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.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Paying for College

Paying for College

As fall is upon us many of our seniors have filled out college applications, written college entrance essays, and requested all their transcripts.  Just when it seems like it should be a time for taking a breath, many are starting to think about the realities of going to college.  College is expensive, and now as many will start hearing in the next few months where they have been accepted, the reality of how am I going to pay for this is setting in. 

Each year a few of the counselors attend a workshop to get up-to-date information on Financial Aid in Michigan.  I have included some essential information we received from this workshop for students as they begin to think about paying for college.

  •       Everyone should fill out the FAFSA.  Even if you don’t think you will qualify for financial aid, most colleges require the FAFSA for students when awarding scholarships.

  •       There are different types of financial aid.

o   Scholarships –a financial award based on academic merit (many of these are awarded to students automatically when they apply to a college) or some other criteria the scholarship sponsor has set forth.

§  There are a number of scholarships to apply for including local scholarships and private scholarships.

§  Our local scholarship information becomes available in December, be sure to check your school email for dates and deadlines in regard to these scholarships.

§  There are a number of reliable scholarship websites out there, but some are scams.  Keep in mind if they are asking you for money it is most likely a scam.  I have included some reliable scholarship websites below.

·        www.michigan.gov/ssg
·        www.offtocollege.com

o   Grants
§  These are also financial awards often given by a school or the government for students who show financial need.

o   Loans
§  A school loan is given by the government to help a student pay for school, but students will need to pay back the loan after graduation.  There are different types of loans, so be sure to understand the type of loan you are accepting.
§  Students can take all of a loan or part of a loan; it is wise to only take as much as you need.

·        Save the Date  
o   December 20th is the date Local Scholarship information will become available
o   January 1st is when students can begin to fill out the FAFSA
o   January 21st is our school’s Financial Aid night, a valuable information session for students and parents to learn more about financial aid and to ask questions of a financial aid expert.

Monday, September 29, 2014

College Options

Three of the guidance counselors from Novi High School attended an informational meeting with some of the most competitive colleges in the country.  In attendance were admission representatives from Harvard, Stanford, Duke, Georgetown, andUniversity of Pennsylvania  This was a great opportunity to see what these colleges, along with other competitive colleges are looking for when they are reviewing applications every year.  The presentation focused mostly on some of the myths that students and families think will help them get into the college of their dreams. 

Myth 1:  Taking a summer program at a school will give me an advantage when it comes to applying to that college.
Fact 1:  The summer programs at prestigious colleges and universities can be excellent opportunities, but only when it focuses on a student’s area of interest.  The admissions representatives said that students should find something they are passionate about and find opportunities to learn more about their passions.  This could include experiences from a part time job, volunteering in the community, or a camp or summer program.  Not one of these opportunities give a student more of an advantage.  Students should find experiences that will give them the chance to explore their interests.

Myth 2: I should get through my classes quickly so that I can go on to Dual Enrollment or online classes to advance my education.
Fact 2:  The admissions representatives all emphasized how they prefer a student to take classes in their high school if the class is offered.  Univeristies are given our school profile so they know the rigor of our school, but if a student takes a class online or through Dual Enrollment they will not always know the rigor of the program.  If a student loves math though, and is really good at math, then they may pursue the next level of math at a local college or community college.  The representatives again said if it is something you really like or are interested in pursue it, do not just take classes for the sake of taking a class.

Myth 3:  I should test out to get through my classes more quickly.
Fact 3:  Many colleges do not want to see a test out on a transcript; they prefer to see a grade.

Myth 4
:  I need to take all of the classes everyone else is taking so I can compete.
Fact 4: “Once you start competing to beat out everyone you just start to look the same.” – college admissions representative

Myth 5:  A student should keep taking ACT or SAT tests to get higher scores.
Fact 6:  One admissions representative said, “Testing is only one component.  Put your efforts into other areas.  Testing should not become and extra-curricular.”

One other tip the admissions representatives gave was to make full use of the personal statement.  Students should use all of the words allowed, and use it to speak to something they are really passionate about not just something they think the admissions representatives want to hear.
The bottom line is that it is important for students to focus on things they are interested in.  Students shouldn't just take classes or go to programs for the sake of going.  Universities want students who will contribute to their community, they want students who are passionate about something and who have taken full advantage of opportunities they are afforded to further learn about their interests.

*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.

Promoting the Publics 2014 – 2015

Promoting the Publics 2014 – 2015

Every year the counselors at Novi High School make it a top priority to attend the Promoting the Publics event in Lansing, Michigan.  This event is held annually to keep high school guidance counselors abreast of all that is happening in Michigan Public Universities.  It is a great opportunity for the counselors to learn a little more about the  different public universities and bring back valuable information to our students.  We have compiled our notes about each of the university sessions we attended into five quick facts every student should know.

