The beautiful, red brick buildings and well-manicured grounds of Providence College create a warm and welcoming first impression. PC is located just 10 minutes from downtown Providence, yet the campus feels insulated from the city bustle. PC is a medium size liberal arts college that values its strong Dominican tradition and core curriculum. All students study the same core curriculum, but choose a major within one of the three schools: Arts and Sciences, Professional Studies (which includes health and human services, and education), and Business. Fifty percent of business school graduates take advantage of the 4 plus 1 MBA program. Our tour guide was a vivacious freshman from Cape Cod. Like half of her PC classmates, she attended a parochial high school and chose PC because of its liberal arts, Catholic-based education and strong community. Div. I basketball is popular; students can receive a free season pass after they attend all of the home games. All campus clubs have an outreach component—part of Dominican philosophy. Students at PC are preppy. Admissions is competitive and prospective students apply to the college, not a specific program. PC is test optional. The Liberal Arts Honors Program is highly selective and includes a monetary award. PC is a good choice for students who want a Dominican-based education and a tightknit community with lots of school spirit.
Located just 10 minutes from downtown Providence, Rhode Island College is a medium size regional college that boasts strong programs in nursing, education, social work and performing arts. Nursing is a standout program with 9 teaching hospitals in the area and a 96% pass rate on the licensing exam. We toured the suburban campus, had lunch with faculty and students, and heard musical selections by a student a cappella group. RIC students are eclectic, liberal, open-minded and progressive. Admissions is rolling, however, to be considered for merit aid students must apply by December 15. Admissions looks for at least a “B” average and a combined SAT score of 1000 (CR & Math). Most students come from Rhode Island or nearby Connecticut and Massachusetts. Currently more than 50% of the student body commutes, however, RIC hopes to attract students from a wider region with its new on-campus housing. Before leaving campus, several of us visited the student-run pottery show and spoke with the down-to-earth student artists. RIC is a good fit for New Englanders who want a nurturing environment where individuality is celebrated.
It was raining when we toured the Brown University campus, but it did not dampen our experience or blur its beauty. Brown is located in historic Providence. Intimate academic and residential quads lined with low brick buildings give the campus an insulated feel. Our tour guide was an architecture student from Manhattan, who has embraced the Brown experience both in the classroom and out. He participated in research and internship opportunities and was recently elected as next year’s president of the Bruin Club—an organization that is dedicated to overseeing the needs of prospective students. Brown is part of the Ivy League, but it sets itself apart from the other Ivies with its open curriculum. Students at Brown are encouraged to explore all of their areas of interest, and the administration believes that this freedom instills passion and engagement. Brown encourages committed learners by offering a shopping period: a two week period at the beginning of each semester that allows students to explore classes before committing to enroll. Although 58% of incoming students plan to study the sciences, engineering is the most popular major. Admissions is extremely selective for 1,550 spots, and this year’s admit rate was just 8%. Brown is need-blind and meets full demonstrated need. We had dinner at Brown’s Hope Club, where we had the opportunity to speak with faculty and students. The Dean of Admissions told us that they are looking for students who “take risks, engage outside the classroom and demonstrate good personal character: showing kindness, inclusion, and acceptance.” One student told us that she applied to several Ivies, but ultimately chose Brown because it has “strong liberal arts, is situated in a small city without the inner city feel, and has a welcoming and accepting student body.”
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