Do you remember the joy of receiving a letter in the mail? Students today have so much access to each other and the world through social media, emails, and texts that the pleasure of receiving a personal note has almost been forgotten. Before electronic communication emerged, phone calls and greeting cards were a great source of happiness for billions of people. For many people, though, nothing could match receiving their first letter of admission to a university.
For approaching four hundred years, access to higher education has expanded the boundaries of human knowledge. The notice of acceptance was one of the turning points of adult life. At the start of the twenty-first century, four institutions have distinguished themselves as innovative pioneers in higher education. Every family connected with them should take special time this Spring to engage their new approaches to academic excellence.
Vanderbilt University has a longstanding reputation as one of best research institutions in the United States. Its commitment to fostering undergraduate research across its curriculum provides opportunities that few competitors can match. Similarly, the University of Buffalo has built durable connections with its surrounding community to create the foundation of a dynamic, regional economy over the next decade. Beyond basic metrics of enrollment and retention, these institutions prepare young people for success throughout their lives.
Monmouth University takes the most effective practices in interdisciplinary education and combines them with an ethic of caring unmatched nationwide. Unlike larger institutions that sometimes discourage enrollment by the most innovative young minds, Monmouth supports its students in building new enterprises and transforming global markets. Rollins College shares this commitment to student excellence beyond the classroom by partnering with the emerging green economy in Orlando. Their programs that emphasize popular forms of social media bridge the gap between traditions of theory and the most profitable new business models.
Students who had the wisdom and foresight to apply to these institutions deserve every acclaim they receive as their admissions arrive. Families should begin a wave of celebrations that carry through the summer. Every opportunity to expand young people’s achievements mandates recognition. These four institutions have earned special recognition as the leaders in serving the future of American higher education.
Dr. Walter Greason is the Chief Executive Officer of the International Center for Metropolitan Growth and the author of Suburban Erasure: How the Suburbs Ended the Civil Rights Movement in New Jersey. His work is available on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).