Hilbert Ranks 2nd on List of Best College Dorms in NYS

BestDormsAccording to Niche, Hilbert College ranks second on list of 2016 Best College Dorms in New York.  Hilbert ranks 81st on the national list of Best College Dorms.  According to the website, the ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews.  The Best College Dorms ranking provides a comprehensive assessment of the quality, safety, and cost of on-campus housing. This grade takes into account key factors such as student housing crime rates, average cost, and student reviews in an attempt to measure overall quality of college housing options.  The website says that factors that are considered include, student surveys (weighted 70%), average housing cost (10%), housing capacity (10%), and student housing crime rate (10%). See methodology link below for more information.

2016 Best College Dorms in New York

Best College Dorms Ranking Methodology


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Things you didn’t know you needed


For incoming college freshman planning to live on campus, packing for the move is one of the most stressful and exciting times of your life. There are plenty of packing lists out there to help you make sure you bring all the essentials, but packing for college is largely a personal endeavor.

With that said, there are a lot of things that young adults sometimes don’t realize they need until it’s too late. Let’s face it: Mom and Dad have probably made sure that you have most things you need without waiting for you to ask for them. Having to come up with that list on your own is a challenge.

Here are some things you want to consider bringing to school that might not already be on your packing list:

  • A fan. Yes, fans cool you off. They also provide ambient noise. Chances are, you’ll be sharing a room with a stranger. You might learn for the first time that you’re a light sleeper. Earplugs are also a great, cheap investment.
  • Rain gear. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a car on campus, you’re likely going to be doing A LOT of walking on campus. And rain isn’t an excuse to not go to class. An umbrella, a rain jacket and most importantly, rain boots, will go a long way.
  • Everyday essentials you take for granted: Tissues. Tape. Water filter. A full-length mirror. Safety pins. A 3-hole punch (especially if you like using binders). A flash drive (you might not always have Wi-Fi). Cleaning supplies.
  • A real alarm clock. If you don’t wake up when you’re supposed to, no one is going to wake you up. Your phone is great, but it also has a short battery life.
  • First aid supplies. Most campuses have some health services available, but you definitely want to be able to handle minor medical issues independently.
  • A small hammer and tool kit can be a real lifesaver.
  • A bathroom scale. Want to know how to beat the notorious freshman 15? Weigh yourself. Knowledge is power.
  • Note-taking supplies. Studies have shown that you’re more likely to retain information if you write it down (versus typing). The choice is yours, but old-fashioned notebooks, pens, highlighters and binders might be the key to a successful first semester.
  • Other things you might undervalue when looking at packing lists: A reading light. A backpack. A desk or wall calendar. A hot pot. A bike.

Of course, this list isn’t everything you’ll need. And some of you might not need these things either. The best tip when packing for college is to concentrate on bringing things that you truly use regularly, and pare down on everything else.

Visiting the campus ahead of time is a great way to learn some of the things you might need to bring with you – seeing sample dorm rooms, computer labs and residence halls is invaluable when it comes to packing lists.

To schedule your summer visit at Hilbert College, click here. We have a spot reserved for you!

What To Ask On Your Campus Visit


There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a school. Before your first campus visit, it’s a good idea to sit down and consider what’s important to you. Think about what you’re hoping to get out of your college experience. Your campus visits are the best time to get as much real-life information about the school as possible.

Figuring out what you want in a school can be tricky, so we’ve compiled a few suggestions to get you started.

Here are some questions you can (and should) ask at your campus visits to help you make the best choice for your future.

1) Financial aid questions:

  • What is your average freshman aid package?
  • What is your average upperclassman aid package?
  • What percentage of aid is awarded as grants versus loans?
  • What does the average merit award look like?
  • What is the average debt your graduating students leave with?

2) Success questions:

  • What is your four year graduation rate? Five year?
  • What are the graduation requirements? How many credits per semester are expected to graduate in four years?
  • What are your attrition rates? Or, what is your retention rate?

3) Support questions:

  • How are freshman and new students oriented to the school?
  • What academic support programs are in place? Tutoring, writing center, counseling, advisement, etc.
  • What kind of alumni support programs do you offer? Career services, alumni networks, etc.
  • What student health services are available?
  • How large is the campus security or police force? What is dorm security like?

