Six Things I Learned on A Bus Tour in Central North Carolina
First, the statistics.
In June, 2016, I was the guest of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (#NCICU_EVENTS), along with some 35 other high school admissions counselors from all over the US. In a well- planned, whirlwind 5.5 days, we visited 12 different colleges and universities, slept in 5 different dorms, ate 17 meals on campus and according to my Fitbit, walked about 26.24 miles. We met university presidents, admissions officers, heard student panels, participated in culinary arts demonstrations, and learned many new buzz words in higher education. (My favorite phrase of the week was “amenities arms race”…
In no particular order, some of the take away information includes:
• Students no longer need to hoard quarters for laundry machine usage. Either the “magic swipe card” takes care of it, or it is simply free. More than one school had laundry facilities located right in the room or suites.
• Internships and engaged learning are important and emphasized almost universally. No longer are students passive listeners in large lecture halls. Projects, discussions, and hands on teaching are more readily the norm. Internships present the opportunity to demonstrate and develop employable skills prior to graduation, and entire offices and departments are out there to encourage and assist students in making those experiences happen.
• There is an increase in study abroad opportunities, not as simply glorified travel experiences, but as launch pads for students who will find themselves in need of a “global platform”, which includes cultural awareness and diversity exposure. Some schools are offering study abroad for freshmen, before they ever step foot on campus.
• Tutoring and academic supports like writing centers are available to ALL students, to help ensure academic success.
• Ethics are being taught in college classes, particularly in those related to business.
• Emerging as popular fields of study include sustainability, exercise science and communications