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June 2018

Four things that might surprise you about Antioch College

By | Ohio's liberal arts colleges | No Comments

With over 60 small, historically liberal arts colleges, Ohio offers a wide variety of options to students seeking an undergraduate residential college experience. Our visit last week to Antioch College in the village of Yellow Springs is one of the most unique options. Here’s some things that might surprise you!

  1. Antioch College is not for everyone. In fact, it would be a nice fit for only a small segment of the aspiring college student population However, for those who might be called to Antioch College, there is no other comparable institution or college experience. At Antioch there are no fraternities or sororities, no varsity athletics, and NO flying under the radar. With under 250 students, Antioch College is a small campus community located in a small rural town and everyone knows everyone. Students are, for the most part, politically liberal and committed to racial equality, gender equality, environmental sustainability, and social justice. They also tend to be independent thinkers who want a “say so” in the design of their college education.
  2. The objective of an Antioch College education is to prepare students for lives of significance, service, and citizenship. In everything it does, Antioch exudes the words of its first president, Horace Mann: “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” From international coop experiences to self-designed majors to campus life policies that are determined by committees of students, staff, and community members, Antioch lives its mission. Democracy and shared governance, especially as a means to activism and social justice, are at the heart of Antioch College.
  3. Academics are unique. Antioch’s small but capable faculty helps many students craft their own unique major integrating varied interests into their popular “Self-designed Major.” Students may also select from a short list of only 13 liberal arts major options which can be tailored to respond to the unique interests and objectives of each student. The most popular majors are Media Arts, Environmental Studies, and Political Economy. Also, Antioch is the only college in the country to require four quarters of off-campus coop work experience for all students. Students alternate two quarters on campus and one off. Most students complete at least one international coop during their time at Antioch.
  4. Like a Phoenix, Antioch College rose from the ashes of financial difficulty. Formed in 1850, and after many years of growth and financial stability, Antioch came on financial hard times toward the end of the 20th  century. They failed in 2008 and, with alumni support, reopened in 2011. Now, fully re-accredited and in re-building mode, Antioch is redesigning their future and looking for students who want to be a part of the journey. Today, Antioch students feel responsible for their education and responsible for Antioch College.

So, does an Antioch education work? According to Loren Pope, author of Colleges that Change Lives, “There is no university in the country that makes a more profound difference in a young person’s life, or that creates more effective adults” than does Antioch College. Interested? Schedule a campus visit and see for yourself!

About the Author: After touring 60 of the best colleges in Ohio, Dr. Jay, a prior faculty member and dean, founded College Bound Advantage (CBA) – a Columbus, Ohio college consulting firm. CBA specializes in helping families optimize college selection around 18 “fit factors” and helping students clarify co-curricular and major options while exploring colleges that specialize in them.  College Bound Advantage serves all of Ohio including Cleveland, Akron, and Cincinnati metro areas. Check us out at www.collegeboundadvantage.com or check out what we can do for you here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6SSjHp8n98

The Difference Between the College Fit Process and the College Admissions Process

By | College Fit, Our Book: Field Guide to Ohio's Best Colleges, Picking a Major that Fits | No Comments

My consulting practice, while addressing family’s college admissions questions, focuses primarily on helping families optimize college fit. So, what’s the difference?

The college admissions process focuses on the tasks related to gaining admission to college – completing applications, preparing for the ACT, writing the college essay, applying for financial aid, completing the FAFSA, using the Common Application, determining application status (early admission, early decision, etc.) and a myriad of other things. As a result of the time sensitivity of the tasks involved, the admissions process is where parents and high school counselors typically focus most of their attention, energy, and resources. In fact, most college consultants focus on optimizing this process as most previously served on college admissions staffs themselves – they help students gain admission to selective, “big brand,” colleges.

In contrast, the college fit process focuses on the strategic aspects of the college search process including identifying and exploring good fit majors, student organizations, and colleges to explore. It begins by systematically clarifying everything you want in a college, including cost, and then matching your list to colleges that are good at all the things you want. It continues when families orchestrate strategic campus visits allowing students to explore good fit colleges, major options, and potential student organization/activity involvements. It culminates in a final, informed, college choice. This is where we focus our attention when working with clients. In contrast to admissions process consultants who spent their formative years as admissions counselors, our college fit consultants are prior faculty members and academic advisors.

The difference between the college admissions process and the college fit process can be compared to the difference between the tax return filing process and the financial planning process. Filing a tax return, similar to gaining college admission, is a task-focused and time sensitive process and everyone has to complete it. It is fraught with forms, deadlines, and requires compliance with established processes and procedures.

In contrast, financial planning and college fit are more strategic processes. They are NOT governed by deadlines, task lists, or compliance requirements.  The focus is more on the identification of options, exploration, and planning. Unlike filing a tax return which everyone does, many people choose not to financial plan in a way similar to how they choose not to plan for college fit. In either case the result can range from sub-optimal to catastrophic.

What is the real value of gaining admission to a college that doesn’t have everything you want, costs more than you can afford, or fails to offer the academic programs or academic support that you need? Is it really a good idea to assume that once your student gets to college that they will “figure out” what they want to major in or might find interesting? At what point does changing majors become problematic or too expensive? Is it reasonable to assume that your student will understand all available campus life options, real difference between colleges, or the implications of sizeable student loans? We encourage parents to lift their focus from the attention-grabbing and time-consuming college admissions process to include the aspects of college choice related to why you are going through the admissions process in the first place.

Our practice, as well as our new book, “Field Guide to Ohio’s Best Colleges” focuses on the often-neglected college fit process. We hope you will too.

About the Author: After touring 60 of the best colleges in Ohio, Dr. Jay, a prior faculty member and dean, founded College Bound Advantage (CBA) – a Columbus, Ohio college consulting firm. CBA specializes in helping families optimize college selection around 18 “fit factors” and helping students clarify co-curricular and major options while exploring colleges that specialize in them.  College Bound Advantage serves all of Ohio including Cleveland, Akron, and Cincinnati metro areas. Check us out at www.collegeboundadvantage.com or check out what we can do for you here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6SSjHp8n98

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