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What to Bring—and Not Bring—to Campus

Originally posted at https://www.kzoo.edu/news/what-to-bring-to-campus-2021/
Written by Andy Brown
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Incoming Kalamazoo College students have several great sources for information on what to bring to campus this fall including Residential Living’s online guidance and advice from recent alumni such as Lezlie Lull ’20.

Lull, an admission counselor at K, lived on campus for two years including one as a resident assistant in Crissey Hall. Now, she has conversations with prospective students that include her advice for residence hall life.

“Some students come in very worried about having never shared a room before,” Lull said. “I make sure that they’re aware of knowing how we match roommates and their ability to contact a roommate in advance.”

After easing those concerns, and given her first-hand experience, Lull suggests considering what not to bring, communicating early and often with roommates, and including a few personal items that can make your room feel more like home and smooth your transition on move-in day, September 8.

What not to bring

Lull said what not to bring to campus is just as important as what to bring. Residential Living has a list of prohibited items. Plus, the idea that less is more can save space in close quarters.

“More often than not, I had too much in my room my first year,” she said. “I often thought, ‘Why do I have all of this?’”

A convenience item such as a microwave might seem like a good idea, she said, yet each hall lounge has one that’s immediately available, so it might not be a critical item. Rethink bringing anything that might just take up space or anything you can buy later in Kalamazoo. Residential Life doesn’t keep floor-plan measurements for specific rooms. However, students may look at pictures of residence hall rooms in K’s virtual tour to estimate their potential floor space and where space might be tight.

The one exception to the less-is-more idea might be cold-weather clothing.

“One thing for some—for out-of-state students especially—would be the importance of bringing sweaters and winter coats,” Lull said. “When the first cold weather comes in October, many are stuck with only a pair of jeans and flip flops.”

Communication is key

Even someone who is shy will benefit from reaching out to their assigned roommate before arriving on campus. K students living on campus this fall should already have received their room assignment with their roommate’s name and kzoo.edu email address. Sometimes the benefit is ensuring you don’t bring more than one of the same item. Other times, it helps set agreements between roommates as they get to know each other’s personal routines.

“My first roommate and I weren’t the best of friends, but we got along in the necessary areas,” Lull said. “I think the issues we had were all a lack of communication, whether that was in the moving process or later on. I think it’s a lot easier if you can talk to them in advance, so you don’t show up with two coffeemakers, two refrigerators or multiple items of everything in the room.”

Home sweet home

When packing, think about bringing a couple personal items you can set up out of the way to help your space feel a little more like home.

“A lot of our decorations were things we could sit on our desk or put on the walls with sticky tape,” Lull said. “I also had window stickers we could put up. Other than that, we didn’t necessarily have a ton of stuff. I had string lights to hang pictures from home. My mom made me a pillow that had a picture of me and my dog on it. We also got rugs for the tile floor.”

The week ahead

After you’re settled, the adventure of orientation begins. A schedule for orientation is available at the first-year experience website, and Lull suggests participating as much as possible.

“I think orientation is a really good time to meet a lot of people,” she said. “Some people don’t take advantage of that. Some think, ‘Well, I’m really tired at 8 a.m. They’re not going to know if I don’t show up.’ But how many people are you not meeting because you weren’t there? I think students should be open minded and ready to meet and do everything. Buy coffee if you need to wake up, dress in layers if it’s cool in the morning, and take a water bottle with you in case it gets hot.”

It also helps that Michigan’s top 14 independent colleges and universities set themselves apart from bigger public institutions by encouraging students to forge success by following their own path. The colleges are smaller and 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.

Five Tips for an Epic First Year

Originally posted athttps://www.alma.edu/live/profiles/8705-five-tips-for-an-epic-first-year

From taking notes to living away from home, your first year of college will go smoother if you know what to expect. Rely on current and recent students to offer the best advice.

