Why did your student choose/not choose High Point University?

Went to visit HPU with my family this weekend. The campus facilities are beautiful, the ideas are innovative, and the price is comparable to other private universities. My daughters deemed it their first choice; they are currently unwilling to consider other options. Despite the positives, I felt uncomfortable with several aspects of the university, including the over-the-top marketing, the grandiose buildings, the non-stop adoration of the President and the lack of focus on challenging academics. I was really turned off by the focus on “Life skills.” It made me think of the school as more of a finishing school rather than a rigorous academic institution of higher learning. The first thing our student golf-cart driver said was “It is impossible to fail here!” What is the value of a HPU Degree? Would love to hear why other families chose, or did not choose, HPU. Trying to keep an open mind and consider all options.

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@MyBadMama , I toured a few months ago with my son. Like your daughters, he immediately fell in love with the campus buildings, landscaping, and statuary. And I admit it is a beautiful campus.

Like you, I found a lot about HPU that did not appeal to me. My son and I spoke to a few students and most repeated some form of “the classes are very easy”, spoken in the manner of students who had always avoided rigorous classwork. The students were all nice and polite, but none seemed like they chose HPU for academic reasons – one young lady even said the main reason she chose HPU was because the school allowed her to have her dog live in her dorm room with her.

Other research I performed left me less than thrilled about the prospect of my child attending the school. I read several online accounts from former HPU students who enrolled seeking rigorous coursework and later regretted their choice because they could not find it at the school.

Especially troubling was the death of a student that involved the university president’s son and is said by the deceased student’s family to be a coverup. https://www.salisburypost.com/2018/09/24/death-at-high-points-delta-sig-heiress-wages-a-million-dollar-war-on-frats/

If you’re looking at small-to-midsize private universities in/near NC with high academic standards, I would suggest checking out Davidson, Elon, Wake Forest, U of Richmond. For students whose stats may not work for those four, check out Campbell University, Randolph College, Queens University, or any number of other schools in the NC/VA/SC area. Not many will have a campus as beautiful as HPU, but the cost of attendance will be lower and the ROI should be higher.

HPU charges as if it is comparable with the better academic colleges in the area, but I haven’t seen evidence to support that. The salary outcomes of recent graduates (reported on various sources) reveals much lower salaries than students who attended the higher-level of academic private schools in the area. Even a school like Campbell University, where the average net cost is $15K less expensive, produces graduates who earn, on average, approximately 20% more than HPU graduates.

I told my son the only way he’d be allowed to attend was if HPU provided him with a full scholarship and I have to pay nothing out of pocket. Even then, I would not be satisfied with him attending HPU. But with HPU’s track record of not providing significant financial aid, I think that was a safe bet.

As a past student of HPU, both undergraduate and graduate programs, I can comfortably say that your girls, at HPU, will be made a priority. The life skills that are highlighted are those that are created from the culture that HPU provides. The goal is to round out the student’s educational experience in forms of networking, self development and professional growth. I am happy to say that I thrived in HPU’s environment. The people are what set HPU apart for me as a student. Professors and staff dedicated their time to getting to know me as a student and were open and willing to help in any way possible and even support me and my own personal style of living, learning, etc. HPU was the best choice I could have made as a student and has given to me friends, a network and a foundation that would ensure my life-long success.

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As an HPU alum, my classes at HPU were challenging, but what I loved most was the small class sizes and the fact that my professors all knew me. They cared about me, too. I felt comfortable approaching them with a question about an assignment and asking for advice before applying for internships or jobs. I can also say that the experiential learning opportunities and HPU’s focus on life skills, both in and out of the classroom, helped me grow as a professional. I learned how to practically apply the knowledge I was obtaining in the classroom to the real world, and this made me confident in my internships throughout my collegiate career and continues to do the same in my career post-graduation. I, myself, and many of my fellow HPU grads would attest to the fact that this is what helped set us apart in interview settings and prepared us to lead successful careers. It’s true, HPU is focused on preparing students for professional success. But that doesn’t mean that HPU doesn’t also care about a broad-based approach to life-long learning and equipping students to persevere through challenges. That is very much a part of the core messaging students are surrounded by daily. And HPU has an impressive record for graduates launching careers. Check their website for that data.

I think families looking for the type of college experience where professors wear tweed jackets and smoke pipes and talk dismissively to students in order to help them “grow up” might not appreciate HPU. It seems the students I knew and families that love HPU like the blend of old-fashion faculty mentoring within a positive environment that encourages success. Unfortunately, for some, that is seen as pampering. But that’s not how I view it.

