Friday, October 29, 2010

VIP applications: Faster than a running cheetah

What is a VIP college application? This is a short application sent directly to students by colleges which is much shorter allowing for a fast "turn-around" with an an admissions decision. Colleges who have this application type often send out an application when a student has indicated special interest by visiting or requesting more information. Other terms for the VIP app. are short app. or fast app.

I remember receiving one of these applications via e-mail after I visited the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. During my tour and visit, I made it quite clear that I was an independent counselor, yet I continued to get e-mails encouraging me to apply for at least a month.

What colleges send out these fast applications? It changes from year to year but some of the ones that have done this in the past include Baylor, Case Western, Drexel,Ohio Wesleyan, RIT, RPI, Stonehill, Tulane, University of Minnesota, University of the Pacific, University of Vermont, and Ursinus.

Parents ask me if these applications are favorable for the student and I say yes because they can get back a quick response providing the HS guidance folks submit their information early. In addition, most of these applications do not include an essay which is favorable for students who struggle with writing.

Colleges benefit from this process as well because they get on the student's radar screen early before it is too crowded. First love, first car, and first college acceptance are all pretty special.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Canadian Colleges: Advantages and Disadvantages for American Students

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I just returned from visiting Concordia University and McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Montreal is a fascinating city with mixtures of old and new architecture, French and English culture. Students at both Concordia and McGill have easy access to the arts in Montreal including professional theater, dance, visual arts, and film. In fact you can't avoid public art in Montreal, particularly sculpture. Decorated Moose stand at attention up and down Sherbrooke St. An avant garde film festival was ongoing during my stay. There are also resources for science students including the Insectarium, the Biosphere, and the large Montreal Science Museum. For American students who really like the city vibe of an NYU or an Emerson College, McGill or Concordia Universities could be good choices.

Here are some of the issues to take into account when considering schools in Montreal, CA.
The advantages:

1) Learning French by almost constant exposure. Also, Americans pay cheap tuition for French classes.

2) Low cost. Even with international tuition, Canadian colleges are cheaper than many private colleges in the US

3) Proximity to northern US states such as New York and New England.

4) Broadening understanding of culture through a unique Quebecois, Canadian experience.

The disadvantages:

1)Requires a certain level of maturity in a college student. Independent living is the rule after freshman year.

2) Customs. At certain times of the year, the border crossings can require long waits.

3) Rate of exchange. If the dollar continues to weaken, it will make Canadian colleges more expensive.

4) Eating too much poutine. You will have to hit the gym if you eat too much poutine, a mass of fried potatoes, gravy, and cheese curds.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

GUEST POST: Enjoying Parent's Weekend with Your Freshman

Parent’s Weekend at your son or daughter’s new college is something many parents and new freshmen really look forward to. For the adults, it’s a chance to see where and how your teen is living day to day. For the freshmen, it’s a chance to show their parents how they’re managing their independent lifestyle.

Here are a few tips that helped make my first Parent’s Weekend a successful one:

  • Ask your teen give you a personal tour of the campus. What they choose to show and tell you will most likely be what’s been most important to them about their college experience so far.

  • Use their guest passes to eat a few meals in the dining hall (preferably lunch of dinner). This is guaranteed to give you unlimited access to many of their new friends and it’s much easier to get to know the other students when you’re chatting over a meal than by just saying hello in passing. You can also offer to take your teen and a friend or two out to dinner at a local restaurant that they haven’t discovered yet. A free meal is always appreciated and, if it’s a good experience, has the added bonus of letting you start a new tradition of eating at the same favorite place together every time you visit.

  • Resist the urge to criticize. Bite your tongue whenever you feel the need to question dress, eating, or study habits, the choice of room d├ęcor, or your freshman’s sleep schedule. They’re trying to develop decision-making, organizational, and limit-setting skills and your new role is to listen and let them know you’ll always be there for them.

  • Last but not least, have fun enjoying each other’s company as you enter this exciting new phase of your relationship!

Sue Henninger recently returned from her first Parent's Weekend in Dallas, Texas with her son, a freshman at Southern Methodist University. Visit her website at