Every college student has concerns or challenges during their first year. While some end up being no big deal, others may require some major changes. Liney Figueroa of Muskegon, now a senior at Alma College, offered these tips to students who are just starting out:

Try to have perfect attendance in your classes

There may be things that come up that make this impossible. But as far as a goal goes: go big or go home, right? Studies show that students who go to class and take notes do the best, regardless of how “smart” they might be. Plan your class schedule in a way that works best for you and pay attention to yourself more than anyone else. Liney uses a planner and charts every day out the night before, to make sure she’s prepared for whatever comes.

Take notes the old-fashioned way

I’m not going to tell you to never use your phone. More than likely, you know there’s a time and a place when it’s appropriate to use it and when it’s inappropriate — like, during a lecture. Consider using a pen and paper to write notes in class, instead of a laptop. Studies show you’ll remember more that way. You can always copy your notes to your laptop after class.

Meet with each of your professors for office hours at least once every term

Professors are required to set aside office hours, which are special days and times to meet with students in a 1-on-1 setting. You can usually find this information in the course syllabus you received at the start of the term. Your professors can help in all kinds of ways, in and out of the classroom — from going over coursework in a private environment, to discussing college life, to figuring out life after college. More importantly, your professors WANT to help — so help them, and take that first step toward getting to know them better.

Ask for help when you need it

The difference between “high school you” and “college you” is that you’ll be the main person in your life who deals with your problems. Even as a high achiever in high school, Liney found that college was more challenging. She wasn’t used to asking for help for her classwork, but eventually came around to the idea that she couldn’t deal with everything by herself. Ask around and seek out the BEST person to help you with your individual problem. For example: a resident assistant can help with issues in your residence hall, an academic advisor can help choose your major and a health professional can help with anxiety.

Join at least one extracurricular activity

So far, we’ve mostly focused on academics — with good reason, because doing well in your courses is the best way to have success after you graduate. But using your time away from class in constructive ways is also important. Joining an extracurricular activity gives you an easy way to meet other college students who are going through the same things you are. Liney said coming to college seemed intimidating at first, until she started getting more involved in student affairs. There, she said, she found fun things to do in her free time and made friends for life.

Michigan Colleges Alliance Bonus Tip: Be Different.
Consider Michigan’s top 14 independent colleges and universities, where students forge success by following their own path. The colleges are smaller and 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.

‘Hail Adrian!’ voted best fight song in NCAA Division III

Adrian Fight Song

Originally posted at http://adrian.edu/news/hail-adrian-voted-best-fight-song-in-ncaa-division-iii

Bulldogs of all types are very dedicated to their families — especially Adrian College’s Bulldogs. When recently called on to support their college fight song, Adrian College’s students and alumni responded. The Bulldogs quickly recorded more than enough votes on D3Playbook’s Twitter account to make their fight song No. 1 in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division III.

Adrian College’s “Hail Adrian!” rose to the top of the 32-school D3 Fight Song Madness bracket and was the winner over Heidelberg University’s “Victory March” by a margin of 55-45 percent in the finals, with almost 1,100 votes tallied.

The story behind Adrian College’s current fight song began in the fall of 1988 when Darin McNabb, Class of ’89, went to his band instructor and asked if he could write a new one. He was given the green light and the new song was a hit and played for the next couple of seasons before getting shelved. 

In 2007, McNabb heard the Bulldogs were creating a new marching band and asked the band director, Dr. Marty Marks, if he could rework his old fight song and create an updated version they could play. The idea was taken to Adrian College President Jeffrey Docking and he gave the go-ahead to update the song. Just a couple of months later, the marching band was proudly playing “Hail Adrian!”

McNabb said his inspiration for the song came from “The 40 Greatest College Fight Songs,” recorded by the University of Michigan marching band.

“If one listens closely to my new Adrian fight song, they can hear musical references to the fight songs of Northwestern, Wisconsin, Michigan State and the University of Michigan,” McNabb wrote in a 2008 Adrian College alumni magazine. “Yet, Hail Adrian! Is written to sound uniquely its own.”

