Understanding College Selectivity

AdmissionA college-bound high school student who goes online to research various schools is likely to encounter a page featuring a list of colleges ranked by the selectivity of their admissions process. A student who scans this list may see several colleges that they plan to apply to.

Naturally, many high school students wonder about selective college admissions and what qualifies a college as selective. Furthermore, they want to know the advantages of getting into a highly selective college. Learn more about the details of college selectivity rankings and what makes one school more selective than another.

What Is College Selectivity?
Some colleges are more selective than others when it comes to inviting applicants to join their next class of freshmen. Each college on a list of schools is evaluated for selectivity using a set of criteria. These criteria include the average standardized test scores, class rank, and average GPA of students accepted as freshmen into a college. As an example, at college X, the average SAT score for freshmen is 1800 (verbal and math), while the average SAT score for freshmen at college Y is 1200. Considering this data, it would stand to reason that school X has more selective college admissions than school Y. Colleges that have the most selective college admissions practices are the ones that only accept students with highly impressive academic records.

Advantages of Attending a College with Highly Selective Admissions
One advantage of attending a college that is highly selective is that students are likely to have access to more resources. Students use state-of-the-art laboratories, libraries, and technology because the school invests in the success of its students. Also, highly selective schools usually have a better faculty-to-student ratio, so a student is able to get individual attention when needed.

Often, students at highly selective schools have the chance to study abroad, participate in research projects, and take advantage of valuable internship opportunities. Many highly selective colleges offer excellent financial aid deals to students. Not surprisingly, a student who attends a highly selective college is studying alongside other students who are just as dedicated to performing at their best. This can motivate an already ambitious student to strive for even more academic accomplishments. Also, fellow students form a network that can serve them as they are establishing a career after graduation.

What Steps Can a Student Take to Get In?
A high school student looking at a list of college selectivity rankings may decide that they want to go to a school at the top of the list. There are many things that students can do to improve their chances of being accepted into a highly selective college. For one, a student can achieve an impressive score on the SAT. Our SAT tutors at Veritas Prep are experts at preparing students to achieve their best on this challenging exam. We hire tutors who scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT. Our tutors convey strategies and tips to students that they can use to master each section of the test. We go over practice tests with students and guide them on which skills to improve.

Another thing a student can do to get into a highly selective college is to make it a priority to perform well all through high school. This means completing extra assignments, taking additional courses, and dedicating several hours a week to study. Academic excellence must be a priority for a high school student who wants to get into a highly selective college.

Our professional college admissions consultants provide assistance to students as they navigate their way toward acceptance into a preferred school. Our consultants understand what college officials are looking for when choosing their next class of freshmen. Along with test prep, we evaluate high school transcripts, advise students on extracurricular activities, and help them in filling out college applications. We even have a College Chanculator that gives students an idea of the likelihood of being accepted into a particular college. The answer given by our College Chanculator is based on some of the same criteria used by highly selective colleges. Those criteria include a student’s GPA, test scores, and class rank. Contact Veritas Prep today to learn more about our varied selection of services.

7 Quick Takeaways From the New 2016 U.S. News & World Report College Rankings

USnews!Hot off the presses, the much-awaited U.S. News & World Report college rankings have arrived for 2016, and in stunning news…well, there’s not much stunning news. Princeton hasn’t gone the way of ITT Tech (New Jersey’s Ivy remains #1 for the sixth straight year), and the biggest “out of nowhere” story is that Villanova, now ranked 50th for national universities, took that perch having been reclassified from a “regional university” in years prior.

Still, there are always interesting trends and takeaways to be had from the slow-changing, well-respected rankings. Here are seven that caught our team’s eye:

1) The Central (Time)-ization of Higher Ed.
The typical Harvard/Princeton/Yale top 3 was cracked by a school outside the Eastern time zone…and no, it wasn’t Stanford. The University of Chicago moved up from 4th to tie for 3rd (with Yale), moving the nation’s “medal podium” slightly west this year. This continues a big surge for U. Chicago in recent years, having moved up from as far back as 9th in 2010.

Another big mover was Rice, jumping from 18th to 15th. The sum? A total of 6 schools – U. Chicago, Northwestern, Rice, Notre Dame, Washington University St. Louis, and Vanderbilt – in the Central Time Zone made the Top 15. (Alas, those Central-timers celebrating the notion of having 40% of the Top 15 should be careful: because of ties, a total of 18 schools can consider themselves in the Top 15, as well.)

2) USC beats UCLA
In the rankings’ most dynamic intra-city rivalry, USC finally moved a step ahead of UCLA, staying at 23 while the Bruins dropped ever-so-slightly to 24th. Last year the rivals were locked at 23, whereas the previous year saw UCLA a spot head of USC.

The other major intra-city rivalries stayed static, with Harvard safely above MIT, U. Chicago safely over Northwestern, and Columbia comfortably ahead of NYU.

3) It’s Good to Be A Bostonian…
Boston University and Northeastern each cracked the Top 40 this year (tied at 39), bringing the number of Boston schools with that distinction to 7. Harvard and MIT stayed in their usual Top 10 places, with Tufts (27th), Boston College (31st), and Brandeis (34th) also staying in that Top 40.

4) …or an Upstate New Yorker
While Columbia leads the way for all New York-based schools at #5, four other New York schools make the Top 40, with three of them coming from upstate. Cornell, naturally, leads that group at #15, and both the University of Rochester (32nd) and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (39th, in Troy), also earned that distinction.

5) The Public Option
With the exception of UC-Berkeley, each of the 22 schools with a Top 20 designation is a private school with a stated price tag of over $43,000. But once that list gets into the 20s, plenty of public schools with in-state tuition costs under $20,000 enter the mix: Berkeley, UCLA, Virginia, Michigan, and North Carolina all make the Top 30, with William & Mary, Georgia Tech, UC-Santa Barbara, and UC-Irvine ranking in the Top 40 at less than half the tuition cost of their private counterparts.

6) For Better Or Worse, Your Test Scores Will Matter
In the standard table view, the US News & World Report shows four statistics: tuition cost, undergraduate enrollment, SAT scores, and ACT scores (the range for the 25th percentile through the 75th percentile). And as you scan down the list, you’ll fisand that you have to get all the way to the 20th-ranked school (Emory) to find a middle 50% ACT range that isn’t entirely in the 30s (Emory’s is 29-33), and that only one of the top 15 schools (Dartmouth) has a middle 50% SAT range that includes scores below 1350.

As long as there are rankings that are based on quantitative data, standardized test scores will be a major way for schools to rise (or fall) in those rankings. It therefore follows that admissions officers will be looking for applicants whose stats can help them rise, so prospective students to highly-ranked schools should take their test preparation seriously.

7) Money Matters, Too
Seven of the Top 10 ranked schools are also in the U.S. News’ 2015 rankings for largest university endowments. When you see that Princeton has access to over $20 billion and Harvard holds over $36 billion, is it any wonder that these schools consistently top the U.S. university rankings? We’ll give a special shout out to Johns Hopkins, which managed its Top 10 ranking despite having “just” $3.4 billion in its coffers! Whether you think that’s puny or not, the fact is that all of these schools have the means to hire brilliant professors and give them access to world-class tools and facilities… Here’s hoping that they continue to invest in improving access to education and finding endless advances in all disciplines.

Do you need help with your college applications? Visit our College Admissions website and fill out our FREE Profile Evaluation for personalized feedback on your unique background! And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+, and Twitter!

By Scott Shrum and Brian Galvin.

4 Things To Consider When Reviewing College Rankings

USnews!It’s that time of year again. The excitement and frenzy surrounding college applications is starting to pick up and colleges are trying to put their best foot forward in appealing to high school students around the world. When it comes to appealing to potential applicants, it certainly doesn’t hurt to be highly ranked in the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges list!

We know how important college rankings are – graduating from a school that consistently ranks at the top often leads to jobs sooner after graduation, higher salaries and a competitive advantage when applying to graduate programs. As we’ve seen for the past several years, Princeton University, Harvard University and Yale University continue to hold the top three spots, respectively. These top schools are all members of the Ivy League and admit less than 8% of applicants each year.

While their acceptance rate is quite low, they estimate that over three quarters of students who apply for admission are qualified candidates. This is a true testament to the sheer number of talented and successful students are out there. That means there are hundreds of thousands who are fighting for spots at the most selective schools in the country.

With these published lists comes the (sometimes daunting) task of assembling a ranking system for your own. When assembling your list of top schools, it is important to not only consider where they rank overall, but also where they rank in terms of other important factors like academic programs, student life, size and value. So, when you scroll through the lists and get a sense of the top schools in the U.S., you should also focus on the factors that could make them your top pick. Just a few things to consider when reviewing the college ranking lists:

1. Academic programs: Do they have a strong academic program for the area you’d like to study? What kind of classes can you take? Who are the Professors and what are their backgrounds? Will this school help you get an internship in this industry? What percentage of graduates get jobs in this industry after graduation?

2. Student life: Does this school have students who live on or off campus (or both)? Do they guarantee housing for freshman? What athletic programs do they offer? Do they have clubs already on campus that you’re interested in joining? Is Greek Life prominent on campus?

3. Size: How many undergraduate students are there? What is the average number of students in each class? What is the faculty to student ratio? How many clubs are on campus? Is Greek Life part of the student community?

4. Best value: How well does the school support students who require need-based financial assistance? What is the average cost after receiving grants based on needs? What scholarships are available? Do they have funding in the programs you’re interested in?

Answering these essential questions early on will help you narrow down your college list and develop a ranking system for your own top schools. It is important to remember that the schools you select should meet your own specific criteria, not necessarily the criteria that others use to make these annual rankings.

Speaking of, you might be interested to know how the U.S. News & World Report makes their rankings! To learn more about how U.S. News & World Report generates these rankings every year!

Need help prepping your college application? Visit our College Admissions website and fill out our FREE College profile evaluation

Laura Smith is Program Manager of Admissions Consulting at Veritas Prep. Laura received her Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri, followed by a College Counseling Certificate from UCLA.


School Profile: Why Oberlin is the Most Liberal of the Liberal Arts Colleges

Oberlin College is a private liberal arts college in Ohio is a self-described “ideal laboratory in which to study and design the world we want.” From its beginnings in 1833, Oberlin has been a progressive school dedicated to social justice. Twenty years prior to the Civil War, Oberlin had already graduated the first black student to attend the College, George Vashon, who went on to be one of the founding professors of Howard University. They were the first college to admit students regardless of race in 1835, and the first to admit women in 1837. Oberlin’s abolitionist stance and active roles in both the Underground Railroad and the ensuing U.S. Civil War cannot be overstated. The College has remained committed to progressive causes throughout their history.

More than 2,900 students call Oberlin’s 440 acre suburban campus home. The vast majority are enrolled in the College of Arts & Sciences, but over 400 students are enrolled in the Conservatory of Music, one of the nation’s best music schools. The competitive conservatory admits fewer than 10% of the applicants who audition for the coveted seats. Nearly 200 students choose the five-year Double-Degree from the liberal arts college and the conservatory of music, a rare opportunity.

Oberlin offers degrees in 47 majors and 42 minors. The most popular degrees by enrollment are music performance, biology, and political science/government. Beyond their disciplines, students must take coursework in arts and humanities, social and behavioral sciences, natural sciences and mathematics, processes of quantitative reasoning and writing, and languages and cultures that aren’t their own. Two semesters are separated by a four-week winter term of self-directed study. Students must complete three winter terms to graduate.

Other academic opportunities at Oberlin are Study Away, which is primarily studying abroad for a semester to a year, but not all Study Away options are outside the country. Entrepreneurship is encouraged and supported through the Oberlin’s Creativity and Leadership Project, where students’ great ideas can come to life. Oberlin’s Experimental College, or ExCo offers for credit classes in virtually anything imaginable, given by other students, community members, and faculty. Students can apply 5 ExCo credits toward graduation requirements.

Oberlin students joke on Internet message boards that Oberlin “puts the liberal in liberal arts.” Its reputation as a “hippie school” comes from its long history of progressive thought behind meaningful action, its Experimental College, and its Student Cooperative Association. Oberlin College embodies the philosophy of standing for something, even if you are standing alone, and have a rich history of social justice. If you have racial, ethnic, or gender hang-ups, this is definitely not the school for you. If you desire to be the change you want to see in the world, you’re in the right place.

Oberlin is enthusiastically committed to banning Greek fraternities or sororities, which has the full support of the student body. The Oberlin Student Cooperative Association, therefore, is the school’s primary student-led social organization on campus. The students run four housing and dining co-ops, three dining only co-ops, and a grocery store. Roughly one-third of Oberlin students live in Cooperative Housing. OSCA also runs co-ops in film, photography, biking, and more; membership is open to faculty, staff, and Oberlin community members to foster a culture of camaraderie between students, the college, and the town.

Oberlin College has nine men’s and ten women’s NCAA Division III teams that compete in the North Coast Athletic Conference. Their football team’s claim to fame is being coached in 1892 by John Heisman, after whom the Heisman Trophy is named, and going 7-0 that season. They also hold the dubious distinction of being among the five worst Division III football programs for several years. The school’s Yeowomen (Rhinos) Rugby team has enjoyed the most success of both men’s and women’s teams. Both men’s and women’s Ultimate (Frisbee) club teams have enjoyed regional and national success. The Oberlin College Recreation Center serves not only the students, faculty, and staff, but alson the Oberlin community.

You would be hard-pressed to find another college that values tradition more than Oberlin. One of the most curious, but prized traditions at Oberlin is their art rental program. Black Friday type lines form overnight at the beginning of each semester outside Allen Memorial Art Museum for a chance to get an original Picasso, Renoir, or Warhol to display in their rooms. The program, which started in the 1940s, allows students pay $5 for the privilege of having a piece of art for the semester. Drag Ball is a playful annual event borne from student activism in the 1980s to support Transgender Awareness Week. It features professional performers and DJs, a main stage and runway, and three dance floors, and is held in the Student Union. Illumination, which began in November of 1860 to honor President-elect Abraham Lincoln, continues today to honor Oberlin graduates. On Commencement night, thousands of Japanese lanterns illuminate the night on Oberlin College campus and several streets in town. This is a smattering of Oberlin’s many traditions.

If you are progressive in your thought, are enthusiastic about applying action to it, and are committed to making the world a better place, Oberlin is your kind of school.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill


School Profile: Is the Artistic and Academic Community of Juilliard Right for You?

The Juilliard School was initially founded in 1905 as the Institute of Musical Art. By 1946 it had become the Juilliard School of Music, and included both undergraduate studies and a graduate program. Today, the school is named The Juilliard School (known informally simply as Juilliard) and includes music, dance, and drama curricula at both undergraduate and graduate levels. It is an urban school, located in New York City’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and trains just over 600 students. It reflects an exclusively artistic education where students specialize in their artistic major in combination with liberal arts.

Over the years The Julliard School’s curriculum has evolved with the school. Initially, it was exclusively a music school with a traditional curriculum focusing on music theory, ear training, and music history. From there it embraced a program designed for composers to teach, which left the classroom application of the previous elements up to the discretion of the composer-instructors. By the 1960s, even that was abandoned in favor of the solfege pedagogy, which forms the basis for today’s music education. The dance curriculum was added in 1951, and drama in 1968, although music remains the dominant division at the school. The Juilliard School offers undergraduate degrees in music, dance, and drama; and graduate and doctorate degrees in music.

Once Juilliard students are accepted, which is through a rigorous audition process, they may choose from among several majors. Students may earn a B.F.A. in dance, which is equal parts ballet and modern dance with a three semester, 24-credit liberal arts program. The drama B.F.A. program accepts 8-10 new students per year by audition into acting or playwright programs, which also include the liberal arts core curriculum. There are 14 music majors from which to choose in the undergraduate B.M. Instrumental and B.M. Voice programs, which again include the three semester liberal arts curriculum. Multiple performance opportunities are available both at The Juilliard School and at venues in and around New York City.

The Juilliard School also offers cross-registration for students wishing to take courses at either Columbia University or Barnard College. Juilliard students are limited to one class per semester; they must be in good academic standing at Juilliard and able to demonstrate the ability to take on the enhanced academic rigor of the two schools. Approved credits earned count towards Juilliard’s liberal arts requirements. Additionally, Juilliard students have the opportunity to participate in a rigorous year-long research program to earn “with scholastic distinction” on their degrees and transcripts. A select number of students pursuing music degrees can apply for the accelerated M.M. program where they are allowed to take courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels during their final undergrad year.

All first-year students of the Juilliard School are required to live in campus housing. Juilliard has provided housing for approximately 350 students at their Meridith Willson Residence Hall in the top thirteen floors of the Rose Building next door to the school. The unique resident hall offers million-dollar views of Broadway, Central Park, and the Hudson River. It’s in the heart of Manhattan, close to the Metropolitan Opera House and only blocks from Times Square. The lobby floor has a student lounge, kitchen, laundry room, and vending machines. There is a student fitness center on the 22nd floor and a student computer and study lounge on the 19th floor.

Each floor has four student suites and two soundproof practice rooms. Each suite has five bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a living room with an amazing view. All suites are fully furnished and provide cable and Internet. Students can choose specialty housing options like gender specific, quiet, or substance free. Only first-year students are guaranteed housing. Older students can live off campus or participate in Housing Selection for a shot at staying in the residence hall. Juilliard assists students with off-campus housing resources. There are meal-plans available to students regardless of living on or off campus. Residence Life hosts over 100 activities including, Midnight Breakfast and Halloween Haunted House.

Students can participate in the relatively new independent student newspaper, The Yard, or just read it to stay in the know with what’s happening socially, academically, and with peers, staff, and alumni. There are no college sports, fraternities or sororities, and no traditions to speak of. What you can find is a ton of reasonably priced options for eating and hanging out in the East Village and Hell’s Kitchen neighborhoods, the opportunity to rub shoulders with the most artistically brilliant and talented people you’ll ever meet, and the chance to live and learn in the most exciting city in the country.

If you think you have what it takes, the Juilliard School is waiting for you to share your talents.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill

School Profile: Become Savvy in International Relations at Tufts University

Tufts University is located on a hill outside Medford, Massachusetts. This small suburban research university began in 1854 as a liberal arts college. In 1933, the University added Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, which was the first graduate school in the country for international affairs. Under the tenure of Tufts’ President, Jean Mayer, the college transformed into an elite research university. Today, Tufts boasts two undergraduate programs, the School of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Engineering, and eight graduate and professional schools in arts and sciences, engineering, veterinary medicine, dental medicine, international relations, nutrition science and policy, medicine, and biomedical sciences.

Academically, it is the mission of Tufts University to help students recognize the combinations of cross-disciplinary studies required to solve the complex global challenges of the present and the future. The University empowers students toward that goal with world class research capabilities combined with the personalized rigor of a small college. Students can choose from more than 70 majors among the two undergraduate schools, although 90% of students are enrolled in the School of Arts and Sciences.

