Page 1


Fall 2012


The RJ Insider’s Guide to COLLEGE LIFE contents • The Top Schools Jews Choose (p.36)

• What Colleges Don’t Tell You (p.41)

• Financial Aid: Secrets of Success (p.42) • How to Grow as a Jew, Your Way (pp.47 & 48)

Reprinted Directly from Reform Judaism, the World’s Largest Circulated Jewish Magazine

Col_CoverReprint_f12_F.indd 23

7/23/12 10:52 AM


Turning Knowledge into Wisdom Can students learn to think creatively at the college level, or is this something they should have been taught earlier?

You’ve said: “The process of higher education is based on an incredible act of chutzpah. We are training people for a world we can’t even imagine‌.â€? What knowledge and skills should we teach students today?

We should be teaching students how to communicate, to analyze, to problem-solve, and, perhaps most importantly, to turn millions BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY STUDENTS WEEDING AT of pieces of undifferentiated A WALTHAM PUBLIC SCHOOL COMMUNITY GARDEN. information into knowledge that can help them determine the best way the skills necessary to learn how to to understand and change our world. turn information into knowledge and In short, we need to help them acquire knowledge into wisdom.

I always tell parents that they have their children for 18 years; we get them for only four. That said, I think that college years do offer students the opportunity to think creatively by opening their minds and trying on entirely different ways of thinking. One of the ways we do that at Brandeis is by exposing them to different kinds of people. Our students come from 116 different countries. The average Brandeis student will meet any number of people who live in places from which he/she has never met anyone. Students will also meet people with backgrounds, ideas, and

College Cover Š2011 R ick Friedman.com

A conversation with Brandeis University President Frederick Lawrence


Ranked #11 among “Top 60 Schools Jews Choose� by Reform Judaism magazine Jewish students at USC find: R5*#,#./&5(5/.#)(&5-/**),.5.",)/!"5#&&&5(5" R5)&#35&,.#)(-65-*#&50(.-5(5(.1),%#(!5)**),./(#.#R52*(5%)-",5#(#(!5)*.#)(USC President C. L. Max Nikias and Niki C. Nikias paying tribute at Yad Vashem

R5")&,-"#*-65#(&/#(!5."5*,-.#!#)/-5 1#-"5 ,-"#*5")&,-"#*65555 551),."5qgh6kff5*,53, R5Äť55")"5)/(.#)(5 (-.#./.65 )/(5355,/-.5 555.0(5*#&,!50).5.)5)&&.#(!5(5*,-,0#(!5."5 555.-.#')(#-5) 5)&)/-.5-/,0#0),R55$)#(.5"&),]-5!,5*,)!,'5(5-*#&#45)/,--5 555)Äż,5.",)/!"55(5,15(#)(5)&&!

Discover why you should choose USC. USC Hillel www.uschillel.org

Chabad at USC www.chabadusc.com


reform judaism

Col_Persp100-Adm100_f12_be4.indd 24


fall 2012

7/20/12 6:48 AM


A Great Place to be Jewish! 6,000+ Jewish Undergrads; Second Largest in USA Groundbreaking Campus Reform Outreach Initiative Only University in U.S. with Dedicated Reform Rabbi Tikkun Olam / Social Justice Opportunities Worldwide Nationally-Recognized Reform Shabbat, Learning, and Leadership Programs Rabbi Heath Watenmaker Reform Outreach Initiative 93 College Avenue New Brunswick, NJ 08901 732.545.2407 Ext. 406 rabbiheath@rutgershillel.org

_RJ fp copy.indd A10


pus Lif

h Cam r Jewis

ion fo

undat The Fo


illel h s r e g rut


7/25/12 12:15:45 PM

Find the Right School at


Perhaps the most important criteria in choosing a college or university is a good “fit.� To find that fit among more than 500 schools, visit

Hillel’s Guide to Jewish Life on Campus: www.hillel.org/guide As the world’s largest on-campus Jewish organization, Hillel provides meaningful Jewish experiences at school, in the community, in Israel, and around the globe. Learn more at www.hillel.org


values foreign to their own, challenging them to think differently and creatively about the world and its problems. You’ve written, “If free speech should ourish anywhere, it is within the halls of a university.â€? Do you think university students have the right to say whatever they want or invite any speaker on campus?

I think that free speech—which I’d define as robust discussion among those with different views—is the essence of an academic community. I tell students: Not only will we permit people to say things on campus that will sometimes make you feel uncomfortable and challenge many of your preconceived notions, we’ll actually encourage this. To exercise free speech is to invite debate—no one should expect to be able to express a view and not have it questioned in a respectful, serious, challenging way. Justice Louis Brandeis, the university’s namesake, had it right: “The answer to bad speech is more speech.� So where are the limits? No one is allowed to threaten anyone. No one is allowed to delegitimize anyone. No




reform judaism

Col_Persp100-Adm100_f12_be4.indd 26


fall 2012

7/19/12 6:11 AM

one is allowed to make anyone else afraid to express an opinion. Hate-filled messages that advocate violence, racism, homophobia, or antisemitism are off-limits. We open our university to as wide a variety of views as we can within the confines of civility and responsibility. You’ve written that Brandeis is devoted to social justice. How is it expressed on campus?

Social justice is one of Brandeis University’s core commitments, dating back to its founding in 1948 as a community in which students would not only learn to understand the world but engage in acts of repairing the world: tikkun olam. This commitment animates us to this very day. In the greater Waltham, Massachusetts area alone, Brandeis students logged 56,000 hours of community service in the last academic year—more than 1,000 hours per week—assisting the elderly, immigrant populations, people with developmental disabilities, and many others. And if you ask most Brandeis students why they do this, they won’t

Vibrant Jewish campus life

Office of Admissions www.admit.indiana.edu Borns Jewish Studies Program www.indiana.edu/~jsp

More than 4,000 Jewish students Š

Top Jewish Studies program Incoming freshman scholarships up to $20,000 Apply: www.indiana.edu/~jsp/scholarships-freshmen.html


Active Hillel Š

America’s largest Israel Overseas Program Š

Big IU NFTY alumni network

bobcatS WANTED.

Stay Local or Go Global Located midway between New York City and Boston and just 8 miles north of New Haven, unlimited options for culture, work and play await. Or take advantage of our opportunities to study abroad at places like Tel Aviv University, Ben-Gurion University and Haifa University.

We’ve got class Small classes, a focus on academic excellence, plus top rankings in U.S. News & World Report as well as the Princeton Review’s Best 377, are just a few of the reasons to choose your education at Quinnipiac University.

Hillel: A Campus Tradition Hillel provides an opportunity for students to continue their Jewish life while at school. With a full-time rabbinical presence, hosting dinners, services and more, Hillel at QU is the perfect place to meet new friends and celebrate old traditions. To learn more, contact Rabbi Reena Judd at Reena.judd@quinnipiac.edu. ARTs AND SCIENCEs




Health Sciences




Quinnipiac offers 56 undergraduate and 20 graduate majors to our 6,000 undergraduate and 2,000 graduate students. Each class is kept small and is taught by outstanding faculty in state-of-the-art facilities. Plus, our 600-acre suburban residential setting, expanded academic facilities, housing, recreation and Division I athletics make for a unique and dynamic university. Visit and experience it for yourself. Go to www.quinnipiac.edu, email admissions@quinnipiac.edu or call 1-800-462-1944.

Hamden, Connecticut

reform judaism

Col_Persp100-Adm100_f12_be4.indd 27


fall 2012

7/19/12 6:11 AM

say, “We have to.â€? They will say, “We get to.â€? Students also are engaged in a wide range of study abroad and summer programs, including working with disadvantaged communities in Israel. This is a place where students enter to learn and leave to serve. New York University is an afďŹ rmative action/equal opportunity institution.

Experience a semester at one of our global academic centers: OAccra, Ghana OBerlin, Germany OBuenos Aires, Argentina OFlorence, Italy OLondon, England OMadrid, Spain OParis, France OPrague, Czech Republic OShanghai, China OSydney, Australia OTel Aviv, Israel OWashington, DC


The Forward described you as “the most religiously observant president Brandeis has ever had.â€? Who have been your most important Jewish inuences?

