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Yet another HE/SA Fall 14 post


tdix09
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I'm so glad I found this forum! I'm new here and throwing my hat in the ring:

I too am having a hard time in selecting a confident list of schools. I'd like a solid list of 4-6 schools. Other things to note:

--I'm a city girl. As much as I'd like to stay in a city (NYC/Philly/DC... Chicago maybe? Boston even less), I can be convinced out of a city. Lord knows I need a change.

--Does name matter in this field? I've been picking mostly off name/ranking/hearsay. I have a lot of friends/colleagues who work in this field and their degrees vary widely. Many went to NYU Steinhardt, but I went there for UG. WON'T BE GOING BACK.

--I've extended research to Michigan, MSU and Indiana. I have a hard time seeing myself in either Michigan or Indiana but those names keep coming up when I ask for advice, and many POIs in my research have degrees or have worked there.

--I'd like to work in leadership development-type programs, particularly with a service-learning component. I can also see myself in student activities, maybe reslife. I was a peer educator and RA in UG and currently work with students in community engagement/service learning.

--I'd like a program that focuses on counseling, as before this, I was interested in an MSW.

TL;DR version: help me make a solid list, I dont feel very confident in my current picks. As much as I want to get out of NYC, I think another city might be best. Here's what I have so far:

Current list:

UPenn (has been a dream program for a while)

Michigan

MSU

Indiana

Ones to look into, based on perusing this site and other fora:

UConn (their faculty doesn't intrigue me, but tuition waiver does!)

Penn State

Illinois Urbana-Champaign (their site kinda bored me)

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Higher Education and Student Affairs?

 

I heard Colorado, Boulder has a good program. I went UMCP, but not in HE/SA but I was told that we had a very good program (I guess these could be hearsay)

 

Who do you want to work with in the field? Where are they and where did they come from? I find these are helpful questions to ask when looking for schools.

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I'm from Michigan, and I've visited Michigan's program and I did my undergrad at MSU. So I can weigh in on those two places:

 

Michigan: Located in Ann Arbor, which is a really cool, artsy city. There's tons to do there: shops, bars, restaurants, theaters, etc. Michigan's campus is also integrated right into the city, so it has a really urban feel. For a bigger city, it's also pretty safe overall. Lot's of families live there too. It may not be as big as some of the others you listed, but it would satisfy your desire to live in a city.

Their program however is a very general higher ed program, very theory based. A lot of the people in their program are wanting to do more fundraising, development, and research type work in higher ed, not work directly with students. They are adding a concentration in Academic and Student Affairs to start Fall of 14. When I met with them, their main concerns for me were that they would have a faculty member who could advise me in becoming a student affairs practioner (I want to be an academic adviser fyi, and most all of their faculty have only done research in higher ed) and they also couldn't tell me if I would get an internship working directly with students. They offer them, but they can't guarantee that I'd get one. Their graduates have gone on to become student affairs practioners though.

However, with that said there are a lot of pros to their program, paid internship, can finish the program in 2-3 semesters, living in an awesome city, very active campus life, big ten football, etc. If your wondering my verdict after my visit, I still plan on applying, and in the end it will come down to what type of internship they offer me if I'm accepted.

 

MSU: This is my alma mater so I'm going to be extremely biased :) MSU is located in a more suburban type town. The activity of East Lansing is really dependent on if classes are in session. I personally like the balance though, I've stayed here every summer to take classes and work. It's definitely more of a college town, but there are local families in the area too. The main "downtown area" in along Grand River Ave. That's where the bars, shops, restaurants, etc. are. There is definitely very active campus life though to make up for it. Sports are huge here. The student activities board also brings in a lot of concerts and shows during the year that are held on campus. I personally enjoyed it, but since you are used to bigger cities you might experience a culture shock.

However, their Student Affairs program is excellent! They offer a wide variety of assistantships to their students. Almost all of their students are able to find an assistantship. The benefits package includes 9 credits tuition remission, stipend, health insurance, and for ResLife placements free housing. You have the opportunitty to do two practicum placements on top of that. They also have a lot of study aboard opportunities (MSU is big on study abroad).

Their curriculum is more general student affairs, so they don't have a counseling focus. However, I'm sure you could incorporate social work elective courses into the curriculum and there are also a variety of departments on campus you could do a counseling practicum in (LGBT resource center, MSU counseling center, MSU safe place domestic violence shelter, etc) I'd contact them though to be sure. MSU also offers the HALE program as well, which is their more general higher ed program. But I don't have as much info on that since I'm looking at their student affairs program.

