University of Michigan

Juniors: This one says college, that one says university -- What's in a name?

 

As you research colleges for an initial list of schools to which you may apply, understanding how they "name" or characterize themselves may provide important information. Whether a school is a “college” or a “university” can make a difference.

Most— but not all— colleges and universities offer a liberal education. That doesn’t refer to politics! “Liberal” in this case goes back to the original meaning of the word: “unrestricted.” It’s an educational approach where a student is called on to examine problems and issues from multiple vantage points and learns how to think, communicate, question, and probe. The rationale behind a liberal education is that the world is changing rapidly and training for a specific discipline or job is ultimately less practical than learning how to be ready for a world unknown.

Undergraduate education in the United States is dominated by institutions that hold to the notion that a liberal education is the best way to prepare for a life of significance, meaning, and means. There are, however, also terrificc options that do not insist students be liberally educated.

What’s in a name? Is there a difference between a college and a university?: Advice for Juniors Researching Colleges

As you research colleges this summer to come up with an initial list of schools where you may apply, understanding how they characterize themselves may provide important information. Whether a school is a “college” or a “university” can make a difference.

Most— but not all— colleges and universities offer a liberal education. That doesn’t refer to politics! “Liberal” in this case goes back to the original meaning of the word: “unrestricted.” It’s an educational approach where a student is called on to examine problems and issues from multiple vantage points and learns how to think, communicate, question, and probe. The rationale behind a liberal education is that the world is changing rapidly and training for a specific discipline or job is ultimately less practical than learning how to be ready for a world unknown.

Undergraduate education in the United States is dominated by institutions that hold to the notion that a liberal education is the best way to prepare for a life of significance, meaning, and means. There are, however, also terrificc options that do not insist students be liberally educated.

Here are the def nitions of the four general categories of selective four- year higher education

institutions:

Laura Stewart, Ensworth School

Laura Stewart, our March Counselor of the Month, had both a unique opportunity and challenge when she joined the college counseling program at Ensworth School, an independent college preparatory high school in Nashville, Tennessee. For 46 years -- since 1958 -- the school had served only elementary and middle school students. Then, in August, 2004, Ensworth added grades 9 through 12, opening the new 127-acre Devon Farm campus one month after Stewart joined the school as Assistant Director of College Counseling.

Over the next five years, Stewart rose to become Director of College Counseling -- in 2009, one year after Ensworth School graduated its first senior class. As a result, she has had the opportunity to participate in building a counseling program where there were no preconceived ideas. As Director, she has been able to establish policies and procedures that reflect a philosophy with her own creative stamp and then watch the program grow. "It's hard for me to imagine being anywhere else because I've been so fortunate to get to do what I want," says Stewart.

Counselors of the Month: Marybeth Kravets and Imy Wax, Authors

Our Counselors of the Month for August are widely respected professionals in the world of college counseling and educational consulting -- though not high school college counselors per se.  Marybeth Kravets is Chief Education Officer for Chicago Scholars, a not-for-profit serving high-need college-bound students; previously she was the college counselor for Illinois' Deerfield High School for 31 years. Imy Wax is a licensed psychotherapist and educational consultant currently in private family practice.

Jim Conroy, New Trier Township High School

This month we welcome James Conroy, Chair of the Post-High School Counseling Department at New Trier Township High School in Winnetka, Illinois. A graduate of Michigan State University, where he received a B.S. in political science, Conroy also holds a Masters in Guidance and Counseling from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.  Born just outside Boston, Conroy later moved with his family to Grosse Pointe, Michigan, but a trace of the Bay State remains in his speech. Conroy and his staff counsel about 2,000 juniors and seniors each year at New Trier, where he has been a tireless -- and bracingly honest, we suspect -- advocate for college applicants for the last twenty-six years. See his interview in True Admissions! here.