My childhood rabbi, Martin Rosenberg of Community Synagogue in Port Washington, New York (which my parents helped found), taught me essential lessons about Reform Judaism and education: to make Jewish choices based on knowledge, including the understanding of traditional Jewish texts. Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, was also a major influence when I served as the RAC’s very first Legislative Assistant in 1975. I learned from David the essence of tikkun olam in action. From Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf I learned

TRINITY COLLEGE H ILLEL UĂ&#x160;7>Ă&#x20AC;Â&#x201C;]Ă&#x160;Ă&#x153;iÂ?VÂ&#x153;Â&#x201C;Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;}]Ă&#x160;Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;VÂ?Ă&#x2022;Ă&#x192;Â&#x2C6;Ă&#x203A;iĂ&#x160;VÂ&#x153;Â&#x201C;Â&#x201C;Ă&#x2022;Â&#x2DC;Â&#x2C6;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x17E; UĂ&#x160;-Â&#x2026;>LL>Ă&#x152;Ă&#x160;>Â&#x2DC;`Ă&#x160;Â&#x2026;Â&#x153;Â?Â&#x2C6;`>Ă&#x17E;Ă&#x192;Ă&#x160;Â&#x153;Â&#x2DC;Ă&#x160;V>Â&#x201C;ÂŤĂ&#x2022;Ă&#x192; UĂ&#x160;Â&#x153;Ă&#x192;Â&#x2026;iĂ&#x20AC;Ă&#x160; >Ă&#x152;iĂ&#x20AC;Ă&#x17E;Ă&#x160;Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;Ă&#x160;Â&#x201C;>Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;Ă&#x160;`Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;}Ă&#x160;v>VÂ&#x2C6;Â?Â&#x2C6;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x17E; UĂ&#x160;>Â?Â&#x153;Ă&#x20AC;Ă&#x160;>Â&#x2DC;`Ă&#x160;Â&#x201C;Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;Â&#x153;Ă&#x20AC;Ă&#x160;Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;Ă&#x160;iĂ&#x153;Â&#x2C6;Ă&#x192;Â&#x2026;Ă&#x160;Ă&#x192;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x2022;`Â&#x2C6;iĂ&#x192; UĂ&#x160; Ă?VÂ&#x2C6;Ă&#x152;Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;}Ă&#x160;Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;Ă&#x152;iĂ&#x20AC;Â&#x2DC;>Ă&#x152;Â&#x2C6;Â&#x153;Â&#x2DC;>Â?Ă&#x160;>Â?Ă&#x152;iĂ&#x20AC;Â&#x2DC;>Ă&#x152;Â&#x2C6;Ă&#x203A;iĂ&#x160;LĂ&#x20AC;i>Â&#x17D;Ă&#x192; UĂ&#x160;Â&#x2DC;Â&#x2DC;Ă&#x2022;>Â?Ă&#x160; Â&#x2C6;Ă&#x20AC;Ă&#x152;Â&#x2026;Ă&#x20AC;Â&#x2C6;}Â&#x2026;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x160;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x20AC;Â&#x2C6;ÂŤĂ&#x160;>Â&#x2DC;`Ă&#x160;>ÂŤÂŤĂ&#x20AC;Â&#x153;Ă&#x203A;i`Ă&#x160; Ă&#x160;Ă&#x160;Ă&#x160;Ă&#x192;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x2022;`Ă&#x17E;Ă&#x160;>LĂ&#x20AC;Â&#x153;>`Ă&#x160;Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;Ă&#x160;Ă&#x192;Ă&#x20AC;>iÂ? UĂ&#x160;/Â&#x2026;iĂ&#x160;<>VÂ&#x2026;Ă&#x192;Ă&#x160;Â&#x2C6;Â?Â?iÂ?Ă&#x160;Â&#x153;Ă&#x2022;Ă&#x192;ip>Â&#x2DC;Ă&#x160;Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;Ă&#x203A;Â&#x2C6;Ă&#x152;Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;}Ă&#x160; Ă&#x160;Ă&#x160;Ă&#x160;Â&#x2026;Â&#x153;Â&#x201C;iĂ&#x160;>Ă&#x153;>Ă&#x17E;Ă&#x160;vĂ&#x20AC;Â&#x153;Â&#x201C;Ă&#x160;Â&#x2026;Â&#x153;Â&#x201C;i UĂ&#x160;/Ă&#x20AC;Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;Â&#x2C6;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x17E;Ă&#x160; Â&#x153;Â?Â?i}ipÂ&#x153;Â&#x2DC;iĂ&#x160;Â&#x153;vĂ&#x160;Ă&#x152;Â&#x2026;iĂ&#x160;Â&#x2DC;>Ă&#x152;Â&#x2C6;Â&#x153;Â&#x2DC;½Ă&#x192;Ă&#x160; Ă&#x160;Ă&#x160;Ă&#x160;Ă&#x152;Â&#x153;ÂŤĂ&#x160;Â?Â&#x2C6;LiĂ&#x20AC;>Â?Ă&#x160;>Ă&#x20AC;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x192;Ă&#x160;VÂ&#x153;Â?Â?i}iĂ&#x192;

Ă&#x153;Ă&#x153;Ă&#x153;°Ă&#x152;Ă&#x20AC;Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;VÂ&#x153;Â?Â?°i`Ă&#x2022; reform judaism

Col_Persp100-Adm100_f12_be4.indd 28


fall 2012

7/19/12 6:11 AM

“Northeastern has a lively Jewish community for students of all backgrounds. Whether you want to study, travel, or schmooze, it’s great to be Jewish here.” —Arthur Maserjian, ’14, a finance and accounting business major and the president of Northeastern Hillel, who is on co-op at Goldman Sachs

SCHOLARSHIP, COMMUNITY, HERITAGE At Northeastern, you’ll discover enriching Jewish studies, matched with curriculum-based work, research, and volunteer opportunities in Boston, Israel, and beyond. And—with weekly bagel brunches at the newly renovated Hillel House, transformative birthright trips, and the annual Jews Cruise—you’ll join a vibrant, inclusive community that students call “a Jewish home away from home.”

Boston, Massachusetts s northeastern.edu

_RJ fp copy.indd A9

7/25/12 6:07:56 AM

Core Contacts


he RJ Insider’s Guide to College Life is a collaborative project of Reform Judaism magazine and Hillel: The Foundation of Jewish Campus Life. To read and email College Guide articles, please visit reformjudaismmag.org. To learn about Reform college programs, visit urj.org/college; for Reform Israel college programs, call 212-650-4115 or visit ReformMasa.org. For additional info about Jewish life on hundreds of campuses, visit Hillel at hillel.org or call 202-449-6500.

the energy and passion that flows from a covenantal relationship with God. I have also been influenced by Viktor Frankl, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, and Franz Rosensweig. Over my life, I have belonged to Conservative and Modern Orthodox congregations. At Brandeis, I am privileged to take part in the life of each Jewish religious movement. There are different streams of Judaism, but only one kind of Jew—a person committed to finding her or his place in the eternal story of the Jewish people. We should all strive to be that kind of Jew.

ONE EXPERIENCE TWO DEGREES List College Offers Dual-Degree Programs in Conjunction with Columbia University and Barnard College Our distinctive program enables you to combine the intimate experience of the Albert A. List College of Jewish Studies— one of the most renowned Jewish studies colleges in the world—with the secular experience of a liberal arts education at Columbia University or Barnard College. Upon graduation, you will be poised to take your place as a global citizen and emerging leader in the Jewish community and beyond.

List College. Why not have it all?

Albert A. List College of Jewish Studies William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education The Graduate School

The Rabbinical School

3080 BROADWAY • NEW YORK, NY 10027

(212) 678-8832 • www.jtsa.edu/list

reform judaism

Col_Persp100-Adm100_f12_be4.indd 30

1 Scholarships & Grants The JVS Scholarship Loan Program of the Jewish Vocational Service Agency offers interest-free, need-based loans up to $5,000/ year to Jewish residents of Metro West New Jersey. jvsnj.org The JCCs of North America Graduate Scholarship Program offers full-time students majoring in select subjects up to $20,000 if they agree to work for two years at a JCC after graduation. jccworks.com The Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America offers $500–$1,000 grants to high school seniors who are direct descendants of members. jwv.org Central Scholarship and Loan Referral Service (UJF and JF&CS of Pittsburgh) offers $1,000– $3,000 need-based scholarships to Western Pennsylvania residents. centralscholarship.org The Dallas Jewish Community Foundation offers $300–$5,000 need-based scholarships primarily to students from the Greater Dallas area. djcf.org The Jewish Social Service Agency of Metropolitan Washington offers $1,000–$6,000 scholarships and loans to Jewish residents of metropolitan Washington, DC. jssa.org The Jewish Family Service Association offers need-based funds up to $4,000/year to Jewish residents in Greater Cleveland. jfsacleveland.org/financialaid.asp The Jewish Vocational Service Agency of Los Angeles offers need-based scholarships of up to $5,000/year to Jewish residents of Los Angeles County. jvsla.org

