April 2015 Parent News
When Haley Coller, a junior at Gustavus Adolphus College, sets her sights on a goal, she does not give up. “I knew that I wanted to go to college and I knew that my mom would not have the money to send me,” Coller said. “So I just had tunnel vision towards my goal.”
Coller, who grew up in Bloomington and Burnsville, applied to 27 colleges and to more than 70 scholarships. In the end her college choice came down to two schools: one in California and to Gustavus. “I chose Gustavus because of the people and the campus. But also because they awarded me one of my largest scholarships,” Coller said. That scholarship, The Annexstad Family Foundation Scholarship turned out to be just one of many. “I just had a feeling that I could find little $1,000 to $2,000 scholarships. So I just kept applying. I utilized different resources. I asked local business owners and community members about local scholarships,” Coller recalled. “I would work on my homework until about 11 p.m. and then spend at least two hours a night writing essays and applying to scholarships. After a while, it definitely got easier! I just didn’t stop until I knew I had enough to pay for college.”
Coller’s financial aid package includes a Minnesota State Grant, a Pell Grant, a Gustavus tuition grant and several scholarships — some need-based and some academic-based. She also has a small work-study award. Coller credits her tenacity in helping her secure the scholarships. “My mom did not go to college and did not know what the FAFSA was or how financial aid is figured out. I had her full support but I knew I had to find a way to make it work,” she said. “Every year, despite fluctuation in grant amounts and scholarships, it always seems to work in my favor.”
And now that Coller is in college, she is taking advantage of every opportunity. She is pursuing a double major in public accounting and political science. She is involved in the Gustie Greeters, Model U.N., Gustavus Women in Leadership, Pan-African Student Organization and also works as a peer career advisor in the Center for Servant Leadership. Last spring she studied abroad in Malaysia. This summer, Coller secured a paid internship with Goldman Sachs in New York City. “I am testing the waters with all these different experiences,” Coller said. And she is sharing some of these experiences with her mom. “My mom is coming to New York with me. She has not had a vacation in 12 years and has never been to New York.”
As for advice for anyone starting their scholarship hunt, Coller says the key is to throw yourself into the process and to keep applying.
Minnesota Private College Week is only three months away, running June 22-26. Our 17 private nonprofit institutions offer short morning and afternoon introductory sessions, all five days of the week. Registration is now open at www.mnprivatecolleges.org/mpcw.
A new one-pager was released this winter that conveys what makes Minnesota’s Private Colleges worth considering. “We’re Worth It!” combines key facts about academic excellence, affordability and career value. You can download the PDF (note that it is designed for legal-sized paper). You can also order copies from us at no charge.
Yes, college is about working hard in class. But it is also a time for students to learn about themselves and explore their passions outside of academics. At Minnesota’s Private Colleges, there is a club, organization or recreational opportunity for just about every interest, giving students a chance to get involved and be part of the campus community.
"Clubs provide the opportunity for students to come together over a shared passion,” said Margaret Cahill, director of campus life at the University of St. Thomas. “They are able to connect with a variety of students they might not connect with in class or through other campus experiences. Participation in student clubs or organizations enhances their learning through social, problem-solving and interpersonal skill development,” she added.
Another twist on clubs are those focused on sports; while these aren’t varsity sports, the camaraderie is just as strong and the athletic prowess can be just as impressive. “Rugby is such a great community to be part of,” said Erica Sheline, a Carleton College senior and team co-captain. “It is competitive yet collaborative. It has really helped my confidence on and off the field and helped me to just go have fun.”
The Council recently added 26 undergraduate minors and 52 concentrations to our College Finder, an online search tool for programs of study at our 17 private nonprofit colleges. When families search for a major or academic interest (there’s 147 of them!), these will be pulled up along with any majors offered.
Is your student also interested in college athletics and fine arts offerings? Those are part of the College Finder too. (And the athletics offerings include club sports too.) So these additional options that can be searched as well range from ballroom dance to ice fishing, from a literary journal to gymnastics.
High school students looking for something to do during the summer have plenty of options at Minnesota’s private colleges. From sports to music to culture camps, there’s a lot to appeal to teenagers. Many are offered every year. And as for helping students think about the college search, being on a campus for a summer camp can’t hurt. View a list with links to more information.
Wondering about the latest news from our campuses? Here are a few recent highlights (or check out the current campus tweets.)
Carleton College moved up to the No. 2 position on Peace Corps’ annual list of the top volunteer-producing small colleges and universities across the country.
Concordia College’s Lexi Robinson, of Minneapolis, was selected for the USA Pavilion Student Ambassador Program in Milan, Italy, where she will represent the United States at the World's Fair.
Concordia University’s Coding BootCamp program is one of three Twin Cities area accelerated training programs working with the city of Minneapolis as part of the newly launched TechHire initiative.
Hamline University’s School of Law and William Mitchell plan to combine, creating the top law school in the Midwest for a rigorous, practical and problem-solving approach to legal education.
Macalester College English Prof. Marlon James was a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers where they spoke about both James's book "A Brief History of Seven Killings" and Macalester.
The Minneapolis College of Art and Design will be offering its first massive open online course (MOOC) this spring — Biomimicry: A Sustainable Design Methodology.
The Saint Mary University of Minnesota’s University Chamber Singers and Saint Mary’s Jazz Combo have returned from weeklong concert tours of Ireland; both groups held homecoming performances.
Co-edited by St. Catherine University students and professor Cecilia Konchar Farr, a new book captures passion of Harry Potter generation and features the collection of essays from student writers attending MPCC schools.
A new solar project will enable St. Olaf College to become "carbon neutral" in its electrical energy usage.
- 10 conversations you need to have with your kids between college acceptance and college drop-off, Huffington Post, Mar. 2, 2015
- 5 ways to start preparing for college once you have the acceptance letter, USA Today, Mar. 3, 2015
- Saving for college on the six-year plan, Star Tribune, Feb. 28, 2015
- Degrees Matter Less Than Skills to Employers Per New Survey, LearnU, Feb. 21, 2015
- New college grads: Who employers want to hire, CBS Money Watch, Jan. 20, 2015
- Five myths about filing for college financial aid, Consumer Affairs, Jan.16, 2015