Rollins College – Winter Park, Florida
Three words: Personalized, beautiful, supportive.
Here’s the deal: I believe that out of the 25 kids we have had apply to Rollins in the last two years, 23 have gotten in. Now, in truth, we work with many kids who sort of meet the Rollins profile – motivated, active in a particular area, attractive on paper – so maybe it’s not so unusual that they would get in. Overall, Rollins reports a 60% acceptance rate, but we’ve seen a far higher percentage than that, obviously. In any case, manages to accept just the right percentage to maintain the small campus feeling and the classroom intimacy that most kids need – no matter what they think!
So, let’s set the scene for Rollins: It’s in a suburb of Orlando, a very wealthy enclave where kids can safely entertain themselves. In one direction, they may easily walk to shopping; in the other, they can quickly plunge into the picturesque lake that borders the campus. The campus architecture breathes calm: low buildings in lemony-beige stucco, earthy clay roofs, and arched wooden doorways. Now, visualize abundant tree lines and swooping Spanish moss, rays of perpetual sun forming a golden halo around palm fronds and oak leaves alike. As I rounded a corner to find a random sand volleyball court, I felt like I had been transported to the warm, not-so-snobby version of the University of San Diego.
I also thought the first-year housing was exceptionally peacefully and pretty:
What about the people? Now, here’s another enticing quality of the campus – no lame hipsters, poser frat boys, or barky sorority chicks. The kids genuinely look cool. They’re dressed casually; they’re sitting on benches and around tables, shooting the breeze. People actually smile at you on the Rollins campus. You could sit down, have a cup of coffee, and just take in the scenery.
But, in the whole scheme of things, a campus can’t wow me completely. Something else has to grab me.
At Rollins what struck me was the information session. It stood out as completely bizarre. The Dean of Admissions actually led the discussion! He was amazing. He asked tough questions of the kids in the group, making them speak in person about the school. The experience both surprised and impressed me, and it gave me confidence that our applicants would receive individualized consideration.
So… What do I see as the good and bad of Rollins?
- Most students do 2 internships.
- Beautiful campus in a walking town.
- Unique for such a small school to have an active graduate program.
- Automatic $5,000 scholarship for out-of-state students.
- Very limited parking on campus.
- Pulls mainly from Florida and Northeast, so not very diverse.
- Not very politically energized.
Some kids definitely can’t wait to go there, as you can see from this Cookie Bouquet that arrived while I was there to persuade the admissions committee to send an acceptance, not a rejection.