By enrollment, the most popular undergraduate majors at Tufts are international relations and biological sciences. Undergraduates are considered an essential part of ongoing university research. Because of the university’s strong international focus, nearly half of all Tufts undergraduates study abroad for at least a semester. Famous Tufts graduates include singer Tracy Chapman, author Anita Shreve, television personality Meredith Vieira, and astronaut Frederick Hauck.

Over 70% of Tufts students live in one of 40 on or off campus housing properties. Freshmen are required to live on campus in Tilton, Houston, Hill, or Haskell Halls unless they are able to verify that they commute from their parents’ homes. They must also enroll in the premium meal plan with Carmichael or Dewick-MacPhie dining halls, which are open seven days a week. Students have several clubs and organizations available to them including musical groups, performance arts groups like dance or opera, and student journalism opportunities, such as the campus television or radio stations.

Students report enjoying the proximity to Davis Square for shopping and eating out at one of many restaurants serving diverse culinary choices. Entertainment suggestions include capture the flag at Powerhouse Park, Sacco’s Bowling at Davis Square, a nap on President’s Lawn, or the view from the roof of Tisch Library.  If you are old enough to drink, trivia night at PJ Ryan’s is on Tuesdays, or there is Friday night wine tasting at Ball Square Fine Wines. There’s good vegan food at True Bistro in Teele Square, if you’re into it.

Tufts University has 14 men’s and 15 women’s NCAA Division III teams competing in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). Recent accolades have gone to Tufts first-ever NCAA Division III team title, won by the men’s lacrosse team in 2010; a national individual title in women’s tennis the same year, and most recently, a men’s national individual diving title. There are an additional 16 club sports for students to participate in at Tufts. Students can also join in nine intramural fall sports and five spring sports with a Tufts ID, which must be presented at each event. The University’s commitment to healthy living and fitness for all students is clearly demonstrated with the state-of-the-are Tisch Sports and Fitness Center, and all students are encouraged to take advantage of it.

A special Tufts tradition takes place on President’s lawn when incoming freshmen light a candle in honor of Charles Tufts their first night on campus; four years later, they repeat the ceremony the night before graduation. Another Tufts tradition is painting the cannon and then guarding it until daybreak to be sure your work isn’t painted over by someone else. The Spring Fling concert just before finals has been a Tuft’s tradition since 1980. For 75 years, students have awakened Halloween morning to find their campus “pumpkin’d” with pumpkins all over the place; these are just some of the Tufts traditions you’ll experience.

If you want the comfort of a small campus with the world class research opportunities of a major research university, and you have a heart for solving global issues, Tufts is the place to apply.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill


School Profile: Collaboration, Community Service, and Career Development at Bates College

Bates College, a small liberal arts college located in Lewiston, Maine, it was founded in 1855 and was one of the most forward-thinking colleges of its time. It started out as a seminary and was a stop on the Underground Railroad; consequently, many of the first students were former slaves. Throughout time they have remained a diverse and inclusive school that promotes the importance of rigorous academia coupled with the betterment of oneself.

At Bates College students can choose from thirty-five interdisciplinary and departmental majors along with twenty-six secondary concentrations. Many students double major, graduate with a major and minor, or graduate with a major and two general education concentrations. This allows them to enter the professional world with a strong and diverse academic background.

The average class size at Bates is no more than twenty students, and 100% of the faculty hold the highest degree in their respective fields. Diverse academic options combined with personalized teaching offers students a strong foundation for academic success. There are a wide range of study abroad options that more than 60% of the student body take advantage of, plus internships, fieldwork, and research opportunities that stretch and challenge students.

At Bates, all students take part in a first year seminar where you, a small group of peers, and a chosen professor will dive into a specialized topic that models the type of work you’ll be doing for all four college years. This will fold into your senior thesis that will usually be the first step towards graduate study or your first job after college. Bates College is perfect for students who want strong guidance while gaining the tools and education to lead successful professional careers upon graduation.

Campus life at Bates is diverse and centers around community. The student housing, clubs and organizations, and the student-run coffee house, simply referred to as The Ronj, help cultivate the sense of community. All freshmen live on campus in first-year residence halls where they get to know one another and adjust to campus life under the guidance of the some of the upper-classmen. Most students live on campus in either a residence hall or one of the 25 beautiful Victorian houses.

There are more than 100 clubs and organizations for students to participate in as well as a myriad of services that benefit student success. They include student employment, community service projects, and career development opportunities. Students can collaborate and get to know one another at The Ronj, where they can play pool, watch movies, or attend concerts and other events while snacking on some delicious grub. The Ronj also offers services like catering campus events, and it functions as an open space for creative writing, broadcast art, comedy, theater, and much more.

Bates College competes in Division III athletics in the New England Small College Athletic Conference with 14 men’s and 15 women’s varsity teams. They have won countless championships in a variety of varsity sports. Club teams include rugby, ice hockey, ultimate Frisbee, sailing, and more. Intramural sports are available for those who play simply for the love of the game.

The athletic facilities at Bates are state-of-the-art; among them are an ice hockey rink, several courts, a boathouse, a swimming pool, tracks, and various outdoor fields. The football field is one of the oldest in the nation. For those who just like to maintain their physical fitness, there is access to facilities such as the weight room that includes treadmills and elliptical machines.

Traditions are a big part of Bates College; some go back nearly one hundred years. One of the most prominent traditions is the Winter Carnival where festivities last four days and are created by the Bates Outing Club, centered around a new theme every year. This fun carnival is all about celebrating winter in Maine, where you might find competitions like tray and three legged races. Other activities could include an ice skating party, a casual bonfire, or a concert. The big finale on the last day of Winter Carnival is the puddle jump, and no this is not skipping through puddles; you’ll have to see for yourself when you become a Bates Bobcat!

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill

School Profile: Find Adventure in Your Academic Journey at the College of William and Mary

The College of William and Mary is located in Williamsburg, Virginia. For a small research university, they give new meaning to the phrase, don’t let the small size fool you. The second oldest college in the country, this school has a long history of packing a big punch. Graduates include sixteen signers of the Declaration of Independence, three U.S. Presidents, and a U.S. Supreme Court Justice; it has been dubbed “the alma mater of a nation.” Students at the College of William and Mary thrive in every area, from academics to athletics to the future prosperity of their students. If you are a person who finds mediocrity distasteful, then this public research university was created for you.

The College of William and Mary combines a dedication to the study of liberal arts with a growing emphasis on science and research to create a university that regards themselves as a powerhouse in education. With over 30 undergraduate programs and 10 graduate and professional degree programs, the school is committed to a philosophy of personalized education. The student-faculty ratio is 12:1 and there is a strong focus on faculty-student collaboration; nearly half the classes have fewer than 20 students. By student enrollment, the most popular majors at the College of William and Mary are social sciences, business management, and biological and biomedical sciences. The College also offers a joint undergraduate degree program in liberal arts with the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and a joint degree program in engineering with Columbia University.

William and Mary believes education doesn’t stop inside the classroom; students are involved in lab projects, theater, a strong international exchange program, and various community projects to enhance the pursuit of academic excellence. The College of William and Mary encourages students to reach beyond the confines of a single major and immerse themselves in all facets of their academic journeys. If you want the chance to be academically independent, but also guided by excellent faculty, then this is the University for you.

The campus life at William and Mary is as exceptional as its students. This is a University that is filled with athletes, artists, adventurers, researchers, activists, and more, so it makes sense that they have nearly four hundred clubs to accommodate such diversity of thought and talent. Whether you want to write on the campus newspaper or take an outreach trip to Africa, there is a club that allows you to delve into your passions. Cultural, political, religious, environmental, and ethnic clubs are just a few of the opportunities at your disposal. At this highly residential college, students stay on campus all four years with upscale residence and apartment housing, top-notch facilities, and the infamous eatery known as, “The Caf.”

The birthplace of Greek life, it is no wonder that roughly one-third of the student body is associated with a fraternity or sorority. Phi Beta Kappa, founded in 1776 as a literary fraternity and later becoming an honor society, was the first Greek letter in the United States. Now, besides academic fraternities and sororities, the College of William and Mary hosts an astounding 16 social fraternities and 12 sororities, five of which are historically all black. If you are a philanthropist at heart, look no further; countless service clubs are at your fingertips who provide support to underdeveloped countries offering medical aid, building houses, and supporting schools. William and Mary students, staff, and faculty are devoted to positively impacting the world around them.

The college of William and Mary fields 10 men’s and 11 women’s NCAA Division I varsity teams competing in the Colonial Athletic Association. Known as the Tribe, which represents unity, their mascot is the griffin, half eagle and half lion, which is a symbol of power and majesty. They’ve upheld that reputation with over 159 titles since the athletic program began. They lead their conference in titles and were also the first school in the CAA to reach one hundred conference titles, and that was back in 2010. Aside from their excellent varsity teams, this campus boasts 46 club sports teams, and a plethora of intramural opportunities. More than eighty percent of the student body engages in varsity sports, club sports, intramural programs, and recreational programs. Athletic excellence is a large part of this campus.

Attending the College of William and Mary offers students a vast amount of opportunities and gives them a safe space to not only call home, but also the chance to become their best selves. Among the many ways this college supports student growth is through the power of tradition. This University is steeped in tradition and it starts when freshmen enter the campus passing through the entrance of the Wren building; this act is known as Opening Convocation. They are welcomed and informed that they can solidify their places within the school community by serenading the President of the college with the Alma Mater their first week in school. Graduating seniors walk through the same building entrance as they did when they were freshmen, ringing the bell in the cupola of the Wren building before departure. If you’re looking for a place to come into your personal greatness, the College of William and Mary should be on your short list.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill

School Profile: Become Daring, Innovative, and Imaginative at MIT

MIT is among the most prestigious colleges in the country. Students attending MIT will need to be driven and focused to tackle the academic requirements in any one of the five schools within this college. There are over 30 departments in the five schools, each with equal parts work and opportunity. MIT operates on a 4-1-4 academic calendar meaning a fall semester, a four week independent activities period in January, and finally a spring semester. The independent activities period is unique to MIT and gives students, staff, faculty, and even alumni the chance to sponsor, organize, and participate in various activities. This includes athletics, lecture series, films, tours, contests, how-to sessions, and forums among other things.

MIT is highly selective and becoming a full-time undergraduate can be difficult. Many may think you have to be an engineering genius to be considered, however, it is well balanced between professional majors and arts and science majors. There are 44 undergraduate degrees to choose from within the five schools, however a bachelor of science degree is the only one given to those who graduate. It is mandatory for each undergraduate student to complete the core curriculum referred to as General Institute Requirements. This is an extensive academic course load with recitations, lectures, weekly tests, and problem sets; additionally, each student must pass a swim test and take four quarters of physical education if a non-varsity athlete.

To ease students into the demanding rigor of this grueling academic course load, freshmen are evaluated on a “pass/no record” grading system. MIT students have the good fortune of participating in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program where they can work directly with researchers and faculty on various projects. As an undergraduate you can initiate or join research projects for pay, academic credit, or as a volunteer. Within these research opportunities many students file patent applications, become published, or launch start-up companies. MIT has a demanding academic program, but it gives its students the tools to thrive and achieve as well as the opportunities that will support greatness.

Campus life at MIT starts with housing where every undergraduate student is guaranteed to be housed all four years in one of the twelve dormitories. Along with these housing dormitories there are 36 sororities, fraternities, and independent living organizations. Greek life is prominent on the MIT campus; for those who do not wish to participate, there are more than 380 student activity groups from which to choose. Along with the various clubs students can enjoy a few different museums on campus such as the List Visual Arts Center, which constantly rotates contemporary art exhibitions.

The campus offers popular weekly movie screenings, various lectures and demonstrations as well as annual events such as the entrepreneurship competition. One of the most notorious aspects to MIT campus life is “hacking,” which is clever practical joke style pranks that are both intellectually challenging and entertaining. Although no one is safe from an MIT prank, their favorite prankster rival is CalTech. MIT campus life offers students the traditional college experience with a flair for the daring and imaginative.

MIT has been big on hacks, or student pranks, since the 1870s. This is probably one of their proudest traditions, because it requires imagination, ingenuity, daring, and skill. One year they stole the CalTech cannon, and when it reappeared on the MIT campus, it was emblazoned with their own mascot on the side. They managed to make a weather balloon filled with powder rise up from the football field during a Yale vs. Harvard game. They made it appear as though the campus police car was on top of the campus dome. It’s a never-ending challenge to pull off the perfect stunt.

MIT competes primarily at the NCAA Division III level in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference. They have a diverse athletic program with 33 varsity sports, some of which are involved in different conferences. For example, the varsity women’s rowing team competes in the NCAA Division I Eastern Association of Women’s Rowing Colleges. Nearly 20% of MIT students compete in varsity athletics, and they have more Academic All-Americans than any other Division III school. MIT boasts 800  participants on 34 teams. There is also a strong intramural program on campus with over 18 sports.

Other MIT traditions include Campus Preview, which by the way CalTech managed to pull off an epic hack at in 2014 (be a part of the payback that is sure to follow), the Brass Rat Ring Premier, Baker House piano drop, steer roast, and Spring Weekend to name a few. If you want to hear more about the student experience, be sure to check out “Why I’m CoMITted to MIT.” If you would appreciate an intellectually stimulating experience peppered by practical jokes and amazing stunts, you will definitely find a home at MIT.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill

School Profile: You Will Love the Traditions of Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University, founded in 1834, is a private research university located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and sits on a 340-acre main campus three miles from downtown. The Winston-Salem college town is nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is also a four-hour drive from welcoming North Carolina beaches. There’s a little bit of everything: mountains, Piedmont, beaches, and city, all in proximity to this suburban university.

Pro Humanitate (for humanity) is the Wake Forest motto, so it makes sense that they have poured financial support into new initiatives in the Humanities Institute in entrepreneurship, translational science, sustainability, public engagement, molecular signaling, sustainability and bioethics, all made possible by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The University is home to both the Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials, which works to bridge research with real world applications in national defense, medicine, and manufacturing.  In the same spirit, the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine aims to bridge scientific discovery and clinical therapies.

The 4,800 undergraduates who call Wake Forest University home can earn a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree from either Wake Forest College or the Calloway School of Business and Accountancy in any one of 40 majors. The most popular majors by enrollment are Business, Political Science, Psychology, and Speech Communications. With a faculty-to-student ratio of 11:1, and all classes taught by experienced faculty, not graduate students, undergrads get an intimate and intellectually stimulating learning experience. Many students work on major research projects with their professors and are able to earn grants or publish work. Among many past and present notable professors, Dr. Maya Angelou taught at Wake Forest from 1982 until her death in 2014.

Students at Wake Forest take Pro Humanitate seriously. They are actively involved in volunteerism in service to community, locally, nationally, and internationally.  The Volunteer Service Corps (VSC) is one of the most popular student organizations on campus. The group goes on annual service trips to destinations in Vietnam, Latin America, Russia, and others, as well as their local and national work. In the same spirit of Pro Humanitate, Wake Forest has 23% minority enrollment, cultural diversity core class requirement for all students, and is among schools awarded the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award by Insight into Diversity magazine. Additionally, more than 60% of students study abroad in more than 70 countries, further enhancing principles of community, volunteerism, diversity, and unity—for humanity.

Unlike most universities, Wake Forest students must live in campus residence halls for six semesters. There are three student community areas: South Campus houses freshmen, Quad and North Areas house upperclassmen. Resident dining plans are also required all six semesters, served in The Fresh Food Company and The Magnolia Room in Reynolds Hall. Students can also take advantage of Benson Food Court featuring food franchises, Shorty’s Restaurant and Bar, Starbucks, Subway, and convenience stores on campus.

Greek life plays an important role at Wake Forest, and nearly half the student body claim membership. According to Greek Rank, Pi Kappa Alpha and Phi Beta Sigma are the two top-ranked fraternities, and Kappa Delta and Delta Zeta are the two top-ranked sororities. Second semester freshmen and above are allowed to rush. There are 28 campus chapters belonging to one of three councils. The Sigma Delta chapter of Order of Omega is the honor society for Greek members. To be selected, a student must be in the top 3% of all Greeks on campus based upon leadership, scholarship, Greek involvement, campus involvement and community service.

Because of Wake Forest’s unique location, students have lots of options in their free time. These include outdoor activities like relaxing on the beach; skiing the Blue Ridge Mountains; biking, running, or picnicking local parks; or boating Salem Lake.  Students can take the campus evening shuttle into downtown Winston-Salem Thursdays through Saturdays. Have dinner with friends, take in a River Run Film Festival screening, tour the galleries of the Trade Street Arts District, check out the Winston-Salem Symphony, or explore the Old Salem Historic District. Wander through Reynolda Village and Gardens next to campus and visit the museum there. With all the campus sponsored activities, Greek life happenings, and local attractions, you’ll never be bored.

The NCAA Division I Wake Forest Demon Deacons have eight men’s and eight women’s varsity teams that compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Wake Forest athletics has won eight national championships in four sports and produced 25 Olympians. Among the many notable athletes at Wake Forest are football standout Brian Piccolo, the subject of the movie Brian’s Song, and golf great Arnold Palmer. The Screamin’ Demons student fan section has over 2,200 members, famous for their tie-dye shirts and die-hard enthusiasm, who provide the winning edge primarily in football and basketball. If you really want to be impressive, watch the movie The 5th Quarter featuring Wake Forest’s improbable 2006 football season, then get your Screamin’ Demon tie-dye!

If there’s one thing Wake Forest students love, it is tradition. It’s also probably why Wake Forest has a strong network of alumni who tend to look out for one another for life. Among the major traditions are Christmas Lovefeast, President’s Ball, Hit the Bricks, Lighting of the Quad, Capture the Flag, Homecoming, Wake ‘n Shake, Project Pumpkin, Wake the Library, Awake All Night, Shag on the Mag Springfest, and Senior Events. Check out the details of each of these traditions and many more in Wake Forest’s exhaustive list of old and new traditions.

If Pro Humanitate rings true for you, and you’re all about academic excellence, a chance to get in on meaningful research (maybe even get published!), traditions galore, being part of something special for life, and screaming in tie-dye, then this is your school.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill


School Profile: Join the Community of Scholars at Stanford University

Stanford University is one of the world’s most prestigious universities and serves over 7,000 undergraduate students and over 11,500 graduate students. This private research university, founded in 1885 was tuition free until the 1930s; recent years have shown the university going back to its roots and offering open access to select Stanford courses for online learners around the world.

Academically, Stanford University in no way takes an ivory tower approach to education; the list of contributions to the world by those associated with this research university is long and impressive. Stanford claims 22 Nobel laureates, 5 Pulitzer Prize winners, 27 MacArthur Fellows, and over 700 other distinguished academic awards in its community of scholars. Seventeen astronauts and 30 billionaires are also affiliated with Stanford.