McNabb went on to explain in the story that he wanted the words of the song to be non-gender and non-sport specific.

“I also wanted to promote a positive up-beat message that included references to school pride, school colors, a supportive crowd, and the Bulldog mascot,” he said in the article. “Finally, I wanted to be sure to include the words “heroes,” “champions,” and “victory,” to convey the concepts of excellence, pride and success, concepts I think Adrian College has always strived to instill in its graduates.

“I am so proud to know that my music will help create that great atmosphere found only at collegiate athletic events for many years to come,” McNabb said.

Hail Adrian!

Hail, hail to Adrian —

The home of the Black and the Gold!

Cheer, cheer for Adrian — 

Lift high your voices, proud and bold,

“Go, Dawgs, Go!”

Fight, fight for Adrian — 

And champions again we will be!

Our heroes will score,

and the crowd will roar,

“Another Bulldog victory!”

At Michigan’s 14 independent colleges and universities students forge success by following their own path.  The colleges are purposefully smaller and emphasize community over crowds.  Classes are taught by award-winning faculty rather than TAs, allowing students to forge tight bonds with professors.  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.

To learn more about Michigan’s top 14 private colleges and universities, visit our Colleges page.

Scholarships are available!  Enter the We Are The Independents scholarship drawing.

Aquinas College, the University of Detroit Mercy, Alma College and Olivet College among the nation’s top military-friendly schools

Originally posted at https://www.aquinas.edu/life-aq/posts/aquinas-college-named-one-nation’s-top-military-friendly-schools?fbclid=IwAR1xOvj_xPA0nMVZczsQoHRjQ4bk_6MrMCne3nSR-Alei64K8QmZ8i8bSXc

Aquinas College, the University of Detroit Mercy, Alma College, and Olivet College have each earned the 2021-2022 Military Friendly®​ ​School designation by Viqtory for their support of active-duty military members and veterans attending school.

The 2021-​2022 Military Friendly Schools list is the longest-running and most comprehensive review of college and university commitment to serving military and veteran students. It helps service members and their families select schools that will provide education and training necessary to pursue a successful civilian career.

The list is published by Viqtory, a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business that connects the military community to civilian employment, educational and entrepreneurial opportunities through its G.I. Jobs and Military Friendly brands. The list will appear in the May issue of G.I. Jobs magazine and can be found at www.militaryfriendly.com.

“Military Friendly​ ​is committed to transparency and providing consistent data-driven standards in our designation process,” said Kayla Lopez, National Director of Military Partnerships at Military Friendly​. “This creates a competitive atmosphere that encourages colleges to consistently evolve and invest in their programs. Schools who achieve designation show true commitment and dedication in their efforts. Our standards assist schools by providing a benchmark that promotes positive educational outcomes, resources, and support services that better the educational landscape and provide opportunity for the Military Community.”

Institutions earning the Military Friendly​ ​School designation were evaluated using both public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey. More than 1,200 schools participated in the 2021-2022 survey with 747 earning the designation. 

Methodology, criteria, and weightings were determined by Viqtory with input from the Military Friendly​ Advisory Council of independent leaders in the higher education and military recruitment community. Final ratings were determined by combining the institution’s survey response set and government/agency public data sources, within a logic based scoring assessment. We measure the institution’s ability to meet thresholds for Student Retention, Graduation, Job Placement, Loan Repayment, Persistence (Degree Advancement or Transfer) and Loan Default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans. 

Michigan’s independents recognize the importance of the sacrifices made by veterans, 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.

Virtual Kitchen Serves Recipes and Connects Students

Originally posted at http://www.kzoo.edu/news/virtual-kitchen/
Written by Andy Brown
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A cooking show served with a dash of Kalamazoo College is available to students this term. If you’ve ever wanted student-suitable ideas for easy-to-make, inexpensive, palate-pleasing meals that offer a change of pace and a variety of flavors, make sure to tune in.

