Four things that might surprise you about Antioch College

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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!

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

Field Guide to Ohio’s Best Colleges

By | Our Book: Field Guide to Ohio's Best Colleges | No Comments

Our new book is now available!

Field Guide to Ohio’s Best Colleges: Your Family’s Trail Map from High School to a Best-Fit College

 We are proud to announce that our new book, Field Guide to Ohio’s Best Colleges, is now available through our website (http://booklocker.com/books/9787.html) as well as through online booksellers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The book features a deep dive into Ohio’s top 30 four-year residential colleges and universities – we call them “Ohio’s Sturdy 30.” In the book we identify and discuss their best academic majors and co-curricular programs. We also help parents and their students build a plan to clarify everything they want in a college experience and to match that to specific colleges that do everything they want at a price they can afford. This is the only book in existence focusing on Ohio’s unique and exceptional colleges and universities – check it out!

 

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

Uncommon Majors Offered at Ohio’s Colleges: Interior Design

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Interior Design could be a home run major option for any student with both an artistic as well as practical/technical bent. Interior Design Majors apply traditional drawing, model making, and computer-based design software to the development and planning of interior space. The curriculum provides for the study of the foundational design elements such as space, form, color and light, as well as the functional and pragmatic application of construction systems, building codes and regulations, and the selection of appropriate finishes, materials and furnishings.

This major, often housed in Schools of Architecture or Art, teaches students to create distinct, responsive, functional, attractive, and dynamic environments for living and working. The major is interdisciplinary, and includes the study of the foundational art and design elements such as space, form, color and light, as well as the functional and pragmatic application of construction systems, regulations, and building codes as well as the selection of appropriate finishes, materials and furnishings. The curriculum also includes the study of design theory, behavior science and human behavior, as well as the history of the interior environments.

The Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) accredits ID programs and Ohio has six accredited programs including ones at Kent State University, Miami University, Ohio State University, Ohio University, University of Akron, and the University of Cincinnati. Programs not accredited by CIDA include Cleveland Institute of Art, Columbus College of Art and Design, Cuyahoga Community College, and Sinclair Community College. Graduates of both accredited and unaccredited programs may sit for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in order to become Certified Interior Designers. Note that 3,530 ID work hours are also required to sit.

Prospective students should note that programs differ a bit in terms of where they are housed at a University. Interior Design programs in Art Departments favor the aesthetic and artistic aspects of ID, whereas those housed in Design or Architectural Departments favor the architectural and technical. A student’s preferences, interests, and strengths may align better with one or the other.

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

Ohio’s Art and Design Colleges: Art Academy of Cincinnati

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Students choose the Art Academy of Cincinnati for any number of reasons including the small size of classes, the eclectic and artisan Over-The-Rhine district in which it is located, the great city of Cincinnati, or for the close interaction with a small faculty and student body – all good reasons.

The Art Academy of Cincinnati began as the McMicken School of Design, a Department of the University of Cincinnati, in 1869. In 1887 they separated from UC and moved to a location physically connected to the Cincinnati Art Museum and became their “Museum School.” Until their separation and move in 2005, AAC’s affiliation with the Cincinnati Art Museum impacted them in a number of ways. First, space limitations put limits on student enrollment, capping it at around 200 students. Second, synergies with the museum led to a curricular emphasis in the Fine Arts (sculpture, painting, photography, and printmaking).

In the fall of 2005, The Art Academy of Cincinnati became an independent college of art and design and moved to a new location at 1212 Jackson Street in the struggling but emerging Over-The-Rhine section of Cincinnati. A marriage made in heaven, AAC contributed to the development in the Over-The-Rhine and both are flourishing. In recent years, AAC has extended their academic offerings and are now beefing up their design and illustration majors, which have become their largest, and are adding new majors (Creative Writing in 2017 and Film Video Audio under construction) and planning to grow their enrollment. The new location, with six full floors of space, provides plenty of room for growth and puts their students close to the Contemporary Arts Center, 21C, and the Weston Art Gallery as well as in the center of the revitalized Over-the-Rhine Arts District.

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 .

The Liberal Arts Major: All in or hedge your bets?

By | Picking a Major that Fits | No Comments

The Liberal Arts Major: All in or hedge your bets? This is a difficult question, but one we hear often. It has been my experience that parents typically prefer that their student either select a professional program major or a liberal arts major with a clear trajectory to graduate school and employable skills. Students, typically prefer to major in some combination of what they are interested in and what their parents aren’t! Imagine that. Now, since it is not possible for me to provide a linear response or “rule of thumb,” to this question, please forgive me as I wander around the issue a bit.

