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College Snap Shots-
Mr Carignan has hit the road visiting colleges again and here are his impressions and insights:
Clarkson University-Potsdam, New York-3,247 Underclassmen. Clarkson is an attractive school that is widely recognized for the quality of the programs it offers. Clarkson offers a wide range of engineering programs and was one of the first to include project based work for first year students. It has also been recognized for the business programs it offers as well as a wide range of other degrees. The staff were welcoming and professional and the campus was clean and attractive with nice room and board options.
This is a college that is considered to be on the rise and it is becoming increasingly competitive. Though it is a Division III school it has a Division 1 Hockey team that receives excellent support with a top notch facility. Students are busy here!
Take Aways-This school had the feel of a smaller liberal arts college, but offered many of the programs that you can't find in that setting. Definitely worth the drive and nestled in a nice little town.
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University- Right on the edge of the Daytona International Airport this school is firmly focused on the Aeronautical World. Surprisingly it offer a wide range of other hard to find programs that include Homeland Security, UAV Studies, Mechanical Engineering, and Cyber security to name but a few. Embry Riddle is the main campus a large percentage build that option into their program of studies.d it has branches all around the world (usually on Air Force Bases).
There is housing for all first years, and most students mover further off campus into the Daytona area as they become upperclassmen. Students are encouraged to select minors and internships and co-ops that support their studies and a their plans for entering the world of work.
Take Aways-Daytona Beach/Raceway if you are a sun lover, or race lover this is the center of the universe. The real gem here is the ability to learn to fly in conjunction with almost any other program. With 6 astronaut alumnae this is a school that can literally launch you to the stars.
Are you thinking about what comes next for you after high school. Mr. Carignan participated in a tour of colleges and universities in Nova Scotia and this is what he found.
First, what makes Canadian Colleges and Universities different from those in the united states?
1. Cost-Canadian Tuition is paid in Canadian Dollars with are currently pegged between 90-93 cents American to the Canadian Dollar (10-7% savings in listed tuition costs). In addition to this, while Canadian schools have increased in cost over the past thirty years and there is a significant international fee, full time, high quality colleges and universities in Canada generally range between twenty and twenty-six thousand Canadian dollars a year. The only negative is that federal Pell grants cannot be applied to Canadian Tuition though American's with an cumulative average of 85% or better will receive a merit scholarship, and other loans will still be available for students and parents. In addition most universities have additional small scholarships or Bursar's awards that can be applied for every semester.
2. Admissions Process-First, is it shorter with rolling admissions starting on October 15th and responses reaching student in one to six weeks (smaller schools usually in one or two weeks). Your admission decision is based primarily on your 12th Grade work with 11th grade and the rest of your record being also being considered. Many schools do not require SAT's (the largest schools do), and they clearly lay out the classes that they want you to take on their web sites. Admissions does not consider Alumnae relationships, Financial Gifts or Need, and generally accept all the students that meet their standards.
3. Quality- Almost all Canadian colleges and universities (98%) are public institutions (receive some of their funding from the government) The impact (besides low cost and excellent facilities) is that the quality of Canadian Schools is relatively uniform with high standards practices and outcomes across the range of schools. Effectively this means that lower and moderately rated schools are very close to the top schools in the experience and outcomes the provide their students.
4. International Value-Canadian schools are recognized across the united states, the British Commonwealth, and the word as high quality institutions that meet national and state licensure and certification requirements.
Here is information on the schools Mr. Carignan visited as well as his own impressions and insights.
The biggest university (18,000 undergraduate students), in the biggest city (390,000) in Nova Scotia. It offers a huge range of majors 180, in addition to being a leading research center with thriving graduate programs. There are many programming options and students are encouraged to combine their interests in their course work. There are many students from 110 different countries and student support one of the institutions defining characteristics. There are many highly regarded programs here, but one of the best know is a marine science program that is active in five oceans. Finally there are a wide range of Co-Op programs that give students the opportunity to work in their fields of study while still enrolled in school while building their resume and making connections with employers all over the world. Unlike many internships in the US, these are all paid positions.
This is the big one with a total population almost double that of Orono and a city almost four times the size of Portland. The Campus itself is a combination of class ivy covered stone buildings and gleaming modern designs all grouped together in a surprising compact area only 300 meters (yes they use metric) from the ocean.
It offers that widest range of programming in the Province (think state, this is Canada) and has graduate as well undergraduate students. If you are looking for a large university with a wide range of options, and you already have a specific program in mind, this would be worth taking a look at. With a total cost of $26,000 Canadian this provides all the opportunities of large campus.
Another option is to attend the programs offered on Dalhousie's agricultural campus. It offers a wide range of specialized programs including a very popular Vet Tech program and the first two years of an engineering degree where first and second year students benefit from demanding academics as well as hands on problem solving in the field.
Hidden Gem-International Food Marketing-a program that features and exchange semester working closely with students from other countries to learn how to develop new food products and markets across the world.
Founded by the Loyalist Members of Columbia University when they escaped during the American Revolution, Kings College provides a unique educational experience for all of its students. Its unique Foundation Year model provides all first year students with a rigorous exploration of the great works of literature and culture through the lenses of the arts and sciences. The models focus is the creation of a intellectually active and engaged student community. After the first year students can continue to attend only King's College class or can also take classes at neighboring Dalhousie University. Many students receive and Combined Honors Degree from both King's and Dalhousie.
This is a school for questioners and thinkers. First year students spend the 4 of 5 possible course slots (3 of 5 for science majors) in a group lecture followed by seminars with Professors and 10-15 students. If you want to live an active life of the mind, in a school where the great hall still holds formal dinners and the students and faculty are expected to wear their (Harry Potteresque) robes this is a unique school that provides an excellent classical liberal arts education undergraduate education as well as preparing an impressive 80% of its students for graduate degrees.
Hidden Gem-Check out the Journalism Program! The liberal arts approach is training journalists that will be able to remain relevant in a rapidly changing media world.
Nova Scotia College of Art and Design
Located on the waterfront on Halifax with beautiful views of the harbor, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) has programs for many of the fine arts including drawing, ceramics, film, sculpture, word working, metal working, jewelry, Painting, photography as well as offering programs that mix different media's together. Their goal is to help aspiring artists realize and refine their artistic visions. They offer a more flexible Bachelor of Arts Degree, or a more structured Bachelor of Design degree
Students are exposed to a wide range of classes that focus on the fundamentals (you learn to weave before diving into textiles) and then rapidly moving on to more advanced work in their own studio space, providing 24 hour access to all work spaces except for metal and wood which need to be staffed for safety reasons.
Their application process focuses on evaluating student's creative process and must be documented by 40 images (20 final/20 sketch) and three months of notes.
Admissions staff gave these helpful hints for students building portfolios:
Don'ts-No Unicorns, Super heroes, Anime, Floating Objects, Boring/Standard Projects, Drawings from photos or celebrities.
Do's-Do draw from difficult and unusual angles, make sure self-portraits reflect you, Show technical skills, Create art that moves beyond the assignment, Find beauty in non-traditional subjects and settings
Hidden Gem-The school has a creative loft space in New York City that students can apply to live in while studying there.
For more colleges and a link to other reports on Canadian Colleges click here.