Faculty, students and alumni have long been a creative force in shaping the future. Some of the most notable cutting edge projects and high profile companies in the world have come out of Stanford. Silicon Valley has its roots in Stanford where one of the precursors to the Internet was developed. Yahoo!, Google, Nike, Coursera, and other companies have been founded by Stanford faculty and/or alumni.

Students applying for an elite Stanford education will experience the lowest acceptance rates in the country. Stanford offers 40 academic programs in three undergraduate schools – Humanities and Sciences, Earth Sciences, and Engineering, as well as robust graduate offerings. More than 18 independent laboratories, institutes, and centers are managed by Stanford. Student opportunities for significant research are unsurpassed, with over 5,000 externally sponsored research opportunities.

The school operates on a quarter system from September to June, where undergraduate students have an option of earning a bachelor’s degree, or a coterminal degree. Coterm degrees are where graduate school becomes an extension of a student’s undergraduate education leading to a master’s degree.

Student housing is guaranteed for all four years of undergraduate studies at Stanford, and one year of graduate study. Ninety-seven percent of undergrads live in campus housing. There is a thriving Greek life on campus with 16 fraternities and 14 sororities; ten of those offer student housing. According to Greek Rank, the most popular sororities are Kappa Alpha Theta, Delta Delta Delta, and Chi Omega. Favorite fraternities are Phi Kappa Psi, Kappa Alpha Order, and Alpha Epsilon Pi.

Stanford offers 630 recognized student organizations, 44 religious organizations, six cultural centers, and the Haas Center for Public Service, which supports student community service. Aggregated student satisfaction data at Students Review gives Stanford a 90% positive rating. The Stanford campus is actually its own town and filled with every activity imaginable. Some highlights are Café Nights; parties, parties, parties; Flicks campus movie theater; lounging at Arrillaga Alumni Center Fountain; hitting balls at the Stanford driving range; hiking the Dish at sunset; or stargazing at the courtyard near the clock tower. Don’t forget you’re 30 minutes from San Francisco for the ultimate urban scene, or three hours from Yosemite National Park for prime outdoor adventure.

Excellence is a theme at Stanford. The Stanford Cardinals have 36 NCAA Division I men’s and women’s varsity teams competing in the PAC-12 Conference. Cardinal teams have amassed 105 NCAA national titles, and student athletes have captured 0ver 45 individual national championships. Stanford athletes competing in the Olympics have won over 240 Olympic medals since 1912, of which more than 125 of them were gold. Approximately 300 athletic scholarships are awarded each year. For the less competitive who still love sports, Stanford offers 19 club sports and 37 intramural sports.

Stanford’s main football rival is Berkeley. Every year the “Big Game” is the culmination of a week’s worth of preparations. The 2013 Rose Bowl Champions get fired up for the game against the “hippies across the bay.” For all Cardinal games you’ll be expected to know the proper Stanford cheers down to the jangling of keys and pointing in the right sequence and direction depending on what’s happening on the field. When basketball season rolls around, you’ll have to learn a whole new set of cheer skills.

Stanford University is rich with tradition – some serious, some more frivolous. For a complete breakdown, check out the Stanford University Unofficial Guide online. A few favorites include the freshman tradition of Assassins, class and Greek formals, Midnight Breakfast and Primal Scream during Dead Week, fountain hopping the 25 Stanford fountains on campus, an annual ski trip, and Stanford’s version of the Amazing Race.

If you’re brilliant and competitive, a compulsively curious overachiever with a bona fide penchant for shenanigans, Stanford may be just the school for you.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill


School Profile: You Can Choose From 67 Majors at Columbia University

Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university is located on a 36-acre campus in the Upper Manhattan neighborhood of New York City. Founded in 1754, Columbia is the oldest university in the state of New York and fifth oldest in the United States. The university has 20 schools and is affiliated with Barnard College, The Julliard School, and Union Theological Seminary. Beyond its NYC campuses, Columbia has Nevis Laboratories, a facility for experimental particle and nuclear physics, in Irvington, New York, and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, a leading research institute in global sciences.  It also has centers in Amman, Nairobi, Mumbai, Istanbul, Beijing, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, and Santiago. If that isn’t enough, Columbia has the distinction of administering the annual Pulitzer Prizes awarded in print and online journalism, literature, and musical composition.

Incoming freshmen can choose from three undergraduate schools, Columbia College – a liberal arts school offering B.A. degrees, the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences offering B.S. degrees, or the School of General Studies for non-traditional students who can earn either B.A. or B.S. degrees.  All schools operate on a two-semester academic calendar. Columbia offers 67 majors in 21 areas of study. The top majors by enrollment are social sciences, engineering, health professions, history, and visual and performing arts. Students can expect nearly 80% of their classes to have fewer than 20 students, and a student-faculty ratio of approximately 6:1.

Students can participate in research alongside some of the top researchers in their fields. Nine current faculty members are Nobel laureates. Departmental research sites include Arts and Sciences, Earth Institute, Engineering, Medical Center, Social Work, Business, and International and Public Affairs facilities. A student graduating from Columbia University will be in the company of many other notable people; three U.S. Presidents, 26 Heads of State, 43 Nobel Prize winners, nine Supreme Court Justices, 123 Pulitzer Prize winners, and 39 Academy Award winners, among many more distinguished alumni.

At Columbia, 94% of students live in campus housing. Through the Faculty-in-Residence program, faculty members and their families live in the residence halls of East Campus, West Campus, and First Year Area. Incoming freshmen make this choice to establish long-term mentoring relationships. Freshmen may also opt to live in more traditional residences of the Living Learning Center, Furnald, John Jay, or Carman. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors may choose special interest residential communities where students live and learn together around their commonalities such as sustainability, jazz, writing, LGBT, and more.

There are also over 500 student organizations where students can find their place at Columbia. Students are encouraged to become fully involved in campus life and support each other’s interests. Choices range from Alternative Break, where students form service groups and carry out projects over break to the Davis Project for Peace summer program. Live at Lerner presents entertainment events as well as academic and cultural events for students throughout the year. Urban New York provides students with an opportunity to attend NYC events with free tickets; past trips and events have included Broadway musicals, New York Knicks and New York Yankees games, a brunch cruise, a night at the Apollo Theater, a performance at the Metropolitan Opera, and many more.

The NCAA Division I Columbia University Lions compete in the Ivy League Conference on 14 men’s and 15 women’s sports teams. Columbia has seen some success in various sports throughout their history. Columbia athletes were the first to ever win the English Henley Royal Regatta in crew. Columbia also had a female runner set an Olympic world record in track, made the NCAA finals in men’s soccer, and produced Hall of Famers in baseball and football. Their primary rival has long been Princeton University, although a new tradition began in 2002 with Fordham University. Columbia and Fordham play an annual football game for the right to hold the Liberty Cup until the next year’s game.

Columbia University offers students 38 club sports from ballroom dance to Moy Yee Kung Fu. Students can participate in six intramural league sports: flag football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, team handball, or dodgeball. Squash is the only individual intramural sport. If you don’t want to make a long-term commitment, there are one-day tournaments in various intramural sports each semester. For those looking to stay fit, but aren’t interested in competitive sports, there are group fitness classes at Dodge Fitness Center.

Many Columbia University traditions have evolved over its 260-year existence. The first tradition new students are likely to engage in is First Year March, where they will be ushered out the back of Lerner Hall together to re-enter through the main campus gates and officially become students of Columbia University. Also specific to freshmen, the first to find the owl hidden in the Alma Mater statue is thought to become valedictorian. Varsity Show is another long-standing tradition, where students write a musical for Columbia students. Rodgers and Hammerstein participating as student writer/directors at one time. Other traditions include Take Back the Night, Tree-Lighting and Yule Log Ceremonies, Primal Scream, Orgo Night, and more.

If you are looking for a challenging academic experience in one of the most exciting cities in the world, Columbia University may be just what you’re looking for in a school.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill

School Profile: You Will Want to Attend the Rhode Island School of Design After Reading This

Rhode Island School of Design is a small fine arts and design school located in Providence, Rhode Island and is the perfect college for those with creative flair. Students have the opportunity to receive bachelor’s and master’s degrees in over fifteen different majors. Unique opportunities like the European Honors Program offered to juniors and seniors, where they can study in Rome for half a year, make this school amazing. With its own museum, a strong and mutually beneficial relationship with Brown University, and an intriguing academic program, RISD creates the optimum environment for those who want to be in the fine arts, design, and architecture fields. At RISD the opportunities are endless and a great start to a promising future in the arts.

Rhode Island School of Design has an interesting academic approach based on the world renowned Bauhaus method, which is a German word that simply translates to “School of Building.” The idea is that all art forms will come together to create absolute art including architecture. It is now one of the most influential methods, and is still used today at many art and culture institutes including RISD.  At Rhode Island School of Design all freshmen participate in the same core studies, which prepares them to enter their sophomore year when they start their separate studio majors.

A key reason Rhode Island School of Design stands out among other art schools is its emphasis on liberal arts studies delivered by their esteemed doctorate-level faculty. This also goes hand-in-hand with the cross collaboration between their neighbors at Brown University where students at either college can take classes at the other with no extra cost to them. Another highlight of the relationship between Brown and RISD is the dual degree program where motivated students can get both a Bachelor of Arts degree as well as a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. You pursue each major at the respective college that offers it; this a large undertaking, but well worth it for the opportunities.

Along with taking courses at Brown, students from Rhode Island School of Design can also utilize their athletic facilities. Among them are various athletics courts, gyms, a pool, and an ice skating rink to name a few. While they may not be able to attend them all, many of Brown’s lectures, exhibitions, concerts, and theatrical productions are available to RISD students. Community outreach is important at RISD; both students and faculty engage the community in public health, environmental sustainability, and art & design education. With the dynamic educational experience and devotion to enriching themselves and their community, RISD students graduate as well-rounded individuals with the tools to change the world.

Campus life at Rhode Island School of Design is just as unique as the college itself, starting with the housing options. Most upper-classmen can live in the Historic Hill houses, Charles Landing, and 15 West, while first years will live in the First Year Quad. No matter which area you call home, the entire campus is designed to bring all students together encouraging community. The campus dining services provide places like The Met, a campus social hub where students can get late-night brain food and utilize community meeting spaces. RISD has multiple dining options including Rosie, the campus food truck, where students can find any style of food to tantalize their taste buds while collaborating with one another.

Many clubs and organizations are offered to students at RISD; most fall into cultural, common interest, and community engagement categories. There are several student- run services offered, as well as a student government, to continually make Rhode Island School of Design a better place for all who attend. While students can utilize Brown for their athletic facilities, RISD also has over a dozen athletic clubs and fitness facilities for students. They can compete in basketball, soccer, and hockey clubs, which are usually played against other art colleges; or fun in-house athletic intramurals such as ping pong, volleyball, and flag football.

For those who enjoy athletic activities, but shy away from competition, check out their yoga classes, or rock climbing and wilderness clubs, among others. The arts are the main aspect of RISD so it’s no surprise there are several art galleries and exhibitions for students to enjoy. Campus life at RISD is dynamic, educational, and fun; there is never a dull moment. This is the perfect college for individuals who want to have a future in fine arts, design, and architecture, with the opportunity to also immerse themselves in liberal arts studies, and a traditional college experience.

Do you need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill


School Profile: Are You Ready for the Academic Rigor of Georgetown University?

Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic university in the country. This private research university in the tony Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. was founded in 1789 by Bishop John Carroll, and is a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Georgetown University is dedicated to a combination of faith, service, scholarship, and research to create the next generation of responsible and compassionate world citizens.

The university’s main urban campus houses the undergraduate program and is next to Georgetown University Medical Center housing the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, and others. The School of Law is located near Congress in Washington, D. C. and the University has several other programs around the globe, including the School of Foreign Service in Qatar, Mediterranean Studies in Turkey, and Transnational Legal Studies in England. Students may also study at Georgetown facilities in Italy, China, Chile, and Argentina depending on interests.

Academically, Georgetown undergrads may be accepted into one of four schools; Georgetown College (liberal arts), the School of Nursing and Health Services, Walsh School of Foreign Service, or McDonough School of Business. Students may take courses from any of the schools, and often minor in a school other than their majors. All study is within the context of the Jesuit traditions of social justice and holistic personal development. A rather rare opportunity comes with a Georgetown education, and that is a list of extraordinary internships available to students at ABC News, The Smithsonian, a number of Embassies, The World Bank, on Capitol Hill, and others; the University reports that 95% of students participate in an internship. Like some other elite universities, Georgetown practices grade deflation, so don’t expect those As to keep rolling in once you get to college without a serious amount of increased effort. The list of graduates from Georgetown University reads like a Who’s Who of business and world leaders.

Students at Georgetown stay in dormitories, villages, or apartments. On-campus student housing is mandatory for the first two years. Approximately one-third of students live off-campus. Georgetown has one of the most politically active student bodies in the nation, with student organizations working for worker’s rights, Fair Trade, reproductive rights, and against gender violence, as well as an array of national and international social justice issues. The campus is uncharacteristically gay-friendly, has a bit of a hipster vibe, is vegan-friendly, and has a top ranking ROTC program. There is no Greek life to speak of. Due to the Jesuit roots, there are no contraceptives sold on campus and there are no abortions at the University’s medical center. If either of these services become necessary, you’ll have to seek services off-campus that will not be covered by your student health services plan.

There are countless student organizations and publications that students can get involve with at Georgetown. The Corp and its subsidiaries is a nonprofit student-run charitable organization that generates about $4 million a year. The Corp runs Vital Vittles, a campus grocery store; Corp Student Storage and Shuttles, for summer and study-abroad storage, and campus/airport shuttles; Uncommon Grounds, MUG, and Midnight MUG—coffee ships on campus; and Corp Catering that offers professional catering services. All aspects of The Corp are student-run from the facilities employees to the boardroom. Another amazing student-run project is the Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union for your banking needs, including student loans. The credit union also gives out annual student scholarships.

The Georgetown Hoyas are an NCAA Division I program with over 800 student-athletes playing on 11 men’s and 12 women’s varsity teams. They are part of the Big East Conference. Georgetown teams excel in nearly every sport, and over 100 student-athletes have gone on to play professionally in their respective sports. The men’s basketball team and the women’s cross country team hold NCAA national championships. Georgetown has also excelled at the national level in track and field, sailing, rowing, lacrosse, soccer, and rugby.  Club sports include dodge ball, squash, tennis, racquetball, and basketball. Students can also participate in individual fitness activities or in group fitness or recreational classes at Yates Field House. The blue and gray school colors were chosen by the 1876 rowing team to represent unity between students from the North and the South. The Hoya mascot is Jack the Bulldog.

Besides Georgetown University’s traditions of academic excellence and Jesuit social justice, there are a few other traditions that are less noble, but more fun. Every few years someone steals the hands off the 200-foot clock tower. Homecoming means several annual traditions including a dunk tank, powderpuff football game, wing eating contest, class vs. class tug-of-war, and more as students attempt to win the Traditions Day Award. Two other traditions are getting your picture taken in the lap of Bishop Carroll’s statue sometime before graduation, and participating in the Healy Howl at midnight on Halloween in the campus cemetery.

If you are ready to work harder than you ever have in your life, you love causes and making waves, politics intrigue you, and you prefer challenges over comfort, put Georgetown University on your short list.

Do you need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill


School Profile: Is the Intimate Community of Colgate University Right For You?

Thirteen is Colgate University’s lucky number. The story goes that in 1817 six clergymen and seven laymen, 13 in all, came together with 13 dollars, 13 books, and 13 prayers to form the Baptist Education Society, which wrote the 13 articles of the school’s original charter, hence Colgate’s love affair with the number 13. The school is situated on a 575 acre campus in rural Hamilton Village, NY, and has been recognized as among the most beautiful college campuses in the U.S. It has a strong commitment to sustainability with a goal of carbon neutrality by 2019.

Colgate undergraduates choose from among 54 majors and several minors from four academic divisions. The most popular majors are Economics, English Language and Literature, and Political Science and Government. All students complete an academic core study in diverse perspectives, critical thinking, effective writing, and lifelong inquiry, to enhance their degree programs. Ten academic centers and institutes on campus support study and research in many fields. More than 20 extended or off-campus study programs support various classes, many with three to six trips for additional intellectual engagement. Students also have learning opportunities through volunteering, internships, living-learning environments, research project, and an array of academic clubs. The student-faculty ratio is 9:1, and 100% of the classes are taught by faculty.

A whopping 91% of students live in student housing, with only 9% opting to live off-campus. This speaks to the close-knit community the 2,900 students have created, being both cause and effect. Nearly half of Colgate students are active in Greek life. It has been recognized nationally for being among the top campuses for LGBT students, and one of the top three schools in integrating African-American students. Colgate has also been honored as one of the most fit colleges in America. These acknowledgements are reflective of a campus environment that is open, welcoming, and active. Students boast about the web of cross-country trails, Frank’s omelets and hot sauce, finals prep in the Library Café, Dance Fest, Living Writers, and the many theater and a capella groups on campus. Students also enjoy the Village farmer’s market, Good Nature Brewing, and the off-campus social hub at Barge Canal coffee shop—especially on open mic night.

Colgate varsity athletes compete on 23 NCAA Division I-AA varsity teams in the Patriot League. The Raiders’ tradition of excellence began in 1932 when the football team was “undefeated, untied, unscored upon, and uninvited” to the Rose Bowl game. Colgate’s college rival is much larger Cornell; nowhere is it more evident than at hockey match-ups, where games turn into major events. There is an amazing array of high-end athletic and fitness facilities for such a small campus, including the Trudy Fitness Center, and the proposed new athletic facility and soccer stadium. Freshmen go on a Wilderness Adventure through Colgate’s unique Outdoor Education program that also offers snowshoeing, tree climbing, kayaking, rock and ice climbing, and so much more to all students, faculty, and staff.

A modern-day tradition at Colgate is Colgate Day, celebrated every Friday the 13th. Colgate students and alumni around the world wear the school colors and tweet #colgateday to try to get the topic to trend on Twitter. A tradition of love is to stroll beneath the willows along Willow Path; legend has it that a first kiss under the willows foretells marriage. A more serious tradition is the Torchlight Ceremony, each year freshmen are led up “Cardiac Hill” to Memorial Chapel by faculty and senior honor students (13 men and 13 women) for a Founder’s Day convocation. Four years later, students are led back down the hill to Taylor Lake in their graduation robes the night before commencement. They sing the Colgate Alma Mater, place their torches on a bonfire, and celebrate. Colgate is an excellent choice for the student looking for an intimate college experience in a rural area.

