During the National Association of College Admission Counseling Conference earlier this fall, I attended a session titled "College Counseling for Jewish Students & Families." There were some great takeaways from this session and hope you find them helpful as well as you celebrate the final nights of the holiday.
First, if you are a Jewish student or parent starting your college search, or in the thick of it, it is worth considering how important Jewish life is to you and how active a role you want take in Jewish life while going to college.
Here are some introductory questions you might want to ask yourself:
- What type of Jew are you?
- What is Jewish life currently like at home? At school? Outside of school? How much do you want it to change? Stay the same?
- Do you participate in Shabbat?
Second, you may want to think about the food and the role that plays in your life. For example:
- What will the dining hall and residence life experience be like?
- Will there be food you can eat every day of the week (not just select Kosher options but full meals)?
Lastly, you may want to think about life inside and outside the classroom. For example:
- What about Greek life? (some organizations focus specifically on Jewish members)
- What about Israel Studies or Jewish Studies on campus?
- Are there clubs and/or organizations for Jewish students?
- Is there Hillel?
The presenters at the session also identified some "up and coming" schools for Jewish life. Their list included: U of Richmond, Elon, Virginia Commonwealth, Northeastern University, and College of Charleston. In addition some "hot schools" on their list for Jewish students included: Bradley University, Franklin & Marshall University, Muhlenberg, Colgate University, Ithaca College, Dickinson College, Lehigh University, Trinity University and Michigan State University.
For more resources on Jewish life in college here are some helpful websites to check out.
P.S. Are you an admissions counselor? Here's a tip for you. You might want to be ready for questions during your recruitment travel about Jewish life, especially if you are visiting a Jewish high school!