There is nothing quite like the joy of finding something unexpected under the Christmas tree. Or the rush of pleasure when you visit someplace that you did not expect to like and end up having the best time, or eating a scrumptious meal, or simply finding a new friend.
Visiting alternative college campuses which you previously had not heard of and finding them to be exceptional for the particular goal that your student needs is one of these pleasures.
To illustrate, I list below a series of Hidden Jewels in the alternative college landscape. They don’t need to trumpet their worth, they are self-selective and offer students special consideration.
Does your student want to pursue a military career or simply to have the regimen of a very structured environment in which to learn?
Norwich University is a great place to explore a traditional college degree. They offer three kinds of admission: regular student, non-military corps of cadets, and ROTC Cadets. All three kinds of students are in classes together, but the cadets get up a lot earlier to drills and they also have leadership training on their post-baccalaureate resume.
S. Coast Guard Academy offers the rigorous training that is found at any of the military academies, but their graduates stay closer to home after graduation patrolling American shores. In exchange for a free college education, they give six years of service after their commissioning. Many give a great many more.
Students who follow either an ROTC program or who graduate from one of the Academies have a leg up when applying for government service jobs and in the private sector. They have proven their ability to work collaboratively with others, are trained leaders, and have acquired a top-notch education under rigorous circumstances.
Is your student the one who always looks at things in a less than usual way? Do they find flaws in standard arguments? Do they march to their own drummer? The following are a few places where that person can thrive.
Reed College is a place where the individual is free to express opinions and offer ideas that run counter to traditional thinking. Creative thought and ideas, true intellectual pursuits are not only encouraged but prized. Mundane arguments are not found among those pursuing their educational goals at Reed. The curriculum is rooted in the liberal arts but the extensions that Reedies bring to it are endless.
Hampshire College is another option for the free thinker. Their collaborative approach to answering the burning questions of the world allows its students to explore and to feed on the ideas that each brings to the problem or discussion at hand. They truly have “re-imagined education” as their website asserts.
Having a learning difference can make students believe that there are doors that are closed to them. There is nothing further from the truth. A student who learns differently has many options within which to shine.
I have often said to my LD students, particularly those with ADHD, that so long as we can get them out of school with their self-confidence intact, they will rule the world. There are places that cater to enabling LD kids to shine.
Landmark College is the quintessential teacher of students with learning issues to develop the strategies necessary to function in the world as it really is. They are adept at helping students with Dyslexia, ADHD, Executive Functioning, and other learning issues.
Landmark offers a variety of programs like associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and bridge programs for students who want to be better prepared before entering another college.
To be a candidate for Landmark, the student must have shown a record of achievement, intellectual curiosity, and a work ethic focused on self-advocacy.
Lynn University works with each student to help that student succeed in the academic program and in life. The students at Lynn are motivated to succeed, advocate for their own needs, work collaboratively with staff and professors who are both accommodating and encouraging.
If your student is a highly rated athlete, there are a variety of paths to help them to be recruited. The most important thing to recognize is that your assessment of your child’s prowess is not dispassionate. What do the coaches say about the student’s potential for participation in college athletics?
I have worked with many student athletes and the defining factor is the desire to succeed on the field and an equivalent attention to academic success. The player whose only claim to fame is the statistics that have been accrued without recognizing that their classroom performance is of equal worth will not succeed in a college athletic program.
The first step is getting in. Many colleges look at whether the student is academically acceptable first and then take into consideration the coach’s intention to sign the student. Students should also consider whether the college would meet their needs if they were not playing. Athletes are always one injury away from being at the wrong college.
Remember that D1 or D2 athletes are being paid in the form of cost of attendance, so they are athletes first and students second. D3 programs, on the other hand, cater to scholar-athletes. If you want to learn more about this, read Unpaid Professionals by Andrew Zimbalist. It was written a long time ago, and there have been some changes to the system, but it is an instructive read.
Colleges for Leisurely Learners:
Your student may not have the highest of GPAs or the best test scores. I have worked with many kids like that, and they have all gone on to successful college careers, if they wanted one. Frankly, the funnel is much wider for your student than for those at the top of the heap, all of whom are trying to gain admittance to the same 50 colleges.
I tell my families that college planning is about finding the right Fit and Match for the student, not about trophy hunting! Even if your students may gain admission to one of those 50 colleges, ask yourself if it is the right place for them to grow academically, socially, and emotionally.
Here are a few places where these students can meet their goals without the competitive stress:
Indiana University (IU) does a fabulous job educating students from all parts of the spectrum. They have an innovative approach to bringing new students into their community through the First Year Experience program. This begins with freshman orientation and continues throughout the first year.
IU also offers a plethora of course options with a multitude of campus organizations, and a volunteer corps all in a beautiful setting that is a city unto itself. If you like large, public universities in a rural setting, this ones for you.
Roger Williams University (RWU) offers both liberal arts and professional programs to suit the needs of many learners. They pride themselves on a hand-on learning approach which strengthens an understanding of the lessons taught. The goal at RWU is to prepare the student for life outside the classroom. Their graduates go on to successful careers in a variety of professional endeavors.
There are two campuses from which to choose: the home campus in Bristol and the city campus in Providence. Both are about halfway between Boston and New York, so the internship opportunities abound.
The Bottom Line is that there is a college for your student no matter what they are looking for. Alternative college choices often fill the gap that traditional universities fall behind on. To help you on your college admissions journey, know that I have helped hundreds of students find colleges that are a good fit. You may never have heard of a school, but I know its worth and how that college will give your student the best possible post-secondary experience.
Call me today and let’s talk about what I can do for your family.