2 Lower Cost Loans

The Jewish Theological Seminary

H. L. Miller Cantorial School and College of Jewish Music

Admissions 100: COLLEGE CASH


The Jewish Educational Loan Fund (JELF) provides interest-free, need-based “last-dollar” loans to Jewish students from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. jelf.org Member organizations of the International Association of Hebrew Free Loans offer interest-free, need-based loans. freeloan.org/offices

fall 2012

7/19/12 6:11 AM


Getting In: What the Experts Say


knowledgeable college consultant can help high school students find good school matches, assist in getting them admitted, and offer critical advice they and their parents may not be able to find elsewhere. Here are some insider tips from consultants throughout the United States. What can I do to improve my chances of getting accepted into my dream school? Janet Rosier, Janet Rosierâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Educational Resources, Inc., Woodbridge, Connecticut (Graduate Certificate in College Counseling, Unigo Expert Network member,

show the school how interested you are in attending. Many colleges and universities are First, you need to be looking for â&#x20AC;&#x153;dema good fit for your onstrated interestâ&#x20AC;?; dream school: to have they are more likely the grades, rigor of to offer admission curriculum, and test to someone who is scores that fit the more likely to say collegeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s accepted yes to their offer. To REFORM STUDENT LEADERS WITH RABBI student profile, mean- HEATH WATENMAKER AT RUTGERS HILLEL. demonstrate interest, RUTGERS IS THE FIRST HILLEL IN THE ing the SAT, GPA, contact the college COUNTRY WITH A REFORM RABBI UNIQUELY and other statistics to request informaDEDICATED TO THE NEEDS OF REFORM AND about the students the LIBERAL STUDENTS ON CAMPUS. tion, tour the school, college admitted the previous year (you accept or ask for an interview, and if the can find this along with admissions local admissions representative comes information on many college websites). to your high school, introduce yourself Beyond that, go the extra mile and and let him/her know this college is author of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Next Stop Collegeâ&#x20AC;? blog, professional member of IECA and NACAC*):


www.dickinson.edu 800-644-1773 admit@dickinson.edu


reform judaism

Col_Adm101-103_f12_F.indd 31


fall 2012

7/18/12 8:08 AM

your first choice. After you apply, if you have additional academic news to share, use it as an opportunity to voice that their school remains your first choice. If this is indeed your dream school—the one you would go to no matter where else you would be accepted and you do not need to compare Financial Aid offers—then you may want to give serious consideration to applying Early Decision—a binding, contractual agreement that obligates you to attend the school if accepted. At many colleges Early Decision can increase your chance of admission, and at a few colleges the acceptance rate is double that of Regular Decision. For those who need to compare financial aid offers or are not comfortable applying Early Decision, some colleges offer non-binding Early Action (where you apply early, hear back from the college early, but still have until May 1 to make your decision).


Big Enough Supports vibrant Jewish life on campus Reform, ConservaƟve & Orthodox services Hosts 125 students at Shabbat dinner every week

Small Enough Builds a close-knit and diverse Jewish community Oīers opportuniƟes for signiĮcant leadership Connects students to meaningful and personal Jewish experiences Center for Jewish Life - Hillel at Princeton www.princeton.edu/hillel Contact our student host coordinator to schedule your visit Ricky Silberman - esilberm@princeton.edu


Interested in spending a summer, semester or year in Israel? Why not in Jerusalem, an enchanting city full of history and endless opportunity?

Hebrew · Arabic · Political Science · Psychology The Arts · Religious Studies · And More!

Application Fee will be waived if you mention this ad when applying or write code HUJCM For further information, please contact: The Office of Academic Affairs of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (800) 404-8622 • hebrewu@hebrewu.com • http://hebrewu.com

reform judaism

Col_Adm101-103_f12_F.indd 32


Wendy Kahn, Wendy Kahn College Consulting, LLC, Highland Park, Illinois (UCLA College Consulting Certificate, HECA, IECA associate member*): Choose your recommen-

dation writers wisely. Many colleges require you to submit one or two letters of recommendation from teachers, which are designed to help the schools find out who you are inside the classroom: How strong are your writing and critical thinking skills? Do you make valuable contributions to classroom discussions? What’s your intellectual potential? Will you be able to handle college level work? Therefore, do not select teachers who know you best

* Key to Cited College Consultant Organizations HECA: Higher Education Consultants Association IECA: Independent Educational Consultants Association NACAC: National Association for College Admission Counseling NJACAC: New Jersey Association for College Admission Counseling WACAC: Wisconsin Association for College Admission Counseling

fall 2012

7/18/12 8:15 AM

outside the classroom. Colleges will learn about your extracurricular activities, honors, and awards elsewhere in your application. To receive up-to-date guidance, colleges prefer recommendations from either 11th or 12th grade teachers. They also want to hear from teachers in five core academic subjects: English, math, science, social studies, foreign language. Don’t automatically ask for recommendations from the teachers who gave you the best grades. In some cases it may be better to ask a teacher who saw you struggle and respects your determination to master the material. The teacher who gave you an easy “A” may not have much to say about you beyond that. Also, a creative teacher who encourages class discussion may have more to say about you than one who lectures in front of the class. How can I be sure that the college I choose is the right one? Is there a way to ensure that the school will be a good fit, both academically and socially?



ILLINOIS Ÿ¨¥’Ÿœ¦§œ”¢  ¨¡œ§¬ř –ªœ¦› –’¥¡œ¡™ř ¢¦›–¥œ¡œ¡™

¦¥’–Ÿ¥¢™¥’  œ¡™ř –ªœ¦›¥––ž œ—–





Dr. Michele Hernandez, Hernandez College Consulting, LLC, Weybridge, Vermont and Application Boot Camp, LLC, Boston; former Assistant Director of Admissions, Dartmouth College: The best way to

ensure a good fit is to visit and revisit! Sit in on classes, speak with professors, and talk to students who have majored in your areas of interest. Janet Rosier: Explore the college

online. Does it offer a core curriculum, majors, minors, double majors in your areas of interest? Does it provide research opportunities and assistance in finding internships? Search for clubs and organizations such as Hillel. Focus on the criteria meaningful to you. Also, look at Unigo (unigo.com), where current students talk about their college, to see if what they say appeals to you. When you visit the school, attend the campus information session and take the tour. Try to arrange an overnight stay with a student to get a better feel for the campus community. ➢

A Powerhouse of Excellence Founded as the World’s First Jewish Fraternity Represented on campuses in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom If you are interested in being a part of a Jewish Fraternity without pledging, please email zbt@zbtnational.org or call (317) 334-1898.

reform judaism

Col_Adm101-103_f12_F.indd 33


fall 2012

7/16/12 6:47 AM

What’s the best way to stand out on my college admissions essay? Wendy Kahn: A college application

University of Chicago students join a community that’s all about ideas. No matter who you are or where you’re from, you’ll find a place that allows you to take chances, express your thoughts, and discover your passions. UChicago and the award-winning Newberger Hillel Center support a diverse array of Jewish communities that allow students to explore being Jewish in social, ethnic, cultural, artistic, intellectual, spiritual, and myriad other ways.

H I G H L I G H TS Annual Latke-Hamantash Debate Chicago Center for Jewish Studies Full kosher meal plan International Alternative Spring Break trips Jewish fraternity life UChicago Birthright Trips

For more information, visit the Newberger Hillel Center at uchicagohillel.org, or the Chicago Center for Jewish Studies at jewishstudies.uchicago.edu.


Alpha Epsilon Phi/Sigma Delta Tau As the nation’s leading Jewish collegiate sororities, we encourage: l

Academic Excellence


Philanthropic Commitment l

Campus and Community Involvement l

Dedication to Jewish Values For more information please visit our websites.

