NH colleges

I attended the NH Colleges Tour for college counselors in October 2006. Each campus provided 3 hours of information and tours.  Below, please find my impressions of each campus.

Plymouth State College is for teacher preparation and business majors. It is also for skiers and others who enjoy the outdoors: the White Mountains are only a 20-minute drive! Each year, students vote which mountain they get to ski for $5/day (Loon, Cannon, Ragged, Tenney). Passes are also cheap. Undeclared majors live in the same dorm and get extra advising to help them decide which major is for them. A unique program is the meteorology degree. PSU is a larger school, with 4000 undergrads.

Cheverus connections: Alyssa A '10, Brendin L '10, Stephanie R '10, Devon J '14.

Southern NH University in Manchester has a culinary arts associates and bachelors degree. This is a private school that used to be a college but has now grown into a university of 2000 undergrads. Over half of the students major in Business. Sport Management is another popular major, with students interning with the Yankees, at spring training, and at the Olympics. There is an accelerated 3 year business degree for those who want to get their bachelors in 3 years instead of 4. Must have a 3.0 average with 1100 SAT scores.

Cheverus connections: Sam H '10 attends. Elise C '13 & Grace S 14 attend & major in hospitality mgmt.

Daniel Webster College in Nashua. Half the students are in aviation programs, of which there are 3: air traffic control, aeronautics engineering, and flight operations. Need a 3.2 gpa and 1120 SAT scores. This program is male-dominated, and therefore the male to female ratio at the school is 4:1. Very small school (600 students) who mostly live on campus. UPDATE: In 2010, DWC was bought out by a for-profit company.

Franklin Pierce . Mount Monadnock looks over the lakeside campus. 90% of the 1700 students live on campus. The average accepted applicant has a 2.84 gpa and 1510 SAT scores. Popular majors are business and criminal justice. I sat in on a Journalism class where they were updating the internal website. A huge recreational complex has something for everyone: fitness equipment, indoor soccer fields & bball courts. Students had the following advice to incoming freshmen:
  1. get involved on campus and try something new;
  2. choose a college or university for more than one reason in case it falls through (example: you chose the college so you can play a sport but get injured-do you still want to stay at that college?)
  3. you read so much more than you do in high school - get ready!

Keene State College has lots of newly renovated buildings featuring spacious rooms and lots of natural light. Dining Commons has lots of food choices for students along with vaulted ceilings and lots of windows. Most major in teacher preparation, or business. Incoming freshmen had a 3.0 gpa and 900-1100 SAT scores. Merit based grants require a high gpa, good SAT scores, and an early application. You can walk to town, population 25,000. A huge fitness center hosts a yoga studio, lots of equipment and bball courts, an indoor track and pool. I took classes at Keene from 1988-1992 and the campus has added beautiful brick buildings and computer labs, but still has that suburban, small campus feel.

New England College.  The small NH town of Henniker (population 2500) even has a covered bridge! Most of the buildings need updating and renovating. Students like the small size of the school and classes. They enjoy the activities on campus and Concord NH is 20 minutes away for shopping. Students advise you visit the campus of any school before you decide. Getting a feel for the campus is key. My tour guide was a transfer student with a learning disability who felt he got the support he needed at NEC. A tour of the dorms revealed a variety of students: jocks, hippies, artists and bookworms. Popular majors are business and education. Pat's Peak is just up the road and offers free skiing for students. Division 3 ice hockey is popular with players and fans. You'll need a 2.75 gpa to gain admittance, but higher gpas make you eligible for more merit-based financial aid.

St. Anselm College sits high atop a hill in Manchester NH. Cheverus sends lots of students to St. A's. They are looking for gpa in the B+ range (3.4) and are SAT optional except for nursing applicants. Ray M '06 graduated St A's and is now at Tufts Medical. Their nursing program is more competitive to get into, and their politics major benefits from a recent addition: The NH Institute of Politics.

Cheverus connections: Drew C '09, Bridie N '09, Ryan M '09, Josh R '09, Caitlin H '08, Ashley G '10, Paige M '10, Julie S '10, Kiely M '10, Patrick C 12, Ceile D 12, Catie W 12, '13: Kelsey & Jamie D. Izzy C, Lisette L, Zak P '14.

