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GATEWAY to Bucknell April 8, 2017

ThespiandadThespiandad 79 replies5 threads Junior Member
edited June 22 in Bucknell University
Did anyone else go to the Gateway program at Bucknell last weekend? (ignore the name - the thespian is my Acting Soph, was at Bucknell with my psych and biology H.S. junior). Just wanted to see whether anyone else thought the program was one of the worst presentations and a total turn off. We started with the Dean of Admissions - boring and monotone, and his only selling points were an early 1900s grad in the baseball Hall of Fame and two teams in March madness this year. Seriously? 45 minutes and nothing about the global outlook, research opportunities and employment prospects for Bucknell graduates? he would have been great as a 5 minute intro to a real program, but 45 minutes? Then a generic program how to not be admitted to a competitive college. An hour and nothing specific to Bucknell, nothing not common sense (proofread so you do not name Haverford in your Bucknell essay), and nothing that I didn't hear Lehigh, Lafayette, Brandeis, Princeton or Emory say in 5 minutes before moving on to a real program. Hint - set up a panel of students to talk about their experiences, what they learned, class size, research, jobs, life on campus, all the things my kid actually cares about, or get a dynamic staffer to address those points, do not drone on about your basketball teams.

My son identified himself as a potential psych major, and wa sent to the Social Science break out session. Presumably, all of the other kids there expressed an interest, if not an intent to major, in a Social Sci area. The Dean of the department spent 40 minutes with a power point telling everyone why one should major in a Social Sci area - mentioned that CEO's at Fortune 500 companies include English major at least 5 times. Did not talk about the programs at Bucknell, the faculty credentials, faculty research, class size, just how majoring in Social Science somewhere would be good. for the last 5 minutes he has one student speak of why she majored in psychology and how great it is that she has a job in HR after she graduates. again ,zero about life at Bucknell. Then the Dean was asked 2 questions - describe Bucknell in 3 words, which he described in terms of how the school supports him, his research and interests, not in terms of what Bucknell does for students. The other asked whether HE used undergrads on his research team. He talked about how he is trying (TRYING?) to hire new faculty as he adds staff who will use undergrads on their teams. Left everyone with the impression that the old profs do not welcome undergrads into their labs or studies, and he never spoke about himself, as asked. Oh, there was one more question - describe the diversity among the undergrads at Bucknell (note: the **** description is rich, white, conservative and preppy) - he was honest - "it is no where near what it should be, better than when I arrived here 26 years ago, but nowhere near where it should be." Then we went to the math/science group - in the school theater, and the speaker, a math prof started by belittling the theater students ("We do not use this room for classes, it is where the theater kids do whatever it is they call studies" and "gee, I hope I do not fall off of this stage"

Drove 6 hours roundtrip in hope that my son could add another option (he is a 4.0 student at a top high school with SAT/ACT scores well over the median, so Bucknell is a "safe" school for him) that is the right size and reputation to add to the schools I already mentioned, and a few other schools at the high end. He hated it. The trips are designed to let him see what he does not like, as much as they are intended to find schools he likes, so no complaint simply because he hated it. However, it seemed to me that the school had no clue how to run an open house, or were trying to turn off everyone who was thoughtfully looking at more than reputation.
edited June 22
7 replies
Post edited by CCAdmin_Vic on
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Replies to: GATEWAY to Bucknell April 8, 2017

  • momofzagmomofzag 657 replies7 threads Member
    That's really too bad that you had such a negative experience. My d is a junior at Bucknell now and is having a fabulous experience at the college and has gotten lots of great opportunities both academically and otherwise. She never attended the gateway program prior to applying though. Just a regular tour and then senior year attended arts merit scholarship weekend which sealed the deal for her. She got to have dinner and mingle with professors and current theatre students and several students presented. It was an inspiring 24 hours and she could really see herself there. My S16 attended Gateway when we were visiting his sister two years later and I will admit that we had some of the same feelings about the day that you did especially about the general sessions. They assume everyone is at the very beginning of the process and they are too long and not specific enough to Bucknell. We attended the management and engineering breakouts and thought they were both well done. The professors /deans who presented were dynamic.Son did not end up applying though. He is now at Lafayette which he loves.
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  • junkpixjunkpix 26 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Part of your Gateway experience relates to our experience at an info session and tour we took last March.