Building young Jewish women. www.aephi.org / www.sigmadeltatau.com reform judaism

Col_Adm101-103_f12_F.indd 34


is crammed with your grades, test scores, activities, teacher and counselor recommendations—information that tells colleges how others see you. The college essay is the only part of your application that tells colleges how you see yourself. The best college essay gives a group of strangers a small “snapshot” of who you are and how you became that person. To stand out, your essay should tell a story only you could tell. Write about a transformative experience that changed your beliefs or gave you a new insight. As one admissions director has put it, “colleges look within students’ essays for evidence of growth and resolution.” In most academic writing, the focus is on keeping the “I” word out of the equation. In contrast, in a good college essay the “I” word should be front and center. Be sure, though, to write about other significant people as well. We are defined as individuals largely in terms of our experiences with other people, and acknowledging this reality in your essay will keep you from appearing self-absorbed. Here’s an example: Last year one of the students I counsel wrote a successful essay about her week-long Israeli military experience as part of the URJ’s Eisendrath International Exchange. She described in vivid detail how much she had dreaded the military portion of the program, and then showcased her own grit and transformation from frightened novice to confident group leader during the course of the week, as well as her unanticipated insights about Israeli patriotism. She was admitted to every school on her list, including her highest reach. Gael Casner, College Find, Greenbrae, California (HECA, NACAC, WACAC*): Having read thousands

of applications for UC Berkeley, a school that requires two essays from each student, as well as thousands of essays from my own clients, I know the positive impact a well-written essay can have on a college’s decision. The following tips can help you

fall 2012

7/18/12 8:18 AM

maximize your chances of writing an effective essay: Start early. Good writing requires commitment and reflection. Put yourself in control of the task by setting aside time to begin writing during the summer before senior year. Look at the big picture first. What do you want the college to know about you? Begin by jotting down all of the adjectives and phrases that best describe you. If you need help, visit myroad. com and complete the online personality assessment connected to College Board (youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll have free access if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve taken the PSAT; look for the 10-digit code on the front of your results page). Now, circle the five strongest descriptions from your list. Can you think of times in your life when you demonstrated these characteristics? Next, make a short list of experiences that changed the way you look at the world. Also, jot down instances when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve made an impact on your family, school, or community. Finally, are there any issues you really care about, ones that reveal your values? Strategize: Looking at your big picture ideas, which are best? Be original. Stay away from clichĂŠs and avoid repeating whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s elsewhere in your application. Be prepared to revise. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not enough to have good ideas in your essay. You also need to prove you are a good writer. It would be highly unusual to produce the quality thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s expected in just one draft. Strive to make the essay your very best piece of writing. Once you feel confident that youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve done so:

Washington College oďŹ&#x20AC;ers

Hillel House | Fellowships | Jewish Studies Study Abroad in Israel Cortnee Doll â&#x20AC;&#x2122;13 President, Washington College Hillel

Cortnee Doll embraces every opportunity to make a difference in the world. After a summer teaching internship in Tanzania, the international studies major spent her junior year studying in Israel. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all part of her plan to better understand where she comes from and where sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going.

www.washcoll.edu | 410-778-7700

The University of Rochesterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s unique curriculum invites students to learn what they love, DOORZLQJIRUERWKIRFXVDQGĹąH[LELOLW\DWRQHRIWKHFRXQWU\Ĺ?VWRSWLHUUHVHDUFKXQLYHUVLWLHV

Rachel Kurtzman Class of 2014 Major: Health Policy Double minor: Philosophy, Legal Studies Activities: Hillel, Israel Council, Juggling Club, Ballet Performance Group

1 2

Read your essay out loud. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a fast way to catch simple mistakes.

Ask a trusted friend or family member to read your essay and note what he/she learned about you. Does this match what you want the colleges to know? Essays that stand out are interesting, well-written, and tell the reader something new. Colleges want to find reasons to accept you, so put the best you in front of them!

How can I impress my interviewer during an admissions interview?

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Jewish life has been an important part of my life here, culturally, religiously, and socially. Rochester has KMZIRQIXLIGLERGIXSÄšRH[LEXMRWTMVIWQI;LMPIEX Rochester, I discovered what I truly care about, and have been able to pursue it while realizing new interests.â&#x20AC;? Connect with us online at http://enrollment.rochester.edu/admissions Ĺ&#x2014; Schedule an admissions interview Ĺ&#x2014; Find out when weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be at your high school Ĺ&#x2014; Learn about information sessions near you If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in the NY Metro area, contact nymetroarea@admissions.rochester.edu to FRQQHFWZLWK5RFKHVWHUĹ?VQHZO\DVVLJQHGUHJLRQDODGPLVVLRQVRIĹ°FHULQ0DQKDWWDQ For more information about U of R Hillel, go to www.rochesterhillel.org $OVRFRPLQJWKLVIDOO7KH5RKU&HQWHUIRU-HZLVK/LIH&KDEDG+RXVHDWWKH8QLYHUVLW\RI5RFKHVWHU

continued on page 38 reform judaism

Col_Adm101-103_f12_F.indd 35


fall 2012

7/18/12 8:39 AM

INSIDER’S GUIDE TOCOLLEGE LIFEADMISSIONS Admissions 102 & 103: The Top 60 Schools Jews Choose PRIVATE SCHOOLS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

New York University (New York, NY) Boston University (Boston, MA) Yeshiva University (New York, NY) Columbia University (New York, NY) George Washington University (Washington, DC) Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) Syracuse University (Syracuse, NY) University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA) Tulane University (New Orleans, LA) Emory University (Atlanta, GA) University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA) American University (Washington, DC) Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) Brandeis University (Waltham, MA) Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL) Washington University (St. Louis, MO) University of Hartford (Hartford, CT) Yale University (New Haven, CT) Hofstra University (Hempstead, NY) Brown University (Providence, RI) Tufts University (Medford, MA) Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus (Brooklyn, NY) Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN) Northeastern University (Boston, MA) University of Rochester (Rochester, NY) Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA) Oberlin College (Oberlin, OH) University of Chicago (Chicago, IL) University of Denver (Denver, CO)

Jewish Population (Undergrad)

% of Student Population

Jewish Fraternities/ Sororities

6,000 3,500 3,080 3,000 3,000 3,000 2,500 2,500 2,250 2,100 2,000 1,780 1,680 1,650 1,600 1,600 1,500 1,500 1,500 1,350 1,300 1,250 1,200 1,050 1,000 900 900 850 850 850

28% 19% 96% 30% 29% 23% 19% 25% 32% 30% 11% 25% 25% 49% 20% 15% 25% 33% 27% 18% 22% 25% 22% 16% 7% 23% 7% 29% 16% 16%

Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes

6,500 6,400 6,000 5,800 5,000 4,600 4,500 4,200 4,010 4,000 4,000 3,600 3,500 3,500 3,500 3,500 3,500 3,500 3,250 3,200 3,1 50 3,000 3,000 3,000 3,000 2,960 2,750 2,600 2,600 2,600

17% 16% 13% 22% 13% 10% 18% 14% 26% 13% 8% 5% 30% 10% 27% 27% 13% 12% 11% 7% 10% 5% 8% 10% 11% 10% 14% 9% 17% 7%

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

PUBLIC SCHOOLS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

University of Florida (Gainesville, FL) Rutgers University, New Brunswick (New Brunswick, NJ) University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL) University of Maryland, College Park (College Park, MD) Pennsylvania State University, University Park (University Park, PA) York University (Toronto, ON) University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI) Indiana University (Bloomington, IN) Queens College (Flushing, NY) University of Wisconsin–Madison (Madison, WI) University of Texas at Austin (Austin, TX) Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ) Binghamton University (Binghamton, NY) McGill University (Montreal, QC) University at Albany–SUNY (Albany, NY) Brooklyn College (Brooklyn, NY) Florida International University (Miami, FL) California State University, Northridge (Northridge, CA) University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ) Ohio State University (Columbus, OH) University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (Champaign, IL) University of Toronto, St. George (Toronto, ON) Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI) University of Western Ontario (London, ON) Florida Atlantic University (Boca Raton, FL) Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL) University of California, Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, CA) University of California, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA) University of California, Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA) University of South Florida (Tampa, FL)

*Notes: All estimated population figures as well as information concerning fraternities/sororities, Jewish courses, and Jewish studies are courtesy of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. Any questions, please contact Hillel directly (202-449-6500, hillel.org).

Col_Charts_f12_F.indd 36

7/18/12 11:09 AM

& the Top 20 By Percentage of Jews* Jewish Studies Courses

Jewish Studies Major

Reform Worship on Campus

Egalitarian Worship on Campus

Reform Groups/ Events

Local Reform Temple Engages with Students

70 65 138 25 30 46 20 50 50 61 14 25 40 60 35 15 60 20 50 14 35 25 0 35 38 8 5 23 30 20

Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No

Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes n/a Yes No Yes No No

Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes n/a Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes n/a Yes No Yes No Yes

No Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No Yes n/a Yes No Yes Yes Yes

top 20 schools by percentage of jews

1 JTS List College 200 Jewish Students, 100%

2 Yeshiva University 3,080 Jewish Students, 96%

3 American Jewish University 110 Jewish Students, 92%

4 Brandeis University 1,650 Jewish Students, 49%

5 Muhlenberg College 750 Jewish Students, 35%

6 Sarah Lawrence College 400 Jewish Students, 33%

7 Barnard College 770 Jewish Students, 33%

8 University of Hartford 1,500 Jewish Students, 33%

9 Tulane University 2,250 Jewish Students, 32%

10 Goucher College 450 Jewish Students, 30%

77 50 15 40 80 62 120 60 46 75 30 40 30 100 20 43 15 15 45 100 60 60 25 25 25 30 40 50 32 12

Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes n/a Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes n/a Yes No n/a Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes n/a Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes n/a Yes Yes n/a Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Yes Yes No Yes No n/a Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes n/a Yes No n/a No Yes Yes No No

Yes Yes No Yes Yes n/a Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No Yes Yes No Yes n/a Yes Yes n/a Yes Yes No Yes Yes

11 Columbia University 3,000 Jewish Students, 30%

12 Binghamton University 3,500 Jewish Students, 30%

13 Emory University 2,100 Jewish Students, 30%

14 George Washington University 3,000 Jewish Students, 29%

15 Oberlin College 850 Jewish Students, 29%

16 New York University 6,000 Jewish Students, 28%

17 Brooklyn College 3,500 Jewish Students, 27%

18 University at Albanyâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;SUNY 3,500 Jewish Students, 27%

19 Yale University 1,500 Jewish Students, 27%

20 Queens College 4,012 Jewish Students, 26%

For questions about Reform worship, groups, events, and temples, contact Reform Judaism magazine (reformjudaismmag.org). To learn about Reform college programs visit urj.org/college. N/A means information was not made available to us.