First, a refresher: The “Liberal Arts” include the arts (e.g. Music & Dance), sciences (e.g. Biology & Chemistry), humanities (e.g. Language & Philosophy), and social sciences (e.g. Sociology & Psychology). They do not include professional majors such as Nursing, Business, Engineering, Social Work, or Education. Majors in the liberal arts emphasize speaking, writing, and critical thinking in the context of an interdisciplinary curriculum. Professional majors emphasize the acquisition of employable skills aligned with the requirements of a specific profession. Of course liberal arts programs do teach some employable skills and professional programs do teach speaking, writing, and critical thinking. Remember that each college’s “Core Curriculum,” required of all majors, is somewhat of a mini-liberal arts curriculum. Are you confused yet?

The linear answer to our question and one that parents of students interested in a liberal arts major is….okay, you can major in “insert liberal arts major here”, but why don’t you minor in “insert professional minor here” (Business Administration is a frequent selection)? We’re not a big fan of this “hedging your bet” approach.

So what to do with this? We recommend getting creative and looking for some combination of majors/minors/certificates/elective courses that collectively align themselves with the student’s academic strengths, interests, and goals while balancing the acquisition of theory and applied skills. Think “synergistic.”

So, what does that mean? Perhaps the best way to make sense of this is with an example. So let’s look at one.

Example: Consider a strong student who took modern dance from Kindergarten through their final year of high school. This student performed in numerous programs and shows and envisions a future as a professional dancer. Other interests include photography and video (usually in the service of dance performances). The parents are legitimately concerned about shelling out thousands of dollars to educate their student in a field in which very few are able to carve out a reasonable living, if they can find work at all. At CBA, we would recommend examining majors, minors, and careers in Dance, Digital Media, Interactive Media, Video Production, and other related majors/minors. We would recommend a set of colleges that excel in these areas and coach the family to meet with faculty and student majors in each of these areas at the colleges they visit. We would suggest that they ask each faculty member they meet questions such as, “Tell me about what your graduates are doing now;” “What are the specific skills you teach in your program and how do your graduates use those after college;” “How do you help your students connect with professional ________ outside of the classroom;” and, “Tell us about internships your students have completed and how you help them get these opportunities.”

It has been my experience that, in the end, a creative, expansive, exploration process aligned with a student’s interests and strengths, balancing theory and applied skills, leads to informed decisions and few regrets. If you are not using us, consider orchestrating something similar for your student. None of you will ever regret it. Just avoid pre-conceived notions and trust the process.

I’m hoping no one caught that I never answered the question! Thanks for joining us on the trail today. See you next time!

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 .

Ghost Stories from Ohio’s Colleges: Lake Erie’s Ghost of College Hall

By | Haunted Colleges in Ohio | No Comments

College Hall

Lake Erie College’s historic campus is located in Painesville, Ohio. If you are interested in things that go bump in the night, this campus is for you! A center for paranormal activity, Lake Erie College claims to host apparitions in various locations across their beautiful campus. As much as we would like to share all the stories, this post will explore only one.

Legend has it that sometime in the mid-1800s when Lake Erie College was an all girls school, a student named Stephanie had begun her studies. Somewhere along the way, she had an affair with a professor and became pregnant. When he refused to marry her she became depressed and, on one fateful evening, hung herself on the fourth-floor bell tower of College Hall, the oldest building on campus.

After her death, students began to report seeing her glowing white figure in a fourth floor window of College Hall. They claim she peers out the window, perhaps in search of her lost lover. The floor was often seen illuminated by dim, flickering lights late at night and students below spoke of hearing footsteps and occasional wailing from the floor above even though it had been closed and locked tight. Service workers entering the floor were occasionally frightened enough to refuse to ever return. Even TV paranormal ghost hunters investigated the fourth floor. One took an interesting photograph – check out the circled fourth floor window in the picture above.

As if that wasn’t enough, students claim that Stephanie occasionally leaves College Hall in search of entertainment. There is a cracked mirror in the Social Parlor in the nearby Morley Music Building. Stephanie has occasionally been seen walking out of the mirror, dressed in eveningwear, on her way to an evening performance. After curtain calls, she returns through the mirror from whence she came.

So, if you ever visit Lake Erie College, plan to take in a performance in Morley Music Building. Perhaps order a beverage and wander into the Social Parlor. Check out your eveningwear in the standing mirror on the far side of the room. Just don’t be disturbed if someone else is looking back at you. On your way to your car after the show, glance over your shoulder at the 4th floor of College Hall and bid Stephanie a good night.

This is our last Ohio college ghost story for this Halloween season. We hope you have enjoyed the ride. Next year there will be more thrills and chills as we feature four more tales of the paranormal from our Ohio colleges. Happy Halloween!

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 .

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