Every Thursday, from 6 to 7 p.m., MacKenzy Maddock ’22 leads K’s Virtual Kitchen via Microsoft Teams through the Office of Student Activities (OSA). In each show, at least one student staff member cooks meals while talking with other K students.

“I make a new meal every week and try to pick affordable ingredients as well as try to include options that are vegan and vegetarian friendly,” Maddock said. “My goal is to include as many students as possible and consider their financial capacity, accessibility to resources, and interests in food. Students that participate have the option to get a cooking kit provided by the school which includes utensils used in the kitchen.”

Masoor dal, a spicy Indian red lentil soup, was a recent featured recipe prepared by Alaq Zghayer ’21, and students can expect such diverse dishes in future editions of the Virtual Kitchen.

“I’m working on diversifying the event to be more inclusive to other cultures, religions and groups of people on campus as well as to just learn about other kinds of food,” Maddock said. “I’m doing this by collaborating with the many student organizations we have on campus, and I’m excited for what the next few weeks are going to be like. I think the event is constantly developing and I would love for more participants every week.”

The event’s evening time slot makes it accessible to students across the country. Recordings make it available to students around the world. Students can register for each Virtual Kitchen by emailing k18mm01@kzoo.edu or messaging Maddock on Teams to receive access to the cooking channel, which includes previous editions to the show as well.

“I would like to think that this event is an easy way to socialize while doing something that you need to have to survive, food,” Maddock said. “I also think cooking is a huge thing that brings people together and I think that is something that is really necessary right now.”

Maddock, a double major in chemistry and psychology and a volleyball player, understands the need to unplug from a busy schedule. “I am trying to make this space a safe place to decompress after a long day of work, school, sports, etcetera, and I think that that is really worth it to the students that participate.”

Community. It’s what sets apart Kalamazoo College and Michigan’s other top 15 private colleges and universities.

They’re not merely in towns and cities. They are an integral part of their fabric, reaching beyond campus walls and greens to improve the lives of those around them.

It’s one of many differences with traditional universities.

Unlike big state schools, class sizes are small and taught by incredible faculty who help students forge their own path.

They have a deep and committed network of alumni who help after graduation. 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.

Alma College iGEM team Examines Soil Cleanup at Local Superfund Site

Originally posted at https://www.alma.edu/live/news/2600-alma-college-igem-team-examines-soil-cleanup-at.

The Alma College iGEM team, competing at an international synthetic biology competition for only the second time, won a gold medal in November for a project being developed to break down the chemical compounds in contaminated soil at the Velsicol Superfund site in St. Louis, Michigan.

The nonprofit International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Foundation brings together more than 6,000 participants from across the world every year for its annual Giant Jamboree, which they deem “the largest synthetic biology innovation event in the world.” Synthetic biology is a field of science that involves redesigning organisms for useful purposes by engineering them to have new abilities.

The Alma College 2019 team won a silver medal at the Giant Jamboree last year for their project, the development of a counteracting bacterium to degrade Trimethylamine, or TMA, which promotes plaque formation in arteries. Devin Camenares, assistant professor of biochemistry and IGEM coordinator, said this year’s team improved to win a gold medal, despite restrictions put in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There were definitely challenges in terms of organizing the team and getting the work done, but the students rose to the challenge,” said Camenares. “They did a really job good of preparing themselves, communicating over the summer and completing their projects. I’m excited to see what they come up with next year and beyond.”

Abbey Killian, a junior from Traverse City and vice president of the Alma College team, said the team focused on two aspects of the ongoing soil cleanup project: one that made the project less expensive and another that made it less harmful to the environment.

Velsicol Chemical Corporation, and its predecessor Michigan Chemical Corporation, produced various chemical compounds from 1936 until 1978, when the plant shut down. The chemicals polluted the groundwater, soil and Pine River that bordered the plant. In the early 1980s, the factory was demolished, but pollution remains to this day. Federal and state agencies, as well as local groups and volunteer organizations, have for many years committed to cleaning up and rehabilitating the site.

