Thursday, April 6, 2017

The University of Cincinnati

UC Bearcats

I had a wonderful visit to the University of Cincinnati last week.  It was the final week of March 2017, and the weather was great, the campus was beautiful, and the programs were impressive.  I think some of our students do not always venture out of state due to the cost of tuition and the fact that we have some pretty impressive schools right here in Michigan.  I agree with both of these facts, but after visiting the University of Cincinnati I believe it is worth a look as there are scholarships to make it affordable and some great opportunities that may make it just the right fit for some of our students.  There are great academics, but also lots of sports and organizations for students to get involved in.

Cincinnati Skyline
On each of my trips to a university I do my best to see what makes each campus different from the rest, and what sets it apart from other universities.  The University of Cincinnati is right on the Kentucky border, so one benefit I noticed is that the weather is a little warmer than up in Michigan. The campus is also very walk-able.  Although Cincinnati is a big city, the campus is very self contained.  Students can get into the city and enjoy all it has to offer, but the campus itself is its own oasis.  The campus is very hilly, and students all mentioned the amount of stairs you will walk as you go through campus, it may be hard to gain the freshman 15 on this campus.  We were with one woman on our tour who was in a wheelchair though, and she was still able to get every where on campus as well.

DAPP Building
 There are a lot of opportunities for students at UC.  One that I was not as familiar with is that it was where Co-Op was founded.  There are a few programs that mandate co-op as part of the graduation requirement.  This means that often students are enrolled in the program for 5 years, but they will work at a co-op for about a year and a half full time while finishing their degree.  This allows students to not only get a degree, but to graduate with real work experience.  The programs that require a co-op experience include the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, and the IT major in the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human services.  Students will always get paid as co-ops making any where from 30,000 to 60,000 dollars in income through their co-op experiences.  Students also do not pay tuition during their co-op experience, so even though they may be in school for 5 years they will only be paying for 4 years of tuition.  UC also offers other  experiential learning opportunities including internships, service learning, and undergraduate research.

Another interesting fact I found while visiting UC was how students could work toward a degree in a few different formats.  They have a number of programs that are 3 year BAs  or BSs, bachelor degrees and masters degrees in 5 years, Pre-Professional tracks, a very competitve 4 + 4 dual BS/MD program, and  a 3+3 law school track.  All of these options are appealing as they may lead students to saving quite a bit of money if they know what program they are going to enter into.  I did ask how hard it was to change majors when there are so many options to fast track and directly admit students.  I was told that if a student enters into the right college, and switches majors in that college they can stay on track, but switching from college to college may add some additional time on to a program.

There is a lot to offer on this campus.  Please be sure to check their website for all of the up to date information on admissions.  Please feel free to stop by my office to learn more about the programs and opportunities at UC.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Northern Michigan University

Northern Michigan University –NMU

I had a wonderful opportunity this past weekend to go and visit Northern Michigan University.  My visit was a great experience as I learned so much about what this university offers for students.  NMU is located in Marquette, MI.  For those of us who have never been to the UP this is 3 hours past the bridge.  It is around 8 hours from Novi, which makes it an option for students who may want to go away to school, but still get in state tuition.
Mackinaw Bridge

NMU is an affordable school.  The total cost to attend this school year is $19,762.44.  There are a lot of opportunities to receive scholarships at NMU.  The following link will show you what scholarships are available to students.  There are some scholarships that are automatic based on academic merit, and some that are awarded during the scholarship competition.

Marquette is a small town with a lot of quaint local stores, restaurants, and coffee shops.  There are some well-known stores there as well, Target and Walmart are both in Marquette.  The CEO of Starbucks actually graduated from Northern so there is a Starbucks right on campus.

There are some really amazing academic opportunities at Northern.  It is a small campus, so students are able to get more hands on experience starting their freshman year.  They have the Brain Tumor Research Center, which I toured and I was able to see actual cancer cells through the microscope.  Students in the research center are doing really exciting research, and they are learning valuable skills of using the state of the art equipment in the lab.  Northern is also known for their competitive nursing program and art opportunities including graphic arts and fine arts.

