CT colleges

I visited seven southern CT colleges the week of March 25, 2007. Here are my impressions of each campus, with an eye toward why certain campuses would appeal to Cheverus students.

Albertus Magnus College. Small liberal arts college (500) that is mostly commuter, and 83% in-state students. (not appealing to my Maine students) Dorms are actually converted mansions that appeared to have some fire code issues (exposed wiring, no sprinklers). I cannot recommend it. According to its website:

"The August 25, 2006, issue of U.S. News, which features its college guide for 2007, names Albertus Magnus College one of the top 35 Northern Region Comprehensive Colleges-Bachelor's. "

Fairfield University, the Jesuit University of CT. Nice suburban campus - Fairfield Prep is on campus too. Dorms are all in the same area. Lots of grassy areas to play frisbee, hang out. Library renovated recently; reading area with comfy furniture looks out onto huge hill leading up to chapel. Very bright and sunny. Ran into Marites Cardona '06! She and Spencer Thibodeau '06 love it (2013 update-Spencer is in law school). Great possibilities for internships, since CT is home to many Fortune 500 companies and NYC is just a train ride away. I can see why so many Cheverus students love this place: academic excellence, Jesuit tradition, and some of your friends are here.

Admissions info: "demonstrated interest" counts. They don't like it when a student applies never having set foot on the campus. They want to know that you made a considered decision that Fairfield could be right for you. (these applicants are the least likely to accept an offer of admission, which wastes everyone's time). Two-thirds of their applicants have been on campus. They claim there's no difference in the admit rate between regular and early. 70% apply online. High GPA and SATs? (A/A-, 1340 sats) You may qualify for merit money ranging from $10,000-15,000.  Just keep a 3.0 at Fairfield and that money is renewable. Their admit rate is down to 53% - more applicants makes them more selective. Typically, they will take a B+ Cheverus student with 1140-1300 on the two SATs (Math and CR)

Applicants also apply to WPI, Uconn, Notre Dame, Marist, Tufts, Quinnipiac, Villanova, Holy Cross and Boston College. I am a big fan of Fairfield after spending the day touring the campus!

Cheverus connections: Spencer T will graduate with a political science degree in 2010. Caitlin B and Marites C '06. Dan J and Blaire M '09, Brittany B and Danielle T '11.

Sacred Heart University

Interesting ways to get recruited by SHU: marching band, and chorus! They also recruit for wrestling. There are 800 student athletes.

Bonus: you receive a laptop as a freshman and a new one as a junior. Campus is all wireless.

John Ratzenberger, of Cheers and now Dancing with the Stars, is an alum. This place is growing - buildings and people. New chapel for 2008. Jack Welch, former GE Chairman, just donated a ton of money to the college and their business degree is now accredited. And the dorms! Hardwood floors, marble countertops in the kitchen. We toured one suite that had 6 bedrooms for 11 women, a couple bathrooms, a kitchen and sitting room. I ran into Vanessa Bush '05! She said one of the Marchesi brothers attends SHU also. No large lecture classes: the biggest class is 30 and many students reported upper level classes of 8-15 students.

It appeared to be just one notch down from Fairfield, in terms of academics, admittance, campus. Both are located in Fairfield, CT and "as Catholic as you want to be". No pressure, but you can take advantage of the many service learning opportunities at both colleges, and be among a standing-room-only crowd at weekly mass. In the new version of Princeton Review's 366 Best Colleges book, due out in August, SHU will finally debut in the book, earning some much deserved respect. They are SAT optional.

Sacred Heart admissions: they rejected Cheverus nursing applicants who did not have a 3.0. Granted, that's a small sample and a tough major to get into. 

At all colleges, the number 1 reason why students transferred to other schools was they were not involved in college life, therefore were not connected and not happy. Join a club, get involved in something, and you will have a richer experience.

Cheverus connections: Brian G, Ali M '09, Amanda R '10 attend SHU.

Mitchell College is a small, caring college dedicated to students with learning disabilities.

Southern CT State University. I was not too impressed, for these reasons: only 70% of freshmen return sophomore year, indicating unhappiness with SCSU, I assume. And, only 40% graduate in 4 years. Not good. On the plus side, they are trying to address their low return rate with a "freshman year experience" program. (But, lots of other colleges have been doing this for years with great success. I look for an 80% return rate!) All their buildings are newly renovated and updated. Library doubled in size. Their women's basketball team won the D2 National tourney for the first time ever.

