Field Guide to Ohio’s Best Colleges

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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 also 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 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?

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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

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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 .

Ghost Stories from Ohio’s Colleges: Kenyon’s Greenhouse Ghost

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“The Greenhouse”

Kenyon College, located in the quaint village of Gambier, Ohio, has long been known for its excellent swimming and diving programs. In 1935, Charles Shaffer donated funds to construct a state-of-the-art aquatic building on Kenyon’s campus. “Shaffer Pool” opened in January of 1936 and contributed to Kenyon winning a number of Ohio Conference swimming and diving championships in the years to follow. The building had a conservatory style roof, which earned it the nickname of “The Greenhouse.”

Legend has it that some students became a bit preoccupied with seeing how high they could launch themselves from the highest diving board in The Greenhouse. On one fateful evening, one student apparently launched himself high enough that he smashed through a glass pane in the roof and, after nearly decapitating himself, fell into the pool below.

While administrators at Kenyon can find no record of such a student or incident, other students, faculty, and staff argue differently as they believe this student really never left. Over the years, most of the reports of what later became know as the “Greenhouse Ghost,” were told by custodians and safety officers. Their encounters typically occurred well after normal working hours. For example, the sound of a body impacting the water followed by thrashing sounds was commonly reported. When officers investigated or turned to face the pool, they would see disturbed water, but no one in the pool. Then, upon turning around again, they would see a set of wet footprints along the walkway leading away from the pool. Others would report that they would hear the sound of a diving board bouncing not once, but three times. Upon turning toward the board, they could see the board vibrating, but no one near it.

In the 1980s the building was converted to a dance studio. During construction the pool was drained and covered over by a false floor and the conservatory roof was replaced with a wooden, beamed roof more appropriate to its new use. Unfortunately, the Greenhouse Ghost never got the memo as the activity continued.

Staff members continued to tell stories of late night encounters when they would become sensitized to the presence of the spirit. Some nights they would hear footsteps behind them as if they were being followed. On occasion they would, once again, hear the sounds of splashes and bouncing diving boards. Even more unnerving was the periodic appearance of wet footprints across the dance studio floor.

Paranormal experiences in “The Greenhouse” are still reported to this day. So, if you ever visit Kenton College, you might stop by Shaffer Dance Studio, stroll across the dance floor, close your eyes, and listen. Then, just before you leave, look back over your shoulder for any wet footprints on the floor. You never know!

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: Ohio Dominican’s Mysterious Visitors

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In 1868 the Sisters of Saint Mary of the Springs, a Dominican Order of Catholic Sisters, moved from Sommerset to Columbus, Ohio. A benefactor had donated land to the sisters in the hope that they would build a Catholic School in Columbus and educate his five daughters. Work was immediately begun on the new school, which opened in 1871. While donations and other funds had been sufficient to pay for the building, the sisters had to borrow $10,000 at 8% interest to furnish the new academy.

Almost immediately upon opening, the new academy faced an income shortfall and was unable to make loan payments. As the bank prepared to foreclose, the sisters prayed to St. Dominic, for help in the form of “hard money.”

The winter of 1871 was brutal and central Ohio lay under a blanket of snow. One evening a terrible blizzard pushed into the area making travel difficult. It was on the worst night of the blizzard that a dark, horse-drawn sleigh made its way up the gravel road leading into Saint Mary of the Springs Academy and stopped at the front door. A well-dressed man and woman stepped out of the coach, walked up the snow-covered steps, and pounded on the two large wooden doors demarking the entrance to the Academy. Two sisters responded and invited the strangers inside. The visitors explained that they had come to inquire about enrolling their two daughters in the Academy. Since they expected to travel abroad, they offered to make cash payment for a year’s board, tuition, and other expenses. The sisters accepted the daughters on the spot, knowing that these funds would be sufficient to cover past due bank payments and prevent foreclosure on the Academy. Documents were completed and the sisters were paid. This was happy ending to a dire situation. The academy became current with the bank, enrollment increased shortly thereafter, and the Academy was safely on its way.

However, as you might have guessed, there is more to the story. The two daughters who were to arrive at the school in January never materialized. Furthermore, all attempts to contact the parents proved futile. It seems that their address did not exist and no one in their hometown knew them. Even more interesting; on that fateful snowy night; the one that saved the Academy from financial ruin, none of the local livery stables recall providing services to the coach or its occupants. It was as if they had come from nowhere and departed to the same.

Saint Mary’s Academy has evolved over time and is now known as Ohio Dominican University. The institution has endured a number of financial crises during its life, but has always found a way to thrive. It seems ODU enjoys its own set of…. Guardian Angels.

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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