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The Insider's Guide to the Colleges of New England
By Staff of the Yale Daily News
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2011 The Yale Daily News Publishing Company, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Address: 270 Mohegan Avenue, New London, CT 06320
Web site URL: www.conncoll.edu
Year Founded: 1911
Private or Public: Private
Religious Affiliation: None
Number of Applicants: 4,316
Percent Accepted: 38%
Percent Accepted who enroll: 30%
Number Entering: 492
Number of Transfers Accepted each Year: 65
Middle 50% SAT range: M: 610–700, CR: 620–720, Wr: 670–720
Middle 50% ACT range: 25–29
Early admission program EA/ED/None: ED
Percentage accepted through EA or ED: Unreported
EA and ED deadline: 15-Nov
Regular Deadline: 1-Jan
Application Fee: $60
Full time Undergraduate enrollment:1,996
Total enrollment: 2,026
Percent Male: 40%
Percent Female: 60%
Total Percent Minority or Unreported: 27%
Percent African-American: 4%
Percent Asian/Pacific Islander: 4%
Percent Hispanic: 5%
Percent Native-American: 1%
Percent International: 6%
Percent in-state/out of state: 27%/73%
Percent from Public HS: 55%
Retention Rate: 91%
Graduation Rate 4-year: 82%
Graduation Rate 6-year: 86%
Percent Undergraduates in On-campus housing: 99%
Number of official organized extracurricular organizations: 60
3 Most popular majors: English, Political Science, Psychology
Student/Faculty ratio: 10:1
Average Class Size: 15
Percent of students going to grad school: Unreported
Tuition and Fees: $46,675 comprehensive fee
In-State Tuition and Fees if different: No difference
Cost for Room and Board: Included
Percent receiving financial aid out of those who apply, first year: 77%
Percent receiving financial aid among all students: 41%
Connecticut College is a liberal arts institution in southeastern Connecticut, overlooking the Thames River and just minutes from the Long Island Sound. With its manageable size and small student body, ConnColl has a cozy and cohesive feel. The school's honor code is an important tradition and source of pride for students, and its effects can be seen in many different aspects of college life.
Academics and Administration
With a student to teacher ratio of just 10:1, the teachers are generally very accessible, and classes are small and intimate learning environments. "One thing I really liked was the advising I received as a freshman," said one sophomore. "If you make the effort to approach them, teachers can really learn a lot about you as a student and make your transition into college that much easier." Students must fulfill general education requirements spanning seven different core areas, but few find these to be limiting. In addition, all incoming students choose from a selection of freshman seminars, giving them an opportunity to experience some of the best available courses in their first year.
The honor code allows students unique levels of comfort with their studies not found at other institutions, in particular when it comes to final exams, which are self-scheduled and not proctored.
Perhaps the most impressive college program is CELS (Career Enhancing Life Skills) through which students complete workshops to receive funding for internships. This is an incredible opportunity for students at a "small school," especially for those who would for financial reasons be less inclined to take unpaid internships in fields they enjoy. One veteran of CELS went so far as calling it "the best-run office on campus. Most who do it say it is the best thing that ever happened to them."
A point of particular interest at ConnColl is campus celebrity Leo Higdon, the College President who took office following the 2005–2006 school year. Young, energetic and student-friendly, the president can often be seen walking around campus and asking students for their input on various campus issues. Not the tallest head administrator around, he has earned such nicknames as "Big Hig" and "Higgie Smalls," according to one student who proudly claims to have a T-shirt with his face on it.
Students at ConnColl are "a pretty homogenous group of preppy white kids, most of whom are from 'right outside Boston,'" according to one interviewee. "We're not all totally preppy, though. We've got our fair share of hippies and artsy fartsy kids," said another. The student body is small enough that most faces are familiar by sophomore year, giving the campus a tight, family feeling. This unity is reinforced by campus-wide events such as "Camelympics," an inter-dorm competition organized by students that happens every fall and lasts for 48 fun-filled hours. Events range from midnight volleyball games to scavenger hunts to Scrabble.
"My experience has been that, once you find something you like to do, the College opens up a world of opportunities."
Extracurricular activities are widely available as there are numerous clubs, organizations, volunteering opportunities, and sports teams at the varsity, club, and intramural level. Nearly all campus groups are run by students, allowing a deep level of involvement. According to one student, "My experience has been that, once you find something you like to do, the College opens up a world of opportunities."
