Wednesday, April 16, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

College corner: More flavors than just chocolate and vanilla

JenniferBorensteinW

Over and over again I hear how discouraged people are by the competitive and costly aspects of getting into, and paying for, college. While this is certainly a valid concern, I like to point out that these issues are usually the case with a select subset of colleges that are very popular and well-known (whether for sports or academics or both) such as Stanford, USC, UCLA and the Claremont Colleges, to name a few in California.

There are, however, many more than just these “flavors” of college to consider. In fact, there are about as many different flavors of college as there are different tastes of people. So, why not taste the rainbow and look into performing arts schools, military academies and single-sex colleges? Although some of these are just as competitive, many are not, and it is beneficial to explore all options in order to find the right fit for you.

Let the music play
For students who wish to study music in college, it is helpful to have a clear understanding of the kind of experience you are looking for and your strengths and weaknesses. There are several music paths to evaluate:
1. Conservatory. Offers focused, performance-intensive training for students who want to pursue a career in music. Examples include Juilliard and the New England Conservatory.
2. Within a university. Another path is to select a conservatory, music college or music school within a university since it allows for a more “typical” college experience. Examples include: Oberlin and Carnegie Mellon School of Music, and locally, University of the Pacific.
3. Music departments. Some universities have strong, and highly competitive music departments. Examples include Amherst and Yale.
4. Dual degrees. Usually this is a five-year program leading to a bachelor of arts and a master of music. An example is Harvard/NEC program.

A variation on the theme: visual arts
Student life at art schools is unique when compared to a “typical” college experience. Visit and it becomes obvious with the tours of studios and displays. From fashion design to toy development to animation, art schools are launching students in to such varied career paths as architecture, advertising and digital media. If this is a path that seems interesting to you, be sure to confirm whether schools have accreditation since it matters for funding, grants and credibility.

The types of bachelor’s degrees that may be earned are arts, fine arts, architecture and industrial design. Some excellent schools to examine are Rhode Island School of Design, Pratt, Parson’s the New School for Design, and — closer to home — CalArts and Otis.

An important component of this application process is the portfolio, which is a small, representative collection of an artist’s current or recent work. All schools require submission of a set number of drawings/creations and may even specify the medium and content of such drawings. To get a sense of how your portfolio stacks up, plan on attending National Portfolio Day. This is a free event where representatives from colleges accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design review your artwork, discuss their programs and answer questions about professional careers in art. Check it out at www.portfolioday.net.

Do you want to be all you can be?
If you love a challenge and flourish in a very structured environment, the United States Service Academies (U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy) may be worth investigating. They provide undergraduate education and training of commissioned officers for the United States armed forces. Although the admissions process is quite onerous and very competitive, admitted students receive full tuition scholarships with an estimated value of between $200,000 to $350,000 for a commitment of at least five years of service upon graduation.

There are also many other military colleges (both two-year and four-year) besides these. Check out http://www.amcsus.org for more information.

If you are interested in the academies, here are the basics to consider:

  1. Learn about the academies. Research the expectations and the requirements.
  2. Begin the process early. In the junior year, fill out the online candidate questionnaire.
  3. Visit. Try out for their summer leadership camps. If this is not an option, then visit the academies, take a formal tour and/or join ROTC.
  4. Nomination. You will need a nomination from a member of Congress, senator or the vice president. Start the process for obtaining one in the second half of junior year.

Single-sex schools
Once the only way women could earn a higher education degree, women’s colleges are now a choice rather than a default. There are 48 active women’s colleges in the United States, most of which are small, private, liberal arts schools. Some are better known nationally such as Barnard and Mount Holyoke, while others like Mills College and Scripps are not.

Why choose this path? Well, the National Survey of Student Engagement studied random samples of female first-year and senior students from 26 women’s colleges, and 264 other four-year institutions and found that women at single-sex institutions were more engaged in effective educational practices and reported higher levels of feelings of support and greater gains in college. See the survey results at http://cpr.iub.edu/uploads/Umbach%20et%20al.%202007.pdf.

For those of you concerned about the lack of coed social interactions at women’s colleges, keep in mind that several of these women’s schools provide students with ample opportunity to take coed classes. Scripps, for instance, is part of the Claremont Colleges, so Scripps students may take classes at any of the other schools in the consortium. The same is true with Mount Holyoke and the Five College Consortium (University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Hampshire, Smith and Amherst). At Barnard, students may take classes and participate in extracurricular activities at Columbia. Students at Mills can cross-register for classes at UC Berkeley. In a nutshell, there are more options to take classes with men than meets the eye.

While we are on the topic of men, let’s not forget that there are still some men’s-only colleges in existence. Examples include Hampden-Sydney, Wabash and Morehouse, to name a few. Some students find this to be a more comfortable learning environment. Unlike the performing arts schools and military academies, single-sex colleges do not have additional application requirements. See box for more information.

Until next time
So if the traditional chocolate and vanilla flavors don’t whet your appetite, explore specialty schools and discover what is most appealing to you. After all, finding a good fit is a necessary ingredient in the recipe of life.

— Jennifer Borenstein is an independent college adviser in Davis and owner of The Right College For You. Her column is published on the last Tuesday of the month. She lives in Davis with her family. Reach her at jenniferborenstein@therightcollegeforyou.org, or visit www.therightcollegeforyou.org.

Additional application requirements for specialized schools
Performing arts: Usually an audition and/or submission of written/performed pieces
Visual art: Submit portfolio
Military academies: Get nomination.
Single-sex: No additional requirements.

Jennifer Borenstein

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

 
‘Eco-Heroes’ help get us from here to there

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
CHP seeks owner of lost cash

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
 
Home building up in March after frigid winter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Davis elder-abuse case wraps up

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Alleged serial killings highlight GPS limits

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Local professor subdues unruly man on flight

By Adrian Glass-Moore | From Page: A3, 2 Comments

 
Family fiction in miniature showcased at bookstore event

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Yolo Crisis Nursery is in crisis; please help

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Meditation, Buddhism classes offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Seniors can get tips for getting around town

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
School has garden plots for rent

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Sugar overload, on ‘Davisville’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Rotarians, students, teachers, parents collaborate on planter boxes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Animal expert explains dogs’ thinking

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Check out the night sky

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Hop to it: Easter Bunny meets Davis history tour

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Garden doctor: Veggie gardening available year-round

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Central Park Gardens to host Volunteer Orientation Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
.

Forum

Still supporting this guy

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Urban forest under siege

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6, 5 Comments

Drought care for our trees

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

.

Sports

UCD staff allows 19 hits in Causeway rout

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
DHS softball struggles in nonleague outing

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Devils open Boras Classic by splitting games

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
 
JV/frosh roundup: DHS sweeps a trio of baseball games

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Baseball roundup: River Cats get by Grizzlies at Raley

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Giants beat L.A. in 12

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Sports briefs: Stanford sends Aggies home with a lacrosse loss

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Features

 
.

Arts

Craft Center exhibit explores ‘Possibilities’

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

 
RootStock to host wine themed plein aire exhibit

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

The California Honeydrops to bring danceable groove to The Palms

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
See Flower Power exhibit at Gallery 625

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Red Union Blue inks record deal

By Landon Christensen | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Wednesday, April 16, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6