They are also growing new programs.  In the next few school years Northern will be offering a Forensic Science and Anthropology degree, a Medicinal Plant Chemistry degree, and a degree in Behavior AnalysisAll of these programs along with many of their undergraduate programs offer students opportunities to work along-side professors who are experts in their field.  Students are able to develop strong working relationships with their professors as the campus' close knit environment is conducive for these opportunities.

There is a strong sense of community on campus.  Many students who attend Northern love the outdoor opportunities that can be found on or near campus. Some of these include hiking, skiing, snowmobiling, rock climbing, swimming, and camping.  I did find that not all students love the outdoors though.  Many of the students I met enjoyed being involved on campus and hanging out indoors, especially during the winter months. 
Ore Dock on Lake Superior

Another note about Northern is how accessible it is to many students.  They offer a number of programs ranging from one and two year programs all the way up to graduate degrees.  For a complete list of programs they offer visit the following link:

Please feel free to stop by and ask any questions you may have about Northern!

Sarah Lephart

Friday, May 13, 2016

University of California - Berkeley

The University of California Berkeley

I had the privilege of visiting UC Berkley this past week, the final week of April 2016.  It was an amazing trip, and gave me the ability to see what makes this great institution so great.  According to the U.S. News and World Report UC Berkeley is the #1 Public University in the country.  So, what makes this school so amazing?  What type of students would find UC Berkeley the right institution to pursue their undergraduate degrees?  There were a few things that stood out to me, that define a Berkeley student.

1.  Commitment to a Better World

Berkeley has this as a commitment throughout their programs.  Everywhere we went I heard about how the students at Berkeley were working to make the world a better place.  This commitment in all of their programs includes everything from sustainable energy and agriculture, to social justice issues, to economic efficiency.  Berkeley is educating students to go on to make an impact on the world we live in.

2.  Open Minded

UC Berkeley is known for embracing open minded students.  Students that go to Berkeley are often passionate about certain aspects of life.  They will stand up for what they believe is right, but are open to hearing others opinions.  Berkeley students are respectful, and believe that it is good to have open dialogues with people that come from all backgrounds and beliefs.

3. Great Location

Berkeley is a great city.  There is so much to do in Berkeley and much of it is within walking distance or a short bus ride from campus.  San Francisco and Oakland are both close to Berkeley and offer many options for students to enjoy.  There are great restaurants, theaters, and fun activities for students to enjoy.  Not far from the city though is the opportunity for students to go hiking and enjoy nature.  It is a good mix of both city life and outdoor activities.

4.  Learn from Some of the Best

UC Berkeley is proud of their impressive statistics.  Currently there are 7 Nobel Prizes held by current faculty members, 77 Faculty Fulbright Scholars, 13 National Medals of Science held by current faculty members, just to name a few. Becoming a Berkeley student is competitive as the acceptance rate is 14.8% this year.

If you are the type of student who wants to make an impact on the world and learn from some of the best minds in your field of study, Berkeley may be the right school for you.  Please feel free to stop by and meet with me if you would like to discuss UC Berkeley or any other University of California school.

*Please note some of the statistics may change from year to year so please be sure to check UC Berkeley's website for the most up to date information on their school.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Why UCI?

Peter the Anteater
and I

I had the privilege this past weekend of visiting The University of California Irvine.  I was one of 22 counselors from East of the Mississippi to visit the campus and learn what they have to offer.  It was an amazing trip, not only because it was in California, but I learned so much about the campus and the University of California application process.  I am going to share with you some of the reasons that may answer the question, "Why UCI?"

