Feb 13, 2012

On the Road with the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA)

Spring comes early to Georgia. By mid-February, daffodils are in full bloom and flowering fruit trees are orchestrating their annual display.

To get a sneak preview of spring and escape winter doldrums in other parts of the country, 49 independent college consultants descended on Atlanta last week for college tours organized by volunteer members of the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA).

But it wasn’t just about southern hospitality and good weather. These tours are key to the kinds of outstanding college counseling offered by independent educational consultants.

Good college consultants don’t spend too much time behind a desk. They don’t rely on virtual tours and websites to update their knowledge of campuses.

Great college consultants budget time and money to visit colleges, meet staff, learn about new programs, and generally get a feel for the kinds of students who populate campuses. And because this information ages quickly, consultants visit and revisit to update their knowledge.

For example, here is a little of what the 49 higher education consultants learned last week:

Agnes Scott College
This year’s incoming freshman class of 223 talented women was slightly smaller than in previous years—but it was more “qualified” than ever. At the same time, the college continues to grow academically. This year, Agnes Scott introduced a new dual-degree computer science program in collaboration with Emory University, and the public health minor has grown so much in popularity that it is now offered as a major. By the way, don’t miss “Soul Food Wednesday” in the Agnes Scott cafeteria for the best southern fried chicken, greens, and traditional macaroni and cheese in Atlanta!

Emory University.
On January 1st, Emory began the transition to a tobacco-free campus by implementing a tobacco-free policy for all of the university and Emory Healthcare campuses. As part of the transition, the university will establish up to 20 temporary smoking zones, to be permanently removed after a pre-established period of time. To support the ban, Emory is offering a variety of tobacco-cessation resources and programs for staff and students.

Georgia Tech
Tech will once again be adjusting application deadlines next year. Instead of two early action deadlines, Tech will return to a single EA deadline of October 15, 2012—exactly between the two used this year. Tech accepts either the SAT or the ACT and will consider the highest section scores across all SAT and ACT test dates submitted. In other words, Tech superscores across standardized tests. Visitors to the huge Atlanta campus should take a detour over to The Varsity Restaurant to enjoy an amazing fast food experience and Tech tradition.

Oglethorpe University
Located in the heart of Atlanta, Oglethorpe is a great place for civic-minded students interested in participating in one of over 1500 service projects managed annually through the Center for Civic Engagement. Oglethorpe has many attractive scholarship programs including one that offers HOPE equivalents to students from contiguous states and a $2000 award to any admitted student who completes the FAFSA—regardless of need or EFC. Scholarships are also available for undocumented students who complete a paper version of the FAFSA and mail it directly to the Oglethorpe financial aid office.

Oxford College at Emory University
Oxford is a small campus located over an hour outside of Atlanta. It houses about 900 freshman and sophomore students, the vast majority of whom will ultimately transfer to the Atlanta campus of Emory for junior and senior years. Thanks to an easy check-box on the Emory supplement to the Common Application, prospective Oxford student applicants have more than doubled to 6000 over the past year.

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)
SCAD offers programs on 4 different campuses (including Atlanta), and students are free to move among them for different classes and/or a simple change of venue. For students with established talent in the arts and even for those who “think” they may have talent, SCAD will admit any “qualified” applicant regardless of arts background. In fact, SCAD will enlarge and expand its programs to accommodate additional students. No one is turned away because of limits in class size.

University of Georgia
A sprawling 600-acre research university, UGA is about 60 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta in Athens, Georgia. Located in a former dairy barn on East Campus, the UGA Visitors Center occupies the southern wing of the Four Towers Building (the four towers representing the building's four silos) and booked over 32,000 tours last year. UGA’s incoming freshman class was among the strongest academic classes ever to enroll with an average GPA of 3.8 and a mean SAT score of 1860.

1 comment:

  1. Great information and it is nice to see HECA mentioned. I am proud to be a member and I know it is a great source for families to find qualified college consultants who can help them with all their college planning needs. These tours are so useful and help all of us to know more about the colleges and universities in the US and what each school offers and what makes it unique.