The Edge Our college admission blog

Wabash College

by Katie Z, Ph.D April 6, 2016


Men’s colleges “afford the sons of an astonishing number of diverse families the opportunity to attend places that are focused explicitly on assisting students with their journey from boyhood, to guyhood, to manhood.” – A New York Times opinion piece entitled, “The Success of All-Male Schools.” 

On the heels of The Edge‘s post about women’s colleges, I thought it would be a nice change of pace to focus on a men’s college for today’s 3026 Series school. Readers, meet Indiana’s Wabash College!

Wabash College is one of the country’s four male-only, non-religious, liberal arts colleges (should you be curious, the other three are Georgia’s Morehouse College, Virginia’s Hampden-Sydney College, and California’s Deep Springs College). Founded in 1832, its first faculty member, Caleb Mills, was a graduate of Dartmouth College. The founders and Mr. Mills worked to ensure that “the school was patterned after the conservative liberal arts colleges of New England, with their high standards.”

Boy At Board


The college has a reputation for strong academics, including an emphasis on “critical thinking, careful judgment, and effective communication” across its departments. Speaking of which, when you hear the terms “Division 1, Division II, and Division III”, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) may come to mind. In reference to Wabash College’s academics, however, these terms denote the different groups into which departments are categorized. Division I includes the departments of Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics & Computer Science, and Physics; Division II encompasses Art, Languages & Literature (both classical and modern), English, Music, Philosophy, Theater, Religion, and Rhetoric; and Division III is home to Economics, History, Political Science, the Education Studies Program, and Psychology. Among these, students may choose from 25 majors, and also a variety of minors. In order to graduate, all seniors, beyond meeting other requirements, must also pass “a written comprehensive examination in his major field” and an oral examination with a three-professor committee.

Now, in case (after all the talk of divisions, above) you’re wondering, Wabash athletes / the Little Giants compete in the NCAA’s Division III – the school has produced more than 270 All-Americans! Along these sporty lines, I would be remiss if I didn’t let you know about the Monon Bell Classic, a football rivalry between Wabash College and DePauw University that dates back to 1932, when the bell was first introduced. Wabash has won the last seven games and is also ahead in the overall rankings, 41-37-6. Over the years there have been a number of bell heists (no small feat given that the bell weighs about 300 pounds!), including the famous Operation Frijoles, in 1965, which was written about in a Sports Illustrated article, “Pranks For the Memories – A Brief History of Harmless Mischief”. To learn more about the rivalry, click here!

Some other interesting attributes of Wabash College?

  • They say that at Wabash there is only one rule, the Gentleman’s Rule: “The student is expected to conduct himself at all times, both on and off campus, as a gentleman and responsible citizen.”
  • Of over 1,000 schools, ranked Wabash 50th for Best Universities & Colleges by Salary Potential. The college also does relatively well on its College Scorecard report, for instance, ranking well above the national average on the share of students who return after their first year, graduation rate, and students paying down their debt. Also of note here is that 24% of students hail from families earning less than $40,000, so the college can be proud of the socioeconomic diversity in its student body.
  • The Liberal Arts Plus program includes co-curricular initiatives that “cross disciplines to educate Wabash men to critically lead, think, and live humanely.”
  • There are nine national fraternities at the college. The first was established in 1846, and most fraternity members live in their respective houses throughout their undergraduate studies. To learn more about Greek life (and residential life) at Wabash, click here.
  • The college offers immersion learning trips that are free for students – “Faculty can apply for grants to take their class to locations that will bring home the ideas and concepts discussed in the classroom. Recent class trips included Turkey, Germany, Mexico, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Russia, Denver, south Florida and Chicago.” Cool!
  • Aptly-named The Bachelorthe college’s student paper is published every Friday and has been “the student voice of Wabash since 1908”!

For more information about the college, click here – and if you’re impressed by all that you’ve read here, definitely take the time to visit Wabash’s admissions page. As they proudly say at Wabash College, “It won’t be easy. It will be worth it!”

