Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Indiana Counselor Tour- Day 1 Indiana University and Earlham College

Source: via Kelsey on Pinterest

Back home again, in Indiana . . . Greetings from the Hoosier State! I've been here touring schools for the past two days and I apologize for the delay in posts, but we've been busy! On Monday, our group of 24 counselors spent the day at Indiana University and Earlham College and today we visited Purdue University and Butler University. I'll start with Day 1 and try to update day two tomorrow . . .

Indiana University, or IU, was the college I was most familiar with of the four because both of my parents are graduates and many of my close friends are too. I'd been to campus many times, but if memory serves, never on a formal tour. As a flagship public university, IU offers what many Big Ten schools can offer: amazing programs across many fields, tons of school spirit, and a high return on your investment in terms of how much you get out of the (relatively) affordable tuition that is being charged. I only say relatively because like all public schools, out of state students pay more than in-state students. But, IU also mentioned some very attainable merit scholarships that should help a little, at the very least it can bring the cost down to closer to what a SUNY campus would cost. The campus itself is full of trees, green space, and gorgeous limestone buildings. The surrounding town of Bloomington is the quintessential college town and the sizeable number of New York students on campus should help ease any fears of feeling out of place in the Midwest. Programs of note include the world renowned Kelley Business School, the over eighty (yes, 8-0) language programs offered on campus, and the Hutton Honors College (to be eligible for entry students need a 1350+ on the first two sections of the SAT or a 31+ on the ACT; there is scholarship funding linked with Honors). For the first time this year, IU will be superscoring the ACT, so add them to the growing list of schools that will be taking on this relatively new practice. If you are a student thinking about places like Penn State and Michigan, you'd be remiss to leave IU off of your list.

We didn't know it at the time, but a big trend on these Indiana visits would end up being photoshoots. Here I am with the other NYC counselors attempting our very best IU cheer arms-- fists for the 'I' and blades for the 'U.'  A for effort?

Next we went on to Earlham, a small liberal arts college in Richmond, Indiana founded in the Quaker tradition. Earlham was both the smallest and probably the most unique of the schools we visited. Unique because I think it probably fits in with the smallest range of students. But, for those students that it does fit for, I think it probably fits the majority of the time more perfectly than not. IU may offer something for everyone, but Earlham provides everything for some people. You may remember hearing about Earlham through the Colleges That Change Lives book or fair. I had never been to the campus before and was pleased with both the facilities and the level of student satisfaction among the students we spoke with. The counselors were broken up into mini-groups to learn more about specific parts of the University. If I had on close toed shoes I would have gone with the equestrian group to see the stables (horse enthusiasts, take note) but instead I channeled my AP Euro teacher from high school and opted to go to the Quaker history talk in the Earlham archives.

My impression of Earlham is that it is a great match for students that are also interested in places like Beloit, where they strive for individual attention and high quality teaching. Don't come for bells and whistles, better to come looking for a place where professors go by their first names and students value life's simple pleasures. If you want mainstream, you may not find it (or the social hierarchy that goes along with it). But, if you want an education they can definitely help you with that. One last thing I found interesting: Earlham requires only the FAFSA for Financial Aid, not the CSS profile. For some families, this could for or against you, but it is worth noting since it is a bit different from many other small liberal arts schools. If Earlham is a place you are seriously considering, but you are having trouble affording the trip out to campus, reach out to the Admissions office to see if you can apply for a travel grant. They are pretty generous in this arena.

Tomorrow: Purdue and Butler!