Col_Charts_f12_F.indd 37

7/20/12 11:04 AM

Getting In: Experts Say... continued from page 35 Gael Casner: Before your first

washington and lee university


Washington and Lee is one of Hillel International’s Small and Mighty Campuses of Excellence. The University offers our Jewish students: ³

³ ³ ³ ³

Student led Shabbat Services and Dinners Lunch and Learns Dinners with Professors Guest Speakers Sukkot

³ ³



Participation in Birthright Israel Community service projects locally and internationally High Holiday Services and meals on campus Holiday parties and celebrations

³ ³

Holocaust Remembrance Week Judaic studies courses in the Department of Religious Studies

Washington and Lee’s distinctive curriculum blends traditional liberal arts and sciences with pre-professional programs in business, journalism and law, giving students a contemporary perspective necessary to flourish in a complex world. The application fee is waived for Jewish students. Washington and Lee University is an equal opportunity/non-discrimination institution. Complete statement at go.wlu.edu/eeo.

For additional information, contact Brett Schwartz, Director of Hillel, Washington and Lee University, 204 W. Washington Street, Lexington, VA 24450; call (540) 458-8443. Also visit our website, hillel.wlu.edu or http://admissions.wlu.edu/JE

interview, write down five aspects about yourself that would be beneficial for the interviewer to know. Figure out how you can weave this information into the conversation. Practice answering questions with a friend or a family member. At the end, ask that person to share what he/she learned about you. Does it match your list? Also, before your interviews, research each college. Read the writeup in The Fiske Guide to Colleges or The Best 376 Colleges. On the school’s website check out classes and professors, social events and clubs, and research and internship opportunities; next, read the college newspaper (greekspot.com/collegenews) to understand current issues. Write three reasons why this college would be a good match. You’ll be ready when the interviewer asks why you are applying to the school. Wendy Kahn: Prepare Questions:

Before the interview, develop a few good questions to ask. Do basic research so you won’t ask about things that can easily be found on the college’s website. Pose questions to admissions officers concerning specific academic or extracurricular programs, or internship and research opportunities. You might ask an alumni interviewer what s/he liked best about the school and what s/he would change. An admissions director recently told me that one of the best questions he’s received is “What is the most pressing issue on your campus right now?” Share “Strength Stories.” Offer specific illustrations of your interests or activities that show how you will benefit the college. For example, you could tell a “strength story” about a tikkun olam fundraising project you spearheaded or a Purim spiel you wrote and directed. Note that a number of colleges with lower Jewish populations are now working hard to attract Jewish students, so your interview is a great place to showcase your role in the Jewish community! reform judaism

Col_Adm101-103_f12_F.indd 38


fall 2012

7/13/12 9:04 AM

Talk! This is the most important advice for interviews, according to admissions officers. There is nothing harder on an interviewer than a student who answers every question with one word. It makes admissions people wonder if the student will ever participate in class discussions. Attend to Etiquette: Arrive on time. Wear nice casual clothes; no jeans or dirty sneakers, flip flops, or anything provocative. Look the interviewer in the eye. Give a firm handshake. The only appropriate cell phone mode is OFF! How can I tell if a campus is welcoming to Jewish students? Janet Rosier: Explore the college

website. If there is a Hillel or a Jewish Student Organization, contact the directors and ask how welcoming the campus is. If possible, use the collegeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Facebook page to connect with current Jewish students and get their takes on the atmosphere. If a synagogue is in the area, ask the local rabbi for his/her opinion of the town, college, and students.

CONNECT. CELEBRATE. STUDY. TRAVEL. DINE. Enjoy social events, Shabbat and holidays, Judaic study programs, birthright trips and study abroad in Israel, kosher meal plans and more in a welcoming urban environment. case.edu/hillel

How should I go about choosing a major? Wendy Kahn: If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re undecided,

relax! Many students go to college without knowing what they want to study, and the majority of college studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;even those who thought they had decidedâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;change their majors after exposure to new areas of study. For this and other reasons, the strength of a particular academic program should never be your only reason for choosing a school. And unless youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re absolutely certain about a major and a career path, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t lock yourself into a specialty school where, if you change your mind, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll have to transfer. That said, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s still a good idea to start exploring possible majors by consulting a college major database. The Rutgers U. College Majors Database (careerservices.rutgers.edu/ careerhandouts.shtml) briefly summarizes every major the school offers and describes related occupations, typical employers, and jobs obtained by recent

A TOP LIBERAL ARTS EDUCATION A VIBRANT SCENE FOR JEWISH LIFE Come to the University of Richmond, where our innovative campus rabbi and director of Jewish life is fostering a dynamic community. Â&#x2021;7DNHSDUWLQULWXDO7RUDKVWXG\VRFLDODFWLRQDQGFXOWXUDOHYHQWV Â&#x2021;6WXG\DEURDGDWWKH8QLYHUVLW\RI +DLIDRURQHRI RXUVKRUWWHUP multifaith travel intensives. Â&#x2021;0LQRULQ-HZLVK6WXGLHVZKLOHVWXG\LQJEXVLQHVVOHDGHUVKLSVWXGLHV or the arts and sciences.

chaplaincy.richmond.edu/jewish-life reform judaism

Col_Adm101-103_f12_F.indd 39


fall 2012

7/16/12 6:50 AM

graduates. In addition, College Majors 101 (collegemajors101.com) provides in-depth information about dozens of college majors and possible careers, and includes videos from individual schools as well as links to student organizations and publications related to particular majors. How can I have a say in choosing my roommate? Janet Rosier: Schools handle room-

mate selection in a variety of ways, so ask each school about its policy. Some colleges do not give freshmen any say, assigning roommates randomly. Others offer students a chance to choose a roommate during spring orientation, which works out nicely if you connect with another student. Still others direct students to fill out an online survey that matches them up according to lifestyles; in such cases, to increase the likelihood of a better match, be honest in your self-assessment and in what you want in a roommate.


What if none of the schools to which I applied accept me? Carolyn P. Mulligan, Insiders Network to College, Summit, New Jersey; Board of Counselor CATS for the University of Arizona (IECA, NACAC, NJACAC, HECA*): Hope-

SERVE ABROAD WITH AJWS! Spendd your Summer In… Africa, Asia, or Central America

Spendd Your Year In… India



WHO: Students and grads (16-24) WHEN: June–Aug 2013 WHAT: Live with new friends in a

WHO: Recent college grads WHEN: Sept 2013–Aug 2014 WHAT: Immerse yourself in Indian

local community, help fight poverty and learn about human rights and tikkun olam BONUS: Post-program trainings and advocacy

culture and intern with a grassroots NGO working on international development. BONUS: This competitive fellowship is funded!


www.ajws.org/serve reform judaism

Col_Adm101-103_f12_F.indd 40


fully, this will not happen, especially if you research and compile your targeted list carefully. However, even if it does, all is not lost. One option is to check the National Association of College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) website through either your high school guidance counselor or an independent educational consultant. By the middle of May, after most colleges and universities have received deposits from incoming freshmen, schools that still have class space will join a list on the NACAC website, and you can apply to them for the Fall semester. Often, really great schools are on the list—and one could turn out to be the right school for you! A second option is to go to a local community college, get good grades, and transfer. I know one young lady

fall 2012

7/18/12 9:04 AM

who went this route and today is a tremendous success. Dina Taylor West was rejected from every school she applied to. She was devastated. Nonetheless, she applied and was accepted to Middlesex Community College, where she acquired an Associate’s degree; went on to receive her Bachelor’s at the College of St. Elizabeth’s in Convent Station, New Jersey; and then attained a Master’s in Social Work from New York University. She has now authored two books about her experience, among them Bloom and Grow with Your Learning Disabilities. Dina is living proof that even if your educational path takes a few unexpected twists and turns, you can still achieve your dreams.



tudents seeking a Judaic studies program at a private university may wish to consider the University of Southern California, where the Jerome H. Louchheim School for Judaic Studies offers classes in cooperation with the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion—the only such arrangement in North America.