Three Traits That Make You An Ideal Recruit To College Coaches

by Admitster March 30, 2016


Here’s another great guest blog post from our friends over at NCSA Athletic Recruiting!

When we talk about finding the college that’s the right fit for you, we often discuss three important areas: the academic fit, the athletic fit, and the social fit. Conversely, we need to remember that coaches are also looking at whether you are an ideal recruit for their program. This is because at the same time that coaches are looking for student-athletes who will be the right fit — those who will say yes to an offer to join their roster — they’re also looking for recruits who say no, whether it’s explicitly, in an email or a phone call, or implicitly.

Here are some ways to be an ideal recruit, one who doesn’t unintentionally signal no to a coach.

An ideal recruit is honest about the right fit.

That “right fit” question is a two-way street. Are you the right kind of player for the program? Are you the right size for your position? Do you race at the speeds that the team requires?

At the same time, is the college/university right for you? Are you going to benefit from the school’s academics? Is the campus social scene a place where you can see yourself fitting in? Furthermore, if you’re from Wisconsin and you know that you don’t want to have to fly back and forth from home to college, talking to coaches on one of the coasts probably won’t serve you well in terms “best fit”, no matter how great a program the coach offers.

An ideal recruit is respectful in his/her communication with college coaches.

Depending on where you are in the recruiting process, you might be receiving questionnaires, form letters, e-mails, or even phone calls from coaches. Often there are strict rules that govern when a college coach is able to communicate with student-athletes.

The important thing for you to know is that no matter how far along you are in the recruiting process, being respectful to college coaches, and replying in a timely fashion to any type of communication you receive, is paramount.

Again, some coaches are searching for the “no”. Many student-athletes are intimidated by the prospect of saying no to a college coach, which makes a lot of sense given that a coach is someone who student-athletes, in general, deeply respect and want to impress. You should remember, however, that if a college coach has to hunt you down because you’re not being respectful in your communication or being proactive in reaching out to him/her, then your chances of being recruited by that coach are slim. In all likelihood, there are more ideal recruits who are signalling a deeper interest in that program than you are!

So, if you want to keep a door open (and we recommend that you never burn bridges with any college coaches!) then communicate clearly with coaches and behave in a manner that is respectful.

An ideal recruit is courageous and is a leader.

Coach Sue Enquist tells us that the number one trait coaches want to see in their athletes is courage: the courage to get to practice early, to work harder than your teammates while you’re there, and to stay late when you need to.



The courageous student-athlete is one who knows what the right thing to do is for him/herself, but is also able to convince/show peers what the right thing to do is:

“If you want to separate yourself in the recruiting process, start right now practicing your courage. It’s not easy. It’s so much easier in high school to go with the flow, fit right in. Just take little baby steps to work on your courage. Step out, step up, and be the one that others will follow.”

Be honest, be respectful, be courageous — and you’ll be more like the ideal recruit than ever before.

We’d love to chat with you about what kind of schools will think you’re the ideal recruit for their rosters. The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile!

Women’s Colleges

by Katie Z, Ph.D March 20, 2016


As you may or may not know, there are a number of different types of colleges and universities out there. For instance, some students may seek to apply to a historically black college or university (such as Morehouse College), a hispanic-serving institution, a tribal college or university, or a school with a specific religious affiliation. Today, however, we turn our gaze to women’s colleges.

OnCampus3There are a number of reasons why a student may consider applying to a women’s college, first and foremost of which is the fact that she is a woman (or perhaps a transgender student – see, for instance, “When Women Become Men at Wellesley” and “Where Do Their Loyalties Lie?“). Secondly, many have commented that they are motivated to apply to a women’s college in order to be inspired by powerful women. For example, from Barnard College‘s website: “Through it all, our students have the great fortune to be surrounded by women mentors and role models—in the faculty, throughout the College leadership, and among our outstanding alumnae who are an endless source of inspiration.” Others believe that they would be more likely to thrive at an institution where gender bias is far less of an issue. Also of note, from the Women’s College Coalition website, is that women’s colleges “have educated a higher percentage of low-income, racially diverse and first-generation students than traditional co-ed colleges and universities, public or private, for more than a decade.”

