I had the privilege to attend a two-day independent college counselor event presented by the Colleges of the Fenway in Boston. The Colleges of the Fenway is a consortium of six Boston higher education institutions: Simmons College, Wheelock College, Emmanuel College, Massachusetts College of Arts and Design, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science, and Wentworth Institute of Technology. Each of these schools is unique and offers its students its own academic and extracurricular programs. Collectively, COF offers students the opportunity to cross register and participate in study abroad programs, intramural sports, performing arts groups and social events. Last Friday was COF’s “Block Party,” which is an annual event filled with good food, music and fun.
Founded in 1899, Simmons College is an all women’s college with 1,700 undergraduate students. All students are required to complete the Simmons Plan: a new four-year flexible curriculum. Its mission is “purpose, leadership and action.” Each student must complete one of the 26 unique Boston connection courses during her first year and complete a capstone project in her major during the final year.
The most popular areas of study are health science, communications, business, education and English and nearly 20-percent of students major in nursing. There are several three-plus-one combined bachelors/masters accelerated programs: public policy, social work, and library and information science. Simmons also offers a five-year BSN/MSN and a six-year DPT program.
Simmons boasts a beautiful residential campus, which is just a five-minute walk from the academic campus. The dorms are built around a large grassy quad, which creates an insular space for students to hang out with friends. The campus has its own dining hall. Although Simmons does not guarantee housing all four years, our tour guide told us that all students who want to live on campus are able to.
Our tour guide was a very confident young woman who told us that she chose Simmons because of its welcoming all female community. Students I saw and met embraced their individuality and were self-assured.
Wheelock is a small liberal arts college with approximately 800 undergraduates. It prides itself on its mission, “improving the lives of students and families.” Students on the panel agreed that those who attend Wheelock chose the school for its student centric focus, Boston location and its academic advising that fosters a strong work ethic.
Wheelock boasts strong regionally and nationally accredited social work and teaching programs. Sign language is a popular discipline as well. The school has an extensive innovated educational resource center, which offers programming and workshops to students. Fieldwork and internships are an important part of a Wheelock education.
Student learning support is moderate. The learning center offers peer tutoring, open study sessions, professional advising, and time management workshops. Students are encouraged to work closely with the LD staff for ultimate success.
Wheelock is primarily a residential campus. Seventy-percent of the students reside on campus. There is a professional theater on campus that is accessible to all and offers open caption. Many students at Wheelock take advantage of the schools service learning trips during school breaks. Recent service trips have been to New Orleans and Barbados.
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