Jul 1, 2013

On the Road with the Higher Education Consultants Association in the Mid-South

Rhodes College
Undeterred by record-setting heat and humidity, the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) hit the road last week for a tour of eight colleges in the mid-South—starting in Nashville and ending in Memphis.

While the campuses seemed relatively quiet, admissions offices were working behind the scenes to put finishing touches on student recruitment programs scheduled for this fall.  Several campuses were taken over by summer campers while others were already welcoming newly-minted freshmen for transition programs.

Here is a little more of what the 50 counselors learned about each school:
  • A “Christian university,” Belmont offers seven bachelor’s degrees in over 80 academic majors, the largest of which is music business—a perfect fit for its Nashville location.  As a requirement for graduation, Belmont’s “Convocation Program” promotes student exploration of various cultural, service, and education opportunities through the awarding of academic credit for attendance at approved programs.  And Belmont students have consistently finished first in the University Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) competitions for their ability to create and apply complex business models to lasting social change, which is a real tribute to Belmont commitment to sustainability and community service.

  • Founded in 1871 as a Lasallian institution of higher learning, Christian Brothers University (CBU) is located about four miles east of downtown Memphis. One of only 15 programs in the U.S., CBU offers a BS in Engineering Management with Packaging Concentration as well as both a Packaging Minor and Packaging Engineering Certificate, all of which capitalize on Memphis-area corporate needs for packaging labs and the professionals produced by them.  Other engineering programs include Chemical, Civil, Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics, Electrical, and Mechanical.  A 5-year dual degree program is available in conjunction with Rhodes College.

  • Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) boasts of the largest undergraduate population in Tennessee.  Aerospace is a huge department with five concentrations:  flight dispatch, maintenance management, professional pilot, administration and technology.  And the technology available for students in the air traffic control program is as good as gets anywhere in the nation.  A four-year degree is offered by the Concrete Industry Management (CIM) Department in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, which is one of only four such programs in the US.  MTSU offers guaranteed admission to freshman applicants with either a 3.0 minimum GPA or a minimum composite ACT score of 22 (SAT 1020) or minimum 2.7 GPA and ACT score of 19 (SAT 900).

  • A founding member of the Colleges That Change Lives (CTCL), Rhodes College is located on a stunning 100-acre wooded campus in the heart of historic Memphis and offers an outstanding liberal arts education grounded in the Rhodes Foundations Curriculum. One of several undergraduate educational opportunities unique to Rhodes, the Institute for Regional Studies provides selected “fellows” with generous stipends to support intensive academic research based in the mid-South region.  Rhodes is one of a limited number of colleges and universities participating in the Bonner Scholars Program and provides up to 15 four-year service scholarships to entering students who have financial need and an exceptional commitment to serving the community.

  • Located on 13,000 acres including 60 miles of trails, Sewanee is committed to providing a first-rate education at the lowest possible price.  In 2011, the university announced it was reducing tuition and fees by 10 percent for that and the following academic year.  Last year, it announced that the fall 2012 class would have tuition, room and board frozen for four years through the spring 2016 tuition.  Sewanee provides test-optional admissions (a graded paper is substituted) and requires evaluative interviews—all conducted via phone.  And when you visit Sewanee, you’ll find pairs of hiking shoes on the front porch of the Admissions Office, ready for anyone interested in exploring the amazing campus.  Fun fact:  Tennessee Williams left his entire estate and all rights to his plays to Sewanee, the University of the South.

  • Situated in an attractive park-like inner city setting, the University of Memphis recently celebrated its centennial anniversary and is hoping to attract increased numbers of out-of-state students by offering strong academics, generous scholarships, and unique educational opportunities. For example, the industry-supported biomedical engineering program combines biology and medicine with engineering to advance healthcare through the creation of innovate devices and procedures, and it’s one of the most popular and fastest-growing departments in the University.  Also popular among undergrads, the Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality and Resort Management, created and named for the founder of Holiday Inns, emphasizes lodging and resort operations through a mix of classwork, applied industry experiences, and a required internship.  Non-resident applicants are eligible for some amazing scholarships many of which include out-of-state fee waivers making the University of Memphis a highly affordable option for many students.

  • The University of Mississippi, “Ole Miss,” seeks to create a “big school experience in a private school setting.” With a wide range of majors and centers of distinction, such as the Center for Manufacturing Excellence, Trent Lott Leadership Institute, Croft Institute for International Studies, and the McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, Ole Miss is looking for diverse and well-qualified students from every corner of the country.  School spirit and tradition are central to the Ole Miss experience, and there’s nothing like “game day” in Oxford, Mississippi.  Scholarships for out-of-state students kick in for applicants with a minimum ACT composite of 26 and a GPA of 3.0.  And they are huge!

  • Vanderbilt University, one of the most highly regarded universities in the south, receives over 20,000 visitors per year in its newly renovated Historic Old Gym.  Last year, the Vanderbilt admissions staff reviewed paperwork from over 31,000 applicants and read “everything they sent.”  Engineering has been a fundamental part of the university since the very beginning and includes five major departments and the Division of General Engineering:  Biomedical, Chemical and Biomolecular, Civil and Environmental, Electrical and Computer Science, and Mechanical. The College of Arts & Sciences offers 47 disciplinary and interdisciplinary majors and includes extensive undergraduate research opportunities.  The Blair School of Music is one of three top-20 universities with an accredited undergraduate music program, and the Peabody College Education and Human Development is among the top-ranked schools of education in the country.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this very informative review of these 8 great schools. I was familiar with many of them, but still learned a great deal about the different programs each one offered.