The campus is actually comprised of several hundred acres, although "for the part you walk around on a day-to-day basis, it would take you only 10 minutes to go from the tip of south to the tip of north," said one junior. The rest of campus is an arboretum managed by the College. Another unusual feature of the campus is that soccer and lacrosse games are played on a field situated in the middle of a cluster of dorms known as south campus, making them very convenient locations for socializing.
Some students complain about a lack of variety in the dining halls, particularly when it comes to healthy options, but the dining services work hard to take student feedback into account when preparing their menus. The meal plan is included in the comprehensive tuition, room and board fee, and is unlimited. Students can eat as much as they want and enter any dining hall on campus as many times as they want. Despite this apparent flexibility, some feel that the availability of food is too restricted due to hour constraints and the fact that only one dining hall is open on the weekends.
The campus is unofficially divided into three areas: north, central and south. South has older dorms and is loud, whereas north is newer and quieter. Central campus is less defined, but conveniently located. There is no Greek life at ConnColl, but south campus picks up the slack as far as parties are concerned. Said one admittedly biased south campus stalwart: "North has A/C and nicer rooms, but it's boring and more anti-social ... south is way more fun."
There are no RAs at ConnColl, in keeping with the honor code and the amount of trust the administration puts in the students to behave appropriately. Instead, there is one "house fellow" in charge of each dorm, as well as SAs (student advisors) who are generally sophomores and who do not serve a disciplinary function, but rather help ease the transition into college life for freshmen.
"I know zero people who live off campus," said one sophomore. There are options for off-campus housing, but 99% of students choose to stay in the dorms, which helps draw the various years together and create a stronger feeling of campus unity. While first-year rooms are typically "nothing to write home about," the housing provided for upperclassmen is a big incentive for staying on campus. Juniors and seniors are guaranteed comfortably sized singles if they want them and many sophomores can get them as well.
According to one sophomore, "It's very important to have a car or a good friend who does, although parking sucks for freshmen, and campus safety loves to ticket." The College does, however, have a free bus service that brings students from campus to downtown New London. In addition, the College sponsors monthly trips to New York City for various events, and many students take advantage of these opportunities.
The city itself receives mixed reviews from interviewed students. "Like any city, it has its bad areas; it also has beautiful areas. There are some great restaurants and also good beaches only 15 minutes away by car," said one student. Shopping opportunities are limited, but there are a Target and a Walmart close by for essentials. The average student leaves campus at least once a week to eat out.
The weekend scene at ConnColl is quite lively, especially considering the lack of a Greek scene or a true urban downtown close by. Very few students have class on Fridays, so ConnColl weekends start Thursday afternoon. Drinking is definitely the focus of most students' weekends, and there are often keg parties in the south campus dorms. Any keg on campus must be signed for by two students who have taken a one-day class called Keg 101. One sophomore resident of south campus described the weekends as "loud. South campus is loud on Saturday because of soccer games, but the night life is just as loud."
Enforcement of drinking laws is not strict, in keeping with the honor code, and Campus Safety is generally lenient with drinking; its first responsibility is making sure students are safe, not getting them into trouble. The lack of a Greek system tends to make for a much more inclusive weekend scene at ConnColl. "I love that. I feel like everyone is equal as far as social life is concerned," one student said.
Aside from drinking, the administration makes a great effort to provide alternative activities on the weekends. FNL (Friday Nights Live) is a weekly concert on campus. In addition there are weekly Thursday Night Events, ranging from dances to comedians to movie nights to tie-dye. These events are typically more popular among freshmen, and one older student described them as "kind of lame, and definitely repetitive after a year or two." New London itself does not provide many nightlife alternatives in terms of cultural enrichment, a cause of complaint for non-drinkers.
Coming to Connecticut College, one will find a quaint, beautiful campus filled with prepsters who know how to have a good time, as well as one of the better liberal arts curricula available. — David Allen
If you come to Connecticut College, you'd better bring "a car, the latest copy of the J. Crew catalog and a Red Sox hat or something else related to Boston."
What is the typical weekend schedule? "Thursdays are parties, Fridays are pretty chill, and Saturdays are parties with lots of kegs in south campus."
If I could change one thing about Connecticut College, I'd "change the 'average' Conn student so it's not hard to fit in if you aren't decked out in Vineyard Vines. Oh, and also I'd get rid of the coed bathrooms. Those freak me out sometimes."