 

Hope this was helpful! I also recently discovered this website and I'm finding it immensely helpful in my grad program search!

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thanks so far! are there other schools I'm missing that's worth checking out?

 

@iampheng:

I've heard good things about all the schools on my list. I'd never heard the comparisons between Mich and MSU but if I had to choose  based on your comparison, MSU is more desirable. It matches my initial impression when visiting their site. I also have built a relationship with a professor here at my campus who just finished her PhD there, and a friend who is starting her PhD at MSU this fall. 

 

I'd like to work with students more, but I think I appreciate theory just as much. 

 

As for people I'm interested in working with, I've only started looking at professors at Penn. 

http://psychology.sas.upenn.edu/people/duckwort - saw her on TED and while she doesn't teach in GSE, I'm intrigued.

https://scholar.gse.upenn.edu/harper - he spoke at my current university recently, and while this may seem silly, his tweets are interesting.

http://sociology.sas.upenn.edu/annette_lareau - also spoke at my university. while her current work didnt seem super groundbreaking, her book (which i'd read pieces of as recommended by my boss) was of academic interest to me.

 

@jbums: 

i think Denver is too much of a stretch for my life right now. Honestly, living in the suburbs freak me out, but mostly bc its new/foreign to me. I'll have to get used to it if at some point, I could be taking live-in positions at Any College, USA.

 

Cool to see a fellow AC VISTA alum!

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thanks so far! are there other schools I'm missing that's worth checking out?

 

@iampheng:

I've heard good things about all the schools on my list. I'd never heard the comparisons between Mich and MSU but if I had to choose  based on your comparison, MSU is more desirable. It matches my initial impression when visiting their site. I also have built a relationship with a professor here at my campus who just finished her PhD there, and a friend who is starting her PhD at MSU this fall. 

 

I'd like to work with students more, but I think I appreciate theory just as much. 

 

As for people I'm interested in working with, I've only started looking at professors at Penn. 

http://psychology.sas.upenn.edu/people/duckwort - saw her on TED and while she doesn't teach in GSE, I'm intrigued.

https://scholar.gse.upenn.edu/harper - he spoke at my current university recently, and while this may seem silly, his tweets are interesting.

http://sociology.sas.upenn.edu/annette_lareau - also spoke at my university. while her current work didnt seem super groundbreaking, her book (which i'd read pieces of as recommended by my boss) was of academic interest to me.

 

@jbums: 

i think Denver is too much of a stretch for my life right now. Honestly, living in the suburbs freak me out, but mostly bc its new/foreign to me. I'll have to get used to it if at some point, I could be taking live-in positions at Any College, USA.

 

Cool to see a fellow AC VISTA alum!

 

I'm actually not quite an Alum yet, I start in August and will serve for the next year. I'm incredibly excited though!

 

I think East Lansing is a good starter suburb :)

 

Michigan definitely has a really good higher ed program so I wouldn't rule it out quite yet. It's definitely possible to focus on working directly with students there, but their program is going to be very different from the student affairs focused ones. It really just depends on what type of experience you are looking for. I do agree with you though, I plan on applying to both (I'm trying to stay in state since it will be cheaper) and MSU has a slight edge for me too.

 

In terms of some of your other questions, I honestly don't know how much "name" and rankings weigh in this field. You have to keep in mind that if these schools have their own student affairs program, they probably prefer to hire their own graduates over other schools graduates. I know this is the case at MSU (the majority of their academic advisers are graduates of their SA program, that was one of the selling points they used on me when I visited. It worked :) ) I personally don't pay attention to rankings that much, since the way I look at it is that they will probably change from year to year. I pay more attention to the curriculum, experiential learning opportunities, area the school is located in, etc. Plus if the school has a strong alumni network that can be helpful in finding employment. Employers might care about name and rankings though for all I know, but at the same time your list contains a lot of really well known schools so I wouldn't be too worried.

 

If it helps you any the out of state schools I've tossed around are UMass, USC, Seattle U, Rutgers, UConn, and NYU. I haven't landed on any of them as "for sure" places yet because each one of them has at least one con. Do you mind telling me why you didn't like NYU? I'm just wondering.

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If it helps you any the out of state schools I've tossed around are UMass, USC, Seattle U, Rutgers, UConn, and NYU. I haven't landed on any of them as "for sure" places yet because each one of them has at least one con. Do you mind telling me why you didn't like NYU? I'm just wondering.

