College and career readiness services - Steps to the Future

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Travel time with HECA: Rhode Island and Johnson & Wales

It’s always a joy for me to return home, to the place where one of my earliest memories is getting my first library card and experiencing the excitement of knowing I could read as many books as  I wanted for free.

This time I went home to tour colleges as part of the Higher Educational Consultants Association (HECA) Rhode Island tour. In two and a half days, we walked in great weather (and rain), sampled some delicious meals, and experienced Campus Sherpas. We toured Brown University, Bryant University, Johnson & Wales University, Providence College, Rhode Island School of Design, Roger Williams University, Salve Regina University, and the University of Rhode Island.

Staying at the cute boutique hotel, The Hotel Providence stationed us in the heart of Downtown Providence. During a period of re-branding almost two decades ago, the capital of Rhode Island acquired the nickname the Renaissance City. One fabulous outcome of this period is WaterFire, an outdoor experience capitalizing on the location of the Moshassuck, Woonasquatucket, and Providence Rivers. Braziers of lighted wood attended to volunteers in gondoliers line these waterways with music, food, and entertainment for everyone. One of my favorite aspects are the living statues, which delight the young and old especially when they reach out to an unsuspecting patron.

To kick off the tour, Johnson & Wales University (JWU) hosted an opening reception giving us an overview of their institution, along with an effervescent student panel who shared their favorite experiences in each of their programs: Criminal Justice, Sports Entertainment & Events Management, Travel & Tourism, Graphic Design, Baking & Pastry, Business Administration, and Culinary Nutrition/Culinary Management.

JWU has several programs that caught my interest during this visit. One program, the Early Enrollment Program (EEP), allows high school juniors to complete their senior year and their first year at Johnson & Wales simultaneously. This program is not designed for students who are undecided about their career path; students begin coursework in their major the first trimester. Eligibility requirements are a 2.75 GPA with a B- in English. Working closely together, the admissions office at JWU and the school counselor from the sending high school ensure all courses required for high school graduation are part of the student’s schedule during that year. While a school counselor at East Providence High School, several of my students enrolled in EEP and were successful.

The SHARP (Special Honors and Rewards Program) allows eligible students to accelerate their time to degree by taking additional credits (up to 25 quarter hours) at no additional cost. Maintaining a 3.40 GPA each term along with full-time status will keep a student eligible for this honors program.

Students can explore their career interests in culinary arts, baking & pastry arts or hospitality at the Providence, RI, Denver, CO, North Miami, FL, or Charlotte, NC campus with the Career Explorations program. Created for rising seniors, this program offers an opportunity to get up close and personal with a career. Not all programs are at all campuses, so be sure to research the options.

Thank you to Kim Hodges (Director of Admissions Research & Planning), Ray Dube (Director, Early Enrollment Program), Rick Daniels (Coordinator of Admission Events), Bill Priante (Director of Admissions), and Jim Richards (Director of Culinary Admissions) for providing a great snapshot of the Downcity campus with a sneak peek at the Harborside campus. Johnson & Wales was kind enough to extend the tour to an additional afternoon to tour the Downcity and the Harborside campus but my travel arrangements were set.  Next time I am home, I will be sure to get out to the Harborside campus to tour the Cuisinart Center for Culinary Excellence and some of the other facilities on that campus.


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