College Pete

The Quintessential College Town – Stop #1 on College Pete’s College Tour

The Quintessential College Town – Stop #1 on College Pete’s College Tour

Peter with Lisa Searle, Ithaca College admissions counselor

Greetings from Ithaca, NY – home to Ithaca College and Cornell University, and the number one rated College Town in America (according to USA Today).  No question there’s a palpable college vibe here.  In fact, I’m writing this from the Ithaca Commons, one of the two pedestrian malls where you’ll find both a great mix of cafes, laundromats, bars and restaurants AND an eclectic mix of  PhD’s, street performers and students mingling about and taking advantage of the free wifi.

We spent today at Ithaca College (IC) where I was treated to a great tour led by Joe Alfano, Class of 2013 — and then graciously hosted by Rich Wong (Assistant Director, Admissions) and Lisa Searle (Admissions Counselor).

IC is a relatively small school (6,000 undergrads) with a cosmopolitan feel!  It’s known for its first-rate, personalized academic approach and a practical, experiential learning environment.  The average class size is just 17 students and the student faculty ratio here is 12:1. As you’ll see in Joe’s video, If you blow off a class at IC,  you can expect to be called on it!  IC is unique in that it’s liberal arts at its core, but has highly rated programs in Music (as Mr. Wong said, “… Here’s where you come to see tomorrow’s Broadway stars”) and theater, a school of Health & Human Services and a Business School with a real-time trading room and the highest CPA pass rate in NY State, not to mention it’s world-renown Park Communications School, which includes a Pace-maker awarded (= to Pulitzer prize) student paper, the only local new broadcast and a satellite campus in Burbank.  It boasts many famous alum including Robert Iger, President/CEO of Disney.

Students at IC can take classes at Cornell (and vice versa) and more than 97% of IC grads are gainfully employed or in grad school within a year of commencement.   It is the only school that I have seen that has made the Career Center a scheduled stop on the tour!   

– 85% of IC students receive some sort of tuition discount.  In fact, IC automatically considers each applicant for one of three merit-based scholarships (President’s, Named and ALANA) — and then offers three additional merit scholarships including the Park Scholar Award that covers the full cost of attendance at the Communications School for all four years!  In all, IC awards more than $150 million in need and non-need based aid every year.

-IC takes a holistic approach to Admissions.  Counselors are encouraged to spend as much time reading an applicant’s file as necessary (by comparison, some schools limit the amount of time to as little as 7 minutes per applicant).  As Mr. Wong said, “We are looking for reasons to admit, not to deny!”

-Lisa Searle told us to tell our students to please ‘Be boastful … we want to know what makes you great, or why you stumbled.  If you don’t tell us, we won’t know!”

– We also learned than only 35% of students come from outside the Northeast  — and that puts our South FL students at a great geographic advantage and that Ithaca welcomes AP credits (3 or better gets credit) and college credits from dual enrollment programs.

Overall, Ithaca College is an outstanding choice for good students who want a residential, engaged campus life, a hands-on educational experience in an experiential, pre-professional environment with a liberal arts core.

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