Furthermore, alumni of women’s colleges have shined a very positive light on their experiences as undergraduates and on life post-graduation. A 2012 report entitled “What Matters in College After College“, for instance, reported that 81% of alumni from women’s colleges believed that their alma mater had been “extremely or very effective” in preparing them for future employment. Furthermore, 72% of respondents reported that they had “benefited very much from a safe campus environment.” Graduates of women’s colleges were also more likely to have completed their undergraduate studies in four years or less (87% at women’s colleges versus 79% at liberal arts colleges versus 54% at flagship public universities), and were nearly twice as likely to go on to complete a graduate degree as their counterparts at public universities (51% versus 27%). A few other things you should know about if you’re considering applying to a women’s college?

Colleges With Women’s Undergraduate Programs

Agnes Scott College – Georgia

Alverno College – Wisconsin

Barnard College – New York

Bay Path University – Massachusetts

Bennett College – North Carolina

Brenau University – Campuses in Georgia and Florida

Bryn Mawr College – Pennsylvania

Cedar Crest College – Pennsylvania

College of Saint Benedict – Minnesota

College of Saint Mary – Nebraska

Colorado Women’s College – Colorado

Columbia College – South Carolina

Converse College – South Carolina

Cottey College – Missouri

Douglass Residential College – New Jersey

Hollins University – Virginia

Judson College – Alabama

Mary Baldwin College – Virginia

Meredith College – North Carolina

Midway University – Kentucky

Mills College – California

Moore College of Art & Design – Pennsylvania

Mount Holyoke College – Massachusetts

Mount Mary University – Wisconsin

Notre Dame of Maryland University – Maryland

Russell Sage College – New York

Saint Mary’s College – Indiana

Salem College – North Carolina

Scripps College – California

Simmons College – Massachusetts

Smith College – Massachusetts

Spelman College – Georgia

St. Catherine University – Minnesota

Stephens College – Missouri

Sweet Briar College – Virginia

Trinity Washington University – Washington D.C.

University of Saint Joseph – Connecticut

Wellesley College – Massachusetts

Wesleyan College – Georgia

Need-Blind & Need-Aware Admissions Policies

by Katie Z, Ph.D March 8, 2016


If you browsed through Admitster’s Glossary of Important College Admissions Terms, you may have noticed two similar items listed that made you scratch your head and think, “Huh?” Those terms are Need-Aware Admission and Need-Blind Admission. Both are policies related to how colleges and universities use applicants’ financial circumstances in making admissions decisions. What are the differences between the two?  Well…

Need-Aware Admission, also known as Need-Sensitive Admission, is an admissions policy through which schools consider the amount of financial aid a prospective student would require in order to attend, factoring this information into admissions decisions.

Test-Blind AdmissionsNeed-Blind Admission, on the other hand, is an admissions policy through which schools do not consider prospective students’ financial circumstances when making admissions decisions. Know, however, that there are various shades of need-blind policies. Need-blind schools can either meet the full financial need of applicants, meet only some of that need, or meet the need of only American applicants (meaning that the college/university is need-aware for international students) and/or applicants who have not been wait-listed (i.e. being need-aware for those on their waiting list). Also, some schools are need-blind for a given percentage of their incoming class (e.g. 90%) and then need-aware for the rest.

These two little terms are making some big waves in the world of college admissions. Regarding future trends, some argue that while schools with larger endowments can afford to implement need-blind admissions policies, colleges with increasing financial struggles may turn to need-aware policies in increasing numbers, which could negatively impact the admissions chances of those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and, in turn, negatively impact diversity at those schools. For more on this, see this article from The Wesleyan Argus, Wesleyan University’s college newspaper.

