La Salle vs Arcadia (or Rowan)

We narrowed down DD’s college choice to La Salle and Arcadia (and may be Rowan, we are in-state) and have visited the colleges more than once. All three are affordable. I have read niche but love to get input from those who have attended any of the three or parents who are familiar with any of the three colleges. She has been accepted to CTCL colleges such as Goucher and McDaniel, and other colleges.

DD does not know what she will major in. She has an IEP for many years, has always been in regular ed classes. She takes time to process and is a concrete thinker. She has a 3.0-3.2 GPA . (I have been following the 3.0-3.4 thread). In the beginning of our search, she liked Rowan, but then realized that she needs smaller class size, hence we look into smaller colleges. My concerns are (a) she may drop out because the school work is too hard (b) she gets bullied because she learns differently (c ) it may be difficult for her to get a job after she graduates. Hence, I hope to know about the academic and support environment say peer tutoring (I will check with the disability office) , whether the classes are difficult and internship etc. I also love to hear input on the study abroad program with Arcadia.

La Salle –has more majors which translates to more options for DD. My perception is that it has a larger alumni network . I do not see the neighborhood as a problem. I do not see easy access to the city as a benefit over Arcadia.

Arcadia – The smaller campus is a plus. Class size is no more than 16. There is no greek life which I and DD prefer. However, the limited number of major concerns me, I don’t see DD majoring in business or education, I am not sure how good the pre-nursing and pre-physician assistant programs are. I think the college prides itself in its study abroad program, the freshman has an option to take a preview program in the spring of the first year to spend one week abroad, it is interesting, but I am not sure how much DD benefits from it as she is well traveled. I also do not know how study abroad program will help DD. With the turnover of the presidents in the last 5 years and the budget issue, I feel that the future financial aid and direction of the U is an uncertainty. Have I been overthinking? We do not get a chance to talk to the current students, but the admission officer told me getting internship is not difficult, is it true?

Rowan- it is larger, we were told the class size is no more than 35. I suspect the facility is better, but it is not my primary concern.

@newjerseygirl98 goes to La Salle, perhaps she can offer some insight here.

I’m an Arcadia alum so am probably biased, but my experience was that it was very nurturing and friendly. They also will work with students to put together a unique major if nothing they offer quite fits the student’s needs. You can do study abroad there but it isn’t necessary; it’s just that they were an early leader in that area so it’s a “point of pride.” Internships are generally easy to get at any school, and Arcadia also had a coop program in the past (may still have, don’t know for sure). We went into the city all the time either on the train or by car.

I visited LaSalle with my D about five years back and liked the campus, but was put off by the neighborhood. It’s reputed to have great academics. The religious aspect was also a little too intense for D.

Rowan I don’t know other than having attended a conference on campus there a few years ago. Seems like a nice little school. Maybe being a public rather than a private could have some impact in terms of personalized attention (but of course the financial advantage could balance that)?

Yes, I’m a freshman at La Salle! My GPA was in the same range as your D.

My largest class is under 20, we don’t have standard “large freshman lectures”. The career network is very good in the northeast, especially for nursing, teaching, and social work. We really do get the benefits of a large and small school.

La Salle has a program that could work well for your D. Students arrive a week before the fall semester, and participate in an academic boot camp called “The Summit Program”. I was invited due to low test scores.
It was difficult, but definitely taught me how to produce college-level work. Summit students also receive a minimum of two hours of tutoring for the year, and extra advising. My advisor has been amazing, with academic and personal issues. Your D definitely won’t be a “number” at La Salle!

Arcadia and LaSalle are both lovely institutions that are small enough to be quite personal. We know one family whose child with significant physical and emotional challenges went to Arcadia, and that family was absolutely thrilled with his (and their) experience there. But that was a kid who was wheelchair-bound and whose issues were clear for all to see, not someone who merely “learns differently.” Still, it’s hard to imagine anyone being bullied at either Arcadia or LaSalle.

