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Queens Chronicle

HIGHER EDUCATION SECTION College options close to home

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Posted: Thursday, October 24, 2013 10:30 am

Choosing a college is rarely easy. In fact, it is generally one of the most nerve-wracking decisions anyone ever has to make.

So many variables come into play: Would a large or small school work best? What are the costs? Does the school have a financial aid program? What fields of study are offered? What extracurricular activities are available? What is the on-campus social life like? What percentage of graduates get jobs right away?

Perhaps the first decision that needs to be made is whether to go out of state or to remain close to home.

For anyone wishing to remain local, a wide variety of institutes of higher learning offers some interesting options.

Consider, for instance, St. Joseph’s College, a private liberal arts school with campuses in Brooklyn and on Long Island.

Originally named St. Joseph’s College for Women, it was founded by the sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood in 1916.

Today, the college has a total enrollment of approximately 5,000 undergraduate students between its two locations, in addition to some 800 students in its combined graduate programs.

Among the more than 25 majors offered are Business, Health Care Management, Human Resources, Nursing, Accounting, and Education. New programs include Journalism, Medical Technology, Sports Management, Hospitality, and Tourism Management.

In addition, Michael Banach, the college’s director of public affairs, said, “We just welcomed the inaugural Writer’s Foundry,” a master’s program which is geared toward writers who dedicate themselves to excellence in all areas of literary life.

Described by Banach as a “boutique program,” it is limited to 20 students. “We’re keeping it small and exclusive,” Banach said, indicating that “we welcome writers of all stripes.”

The program, according to Banach, is “steeped in the philosophy of Marie Ponsot,” an acclaimed poet and graduate of St. Joseph’s, and favors an approach whereby competency can refine itself.

While Ponsot once said, “The duty of the writer is to the welfare of the work,” the program follows the belief that “the duty of the writer implies character, practice and, in no small dose, the pleasure of artistic freedom.”

The college, which went coed in 1971, still has a mostly female student body, with women outnumbering men around three to one. And while it is nondenominational, “Catholic values guide our mission,” Banach said.

“We have a nurturing, supportive atmosphere, an open and welcoming environment to all students. It’s an excellent place to get a college degree,” he continued.

For further information on St. Joseph’s, contact:

Brooklyn — 245 Clinton Avenue, (718) 940-5300.

Long Island — 155 West Roe Blvd., Patchogue, (631) 687-5100.

Staying right here in the borough is, of course, a distinct option.

Lander College for Men, a division of The Touro College and University System, offers small, seminar-style undergraduate classes in a personalized environment. Majors include Accounting and Business, Computer Science, Natural Sciences, Math and Pre-Engineering, and Behavioral and Social Sciences.

With an eye toward enriching the Jewish heritage while serving the larger American community, Touro College opened its doors with a class of 35 liberal arts and sciences students in 1971. Today, some 19,000 students are enrolled in its 32 divisions across five countries.

According to Dr. Moshe Sokol, dean of Lander College, “Students make wonderful progress ... gaining rigorous mastery over the disciplines to which they will be devoting their careers.”

Rabbi Barry Nathan, director of admissions, said the school is looking for students with “a desire to excel in all aspects of life ... and is willing to work diligently.” He indicated that the faculty is chosen not only for their “superb credentials” but “because they have an interest in helping our students grow.”

A sister school, Lander College for Women, is located in Manhattan.

For further information on Lander College, contact:

For men — 75-31 150 St., Flushing, (718) 820-4800.

For women — 227 W. 60 St., NYC, (212) 287-3500.

Queens-based Plaza College offers bachelor’s degrees in Management and Patient Information Management, and associate degrees in, among other disciplines, Business Administration, Accounting, Medical Assisting and Computer Business Support.

The school is a private, specialized institution that offers programs to students who desire, according to its mission, “challenging careers and a continuation of their formal education.”

Founded in 1916, the school, according to spokeswoman Brittany Travis, was not only family-founded but remains family-operated.

The son, grandson, and great grandson of the original founder, Charles Callahan, as well as a lot of other family members, all hold administrative positions at the school today, according to Travis.

Plaza’s total student population is around 800, with class sizes generally between 15 and 20 students each. Travis said lecture classes may contain between 25 and 30 students. “They never really get any bigger,” she said.

The school is dedicated to helping students achieve their personal and professional goals and, according to Travis, “A lot of our students like coming here because of the personal atmosphere.”

She said the student population is diverse, coming from all over the world.

The college is relocating its main campus to Forest Hills, opening there next September.

For more information on Plaza College (74-09 37 Ave., Jackson Heights), call (718) 779-1430.

Bramson ORT College has roots dating to 1942, when it served refugees and immigrants during World War II. It was established as a college in Manhattan in 1977 to provide technical education at the college level.

Today, its main campus is located in Forest Hills, with a satellite campus in Brooklyn.

A nonprofit private institute, the school is run by U.S. ORT Operations, the American Branch of World ORT, the largest Jewish education and vocational training nongovernmental organization.

With ORT’s motto, “Educating for life,” dating back to the organization’s founding in Tsarist Russia in 1880, the school offers a full selection of courses including Accounting, Business Management, Computer Technology, Electronics Technology, Medical and Natural Sciences, Office Technology and Graphic & Web Design. New classes include Paralegal, Game Design and Renewable Energy Systems.

The school’s programs can lead to a professional degree, certificate or diploma.

For further information on Bramson ORT College (69-30 Austin St., Forest Hills), call (718) 261-5800.

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