Covering antiquity to modernity, biblical Israel to the contemporary United States, literature to linguistics, USC ’s Jewish studies courses include: “Jewish Magic in the Ancient World,” “Blacks and Jews: Conflicts and Alliances,” and “Israel, Zionism and the Modern World.” The Hebrew program offers four semesters of language instruction. Louchheim School graduates go on to professional careers as doctors, lawyers, business entrepreneurs, rabbis, Jewish nonprofit management professionals, educators, and politicians. For more information, visit huc.edu/louchheim or facebook. com/JewishStudiesUSC, email louchheim@huc.edu, or call (213) 765-2113.


What Colleges Don’t Tell You ver this past year, many parents and teens who had believed that their college search would be a clear-cut, welldefined process have learned otherwise. Following the “right path” has not always led to the anticipated results. Indeed, a number of recent trends, interacting together, have complicated the college admissions landscape. Here is what you need to know now.


International Applications

The Applications Spiral

The “Legacy” Factor

Even though the number of U.S. high school students who are ready for college is declining, the number of applications flooding into college admissions offices is increasing every year. Why? First, students are applying to more schools because the technology has made it relatively easy to do so; you can copy and paste application responses from one college to another without much effort and just hit the “send” button. Second, more colleges are sending unsolicited publicity materials encouraging students to apply (see “Selectivity and Image” explanation below). Some students will then interact with the school, feel confident that “This school really wants me,” and apply there “just to be safe,” even if the college didn’t make their short list. As college outreach activities increase each year, so do the overall number of applications.

In the past, legacy applicants (the sons or daughters of alumni) would swell the applicant pool almost exclusively at private schools. But in today’s economy they are also applying to state schools, where they have an edge over other applicants.

Selectivity and Image

Colleges are committed to raising their standing in the marketplace of higher education through such indicators as popularity and selectivity. To do so, they are encouraging a larger pool of applicants while maintaining the same size incoming class, which lowers the percentage of students they admit and makes them appear more selective. reform judaism

Col_Adm101-103_f12_F.indd 41


More applications are also coming from abroad, increasing the competition for admittance. A number of schools, such as Vassar College, are actively recruiting internationally as well as nationally. This has led to significant increases in the number of international student applications—1200 such applications out of a total of 8,000 applications for 660 Vassar seats last year.

Meeting the Challenge

College rating books or computer college selection programs are unlikely to tell you about these new admissions trends. The challenge, therefore, is finding up-to-date, accurate information to help you add or delete specific colleges from your list early on. In this more competitive environment, your best course of action is a realistic assessment of your admissions chances, keeping in mind that you will now need higher SAT/ACT and GPA scores than the published data indicates. If you make smarter applications choices, you’ll be more likely to be accepted by those schools eager to engage a student with your qualifications and interests. And consider a “Gap Year” if you believe it will increase your chances of acceptance to your favorite school(s). Rise to the challenge—you’ll be glad you did. —Claire D. Friedlander, college consultant to Jewish Family Service in the greater Stamford and Westport areas of Connectucut; college advisor to the Jewish High School of Connecticut

fall 2012

7/18/12 8:42 AM


The Right School Pays Off A conversation with college financial planner Dennis Hughner

From the school’s perspective, what constitutes a good match, and how can you turn it to advantage?

What is the most costly and common mistake people make when choosing a college?

From the institution’s perspective, a good match is when the applicant possesses academic qualifications in the upper 25% of all applicants (upper 10% is better) and perhaps also has something the school wants—skills (such as in athletics, music, art, sign language, martial arts) and/or aptitudes (such as entrepreneurial credentials and volunteer/work experience in the areas of the student’s declared major). If an institution wants the student in its incoming freshman class, the financial aid award will reflect this desire. To negotiate for a better aid package, present evidence of a better offer from a like institution. Don’t compare private to public universities; it will not work.

reform judaism

Col_Adm105-106_f12_F.indd 42


How can a financial advisor help in this process?

An experienced advisor, given sufficient time, can educate and guide the student and parents through the college preparation process, including career evaluations, family financial review (taking siblings into account and developing a financial plan for all children in the family to graduate from college), and initial school selections that best suit the student’s desires as well as the family’s budget. Once a student has received all acceptances and denials, an advisor can also show the family the financial bottom line for each institution, enabling a student and parents to make an informed, realistic college choice. What other common financial mistakes do parents make?

Many parents and students fail to do their “homework” early enough to meet continued on page 46

Photo by Diana Car y

Families almost always defer to the student to choose the school they would like to attend, and students typically make their decision based on the wrong reasons: because “I’ve heard of it” or “It’s written up in X as GOING THE EXTRA MILE IN CHOOSING A SCHOOL. the ‘top…’” or “It’s where my girlfriend/boyfriend is applying” that will take you to the desired career. or “my friend is going there,” or “my For example, do you want to become an parents recommended it,” or by some engineer? If so, what discipline of engiother random yardstick. neering? Learn each discipline’s function, In contrast, the right college is the purpose, potential job market, and one that has all the following: the college educational requirements. With answers major the student most desires, comfort- in hand, design an academic path for able class sizes for how that student college acceptance as a pre-engineering learns, study abroad opportunities to student. Also, consider related careers that allow the student to become more world- would constitute a good fit for a student ly, opportunities to explore his/her other strong in math and science, such as interests—and the greatest financial aid finance, forensic accounting, and actuarial from all sources, including the federal science. Once you have selected a major government, the state government, and, course of study, you can determine most importantly, the endowment funds what you want from a school outside of of the institution itself. The goal is to academics. Then, and only then, are you find schools that are good matches for and your family ready to begin evaluating the student and will offer him/her attraccolleges and universities. tive financial aid packages. If the student has selected the wrong colleges, they How can parents evaluate will not offer him/her merit-based schol- institutions financially? arships and grants from their institution’s Go to the College Board’s website endowment funds. (collegeboard.com) and enter the institution’s name; all financial data can be found with little effort. One serious financial How do you go about finding “the right college matches”? consideration is the time needed to earn an undergraduate degree. Is the student most Research, research, research. Start the college planning process early, preferably likely to graduate in four, five, or six years? during the student’s sophomore year. Wait Private institutions have a better track record for graduating their students in four before creating a list of colleges. Start years, which often translates into lower by evaluating and narrowing potential careers; after that, evaluate college majors costs to earn an undergraduate degree. fall 2012

7/20/12 6:23 AM



Lester & Jewell Morris Hillel Jewish Student Center

The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life



An exciting and diverse liberal arts

Michigan State University 517-332-1916 Free Trips to Israel Shabbat Services & FREE Shabbat Dinners Athletics High Holiday Services & Meals Social Events Community Service Alternative Breaks Israel Programs Monthly Brunches


(and liberal arts to careers)


For more information check binghamton.edu/judaic-studies/

Opportunities for Teens More than 10 years experience helping Jewish


families and students of all abilities find a welcoming


Jewish community.


College Admissions


Elizabeth Stone Ph.D.