Killian said the Alma College team is working to develop a bacterium that, when applied to soil and water samples from the Velsicol site, would be able to determine the severity of toxicity in those samples. Such a measuring stick would enable groups like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to better focus their resources on impacted areas.

“We did a cost-benefit analysis and determined that this biosensor could save hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars annually,” said Killian. “When we made contact with the EPA and told them about our findings, they were very interested. We think our biosensor could not only save money, but also time.”

In addition to the “biosensor,” the iGEM team is also working to develop a new way to break down the chemical compound dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and its derivatives, which are some of the most common contaminants at the Velsicol site. By capitalizing on the fact that full or partial pathways to degrade DDT already exist in nature, Killian said, the team is showcasing how synthetic biology can be used in a practical way.

“We want to take this chemical that exists in nature and change it in a way that is environmentally friendly,” Killian said. “It’s an ambitious goal, but if we succeed, we’ll be able to revive an ecosystem that has been damaged by problems from the past, while minimizing the risk to the future.”

The Alma College team created content for a number of media platforms to discuss the raw science it was producing in college laboratories, including a podcast, a website and a web video that mimicked a 1980s TV broadcast. iGEM teams typically present their findings in person at the Jamboree, but Camenares said that this year’s event was entirely virtual due to the pandemic.

“One of the aspects of iGEM that I really appreciate is that it forces students to not only do the research, but to communicate their findings in a way that is accessible to the public. That makes your circle wider, which means your project is more influential,” Camenares said. “The students really took advantage of the restrictions brought upon by the pandemic and produced some clever media to disseminate their message.”

Creating the “TV broadcast” led to collaborations with the student-run production company Bitworks, as well as the Alma College Theatre Department. With student “reporters” carrying large microphones on-screen, and distortion that resembled a video cassette recording, Killian said the video was an especially memorable way to get their message across.

“We decided to do an ’80s-themed video because the contamination primarily took place in the 1970s and ’80s,” she said. “It ended up being a really cool, fun collaboration with different groups across campus.”

While the results are encouraging thus far, Killian and Camenares said, the team is not finished looking into the Velsicol site. They intend to return to the competition next year — which is tentatively scheduled to be held in Paris, France — and repeat their gold medal effort.

“It felt great to improve on last year’s result and win a gold,” Killian said. “We want to keep on improving, by adding new members to our team and having the same success, on a truly international stage.”

Team members included:

Connor Arens​ ’22, White Lake
Gary Carter​ ’23, Niles
Elizabeth Elliott-Redlin​ ’23, Kalamazoo
Paul Fischer​ ’23, Bloomfield Hills
Pedro Granja​ ’21, Juigalpa, Nicaragua
Rhianna Haynes​ ’22, Lake Isabella
Madison Hibbs​ ’22, Whitmore Lake
Kaissidy Homolka​ ’23, Petersburg
Abbey Killian​ ’22, Traverse City
Paige Lamoreaux​ ’24, Benzonia
Ruby Lovasz​ ’22, Clio
Marleigh Matthews​ ’21, Davison
Aryaan Misra​ ’23, Noida, India
Izzy Oakley​ ’22, Trenton
Tatym Plath​ ’21, Perrinton
Kaleb Ramon​ ’21, Mount Pleasant
Gavin Swiecicki​ ’23, Bay City
Kelsey Taylor​ ’21, Plymouth

Commitment to education beyond the classroom is a hallmark of Alma College and Michigan’s top 14 private colleges and universities.  Purposefully smaller, the colleges and universities pride themselves on helping students follow their own path, engage in the world around them, and find their passion. They emphasize community over crowds and a spirit of togetherness and cohesion.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

Calvin Students Place In Top 10% Of Worldwide Programming Competition


Calvin Programming Competition

 

Originally posted at https://calvin.edu/news/archive/calvin-students-place-in-top-10-of-worldwide-programming-competition.
Written by Matt Kucinski.