Newport Beach is just a few minutes
drive from campus
One of the biggest draws to UCI is location, location, location. Students should look for a school they will be comfortable at, and for some this might just be UCI.  The school is located not far from the beach, mountains, and Disneyland.  A student could spend a Saturday skiing in the morning, on the beach in the afternoon, and close the night out at Disneyland.  It is truly a beautiful campus in one of the safest cities in the country!
Very close to Disneyland

Along with the beauty of the city, the campus also has a really unique lay out.  It is a large campus with around 23,000 undergraduates.  The campus is very diverse and is laid out in a strategic way.  It is mostly self-contained, so students are able to walk or take the shuttle everywhere on campus.  The campus has an inner and an outer circle.  On the inside of the inner circle is Aldrich Park, a popular place for students to relax and study.  There are over 11,000 trees in the park!  The unique layout gives the campus a smaller feel.
Picturesque campus

There are plenty of opportunities for students to get involved on and off campus.  One area that UCI is known for is the opportunities for undergraduate research.  The students are given opportunities to begin research starting as early as their sophomore year.  Students can seek out research through the research opportunities office or by initiating with their professors if they have an idea for research.  The school has a number of very strong research programs including a popular biological sciences program and engineering programs.  The community of Irvine is a planned community, so it is laid out strategically so people can stay near their homes.  This means that there are businesses, schools, and homes all close together.  With so many businesses close by students have ample opportunities to get involved in internships with local businesses. 

Jodaiko: a Japanese drumming ensemble
 well known on campus
UC Irvine offers a lot of support for their undergraduate students. Each program has academic advisors specializing in the specifics of the program.  These individuals are invaluable resources that are eager to help when the student seeks out the services.  There is also LARK which is a center that offers tutoring, peer academic advisors, and free study session workshops.  UCI boasts a 90% retention rate for the second year, and has a high four year graduation rate.

The Zot-N-Go an on-campus
convenience store
You may be starting to wonder "what is UC Irvine looking for in candidates?"  The University of
California is a different application than what we usually see in Michigan.  Students can fill out one application for all of the campuses, but will pay an application fee for each campus they send their information to.  Students only need to send their ACT or SAT scores to one campus, they share the scores with each other.

Some requirements include the following:

 A 3.4 GPA (this is a weighted GPA looking only at the grades in the 10th and 11th grades) along with the courses listed below.  

They call this the A-G requirements.

A. 2 years of History/Social Science
 • One year of world history, cultures and geography
 • One year of U.S. history OR a semester of U.S. history and a semester of American government/civics

B. 4 years of English

C. 3 years of Mathematics (4 years recommended)
 • Must include algebra, geometry, and advanced algebra

D. 2 years of Laboratory Science (3 years recommended)
 • Must include two of these three subjects: biology, chemistry, and physics

E. 2 years of Language other than English (3 years recommended)
 • The second year or higher of the same language must be completed to fulfill this requirement

F. 1 year of Visual and Performing Arts
 • Both courses must be from the same discipline (dance, drama/theater, music or visual arts)

G. 1 year of College Preparatory Electives   

Keep in mind that this school like many other California schools is very competitive.  Along with a solid transcript, students will also have the opportunity to tell about themselves and their experiences.  This is a time to brag and be specific.  Quantify your accomplishments and explain what you have gained through the many experiences you have had as a high school student.  You want to stand out, so let them know what makes you the right fit for their campus. 

Please feel free to come and see me if you have any questions or want to learn more about UC
Irvine or the University of California system.  It is a beautiful school with many unique opportunities. 

*Please keep in mind requirements can change from year to year, so for the most accurate and up to date information visit their webpage.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The New SAT

SAT 2016                         

Test by wecometolearn,One big change for Juniors in Michigan next year is that the SAT will be part of MME testing instead of the ACT.  This has created a little uncertainty among students and parents who may have been surprised by this news that was announced earlier in the year.  So, what does it really mean for students?