Colby Sawyer College is in the small quaint town of New London, NH surrounded by mountains. Every year students climb Mt. Kearsarge together, and ski free at Sunapee. Concord and Hanover are 30 minutes away. Housing options are coed, substance-free, or women's only dorms. Top majors are nursing, sport science, psychology and communication studies. The library resides inside a huge old barn with exposed beams and a silo. Outside, it looks like a barn but inside you'll find all the modern conveniences. A unique varsity sport is coed equestrian.

Cheverus connections: Chris L '09, Chris G '10, Conley D '13.

Dartmouth. Ivy League. Extremely selective. Not that you should not bother applying, but you'll need to be a certain person to be accepted: you need to be passionate about something, be it academic or extracurricular. You must be able to express that passion in an interview or in an essay. Dartmouth needs to see that "spark" and know that you will contribute something to their community, again, be it academic or extracurricular. Have you challenged yourself by taking AP courses? Become involved in your learning by asking questions and reading on your own? Only 10% of the applicants are accepted, and being in the top 10% of your class with great SATs is no guarantee.

Cheverus connections: Meegan D '10,  Jack T '11 and Deirdre L '11 attend.

Rivier College, a Catholic school in Nashua NH. Popular majors are nursing and education. Students who apply to Stonehill often apply to Rivier also. For nursing students, Rivier has the sim family (mother, father and infant) and we got to see the infant in an incubator, having its vitals monitored. It looked pretty realistic - breathing and making noises! Their nursing program may be easier to get into compared to St. Anselm, but it is still capped at a certain amount of students. Other programs require a solid B average with 1500 SATs and in the top half of the graduating class. The new Education building houses a day care and kindergarden so students get immediate experience. Half of the students commute and half live on campus. There is a substance-free dorm and co-ed dorm. Cheverus connections: Matt A '13 is a nursing major.

UNH - information updated after Dec 2007, May 2011 & Nov 2014 campus visits

I graduated UNH in 1994 with a masters in English and the campus sure has grown! New buildings, additions to buildings, and new dorms sprouted up. Admissions tells me that they are getting more competitive just because of the sheer number of applicants. Their business school is tops in Forbes. You can take the train to Portland and Boston and don't need a car on campus. Merit scholarships are determined by your GPA and SAT scores. Due to large classes and a university (bigger) setting, you would need to be confident and engaged, and willing to ask for help or you may get lost. Their nursing program admitted 200 applicants to fill 56 slots and fielded 1200 applicants! Their business and engineering degrees are popular right now. Admissions is looking for a B+ and average test scores. Students also applied to NYU, Fordham, UConn, Emerson, Emmanuel. Some dorms are themed: sports, international students, engineers, honors, substance-free.

Tuition Break
If you wish to get a discount on tuition, you may do so if you are majoring in something that UNH offers that the University of Maine System does not. Example: classics, ecogastronomy, Russian, Tourism, Enviro Engineering. You can get a tuition break OR a scholarship but not both.

UNH is a popular choice for many Cheverus students. In the past a couple have flunked out because they spent less time in classes than at frat parties. Another student left because she found it too big. If at Cheverus you were a big fish in a small pond, are you ready to make the transition? UNH is trying to shed its 'party school' image but it is still a large campus with a healthy Greek life.
I visited again in December 2007. New dorms are going up and older dorms were recently renovated.

Class Sizes
Students should prepare for and expect class sizes of 100-200. 8% of the classes are that large. Often the clicker method is used to solicit quick feedback from students to a question or prompt by the teacher. You're more likely to find large classes in bio, chem, calc.  Freshmen take 2-3 classes that are capped at 24 and under. No cell phones are allowed in classes and if discovered, you're asked to leave the room.

Retention Rate, Grad Rate
Despite the large class sizes, UNH boasts a 89% retention rate, their highest ever. 70% of students graduate n 4 years and 80% graduate in 6 years.

"Party School" Image
In the past, if you were arrested in the town of Durham, UNH may not necessarily find out and may not take any action. The riots were a turning point. Residential Life and academics are no longer separate, and conduct is not only a residential life issue. Students in trouble meet with both res life and faculty for a plan to recover.