4) Academic questions:

  • How many majors do you offer? (If you have specific fields of study you are interested in, be sure to ask about those. Not every school offers every program.)
  • What is the average 100 level course size? 300 level?
  • How are teaching assistants used?
  • What are the general education course requirements?
  • What is your policy on accepting AP course credits and college-level work?
  • How difficult is it to register for the classes that you want? How quickly do upper level and freshman courses fill up?
  • Are courses generally lecture based, discussion based, or project based?

5) Transfer questions:

  • What is your transfer credit policy?
  • What additional courses will I be required to take to catch up?
  • How do you help transfer students assimilate?
  • Bring a copy of your transcripts, and ask for an on-site credit evaluation if possible.

6) Student life questions:

  • What are my options for living on-campus?
  • What kinds of clubs exist on campus?
  • What athletic teams exist, both NCAA and intramural?
  • What school-sponsored activities exist for student participation?
  • If applicable, ask what kinds of transportation services exist for students.
  • What are food services like? Do you have to eat in the cafeteria? What are the hours?
  • What is the surrounding community like?
  • What study-abroad options exist? Does the school have its own programs?

Of course, if you have any special circumstances, unique needs or medical requirements, be sure to ask how the school and its staff can best accommodate those needs.

If you have a chance to meet with students, take advantage of it! Only current students can truly tell you what it’s like to attend that school. If your guide is a current student, ask why they decided to attend the school.

There are a lot of questions that you can ask at a campus visit. Many of them may be answered on a general tour, but it’s a good idea to know what’s important to you, and not leave until you have answers to your important questions. After all, choosing a school is an important decision!

To schedule your summer campus visit and tour of Hilbert College, click here. We have a spot reserved for you!

5 Tips for Optimizing Financial Aid Navigation

Navigating the world of financial aid can seem daunting. The rules seem to change all the time. Everyone has heard horror stories of students who thought they’d be receiving a certain amount of aid being priced out of college. And while it can be complicated and you won’t always get what you expect, there are a few tricks that can help you make sure you’re receiving the aid you deserve.

1. Know your terminology.

While it’s not always consistent from school to school or state to state, having an understanding of the terms that will be thrown at you help keep you from accepting the consequences of a financial aid package you don’t understand. Understanding that there is need-based aid and merit-based aid, and that aid packages typically include loans, is a good starting place.

This website can help: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/glossary. And if you don’t understand, do a little research before making a commitment.

2. Fill out of the FAFSA.

That is, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You can fill it out here: https://fafsa.ed.gov/. EVERYONE SHOULD FILL OUT THE FAFSA. Even if you don’t think you’ll be eligible for aid. It can’t hurt to find out.

Fill it out every year, and try to fill it out as early as possible. Generally, you can fill it out as early as January 1 (Tip: You need your tax information to fill out the FAFSA. The most recent year is easiest to use, so file your taxes early!). Why fill it out early? There are more funds available earlier in the year. Because the financial aid system is complex, submit a new FAFSA every year, even if you haven’t had any significant financial changes. All kinds of things make a difference, and even a small amount of gain in aid is worth it, right?

It’s also important to send your FAFSA to several different schools. They can see where you’ve sent it, and it may inspire them to be a little more generous if they think you’re an ideal candidate.

3. Pay attention to net price versus net cost.

Simply put, net cost counts loans against the cost of attendance, and net price only counts scholarships and grants, i.e. money you won’t eventually have to pay back.

It can be easy to look at a net cost that seems low and think you’re getting a great aid package that results in a low out-of-pocket cost. However, if 50% of that aid is student loans, even low-interest loans, it’s possible that another school is offering a better package.

4. Careful about loans.

Loans can be great. In theory, earning power increases with a college degree, and by the time you have to start paying back those loans it’s very possible that you’ll have a full-time job and you’ll be able to factor them into your budget. However, all loans are not created equal.

Private loans can seem appealing because they are sometimes able to offer greater amounts than Federal loans. But they come with a catch. Most private loans require a co-signer. If you’re a parent, you need to co-sign with complete understanding that if your child can’t or doesn’t pay back this loan, it quickly becomes your responsibility. And private loans typically aren’t flexible or negotiable later. The payment you sign up for is the payment you’re stuck with.