Three things every student at Connecticut College should do before graduating are "participate in Camelympics, live in south campus and ring the gong."
Address: 1073 N. Benson Rd Fairfield, CT 06824
Web site URL: www.fairfield.edu
Year Founded: 1942
Private or Public: Private
Religious Affiliation: Roman Catholic-Jesuit
Number of Applicants: 8,732
Percent Accepted: 59%
Percent Accepted who enroll: 17%
Number Entering: 927
Number of Transfers Accepted each Year: 75
Middle 50% SAT range: M: 540–630, CR: 520–610, Wr: 540–630
Middle 50% ACT range: 23–27
Early admission program EA/ED/None: EA
Percentage accepted through EA or ED: 58%
EA and ED deadline: 15-Nov
Regular Deadline: 15-Jan
Application Fee: $60
Full time Undergraduate enrollment:3,469
Total enrollment: 5,128
Percent Male: 42%
Percent Female: 58%
Total Percent Minority or Unreported: 15%
Percent African-American: 3%
Percent Asian/Pacific Islander: 3%
Percent Hispanic: 8%
Percent International: Unreported
Percent in-state/out of state: 23%/77%
Percent from Public HS: 55%
Retention Rate: 90%
Graduation Rate 4-year: 74%
Graduation Rate 6-year: 77%
Percent Undergraduates in On-campus housing: 85%
Number of official organized extracurricular organizations: 100
3 Most popular majors: Finance, Marketing, Psychology
Student/Faculty ratio: 13:1
Average Class Size: 24
Percent of students going to grad school: 20%
Tuition and Fees: $36,075
In-State Tuition and Fees if different: No difference
Cost for Room and Board: $10,850
Percent receiving financial aid out of those who apply, first year: 70%
Percent receiving financial aid among all students: 48%
Also known as "J Crew University" due to its almost homogenous "preppy" population, Fairfield University is a college in Connecticut characterized by strong academics, a vibrant social scene and a myriad of extracurricular activities. The campus is warm, pretty and inviting. It is also free from the gothic architecture that characterizes some of New England schools and most students find its suburban setting "convenient."
Education for the Mind, Body and Spirit
Fairfield University's Jesuit approach to education sets it apart from other tertiary institutions in that it provides to those enrolled therein, a holistic college experience that seeks to educate the mind, body and spirit. At undergraduate level, students choose amongst courses offered by the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business, School of Nursing, School of Engineering and the College of Continuing Studies. Hence, in addition to a liberal arts education, Fairfield students are provided with a platform on which they can explore their career options and apply in-class education to prospective career pathways.
Furthermore, for academically motivated freshmen and sophomores, there is the option of being a part of the prestigious Honors program. This is a program into which only fifty freshmen are admitted each year. Amongst many other things, it seeks to nurture an ability to question and analyze information as well as to stimulate an insatiable quest for knowledge of Western traditions, heritage, history and culture. Those who have had the privilege of being a part of this program describe it as "culturally enriching" and "insightful."
Fairfield University students never talk about academics without mentioning the enormous amount of support that they receive from faculty members. The small class ratio of 13:1 gives professors enough proximity to identify the academic strengths and weaknesses of their students and to build upon or help mitigate them. The library staff is also famous for its enthusiasm to help; and in addition, there exists a myriad of tutoring programs and special support groups such as the Women in Mathematics, Science, Technology, and Engineering that provides academic assistance to women in science. As a female prospective Chemistry major put it, "I chose Fairfield University because it has a high med-school acceptance rate and there is just the right amount of support for me to excel in my major."
Situated Exactly Where I Want It
"Fairfield is close to everywhere!" one student pointed out excitedly. Fairfield University is an hour from New York, ten minutes from the beach, and five minutes from both the Fairfield train station and the Fairfield public library. In addition, Fairfield is close to Stamford where one can go deal hunting at the mall and is served by numerous restaurants. Some students find this setting particularly advantageous as it allows them easy access to internships and volunteer opportunities in local hospitals, businesses and in organizations where they can gain invaluable work experience.
Fairfield University's generous financial aid package is particularly attractive as it can provide up to full funding throughout the four years of college. Despite the flailing economy (or maybe because of it), Fairfield University increased its financial aid package by 13%. For many students, this was the major factor that they considered when they chose to matriculate at Fairfield.
Excerpted from The Insider's Guide to the Colleges of New England by Staff of the Yale Daily News. Copyright © 2011 The Yale Daily News Publishing Company, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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