For Calvin University students Kai Arbogast, Zach Clark, and Kris Miedema, October 24 was a day full of problems.

Every hour brought with it a new challenge. It was a new experience for the students.

Challenging the world

“No one [at Calvin] had done this competition before, we weren’t even sure how many teams were in it, and that they’d be from all over, all these major universities,” said Arbogast, an electrical engineering student with a Japanese minor.

The trio of electrical engineering students represented Calvin University in IEEEXtreme’s global challenge—a virtual competition in which teams of IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) student members compete in a 24-hour time span against each other to solve a set of programming problems.

Calvin’s team, named DreamTeam, was competing against the likes of UC-Berkeley, North Carolina State, and Milwaukee School of Engineering, to name a few. In all … 3,704 schools from 73 countries competed.

Prepared to tackle many problems

With each hour, came a new problem to solve.

“You were judged on a combo of things, from how fast you completed the challenge to how fast the program itself runs, so on two aspects of speed,” said Clark, an electrical engineering student with computer science and mathematics minors. “Also, how much memory the program uses, and how correct the solution is.”

And while the competition was unlike anything this trio had experienced, the problems were much more familiar …

“I was impressed with how much looking over the problems and practice materials I’d recognized it from a computer science class or Zac and Kai would recognize it from an engineering class that I haven’t taken yet,” said Miedema, a junior electrical engineering student with a computer science minor. “Everything we saw was part of course material at Calvin. We felt very well prepared to use what we learned to solve the problems they gave us.”

And so any trepidation the three had about this uncharted terrain was soon brushed away.

Scoring high marks

“Once we got in and started rolling, we started realizing we were doing really well,” said Miedema.

The team was able to see a scoreboard as they were going, and finished the competition with a strong surge that placed them in the top 10% worldwide, and 14th among all participating colleges and universities nationwide.

“I didn’t expect to do that well,” said Clark.

“I’ve already been impressed by the quality of education at Calvin and how I’ve been able to use the knowledge I’ve gained here in my internships,” said Arbogast, “but I also recognized in this [challenge] that Calvin can be competitive with any schools in the nation. The material we’re learning is both current and valid, and we can use it.”

Ready for anything

The competition was a testing ground of sorts for the three. And for the two seniors who will graduate this spring, it was confirmation that they are ready for their fields.

For Clark, his career pursuit is fulfilling a childhood dream he first verbalized at a Lego convention in eighth grade. “Someone had built a machine that would take colored balls and sort them and it had a whole bunch of robot arms and stuff. I remember thinking ‘that is so cool, I want to do that someday,’” said Clark.

Several years later after having taken a domestic and an international flight, his wonder turned to the sky. “I was amazed that this gigantic metal tube could keep itself in the sky and fly, and so my interest started to point toward aerospace engineering.”

He’s still passionate about aviation-related engineering and may continue to pursue that path. For now, an internship at Calvin has already led to a job offer from DornerWorks, an engineering firm in Grand Rapids.

For Arbogast, he’s always enjoyed his STEM-related classes. And he likes designing and building things. He also has an interest in working in Asia in the power grid. His internships at Calvin are power-related, and combined with his engineering courses, he’s gaining much relevant hands-on experience in his field. But he says classes outside his major are also helping set him up for long-term success.

“It’s all the things that we need to be successful engineers that don’t just lie inside of engineering,” said Arbogast. “But, the writing skills especially. The skills I developed in classes not in my major, but through core. This summer those skills were super helpful as I had to document a lot (for my engineering internship) and so those writing classes helped with accurate documentation and with good grammar.”

At Calvin, he was also able to combine both his love for engineering and Japanese culture, by having a Japanese minor.