University of New Haven is known for their 'forensic science' major. (Think CSI) I learned that the forensic science major is the person who works in the lab processing the crime scene materials, while the criminal justice major focused on investigations actually goes to the crime scene and processes the material. The university is well known and well regarded for those two majors. We toured their 'lab' which is a house set up as a crime scene. There was a dead dummy on the bed, and students had to figure out what happened. They also have one of only four degrees in the region for music & sound recording and music industry degrees. The other unique degree is fire science, for those who want to be a firefighter with management potential. Their dental hygiene program fills by January 1 and requires 1110 on the 2 SATs. Forensic science requires good math and science grades (no Cs). Cheverus students would also like this: if you don't qualify for acceptance at the tougher engineering schools like RPI, WPI, RIT, New Haven has a college of engineering that is more accessible. Admissions is open 7 days a week for your touring pleasure. Check out their summer open houses for each college. A good statistic: 90% of their resident students return sophomore year. (17% of the total students are commuters)

Campus: What a beautiful campus! Lots of open space, ponds, a stream, surrounded by hills, very similar to Fairfield but with more trees. The library is open 24/7! There was a Red Cross blood drive going on for 3 days this week and many students were involved in that. All the buildings are brick, 2-3 stories, and newly renovated inside and out. Modern, wireless, all state-of-the-art equipment. The Ed McMahon school of communications houses a TV studio, green room, tons of technology. A Massachusetts counselor commented that it is similar to Stonehill. What a clean campus: there were custodians cleaning windows, mopping floors.

Financial Aid: Want to know how much financial aid you'd qualify for? They have a cool online calculator.

I was so impressed with the buildings - all newly renovated, with a big recreation center being constructed.

They would like to take their athletics from D2 to D1, and offer basketball scholarships.

Cheverus connections: Evan J, Joey R and Joe D '11.

Quinnipiac University, a medium sized university with 5400 students. Cheverus connections; Drew F '12. Very modern library is open 24/7. While we toured, there was a 3-day Red Cross blood drive going on and many students were involved. Despite the claim of 10% minority, I saw mostly white students.

Campus: Hills surround this grassy, well-kept campus with 2-3 story brick buildings surrounding a spacious open quad. New business building, and custodians were everywhere, keeping the campus clean and tidy. Small ponds and strems dot the campus, and we crossed a foot bridge to get to the dorms. Some counselors on the tour remarked how similar it is to Stonehill.

Athletics: They are D1. Their new York Hill campus, just around the block, features a twin stadium - one for ice hockey and one for basketball, and dorms will be built along with a student center. You can see Long Island and the Sound from the hill-top stadium.

Dorms: looked like quaint ski villas rather than dreary dorms! Large rooms for quads. Housing is guaranteed all four years. Some seniors live nearby, off campus.

Admissions: about a 70% admit rate. Apply as early in the fall as you can, as some programs fill up after November 15 and they are a rolling admissions school that fills up fast. 

I also spoke with Admissions Reps from the following 5 colleges and universities while I was in Connecticut, but did not visit their campuses:

Western CT University. For their nursing program, you'll need to be in the top 1/3 of your high school class, have 1000 on the SATs, and a C average in Chemistry. For their business program you'll need to be in the top half of your class, have a B average, and 1000 on SATs. They are D3 and recruit for volleyball.

Briarwood. Popular for dental hygiene (2 year program), this small college is also known for working closely with students who have learning disabilities. It is a suitcase campus, where students go home on weekends.

CT College has become highly selective in the last few years. Their admit rate is down to 36% and each year they get more and more applications, making them more choosy. A classic small liberal arts college. Cheverus connections: Mae L '07, Trebor L '12 attend. Popular major: marine science.

St. Joseph's - a women's college, not to be confused with St Joseph's of Maine. They are looking for a strong B student with 1000 on SATs. SJC has strong math and science programs, along with nursing. There are 1100 commuters, and only 400 on campus, and mainly a college for CT women as opposed to out-of-staters.

University of Hartford. 80% of the students live on campus. It is a private school. They are well known for their accredited business program, and their art/dance/theatre/music majors. They are looking for a solid B average with 1070 on the SATs. They are D1.