Contributed by: Jay Murray, Director of Admissions, Western Connecticut State University
Carl Rogers, one of the most influential American psychologists, once said, “The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change.” Having been in the admissions world for over twenty years, I have found this statement to be especially true of the college admissions process. Recently, Western Connecticut State University made a significant change – one that will help attract more dynamic students to its campus – when it became a member of The Common Application.
At Western, we enjoy an atmosphere that encourages creativity, new ways of thinking and innovation. That atmosphere extends to our admissions office, as well. Since early last year, we have been instituting long-term strategies that will have a strong impact on the future of the university. Historically, Western has had a broad footprint in Connecticut, but few students outside our region are familiar with our programs. Now we are changing that. Moving forward, we expect to attract talented students from across the country who will be a great fit for Western, and who will be successful here.
This is why I am so excited that, starting in July 2014, Western will be a member of The Common Application. In doing so, we are joining more than 500 colleges and universities who share our commitment to college-access through a holistic selection process.
The Common Application, in its mission statement, describes itself as “a membership organization that, since its founding over 35 years ago, has been committed to providing reliable services that promote equity, access and integrity in the college application process.” I can say, from firsthand experience, that I know this to be true. For several years, I served as director of admissions for a private liberal-arts college in upstate New York. During my tenure there, we became a member college of The Common Application. I watched as the applicant pool evolved from a primarily regional base to a national pool that was more geographically, academically, economically and culturally diverse. The applicants who were admitted and enrolled were each a great fit with the university and all contributed to the campus community in numerous ways. This is exactly what we will achieve at Western.
Western is truly an amazing university. Students and parents not familiar with Western often ask me why I think it is special. I usually cite three factors:
- Great campus facilities. Our two campuses offer students a town-and-country collegiate experience in the history-rich New England city of Danbury, Connecticut. Our Westside campus, which sits on 365 beautiful acres, is only four miles from Midtown, its 35-acre sister campus. The two are closely aligned, with buildings and facilities that truly serve to strengthen our academic programs and enrich our robust campus culture. For example, our School of Visual & Performing Arts instructional, performance and exhibition center boasts a 350-seat concert hall, 350-seat theater, art galleries, and state-of-the-art recording studio and rehearsal, classroom and studio-art facilities.
- Excellent programs. Though a public university, Western has multiple aspects more often associated with private institutions, such as small class sizes and significant faculty-student interaction, but minus the extreme costs of a private-college education. Some of our top programs for undergraduate students include our business school, nursing program and theatre and music program.
- Proximity to NYC. Western is only a one-hour car or train ride from Manhattan. This makes it ideal for students planning to get an internship in the city or take part in the events, culture, and other exciting opportunities the five boroughs have to offer.
We know there are many students in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and beyond who would thrive at this university. We have missed out on some of these promising students simply by not being a member of The Common Application. Starting in July, however, this is going to change. We are excited to expose new students to Western, and delighted to be a member of The Common Application.