The change will mostly mean that many more students in Michigan will be taking the SAT than ever before.  Most colleges have historically accepted both ACT and SAT scores and this will continue to be true.  Students in Michigan have usually taken the ACT because it is the test that has been given to all Juniors in Michigan since it was added to the MME in 2007. This will change starting next year as SAT won the bid to be the test given during the MME to all juniors in the state of Michigan. This will be an adjustment, but for students who have been preparing for the ACT, this does not mean they can not still take the ACT.  Students can still sign up to take the ACT on a national testing day, just like they used to do before.  Colleges will continue to look at both assessments.

Historically the SAT has been seen as a little more tricky in the types of questions they ask, but the format for the SAT is changing for the 2016 test takers.  The College Board has reformatted the test, and it looks more like the ACT in the way the test is set up.  There are a few big changes in the newly formatted SAT.  

1.  The first is that students used to lose a percentage of a point if they guessed incorrectly. With the new format for the SAT students will no longer be penalized for guessing.  Students should answer all the questions, just like they do with the ACT.

Critical Reading 52 questions 66 minutes
Writing 44 questions 35 minutes
Essay   1 question 50 minutes
Mathematics 58 questions 80 minutes
Total questions 155 questions (including the essay) 230 minutes (including the essay)

2.  Scoring:

    • Total score ranging from 400 - 1600. 
    • Scale ranging from 200 - 800 for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing.  
    • Scale ranging from 200 - 800 for math
    • 2 - 8 on each of three traits for Essay, and essay score is reported separately.
    • Subscores will be reported for every test

3.  Students often correlate the SAT with tricky vocabulary and studying words off of note cards.  This will change next year.  The vocabulary will focus on relevant words in context.  

4.  There will not be a separate science section.  Students will apply their reading, writing, language, and math skills to answer questions in science, history, and social studies.

5.   Students will be asked to interpret, synthesize, and use evidence found to answer the questions.
File:Love math 1.jpg

6.  Math will focus on three key areas including, problem solving and data analysis (quantitative literacy), the heart of algebra (mastery of linear equations), and passport to advanced math (familiarity with more complex questions).  There will not be a separate Geometry section.

7.  There will be real world problems that directly relate to the work in college.

8.  The essay will more closely mirror college writing.  The writing prompt will be made public, and the only part that will vary is the excerpt the student is asked to analyze.  Students will read a passage and explain how the author builds an argument to persuade an audience. The essay is now an optional piece of the SAT and is given at the end of the test.  The essay will be mandatory for all 11th graders to take during the MME.  When students sign up to take the test outside of the MME they will be allowed to choose if they will take the essay portion or not.  Students will be given 50 minutes for the essay portion.

9.  Every student who takes the SAT will come across a passage from the a founding document or a text from the ongoing global conversation about freedom, justice, and human dignity.

Original (575 × 405)These changes to the SAT will call for some getting used to, but I am confident our students will do well.  When meeting with a representative from the College Board we were told that students should do well if they do their work in school, and I am confident Novi High School students who do their work are well prepared for this test.  The representative also said that students should read, read as much as they can.  He mentioned reading different types of texts, so this summer students should pick up the newspaper each week and read it.  Visit the library and check out a variety of books; look for fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, classics, and any other category you can think of.  This will be a great way for students to prepare for the new upcoming SAT test.

This will be an adjustment for everyone.  As we go through this next year, please feel free to contact your counselor.  We are happy to answer any questions we can about this new test.  We will not have all of the answers, but we will do our best to find the answers and we will navigate this together.  

A great resource for preparing for the SAT is Khan Academy. They are partnering with the College Board to offer a number of resources to help students prepare for the new SAT.  Keep checking their sight as they add more resources for the new test.

Monday, February 9, 2015



Yes, everyone it is that wonderful time of year, scheduling season.  We have just started second semester, but it is time to start thinking about the 2015 – 2016 school year.  Some of you will be SENIORS next year, and you are probably excited about scheduling your final year of high school.  Some will be just starting the high school journey and may be a little nervous about navigating these next four years.  The rest of you are in the thick of it, you know all about scheduling but it still can be a daunting task.  This is written to hopefully put everyone at ease.  Please take time to read the tips, and be sure to know your counselors and teachers are here to help answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to ask!