UNH is conservative in the early action pool, often putting off a decision until regular decision. "Clear admits" get in at the early action time. One third of the applicants apply early action. Examples: a Cheverus senior with a 3.23 was deferred from early to regular and was admitted after 1st semester grades showed continued good progress. A Cheverus senior with a 3.5 was admitted during the early action round. A solid B+ and 550 on each SAT make you a strong candidate. UNH is very interested final semester senior year grades because they know that seniors who take 2nd semester off are more likely to flunk out of college during the first semester. UNH did rescind an admitted student's offer from Cheverus in the past.
Their admit rate for out of state students is 54%, while in state it is 70%.
Admissions requests that you send no more materials than they ask for. No resumes, no letters of rec beyond the one required. They would rather have high grades and so-so SAT scores than lower grades.
Most applicants complete 4 years each of math, science, language, and history.

When Admissions withdraws the offer of admission
It happens! 10 offers per year are cancelled after examining the final transcript. Students who were earning Bs and then earned Ds get their offers cancelled. Go from Bs to Cs? You get a warning letter because you will do poorly at UNH.

The Role of Parents
Admissions made special note of the increasing role of parents in their child's college life. They find that students cannot advocate for themselves, and need to do so, because their parents have so far done that for them. Students don't know how to approach professors and ask how grades are calculated or how they can do better. Professors are concerned that parents are trying to talk their students out of certain majors that don't lead directly and obviously to a certain job. Professors noted that students are more creative and entrepreneurial when it comes to combining their passions with a major, and hopes they will stick to studying what they are interested in.

Nursing Majors
Nursing is the most selective major on campus! In the past, Cheverus students have been admitted to UNH but not to the nursing program. SAT scores are emphasized more if you are applying as a nursing major, as are your grades in math and science classes. In 2011, 1760 was the average SAT score for admitted nursing students. You cannot transfer into the program after freshman year.

Engineering majors
Take precalc but not Stats in high school. You will take Calc at UNH after taking a placement exam to be sure you don't need to retake precalc.

Business Majors
Don't take Stats as your only math class senior year. It should be paired with precalc or Calc.

New majors in life sciences: genetics, sustainable agriculture, neuroscience and behavior. One semester of Calc required, usually spring semester freshman year after taking the UNH math placement exam.

Study Abroad
You'll need a 2.5 gpa at UNH and a clean conduct record to participate in study abroad.

The Thompson School
this is the 2-year college on the same campus. You need a C average to get in. Live in the same dorms as UNH students, and earn a 2 year associates degree. Many students treat it as a 2+2 program, and start out as a business major in Thompson and then stay at UNH for their bachelors.

UNH Faculty panel November 2014
The professors talked about the "value added" aspects to education at UNH ...research and clinicals and study abroad are all attractive to employers. If you graduate with 'just the degree' you are not setting yourself apart from other job applicants or grad school applicants.

Civil engineering. Problem...students are good at math and science and told 'you should be an engineer' but what about making a career in it? What's it like? Faculty engagement is up to the kid, must ask for it, must seek out opportunity. Some students who show initiative write conference papers for professional organizations, almost masters level research.
Thompson school...most know their major and can't change it .... No time in just those 4 semesters to change your mind. Work ready after two years. Internship required.
Health majors .. Highly tracked, meaning not a lot of room for extra classes, clinicals are super important.
Life sciences and agriculture .. Faculty are advisors, makes a difference. No vet school in NH. UNH houses state vet diagnostic lab on campus. Soph year - students taking organic chem figure out if pre med is for them or not.
Animal science is pre vet and large animal vets are needed. Add equine science courses if  you want to work with horses. Zoo vets major in zoology with a pre vet track. Bio is the major is you want to work for small animal and are on the pre vet track. 80-100% vet admission rates.

Cheverus connections: Mia B '12, Galen H '12, Maddie P '12, Emma S '11. Sean O and Emily C from class of 2010 are at UNH. Jamie L graduated Cheverus in 2009 and transferred to USM. Ryan S and Ryan K (Cheverus 2008) are at UNH. (Ryan S later moved to Calif) '13: Donald G, Tyler S.

links checked 11/2014