Do you need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill

School Profile: Creative Thinking and Campus Living at Yale University

Yale University is ranked #3 in the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. It is a private Ivy League research university located in New Haven, Connecticut. Yale consists of twelve constituent schools; the undergraduate college, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and ten professional schools. The undergraduate school makes up a little under half of the entire student body and is one of the toughest undergrad programs to get into. Yale is an extremely diverse university where half of the student body is women, more than half are minorities or international students, and 55% came from public high schools. This is a university for academic excellence and 97% of those who get in were in the top 10% of their graduating class. As one of the few need-based financial aid universities, students in need usually get grants or scholarships and parents are expected to have zero contributions making it easy on the students. Yale University is committed to providing its current and incoming students with a well-rounded and profoundly rewarding college experience.

The undergraduate program at Yale University is one of the most sought after in the nation, making it a highly competitive college to get into. Students that make it into the undergraduate program can look forward to a rewarding academic experience. With over sixty-five departments, students can choose from over 2,000 undergraduate courses in liberal arts and sciences. The academic vision at Yale was best explained from the Yale Report back in 1828, “expanding (the mind’s) powers, and storing it with knowledge.” Simply put, it means the main goal of the academic program at Yale is to instill the skills and knowledge necessary for each student to thrive in whatever they field they choose by offering exploration before they decide their ultimate contribution to society. Yale firmly believes that the first years of a student’s academic studies should be focused on exploration, and the later years spent honing in on their chosen field and preparing for the future.

Students at Yale are taught that while acquiring facts is important, the main focus should be to think creatively and critically in any academic or real world arena. The academic program at Yale requires students to participate in diverse subject matter in the first few years, reserving the later years for focused concentration in their major or program of choice. All students must participate in particular foundational skills such as writing, quantitative reasoning, and foreign language. This supports the Yale academic ideal that students are neither too narrowly focused, nor too broad in their academic studies.

Combining foundational skills and exploration allows students to mature and deepen their academic repertoire ensuring they are well prepared upon graduation. Yale understands the dynamics of globalization and the importance of students experiencing cultures both academically and firsthand. Many students are encouraged to spend a term, summer, or year studying abroad at some point in their college careers. If you get the chance to attend Yale University, you will come away with a highly esteemed and greatly diverse academic experience that ensures you will be fully prepared to move forward with your career goals.

Campus life at Yale University is as diverse as the academic program with nearly 500 organizations to choose from. Students can enjoy participating with like-minded individuals in interests they’ve already established, and also acquire news ones. Service/Outreach, Religious, Performance, Cultural, and Culinary organizations represent just a few of the categories available from a long list of student organizations. There are many cultural centers on campus that serve as meeting spaces for everything from art exhibits to parties. Each one is equipped with a kitchen, library, computers, and more. While each cultural center is based on a particular background, they can also be used as social centers for a multitude of ethnicities and cultures to co-mingle. Greek life doesn’t play much of a role at Yale with only 11 fraternities and three sororities. Sigma Chi is the most notable fraternity and Kappa Kappa Gamma, the most popular sorority.

Living on campus is a unique experience in itself with twelve residential colleges, students will be placed in one starting freshmen year. What’s exceptional about this residential design is that each one of the twelve colleges has its own meeting/classrooms, architectural design, courtyards, dining hall, and commons room. Some of the colleges even have libraries, chapels, cafes, pool tables, and more. Within each residential college they offer their own seminars, Master’s Teas, and social events that are usually offered to all, but can be solely for their residential college. While each residential college has its own dining hall, students are permitted to eat at the Commons dining halls for any college. Yale offers a unique campus life experience where you can engage in several activities and enjoy lectures, movie nights, and concerts among others.

Yale University sports teams compete in the NCAA Division I Ivy League and Eastern College Athletic conferences. They also participate in the New England Intercollegiate Sailing association; sailing is of the university’s thirty-five varsity athletic teams. Yale has a multitude of athletic facilities including the world’s second largest indoor athletic complex, and the nation’s first natural bowl stadium known as the Yale Bowl. While Yale holds many athletic championships from their varsity teams, they are most well-known for Yale crew, the oldest collegiate athletic team in America. Yale crew has even won Olympic gold medals in the past. A notable rivalry in Yale athletics is with Harvard where every year their heavyweight rowing teams battle it out. If you choose not participate in varsity sports, there are still plenty of athletic opportunities, and of course the vast athletic facilities to get your heart pumping.

Ivy League colleges are known for their traditions, and Yale is no exception. Freshmen coming to Yale should seek out the statue of Theodore Dwight Woolsey and rub the toe for a promise of good luck. Four years later, it’s time to participate in another tradition to end the college career on a good note.  It’s one of the most long-held traditions performed by Yale graduates where they smash bubble pipes under their feet to symbolize passage from their “bright college years.” Traditions give students the sense of good fortune from the beginning to the end of their time at Yale, but the real good fortune is being able to attend Yale University.

Do you need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill

School Profile: Become a World Class Researcher at Princeton University

Princeton University is ranked #2 in the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. It is a private Ivy League research university located in Princeton, New Jersey. Princeton University was founded in 1746 and is the fourth oldest college in the United States. This university is committed to cultivating young minds who are in the top percentile of their high school graduating classes and furthering their knowledge to become people who change the world. Princeton’s generous financial aid program ensures that no matter the student’s economic background, if they are talented enough they can go to Princeton. With all the things to discover at Princeton it would be hard to imagine leaving it, however, a shuttle train known as the “Dinky” can have you in New York City or Philadelphia within an hour.

At Princeton University, students have the chance to utilize excellent resources coupled with top tier faculty members who have a reputation of excellence in their respective fields. This world-class research institution offers its undergraduates the opportunity to graduate with either a Bachelor of Arts degree or a Bachelor of Science and Engineering degree. Students can choose from thirty-four different departments in social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, and engineering. They may also choose from interdisciplinary certificate programs to personalize their main concentration in the field they have chosen, and are encouraged to participate in international studies and internships nationally and globally.

The academic programs for the Bachelor of Arts degree and the Bachelor of Science and Engineering are quite different from one another. If you are attending Princeton to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree, you will be required to complete general education requirements as well as pre-requisites for your possible area of concentration along with a wide variety of classes that peak your academic interest. In the spring of sophomore year students choose their concentration from twenty-nine academic departments. For students who want to expand their reach, there are forty-seven certificate programs that they can add to their degree earning them proficiency in areas like computational mathematics and teacher preparation.

The Bachelor of Sciences and Engineering academic program at Princeton is a little different. The primary goal is to develop leaders who will be able to solve problems. Students in this academic program will be required to complete general studies courses in the humanities and social sciences as well as completing courses in mathematics, computing, and the physical sciences their first two years. At the beginning of their junior year they will choose their preferred concentration from one of six departments. For the last two years students in this degree program will take advanced classes in their specified concentrations and participate in independent research projects. Many students also take on multidisciplinary study and often times undertake interdepartmental work.

Campus life at Princeton University is one full of vast and unique experiences and opportunities. One of the main draws of Princeton is their close-knit vibe that starts with the residential community. Undergraduates are guaranteed housing all four years, thus most of the student body lives on campus. This not only brings faculty and students together in a social way, but it is also a fundamental aspect to the academic success of each student. Residential colleges are each equipped with a dean, faculty master, director of studies, and director of student life. Each one plays a role in assisting cultivating and enriching students’ academic and social experiences on campus, giving guidance, and advising them throughout their college careers.

Student run organizations are central to campus life at Princeton; with over 300 to choose from, students can immerse themselves in their current passions as well as develop new ones. There are also a plethora of other activities for students to enjoy such as art exhibitions, performing arts performances,  and a variety of social events, lectures, and readings to name a few. At Princeton there is no shortage of activities and organizations to immerse yourself in making it one of the best college experiences in the nation.

NCAA Division I Princeton University is a member of the Ivy League conference. Thirty-eight teams compete in varsity sports. The Princeton Tigers football team is a member of the Football Championship Subdivision of NCAA Division I and holds 26 national football championship titles, more than any other school. The Tigers also excel at men’s basketball with 13 Ivy League Championship titles; they have made it to the NCAA tournament 11 times. Most recently the men’s water polo team has been getting recognition for making it to the Final Four two of the last three years in the Collegiate Water Polo Association. Thirty-five Princeton club teams, both men’s and women’s, also compete in intercollegiate sports.

For those who do not enjoy competing at the varsity or club team levels, there are roughly 300 intramural teams open to students, faculty, and staff. For those who just enjoy a good workout sans the competition, there are many options such as instructional classes and group fitness. A dance studio, spinning room, and pool are just a few of the options at your disposal. There are also several groups you can join such as Princeton Start! Walking, and Outdoor Action; the fitness opportunities are endless.

Princeton University has a vast amount of traditions and annual events for their students. A prominent (and recently celebrated) tradition is the Bonfire, which is ceremonial in nature and only takes place if Princeton beats both Harvard and Yale in the same season. Freshman coming into their first year at Princeton can look forward to the Cane Spree, where they and the sophomores go at it for control of a cane. It might seem a little odd, but if you are lucky enough to attend this university you will receive a perfectly reasonable explanation, well sort of. Seniors have a tradition all their own to enjoy before they exit the campus for good. Class Jackets, otherwise known as “Beer Jackets,” are designed to showcase the features of each class. These are just three of the many traditions you will bear witness to when attending Princeton University.

If you are looking for a school that is long on tradition and academically challenging, Princeton could be your school.

Do you need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill


US News & World Report Announces 2015 Best Colleges

The always-anticipated, always-talked-about US News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings were released today, and…

Not a whole lot has changed!

Which makes a good deal of sense. If it were possible for centuries-old institutions like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton or massive state-funded universities like the University of California system to experience wild shifts in quality, your college choices would be a whole lot more unpredictable. College is a long-term investment and these rankings tend to evolve slowly even as schools update their curricula and campuses to stay cutting-edge. Within the Top 25 for National Universities and the Top 25 for Liberal Arts Colleges, the biggest mover was:


Wellesley College, which jumped from #7 to #4 in the Liberal Arts Rankings, part of another huge showing for the Greater Boston Area and perhaps just that extra bump that famous alumna Hillary Clinton needs to finally announce that she’s running for President?

You can see the full lists for National Universities and for National Liberal Arts Colleges on US News & World Report’s site, but we’ve included the Top 25 rankings below, followed by some thoughts on what’s interesting for the 2015 rankings.

Top 25 National Universities

1. Princeton University
2. Harvard University
3. Yale University
4. Columbia University
4. Stanford University
4. University of Chicago
7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
8. Duke University
8. University of Pennsylvania
10. California Institute of Technology
11. Dartmouth College
12. Johns Hopkins University
13. Northwestern University
14. Washington University in St. Louis
15. Cornell University
16. Brown University
16. University of Notre Dame
16. Vanderbilt University
19. Rice University
20. University of California-Berkeley
21. Emory University
21. Georgetown University
23. UCLA
23. University of Virginia
23. Carnegie Mellon University
23. University of Southern California

Top 25 National Liberal Arts Colleges

1. Williams College
2. Amherst College
3. Swarthmore College
4. Wellesley College
5. Bowdoin College
5. Pomona College
7. Middlebury College
8. Carleton College
8. Claremont McKenna College
8. Haverford College
11. Davidson College
11. Vassar College
13. United States Naval Academy
14. Washington and Lee University
15. Colby College
15. Hamilton College
15. Harvey Mudd College
15. Wesleyan University
19. Bates College
19. Grinnell College
19. Smith College
22. Colgate University
23. Oberlin College
24. Macalester College
24. Scripps College
24. United States Military Academy

What’s Noteworthy?

Boston leads the way
Long known as America’s biggest college town, Boston maintained its status as the capitol of higher education; seven schools ranked within the top 42 National Universities are reachable from the T: Harvard at #2, MIT at #7, Tufts at #27, Boston College at #31, Brandeis at #35 (well…it’s almost right on the T), and Boston University and Northeastern tied at #42. Northeastern’s ascension is also noteworthy in and of itself, as the school climbed deep into the top 50 from #69 four years ago.

It’s good to be Californian…

Never mind that several top private schools in California ranked in the top 10 of their lists (Stanford, Caltech, Pomona, and Claremont McKenna). California’s public schools are among the best value anywhere in the world, with six UC schools making the top 50: UC-Berkeley, UCLA, UC-San Diego, UC-Davis, UC-Santa Barbara, and UC-Irvine.

…and not bad to be Virginian, either
Virginia also has two of the top six public schools, with the University of Virginia and the College of William and Mary each ranking among the top 33 National Universities.

The rankings are in large part a numbers game
Rankings like these are more evidence that people like assigning numerical values to education, and the rankings themselves are a huge part of that. For the first time in recent memory, Sarah Lawrence College in upstate New York jumped on to the list (at #59 among National Liberal Arts Colleges), largely because it recently began incorporating ACT and SAT scores into its admissions process. And on the other side of the ledger, Hampshire College was dropped from the rankings this year, having chosen to eliminate the ACT/SAT from its admissions decisions.

Do you need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

By Scott Shrum

School Profile: This is Why Harvard University is Ranked #1

Founded in 1636, Harvard University is the oldest academic institution of higher learning in the United States, the #1 university in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, and the #1 university in the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. It is easy to see why this prestigious research university is in such high demand among graduating high school seniors every year. Forty-seven Nobel Laureates, 48 Pulitzer Prize winners, and 32 heads of state – including eight U.S. Presidents have come out of Harvard University. Nearly 325,000 students have graduated from Harvard since it began conferring degrees. Its 5,076-acre campus in and around Cambridge, Massachusetts is home to over 27,000 students – 7,181 of which are undergraduates, and boasts the largest academic library in the world. Add to that 24 University Professors doing groundbreaking research across many disciplines, and you have a highly sought after private university.

At Harvard, the Arts and Sciences are emphasized in undergraduate study. Classes are offered on a semester basis, with students take 32 semester-long courses toward their degree completion. These include courses in one of 48 majors, eight general education classes, an expository writing class, a foreign language requirement, and a number of electives that focus on research, study abroad, language certification, or other endeavors. Incoming students also attend one of over 110 Freshmen Seminars, which gives them a place to deeply explore an interest with a small group of like-minded people without the pressure of grades.

Harvard’s three most popular majors, determined by enrollment, are economics, political science and government, and neurobiology and neurosciences. Undergraduates have the opportunity to work with renowned faculty researchers, either assisting them or creating their own research projects. Harvard undergraduates may also participate in unique summer research programs through BLISS, Behavioral Laboratory in the Social Sciences; PRIMO, Program for Research in Markets and Organizations; PRISE, Program for Research in Science and Engineering; and SHARP Summer Humanities and Arts Research Program.

Incoming freshman will live in or next to Harvard Yard and eat at Annenberg Hall. Students are divided into entryways of 20 to 40 students who share a particular area in a dormitory in suite-style living. These small communities help freshman get comfortable with the social aspect of life at a major research university through shared organized activities and social events. In the spring of freshman year, students will join a lottery to be placed in one of 12 Upperclass Houses—each with 350 to 500 students.

At the center of campus life are the Harvard Houses, which are communities of faculty, grad students, and undergrad students all living, working and learning together. The multigenerational communities provide an enriching environment for undergraduates coming from every state in the U.S. and more than 80 countries. The diversity of culture and life experience in this comfortable and open environment encourages students to challenge each other’s preconceived notions in a respectful way and delve into life’s big questions creatively and deeply. There is no Greek life at Harvard.

Houses feature a library, lounge, recreational space and several other amenities. Each house also has a senior faculty master, resident tutors, department tutorials, seminars, spaces for personal creativity, and more. Houses sponsor their own intramural athletic teams, and have community-building committees who design House activities and community-service opportunities. Add to that hundreds of campus organizations, and students will discover that it isn’t difficult to find their niche in one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Harvard University is home to 40 men’s and women’s NCAA Division I varsity sports teams competing in the Ivy League Conference. Its fiercest rivalry is with Yale where the two football teams meet annually in “The Game.” Although Harvard and Yale are not the football powerhouses today, they were a century ago and they both contributed to shaping American college football in their own ways. Harvard was the first to have an actual concrete stadium, and Yale’s Father of Football, Walter Camp, helped to create new rules that included legalizing the forward pass – a true game changer.

Harvard and Yale’s longest-standing athletic competition is in crew. The two teams compete in the Harvard-Yale Regatta on the Thames River in Connecticut each year. In fact, the two universities compete with fervor in almost every varsity sport. Ironically, Harvard and Yale partner in track and field every other year against Oxford University and Cambridge University in the longest standing international college competition in the world.

Harvard has as long a tradition of excellence in sports as in academics. They’ve won 140 national team championships – 111 men’s/coed and 29 women’s. They are four time NCAA champions in men’s hockey and women’s lacrosse, rowing, and fencing. In fact, the women’s lightweight rowing captured the most recent NCAA championship for Harvard in 2014. Harvard students can participate in sports at the varsity, club, intramural, or personal fitness level at one or more of the 21 campus athletic facilities.

Although there are probably more time-honored traditions at Harvard University, it seems that students gravitate toward what they refer to on college review sites as the “trifecta of embarrassing things.” The big three traditions are peeing on the statue of John Harvard, having sex in the stacks of Widener library, and streaking (yes, naked) around Harvard Yard in the semi-annual Primal Scream – the night before semester finals. The likelihood that a majority of Harvard graduates manage even one of these embarrassing challenges before graduation is slim, but it’s the thought that counts.

Do you need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill

School Profile: Find Your Path to Giving at Brandeis University

Brandeis University is ranked #57 on the Veritas Prep College Rankings. Located in Waltham, Massachusetts, it is a small research university with a focus on liberal arts. Students get to experience all the great activities on campus and enjoy a bonus of having historical Boston just nine miles away. The University is notable for their involvement in and dedication to policies that address mental health, health, youth, families, substance abuse, child abuse, and elder abuse, as well as being pioneers in international and community development. The University’s philanthropic identity is the backdrop for developing young students into mature adults who wish to change the world on both a large and small scale.

The academic advantage of attending Brandeis University is its combination of a global research university and liberal arts college. As one of the smaller research universities in the nation, it allows students to work closely with faculty who are leaders in their noted fields. The student body is just under 6,000 students with a majority of them falling into the College of Arts and Sciences undergraduate program. There are also two professional schools, and a graduate school in Arts and Sciences. The noted Rabb School of Continuing Studies enhances students’ opportunities through its relationships with other colleges in the Boston region. This is the perfect university for those who want to integrate theory with practice through internships, field-work, international opportunities, and experiential learning. At Brandeis it’s not just about the individual; it’s about finding ways to contribute to the greater good through academic excellence.

‘Be Brandeisian.’ What does that mean, exactly? It’s a way of life; it’s who you become when you attend Brandeis University. Here individuals thrive within their unique community sharing and embracing all viewpoints and opinions. Through extracurricular activities and academic pursuits students come to value all points of view, consequently bettering themselves and those around them. With a wide array of student clubs, activities, and campus events students can delve deeply into long-held interests as well as discover some new ones. There is no Greek life at Brandeis; sororities and fraternities are not allowed, as they are in contrast with the school’s philosophy of inclusivity based on capability and interest. Brandeisians can participate in a number of community service programs that serve Waltham and give back to the community that embraces them. At Brandeis University, you have all the tools and support needed to become a well-rounded individual in service to the world.