And while Miedema is only a little over halfway into his time at Calvin, he’s already gained a lot of experience.

“I did the engineering summer program in Germany and to have that cross-cultural experience where we learned so much about engineering in a different culture, that element helped prepare me as I look into what I want my work experience to look like,” said Miedema.

Perhaps Clark summarizes their paths through Calvin best: “The things we’ve learned at Calvin are able to help us with a range of things. It’s easy to take what we’ve learned here and apply it elsewhere.”

So, when another problem arises. This trio will be well-equipped to find a path forward.

At Michigan’s 14 independent colleges and universities students forge success by following their own path.  The colleges are purposefully smaller and emphasize community over crowds.  Classes are taught by award-winning faculty rather than TAs, allowing students to forge tight bonds with professors.  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.

To learn more about Michigan’s top 14 private colleges and universities, visit our Colleges page.

Scholarships are available!  Enter the We Are The Independents scholarship drawing.

Seven Tips for your Best College Interview

Originally posted at https://www.hillsdale.edu/hillsdale-blog/after-hillsdale/seventipsforyourbestcollegeinterview/.
Written by Kelly Kane.

Distinguishing yourself from other applicants is an important consideration when preparing your college applications. How best can you position yourself for admission and even scholarship? Meeting deadlines and submitting strong application materials are a part of the answer, but optional items like the college interview can be equally important.

Interviews are not required for admission to Hillsdale College, but they are strongly recommended. An interview can help to strengthen your application—and your competitive edge for admission and scholarship. Its purpose is evaluative and informative, allowing both parties to learn more about one another.

Whether you’re intimidated or excited by the prospect of an interview, here are Hillsdale College admissions rep Kelly Kane’s seven tips to help you succeed, informed by more than six years of admissions experience (and lots of interviews):

  1. Make a good first impression. Arriving a few minutes early will allow you the time to find where you need to be and have a moment’s rest to put your mind at ease before beginning. If for any reason you will be tardy or need to miss your appointment, be sure to call ahead.
  2. Remember the interview is a conversation, not a test. You should plan to talk about things like your college search, academic work, extracurricular activities, goals for the future, and how Hillsdale might be a good fit. You are the expert on the subject of yourself, so feel confident you are well prepared to answer questions about your background, interests, experiences, and aspirations. We will not be asking you to solve a calculus equation or translate any epic poetry from the Greek during your interview, so no need to worry too much.
  3. Be ready to provide the “hows” and “whys” behind your answers—remember, we are looking to understand the you that is not already presented on paper. Why is Hillsdale part of your college search? How do you hope to grow during your years at Hillsdale? What is it you love about your favorite class? Be authentic and truthful. If your answers are only an effort to impress, you will struggle to explain yourself when pressed.
  4. Consider the length of your responses. Find the happy medium between something too brief and minutes-long monologues. Focus on the most relevant information you are looking to convey, and do so clearly.
  5. Avoid making assumptions. Try not to assume the interviewer necessarily agrees with your perspective. Be prepared to present an argument for your assertions, or to define your terms. 
  6. Take the time you need to consider your answers. It is not impolite to take a short pause to organize your ideas before responding to a question: “I don’t know, I’ve never thought about that before. May I have a moment?” Taking the time to be thoughtful can be to your advantage, and help you avoid saying something you may later wish was said differently.
  7. Ask questions in return. In fact, prepare a list in advance of any questions you may have about Hillsdale. Demonstrate the sincerity of your interest in specific aspects of Hillsdale’s curriculum or community, or ask the interviewer for their experiences or advice.

Kelly shares, “I am often asked by prospective students how to best position themselves for earning admission or scholarship to Hillsdale, and the interview is always first on my list of recommendations. With campus, regional, and even virtual interview options available, I encourage you to not only take advantage of the opportunity, but with the benefit of these seven tips, to make the most of it.”

When choosing which colleges you’ll apply to, remember that Michigan’s top 14 independent colleges and universities set themselves apart from bigger public institutions by encouraging students to forge success by following their own path. The colleges are smaller and 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.

