Archive for May 2015

Summer Homework: Getting ready for college

summertodo

The hard work is done. The college application process is over. Summer’s almost here. It’s time for relaxing, quality time with the family and — oh yeah — serious high anxiety.

Hard as it is to believe, many experience an emotional letdown in the weeks after high school and start of college. You’ve worked so hard and been focused for so long that it’s easy to start breathing heavily after you finally exhale.

Take another breath. It’s going to be OK. Now make another list of things you need to do before you head off on this grand adventure. Here are five tips to get you started:

Keep reading. It sounds counter-intuitive. You’ve read so much to get good grades to get into college. College is all about reading. So read more? Yep. Your brain is a muscle. College is to high school what Denver is to Death Valley: It’s a higher elevation, so you need to acclimate yourself to longer reading assignments.

Get a job. Even if you think you know that college is expensive, you don’t really know until it’s Friday night, you have big weekend plans and you’re staring at an ATM bank balance of $9.04. Between fees and entertainment and late-night snacks that Mom and Dad suddenly don’t pay for, college requires significant disposable income.

Clean up Twitter. Remember applying for college and removing those embarrassing photos from Instagram? Do it again. This time, it’s not because admissions officers are peeping your Facebook. It’s because future friends are. And do you really want them to know you liked “Bad Grandpa”?

Spend time with parents. You will miss them. No matter what you think. Plan special nights with them together and individually. Make memories and take mental snapshots. Because homesickness is as inevitable freshman year as Taco Night at the dorm cafeteria.

Begin to reach out. Contact your roommate. Discuss who is bringing what. Start researching cheap textbooks. Start dreaming. Nothing awesome began with tiny dreams.

Because soon, you will chart your own path. And whatever you do, follow your passion, an approach that guides Michigan’s top 15 independent colleges and universities.

Academically rigorous, the schools offer small class sizes. Their faculty are experts in their field and forge lifetime bonds with students who value communities over crowds.

Often less expensive than public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates and smaller class sizes for a truly unique and affordable experience.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

Military Friendly Schools in Michigan

military

As a veteran, you forged your own path, so people could have the freedom to choose theirs.

Now, as you chart your next step, the choices can become confusing. Plenty of benefits are available to help veterans attend colleges, but where should you begin? What separates one college from another? And do they all understand the unique perspectives of veterans?

Fortunately, there’s help. Michigan’s top 15 independent colleges and universities are all rated “Military Friendly Schools” by the Web site GIJobs.com. In fact, two are rated in the Top Five nationwide as “Best Colleges for Veterans” by U.S. News and World Report.

Hillsdale College is ranked No. 1 among smaller colleges, while Albion College was No. 4. Both offer full-ride scholarships and plenty of support to veterans.

So do most of Michigan’s independents, which recognize the importance of your sacrifice and make accommodations from mentoring programs and support services to ease the transition.

The colleges are purposefully small. Smaller class sizes allow passionate faculty to form bonds with students that just aren’t possible at larger universities. Instead of crowds, the colleges emphasize community. Often less expensive than public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates and smaller class sizes for a truly unique and affordable experience.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

Links to Veterans Programs at Michigan’s top 15 independent colleges and universities:

‘Daily Show’ correspondent honed funny bones at Kalamazoo College

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Flip on “The Daily Show” and there’s a good chance you’ll see “Senior Caucasian Correspondent” Jordan Klepper.

In just a year on the show, his takes on instability in the Ukraine, “Britain’s Non-Issues” and “Star Hack: The Nude Generation” have made him a fan favorite. http://thedailyshow.cc.com/news-team/jordan-klepper

A few years ago, you could have seen him on stage during Kalamazoo College’s production of “Glengarry Glen Ross” or with the improv troupe Monkapult, which also counts “Walking Dead” star Steven Yeun among its alumni.

A Kalamazoo native and ’01 graduate of K-College, Klepper credits theater professor Ed Menta for nurturing his love of improv and organizing trips to see Second City, the Improv Olympics and other performances in Chicago.

At Kalamazoo, Klepper honed an act called “Free Pudding” that involved wearing gigantic cowboy hats and serving the crowd – you guessed it – free pudding.