Brandeis University has nineteen Division III varsity teams competing in the University Athletic Association; this league has a reputation for being the cream of the crop among Division III athletic conferences. This allows Brandeis students to compete at the top level in their division, fully exercising their athletic prowess. The school holds numerous NCAA team and individual championship titles across an array of sports. Brandeis University believes physical health and well-being is just as important as academics, so each student must engage in at least two semesters of activity courses. Students who do not play on one of the varsity sports teams have a wide variety of intramural club teams that they can choose from to enjoy some good old-fashioned competition. For those primarily interested in personal fitness, they can access state-of-the-art facilities on campus including a pool and weight room. Brandeis also offers its students group classes such as yoga, or personal fitness training that ensures each individual has their fitness needs met.

Brandeis has a tradition of political activism, including a student takeover of Ford Hall (now the location of Shapiro Campus Center), and graduating notable activists like Angela Davis. However, the University seems more committed to the present than attached to the past. While they are light on tradition, they are long on volunteerism, and have a strong sense of school spirit and camaraderie. There are many factors that make Brandeis University an exceptional choice, the biggest of which is their sense of community. Their commitment to inclusion and open-minded thought creates a vibrant and welcoming environment. If you want to attend a school where your individuality will be appreciated and your voice heard, then Brandeis University could be the place for you.

Do you need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill

School Profile: College Life is Limitless at NYU

New York University is ranked #56 among colleges in the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. This private, urban university is located in the iconic Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. Founded in 1831, modern-day NYU serves over 22,000 undergraduate students and over 21,000 graduate students making it the largest private university in the United States. The unique borderless campus merges seamlessly into the surrounding neighborhood. It also boasts a comprehensive liberal arts college in Abu Dhabi through the NYU global network, research facilities and programs in nearly a dozen countries around the world, and the addition of the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering in Brooklyn.

NYU confers undergraduate degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences, Liberal Studies, College of Nursing, College of Dentistry, Silver School of Social Work, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, and Tisch School of the Arts academic divisions. The most popular majors by enrollment are Visual and Performing Arts, Social Sciences, and Business Management. Faculty and graduates have accumulated countless awards, including several Guggenheim Fellowships, MacArthur Fellowships, Pulitzer Prizes, Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, Tony Awards, Nobel Prizes, and many more. Two notable enterprises, Def Jam Records and Foursquare, were started by NYU students. New York University gives students the academic rigor needed to succeed in life, and opens doors to meaningful experiences and valuable connections.

Student life at New York University is a completely unique experience; it’s having the typical college experience while also living in a vibrant and thrilling city. Whether you want to live in the college housing provided in Greenwich Village, or off on your own in an apartment in one of the five boroughs, you will always feel one with the University. At NYU, the city is just as much a part of the campus as the buildings that hold classes. You can learn in the traditional sense on campus as well as gain enhanced learning experiences through the numerous opportunities the city provides. There is a vibrant Greek life at NYU where students can join one of twenty-five fraternities or sororities. According to Greek Rank, Delta Phi fraternity and Zeta Tau Alpha sorority are the top ranked Greek affiliations on campus. Students can also opt to play an active role in one of the University media outlets, or join one of over 450 established student clubs and organizations on campus.

For other ways to get involved at NYU, students can dive into community service projects or become part of the vibrant art scene around the city. NYU and the Big Apple join forces to ensure that students become global citizens through action and opportunity. The diversity of both New York University and Greenwich Village make this college a magical place. There is no limit to the activities you can participate in and no shortages of advantages given to students who attend this university. If you want to expand your horizons in every way possible New York University is the place to do it.

New York University is a Division III college that participates in the University Athletic Association with the exception of the men’s volleyball and fencing teams. They are the only two teams on campus that participate in Division I. NYU also does not have a football team, which is rare for most universities. For students who do not participate in varsity sports, they can feed their competitive spirits by participating in one of the intramural or club sports teams. At the Palladium pool and athletic facility, students can participate in weight training or aerobics classes; detailed workout class schedules are provided each term, giving students the chance to stay physically fit all year long. Aside from the formal athletic opportunities offered through the University, there are a multitude of informal athletic pursuits throughout the city.

When it comes to school pride, there is no shortage at New York University, as demonstrated continuously throughout the decades. There are a multitude of events and traditions celebrated on campus all year long, which are made even more special with the frequent inclusion of parents, friends, and alumni. Commencement, Welcome Week, Tear It Up, and the Strawberry Festival are just a few of the monumental events that take place each year at New York University. One of the most prominent is the NYU World Tour, which celebrates unique NYU global experiences. Each fall the event at NYU Kimmel Center showcases film shorts made all around the world by NYU students. The event includes the Grand Bazaar featuring free entertainment, food, and giveaways from around the world. For a unique global perspective, look no further than New York University.

Do you need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill


School Profile: What You Can Expect as a Cadet in the US Air Force Academy

The United States Air Force Academy, is ranked #42 among schools on the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. Located just north of Colorado Springs, Colorado, it is the third most visited tourist attraction in the state. The pine-covered 18,000 acre campus offers stunning views of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of 7,258 feet; visitors can also often see cadets dotting the bright blue skies as they practice parachuting. Frequent maneuverings of Thunderbird jets during their practices offer yet another breathtaking experience. The 10th and the larger Air Force installation, including firefighting, medical support, security, civil engineering, and logistical support.

Students admitted to the US Air Force Academy are referred to as Cadets; instead of freshmen through seniors, they are fourth class (freshmen) through first class (seniors). All students attend Basic Cadet Training for six weeks before their first year of study. The core curriculum leans heavily toward science, engineering, and technology. There are 21 departments in four academic divisions – basic sciences, engineering, social sciences, and humanities offering a number of majors. All students graduate with Bachelor of Science degrees due to the rigor of the core curriculum. Cadets can participate in a number of research projects associated with their majors at one of the Academy research centers that include the Eisenhower Center for Space and Defense Studies, the Institute for National Security Studies, the Institute for Information Technology Applications, and many more. When cadets graduate from the Academy, each student is sworn in as a commissioned officer to the Air Force during the ceremony. Following graduation, newly commissioned officers begin their military service.

The Cadet Area of the Academy is the student campus. Student dormitories, the dining hall, the academic building—which houses classrooms, a library, and the Aeronautics Research annex, anchored by the Cadet Chapel, are all situated around a pavilion called the Terrazzo. The campus is a model of American modernist architecture with many buildings sporting gleaming aluminum exteriors that mirror the exterior of an aircraft. The unique Cadet Chapel is the showpiece of the Cadet Area with 17 silver spires that reach 150 feet into the air; it has been designated a National Historic Landmark. The Cadet Chapel houses sacred spaces for Protestant, Catholic, Buddhist, Islamic, and Jewish cadets to practice their faith. Campus life is strictly regimented by the school’s Honor Code Handbook. Because every student is a future officer in the Air Force, a rigorous curriculum of character and leadership defines social interactions and regulates the college scene. Beyond academic and military activities, the remaining free time is directed toward athletics. Arnold Hall, outside the Cadet Area, provides lounges, recreation facilities, a theater, and a ballroom for occasional downtime.

All Air Force cadets are required to participate in intramural athletics; if they are on competitive intercollegiate teams, they must still participate in their off-seasons. All cadets are fitness tested every semester; those who fail are put into rigorous physical fitness training until they are able to pass the test. There are 17 men’s and 10 women’s varsity teams competing at the NCAA Division I level in the Mountain West Conference. Some teams compete in other conferences based on the sport. The USAFA Falcons have traditional football rivalries with Army and Navy, as well as Colorado State University; they’ve also made regular appearances in football bowl games. The men’s and women’s rugby teams and boxing team have all won multiple national championships.

Although the United States Air Force Academy is the youngest of the three US military academies, it still has developed important traditions like the Prop and Wings, an honor given to fourth class cadets (freshmen) at the end of their first year in Academy. Cadet sabres are worn to distinguish first class cadets in command positions. Class rings are presented to third class cadets at the Ring Dance during the fourth class graduation week. The tradition is for the rings to be placed in glasses of champagne, then caught with the teeth after a toast. Cadets wear their rings with the class crest on the ring facing the cadet and after their own graduation, they’re changed to facing outward. Fourth class cadets are  awarded their shoulder boards and take the Honor Oath during Parents Weekend following Basic Cadet Training. There are many more formal traditions at the Academy, plus a nearly equal number of informal traditions that have developed over the years.

If you have an interest in applying to the United States Air Force Academy, you will have to secure a nomination from a U.S. Senator or member of the U.S. House of Representatives; plan to start the admission process your junior year of high school.

Do you need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill


School Profile: Give Back and Become a Global Citizen at Macalester College

Macalester College, a small private liberal arts college in the Midwest, is ranked #54 among the Veritas Prep College Rankings. Located in an elegant old residential neighborhood, it is just minutes from the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. The Twin Cities is a lively metropolitan area that boasts museums, eclectic restaurants, Fortune 500 hundred companies, a variety of shows, and much more.

This is the perfect place for students to get top-of-the-line internships, delve into cultural experiences, immerse themselves in the arts, and find meaningful ways to give back and create positive change. Macalester provides its students with excellent academic programs, athletic opportunities, and cultural diversity.

Macalester is a small liberal arts college that was founded in 1874; its continued devotion to improving academics programs, hiring exceptional faculty, and providing top notch resources and opportunities is what allows Macalester students to thrive. The success of the students who attend Macalester starts with the faculty, where more than ninety percent hold the highest degrees in their field, or have doctorates. The school combines an elite faculty with small class sizes that provide students an exceptional, personalized academic experience. Students can choose from over 35 majors and 63 areas of study, with more than 800 courses in over 30 departments.

One of the most notable aspects of Macalester is their dedication to Global Citizenship. They have one of the highest percentages of international students in the nation. Students are encouraged to partake in internships and service learning opportunities both nationally and internationally, tackling some of the world’s most complex issues in their prospective professions. Macalester puts an emphasis on multiculturalism, service to society, and internationalism within their academic programs, creating global citizens in their desired fields.

Macalester College, an NCAA Division III college, competes in the MIAC where both men and women compete in roughly ten different sports. For those who do not wish compete on varsity teams, there are club and intramural sports for the entire student body. These teams develop leadership skills and confidence in a healthy and fun environment. Fitness is important at Macalester; staff in the campus fitness center create strength training and conditioning programs for individuals based on scientific training methods and principles. Whether you want the thrill of competition or to maintain a healthy lifestyle, Macalester has the tools and resources to assist you.

Like many colleges Macalester requires students to live on campus for the first two years. This requirement is the perfect way for students to grow socially and be surrounded by like-minded people. While there is no Greek life at Macalester, there are language houses as well as hobby and lifestyle houses that allow students with similar interests to connect. There are a wide variety of clubs offered at Macalester from Bio Club to Climbing Club and everything in between. Civic engagement opportunities are abundant locally, nationally, and internationally allowing students to find projects they are passionate about and give back to a multitude of communities. Student publications and the arts also play an important role on campus.

One of the biggest traditions at Macalester is a game of pushball usually done in March where students separate by class and compete against each other. Pushball is simply trying to push a giant ball across a goal. The winning team will usually take on the staff and faculty team; while not every student participates, many come out to cheer on their respective classes. Other favorite traditions at Macalester include Fall Harvest Fest and Spring Fest. Harvest Fest is celebrated in November where students eat delicious potluck food, listen to old timey folk music, and contra dance. Spring Fest is all about music; students enjoy talented local musicians and even the school band.

Macalester could be a great choice for you if you embrace Midwest values, love a good garage band, and feel comfortably confident in the rec room or the board room.

Do you need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill

School Profile: You Can Be the Next Wonder Woman at Barnard College

Barnard College, a private women’s liberal arts college in New York City, is #51 among schools in the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings and is one of the most selective women’s colleges in the United States. Founded in 1889, the four-acre urban campus is adjacent to Columbia University in New York City’s Manhattan neighborhood. Barnard has a complicated relationship with Columbia University, being both a wholly independent entity with its own governance, and also a college within Columbia. Barnard students graduate with Columbia University diplomas that are signed by the Presidents of both colleges.

The academics at Barnard College offer students a traditional liberal arts education, putting the emphasis on exploring the world from a wide variety of perspectives in a multitude of disciplines. The objective for a Barnard student is to develop her individual vision of how she can uniquely shape the world, and help her determine what her role could be within that vision. Barnard teaches their students how to think critically both inside and outside of the classroom in the sciences, humanities, social sciences, the arts, and world languages. This is an academic program for brave young women who constantly exchange ideas without being afraid to take risks both intellectually and creatively.

The most unique thing about academics at Barnard College is the “Nine Ways of Knowing”, which is the foundation of students’ success. With these unique requirements students get a deep understanding of world issues and the academic relationships necessary to solve them. Internships, research opportunities, and traveling abroad are just a few of the ways students can enhance their education. As an extension of Columbia University, students also get access to the University’s resources and social experiences, and Columbia students can enjoy Barnard resources.

Student life at Barnard College is unlike most; because it is an extension of Columbia University and students have access to both campuses. This dual access literally doubles the number of activities in all areas of student life; couple that with a New York City location, and you’ll find yourself always doing something. Every student at Barnard is part of the Student Government Association. There are multiple groups, clubs, associations, and resources offered on both campuses where students can participate in everything from the University radio station or magazine to joining a language club or theatre troupe.

Greek Life at Barnard would be non-existent if they did not have access to Columbia University, as sororities were banned at Barnard in 1913. Students can participate in Greek life at Columbia and join one of five sororities. Greek life is not that popular for students at either school, and many wouldn’t even know it existed if it wasn’t for Greek Week, where the various houses compete with each other on the Columbia campus. During Rush Week, fraternity pledges serenade the Barnard quad on one evening.

Barnard College is the only all-female school to play at the NCAA Division I level. Barnard student athletes are part of the Columbia-Barnard Athletic Association and play on Columbia University’s fifteen varsity women’s teams in the Ivy League Conference. Many students in online forums have a “We have sports here?” attitude toward varsity athletics, saying that it is difficult for college sports to compete with everything else there is to do in the Big Apple. Fair point. In fact, many of the teams have achieved only a modicum of success. Besides varsity sports, Barnard women can also compete on more than 30 popular club sports teams like sailing, hiking, and skiing. For those women who play for the love of the game over the love of competition, there are several intramural sports teams to join like dodge ball, floor hockey, or squash.

Barnard has a number of traditions including the ever popular Big Sub, where students help build and then eat a submarine sandwich which grows a foot each year and nearly spans the length of the campus. Orgo Night is another tradition Barnard students enjoy; the Columbia Marching Band plays in the Barnard Quad on the eve of the Organic Chemistry final. Midnight Breakfast, another hit with students, marks the beginning of every finals week when the college trustees, deans, and President serve food from theme-based menus to roughly 1000 students. Other traditions include Take Back the Night march, WBAR barbecue, Spirit Day, Night Carnival, Barnard Build-a-Bear, Bling Night, and more.

If you are looking for the intimate environment of a small, women’s liberal arts college in arguably the most happening city in the country, Barnard College is your place.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill

School Profile: Are You the Next Boston College Academic Athlete?

Boston College is #53 among the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. Located in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, its campus is often referred to as “the Heights” due to its hilltop location and Collegiate Gothic architecture that includes the iconic Gasson Tower. Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1863, Boston College is a private research university dedicated to the traditions of its Jesuit Catholic origins where research, academic exchange, faith, and culture intersect.

Students enrolling as undergraduates at Boston College can choose majors from among five schools, College of Arts and Sciences (34), Lynch School of Education (3), Carroll School of Management (12), Connell School of Nursing (1), Woods College of Advancing Studies (14), or interdisciplinary programs (18). Twenty academic majors across both undergraduate and graduate schools have an international focus in keeping with the global Jesuit liberal arts tradition since the 16th century. The most popular majors by enrollment are economics, communications, and biology. The student faculty ratio is 1:14, and 94% of the faculty have doctoral degrees.

Students can take advantage of eight research libraries on Boston College campus. When you need a place to do all that late night studying, you will want to make your way to the study tables of Gargan Hall on the second floor of Bapst Library, the fine arts library. They’re open 24 hours a day Thursdays through Sundays and are regarded as the quietest place on campus. The bonus is the hall’s Harry Potter style Gothic environment.

There are fewer than 10,000 undergraduates on campus at Boston College of which 85% live on campus. Freshmen are required to live on campus; most options are 2-person rooms, although there are some singles and some with three or four students per unit. Freshmen female students can apply to The Women’s Experience in Kostka Hall on Upper Campus. Any freshman can apply to the Shaw Leadership Program in Shaw House, or the Multicultural Learning Experience floors. Other options include Healthy Alternatives for substance-free living, or Honors House for honor students. There is no Greek life on campus.

There are regular dining hall options on campus plus specialty choices like Hillside Café for Starbucks and sandwiches, Eagle’s Nest deli in McElroy, organic food at The Loft in Corcoran, The Shack for outdoor dining—also in Corcoran, The Chocolate Bar in Stokes Hall serving Peet’s coffees and teas plus every chocolaty dessert you can think of, and three On The Fly mini-marts. You’ll never go hungry at Boston College.

The NCAA Division I Boston College Eagles compete on 14 men’s and 17 women’s teams, most of which are played in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The football team has won a number of bowl games in the past, won one national title, and produced over 20 NFL players including Doug Flutie and Matt Ryan. Men’s basketball made the NCAA Elite Eight three times. Men’s hockey teams are five time National Champions. Women’s basketball made the NCAA Sweet 16 three times. Boston College athletes are also often among the most academically successful in the country.

Boston College has ten athletic facilities for competitive sports including Alumni Stadium and Conte Forum. A 144,000-square-foot recreation center serves Boston College students and offers tennis, racquetball, fitness, aquatics, and more. The Flynn Recreational Complex also offers 21 club sports and intramurals for students who want to play competitive sports, but not at the varsity level.

Other than the Jesuit tradition of the school, Boston College doesn’t seem to be big on unofficial or frivolous traditions. They have a fight song and a mascot like most colleges, but other than sports traditions, this isn’t an area where the school or student body focus attention. The Boston College Marching Band performs pre-game concerts called “Peptacular!” on the steps of Conte Forum; they perform a pre-game show inside the stadium, lead the enthusiasm in the stands during the games, and play the alma mater at the end of games. One of the oldest unofficial traditions at Boston College is taking the 16-hour trip in a fan RV from Boston to South Bend, Indiana for football game day against Notre Dame.