San Francisco office/ working with students


across the US and abroad



ADHD? Dyslexia? Aspergerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s? Learning Issues? BASS EDUCATIONAL SERVICES, LLC College Planning for Students with Learning Differences

Serving families nationwide since 2001

School & College Admissions Counseling






One of the most vibrant Hillels in the country! www.TulaneHillel.org


CollegeWebLD A searchable database of learning support services in U.S. colleges



Focused on finding a good fit

CollegeMarketplace_f12_F.indd 43

...advancing knowledge of Jewish history, thought, and culture through learning, intercultural dialogue, and social action. For more information: www.du.edu/cjs â&#x20AC;&#x153;likeâ&#x20AC;? us on facebook or follow us on twitter

7/24/12 5:36 AM


Dos and Don’ts in a Digital Age


hanks to the Internet, college applicants have unprecedented access to information. You can read through course catalogs on college websites, participate in online college fairs, take virtual campus tours and virtual info sessions, and have interviews via webcasts and Skype. At some schools, such as Tufts University and George Mason University, you can opt to THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA’S ADMISSIONS BLOG. upload a YouTube video essay as part of your application. At other schools you can view admission blogspot.com and Johns Hopkins officers’ blogs, Facebook posts, Tweets, University’s “Hopkins Interactive” at photos and videos (check out the Univer- hopkins-interactive.com). sity of Virginia’s “Notes from Peabody” However, with this unparalleled digadmissions blog at uvaapplication. ital access come critical rules of social

reform judaism

Col_Adm105-106_f12_F.indd 44


media engagement, which can either increase your chances of getting into your selected schools, or, if used poorly, can also work against you. Here are 3 don’ts to follow:


Don’t take your online identity for granted. Some admissions officers review students’ social media, and they are obligated to follow up on anonymous tips of poor conduct linked to photographic evidence. At times students’ admissions have been rescinded, so take these steps to help protect yourself: • Run everything you post online by the “grandparent test.” If you wouldn’t want your grandparents to see it, don’t post it! ➢

fall 2012

7/18/12 10:56 AM

_RJ fp copy.indd A6

7/25/12 6:07:27 AM


ALTERNATIVE BREAK JNF’s Alternative Break to Israel is a FREE seven-day community service trip for Jewish young adults (ages 18-30). Students travel to Israel during spring or winter break to connect to the land and people of Israel in a meaningful way. TAGLIT - BIRTHRIGHT ISRAEL Explore Israel on a JNF Israel Adventure. Jewish students age 18-26, who have never been on an organized peer program to Israel, can begin the journey of a lifetime. PLANT YOUR WAY TO ISRAEL JNF’s Plant Your Way to Israel program allows students up to the age of 25 to raise money toward a trip to Israel. Half of the donation goes to JNF forestry projects in Israel, and the other half is placed in a special account on the student’s behalf to be redeemed for any travel to Israel. POSITIVELY ISRAEL Take action to show the world how Israel makes the world a better place. Help get the word out, get your communities involved, and get our message heard across the country and around the world. CARAVAN FOR DEMOCRACY JNF Caravan for Democracy drives constructive dialogue on college campuses by bringing different speakers from Israel and the U.S. To learn more, go to jnf.org/iae or contact the JNF Education and Advocacy Department at education@jnf.org or 212.879.9305 x245.


• Eliminate questionable photos, including pictures in which you’re holding a cup. Why leave its contents to others’ imaginations? When friends post questionable photos of you, asking to be untagged isn’t enough. Ask to be cropped out of the photo or have the picture taken down. • Remove contact information. Deleting phone numbers and addresses is a general safety precaution which also reduces an outsider’s ability to do an information search about you. • Use a friend filter. Only accept Facebook friend requests from people you know. Otherwise you give a stranger access to all your online information.


Don’t communicate informally with college officials. All written messages—electronic or otherwise— should be written in formal language, be grammatically correct, and be representative of you as a student. No LOLs—ever.


Don’t breach the personal space of school officials. Asking to “friend” a dean of admissions at his/her personal account is likely to do you more harm than good. Social media can also work to your advantage in college admissions. After all, social media is about expressing yourself as an individual—exactly what many admissions committees seek in a student’s college application. To make the best use of social media:

The Right School Pays Off continued from page 42 the deadlines for private scholarships in the high school student’s junior year. Also, most families learn belatedly about the COA-EFC=NEED formula (Cost of Attendance - Expected Family Contribution or a family’s “deductible” before financial aid kicks in = Need) the federal government and institutions use to determine how much a family will have to pay out of pocket before financial aid can be determined (search Expected Family Contribution—EFC for more information). Being unaware of the financial aid reform judaism

Col_Adm105-106_f12_F.indd 46



Express interest in the colleges to which you’re applying. Demonstrate your interest by liking the school, becoming a follower, posting a photo of the school’s mascot on Pinterest, and/or commenting on a blog post.


Show off a little. Social media is a great platform to share interests, talents, and accomplishments, so demonstrate your passion for and pride in your work. If you’re a photographer or an artist, showcase your pictures on Tumblr. If you play music, create a MySpace page devoted to your work. If you like to write, start a WordPress blog. If you’re a star soccer player, post a video on YouTube showing you scoring the winning goal.


Be true to yourself. Don’t create a fake persona or misrepresent yourself to impress an admissions officer who might look at your site. Don’t say you’re a fan of Voltaire if you prefer Stan Lee. It’s hard to lie about your love of philosophy when everyone on your friend list knows you’d rather read Marvel comics. So, when it comes to social media, be authentic, careful, and enthusiastic (ACE)—and you may find yourself acing the admissions process. —Dr. Katherine Cohen, CEO and founder of IvyWise (IvyWise.com), a college admissions counseling company; and ApplyWise (ApplyWise.com), an interactive college admissions counseling program

formula can lead to a rude awakening about out-of-pocket costs when it’s too late in the admissions process. In addition, many parents and students need to understand that if they do not qualify for federal assistance, they can, if time permits, revisit their school selections, concentrating on colleges and universities that are good matches and could provide merit-based scholarships and grants. You always have to have a plan B. —Dennis Hughner, partner, Complete College Funding Solutions, Torrance, California, planningforcollegecosts.net

fall 2012

7/18/12 10:46 AM


Building Jewish Relationships “My Way”


s an American, I feel were personally very meanthe trends of personingful to these students. In alization taking over another instance, after talking my life. My radio plays music about intermarriage, the perexactly to my preference and my son I engaged sought me out a Internet suggests products “that week later to continue the I may like.” Yet as Jew, I have conversation. never had this feeling of personEvery CEI intern also taialization. Why can’t I have my lors a year-long initiative to Judaism “my way”? Well, this the interests of those he/she is exactly the void that Hillel’s engages. Since Israel has been Campus Entrepreneurship Initiaan overriding topic of convertives (CEI) is filling for students sation among uninvolved on campuses nationwide. Reform Jews at UPenn, I orgaHillel seeks to engage Jew- BUILDING JEWISH RELATIONSHIPS AT NEW YORK UNIVERSITY. nized Israel education and ish students who are not active awareness events. One of the in Jewish campus life by meetbeing Jewish is very different when a stubest experiences was co-hosting them where they are Jewishly. As a dent is on his or her own. In a given week ing (with other CEI networks) a dinner CEI intern at the University of Pennsyl- this year, I also discussed famous Jewish in which Jewish students who’d vania, my job is to foster meaningful athletes with a member of my fraternity expressed interest in Israel-based conyet comfortable peer-to-peer conversaand whether God belief is required in versations got to mingle with nine tions. In the past year I have built relaJudaism with a classmate—topics that visiting Israeli college students. As the tionships among 60 previously uninvolved Jewish students of all backgrounds, providing opportunities INSIDE HILLEL’S for them to explore and embrace their ENTREPRENEURS INITIATIVE Judaism. I specifically focused on Reform Jews, but truthfully my interacver the past four years, largely Black dialogue groups, and social tions with them have not differed much because of Hillel’s Campus justice trips—all of which the interns from those with uninvolved Jews of create based on the interests and Entrepreneurs Initiative (CEI), common themes they hear when 900 trained and employed stuother denominations or observance levengaging their peers. Formerly unindent interns have built 35,000 els, who are basically looking for an volved students are now reporting relationships with uninvolved accessible, meaningful, and fun way to involvement in Jewish activities in Jewish peers on 70+ campuses, reconnect with Judaism. greater numbers, and the CEI interns helping them explore and Before I started, I thought that buildare honing their Jewish leadership connect to Jewish life on ing Jewish relationships with inactive skills, for now and for the future. their own terms. Jews would be a daunting task. It’s not. This relationship-based, peer-toThrough a Hillel-URJ CEI collabopeer approach doesn’t advocate ration, Reform interns are currently Many Jewish students love the idea of any particular way of being Jewish reaching uninvolved students from embracing their Judaism, once they are or the expectation to “come to Reform backgrounds at Cornell invited to personalize it. Hillel.” Instead, the student interns, University, University of Texas, and Here’s how it works: I, as a fellow mentored by Hillel educators of diUniversity of Pennsylvania. In 2012–13 student, connect with an unengaged Jew verse Jewish backgrounds, explore, three schools will be added: University on his/her terms and his/her comfort levshare stories, ask questions, and celof Maryland, Rutgers University, and el. I try to introduce Jewish topics natuebrate Jewish life with other students. University of Southern California. Jewish experiences range from And Hillel’s peer-to-peer engagerally into conversation and get a feel for Shabbat and holiday celebrations in ment initiative (CEI and a smallerhow far a person is willing to go. For dorms and off-campus apartments scaled version, Peer Network) is example, a discussion about the differto women’s spirituality circles, Jewexpanding to 56 campuses in 2012–13. ences between being at home and at ish manhood discussions, JewishFor more information: hillel.org. college led to a conversation about how