LaSalle is not a wealthy college, but it’s on far more certain financial footing than Arcadia. You have that right. I think LaSalle may be somewhat more demanding than Arcadia, too. Both of them attract, and educate, students with a wide range of natural abilities, though, just I think LaSalle’s range is a little wider.

@newjerseygirl98 thank you. La Salle is high on my radar because of many of your posts…I like the college a lot after my several visits. DD will definitely benefit from the Summit program (in fact, she needs it) but she wasn’t invited.
@stradmom it is such a welcome bias LOL. you confirmed what I felt after I visited. Thank you. We nearly made the decision after visiting La Salle again, but decided to stop by Arcadia on our way home, as only DD attended the open house, and I liked what I heard during the info session but has reservation.
It is such a difficult decision now…

I think average class size is significantly lower than the 35 max at Rowan. I also thing they have a couple of different options for kids who need more support. I’d give them a call and ask. How they respond to your question might be indicative of how helpful they might be later.

I have a friend with a daughter at LaSalle majoring in graphic arts. She is having a great experience - lots of academic support. Her d was not a standout academically in hs but feel more confident at LaSalle. Did you ask if your d could be included in the Summit program?

I think my friends’ d is fine with it being Catholic school, although they are not RC themselves.

I am a graduate of La Salle and do a lot of volunteering there working with the students (I’m on the Alumni Board and I go to most of the basketball games). It is a school on the rise right now under the new leadership, and they are investing heavily in the students and the infrastructure to really raise the profile of the institution. I can’t say enough positive things about the new President…she’s absolutely wonderful and really moving many things at the school in the right direction.

Lots of different majors and very easy to switch…and the Alumni network in the area is a very positive force that helps current students with career guidance and preparation. The faculty is extremely caring and works with the students…they really do want the kids to succeed and there are lots of tutoring and counseling resources to help. When I’m up there volunteering, I’m always so impressed with the kids and the spirit of community that shines through.

@annamom Could you email LaSalle and ask about enrolling in Summit, explaining why it’s a big deal for you and your child?

Agree with @MYOS1634 except I think it should be your D who emails the school to ask if she could get into Summit and explain how she could benefit from it. And ONLY IF it is true she could let them know that if she can get into Summit that she would attend LaSalle.

Thank you for all the input. From everything I read and observed, La Salle is a great college and may be a good fit for DD. It is this reason

that I think Arcadia may be a better fit. Unfortunately, I am not able to find too many information regarding Arcadia and in particular on future financial aid.
@MYOS1634 , I have checked with La Salle, Summit is by invitation only and it is by standardized test scores. But as we know, standardized scores do not mean too much, but the extra one week boot camp will be extremely helpful.

My son is attending Rowan next year. We started out looking at smaller schools and in the end he decided he wanted something bigger with more things to do and diversity of people. I wasn’t sold (even though my husband & I both went there back in the “old days”!) because I was afraid of large class sizes. Despite the growth, there are no lecture halls at Rowan. I forget the exact numbers, but I think somewhere in the range of 98% of classes are under 30. I think the larger class sizes are in the engineering majors, which won’t be my son.

I don’t think LaSalle would be overwhelming academically. I second the idea of pointing out to LaSalle your daughter has unique learning challenges and that eight now attending LaSalle depends on her being able to participate in Summit as you don’t feel comfortable sending her without it.

@annamom - where did your daughter feel the most “at home”? Is going to sporting events and other things on campus important to her. Beyond the classes, what is she interested in experiencing to round out her time at college? One thing to look at for each school is their “First Destination Survey”. Here’s an example of La Salle’s (their admissions office may have a more recent one).

LaSalle may be willing to put kids into the Summit program even if it isn’t required as a condition of admission becasue of the higher standardized test scores – it wouldn’t hurt to ask. But if you and your S feel Arcadia is the better option then go that route.