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13 North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities visited on counselor tour

Highly selective Duke University has something in common with the oldest two-year private college in the nation, Louisburg College: each is one of the 36 institutions comprising North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU;) and each was one of 13 institutions on the NCICU Eastern bus tour for high school counselors last week.

Sandy Clingman
North Carolina Wesleyan College
Sandy Clingman

Gathering information about campuses, programs and opportunities in higher education for their students, thirty-five school counselors, independent educational consultants and college program advisors from Florida to Vermont traveled through eastern North Carolina, staying overnight in the residence halls of five different private college campuses and eating in the dining facilities of many more.

While the majority of the student body was absent for the summer, several students at each campus were available to give tours and share their personal stories. Consistently, these happy students agreed that they had found their college match: their school had what they wanted and wanted what they had.

Finding that great college match can take some effort. The goal for students is to find a school where they will thrive, be happy and complete their education.

One of the most important things for a student to consider is his or her learning style.

Students who prefer to learn through active participation in the classroom and to have close, mentoring relationships with their professors often prefer private college learning environments, with smaller student bodies and smaller class sizes, over the larger campuses and classrooms of most public colleges.

Other things to consider, in addition to the academic offerings, cost and location, are the social environment, physical environment, political and religious culture, weekend activities, support services, and experiential learning and professional development opportunities.

Those criteria can be better evaluated by personal visits; and when trained professionals visit campuses, they are able to combine that personal experience with statistics, reports, web sites and other data to get a more complete picture of the school.

This clearer picture enables well-informed college advisors to point students to great college possibilities they may not have considered.

Visits also give college advisors up-to-date information about upcoming programs or changes; an insider's look at academic facilities, social gathering places and residence halls; and the opportunity to speak to current students, staff and faculty at the schools.

Each of the thirteen schools on the NCICU tour were proud of their campuses and what they could offer to the right student. Many are introducing new programs for the fall or have unique attributes that appeal to specific types of students.

While certainly incomplete, here are a few highlights of programs available to students at each campus:

Barton College

  • Extensive offerings from the School of Education include B.A.s in Special Education (K-12) and Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, along with Teacher Education and Licensure programs in all teaching levels
  • Multi-disciplinary B.S. in Gerontology major, requiring a 300-hour internship during senior year, prepares students for careers in this growing area of healthcare
  • B.S. in Nursing degree with clinical learning experiences in both urban and rural settings; and part-time option of R.N. to B.S.N.

Campbell University

  • Biology Department specialties include Biochemistry, Teacher Licensure, Pre-Physical Therapy, Pre-Physician Assistant, Pre-Medical, Pre-Dental and Pre-Veterinary
  • School of Business offers eight undergraduate business majors, including the only Trust and Wealth Management undergraduate program in the U.S., and new programs in Marketing and Health Care Management. 3/2 programs to earn an MBA are also available

Chowan University

  • Christian campus near the eastern Virginia border requires an introductory Bible course and offers opportunities for mission trips, bible study and mentoring while welcoming students of all faiths
  • School of Graphic Communications provides a 40,000 square foot state-of-the-art graphics communications facility. Graphic Communications majors can concentrate in either Graphic Design or Business Management
  • Multiple opportunities to participate from the Music Department, to include Music Education and Music Business degrees; and performing with a touring choir, singing groups, a guitar ensemble, and several bands and orchestras

Duke University

  • Duke Lemur Center, on 80 wooded acres two miles from campus, houses 250 individuals across 21 species in a living laboratory to advance science, scholarship and biological conservation through research
  • Duke University Hospital gives undergraduates on-campus research and volunteer opportunities
  • Duke Marine Lab located on Pivers Island, 180 miles east of campus, provides student research opportunities in, for example, ecology, environmental toxicology and molecular biology

Louisburg College

  • The only 2 year residential college in NC offers housing, athletics, organizations and activities for the full college experience

Meredith College

  • StrongPoints, a unique, four-year advising model at this vibrant women's college located in North Carolina's capital city of Raleigh, helps students make the most out of college by identifying their strengths; then using that self-knowledge to shape goals, involvement and career choice. Includes financial planning
  • 5-year dual-degree program - earn a B.A. in Chemistry or Mathematics from Meredith and a B.S. in Engineering from NC State
  • New for 2014 is a Public Health major with specialized tracks available in Biological Sciences
, Social and Behavioral Sciences
, or Policy and Ethics

Methodist University

  • School of Business offers seven majors, nine minors, five concentrations, and a certificate in International Business Studies, as well as the Center for Entrepreneurship
  • School of Health Sciences includes undergraduate programs in Athletic Training, Health Care Administration, Kinesiology, and Professional Nursing Studies

North Carolina Wesleyan College

  • New Living-Learning Community for female Criminal Justice majors
  • This fall the Business Division premiers its new concentration in Entrepreneurship for students pursuing a B.S. in Business Administration
  • An International Housing Co-op opens in the fall pairing one international student with one American student. Participation is competitive and requires an application

Saint Augustine's University

  • An Historically Black College and University (HBCU,) Saint Augustine's offers professional development guidance that begins freshman year and includes a seminar series required for graduation from the Belk Professional Development Center
  • Campus radio station, television station and newspaper offer on-campus learning opportunities from the Journalism and Mass Communications program for majors in Broadcasting, Print Journalism and Public Relations

Shaw University

  • Department of Mass Communications provides broadcast production and broadcast journalism students with an on-campus radio station and a fully equipped television studio and control room
  • Department of Allied Health Professions offers undergraduate degrees in Kinesiotherapy (a rigorous program requiring 1000 hours of clinical work to address the physical needs of the aging,) Recreational Therapy, Athletic Training, Recreation Management, and Communication Sciences and Disorders

St. Andrews University

  • Equestrian program in the southeastern countryside includes boarding; competitive teams; recreational riding; equine and pre-veterinary internships and scholarships; and degrees in Therapeutic Horsemanship, Equine Business Management and Equine Science
  • The multi-story Morgan-Jones Science Center includes a 20,000 square foot open floor plan lab, a greenhouse, an incubator, a woodworking and glassblowing shop, an herbarium, computer labs, an instrumentation center, hi-tech machinery and more

University of Mount Olive

  • Mount Olive is the only NC private college offering Bachelor of Science degree programs in both Agribusiness (for students interested in both the business and science of agriculture) and Agriculture Education (for students interested in teaching, for example, Biotechnology, Horticulture, Animal Science or Environmental and Natural Resources)
  • Seven campuses accommodate non-traditional students and three programs are offered exclusively online: the B.S. in Criminal Justice and Criminology; the R.N. to B.S.N. and their new M.B.A. program

William Peace University

  • Required professional/personal development program provides core curriculum courses in, for example, Media Literacy, Public Speaking, Writing, and Personal Financial Management; a Freshmen Experience program; a Career Development/Leadership course; a Portfolio seminar, and at least one three-credit hour internship before graduation
  • Summer archaeological field school conducted by the Archaeology Department for student research and experience in surveying, excavation, mapping and analysis conducted at local archaeological site. Students also present their work to site visitors to promote preservation of archaeological sites and to share their knowledge
  • Simulation and Game Design Program features the "motion capture system" and other necessary tools to master design, 3D modeling and programming used in developing video games and simulation training for the military, healthcare, academic and private industries

Whether located in city centers, college towns or countrysides, these private schools provide unique experiences to the students who call them home. To find out more about all of the private, non-profit liberal arts, research and comprehensive colleges and universities in North Carolina, visit the NCICU website.

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