    We were in the auditorium for the info session and the folks running the show were trying to find the lights, the power for the projector, etc. You expect to walk into a session and the screen is already on with either a still slide or some sort of video playing in a loop. Not polished at all.

    It was as if our session was the first one they ever did. The presenter also chose to speak without the microphone so her voice dropped off into the back of the room. We sat in the middle and i struggled a little to hear her at times.

    The campus was beautiful, the school obviously has the reputation but I felt the Admissions/PR group needed to work on improving their skills.
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  • surfcitysurfcity 2886 replies64 threads Senior Member
    I had a friend IRL tell me the presentation was lackluster. That is a shame. My S is a senior at Bucknell and loving it. He has been able to do undergrad research from freshman year on and has had several faculty mentor him. He is an introvert and NOT the type to "sell" himself, which I mention because the profs went out of their way to engage him in the research.

    We have been very happy with the access to courses and faculty. Also the housing is impressive as is the food and campus. The campus and student body is not as diverse as it could be, and probably not as diverse as other similar LACs. I do think the presence of engineering programs and a business school do mean that there is more of a preprofessional atmosphere than at, say, Swarthmore or Haverford.

    Feel free to PM me if you have other questions.
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  • AmerOverseasDadAmerOverseasDad 16 replies0 threads Junior Member
    good feedback and unfortunate experience as it is not reflective of platform. I would encourage you not to consider a single day as being fully representative. As you continue your search consider which schools own their outcomes, which are transparent about the fact that they as a platform for learning are preparing students for their next phase of life. In this vain, kindly review the following:

    http://bucknell.edu/CareerPaths

    http://bucknell.edu/about-bucknell/institutional-research-and-planning/bucknell-outcomes/financial-independence-and-preparedness-for-success.html

    http://bucknell.edu/about-bucknell/institutional-research-and-planning/bucknell-outcomes/academic-engagement.html

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/college-mobility/bucknell-university

    I have two children at Bucknell. Feel free to PM with questions.
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  • ThespiandadThespiandad 79 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Thanks for all of the responses. While I understand that glitches happen, and that marketers aren't the faculty or the education offered, it was not a good first impression. Compare to another tour we took the following week, the school arranged for the kids, @500, to have a chance to sit in on classes in their intended area(s) of study. My son sat in on a Psych 101 session and spoke with the professor afterward about something covered during class that he had studied in AP Psych. The prof took @15 minutes to speak with him about the topic, notwithstanding that hew was not a student in the class. Compared to the guy at Bucknell who did not answer the question my son asked, he has no interest in re-visiting the school. He has other schools, including Lafayette, Brandeis, Case, Emory, Vanderbilt, Rochester etc that offer research opportunities, so I am not going to force the issue.
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  • GAR1000GAR1000 8 replies0 threads New Member
    We had the same experience with an Admissions rep presentation in the auditorium. The guy was a cold fish. Great video but he seemed completely bored. My son was on the waitlist (he's since been accepted) and had contacted him a few days before to say he'd be visiting since he'd never seen the school. The guy could not have been less thrilled to see my son when he walked up to the rep to introduce himself after the presentation. My son eventually accepted his spot off the waitlist but he hesitated -- and used the full 24 hours to decide -- because of reservations he had about how the school was presented through the Admissions rep. Otherwise, teachers, students, tour guides were great.
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  • surfcitysurfcity 2886 replies64 threads Senior Member
    @GAR1000 Congrats to your son. My D just graduated from Bucknell this weekend and it was a wonderful experience. I am sorry the admissions experience was so poor but I will be eager to hear your thoughts on orientation and parents weekend. I think they do those events wonderfully as well as graduation weekend.

    My S had a great time there and most of his friends have secured good jobs or spots in grad school. No regrets here.
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