Klepper graduated that year and went to Second City. Over the years, Klepper has moved upward through the ranks, joining the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York City and collaborating often with his wife, Laura Grey, before graduating to “The Daily Show.”

His career may be high-profile, but it’s a lot like others that began at Kalamazoo College and Michigan’s top 15 independent colleges and universities.

Purposefully small, they pride themselves on molding young talent. Smaller class sizes allow passionate faculty to form bonds with students that just aren’t possible at larger universities. Instead of crowds, the colleges emphasize community.

Often less expensive than public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates and smaller class sizes for a truly unique and affordable experience.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

Star of ‘Agent Carter’ attributes success to Albion College

Marvel_Alexander_Carroll

Talk to Alexander Carroll long enough and his Midwestern, independent roots are sure to shine through.

The Albion College graduate turned actor is on a hot streak these days, winning raves for a recurring role as Agent Yauch in Marvel’s “Agent Carter” series on ABC.

He attributes a lot of his success to a work ethic born from growing up in Roscommon, Michigan, and nurtured at Albion, where he graduated in 2003.

“If you are willing to work hard, you are going to stand out like a sore thumb,” Carroll said.

“I have become the person I am because of Albion College. I feel strongly that if I went to a bigger institution, I may not have ended up on this path.”

Carroll played soccer in Albion and majored in chemistry. He’d acted in plays in high school and overheard students talking about a production that was “lacking males,” he said. After four years and several plays, a teacher told him “you’re a good chemist but I think you love acting.”

So Carroll took a big risk and moved to Hollywood. It hasn’t always been an easy road. There are tons of people with talent, dream and drive. Every year, thousands more make their way West to read for the same roles.

Some years, Carroll had to support himself making furniture or writing medical articles for the Internet. Other times, commercials paid the bills. But the dream never wavered and neither did his determination, attributes he refined at Albion and growing up in Michigan.

“It’s all about character,” Carroll told students at Roscommon High School in February, when he returned to be keynote speaker for its career day.

“People from the Midwest are a different breed and everybody out in LA recognizes it. It’s a different mentality. … Maybe it’s because the winters are so cold but we’re just tougher, I think.”

Hard work. Finding your dream. Sticking with it. Learning from the best. Experimenting and growing.

Those are all hallmarks of an education at Albion and Michigan’s top 15 independent colleges and universities unique. Proudly smaller, they emphasize community over crowds. Often less expensive than public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates and smaller class sizes for a truly unique and affordable experience.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

Albion College Student Farm Grows Vegetables & Leaders

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With apologies to “Green Acres,” Albion College is the place to be when it comes to farm living.

It’s true. Students at the independent college in central Michigan are mixing pole beans and tomatoes with their studies, thanks to the wildly successful Student Farm.

Started as experiment in 2010, the farm teaches students not only about growing organic, environmentally sustainable food, but commerce, civics and leadership.

Veggies grown on the farm are sold to Bon Appétit, the college’s dining service partner, and served in cafeterias. Student volunteers lobbied City Hall to rewrite ordinances to allow the farm in the small town.

“Developing the farm is about developing students as leaders, as people who can work in a group,” says Tim Lincoln, professor and director of the college’s Center for Sustainability and Environment.

Started by five students, the farm has grown each year to include more volunteers and activities like bonfires, cooking exhibitions and programs that allow students to grow vegetables in their dorms and then transplant them in a garden. It’s also recently added a “good soil growhouse,” a greenhouse on wheels that helps plants survive when students leave in April and return in August.

The experiment is a little different. Unlike big state schools, Albion isn’t known as a hothouse of agricultural studies. But starting a farm is part of the unique spirit that makes Michigan’s top 15 independent colleges and universities so wonderful.

They aren’t afraid to experiment. They embrace their passions, and in doing so, enhance their communities.They chart their own path while others follow the herd. Often less expensive than public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates and smaller class sizes for a truly unique and affordable experience.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

It’s Graduation (and Commencement Speaker) Season!

graduation

It’s spring and flowers aren’t the only thing in bloom. So are big ideas and promising futures.

All will be on display during commencement ceremonies at Michigan’s top 15 colleges and universities. Before graduates head out to chart their own paths in the world, they’ll hear insight from speakers who’ve blazed trails before them.

Like the colleges themselves, the commencement speakers are an eclectic and impassioned mix of the best and brightest from the worlds of business, theology, journalism, law and politics.

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters kicked off the list of luminaries on April 18, by telling Alma College graduates to make “democracy work” by participating in public speaker. The 1980 graduate of Alma received an honorary degree and stressed that graduates need to “keep the promise of the American dream alive.”

On May 3, William K. Hall is expected to share his decades of wisdom in business at Adrian College. Respected worldwide as an entrepreneur, Mr. Hall is a former Adrian resident who is founder and CEO of Procyon Technologies, an Illinois company that consults healthcare companies. Over the years, Mr. Hall has been a senior executive or board member of some of America’s biggest companies, including Fruit of the Loom and Cummins Inc.

Less than a week later, on May 9, two prominent business executives will don caps and gowns and address graduates on either side of Michigan. Both have unique perspectives as minority women.

Candace Matthews is addressing Aquinas College, less than a year after she was named regional president of the Americas for Amway. The job puts her in charge of overseeing the direct mail sales giant’s operations in North and South America. Just a few years ago, she was in charge of the American division of makeup giant L’Oreal USA.

Across the state, Lizabeth Ardisana will speak to graduates of Marygrove College in Detroit. She is co-founder of ASG Renaissance, a technical and communications firm, and a trailblazer: The first woman elected to chair the Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the first minority-owned service supplier to receive Ford Motor Co.’s Q1 award.

On June 14, Pulitzer Prize winner David Finkel will bring his perspective as a war correspondent and Middle East expert to Kalamazoo College. The Wall Street Journal reporter won journalism’s biggest prize for his work on Yemen and is the author of the Iraq war book “The Good Soldiers.”

Other commencement speakers include religious leaders, academics, lawmakers and judges. They’re a diverse group, to be sure, but what else would you expect from Michigan independent colleges and universities.

College Date Speaker About Speaker
Adrian College 5/3 William K. Hall Former resident of Adrian, Michigan is a general partner of Procyon Advisors LLP
Albion College 5/9 Faith Fowler ’81 Senior Pastor, Cass Community United Methodist and Executive Director, Cass Community Social Services
Alma College 4/18 Sen. Gary Peters ’80 U.S. Senator
Andrews University 5/3 Humberto M. Rasi Special Projects, Department of Education, General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists
Aquinas College 5/9 Candace Matthews Regional President of the Americas for Amway
Calvin College 5/23 Mark Labberton President, Fuller Theological Seminary
Hillsdale College 5/9 Michael Ward Senior Research Fellow, Blackfriars Hall in the University of Oxford; Author
Hope College 5/3 Tim Schoonveld Assistant Professor of Kinesiology and Athletics Co-Director, Hope College
Kalamazoo College 6/14 David Finkel National Enterprise Editor, Washington Post; Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and war correspondent
Madonna University 5/10 Leonard Charles Suchyta Former Trustee and Chairman at Madonna; Special Counsel, Hunton & Williams
Madonna University 5/10 Archbishop Allen Vigneron Archbishop of the Detroit Archdiocese
Marygrove College 5/9 Lizabeth Ardisana Chief Executive Officer, ASG Renaissance
Olivet College 5/16 Allison Ullrich Student from the graduating class
Siena Heights University 5/2 Caity Benham & Lacie Hill Student from the graduating class – College of Professional Studies
Siena Heights University 5/3 Alisha Bond Student from the graduating class – College of Arts and Science
Siena Heights University 5/9 Matt Konopinski Student from the graduating class – Graduate College
Spring Arbor University 5/16 Tim Walberg U.S. Representative
University of Detroit Mercy 5/9 Judge Damon J. Keith Senior Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

Purposefully small, these independent schools are home to free thinkers whose ideas are allowed to blossom in ways that aren’t always possible at big institutions. Often less expensive than public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates and smaller class sizes for a truly unique and affordable experience.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.