This year we will be scheduling one on one with each student.  We are looking forward to this, although we may hit a few bumps in the road, we are hopeful that this will be what is best for each student.  We are also looking forward to connecting with each student face to face as we help them navigate the scheduling process.  Please see the tips below, and remember we are here to help so just ask.  We always have walk-in lunches, students can sign up to see us, plus we will be available at lunches in the atrium on February 13th and 19th for students to stop by our table to ask questions.

Some Helpful Scheduling Tips:

*Review the course catalog.  Make sure you look at all the options that are available, and choose the classes you need for graduation and those that interest you.  Don’t just choose classes based on what your friends are taking, look for classes that are in your area of interest. 

*Plan ahead, make sure you know if a class needs a prerequisite, and schedule for it.  Begin with the end in mind so that you can have the opportunity to take the classes you want.

*Take a look at your transcript.  It is now available on MiStar.  This is a great way for you to make sure you are meeting the graduation requirements or to check to see if you have the prerequisites required to take certain classes.

*Have a conversation with your teachers.   Ask them what class may be best for you to take next.  Do they think you are ready for an AP or IB class, should you take pre-calculus or statistics?  Teachers are experts in their field; they might really give you some insight as to what class would be a good fit for you.

*Be sure to also talk with your parent or guardian about your schedule for next year.  They will need to sign the pre-enrollment form, so sit down and have a discussion with them before you ask them to sign.  They know you well too, they can give you some insight as to how much you can handle next year.  

*Turn your completed pre-enrollment form into your English teacher by February 20th, you will not be allowed to schedule until that form is 100% complete and turned in.

  • Please note that if you do not complete this form by the deadline you will be assigned classes based on course availability.

*Plan a brief one on one meeting with your counselor on your assigned date.  Make sure you have everything ready to meet with your counselor.  Some classes require applications, so if you are signing up for one of these classes make sure to bring in your application for scheduling.

*Your classes that you select are what we build our schedule around, so be sure are choosing classes you really want.  Switching classes can be difficult after the master schedule is built, so take this scheduling time seriously.

Happy Scheduling!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Independents

Follow Your Own Path- The Independent Colleges and Universities of Michigan

There are so many options when looking at what type of post-secondary school is the best fit for a student.  We are fortunate in Michigan to have many options available to our students.  Many of us have heard about the Public Universities of Michigan, but what about all the independent schools that are out there.  There are a number of private colleges and universities that may be the perfect fit for a student. 

So, why would a student choose a private college or university?  Private schools are generally smaller in size which can be very appealing to some students who are looking for a more close knit community.  Private colleges and universities often have a smaller teacher to student ratio, so students are able to get to know their professors better and have more individualized attention.  Private colleges and universities also provide ample opportunity to get involved in sports, clubs, study abroad programs, and other activities sponsored by the school.
On November 13th, 2014 a few of the high school counselors attended a program to learn more about the Independent Colleges and Universities in Michigan.  Our goal was to learn as much as we could about each of the schools so we can share them with our students and families here in Novi.  We have compiled a list of facts about each of the schools to help shed more light on some of these great schools.

Detroit Mercy
  • Has a nationally ranked Engineering Program
  • 100% of the 2014 graduating engineering class and nursing class were employed in their field or moved on to higher education in the field of engineering or nursing.
  • Offers 1 of the only dental schools in the state
  • Scholarships are automatically looked at when applying; the average scholarship last year was $18,000/yr.
  • They offer Division I sports

  • Only offers an undergraduate program
  • K-Plan includes: Depth and Breadth in Liberal Arts and Sciences, Learning through Experiences, International Study Abroad Program, and Senior Individualized Project
  • 80% of their students study abroad at some point during their undergraduate experience
  • Foreign Language and PE/Wellness is required
  • They offer a flexible open curriculum