 

NYU is a great school for graduate/professional school (Stern, Tisch, Steinhardt and Silver/Social Work are highly regarded). For undergraduate: it's super pricey, not at all the traditional college experience, and you really have to find your fit there. I didn't hate it, but for what I studied (not arts/sciences/business/arts) I couldve saved a lot of cash and maybe had more fun. Also, NYU is not a school of pride. Alum aren't going to stop you on the street if you're wearing a tshirt or cap. I associated in a lot of different circles, and I don't know anyone who shows "pride." Perhaps bc there's no sports to build morale around? No one I know is donating to an alumni fund, goes back to visit campus, or anything. The only time the NYU name helps me is, incidentially enough, working in student affairs and playing the "who do you know" game. 

 

Don't get me wrong, NYU is fun, and I had good times. But some of the times are sh*tty. It's pricey. It's a school for the monied. I wasn't/still am not. For me, because I've already experienced the large, urban private university with an open campus, outside of Penn (which is similar in that respect) I'm open to something different. At least I say I am. 

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--Does name matter in this field? I've been picking mostly off name/ranking/hearsay. I have a lot of friends/colleagues who work in this field and their degrees vary widely. Many went to NYU Steinhardt, but I went there for UG. WON'T BE GOING BACK.

 

Name doesn't matter that much in higher ed unless you are hoping to go into academia and maybe policy.  It's an experience based field so you'll want your assistantship to be in the area that you hope to get a job in after you graduate.  If you can't secure a civic engagement assistantship - I would then look for a student life position - campus activities or something similar would be your best bet.

 

Since community engagement/service-learning is fairly specific, I would only apply to schools that offer internships or assistantships in those areas.  Off the top of my head, I would recommend: Ohio State University (they have a Service-Learning strand in their higher ed program), University of Vermont (they tend to have at least one assistantship in civic engagement and in general the school is focused on social justice, civic engagement issues), U-Mass Amherst (they have a Higher Ed program and a Social Justice program so it is highly likely that you can take electives in Social Justice but should research further), University of Maryland (they tend to have several assistantships in this area and use to have some classes on this but I can't find them at the moment on their website), University of Michigan (they have the Ginsberg Center for Community Service Learning that is pretty well known and they also have a concentration in Diversity and Social Justice within their higher ed program), University of Connecticut (they tend to have at least one assistantship in this area), and University of Iowa (they have at least one faculty member studying this but I am not sure about assistantship offerings).

 

I am sure there are more programs focused on civic engagement/service learning, but these are the programs that I think of when I think of strong civic engagement opportunities in higher ed.  Essentially I would recommend picking programs based on the assistantships that you get offered, cost of the program, courses that you need to take, and then location.  You might decide on a different order of preferences though.  

 

Good luck! 

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NYU is a great school for graduate/professional school (Stern, Tisch, Steinhardt and Silver/Social Work are highly regarded). For undergraduate: it's super pricey, not at all the traditional college experience, and you really have to find your fit there. I didn't hate it, but for what I studied (not arts/sciences/business/arts) I couldve saved a lot of cash and maybe had more fun. Also, NYU is not a school of pride. Alum aren't going to stop you on the street if you're wearing a tshirt or cap. I associated in a lot of different circles, and I don't know anyone who shows "pride." Perhaps bc there's no sports to build morale around? No one I know is donating to an alumni fund, goes back to visit campus, or anything. The only time the NYU name helps me is, incidentially enough, working in student affairs and playing the "who do you know" game. 

 

Don't get me wrong, NYU is fun, and I had good times. But some of the times are sh*tty. It's pricey. It's a school for the monied. I wasn't/still am not. For me, because I've already experienced the large, urban private university with an open campus, outside of Penn (which is similar in that respect) I'm open to something different. At least I say I am. 

 

Yeah, right as I contemplated NYU I decided there was no way I would be able to afford NYC on a grad student budget (I also am not among the monied :) ) I'm also just about to give up on the East Coast in general (with the exception of UConn). I'm really just not landing on any programs that jump out at me.

 

I'm probably going to end up expanding my search. Right now I'm trying to think of any place that I've ever thought "that would be a cool place to live" and look to see if they have a program...

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I would also add UPenn on your list -- a friend of mine currently enrolled at UPenn told me that there is a civic engagement graduate assistantship through Civic House.

Thanks for this - UPenn is at the top of my list, and your reason is another add to the "pro" column. Now I'm wondering why I'm applying anywhere else, money aside.

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