Federal loans are generally a better choice, but they of course have some caveats as well. Defaulting on a Federal loan can mean swift action to garnish your wages and tax refund. Federal loan repayment operates very similarly to a mortgage, so the early years of repayment go mostly toward interest. But Federal loans offer repayment flexibility. You can adopt a payment plan that works for you, whether that means consolidation, earned-income payments, or a graduated repayment plan.

5. Apply for as many grants and scholarships as you can.

This one seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many students don’t apply because they don’t think they’ll be awarded anything. Talk to a school guidance counselor and find out what scholarships and grants are available to you. There are loads of local organizations that give out student scholarships. And with a recent push toward a common application, it might be a lot easier than you think. In NYS, a Pell grant can be an easy way to offset the cost of tuition, as it’s offered as a need-based grant.

A lot of students don’t apply for scholarships because they’re small and they don’t think a few hundred dollars is worth the time. But add together four or five or more of those small scholarships, and it can start to make a dent. Also, many of the small scholarships are awarded as cash, which can really help with the cost-of-living expenses that aren’t built in to tuition.

Of course, cost isn’t the only factor is choosing a school. But looking at financial aid packages and understanding what is truly being offered will help make sure you’re not being fooled into thinking you’re getting more aid than you think.

Schedule a summer visit to Hilbert College and meet with a financial aid representative to start learning how affordable a Hilbert education can be.

6 Reasons Small Schools Are Awesome

Small VS BIG-02

When it comes time to choose a school after high school, or even time to begin applying to schools, one of the major choices students make is “big school or small school?”

Should you choose a small school, such as Hilbert College, there are a lot of benefits that you’re unlikely to duplicate at a large public college or university.

1. Sense of community.

We’ve all heard this one before. Smaller schools offer a greater sense of belonging, they work harder to facilitate new friendships and cultivate a community full of opportunity to make sure every student feels like they really belong there. But that sense of community means more than that. It means that when you get involved in a cause, your individual contributions matter, because there’s less competition. You feel like you belong, but you also feel like you’re truly contributing to your community, not just benefitting from it.

2. Taught by professors, not TAs.

Smaller schools typically have all courses taught by professors, not TAs (teaching assistants). While graduate student TAs have their place in the academic world, you’ve undoubtedly paid your tuition with the intention of receiving an education from an expert in the field, not an expert-in-training.

Additionally, you’re likely to get better feedback from professors, particularly in small classes. They aren’t rushing to submit 300 grades, so they can take their time to really show you what you can do better. This is invaluable during your education.

 3. Professors are committed to teaching.

Large universities often have a lot of pressure to conduct research and bring in funding for continued research projects. Professors are expected to write and publish on a regular basis. At a small school, the professors’ only professional commitment is to teaching.

4. Less bureaucracy.

You’ve heard the adage “not just a number.” What that means is that your advisors have more time to advise you and come up with a course plan that suits you and your goals. They have time to check in on you. They are able to recommend other activities based on your interests. And when you run into a problem (and you will, because your parents might not be there to make sure everything gets done), you’re more likely to be on the receiving end of some flexibility, forgiveness and assistance.

5. It’s not all about sports.

Sports are great, and at most schools they can still be a big part of life. Smaller schools offer the same sports without insane pressure to make money off those sports. A sporting event at a small school often means everyone comes together as a community to cheer on their friends and classmates.

6. Smaller classes.

Smaller classes mean more opportunities to ask questions, and more opportunities to get to know your professors. Professors can mentor and teach you, and pass knowledge beyond just the course curriculum on to you.

Did you know that good writing skills become increasingly important as you move through school and into the professional world? Now consider a class with hundreds of students and one professor. How many papers do you think that professor has time to grade and evaluate during the semester? A small school with small class sizes means you’ll likely write more papers and really hone your writing skills.

Whether you choose to attend a big school or a small school, it’s important to make the choice that’s right for you. At Hilbert, we believe in the benefits of a small school.

If you’d like to visit Hilbert College this summer and check out everything we have to offer (like small class sizes, dedicated professors, abundant extra-curriculars, etc.), you can schedule your visit here. www.hilbert.edu/summervisit

Hilbert College: small community, great opportunity.