Sienna Heights
  • Was an all women’s school all the way up through 1969
  • Offer scholarships in both sports and the arts
  • Giving back to the community is an important part of this school’s philosophy
  • They offer strong Science and Arts programs
  • Students with higher than a 3.5 GPA are invited to a scholarship competition day on campus

  • Insurance and Risk Management has 100% job placement
  • Offers Division III sports
  • They super-score the ACT
  • Their current enrollment is 1152 students
  • They offer an Education Program for the freshman year that allows students exposure to the different classrooms

  • Located on 50 wooded acres inside the city of Detroit
  • Classes have between 7 and 15 students
  • Have a 75% job placement rate
  • 90% of students will have an internship or go on to graduate school
  • Offer a BS/BSN with Oakland, 30 Marygrove students will be admitted to Oakland University to complete a 5th year BSN degree

Spring Arbor
  • Nationally ranked school of education
  • Average class size is 20 students
  • 1st semester senior year they have CORE class with 15 freshman and a faculty member.  The classmates all live on the same dorm floor and it becomes like a family.
  • Requires a 3 week cross cultural trip with faculty and staff, the cost is included with tuition
  • NAIA Division II sports

  • A 3.0 and 20 on the ACT make you competitive for admission
  • Free to apply
  • 1500 students enrolled
  • If you make less than $20,000/year when you graduate your loans are repaid by Spring Arbor until you make $37,000 or more

  • 1400 students on campus with an average class size of 16
  • An all undergraduate school, allowing for a large number of undergraduate research opportunities
  • Nearly half of the students have a study abroad or research abroad experience
  • A G.P.A of 3.0 and ACT score of 20 makes a strong candidate for admission.

  • Christian history with options for Christians to explore faith-yet a diverse campus with all faiths welcome and represented
  • Strong emphasis that the first year is about exploration, they encourage students to make commitments about majors later
  • All freshmen have a first year seminar and their professor is their four year advisor
  • Only offers undergraduate programs
  • Located right in Holland, MI and is just a short bike ride from Lake Michigan.

  • 4300 students, making them a larger, private, independent school
  • 300 students live on campus
  • Is a Catholic University, not required to be Catholic or participate in ministry
  • 6 religious studies credits are required
  • They offer graduate programs, undergrads can stay and pay the undergrad rate

  • A Catholic College located in Grand Rapids
  • 50% of students are Catholic and 70% are of the Christian faith
  • Their largest departments are Business, Sciences, and Education
  • Some unique programs they offer include: Sustainable Business, Community Leadership, Conductive Education, and a Nursing Collaboration with Detroit Mercy
  • NAIA sports, two of their new programs are men and women’s bowling and men and women’s hockey

Alma College
  • If you have an IB Diploma you can enroll with 32 credits
  • Offer the Alma Commitment, if you do not graduate in 4 years, the next semester of tuition is free
  • Their Law School and Medical School admission rate is 2 times the national average
  • 1/3 of students are involved in Greek life
  • Average financial aid package is $20,000

Andrews University
  • Christian University affiliated with the Adventist denomination
  • 80% of students are from outside of Michigan
  • 10 sister schools outside of the US
  • Some unique programs include Architecture with a Master’s Degree is a four year degree plus one and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy with 3 years undergrad and 3 years graduate school
  • They offer Dual Enrollment for high school seniors through an online format at the cost of $100/credit

  • Think deeply, live fully, act justly
  • A minimum of 2.5 GPA and a 20 on the ACT
  • A strong faith based school
  • They emphasize Research, Internship, and Service
  • A Division III school with the largest D-III arena in the nation
  • Liberal Arts emphasis
  • 35% of students participate in Greek life and 65% of students work on campus
  • 83% Graduation rate with a 97% employment/graduate school rate
  • 10th in nation of happiest students
  • They do not use the FAFSA, but the CFFFS their own form
*Please keep in mind that we do our best to take the most accurate notes.  Please check with each University for exact and most up to date information.