If you are looking for an academically strong research university dedicated to its Irish Catholic roots in the ultimate college town, Boston College could be just the place for you.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill

School Profile: Develop Your Own Academic Path at Hamilton College

The college motto, Know Thyself, succinctly demonstrates the philosophy of education at Hamilton College. The core belief is that all students should explore their individuality and develop an academic path that leads to their greatest expression in the world.  Ranked #41 among colleges on the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings, Hamilton College was chartered in 1812 and named after statesman Alexander Hamilton, one of its first Board of Trustees members. The beautiful 1,350 acre campus sits high on a hill overlooking the quaint village of Clinton, New York.

Over 1,800 students pursue Bachelor of Arts degrees in over 50 areas of study at Hamilton College. What is unique about the Hamilton academic philosophy is that they put the responsibility for course selection squarely on the shoulders of students. While each student is given an academic advisor to help them see the connections between disciplines and offer guidance, there is no required core curriculum that students must follow other than three writing intensive courses specific to their chosen field of study. Their reasoning for this approach is that students are choosing classes that make sense to them and move them toward their personal educational goals, therefore their attendance in class and what they get from their education is personalized and self-motivating.

Students may also choose hands-on internships from among three off-campus destinations: Washington, D.C., New York City, and Boston. Hamilton has international affiliates for study abroad in China, France, Spain, and India where students can choose immersion in the academic and cultural opportunities of their host school. The Hamilton promise to each student is, “At Hamilton you can study what interests you, be accepted for who you are and what you believe, and prepare to be the person you were meant to become.” The school boasts two Nobel laureates and 85 Fulbright recipients.

First year students at Hamilton have six housing choices among residence halls: Major, Keehn, South, North, Wallace Johnson, and Wertimer House. The college website has done an excellent job of giving an overview and personality description of the freshmen living choices, as well as details about the housing lottery system. Wertimer House houses 42 freshmen in 21 double rooms, so if you’re looking for immediate camaraderie with a small community, this could be a good option. There are also single-sex, substance-free, and other specialty housing options for students.

Greek housing does not exist on campus, although the Greek community thrives, but in an inclusive way. Greek parties are typically open to the entire campus. Students report that campus social life, like all aspects of life, is what you make it. The rural environment appeals to many students who feel it encourages community on campus; others, who are used to a more urban environment, could find it problematic. The Scroll is the school’s moderated social media aggregator, so students can keep up with what’s happening on campus.

Hamilton College is represented by 29 men’s and women’s NCAA Division III teams in the New England Small College Athletic Conference. In 2008, the women’s lacrosse team won the school’s first NCAA national title. Since then, Hamilton has accumulated 14 national titles, 13 of which are individual titles in track and field, swimming, and diving. Thirty percent of students participate in varsity, intramural, or club sports, even though it is not a requirement. This school offers the opportunity for student-athletes who play for the love of the game to continue playing through their college years at each of these levels. The Hamilton Continental’s biggest football rivalry is with Middlebury College. The winning team from the annual matchup takes home the Mac-Jack Rocking Chair.

Hamilton College traditions include the Citrus Bowl, which is the first hockey game of the season; FebFest, which is a mid-semester week-long music, food, and social event; and May Day Music Festival, which is an outdoor music festival. Each school year ends with Class and Charter Day, and the accompanying HamTrek tradition. On the last day of classes there is a campus-wide party with a picnic and school sponsored concert. HamTrek is a swim-bike-run triathlon on Class and Charter Day where students participate for prizes; it is also a charitable event that benefits the Shawn Grady Memorial Fund.

If you are looking for a college where you can be yourself and feel fully supported, you appreciate a small campus in a rural environment, and you know what you want out of your education, Hamilton College could be a good match for you.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill

School Profile: Is the Liberal Arts Lifestyle at Colby College Right for You?

Colby College, a private liberal arts school, is set high atop Mayflower Hill overlooking picturesque Waterville, Maine. The 714-acre Georgian Revival-style campus is home to the nation’s first college-based anti-slavery society, first Greek society, and was the first to enroll women. Colby College is the 12th oldest liberal arts college in the United States, and today serves around 1,800 students. Campus highlights include a 128-acre arboretum and wildlife refuge, a student-run organic garden that produces two tons of vegetables annually, the largest American art museum in Maine, and a biomass-fueled heating facility that makes Colby one of four carbon-neutral colleges in the country. Colby College ranks #50 among schools in the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings.

Colby College has a unique 4-1-4 academic calendar that features two semesters separated by a winter session called “Jan Plan,” which is an opportunity for a single focused experience from hundreds of choices like a travel course, internship, research, field study, or an intensive course. Three Jan Plan sessions are required, however, most students love them enough to do four.

There are 55 majors and 31 minors from 38 academic departments at Colby; many students pursue double majors, and over half pursue a major/minor combination. The most popular degrees are social sciences, multi/interdisciplinary studies, biological and biomedical sciences, and English language and literature. Students can also participate in dual-degree programs in engineering with Columbia University or Dartmouth College.

The Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement offers a plethora of opportunities for learning from thought leaders in civic engagement, debate, and service. The Peace Corps ranked Colby College among the top 25 colleges with the most Peace Corps volunteers. If you are driven to connect with like-minded people around issues of social justice, civic engagement, and environmental stewardship, Colby is a good choice.

Campus life at Colby College is guided by the Colby 360 residential plan that promotes principles of life skills development, human diversity, civic responsibility, healthy living, and leadership. All residence halls, except one, are coed and integrate all four classes of students. Students can further choose from specialty housing or dialogue housing.

Colby offers three dining halls to students during the academic sessions; Dana, Foss, and Roberts. Each has its own personality and menus are posted on the college website to help you decide where your next meal will be. The Joseph Family Spa at the Pulver Pavilion in Cotter Student Union offers students salads, sandwiches, beverages, and desserts for sale. The Caporale Lounge, also located in the Pavilion, has boxed lunch offerings that are part of the student meal plan. The Marchese Blue Light Pub provides appetizers and alcoholic beverages for students who are over 21. Monday through Wednesday, students who are under 21 may order late night non-alcoholic beverages and snacks.

Colby College athletes play on one of 16 men’s and 17 women’s NCAA Division III teams in the New England Small College Athletic Conference, one of the toughest D3 conferences in the country. White Mule student-athletes have earned titles in alpine skiing, basketball, and crew. Colby consistently produces All American Division III athletes across a number of sports. The school’s primary football rival is Bates College, a fellow Consortium school.

Colby has a number of state-of-the-art athletic facilities on and off campus. The College also offers club sports, and iPlay is the active intramural program. Colby athletics has been supported by C Club, an organization of alumni and others, for over 100 years. The Colby Magazine helps keep students and alumni connected with Colby’s rich history, alumni achievements, and current news.

Traditions at Colby college include raucous cafeteria tray sledding. Every Colby student is expected to steal a cafeteria tray from one of the dining halls to sled down Chapel Hill at least once in their college career. As you might expect, they go super-fast, so be careful! Doghead is a Colby tradition around St. Patrick’s Day that is an all-day drinking extravaganza. Loudness Weekends are music and party events at the beginning and end of each semester. Mr. Colby is an annual beauty pageant featuring male student contestants. First prize is Mr. Colby, second is Mr. Bates, and third goes to Mr. Bodoin. On a more serious note, the Miller Steps in front of Miller Library mark the beginning and end of a student’s academic career at Colby. New arrivals gather there for a welcoming event, and four years later, commencement exercises are held there.

If you consider yourself socially conscious and you want to help make the world a better place, you prefer the intimacy of a small college, and you thrive in a challenging academic environment, keep Colby College on your list.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill

School Profile: Create Your Leadership Legacy at the University of North Carolina

When the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill opened the doors to its first students in 1795, it was the first public university in the United States. Over the years it has grown into a leading research university that embraces the role of change agent, and supports its diverse student body in their quest for success and prosperity. It is ranked #47 among the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. The 729 acre urban campus is located in the downtown area Chapel Hill, NC, and is divided into three sections; north, middle, and south campus. Most student housing and classes are on north campus, most athletic facilities, the schools of government and law, and additional student housing are on middle campus, and the basketball facility, medical school, UNC hospital, and the newest student housing are on south campus.

UNC’s 18,400 undergraduate students and 10,700 graduate students can choose from among 78 bachelor’s, 12 master’s, 68 doctorate’s, and seven professional degree programs. The University offers these majors through the College of Arts and Sciences and 14 other academic schools. Communication and Media Studies, Psychology, and Biology are the most popular majors. UNC has more Rhode’s Scholars than nearly any other public university. The most unique aspect of a UNC education is the opportunity to meld your academic major with the University’s two-year pan-campus theme, “Water in Our World.” Led by the UNC Water Institute, the University hopes to create a lasting legacy of global leadership in the area of water expertise.

UNC calls on all of its students, faculty, support, and resources to mobilize around this issue and contribute significant teaching, learning, understanding, research, and action toward the common goal. Students at UNC have the opportunity to take a number of classes related to their majors addressing an array of worldwide water issues, as well as participate in any of the University’s nine global research initiatives. If your dream is to make a significant contribution to solving the world’s water crisis, UNC is where you need to be.

UNC Chapel Hill offers dormitories, apartment-style living, foreign language and substance-free themed housing. Additionally, there is living-learning communities and social specific housing on a smoke-free campus. North campus residence halls are closest to most academic classes. Rams Head Dining Center includes a Starbucks and a small market; it’s open until midnight.  There are hundreds of clubs and organizations on campus including in music and performing arts; the Campus Y is the hub of student activism. Consider getting involved with The Daily Tar Heel, the student newspaper that has been nationally recognized. The student-run radio station, WXYC, earned another UNC first as the first radio station in the world to broadcast on the Internet. There is an active Greek life on campus to join that is present without being overbearing. Drinking on campus is allowed for students of legal age. The UNC student government includes the Honor System, a student-run campus judicial system. There are countless ways for students to find their niche in this large University and carve out their personal UNC experience.

The UNC Tar Heels compete in NCAA Division I sports in the Atlantic Coast Conference with 13 men’s and 15 women’s teams. Men’s teams have won 12 NCAA National Championships, half of them in Men’s Basketball; women’s teams have won 31 National Championships with 22 of them being in Women’s Soccer. UNC is the alma mater to professional basketball standout Michael Jordan and professional soccer star Mia Hamm, who both elevated the level of play in their respective sports. UNC’s primary sports rival is Duke University, particularly in basketball; both teams are regular national title contenders in basketball. North Carolina State University poses the opposition in another long-standing bitter in-state rivalry. Students from both schools often prank the other prior to football or basketball games. The UNC fans are famous for wildly pouring into Franklin Street (named after Benjamin Franklin) following big athletic victories, fondly referred to as “rushing Franklin.”

Besides rushing Franklin, UNC students also have a tradition of creating spontaneous “bonfires” following basketball wins against Duke University; they usually take place in Fraternity Court, but occasionally also on Franklin Street. Another fun-loving tradition at UNC Chapel Hill is the “Naked Library Run,” where students streak the library during preparations for finals. As a new Tar Heel, you’ll be expected to learn the University fight songs, “I’m a Tar Heel Born” and “Here Comes Carolina.” You may hear either song being sung near the campus bell tower or after big sporting wins.

If you want to make an impact on the world water crisis, you’re confident enough to find your niche in a big university, and you love UNC sports, this is definitely your school.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill

School Profile: Graduate in 3 Years from Wesleyan University

Wesleyan University is liberal arts college that is ranked #40 in the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. Located in beautiful Middletown, Connecticut, this campus overlooks the gorgeous Connecticut River. Within Middletown, students have access to a variety of museums, restaurants, and shops, as well as outdoor activities like hiking trails and river cruises. Wesleyan offers small class sizes, elite professors, and rigorous academic programs. Faculty and staff are devoted to making each individual’s college experience one that is completely unique for them. This University is dedicated to shaping students into diverse, creative, driven, independent, and generous people of the world. Wesleyan is more than a University; it is a place for students to thrive both academically and personally.

The academic program at Wesleyan is a rigorous one dedicated to giving students an expansive education at the highest level. There are no core requirements to adhere to at Wesleyan; students work closely with advisors to customize their schedule to fit their individual needs. Natural sciences and mathematics, the arts and humanities, and the social and behavioral sciences are the three spheres utilized to customize each student’s course load. Aside from creating an individualized academic plan, students are also given the opportunity to participate in many research programs with professors who are leaders in their fields.

There are two things in particular that make Wesleyan stand out, their summer sessions and their three-year program. Students get the chance to take rigorous five week courses during the summer, this is beneficial to those who want to advance more quickly through their schedule and is a main part of the three-year program. The three-year program is set up for students who possess the desire, dedication, and commitment to their academics to complete their degrees a year ahead of schedule. There are many benefits to this program, the main being the reduction in tuition. If you are a go-getter with the desire to work hard and get ahead quickly Wesleyan is the school for you.

Wesleyan University has 26 NCAA Division III teams that play in a wide variety of sports from crew to football. They offer both club teams and Intramural sports programs for all students to participate in. Wesleyan is devoted to providing the best athletic opportunities for their students, because they believe it assists them in becoming well-rounded individuals. Wesleyan also offers many community programs and outside programs such as adult fitness and sport camps and clinics. Along with outstanding facilities and competitive sports teams, students are provided with health and wellness courses that teach them how to live balanced and healthy lives.

Campus life at Wesleyan is extremely well-rounded; students typically have their hands in many different pies, juggling a multitude of diverse activities. Aside from their studies and athletics you’ll see them participating in at least one of the 200 student organizations. Students can also assist in tutoring at the local elementary school and various other community support programs. There is a wide variety of artistic and cultural events for students to participate in or watch. Several events from listening to world renowned speakers to student and faculty potlucks are offered throughout the year. All students are required to live on campus throughout their four years with a variety of housing options to choose from that encourage community. Religious and spiritual programs, health and wellness centers, and career resource centers are just a few of the student support services at Wesleyan University.

If you attend Wesleyan University you will soon find your favorite colors to be cardinal red and black. This college is all about spirit and tradition. At sporting events students show their pride by singing “The Fight Song.” One of the most celebrated traditions is the firing of the Douglas Cannon. It began in the 1860s as a contest between freshman and sophomores, with freshmen dead set on firing the cannon and sophomores tasked with trying to prevent them. This rivalry was known as the “Cannon Scrap.” As time went on the game changed, and now you will see the cannon often “missing” from its normal location on College Row and popping up in random places such as being presented to the White house and the Russian Mission at the United nations, editor’s office of Life magazine, and the inauguration of Wesleyan President Roth in 2007; its current location is unknown. If you’re a freshmen heading to Wesleyan, start thinking about how are you and your class can outdo some of these legendary locations.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill

School Profile: Become a Global Graduate of Emory University

Emory University is located in the beautiful suburb of Druid Hills, Georgia, and is ranked #46 among colleges in the Veritas Prep College Rankings. This is an exceptional and exquisite campus just 15 minutes outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Surrounded by gorgeous trees, flowers, and shrubbery, it has a small town feel within picturesque natural surroundings. This school is in a perfect location for those who like to experience all four seasons and want variety in their life and education. It’s only a half-day trip to many South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida beaches, or the Blue Ridge or Great Smoky Mountains are also just a few hours’ drive. Attending Emory University allows you the opportunity to explore all Georgia has to offer.

The academic philosophy of Emory University is “the active, passionate pursuit of learning for a better world.” With this simple and straight-forward principle, students graduate from Emory with the tools to make an outstanding difference in their desired fields. There are nine undergraduate and graduate schools within this University, offering small classes of 25 or fewer students in most cases. Students get a more intimate experience through this academic design. A little less than 40% of the student body travels overseas for research, service, or international projects that allow them to become global citizens well before graduation day. Studying in roughly 40 countries in over 100 programs allows Emory students the opportunity to impact the global landscape while shaping their own futures. If you’re looking for a great education combined with real life experience, Emory University is the place for you.

Campus life at Emory starts with the 75% of students who choose to live on campus, even though it is only a requirement for freshmen and sophomores. The mandatory meal plan offers a wide range of options that will satisfy the individual needs of all students. Arts at Emory gives students access to hundreds of concerts, exhibits, and programs for the best in cultural experiences. Creativity and Arts allows students to indulge in interdisciplinary creativity through groups and classes. There are also a plethora of community volunteer programs, various religious groups and activities, and more than a hundred clubs for student participation. Emory University ensures each student not only has a successful academic and athletic life, but also a well-rounded college experience.

Emory is a Division III University, with 18 varsity sports teams—football not being one of them. They’re ranked high in the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics for their topnotch athletics program. This exceptional feat is reserved for only a few schools in the nation. With 16 Division II national championships in various sports, they have proven they are an athletic force to be reckoned with. Emory also believes that all their students should participate in athletics, so they offer “Play” Emory programs. Four different athletic experiences, Emory Club Sports, Emory Intramurals, Fitness Emory, and Play4Life, allow students to find the niche that best suits them. State-of-the-art facilities and athletic educational programs encourage students to see their physical health as just as important as their intellectual development while attending Emory.
From the moment you step on campus at Emory University you will feel welcomed and begin to find your place in this college community. Classroom on the Quad, Wonderful Wednesdays, and Emory Cares International Service Day are just a few of the activities where you can start becoming a part of Emory tradition. The campus is riddled with secret societies; new people are chosen to become involved in them based on their contributions to the campus life, so join in right away.  One of the more unique traditions is campus fixation with “Who is Dooley?” Since 1899, Dooley has been the official spirit of Emory in the form of a biology lab skeleton. Maybe you’ll be the one to solve the mystery of Dooley.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill

School Profile: Get ‘Mobotic’ at Carnegie Mellon

Carnegie Mellon University is ranked #48 among the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. This private research university is a blend of the former Carnegie Institute of Technology and the former Mellon Institute of Industrial Research. The University became an epicenter for education in robotics, artificial intelligence, business, and the arts. Their pioneering “Andrew” computing network that linked together every computer work station on campus became a model for technology in education.

Not only does Carnegie Mellon rank high among U.S. colleges and universities, but it also ranks among elite universities internationally; several Carnegie programs individually rank on elite lists as well. The University reaches across the globe to provide learning opportunities on virtually every continent, including Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar that offers a complete undergraduate program.

Carnegie Mellon is an urban school in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood, which is considered the cultural hub of the city. Carnegie Mellon students share the neighborhood with the University of Pittsburgh; it has an international flair and boasts, art cinemas, museums, an array of ethnic cuisines, and unique coffee houses.  Shadyside, an upscale neighborhood of boutique shops, intimate lounges, and high end restaurants is within walking distance of the University. Squirrel Hill, a Pittsburgh favorite among neighborhoods, is also within walking distance and offers an eclectic blend of old and new making it the trendy place to be. Carnegie Mellon students easily blend into their urban environment and quickly feel at home.

On campus, there are over 270 student organizations, which are all detailed in their webpage The Bridge; get a head start in seeing where you might best fit in on campus. If you still are unsure about where you might fit in, Carnegie hosts activities fairs in September and January where you can get an overview of the vast opportunities to get involved in student life and talk to organizers face-to-face.

