need of in-state students, and Michigan residents whose families make $65,000 or less qualify for free tuition. Although the tuition and fees are $31,000 for in-state and $68,000 for out-of-state students, the average financial aid package is $27,000. Out-of-state admits with a family income of $90,000 or less can expect to have the full demonstrated need met. 52% of students receive scholarships, averaging almost $18,000 per student. 

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Lehigh has science, technology, and business in a vibrant social culture

lehigh stem business majors

Interested in pursuing a field in science and technology? Then Lehigh University is well worth considering. Lehigh has invested millions to enhance programs in nanotechnology, biotechnology, biosciene and optoelectronics. In addition to being a leader in technology, the atmosphere is very collegial – students push each other to do their best and their career services office actively brings in multiple employers at a time to help students network before they graduate.  If you’re wondering what type of student will excel at a college like Lehigh, one senior describes it by saying, “The type of student who will do best at Lehigh is the one who prefers to be too involved rather than sit back and observe.”

Here are a few quick facts about Lehigh:

Acceptance: 22%

Freshman retention: 94%

Freshmen from out of state: 75%

Most popular majors: finance, mechanical engineering, accounting

4-year Graduation rate: 72%

Student Community Diversity: 4% Black, 10% Latino, 9% International



Probably the most restrictive requirement for Lehigh is that students must complete courses in four domains: mathematical sciences, natural sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities, in addition to enrolling in an Evolution Seminar their first year which focuses on transition to college. Some degrees also require a mandatory internship or capstone project. 

Aside from that, Lehigh undergraduates are free to study across disciplines. In fact, Lehigh is known for connecting traditionally separate disciplines, such as arts and engineering, computer science and business, and environmental engineering with minors in engineering leadership and sustainable development. Lehigh also boasts many dual-degree options and innovative special programs such as Technical Entrepreneurship Capstone, which teams up engineering, business, and arts students to design and make products for sponsoring companies. Students can also enroll in more than 250 study abroad options in 60 countries or a faculty-led program during winter or summer breaks in over a dozen countries. Those students who are looking to gain field experience can participate in a co-op – and get paid to do it. 



On-campus housing is home to all first- and second-year students and 65% of students overall. Accommodations for underclassmen are described as “decent.” Upperclassmen have several housing options: apartment-style dorms, Greek houses, off-campus apartments, or an apartment in Farrington Square – a residential and commercial on-campus complex that houses about 250 upperclassmen. So if having a bookstore, farmer’s market, a coffee shop, restaurants, and sometimes live music right outside your door are your scene, you’ll want to apply to live here your last couple of years. 

Similar colleges to consider:
Boston College, University of Southern California, Wake Forest, William and Mary


With such strong academic programs, you might expect the social life at Lehigh to be lacking, but that’s not the case. There’s a robust Greek life at Lehigh which attracts 38% of males to fraternities and 45% of females to sororities.

Lehigh After Dark hosts a variety of events, including a midnight breakfast bar, a carnival, and bingo night. Other traditions include the Founders Day celebration, Turkey Trot, and spirit week activities leading up to the big Lehigh vs. Lafayette football game. This game is such a big deal – and understandably so as it is the longest standing rivalry in college football (you hear that, Ohio State and Michigan fans? :-)) – that students put more emphasis on beating Lafayette than winning the whole Patriot League championship. The Division I Lehigh Mountain Hawks also boast a number of competitive teams besides football; their wrestling team is described as a “powerhouse” with numerous EIWA championships.

While Lehigh is located in an up and coming small town, undergrads have plenty of big city options with Philadelphia being 50 miles to the south and New York City about 75 miles to the east.  The Poconos and Jersey Shore are also a short drive away.  


Lehigh offers both need-based and merit-based aid, as well as 200 athletic scholarships. The average percentage of need met is 97%, with 75% being fully met. Although the tuition and fees are $72,000, the average financial aid package is $61,000. Where there is a demonstrated need, Lehigh has capped loans at $5,000 per year, and for families who make less than $75,000, loans have been completely removed from the financial aid package. More than 50% of students receive some type of financial aid.

What do you think about this college? What else would you like to learn about it? Please post your comments below.

Boston College for undecided college-bound teen

chestnut hill campus boston college

If your college-bound teen is undecided and seeking a solid medium size college with 5,000 to 10,000 students, Boston College may be worth a look. Boston College pursues its mission through rigorous intellectual development, an advanced global research, and integration of religious dialogue and community life. The Core Curriculum at Boston College requires students to take classes in these areas:

  • the artsjesuit catholic university
  • cultural diversity
  • history
  • literature
  • mathematics
  • philosophy
  • science
  • social science
  • theology
  • writing

The name Boston “College” is a misnomer because it’s actually a research university with 9 schools and colleges. (Boston “University” is already taken) By taking classes across varied areas of study and having access to specialized programs, students have a great opportunity to find the major that interests them.

Campus visit tip:  Boston College is a Catholic institution and during your visit, make sure you’re comfortable with this aspect of their mission.

Additional quick facts about Boston College:

Acceptance:  29%

Freshmen retention:  95%top athletic teams boston college

Freshmen from out of state:  75%

4-year Graduation rate:  89%

Most popular majors:  finance, economics, communications

Housing: The majority of Boston College students live on campus. Housing guarantees are either 3 or 4 years. Students with a 3-year housing guarantee study abroad or live off-campus during junior year. Boston College is in a suburban location and only 20 minutes from Boston so the off-campus options are pretty good with varied public transportation options.  Dorms are known to be comfortable and spacious.

Social life:  As at other Jesuit universities, Boston College does not have Greek life. There are still lots of social activities like sporting events, movies, festivals, concerts, and plays, and “volunteer work is huge,” says one student.

Similar colleges to consider to develop list: University of Notre Dame, Georgetown University, Villanova, Columbia University

Financial aid: Boston College offers both need-based and merit aid, with 100% of need met. The cost of attendance is $65,000 and the average financial aid package is $35K, with 66% of students receiving aid.

What do you think about Boston College? Would the Core Curriculum be a good fit? Please post your comments below.

Internships, study abroad and research at Claremont McKenna

claremont mckenna college

Claremont McKenna College is a highly selective college among the consortium of The Claremont Colleges and has a real world focus. Students who fit well at Claremont McKenna have high ambitions in business leadership and public affairs. Although its student body of 1,300 qualifies as “small”, the campus has much to offer students interested in government, economics, business, and international relations. A senior said that Claremont McKenna is a “great place for a practical liberal arts education that prepares you for grad school and career.”

claremont mckenna business policy internationalClaremont McKenna community is guided by a free exchange of ideas, real world service and work experience, and opportunities for advance research – 93% of students participate in internships, 50% study abroad and 79% do research. The 11 research institutes located on campus offer CMC undergraduates numerous opportunities to study everything from political demographics to the environment.

Campus visit note: If you’re planning to visit more that one of The Claremont Colleges, plan to spend at least a day since the campus visit schedule usually has times that overlap.


Additional quick facts about Claremont McKenna:

Acceptance: 11%

Freshmen retention: 95%

Freshmen from out of state: 54%claremont mckenna campus

4-year Graduation rate: 77%

Most popular majors: Economics, Government, Psychology

Housing: All freshmen live on campus and approximately 90% of upperclassmen. Since there are no all-freshman dorms, each residence has a minimum of 20% of new students. Gender-inclusive housing is an option where students can live with any student regardless of identity.

Similar colleges to consider to develop list: University of Southern California, Occidental College, Georgetown University, Brown

Financial aid: Claremont McKenna College offers both need-based and merit aid, with 100% of need met. Although the cost of attendance is $70,000, the average financial aid package is $38K. About half of students receive scholarships/financial aid.

What do you think about Claremont McKenna? What about this college is a good fit? Please post your comments below.

Summer Programs for High School Students Interested in Business

Students Interested in Business

Just as there are a number of business opportunities in college for students, there are just as many pre-business opportunities for high school students in the summers. As early as the summer after 9th grade, students interested in business can explore this field. In my research, I have found that there are a few programs for rising sophomores, even more programs available to rising juniors, then rising seniors have the most opportunities for summer pre-business programs.

The selection process for these pre-business summer programs vary. Some programs only require interest and a tuition deposit. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, because student participants can still learn a lot during the program. The more selective pre-business summer programs may require:

  • Transcripts
  • Teacher Recommendations
  • Test scores
  • Essays

The deadlines for these programs are typically in February/March.

USC Marshall School has a top international business experience for undergrads.
USC Marshall School has a top international business experience for undergrads.

Here are several programs where high school students can explore whether a business career is a match for them:

Stevens Institute of Technology Business Program – students are exposed to marketing, finance (including Quantitative Finance), management, and business law in this one-week intensive experience.

University of Southern California Exploring Entrepreneurship – students earn 3 USC college credits in this 4-week course, which blends business theory and the practice of being an entrepreneur.

Business Week (Throughout the USA) – Several states across the country offer “Business Week” programs, which are one-week business intensives that integrate business concepts, mentoring, and team projects with local leaders. There are Business Week programs in the following states:

  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Utah
  • Washington

If your state is not listed here, you may want to search online with “(your state) Business Week high school students” and see what comes up.

What pre-business summer programs have you found for high school students?