Saturday, April 14, 2018

UMass Lowell campus visit April 2018

I took a tour of the 3 campuses that make up UMass Lowell: north, south and east. North & south are just across the river from one another, and the east campus is a quick shuttle drive away. Many students live on east campus and have classes on north or south.
Many new buildings in the past 10 years, lots of investment on campus. If you have not been there in a few years, you will find updated, cutting edge facilities.
One of 2 universities with a particle accelerator and nuclear reactor on campus (MIT is the other).
Music, business and engineering are the signature programs at UMass Lowell.

Generous scholarships for out of state students with an A- and strong SAT or ACT scores. They are test optional in admissions.
Students who like an urban campus and city life would like UMass Lowell. The east campus is a traditional residential setting that does not feel urban at all. On a hill overlooking the Merrimack River, the res halls and ball fields resemble other typical college settings.
Their stats are on the rise: 87% of students return sophomore year, and 87% of freshmen live on campus. They used to be more of a commuter school for Massachusetts students but have expanded their reach and become more residential.
Like many universities, research is big. We toured many buildings where research centers were busy with students and professors. One such project was the Baseball Research Center! Yes, they test out balls and bats.

a mix of older architecture and newer buildings

the business building, lots of natural light

a view from an engineering building toward the (blue) ball fields

for real! baseball research center

I noticed lots of spaces for students to meet in small or large groups to work together

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Junior Parents: College Info Night handouts (Feb 2018)

If you missed College Info Night for Parents of Juniors in Feb 2018, here are links to the handouts:


  1. Agenda for the info night.
  2. SAT Prep Course sign ups begin Monday March 5
  3. Want detailed info on filing the FAFSA and what goes into the formula to come up with your Expected Family Contribution (EFC)? 
  4. Schools that meet 100% of demonstrated need and what does that mean exactly? (contact Ms Coddaire via email for this handout. college@cheverus.org)



Saturday, February 10, 2018

Loyola New Orleans & Tulane University

I visited Loyola New Orleans & Tulane University in January 2018.

Loyola New Orleans, a Jesuit university


 on St Charles Avenue in the Garden District, a pretty area of New Orleans with palm trees and street cars. They thought 55 degrees in January was chilly while I thought it was a welcome relief from a long Maine winter! Half of the 2500 student are from out of state. 85% live on campus.
 one of several quads

Friday, December 1, 2017

Basic Facts & Assumptions-read this first!

GRADES ARE #1
Grades are always the #1 thing colleges examine for admissibility. #2 is the rigor of courses you are enrolled in: college prep, honors and AP courses. If you are easily earning As in college prep courses, colleges expect you to move up. #3 are test scores (ACT or SAT). Are you scores consistent with your grades? A student with a 3.9 GPA and 550 SAT scores indicates a terrific work ethic that is overcompensating for average test scores. A student with 640 SAT scores and a 2.8 GPA is an underachiever: the test scores say the student is far more talented than the B average he or she is earning in high school. At most colleges, scores and GPA must be commensurate. Students with the high GPA and so-so test scores should consider test-optional colleges, and students with the B average & high test scores need to work on their grades as much as possible, especially senior year. Use collegeboard.org to see which colleges are a good match for you.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

College Athletics

Those who intend to play sports in college have additional work to do. Some extra tasks are:

Sunday, May 7, 2017

FAQs from Sophomores

I visited Mr. Cilley's Ignatian Leadership classes in April 2017 to answer their questions about college. Here are the most frequently asked questions:


  1. what's a good SAT score? 550 on each section is the national average, and that's a good score if you have a B average at Cheverus. If you are an A student, your scores should be commensurate, in the 600s and up.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

SAT and ACT: Info & Prep

ACT & SAT
Many colleges require standardized testing for admission. All colleges take both exams, the ACT and the SAT, and show no preference for either exam.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

9th & 10th grade college planning


A common question I get is "why don't you teach college advising classes to sophomores, or 1st semester junior year?"

Friday, September 23, 2016

Why Rankings Don't Matter (& don't measure what you care about)

An excellent NY Times article by a highly acclaimed author on the subject of rankings. If you must pay attention to them, NPR grades the various ranking systems (US News & World Report, Money Magazine, Forbes)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Colleges for C / C+ GPA

Some colleges are more willing to admit an applicant with a 2.0-2.5 Cheverus GPA. Here are some ideas:

Friday, June 10, 2016

College Fair 2016

97 colleges and hundreds of students gathered in May 2016 for Cheverus' 11th annual College Fair.



Thursday, June 2, 2016

Go to college in Europe!

There's a lot of interest in going to college in Europe. Not just for a semester with a study abroad program, but the whole 4 years. Cost is a factor driving this interest: most countries offer college degrees at a lower cost than the U.S. However, there are differences, especially in campus life: student housing is not as community minded as a typical U.S. residential campus. Here are some resources to locate the right European college for you:

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Don't Let the College Admissions Process Stress You Out!

Make sure you are taking care of yourself. The college application cycle is a marathon, not a sprint, and you'll need the energy to complete the entire process.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Take a Summer or College Course

Summer Internships for students interested in STEM 
http://www.msgc.org/students/internships/highschool/

Preview a College Course
Yale and MIT provide free and open access to a selection of courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars. Before applying to either college, may I suggest you preview a course? It will make you a more informed applicant. Highly selective places like Yale & MIT would expect that you are involved in learning outside the Cheverus classroom. Have you explored Khan Academy? (free!) Check out Engineer4Free which offers college-level math, science & engineering classes.