The Arts Pass program gets students free admission into a number of Pittsburgh attractions with a college ID. Winter Gala is the first Friday of the spring semester and is held at the campus student union; it features a no-cash casino with entertainment, and an assortment of activities and prizes. The school’s Scottish roots are celebrated during Celildh weekend for homecoming. Late Night offers Carnegie students free weekend activities from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

All first-year students must live on campus, but nearly 75% opt to continue with campus student housing during their academic careers. Carnegie Mellon offers the typical single-gender and co-ed dormitories, suites, and apartments available at most major universities. There are also Greek houses and special interest housing options, including a sustainable living situation at the New House. Students can enjoy over two dozen dining options on campus serving a wide variety of cuisines. Meal plans even include off-campus restaurants affiliated with the University.

Since Carnegie Mellon is recognized as a leader in science and technology, it makes sense that over 60% of students graduate with degrees in science technology, engineering, or mathematics. There is a 10:1 student faculty ratio, where 99% of undergraduate classes are taught by faculty, 96% of whom hold Ph.D.s. Students at Carnegie Mellon have the opportunity to research side-by-side with some of the greatest minds in their respective fields. Award-winning Carnegie faculty and alumni have embraced Andrew Carnegie’s vision, “My heart is in the work,” and gone on to change the world. One of the most recognizable faculty is Professor Randy Pausch, author of the best-selling book, The Last Lecture.

Carnegie students are encouraged to pursue interdisciplinary work through the University’s seven undergraduate and graduate schools: the Carnegie Institute of Technology, the College of Fine Arts, the H. John Heinz III College, the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Mellon College of Science, the School of Computer Science, and Tepper School of Business. Students can participate in several important research efforts including research in robotics, software engineering, and human-computer interaction.

The Carnegie Mellon Tartans field eight men’s teams and eight women’s teams in NCAA Division III varsity sports, and compete in the University Athletic Association (UAA). The school has several club teams and an active intramural program. Fitness classes are non-elective at Carnegie. Students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to take advantage of the vast health and fitness opportunities in Carnegie’s state-of-the-art facilities.

One of the wackiest traditions at Carnegie Mellon is painting the fence. The fence is in the area of campus known as “the cut,” and to be able to paint it you need at least two 24-hour guards to secure the fence, you can only paint between midnight and 6 a.m., and only with hand brushes. It is the “world’s most painted fence” according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Other traditions include Spring Carnival, Schenley Park buggy races, and the annual mobot competition. No respectable school with Scottish roots would go to a football game without their Kiltie Band; Carnegie’s performs at each football game. Carnegie Mellon also offers the only bagpipe music master’s degree in the country, so the University’s Pipes and Drums frequently play at University events.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill


School Profile: Create Your Own Major at the University of Southern California

Ranked #43 among colleges in the Veritas Prep College Rankings is The University of Southern California. Located in Los Angeles, USC is one of the largest research universities in the nation. Set in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, the campus boasts breathtaking renaissance-style architecture surrounded by beautiful sculptures, water fountains, and well-manicured seating areas. The campus is an oasis of tranquil beauty, but once you step outside its comfort, you’re in the hustle and bustle of all things LA. A wide array of delicious eateries, cute shops, excellent nightlife, and the chance to spot a celebrity or two when grabbing your favorite chai are just a few of the perks of going to school in the City of Angels. If you want a well-rounded education in a city that is famous for making dreams come true, then the University of Southern California is the college for you.

The academic experience at the University of Southern California is one of endless possibilities. They allow their students to create unique major and minor combinations that few have done before. Each student is allowed the flexibility and given the proper resources to build the ideal academic plan that best suits them. Allowing students to pair majors and minors that are vastly different from one another is what sets this university apart from many. Along with a wide range of degree options and couplings there are also great programs that can help students achieve academic prowess that they could not attain at other universities. Their progressive degree program is just one of the options that showcases this; students can start to work on their master’s degree while finishing the requirements of their bachelor’s degree.

The University of Southern California offers a wide range of Research and Discovery programs that can lead to opportunities such as having your work published or showcasing findings at conferences. Having this campus located in the hustle and bustle of LA also gives students the chance to participate in several community service and service learning projects. USC focuses on the importance of technology in society, and also the significance of global experiences. Many students participate in study abroad programs learning second and third languages. The wide range of programs, resources, and freedom of academic expression are what make the University of Southern California one of the most sought after colleges among high school students.

Campus life at the University of Southern California starts with housing options; freshmen residence halls, suites, apartments, along with family housing, ensure each student finds his or her perfect fit in a new home. On campus there is never a dull moment with over 800 student organizations to choose from. That is just the beginning; students can take part in many arts and culture programs, classes, and festivities, cultural organizations, and community service projects. Along with student government and an active Greek life, there isn’t much the University doesn’t offer its students. The extracurricular activities assist students in pursuing their interests, becoming leaders, finding their niches, and most of all, having a great college experience.

When it comes to athletic excellence, there are few universities that can compete with the University of Southern California. They are a powerhouse in NCAA Division I sports with 115 team and 361 individual national championship titles to prove it, not to mention the 11 football championships. The number of athletic accolades this University holds is mind-blowing and would take up several pages. Other student-athletes on campus can also compete in intramural and club sports teams that are open to all students. The facilities at USC are vast and top-of-the-line; they include tennis courts, a swim stadium, track and field facilities, and a fitness center, just to name a few. Students also have several fitness options available to them such as yoga, martial arts, aquatics programs, and more.

The University of Southern California is one of the oldest universities in California with deep roots and traditions, and as a top-tier sports competitor, it’s no wonder most of them revolve around athletics. USC has no shortage of rivals. Notre Dame and UCLA head the list, so be sure you’ve learned the words to “Fight On,” the school’s official fight song, and be prepared to belt them out at these games. The pride of Trojan spirit is big at USC. The marching band, known as the Spirit of Troy, has been featured in more than ten major movies and performed at two summer Olympics that were hosted in Los Angeles. To attend the University of Southern California is to embrace the red and gold.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill

School Profile: Dreams Come True at the University of Michigan

Perhaps the most unusual fun fact about the University of Michigan, ranked #45 among schools on the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings, is that it was founded in 1817, twenty years before Michigan was even a state. The beautiful campus, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is home to more than 42,000 students; over 27,000 of those are undergraduates who are enrolled in 13 schools that offer 250 degree programs.

Undergraduates can choose from nationally ranked schools of literature, science, and the arts; architecture and urban planning; art and design; business; dentistry; education; engineering; kinesiology; music, dance, and theatre; nursing; pharmacy; public policy; and information. The most popular majors by enrollment are economics, experimental psychology, political science, business administration, and English. Special academic opportunities include collaborative specialized studies in First-Year Seminars, or independent and fully supported research in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program.

Michigan students can research health care in Bangladesh, study language in Peru, learn about Central European politics in Poland, or participate in any one of over 100 international programs through the Center for Global and Intercultural Study. Michigan is ranked #15 in the world among the Times Higher Education world reputation rankings. The opportunities at this school are unbounded. The University also boasts Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning faculty, in addition to Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellows, Carnegie and Fulbright scholars, Emmy winners, and more. A full 97% of the faculty teach undergraduates. Famous alumni include actress Lucy Liu; the co-founder of Google, Larry Page; and former U.S. President Gerald Ford. Dreams really do come true at the University of Michigan.

Freshmen are guaranteed housing in one of the 18 dorms or apartments on campus. The entire campus is smoke-free indoors and out, and 28% of student housing is substance free. Gender inclusive housing for students who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming is available upon request. The University of Michigan has over 60 Greek fraternities and sororities and involves 17% of undergraduate students. University Unions offer study spaces, computer access, billiards and games, galleries and music, restaurants and cafes, and venues for student events. Students can make an impact on or off campus by joining one of over 1000 student-run organizations, or giving back through volunteering at the Ginsberg Center.

The University of Michigan has 13 men’s and 14 women’s NCAA Division I sports teams competing in the Big Ten Conference. An athletic powerhouse, Michigan athletic teams have amassed a whopping 56 national championships in 12 sports since winning their first national football title in 1901. They’ve produced 307 individual national champions in 13 sports, three of which were in the 2013-14 school year. During the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, of the three American Olympic ice dancing teams, 5 members were from the University of Michigan; one pair, Michigan students Meryl Davis and Charlie White became the first Americans to take home the gold. Michigan not only draws top intellectual talent, but top athletic talent to the school, who are wildly supported by an enthusiastic Ann Arbor community.

Michigan has a plethora of traditions, some of which revolve around football. Each year when Michigan plays Michigan State, the rivalry involves the protection of the Paul Bunyan Trophy from the opposing team’s graffiti. The Michigan vs. Minnesota rivalry is played for the Little Brown Jug, which is the oldest in the Big Ten, has a comical origin between the two schools. The granddaddy of all football rivalries is with Ohio State, called “the greatest sports rivalry of the 20th century” by ESPN. Among the many game day traditions, one of the longest and most interesting is that for every home game, Michigan reserves a stadium seat in an undisclosed location for their former head coach, Fritz Crisler; when attendance is announced, the number is always +1 in his honor. The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house creates a mud pit each Homecoming on Saturday afternoon where rival fraternities play full contact mud football. Other school traditions include painting the rock at the corner of Washtenaw and Hill Streets and kissing under the Engine Arch at midnight.

Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan are an integrated community. The urban school is fully embraced and supported by the business community and the community at large. On football Saturdays, the energy and sense of community in the city is palpable; they love their Wolverines. Ann Arbor also has a thriving arts and cultural scene, an incredible variety of great restaurants along restaurant row downtown, and a passion for the outdoors. There are over 156 parks in the city, many along the Huron River, which offer all kinds of outdoor activities year round. The city of 115,000 has a wholesome, down-to-earth vibe mixed with the high energy of people who are passionate about innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship. They warmly embrace an intellectual exchange with University students and offer abundant opportunities to work together.

If you’re looking for a vibrant, urban school where you’ll feel welcomed and at home, as well as challenged and inspired, the University of Michigan should be on your short list.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill

School Profile: Impact the World with a Degree from Wellesley College

Wellesley College, an all-female liberal arts college and a member of the Seven Sisters consortium of women’s colleges, is ranked #37 among Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. It is located in the upscale suburban town of Wellesley outside Boston, Massachusetts.

The school is guided by its belief in what it calls The Wellesley Effect, an abiding faith in their their ability to develop powerful young women who go on to impact the world in significant ways. To that end, notable women the like former U.S. Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and former First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton; former U.S. Secretary of State and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Madeleine Albright; author, Nora Ephron; journalist, Diane Sawyer; actress, Elisabeth Shue; and astronaut, Pamela Melroy have all passed through Wellesley on their ways to imprint the Wellesley Effect on the world.

Wellesley has been providing higher education to women since 1875. It began as a liberal arts college focused primarily on humanities; it then added renowned science programs in the 1960s and began exchange programs with other colleges like MIT and Brandeis University. Today, the college emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to education. They offer over 30 departmental majors, 22 interdepartmental majors, and an individually designed major. Wellesley also belongs to the Babson, Olin, Wellesley Collaboration, which gives students the advantage of each college’s expertise in entrepreneurship, engineering, and liberal arts respectively. Students can take advantage of select double degrees with MIT or Brandies. Wellesley also offers internships and study abroad programs to further enrich their academic offerings. Eighty percent of Wellesley students go to graduate or professional schools within the first decade after graduation. Being one of the larger liberal arts colleges at over 2,500 students, they still maintain an 8:1 student to faculty ratio; only professors teach classes, and they are limited to teaching two classes per semester. This arrangement ensures ample attention for every student.

Students live in one of five dorms on the Quad, four dorms in the Tower Complex—although the Lake House is reserved for upperclassmen, or three dorms on the East Side. There are also apartments, houses for Davis Scholars non-traditional (older) students, Spanish and French only houses, and a Feminist/Vegetarian Cooperative. The five dining halls include Kosher and vegetarian options. Perhaps the most unique options are the student-run Café Hoop with late night snacks and drinks; El Table serving soups, salads, sandwiches, and snacks; and Punch’s Alley, a student-run pub featuring $3 beers. Wellesley has a total of four cafés from which to choose, plus a S’mores pit. There are countless clubs, groups, and societies that address nearly every interest imaginable; every student will be able to find her niche at Wellesley. Check out their list of 50 Things to Do Before You Graduate.

The Vil refers to the downtown area of Wellesley, which is within walking distance and where students can go for sushi, a haircut, or a new pair of jeans or shoes, plus a whole lot more. Nearby Boston offers a world of opportunity to unwind. Choose anything from taking in a game at Fenway Stadium to whale watching in Boston Harbor to a night out at House of Blues. Wellesley students have plenty of opportunities to take it all in and to socialize with students from other prestigious area colleges.

Wellesley supports 14 NCAA Division III competitive teams in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC). The crew team, known as Blue Crew, is a frequent NEWMAC champion. Wellesley crew members comprised the country’s first intercollegiate rowing team for women. Many of the school’s varsity teams in other sports bring home conference championship titles, or have individuals in the sports who bring recognition to Wellesley. The school boasts two individual national champions in tennis and track and field. In addition to competitive conference sports, Wellesley hosts a vibrant group of club teams, including water polo, ultimate Frisbee, sailing, two styles of snow skiing, rugby, ice hockey, equestrian, and archery. Wellesley’s devotion to student fitness is grounded in brain research that connects physical activity to cognition. Students may participate at any level from competitive to recreational, depending on personal preference.

One of the longest held traditions at Wellesley is hoop rolling. It began in 1895 when graduating seniors, wearing their graduation gowns, participated in a race rolling wooden hoops. Traditionally, the winner was said to be the first to marry, and in the 1980s the first to become CEO, but these days she is said to be the first to be successful—in whatever way she defines that. The winner also receives a bouquet of flowers from the college president, and then her classmates throw her into Lake Waban. Sophomores traditionally plant a Class Tree on campus accompanied by a marker with their year of graduation next to it. Another longstanding annual tradition is Marathon Monday on Patriot’s Day, where Wellesley students create the “Wellesley Scream Tunnel” along the town’s portion of the Boston Marathon, cheering on participants. Other traditions include step-singing, Spring Week, and Lake Day. If you’re ready for high-octane engagement, you’re driven by a deep desire to succeed at a high level, and you enjoy the camaraderie of powerful women—Wellesley is your school.

We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill

School Profile: Community is Number One at the University of Notre Dame

Number 39 in the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings is the University of Notre Dame. This private research university is wholeheartedly dedicated to its Catholic roots; it embraces a philosophy that holds religion and science in equal regard, and stands for “values in a world of facts.” The college, founded in 1842, is located on a 1,250-acre beautiful park-like campus outside South Bend, Indiana.

The Gothic architecture on campus conveys the school’s devotion to tradition, and as new facilities are added, they’re blended into the existing architectural design. New construction is guided by sustainability principles with several buildings being LEED certified. The overall campus design includes a number of outdoor sacred spaces for contemplation and communing with nature. In 2011, Travel + Leisure magazine listed it one of the most beautiful campuses in the country.

Notre Dame is academically rigorous and traditionally puts more weight on teaching and learning than research. That said, the college has recently received a $75 million gift dedicated to advanced research in science and technology. There are currently 19 research cores on campus dedicated to everything from chemical synthesis and drug discovery to tree genetics to computer aided molecular design. In keeping with the spirit of The Fighting Irish, research projects are often referenced by desired outcome, and prefaced with the word, “Fighting.” For example, recent research has focused on Fighting: To Cure Prostate Cancer, or Fighting: For Ethical Use of Technology. Notre Dame is one of twelve universities in the world chosen to partner with UNESCO in an effort to conserve World Heritage Sites.

After the groundwork of First Year Studies, students can choose from among schools of Arts and Letters, Business, Science, Engineering, and Architecture. Students can go on to graduate studies in law, architecture, and business at Notre Dame. The college of Arts and Letters has 20 departments and 33 majors, Mendoza College of Business offers four degree programs and earned honors as best undergraduate business school in 2010, the College of Science offers six degrees and its pre-professional program boasts more acceptances to medical schools than any university in the U.S., the College of Engineering has five departments and eight degree programs, and the School of Architecture offers one Bachelor of Science degree, plus all third-year students study abroad in Rome. The most popular majors are finance, political science, and psychology.

There will be no mistaking the influence of Catholicism on campus at Notre Dame. Of the nearly 8,500 undergraduate students, 80% are Catholic. Each of the 29 residence halls have chapels, and most have priests and/or nuns in residence. There are over 100 masses conducted on campus during each school week, and every classroom has a crucifix hanging from the wall. The crown jewel of the campus is the grand Basilica of the Sacred Heart, and behind it the Grotto. There are numerous religious statues and figures adorning campus, including the “Touchdown Jesus” mosaic on the 14-story Hesburgh Library.

Community is central to Notre Dame campus life; students often comment on forums about the welcoming campus atmosphere and close-knit community. Eighty percent of students live on campus, and the campus residences are the hub of social life. There is no Greek life at Notre Dame, but students typically stay in the same dorm for all four years, which contributes to the strong sense of community. Legends, the on campus restaurant and pub, hosts a variety of music and entertainment events including concerts, comedy, karaoke, and more. The four-story LaFortune Student Center, a.k.a. LaFun, is another hub of student activity on campus.

If you’ve never heard of Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish football team, you just aren’t paying attention to college sports. The NCAA Division I athletic program, which is part of the Atlantic Coast Conference, fields 21 men’s and women’s varsity teams in all, but is most famous for the football team. The football team plays some ACC opponents, but they remain part of the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, the top level of college football. Notre Dame has more All-Americans than any other FBS team. They’ve also produced at least seven Heisman Trophy winners, and have more national championships than any other FBS team. They’ve accomplished this level of excellence while consistently having the most Academic All-Americans and one of the highest student-athlete graduation rates. Notre Dame has also had some of the most famous college football coaches—Knute Rockne,  Ara Parseghian, and Lou Holtz, to name a few. The school has amassed a number of ACC titles over the years in other sports. Students are also heavily invested in intramural sports on campus.

Most Notre Dame traditions revolve around the football program. Traditions include the cheers of the Irish Leprechaun mascot and the cheerleaders, Friday Tunnel, The Irish Guard march into the stadium, the cheers and songs from the Alma Mater student section of the stadium, and the tunnel entrance of the team before the game. If you’re looking for a school where community is number one, values are as important as knowledge, and partying is a low priority, Notre Dame could be your school.

We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill

School Profile: Is Your Character Strong Enough for University of Virginia?

The University of Virginia ranks #32 among the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. Inspired by Thomas Jefferson, the University was founded in 1819 and opened in 1825, under Jefferson’s guiding principle to “shed light on the public mind.” It was the first university to separate church and state. Located in Charlottesville, one of the most livable cities in the US, the campus is set on property formerly owned by James Monroe. With its Jeffersonian architecture, expansive green space, lush gardens, famous Rotunda and Academical Village, it has been called one of the most beautiful campuses in the country, and is the only university to be designated a World Heritage Site.

