Archive for August 2015

Madonna University adds sports programs to forge community

MadonnaCru

College is about more than just studying. It’s about finding your own path while being part of something bigger than just yourself — entwining yourself in a community of like-minded souls.

At Madonna University, community is taken seriously. And like other colleges, the Michigan school is doing so in part by adding athletics.

This month, President Michael Grandillo announced the addition of eight sports — men’s and woman’s bowling, lacrosse, indoor and outdoor track and field. They’re the first additions since 2005, bringing the total number of Madonna Crusaders teams to 19.

“Participation in athletics and student organizations enriches the college experience, which is why we are proud to offer Madonna students more choices for learning outside the classroom,” Grandillo said.

The announcement follows years of planning and investment at Madonna. The sports began as club activities but mushroomed in popularity. In recent years, the university has added synthetic turf field at its athletic complex and installed lacrosse lines.

The moves comes as more students than ever are playing sports in college. From 2006 to 2011, the number of schools where a third or more students are involved in athletics increased to 124 from 96, according to the Associated Press.

That’s because, unlike few other endeavors, sports forge unique bonds. And, unlike big state universities, students at smaller schools like Madonna can play on teams without riding the bench — even if they haven’t been in training since they were 2 years old.

“Kids coming here know they aren’t going to play professional sports,” one student said. “They play for fun. They play for their teammates. They play for their school.”

Passion and community are big parts of the experience at Madonna and the rest of Michigan’s top 15 independent colleges and universities. Class sizes are small enough so students not only know their professors, they form lifetime bonds. Professors pride themselves on working closely with students to help them forge their own path, buck conventional wisdom and find a new way.

It’s an experience that simply isn’t available at traditional universities. And despite what you may have heard, independents are often less expensive and boast higher four-year graduation rates than four-year institutions.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

Princeton Review ranks Michigan independents among tops in nation

PrinReview

Sometimes, it’s hard to make sense of college rankings. That’s why the Princeton Review’s annual list of best colleges is so popular: Unlike other systems, it bases its rankings on the opinions of the one group that really matters.

The students.

It’s little surprise, then, that yet again several Michigan independent colleges were listed among the nation’s 380 best by the college prep service.

Alma College, Albion College, Calvin College, Hillsdale College, Hope College and Kalamazoo College were named among the best schools in the Midwest. K-College, Calvin and Albion made the review’s list of top schools nationwide.

It’s a huge honor because the Review surveys more than 130,000 to come up with the list, asking them about dozens of topics from academics and food to their professors and social experience.

The review was generous in its praise for Michigan independents:

Albion has a “great reputation,” a “rigorous but rewarding” academic experience that “encourages questions [and] thinking” all the while aiming to “provide personal attention to each student.”

Alma “takes pride in preparing students for graduate/professional school or for entering directly into the work force.”

Calvin is an “incredibly supportive and collaborative community” that stresses “social justice and sustainability.” It integrates “Christian faith and learning” but “religion [isn’t] forced.”

Hillsdale “offers the traditional, classically-based, liberal arts with teaching faculty and a strong core curriculum.”

Kalamazoo is a “unique” and “close knit” school where students “feel like a name rather than a number.” Its professors are “one of the best things about the school.”

The Princeton Review also singled out Calvin and Hilldale for on separate lists ranking the most schools with the most religious and most conservative students and schools with the least amount of partying.

Separately, Hillsdale was named in the Top Ten nationwide for schools whose professors are the most accessible and knowledgable and schools that are the most beloved by students.

That’s high praise indeed.

But it’s typical of the experience at Michigan’s top 15 independent colleges and universities.

The schools are guided by passion and community. Class sizes are small enough so students not only know their professors, they form lifetime bonds. Professors pride themselves on working closely with students to help them forge their own path, buck conventional wisdom and find a new way.

It’s an experience that simply isn’t available at traditional universities. And despite what you may have heard, independents are often less expensive and boast higher four-year graduation rates than four-year institutions.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.