UDM alumnus nominated for NCAA Woman of the Year

Sarah Hirschmann, the 2020 University of Detroit Mercy valedictorian and former women’s soccer goalie, just earned another impressive accolade.  She’s a nominee for the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year Award.

The award was established in 1991 to recognize graduating female student-athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers.  The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will name the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year this fall.

Sarah graduated from Detroit Mercy with a Bachelor of Arts in Literary Arts in Primary Education, specializing in Language Arts with a minor in Leadership, with a 3.97 GPA.  She was a member of the women’s soccer team from 2015-18, a four-year member of the Detroit Mercy Athletic Director’s Honor Roll and a three-time member of the Horizon League Fall and Spring Academic Honor Roll.

Away from athletics, she started a non-profit group, volunteered and played a key role in a number of University events.

In 2015, Sarah started “One Kid At A Time”, a non-profit organization sponsoring the education of two students in Kenya, and distributing funds throughout Detroit.  She also spent two summers with the International Volunteer Headquarters (IVHQ), teaching children ages 1-16 in Nairobi, Kenya and Faridabad, India.

Locally, Sarah volunteered with Ford Community Corps Partnership, working at Detroit Public Schools with fifth graders and students with behavioral disabilities to improve mathematics and social skills through educational card games.  In addition, she worked with the Zoe Counseling Services of the Detroit Public Libraries, tutoring students in and out of foster care and those who have fallen behind grade level and need extra help.

One of her big efforts on campus saw her take part in the National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference (NJSLC), where she helped lead a committee of 20 students to create the conference with Detroit Mercy serving as host for the first-time ever in 2019.  Sarah also was part of the Ignatian Family Teach-In For Justice (IFTJ), a national social justice conference in Washington, D.C., where students gather from around the country to learn about more ways to fight injustice and advocate for themselves and others.

Sarah is indisputably a model scholar-athlete.  Her commitment to excellence in the classroom and on the field is strong and her dedication to her community–both locally and around the world–is unwavering.  It’s an outlook that’s prevalent at the University of Detroit Mercy and Michigan’s top 14 private colleges and universities.  Purposefully smaller, the colleges and universities pride themselves on helping students follow their own path, engage in the world around them, and find their passion. They emphasize community over crowds and a spirit of togetherness and cohesion.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

 

Aquinas freshman named esports All-American

AQ Esports Header

Real-time strategy, teamwork, mental agility, split-second decision-making – these are some of the skills it takes to succeed in one of the fastest growing athletic programs in the country – esports.

Esports is a massive, global series of video game competitions, that is making serious inroads in the college sports arena.

The Aquinas College esports team just completed its first season and already one team member is making waves. Jon Schneck, an AQ freshman, was named an All-American by the National Association of Esports Coaches and Directors (NAECD)—one of only eight in the country.

“It was a little bit of a surprise that I would be an All-American because I don’t think of myself that highly,” Schneck said. “But it is great that I got recognized.”

Jon may have been caught off guard by the recognition, but head coach Adam Antor says it is well deserved because of his hard work and knowledge.

“He is kind of like the master knowledge base for the game,” Antor said of Schneck. “He knows more about the game than most other competitors in our program and across the country so he brings the brains and the work ethic.”

Jon competes in League of Legends. It’s a game he said he’s been playing since before he got to Aquinas. Next season, Jon plans to continue his streak. “I am looking forward to just winning in any league I’m going into,” Schneck said. “Building a better team and making sure that we can compete at the highest level against all the other teams.”

The Aquinas College team joins other Michigan private colleges and universities in offering esports. Alma College and Siena Heights University also field excellent competitive esports programs.

Aquinas, Alma and Siena Heights – and all of Michigan’s top 14 private colleges and universities – share a commitment to helping students succeed by following their own path. The colleges are smaller and 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.