reform judaism

Col_Cam200-201-202_f12_F.indd 47


fall 2012

7/20/12 5:51 AM

Americans and Israelis compared and contrasted their college experiences, they discovered that overall—regardless of different experiences such as the Israelis’ mandatory pre-college military service—the students themselves had a lot in common. By the evening’s end, both the Americans and the Israelis had made new friends, uninvolved Jewish students began thinking more about Israeli issues, and one UPenn student was inspired to pursue a Birthright Israel trip. Responding to the Boycott Divest Sanction conference held on Penn’s campus, I also hosted an interfaith and interdenominational student dinner and discussion on the relationship between the United States and Israel. Attendees continued the conversations after the event, and one Jewish participant later told me that the experience led him to realize that being educated is the best way to defend Israel. He has since researched Israeli policy and history in order to become a more informed Jew. As a CEI intern, I have learned that Jewish conversations do not necessarily need to be about Judaism, and that is one of the key reasons why this program is successful. When students do not feel “forced” to converse only about Judaism, they are more likely to welcome the encounter and the opportunity for introspection it provides. Sometimes conversations about life, philosophy, and integrity can all involve Jewish concepts indirectly. For example, when talking about summer plans with a friend, the conversation casually moved to a discussion of what it means to be “successful.” This led us to the notion that self-evaluation is a profoundly Jewish ideal which we contemplate every year during Yom Kippur. We agreed that money is not the ultimate indicator of success; many other things, including family, personal satisfaction, and being a just person, are far more important. When I engage uninvolved college students by exploring issues that matter to them, what may follow is a reconception of Jewish identity they can build upon for the rest of their lives. —Andrew Abrams, sophomore, University of Pennsylvania and member, Congregation M’kor Shalom, Cherry Hill, NJ


Being Myself as a Reform Jew


djusting to life in college is not easy. You’re thrust into a world where you’re expected to be an independent being. I remember hugging my family goodbye outside the gate to my quad, waving cheerily as the car drove off, turning to open the door and start my new life—only to discover I had locked myself out. Coming to terms with one’s Jewish self-definition at college is no easier. I had to shift from my familiar Reform congregation to a Jewish campus community whose most active members were predominantly Conservative and Orthodox. In the beginning I kept wishing for a translator. “He’s frum,” one girl would say, and I’d long to ask, “From where?” Hearing a group of three commit to “learn together” struck me as odd— weren’t we in college to learn every day?—until I found out that the expression meant to “study rabbinic texts.” Just as in figuring out any new language, immersion worked wonders. The more time I spent with other kinds of Jews, the more fluency I gained in the language of their Judaism. And, I realized, this was a positive way to develop my Jewish self-identity on my own terms. My peers and I were eager to educate and help one another. Within days I was learning from one friend how to properly chant the Ten Commandments in that week’s Torah portion, teaching another basic Hebrew grammar, conversing with a third about the existence of God, and participating in a group discussion about the meaning of commandedness. A Jew was someone who asked serious questions of herself and of the tradition, and my new friends would help me answer them. Still, I struggled. How was I to explain to Conservative and Orthodox Jews that keeping kosher is integral to my Jewish identity when the way I eat isn’t what they deem kosher, or that I observe Shabbat by calling my parents reform judaism

Col_Cam200-201-202_f12_F.indd 48



and drawing in my sketchbook? That goes against their way of being Jewish. How was I to maximize my ability to learn in a traditional Jewish environment without feeling lost in the definitions and rhetoric of others? I learned that being myself as a Jew required that I bring a measured level of confidence to the table—not so confident that I became complacent about what I should be learning, but confident enough not to defer to the rules and opinions of others. I found this level of self-assurance hard to achieve, but attainable. It helped that in the Shabbat evening prayer group I attended and sometimes led, I had found a deeply dedicated group of Reform Jews who spoke my language. It also helped to realize that Reform Jews were not the only ones who sometimes felt marginalized or insecure in their Jewish self-definition. Some of my Orthodox friends feared people would see them as unthinking religious fundamentalists. Some Conservative friends feared for their Movement’s future. I learned how to add my voice on campus—by speaking in the language of learning and not labels, by seeking understanding rather than stereotyping, and by offering answers as well as a long list of questions. —Emily Langowitz, Yale Class of 2012; member of Temple Beth Elohim, Wellesley, MA; and now HUC-JIR rabbinical school student

fall 2012

7/20/12 5:52 AM

Alpha Epsilon Pi

Campus Life 202:

A Glimpse into Graduate Jewish Studies


tion is whether someone at the institution can serve as a dissertation The Association advisor. Also, of Jewish Studies learn about directory lists funds available more than 50 for research HUC-JIR OFFERS GRADUATE PROGRAMS THROUGH ITS programs in the support, summer RABBINICAL SCHOOL, THE DEBBIE FRIEDMAN SCHOOL OF SACRED MUSIC, SCHOOLS OF EDUCATION, JEWISH U.S., Canada, study, and, for NONPROFIT MANAGEMENT, AND GRADUATE STUDIES. and Israel offerPhD programs, ing graduate training (MA and/or PhD) tuition remittance and stipends. in Jewish studies. To learn more, visit the AJS Directory of Jewish Studies How can undergrads increase their chances of acceptance? Programs at ajsnet.org/programs.php. A key component of applying to graduHow have the programs changed? ate school is presenting examples of They have grown more interdisciplinary, well-written and thoughtfully researched reflecting broader trends in the humanities scholarly work. Therefore, undergraduand higher education as well as the wide ates should take full advantage of opporrange of studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; educational and cultural tunities to write original research papers backgrounds. Many Jewish studies PhD and/or a BA thesis. Most PhD programs candidates have prior training in fields and some MA programs require Hebrew as diverse as ethnic and Diaspora studies mastery for acceptance, and some will or media and cultural studies; as well as also expect reading skills in at least one the more traditional literature, history, other language, so undergrads should politics, and religion. The most innovative acquire proficiency in Hebrew and Jewish studies departments take full perhaps begin study of another language. advantage of these diverse perspectives It is also very important to develop and experiences, encouraging students to mentoring relationships with one or two connect their graduate work in the field to professors, who then can write informed other departments, area studies, theoretical letters of recommendation. approaches, and methodologies. Students do doctoral work in Jewish studies What careers are available to MA and PhD graduates? combined with fields ranging from comparative literatures and ethnomusicology Options include teaching in Jewish or gento linguistics and political science. eral K-12 schools, teaching at the university level, school administration, Jewish What factors should students communal work, international relations, consider in choosing a program? journalism, or working in non-profit organizations, museums, archives, historical Consider the overall scope and agenda societies, and libraries. To learn more read of a graduate program as well as the the fall 2011 issue of the AJS magazine areas of specialization that constitute Perspectives at ajsnet.org/ajsp11fa.pdf. its strengths. Research the number and expertise of faculty members, the range â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Jeffrey Shandler, PhD, AJS president of graduate-level course offerings, and the and professor of Jewish Studies library and archival holdings in Jewish at Rutgers University; and Rona studies. For PhD candidates, a key ques- Sheramy, PhD, AJS executive director How many graduate Jewish studies programs exist today?

reform judaism

Col_Cam200-201-202_f12_F.indd 49


Alpha Epsilon Pi

9,000 / 90,000 undergraduates / alumni

165 chapters and colonies in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, England, and France

$700,000 philanthropy dollars pledged to these seven Jewish organizations over seven years


fall 2012

7/16/12 6:37 AM

Be the change you want to see in the world Become a Rabbi, Cantor, Leader in Jewish Education, Nonprofit Professional, Scholar, or Pastoral Counselor Nominate an Outstanding Individual at admissions@huc.edu Open Houses in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York in October and April Program Visit Days: Take a Deeper Look at the Program of Your Choice Leadership Programs at the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati October 12-14, 2012 (High School) November 2-4, 2012 (College) March 8-10, 2013 (High School) HUC-JIR on Campus, in Communities, and at Conferences huc.edu/RJMag admissions@huc.edu

With the support of the

JIM JOSEPH F O U N DAT I ON Shimon ben Joseph

Generous Scholarships Available


_RJ fp copy.indd A4




OF R ELIGION 'dkue iuhbuh urchv




7/9/12 8:02:42 AM

Profile for Reform Judaism magazine

The RJ Insider's Guide to College Life - Fall 2012  

A Union for Reform Judaism Publication

The RJ Insider's Guide to College Life - Fall 2012  

A Union for Reform Judaism Publication