Others believe that need-blind admissions are a farce, writing that there is no such thing as a true need-blind college or university. Those in this camp make the point that, at the end of the day, colleges need tuition to operate, so could never truly turn a blind eye to the financial ramifications associated with admissions acceptances and rejections. To do so would be to “defy logic“.

Along these lines, some take a much broader definition of need-blind admission, making the point that even if college admissions officials are not spending hours combing through paperwork on prospective students’ financial situations, that socioeconomic status plays itself out in many ways on the applications, making true need-blind admission impossible. From test scores to advanced courses, from recommendation letters to application essays, from extracurricular activities to legacy status – wealthier students have many distinct advantages in the application process! For more on the unlevel college admissions playing field, click here.

Whatever your thoughts on need-blind and need-aware admissions policies may be, do be aware that they exist. Click here for a list of need-blind colleges and universities and, as ever, do your own research on those schools that you’re interested in applying to!

Soka University of America

by Katie Z, Ph.D February 28, 2016


A few days ago I stumbled across an eye-catching article from U.S. News & World Report entitled, “Colleges With The Most Students Who Study Abroad.” Having studied abroad in France as an undergraduate, an experience I can’t write enough good things about, I read on with great interest. Which college was tied for first, having had 100% of its 2014 graduates study abroad? Why, it was California’s Soka University of America!

100% of the school’s graduates studied abroad?! Now that is impressive!



After this small taste of what Soka University has to offer, along with the discovery that “Soka” is a Japanese word meaning “to create value”, I was determined the learn more. Readers, welcome back to the 3026 Series!

To begin with, study abroad (and “in a country in which the student’s language of study at SUA is the principle language spoken“) – how do they do it? Exploring the university’s website, I came across this: “A unique aspect of the curriculum at SUA requires that all students participate in a semester studying abroad during their junior year. The cost of study abroad is included in tuition.” Cool! But it doesn’t end there. Reading on, I came across another gem of a fact – “About 60% of our students come from the US and 40% have come from more than 40 other countries.” Imagine sitting in such a diverse classroom! I consider this a great attribute of the school.

The campus itself is located about one hour north of San Diego and one hour south of Los Angeles and, as is pointed out on the school’s website, is “surrounded on 85% of its border by the 4,000 acre Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park“, has architecture “reminiscent of Tuscany, Italy”, has “more than 50% of the campus devoted to natural and landscaped open space”, and is located only three miles from the beach – idyllic!

What else? Well, how about this? Soka University was recently ranked very highly by US News & World Report for “best value, diversity, and happy freshmen”, along with ranking first for “Foreign Student Factor” and “Faculty Resources.” The university can also boast of an impressive 8:1 student/faculty ratio. More? Well, Soka University offers free tuition to students whose families earn $60,000 or less. Further, the school shines at (in particular, earning an A+ mark for housing, diversity, and weather), and also has some noteworthy achievements on the College Scorecard. Of what do I speak?  A below average annual cost for federal financial aid recipients ($10,450), an above average graduation rate (88%), and 96% of students returning after their first year (the national average is 67%), to name but a few examples.

And, of course, academics. Undergraduates at Soka University of America earn a B.A. in Liberal Arts (there is only one major!) and have a concentration in either Social & Behavioral Sciences, Environmental Studies, International Studies, or Humanities. As seniors, SUA students also do a Capstone Project, the goal of which is to “gain in-depth knowledge about a topic within your field of concentration, drawing upon all the skills and knowledge you have developed during your career at Soka.” To learn more about academic life at Soka, check out the Soka University of America Catalog. Finally, if what you’ve just read has piqued your interest, then a visit to the school’s admissions page is a must. A value-creating educational experience, including a fantastic study abroad experience, may well be in your future!

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