Monday, November 6, 2017

my visit to Catholic University in D.C.

I spent 3 days on Catholic University's campus in November 2017.

Athletic Panel - D3 at a high level, diverse panel, 1/2 white. 20-25% of CUA students are varsity athletes

  1. Basketball player from a Florida Catholic HS, profs are supportive, travel to NYC this week for scrimmage, gets work done in advance, sports management major, 4 major teams in DC, close with team mates, beautiful campus does not feel like you are in a city, in season he works in admissions, most nights practicing and watching film
  2. young lady from a Christian high school, plays Field Hockey, majoring in international business, mentored by upperclassmen who were on her team, Spanish minor, university has gpa requirement 2.5 to play, her team is 3.0, study abroad Barcelona,  summer intern offered her a job, 2 Starbucks on campus where she studies a lot & socializes, works at front desk at athletic center 2x/week, practice a couple times a week out of season & have a tournament every once in a while, 4/6 of her roommates go to mass each Sunday, looked at D1 and was recruited as a sophomore but turned them down - too soon, she thought
  3. young man who plays football, went to Catholic schooling k-12, Spanish class does service together, from Baltimore, a finance major who transferred from West Point, lifting at 6am, classes 11-4, internships with commercial real estate (CBRE internship hopes it turns into a job)
  4. young man from a Catholic HS, business major from NJ playing bball, wants to intern with a DC team, works at athletic center, no classes Fridays 
  5. young woman social work major with lots of field hours, from California, soccer player, time management is key but she learned that in HS, going for MSW degree at CUA, came in undecided, 2x week internship, also on swim team, only MWF classes, T TH clinical hours, went to a Catholic HS, can feel it in the culture, lots of school spirit-friends go to games, not just mens basketball
  6. young woman from Massachusetts, bio major who plays lax on a family like team, do lots of service together, going for Physician Assistant school in Boston, don't hang out with just your teammates, meet other people, am practices 630-830am, study hall 9-10, 10-4 classes and labs, tutoring job til 6pm, 

Student Athletes give advice to seniors:

  1. figure out if you want a big or small school right away
  2. figure out if the city is right for you
  3. visit a lot of campuses
  4. research your major at different colleges in depth
Advice to student athletes in high school:
  1. have to put yourself out there and get yourself recruited
  2. know the rules about D1, D2 versus D3
  3. could you be happy at the school without the sport?

Basics about The Catholic University of America

  1. the only place with a basilica on campus!
  2. a beautiful residential campus, with grass and trees, an unusually green oasis in the big city
  3. two metro stops on campus so it's easy to get around the city
  4. you have an outdated notion of Catholic if you think Michigan Avenue is dangerous. So much has changed in the past 4 years, lots of development and it's a much safer place.
Study Abroad @ Catholic University
  • 38% of their students do so, and that's a high amount, placing them into the top 25 in the country. 
  • Nursing students go to Melbourne Australia and that program fills each year. 
  • They have their own Rome campus. 
  • An honors spring break program is popular. 
  • University of Oxford is a highly competitive program. 
  • Parliamentary internships in Britain are popular. 
  • Rome Start for freshmen popular with engineering, for students who really want to get abroad sooner 
typically, 5% of the students on any campus access accommodations. They don't just hand student their letter of accommodation, but meet with them every 2 weeks to plan ahead, with a learning specialist. They are seeing more students on the autism spectrum, try to connect students with upperclassmen to forge connections. Documentation can be an issue at other colleges, but Catholic realizes a neuropsych exam is $3500 and families may hesitate to do so. Catholic offers a lower cost one. A 3-sentence letter from a Dr about autism works.

Counseling Center
uptick in anxiety means they are busy but staffed well

  • First Year Experience = 18 students in a learning community who take their core theology, English, philosophy classes together. Field trips around D.C. Service learning experiences too. 
  • Tutoring serves 800 students per year in math and subject labs, staffed by peer tutors and there is also individual tutoring. Not a remedial program. Groups are free, individual there's a fee. Writing Center is very popular. 
  • starts freshman year with undergraduate advising especially with undecided majors, take Strong Interest Inventory
  • 5 counselors work alot with alumni to help students make connections
  • 90% go to grad school or a job after graduation
Fine Arts Dept
  • 2 art majors: studio art (drawing, sculpture, painting, digital), art history
  • their gallery showing with public reception is their thesis, some make the Washington Post
  • Smithsonian, National Gallery
  • internship for photojournalism major at a nationally judged show where she wrote the text to accompany each photograph
  • visit artist studios, meet curators at museums, more accessible than in NYC (Govt and public funded=accessible)

  • music majors: conservatory style but in a liberal arts college. 300 majors, 160 are undergrads.
  • very supportive, non competitive, 
  • major in vocal perf, musical theatre, orchestral, piano, organ, composition, education, conducting minor. 
  • can double major
  • wind ensemble, orchestra, choirs, acapella, 
  • everyone can participate, not just majors

  • #2 theatre town behind NYC
  • 5 maine stage productions (one opera, one musical) + 4 student driven productions
  • drama dept-BA and MFA
  • anyone can be in the plays
  • can study abroad mainly in Ireland with a professor, London, Oxford
Campus Ministry

  • lots of daily service opportunities, lots of need nearby
  • 7 mission trips around the world during spring break and summer ,177 applicants for 85 slots
  • resident minister and resident director: your dorm has two people to mentor you
  • "we know our students and they don't get lost"
  • lots of different orders on campus: Franciscans run campus ministry but there are so many other orders on campus 
  • Dominican sisters and men in seminary school live in dorms
Admissions, merit awards, and financial aid
  • admissions recalculates your GPA by subject, by year. Gulp. 
  • Probably a December 15 notification if you applied Early Action (Nov 1 deadline)
  • they strip all the weighting out of a school's calculation so every applicant is measured on the same GPA (4.0, which is what we use with very little weighting)
  • strength of curriculum is very important and they rate it on a scale of 4-10. 
  • Did you take plenty of core courses senior year: science, history, foreign language?
  • demonstrated interest helps but is not a deciding factor. Having visited the campus helps the applicant to fill out the Why CUA section on the application. 
  • Cheverus applicants who are admitted have a B+ average with 6-8 range on strength of curriculum, 25-30 ACT or high 500s SATs 
  • truly test optional, even for nursing and engineering, merit money
  • 90 slots for their nursing program makes it a limited admit program, and their averages need to be higher to get admitted (scores, GPA and strength of curriculum)
  • admissions, not the nursing faculty, admit to the nursing program
  • merit money is only grades, strength of curriculum, $13-26k including $3k for honors.
  • Parish scholarship is additional $3k a year and is stackable, apply on CommonApp
  • Cost: $58k all in
  • FAFSA and CSS Profile are both required to access need based aid
  • Examples: $30k in financial need, typical package is almost full need met. $40k in need? 88% need met. More need than that? You are gapped the most and they rarely meet full need.They might meet full need if demonstrated interest, high gpa, high strength of curriculum. 
  • Merit money for international students, yes.

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

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.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Basic Facts & Assumptions-read this first!

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 to see which colleges are a good match for you and take a look at this Junior Year handout for more info.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Take a Summer or College Course

Summer Internships for students interested in STEM

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.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Campus Collages

A wonderful Cheverus mom made these collages when her daughters toured campuses. Enjoy!

above: Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY

 above: Middlebury College in Vermont