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Honors Colleges

Posted by: Website Administrator on 7/25/2012

Do you like the idea of attending a large research university with a wide range of majors and facilities, but are anxious about huge class sizes and feeling “like a number”? If so, you may want to look into honors college options.

Honors colleges combine the small liberal arts college experience with the resources and facilities of a comprehensive university. Honors colleges are academically rigorous learning communities within larger research universities where you live and study alongside some of the brightest students at the school.

Honors colleges often have their own housing facilities, smaller class sizes than the university at-large, and dedicated faculty and staff who specifically teach honors college students, and even sometimes live with them in the residence halls. Students in the honors college have the benefit of a smaller intellectual community, as well as access to the entire range of majors and programs available at the university. Sometimes, honors college students even get priority registration, which can be a big deal at a larger school.

But fear not – honors college students aren’t secluded from the rest of campus. As a student at the honors college, you are also a member of the greater university community. You are not limited to participating in activities only offered by the honors college, or taking courses with other honors college students.  Any of the clubs and extracurricular activities open to the entire university are available to you. Put on your face paint and go to the big game on Friday night. Take any courses for which you meet the prerequisites. Being in the honors college does not limit your access to resources, but expands it.

In some cases, applicants to comprehensive universities are automatically considered for the honors college – but not always. Check if you need to apply directly to the honors program from the start, if you’ll be selected by the admissions committee without an additional application, or if the process for applying begins after your initial admission notification.  As with many things in the application process, it all depends on the school.

Block Plan Colleges

Posted by: Website Administrator on 7/18/2012

Like to take things one at a time?  Then a Block Plan school might be for you.

The Block Plan is a unique class schedule used by a few schools such as Colorado College (Colorado Springs, CO), Cornell College (Mount Vernon, IA), and Tusculum College (Greeneville, TN). The Block Plan entails taking one course at a time for three and a half weeks (and professors teach one at a time, as well). When the course ends, there is a four-and-a-half day break. The school year is divided into eight “blocks.” Block Plan schools have small class sizes and offer a liberal arts and science curriculum.  

The Block Plan allows for truly intensive academic work in each subject, as there are no distractions from the course at hand. Professors can take their classes on extended trips without worrying about cutting into a student’s other academic responsibilities, or taking up a student’s vacation time. Classes typically meet 3-5 hours per day, Monday-Friday, but professors are free to schedule classes outside of that format.

For instance, the Film Studies department at Colorado College offers a Block-in-Hollywood, where students experience the film and television industry on-site. Cornell College requires all Geology majors to go on at least one extended field course for 18 days to New Zealand, the Bahamas, Hawaii, or a number of other locations offered on a rotating basis. At Tusculum College, instead of doing a full semester, or a spring break program, students can spend a block doing service work in Belize.

Any course you take at a Block Plan college will allow for intensive engagement with the course at hand, whether it’s through uninterrupted class discussion, total immersion in a foreign language, dedicated laboratory time, or the opportunity for exciting field work.  

If you are interested in pursuing a traditional liberal arts and science education with small class sizes and dedicated professors, along with the distinction of being able to focus on one course at a time, you may want to consider adding a Block Plan college to your list.

All About Business

Posted by: Website Administrator on 7/11/2012

There has been a lot of news about the economy lately, and certainly no shortage of complex problems that need creative solutions. For those with an eye toward studying business, there is a lot of opportunity to make a real difference, both at home and abroad. If you are considering a business major, it is important to be well informed. We have compiled some Q and A’s about majoring in business that can help you make that decision.

1) Do I have to major in business in order to go into business or finance after I graduate? The short answer is no. A business major is not necessary to go into business or finance. For good preparation, focus on getting a good grasp of mathematics, statistics, economics, and the social sciences, while also gaining some work and internship experience.

2) What kinds of business majors are there? There’s a wide range of business and business-related majors. The most common are Business or Business Administration, Management, Accounting, Finance, and Marketing. There’s also an increasing interest in International Business, due to the ever-growing importance of the global economy.

3) Can I major in business everywhere? No, not all colleges will offer a business major – but not pursuing a business major in no way prevents you from entering the business field after graduation. Business majors are typically offered at larger universities, sometimes offered at medium-sized universities, and less frequently offered at small liberal arts colleges. However, some liberal arts colleges do offer majors in business and you can usually find strong career advising in this field. If a small liberal arts college does offer a business major, it will probably be Business or Business Administration. In addition, at schools without business majors, students will often major in Economics while pursuing business career advising. 

4) What will I learn as a business major? This varies from school to school, and depends how specific your business major is. An accounting major, for instance, will prepare you very specifically for a career as an accountant.  A standard business major, however, will provide the skills and knowledge you’ll need to be an effective, responsible member of the work force in business, government, or non-profit work. This involves studying planning and organization, leadership and group dynamics, and, of course, finance and economics.

5) What should I ask the colleges I’m interested in about majoring in business?
  • Do you have a business major or multiple business majors?
  • If you don’t have a business major, what do students who are interested in business at your school tend to major in?
  • Does your school’s business major have any unique focus or specialty?
  • Is there specific career advising for students interested in business?
  • Are there internship or co-op opportunities for business majors?
  • Do you offer a fifth year MBA option?
  • Do companies recruit on campus?

There are many paths to prepare for a career in business. If your interest in business is both academic and professionally oriented, there are myriad opportunities to major in business, and a variety of business fields. You can also pursue numerous non-business majors alongside career advising to be prepared for the business world, and most colleges will have career advising and assistance of some sort available to you. Just remember that if you’re serious about going into business, there are many ways to get there; select the programs that are the best fit for you.

Eco Schools

Posted by: Website Administrator on 7/4/2012

Environmental conservation and awareness touches nearly every aspect of our lives, and can be tied into almost any field of study. Environmental science and ecology programs are popping up at colleges and universities across the country; schools are also making efforts to convert their campuses to “green” energy sources, and for new construction to be mindful of sustainability issues. If you are interested in studying environmental science, participating in green activities, or just attending a school that is eco-friendly – read on!

Eco Schools share a commitment to environmental stewardship, social change, and building a sustainable future through environmental learning. They encourage students to explore environmental issues and develop creative solutions to sustainability problems across multiple disciplines. You can focus on business or politics, with an emphasis on environmental issues, or you can major in ecology or environmental studies. Some schools foster this atmosphere simply by providing the intellectual space and resources for students. Some schools are more intentional about this process, such as the College of the Atlantic (Bar Harbor, ME), where all students major in Human Ecology, but can take courses across a wide range of subjects.

If you are truly eco-focused, you might want to consider some colleges that have particularly strong or unique environmental programs and facilities. To highlight just a few – Middlebury College (Middlebury, VT) has the oldest undergraduate environmental studies program in the country. Oberlin College (Oberlin, OH) has the largest solar array in the state of Ohio. Dickinson College (Carlisle, PA) has a number of exciting environmental and sustainability initiatives, including the student-run Dickinson College Biodiesel Project, where students produce their own biodiesel from local restaurants (which is then used to power vehicles and equipment on campus). Duke University (Durham, NC) has an entire School of the Environment, offers a range of environmental studies majors and a couple of minors, and runs a Marine Lab in Beaufort, NC, which all students at Duke can access.

If you see yourself on the frontiers of environmental research and ecological studies, or as the next name in green architecture, entrepreneurship, or sustainable agriculture, you may want to consider adding an Eco School to your list.