Recently I headed to Rhode Island and joined 39 other college counselors to tour all ten of the State’s four-year colleges. Yes, the smallest state in the U. S. has 10 four-year colleges, all less than an hour from the beautiful state capital of Providence. Our three and one half day itinerary was full of activity: touring campuses and meeting faculty, admissions reps and deans. However, the most insightful part of our tour was hearing from the articulate students who shared their experiences.
Monday morning we boarded our tour bus and headed southeast to Roger Williams University. Located on Mount Hope Bay, RWU’s setting is beautiful and students take advantage of its waterside location. Along the shoreline we saw several college owned kayaks available for student use. The sailing team ranks in the top 10 nationwide. RWU has 3,700 students with 91% hailing from outside of RI. Popular majors here are business, criminal justice, architecture, construction management, graphic design, marine biology, and communications. Roger Williams boasts its Affordable Excellence Program: freezing the cost of tuition for a student’s four-year attendance. One student told us that RWU is a “friendly campus where you can be yourself. And it’s a good size too: small enough that you don’t get lost in the crowd and big enough that you can always find something new to do.”
Our next stop was the New England Institute of Technology. Here the philosophy is to teach its students the technical and business skills that employers seek and students need to succeed in the real world. NET offers three accelerated degrees: associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s. Students attend class year-round and are able to finish an associate’s degree in 18 months and a bachelor’s degree in 36 months. NET has two campuses. We first toured automotive campus. The state-of-the-art automotive lab boasts equipment and technology that can be found in any top-notch dealership. Our next stop was the East Greenwich campus. Some of the most popular majors here include nursing, computer science and architecture. Our guide told us that no experience is necessary to study any discipline at NET. Students are self-motivated and career minded. Currently, all students commute. However, campus dorms with 400 beds are scheduled to open for the 2017-2018 school year.
We finished our first day by touring Johnson and Wales University. JWU has two Rhode Island campuses and three other campuses throughout the U.S. (Charlotte NC, Miami FL and Denver CO). Students accepted to one campus can enroll in classes on any of JWU’s campuses. We first toured the Downcity Providence campus. Popular majors here are business, hospitality and technology. No classes are scheduled on Fridays at JWU, which allows students to gain practical experience through internships or employment. We boarded the bus one more time and traveled 15 minutes south to the Harborside campus: home to the renowned College of the Culinary Arts. Baking and pastry are the most competitive majors. I was surprised to learn that no culinary experience is necessary for acceptance into the college. We saw students hard at work in professional kitchen classrooms, tasting rooms, and full service dining rooms. We were treated to an elegant, light dinner prepared and served by JWU students. What a wonderful way to end our first day!
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