Oakland University

  • OU and Cooley Law School have a partnership, so some students can start taking law classes before they complete their Bachelor’s degree. 
  • The 2014 school year marks the 4th class of OU's William Beaumont School of Medicine and the Human Health building, a state of the art new health building which houses the School of Nursing and the School of Health Sciences, is now open. 
  • The new Engineering Complex had its grand opening on September 12, 2014. 
  • There are NO fees at OU and OU has a “No Loan Guarantee” for incoming freshman with financial need. 
  • Their competitive Nursing Direct program has an application deadline of October 15, 2014. 

Wayne State
  • Student Center is being renovated this year and they have a newly renovated dining hall. 
  • Their College of Engineering was the first in the nation to launch an electric driving vehicle. 
  • Their Department of Chemistry is in the top 100 in the nation. 
  • They offer a Spring/Summer Tuition Break. This is offered to students enrolled full time with 24 or more credits with at least a 2.5 GPA. These students can get 30% off tuition during the summer and spring sessions. 
  • With 1600 students the school of medicine is the nation’s largest single campus medical school. 

Central Michigan University
  • 70% of students on campus volunteer in the community or on campus. 
  • Now offering online campus, and currently have 6,000 students enrolled in online classes. This could be a possibility for high school dual enrollment classes as well. 
  • Beaver Station Island is an island in Lake Michigan that students in the biology and environmental science programs may take classes on over the summer or spring sessions. 
  • Scholarships are given out with admission and the priority deadline for scholarships is November 15th. 
  • One of the only schools that offers an undergraduate degree in neuroscience. 

Michigan State University
  • This year is the first year students can self-assign rooms and roommates during a 30 day online window. After that window closes and MSU will assign. 
  • All freshman (including deferred) must fill out the SBEI (student background experience inventory). All deferred students must fill it out in order to be considered. This measures a student’s knowledge, leadership, continuing learning, ethics, judgment, perseverance, and adaptability. 
  • Applications are reviewed beginning mid-October and November 1st is the recommended scholarship deadline (the admission application is also the scholarship application). 
  • With 16,500 students on campus MSU has the largest residential hall system in the country. 
  • Non-citizens have to apply as international students and pay international tuition.

Michigan Technological University 
  • Graduates have 10th highest starting salary in the country among public universities 
  • They offer an accelerated Master’s Degree Program. Students can graduate in 5 years with both a Master’s degree and Bachelor’s degree. 
  • There have an average of 218 inches of annual snowfall. 
  • 94% of classes are taught by professors and not graduate assistants. 
  • They offer a job fair each year with 300 or more employers from all over the country. They have a 92% job placement for students in the student’s field of study. 

Saginaw Valley State University
  • They have small class sizes, with an average of 21 students per class. Classes are taught by professors, not Graduate Assistants or Teacher Assistants. 
  • SVSU offers the largest nursing and social work programs in the state. 
  • 70% of the campus has been completed in the past 10 years. 
  • Their housing has been voted the best in the state. 
  • They are the most affordable of the 15 Michigan Public Universities. 

Western Michigan University
  • 68% of seniors at Western complete an internship. 
  • They have the nation’s newest medical school.
  • Many of their buildings are LEED certified, meaning environmentally sustainable. 
  • They offer an online program, called Degree Works that offers online planning tools to help track graduation and credits. It allows students to be able to see what-if scenarios for students considering a change in major. 
  • They are offering some new majors including multimedia/art/technology/music, Entrepreneurship, and Freshwater Science and Sustainability. 

University of Michigan - Flint
  • New apartments are available for housing that includes full kitchens and living rooms. 
  • Students can participate in the Michigan Marching band if they meet the criteria. 
  • They offer admissions for a wide range of students. 
  • There is a 2 + 2 Engineering program that guarantees a spot in the Ann Arbor Program. 
  • They have a 79.8% retention rate. 

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
  • When deciding which college to apply to in Ann Arbor, choose the one that you are most interested in. It is not easy to transfer between colleges, so be selective. 
  • Not all 3.7 GPAs are the same. Red flags for admission representatives include never taking a challenging class or a downward spiral in grades. 
  • When online coursework becomes the norm, it becomes a concern for admission. 
  • Be sure to answer the question when responding to essay questions, and be sure to proof read your essays. Admissions does not like to see misspelled or misused words. 
  • Early Decision will be released by December 24th and regular decision by early April.
*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.