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As someone who lives in NC I can tell you the academic reputation of HPU is low and it is seen as a party school for rich kids that provides a very pampered lifestyle while in college.

Also, the response immediately above from someone with no other CC record seems to me as though it was written by someone who works at HPU and is managing its online reputation. Just sayin’

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As an employer for a huge global company which recruits on campuses all over the world- we’d give HPU a large pass.

If you are looking for academic rigor- you will have to work hard to find it. If you are looking for a diverse student body representing all kinds of upbringings and challenges and perspectives, you will have to work hard to find it. If you are looking for interesting research opportunities to work with scholars and scientists in both the humanities and the sciences- you won’t find it.

However- I know a couple of kids who loved their experience there. They were not burning the world up academically in HS; they were not candidates for their state’s flagship U’s but were looking at a regional state college or the local commuter public U. They wanted the residential college experience and their parents could afford to send them away, and they didn’t want to commute/stick with the HS crowd/keep the HS summer job once the more ambitious kids were heading off to universities outside the area. And High Point was a good solution for them. Away, residential, beautiful place, handpicked friends from similar families around the country.

So different strokes for different folks. I wouldn’t pay for it but it’s not my kid and not my money. There are hundreds of colleges providing better academics. I’m sure the food is better at HPU than it is at dozens of colleges, but for the money you’re spending, send them somewhere cheaper and join a dining club.

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It’s a great school for the right kids. Maybe the best school for them. Having the kids really love their school, environment and amenities is important in getting through the college experience. It really depends upon the kids

A friend attends as a (highly) recruited athlete. It was a good choice for him because although he went to a very academically challenging high school, he wasn’t one of the top students and I think had always felt a little overpowered by the academic elites. He does well at HPU and benefits from the class size, the individual attention, the atmosphere and it has allowed his academic strengths to come out.

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My daughter passed on HPU last year and opted for Elon instead. I was thrilled that she made that decision. I agree with other perceptions already voiced. HPU tries to hard to convince people that their school is “great” The amount of marketing materials we received last year was unbelievable. We also attended the scholars weekend and that is what put the nail in the coffin for my daughter. The school is over the top conservative which was very apparent that weekend.

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High Point is a ‘fit’ school that particularly suits 2 types of students: the ones in the market for a modern day ‘finishing’ school (ie, not very academic students whose wealthy parents want them to have a degree) and the ones who benefit from the amount of support available.

We know a current sophomore for whom HPU has been a super choice: as a slow to mature kid with a mild LD, the hands-on approach is helping him bloom. He meets with his advisor weekly, his teachers mind him (he missed class one day and the teacher phoned him; turned out he was legitimately sick & they sent a golf cart to take him to the health center). He is beginning to find his feet and the positive reinforcement (the upside of the ‘you can’t fail here’ attitude) is building self-confidence. The “Live Skills” element plays to his strengths. He’s never going to be a rocket scientist, but there was real potential in there that is finally beginning to show.

The other thing is that the town of High Point loves having HPU there- it has helped stabilize the town’s economy, which had been in free fall.

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I wish our son had not gone. For all the reasons stated in the reviews here. I think there were things there that he did NOT take advantage of and he should have, but the other “shiny” things - parties, easy classes, little discipline, emphasis on material things are so prevalent that it’s hard to find the more meaningful experiences. I was so afraid that he would hate his college and want to come home that I deferred to what HE wanted and let him go there. He came home WORSE than when he left - mean kids in greek life, promiscuity and hook-up culture, booze - which are everywhere but something is missing at this school. And it makes it worse somehow. I mostly fault my son but more myself for being such a Gen X parent trying to keep my millennial kid happy. Should have said no. Not worth the money. Now reading and hearing about the president’s son being involved in a hazing death, I’m just…well I feel even worse. We were duped but my son was also too drawn to the country club atmosphere, due to his lack of maturity at age 17. Look elsewhere and one of the most amazing places to go to school in this country is the University of Dayton in Ohio. That school has a true soul that is palpable when you visit, Slightly larger than HPU, better academically, known as one of the friendliest places on earth and stresses service and being a good person in addition to academics.

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Agreed gimjam I have told my son High Point (and a few others) are not an option. I would rather he go to a community college than HP. Better value and education to start at CC.

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I am certainly among the confused about this place. We could not fit in an official tour on our trip to the area, but walked around the campus and have chosen to attend the Presidential Scholar’s weekend. Most of my confusion revolves around the academic reputation. US News and World Report ranks it highly and a College Counselor at a highly respected private school has told me they are “up and coming.” There are people saying on this site saying that employers would take a pass on Graduates of this school which also confuses me. So, would a person who chose to attend this school because they were given a good financial deal and graduated with a 3.9 be looked down upon while a kid that attends a more traditional school like Villanova, who possibly got in through Alumni connections, and graduated with a 2.5 be hired? A Times Magazine article says pretty plainly that it doesn’t matter where you go https://time.com/54342/it-doesnt-matter-where-you-go-to-college/

As a person that has hired many people, I am less interested in where they go to school, especially because of the huge financial factors that are involved and what they did while they were there.

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USNWR ranks HPU as #1 for Regional Colleges: South, followed by Ouachita Baptist University (AR), Maryville (TN), Flagler (FL) and LaGrange (GA) rounding out the top 5.

And the Times article hits the key point that the quality of the educational experience, and the lifetimes earning value of an undergraduate degree have leveled out in meaningful ways over the last forty years.

@TimJG is right that what you do with your educational opportunities is what matters most of all. My favorite example is a Dr we had with one of our collegekids: he is on any national top-10 in his field list, but went to an undergraduate school that nobody on CC will have even heard of- a local branch of the lower tier of the public university system in his state- b/c that’s what they could afford. It was enough to get him to UPenn Med School, and he took off from there.

Most of all, graduating without debt is a huge gift, and it would take something exceptional to outweigh the negative of substantial debt.

All that said, I do think that where you go to college can make an enormous difference, especially at what I think of as ‘fit’ schools. Most kids can find a good path through most schools, but for some kids and some schools ‘fit’ makes a meaningful difference. For example, one of my collegekids was farther from the center of the bell curve than her siblings, right from the start, and when it came time to choose a college we knew that she would not thrive in every environment. Similarly, smaller schools, and schools with a stronger culture or ethos are more likely to ‘fit’ some kids more than others.

And HPU seems to be in that category for now. So, @TimJG if your son goes to the PS weekend and feels at home and is excited by the school aspects (which can be hard to focus on, b/c the Country Club elements are really attractive, esp to a kid coming from HS world)- super. And if you look at the student body and the academics and the overall environment and it looks to you as if he will thrive there, and do the things that get you noticed by employers while avoiding debt- even better.

Up and coming is often code word for “good place for a kid who doesn’t have the grades for the state flagship”.

I don’t know where you live, but do you think that High Point has a stronger reputation for academic rigor than your own state university? Stronger faculty doing cutting edge research? More resources devoted to fellowships, interdisciplinary study, attending colloquia, attracting visiting scholars?

For sure they are “up and coming”. In my neck of the woods, they compete favorably with the traditional party schools for the so-so students whose parents hope that they will “go away and grow up”. That doesn’t make it a bad place per se, but if you are looking for your kid to bloom intellectually, I don’t see evidence that High Point is the place to go.

@blossom For frame of reference I’d love to know your list of “traditional party schools for the so-so students.”

There are many lists put together by many publications and organization of “the best party schools in America”. You can take out Lehigh, Bucknell, and the other schools which are both hard to get into and hard to get out of- and you are left with a robust list of places from which to choose.

Princeton Review does not need my help compiling lists.

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It would have been less typing if you simply listed 10 party schools popular in “your neck of the woods,” that compete with HPU for share of the academically unwashed.

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It seems like most of the comments here are negative. I’ve not toured High Point with my daughter yet, but I am interested in it because it says US News ranked it best regional college south for several years. A walkable, pretty campus is not a bad thing. It sounds like they are working on starting a nursing school.
It seems like most liberal arts bachelor’s degrees are useless from anywhere without having grad school, anyway. Getting hired has to do with the field you go into - an engineer from anywhere might be more advantageous than an arts major at Duke with a 3.2 GPA. Getting into law school has to do with the GPA you get and the college doesn’t matter as much.
I can believe that certain schools may not be as academically rigorous. It’s hard to gauge that but I guess the SAT averages give an idea.

I can’t speak of how HPU is viewed outside of NC, but within NC, it’s not taken as a serious school. As someone that works not far from this area, I can speak to the fact that many places regionally will hire a candidate from another school over one from HPU.

There is no doubt that it is a beautiful, well maintained, and gated campus. It’s often referred to at the country club of colleges and is definitely seen as less rigorous and more of a finishing school. I’ve heard more than plenty of people state that many females attend to get their “Mrs.” degrees and snag a wealthy husband.

The other reason that this college is gated is due to the area it’s in. High Point is not a safe area, and crime is fairly high here. The school takes drastic measures to keep the country club feel inside and everything else beyond the gates.

I have a close friend with a child that attends here and this school allows her to succeed academically without much effort while she is able to pursue other activities and competitions in which she may not otherwise have the time for it at another school.

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