The University of Virginia has 51 undergraduate degree programs in eleven schools. Additionally, the school offers 81 master’s degrees and 57 PhDs, plus professional degrees in both medicine and law. It has a strong emphasis on humanities, and has produced more Rhodes Scholars than any other state university. Its business and economics programs are well known and highly respected. UVA is among a consortium of elite international research universities called the Universitas 21.

The faculty have earned prestigious accolades in several academic circles including a Pulitzer Prize winner and a Nobel Laureate among many others. UVA faculty have been instrumental in Internet networking and astrophysics. Notable faculty and alumni include President, Woodrow Wilson; social and Civil Rights Activist, Julian Bond; Poet Laureate, Rita Dove; author, Edgar Allan Poe; Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Charles Wright; Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Edward Jones; journalist, Katie Couric; astronaut, Kathryn Thornton; Senator, Robert Kennedy; and many more. This is the school to help you make your personal impact on the world through research, humanities, and science.

There are 13 first-year suite-style houses clustered on Alderman Road, or 10 single/double room dorms clustered along McCormick Road. There are also residential colleges grouped by area of study with faculty representatives. There are also five apartment buildings for students. Seniors can apply to live on the prestigious section of campus known as The Lawn, alongside the ten Pavilions housing the university Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer, the Academic Deans, and notable University professors.

There is a vibrant Greek life with several fraternities and sororities clustered along Rugby Road. The Corner is the section of University Avenue where students gather to unwind in the eclectic mix of shops and restaurants. Social life on “the Grounds,” as they refer to their campus, is such that UVA was rated the top party school in 2012. Charlottesville is a laidback community with a comfortable vibe that attracts artists, musicians, creatives, and professionals. The city’s proximity to the Blue Ridge Mountains also offers students many opportunities for outdoor activities in the splendor of nature.

The NCAA Division I Virginia Cavaliers are part of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Cavaliers are a national powerhouse in nearly every sport with accolades too numerous to mention. Some highlights include over 20 national championships in men’s tennis, soccer, lacrosse, and boxing, women’s rowing, lacrosse, and cross country, and combined track and field. The basketball and football teams have won a number of conference titles. The men’s soccer team holds the most national titles of any team at the University. The football team has produced notable NFL players, the soccer team boasts alumnus Claudio Reyna who was named Player of the Century by Soccer America, and several alumni have earned Olympic medals in various sports. The Cavaliers, also known as Wahoos or ‘Hoos, have long-standing rivalries with Virginia-Tech, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Maryland. Get your orange and navy blue ready, because the University of Virginia is serious about sports.

Secret societies, an 1842 Honor Code, unprecedented student governance, prestigious honor societies, and University specific lingo are hallmarks of UVA tradition. In honor of Thomas Jefferson’s commitment to lifelong education, students are not referred to as freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors, but rather as first years, second years, third years and fourth years. Third years participate in the annual UVA ring ceremony where they receive their class rings in the presence of their families. Another annual tradition is the Lighting of the Lawn in December for the holidays accompanied by acapella music. Students wear casual dress attire to football games; after UVA scores, students link arms and sway together while singing the school anthem “The Good Old Song.”

One of the most unique aspects of the University of Virginia is its long-standing Honor System. The principle behind the system is that students adhere to a code of conduct where they do not “lie, cheat, or steal.” It applies to both academic and personal life on campus and a single violation results in dismissal from the University. Although it is controversial and has been challenged a number of times since the 1990s, it remains in place and several students have been expelled from the University for violations, including some who had already graduated and had their diplomas revoked. If the University of Virginia is on your short-list of schools, make sure that your commitment to character is strong enough to keep you in school.

We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill

School Profile: Academics, Athletics, and Eating Houses at Davidson College

Davidson College, a private liberal arts college, is located in Davidson, North Carolina about 20 miles north of Charlotte. Ranked #36 among Veritas Prep Elite CollegeRankings, Davidson is part of the 24-school Charlotte Area Education Consortium. The college was founded in 1837 by the Presbyterian Church on the property of Revolutionary War General William Lee Davidson, after whom it was named. The 665-acre campus sits in the center of Davidson and is home to under 2,000 undergraduate students.

Davidson College is consistently ranked among the top ten liberal arts schools in the nation, and has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars. In keeping with the philosophy of interdisciplinary learning, it offers 25 majors, which may be combined with 17 minors or 17 concentrations. The campus is currently undergoing a physical transformation to create an academic neighborhood of learning spaces that will foster a new model for liberal arts education. Davidson also offers students self-instruction in five languages, 17 off-campus programs, and both domestic and international summer internships.

The school’s reputation for academic rigor combined with an uncompromising grading system attracts competent, confident, and competitive students. Talented professors are both approachable and reasonable; if the pressures become too great, expect them to work with you. Small class sizes encourage both personalized attention and relationship building. Over half the Davidson students opt for a semester of learning abroad. The school’s Honor Code allows for student-scheduled exams that are not proctored.

Campus social life at Davidson centers around the Alvarez College Union, which overlooks the Wildcat football stadium. Most student activities and events happen there. Ninety-five percent of students live on campus in above average student dorms and apartments; students can petition to live off campus, but few choose this option. There are over 200 student organizations to participate in on campus, including those that support racial and gender diversity. Over 50% of Davidson students receive financial aid supported by a generous Davidson Trust; it is one of the first colleges to eliminate student loans as part of financial aid. The campus drug policy is strictly enforced, and violations often result in suspension or expulsion. Wednesday nights and weekends are popular party times for students who drink alcohol. Greek life is expressed primarily in eating houses and two sororities for women and eight fraternities for men; a high percentage of female students are associated with either sororities or eating houses.

Davidson is a community with close ties to the college. Many residents either run small businesses, where chains are largely panned, or are employed by the college. Don’t expect a Starbucks or McDonalds, although on Wednesdays there are shuttles from campus to Walmart. During breaks students can also catch campus shuttles to the airport. The small town atmosphere is warm and welcoming, and the community embraces Davidson students. They are also quick to offer jobs and internships to students. Everything is within walking distance of campus. Davidson offers a temperate climate most of the year, the exception being the summer and early fall when it is hot and humid. Charlotte is the closest city for a weekend getaway.

The NCAA Division I Wildcats compete on 10 men’s teams and nine women’s teams. Nearly a quarter of the students participate in one of these competitive sports. The Wildcats football and wrestling teams are part of the Southern Conference, but all other sports are part of the Atlantic Ten Conference. The school boasts amazing athletic success for their size. Davidson teams have accumulated 27 conference championships, been to eight NCAA tournaments, and have unbeaten conference records in football, men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, and men’s basketball. Over 61 professional athletes have come out of Davidson College. The brand new state-of-the-art $15 million Vance Athletic Center has been designed and approved; construction will begin at the end of the fundraising phase. The center, attached to Baker Sports Complex, will provide increased access to practice, training, and wellness activities for all students.

Tradition at Davidson is an important part of the college culture. The Honor Code, signed by each incoming freshman, is its centerpiece. The written pledge to not “lie, cheat, steal or commit any unethical act” is a celebrated tradition that joins new students with the college community. The annual Freshman Cake Race has been a tradition since 1934 to encourage fitness. The winner gets an entire cake to himself/herself, baked by Davidson community members. Midnight Scream is held at midnight the night before finals when students open their dorm windows and scream at the top of their lungs to release the stress of all that studying. Flickerball, a variation of football, and Spring Frolics, a campus music and party affair are also now among Davidson traditions. This college is suitable for the liberal arts student looking for an academic challenge and a warm embrace.

We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill

School Profile: Student Life at Vassar College

Vassar College is ranked #35 among the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. This liberal arts college is located in Poughkeepsie, New York in the picturesque Hudson Valley north of New York City. The Vassar campus has residential and academic buildings in a range of architecture, two of which are National Historic Landmarks. Nestled on roughly one thousand acres of land, you will find everything from formal gardens to woodlands and meadows on this designated arboretum. The college boasts impressive academic offerings and excellent athletic facilities on a tranquil campus with breathtaking views. It supports an organic farm, cross country trails, and community gardens on the former all girls’ campus.

The academic program at Vassar College is one of the most elite in the nation. They have a long history of utilizing innovative curricula and continue to be pioneers of educational achievements. Vassar offers over 50 liberal arts majors, including a self-designed independent major. Political science, phychology, English, economics, and biology are the most chosen majors among Vassar students.  The school offers small class sizes that are taught solely by renowned professors—no teaching assistants. One of the key academic facilities is the renovated Thompson Library which stores 25% of the titles from the Federal Depository Program. Another outstanding facility is the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, which serves as an art center and museum. It houses a variety of collections totaling 19,000 works representing every era from antiquity to contemporary art. This is one of the oldest college art collections in the nation.

While these two prominent fixtures provide exciting learning opportunities for those attending Vassar, the school has so much more to offer. The Vassar Farm is a unique educational feature; it includes over 500 acres of land with a large part attributed to various research projects run by faculty and students. Extensive division-specific resources, study away programs, internships, research opportunities, and field work are just a few other learning options for students at Vassar. If you want a well-rounded and in depth education that will catapult your life after college Vassar is the college for you.

Vassar College knows athletics play an important role in developing a well-rounded person in the world. Twenty-three teams compete in NCAA Division III sports at Vassar, along with a variety of club sports, and intramural leagues. Vassar supports their athletes with impressive facilities. An elevated running track, fitness facilities, various top-of-the-line sports fields, a wood floor gymnasium, and a large six-lane pool with a diving area are just a few of the student amenities in the athletics department. They also provide modern upscale locker rooms and a sports medicine facility that is open to all of their students. This is a dream college for athletes of all levels.

A student’s life on campus is what they make it—literally. Vassar bestows a great deal of power on the student body regarding how the campus is run and what the future should hold. Students can start new organizations, attend policy committees, plan conferences, find and fix institutional problems, and much more. Vassar students can shape not only their own college experiences, but also those of future students, constantly improving Vassar. Over 95% of students, along with faculty, take advantage of on-campus housing all four years. Dorms are referred to as houses and are designed to make students feel at home.

Each student stays in the same house for the first three years; houses creatively imprinted by the students who occupy them. This not only creates space for camaraderie, but also allows students a little fun rivalry between houses. Senior year students are allowed to choose to stay in their homes or move into apartments on campus. Attending Vassar also allows you to choose from over 1,600 sponsored events annually; you can attend some seriously amazing concerts, films, and lectures, to name a few. There is also a wide variety of student services provided on campus from research and teaching to learning centers and counseling services. Attending Vassar means having a jam packed diverse calendar.

Traditions are taken to a new level at Vassar, they take pride in their gorgeous campus and deep historical roots. This can be seen clearly through their many traditions some dating back to the eighteen hundreds. Some prominent examples include the class trees where each class plants a tree each year adding to the glorious natural arboretum that is Vassar campus, and The Book of Matriculation that freshmen sign the first day at Vassar as a symbol they have become part of elite Vassar student community. Be wary of the Primal Scream done on the eve of exam week. There are many more traditions students participate in throughout the year that reinforce Vassar pride. This liberal arts college suits independent and creative students who flourish in an environment of innovation and tradition.

We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill

School Profile: Your Dreams Become Reality at UCLA

The University of California – Los Angeles is ranked #34 on the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. UCLA is located in the upscale Westwood neighborhood, surrounded by Beverly Hills, Century City, Bel Air, and Brentwood. You would be hard-pressed to find a more unique urban setting for a university than this.

Take a bike ride down Pacific Coast Highway, become an extra in a movie production, stroll along trendy Sunset Boulevard, window shop on exclusive Wilshire Boulevard, hang out in the sun by the Santa Monica Pier, or discover the local celebrity haunts. Take a weekend trip outside the city to a local music festival like Coachella. There is so much to do in this iconic town, you’ll discover passions you never knew you had.

Attending UCLA is more than getting a degree at the end of four years; it is an experience that cannot be recreated anywhere else. The City of Angels is full of possibility, and UCLA is the college where dreams become reality.

UCLA has one of the most rigorous academic programs in the nation, offering more than five thousand courses in over one hundred academic departments. With a little over 120 majors to choose from, you can easily define your desired major and begin developing the required skills necessary for your chosen field. With so many academic opportunities one may feel they could be lost in the shuffle, but more than seventy percent of undergraduate classes have fewer than thirty students. These small class sizes allow each student the chance to receive personalized attention from the internationally renowned professors.

The faculty includes Fulbright Scholars and Nobel Prize winners, among other academically acclaimed professors, who provide challenging coursework that stimulates the student body. There are powerful resources offered to the students attending UCLA from research opportunities to internships. Los Angeles provides an environment for UCLA students where connections can be made to further academic and career goals on a wide scale, due to the myriad big name companies in a multitude of fields that call LA home. Whether your goal is to change a single life or the entire world, you can achieve your academic dreams at this elite University.

There is never a dull moment at UCLA; the annual Bruin Bash famously kick starts the beginning of the school year. With more than eight hundred clubs to choose from and the opportunity to begin your own, you’ll always find a new way to participate and enjoy time with your fellow classmates. Along with the clubs, many students start new businesses, participate in community building projects, and run a variety of organizations. The students aren’t the only ones taking advantage of campus life; the faculty is part of what makes this school thrive, participating in innovative research programs that continuously develop and change the world for the better.

True Bruins put action behind their words and are driven by the school’s philosophy of “integrity, excellence, accountability, respect, and service.” The student body and faculty on this campus are committed to a nurturing and inclusive environment that encourages each student to contribute to the greater good. Students stay in residence halls within a few minutes of classes and enjoy amenities such as cafes and recreation centers. There are a wide range of student support centers and programs, health and safety resources, and organizations making this urban oasis filled with palm trees and energizing vistas a well-rounded campus.

The Athletic department at UCLA is one of the most elite in the country, with a long history of athletic achievements. This NCAA Division I athletic program, whose athletes compete in a wide range of sports, draws some of the best athletes in the nation. UCLA has won the most NCAA titles among all of the colleges. Its students have produced over 251 Olympic medals, holding more Olympic medals than most countries. Not only are the athletes who attend UCLA winners in their particular sports, they are also extremely invested in their academics, and valued participants in the community. This makes them highly versatile members of society. The UCLA quote, “Champions don’t go here, champions are made here,” epitomizes their dedication to athletic prowess.

UCLA athletics are supported by thirteen state-of-the-art facilities including, stadiums, pools, recreational centers, and more. Not only are the varsity athletes valued and well cared for, but the entire faculty and student body are as well; the University offers recreational classes in yoga, martial arts, sailing, and much more. Several camps are provided for varsity athletes as well as camps for community members, including summer camps for kids in grades K-12. There are also group recreational exercise classes and Intramural programs. UCLA is the place to completely expand and reach your academic and physical goals.

Traditions include trying to capture or prank crosstown rival USC’s mascot while protecting their own before the big football game; it also includes the Beat USC Bonfire and Rally. Spring Sing is held annually at Pauley Pavilion or the Los Angeles Tennis Center; it originated 70 years ago as a competition among sororities for “Champion Serenaders of Sorority Row.” Other more recent traditions include Entertainment Networking Night, I Love UCLA Week, Locks of Love, and Dinners for 12 Strangers.

We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill

School Profile: Find Your Freedom at Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University is located in beautiful Lexington, Virginia and is ranked #31 on the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. With a mix of historical significance and the charm of a college town, Lexington is revered as one of the most gorgeous towns in the nation. Alive with energy, it offers amazing galleries, fine dining, country inns, and quaint little shops among other perks.

The scenic and picturesque outdoors with the southern Appalachians and Blue Ridge mountains surrounding the campus and town inspires many students to attend this University. If you love the great outdoors Washington and Lee University is the perfect place to spend four years where you can enjoy white water rafting, skiing, hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, and more while making your academic dreams come true in a topnotch school.

Washington and Lee University is a small liberal arts school that combines the benefits of personal relationships with professors and smaller class sizes with a multitude of options usually only seen at large research universities. At Washington and Lee they understand the importance of technical and analytical skills combined with moral insights. They strive to nurture and educate their students into “strong leaders, visionary thinkers, compassionate citizens, and ethical decision makers.” Students can choose from more than thirty-five majors, over twenty minors, and an array of interdisciplinary programs to create individualized and well-rounded academic paths that upon graduation will light the passageway to successful careers.

This University offers a unique undergraduate calendar of two twelve-week semesters and a four-week intercession. This academic calendar allows students a great deal of time and freedom to pursue focused coursework as well as extracurricular activities and programs. Students at Washington and Lee have many opportunities to study abroad, and partake in research programs, internships, and fellowships. Along with the many academic offerings, students have access to many resources such as career development, faculty advising, peer tutoring, and more. By taking advantage of all Washington and Lee has to offer, students will enter the career world ready to face any challenge and inspire global growth.

At Washington and Lee University, the philosophy is that having a successful college experience begins by making your first year a smooth transition, so they provide personalized guidance. The goal of this University is to assist all students in growing socially, emotionally, and intellectually, with academic and student life programs complimenting one another.

First years and sophomores are required to live on campus in residence halls, themed housing, or apartments, whereas juniors and seniors can choose whether they want to live on campus or not.  There are more than one hundred student organizations for students to choose from. If you cannot find a club or organization that interests you, they encourage students to create something new and offer adequate resources and tools to support it. Throughout the year there are a multitude of activities for students, including concerts, speakers, movies, and more.

Washington and Lee University athletics program is NCAA Division III with twenty-four varsity teams, twelve for women and twelve for men. They have accumulated numerous athletic accolades over the years including Conference Championships in many of the different sports. Washington and Lee University’s philosophy of “a healthy mind in a healthy body,” is the impetus for their commitment to ensuring each student participates in one form of physical education or another.

The top-tier facilities include a golf course, a fitness center, the Cy Twombly pool, a  ropes course, and many others. If students are not a part of one of the varsity sports teams they are encouraged to participate in club sports, intramurals, group exercise, or open recreational activities. Washington and Lee not only offers excellent facilities, athletic programs, and fitness programs, but also faculty mentors that are there to inspire, encourage, and guide each student’s individual physical goals.

There are many long-standing and highly acclaimed traditions at Washington and Lee University from the Fancy Dress Ball to the Mock Convention. They believe in the significance of the little everyday things as evidenced through The Speaking Tradition, which is just simply saying hello to one another when meeting in the Commons or passing on the Colonnade. This simple gesture given to those who attend this University or those just visiting showcases how open and honest this University truly is.

The most unique thing about Washington and Lee is the honor system, which is the oldest tradition at this college. With the student- run honor system, each person is taken at their word to be upstanding and responsible members of the college. This allows campus buildings to stay open 24-7, and enables most undergrads to schedule their own final examinations, which are taken unsupervised. This type of academic and social freedom is what sets this University apart from the rest.

We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill