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Capstone Admitted Students Visit

NEMom1NEMom1 Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
edited April 2013 in Ursinus College
Are folks planning to visit on Friday? Nice weather all week, but rain on Friday. Guess if S likes it on a gloomy day that will mean much. Our last visit was cold, gray and gloomy and did not deter him.
Post edited by NEMom1 on
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Replies to: Capstone Admitted Students Visit

  • RobinAOKRobinAOK Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    We will be there with our accepted Daughter. It is between UC and Pitt, and I like UC. The forecast says slight chance of rain. I'm hoping the forecast improves by Friday. We liked UC and UC liked my daughter back, especially in light of disappointing offers from other LACs. It gets my vote! See you Friday!
  • NEMom1NEMom1 Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
    Yes, I have found there is little that improves one's opinion of a school than when they demonstrate such wisdom and discernment in appreciating one's offspring!
  • pkdof13pkdof13 Registered User Posts: 375 Member
    Please report back on Capstone - unfortunately, we're not going to be able to make it there.
  • NEMom1NEMom1 Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
    Turned out to be just about as nice a day as they come in the spring -- gorgeous and sunny, though a bit windy by day's end. The lunch was not very good, but the student tour guides were warm, well-spoken and enthusiastic about Ursinus.

    In the big first session, President Bobby Fong was creditable but not too dynamic and I was a bit disappointed that some bits of his speech were word for word what I had just read that morning in the glossy material they had sent to parents. The English prof who is in charge of the Common Intellectual Experience (the first year 2 semester course on the big questions) was dynamic and entertaining -- if also 10 minutes late. I'd have thought the admissions director might ad lib a bit better, but he just mostly waited.

    We went to presentations by the Business/Economics major and Poli Sci International relations. BE prof was young, dapper, well organized with power point, clearly fond of and knowledgeable about his students, though this dept is one of the largest and graduates 60-70 per year. He spoke about many different internships and study abroad/intern opportunities their majors have done. Also touched on honors opportunities (for indepedent research in the senior year if GPA is 3.5 or 3.7 or above) as well as capstone which each student completes in their major.

    Poli Sci/International relations started late (a theme here) and in a room which only gave them 15 minutes to present. The organization could have been a little better. Liked the poli sci woman prof, but thought it a bit much that the IR guy was listed as The Honorable... and referred to throughout as "Ambassador..." Both seemed to know their areas quite well, and knew what their students did with the degree -- proud of and connected to their former students. There was a senior student here who is also RA in first year housing. She is double major in Spanish, had done some great study abroad work and was working on her honors project. She was fabulous, poised, smart, warm. Would have liked to hear more from her.

    Great emphasis across the curriculum on writing and oral presentation skills. All the students were poised and well-spoken, sorry they weren't featured more. There was a student panel for the prospectives to attend, but most of the parent or joint stuff was faculty or staff heavy.

    This is getting long so will do separate post on the student life presentation to parents.
  • Classof2013DadClassof2013Dad Registered User Posts: 27 New Member
    Thanks for the insight NEMom1! We were also unable to attend yesterday. Unfortunately, most of these accepted student events are on weekdays and our DD refuses to miss any school. It's hard to convince her that it's OK to miss a day or two when it's regarding a decision that will shape her future.

    It sounds like the event could have been run more effectively. That’s very unfortunate as every little detail matters at this point in the decision process.

    Based on Capstone, is Ursinus still a contender? Did the campus feel remote? Does it appear to offer a diverse student body? I’ve heard mixed opinions on the school’s location. Is the school conveniently located with easy access to the King of Prussia Mall and downtown Phila? Looking forward to you next post.
  • NEMom1NEMom1 Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
    Hi Dad,
    Glad you found it helpful. My S is very much still interested in Ursinus -- and I wholeheartedly agree it would be a great fit for him. He is waiting on a FA appeal at this point to make it a bit more competitive with his other 2 still in the running schools. I loved the stuff that really counts that we saw yesterday -- the faculty were dedicated to their students, knew them well and considered it a great fit to teach at a small liberal arts school. And though it was hard to judge in 15 minutes, they did seem like good teachers. I liked the capstone very much -- here speaking of the senior project/paper each student is expected to do in their major. In many schools, this kind of project is often saved for the honors students. I appreciated that Ursinus expected each student to be able to demonstrate some depth in a major.

    The social stuff-- I was pleased to hear that 97% of students take advantage of the guaranteed housing. The first year dorms have spacious rooms -- not lovely and the furniture is a little old, but comfortable. Unlike every other school I've seen in visits with 3 kids, Ursinus permits window unit ACs and fridges of your own. Also, nice big common area with very large flat screen TV. Our tour guide says there are movie nights, gathering around sports games, and guys who bring their gaming systems to challenge one another on the big screen. Interested to note in the college paper out that week that there had been plans to drop ESPN from the Ursinus cable line up, but the student activity fund through some money in to help keep it.

    The sophomores mostly live in very cute houses (Victorian?) across main street from the campus -- charming but I guess the five minute walk for some students is challenging after being so very close in the first year dorms. The juniors and seniors have lovely new air conditioned dorms.

    There are upper class RAs in the dorms, as well as professional residence life staff who live on campus. One of them is always on duty.

    There was good diversity in the student body -- more than most LACs we visited -- quite a number of African-American students among those admitted visiting, and current students -- including our tour guide who was a first year from Philly. Also seemed to be a pretty disability friendly campus. The student life presentation referenced student organizations for African American, asian, and latino students. They also highlighted the LGBTQA group, as well as much religious diversity with Newman (Catholic), Hillel (Jewish), IVCF (evangelical protestant), and a muslim student group. The chaplain is an African American man who helps students organize weekly student lead worship services.

    The campus is wet -- alcohol fine for those of age, but it must be kept to private areas. This year apparently they started cracking down on this by 'busting' students who were drinking in public -- which includes balconies, lounges, porches and the like. THough this was just a forced meeting with the dean of students, attending an alcohol training, and having a letter sent home. Learned this from the student newspaper not the official presentation. There is Greek life, but only about 20% are involved. This is a plus for my S. There are also dry activities, including Th, F and Sat from 10 pm to 2 am in the basement of the student center with movies, games, comedians and the like. Seems like you can certainly drink, including to excess, but you also don't have to to find a place.

    There was a wide variety of "looks" on the campus. Not too preppy, not all North Face jackets, but a good variety, mostly quite casual. Some shlubby, sloppy kids, and others who had clearly not all spent hours in the nicely equipped gym but this too was a big plus for my S who is glad to see all types welcomed.

    Most of the visitors were PA, NJ and NY folk, but I think that was as much about people's ability to come a long way for a day. We did meet folks from Houston, Seattle and the midwest, but most of the license plates were local. The students and student life staff say that it is quite rare for folks to go home on the weekends -- did seem like there lots to do, formal and informal.
  • NEMom1NEMom1 Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
    For folks from outside the area -- they apparently will send a shuttle at the big transfer times to a local hotel to which one can get a shuttle from Philly airport. First years aren't allowed cars, but it seems like lots of kids will know kids who have a car once sophomore year rolls around. There are a couple of places within walking distance -- a Wawa (like a 7-11 with good hoagies), a pizza place which will take "Bear bucks" from the meal plan. There are free bikes one can borrow to get a bit further away.

    There is a SEPTA bus (Philly's mass transit system) which runs one way to the 'biggish' mall with movie theaters, Wegman's supermarket, Best Buy. In the other direction, it ends at the Norristown Transportation Center and one can get from there into Center City with ease.
  • Classof2013DadClassof2013Dad Registered User Posts: 27 New Member
    Awesome review! Thanks again NEMom1 for providing us the next best thing to being there. It sounds like your S is close to choosing a school. Good luck with the decision process and I hope the FA offers work out as desired.
  • STAmumSTAmum Registered User Posts: 22 New Member
    NEMom1
    You wrote that your S "is waiting on a FA appeal at this point to make it a bit more competitive with his other 2 still in the running schools." Do you mind telling us more about how you went about this? Also, what are his two other schools still in the running?
  • NEMom1NEMom1 Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
    S sent an email to financial aid requesting review and expressing his very strong desire to attend UC. He included scanned copies of his offers from comparable LAC schools which were a bit more generous than UC. They said committee was meeting last week. He eagerly checked email at dnd of Capstone hoping for word on the FA which would have meant he was done and ready to invest in the hoodie but no word yet.
  • pkdof13pkdof13 Registered User Posts: 375 Member
    Thank you NEMom1 for the great report! I was worried that greek life was more prevalent, but if only 20% that should be fine for my S. Did they say anything about clubs? Looking on the website I can't seem to find the more, shall we say, "nerdy" clubs like for those who are Dr. Who fans or play video games.
  • RobinAOKRobinAOK Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    We didn't look too closely at the clubs that had places at the long tables; not enought time. But, I can tell you that when we went on the tour through the dorm hallway, a door was open and a student was playing a video game. Not much of a surprise there. We saw several young men chipping golf balls and some playing hackie sack (sp?). There were many students outside reading/eating/studying. I guess what you would expect from undergraduates on a fine spring day. You may want to pose your question to the Office of Student Affairs, which probably could answer your question more directly. BTW, you asked a question in another thread regarding merit awards, and I didn't asnwer that directly, but I can tell you that UC offered my daughter a very generous award, and also surprised us with $500 per semester from the "UC Fund," which is a grant. We didn't expect that given our EFC. Also, as the poster in that thread mentioned, UC only requires a 2.0 to continue to recieve the merit award. As I repeat to our daughter, we certainly expect her to maintain a higher GPA than that, but it really takes the pressure off both students and parents (who can pretty much not have to worry about having the rug pulled out financially) if their child's GPA falls below 3.0 (which most other colleges require in order to maintain the merit award). Take care!
  • pkdof13pkdof13 Registered User Posts: 375 Member
    Thank you, Robin. DS also received a generous merit award from UC, and I really appreciate the 2.0 requirement for the reasons you stated. Still trying to decide between UC and Wheaton, but at least it's down to 2.
  • STAmumSTAmum Registered User Posts: 22 New Member
    pkdof13 - Just a thought on your Ursinus vs Wheaton situation which my D is also facing.

    NEMom1 had a good point on comparing aid offers between the schools. Merit aid is worth more than institutional grants. Keep in mind that if your financial situation changes, the $ from institutional grants will also change whereas the merit aid will stay the same. The table tilts towards Ursinus given that they are very generous with merit aid.

    The Ursinus Financial Aid office says that tuition rises 3-4% annually and the aid remains static with student loans increasing annually to make up part of the difference (5,500 freshman + 1k annually). The Wheaton FA office (which is not as friendly over the phone) says that tuition rises 3% annually with aid remaining static. Note too that they did not mention the fact that the student loan burden rises with each annual cap whereas Ursinus did.

    Best to create a side by side worksheet so that you can compare both aid packages by element (COA, Merit, Grants, Loans, Shortfall)
  • pkdof13pkdof13 Registered User Posts: 375 Member
    Thanks, STAmum.
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