Students from HCC Get Tour of UNH

Brandon T. Bisceglia

A group of 22 students from Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport got a first-hand look Friday at the UNH experience. The students, accompanied by HCC Counselor Marilyn Wehr, boarded a bus at 10:00 a.m. and made the half-hour trip to West Haven, where they were shepherded to the second floor of Bartels Hall for a presentation about UNH by Nikki Cardillo, assistant director for transfer admissions at UNH, who led the tour.

Aided with slides, Cardillo gave an overview of the programs and facilities available at UNH. She explained the transfer process, including the scholarships available to transfer students and the dates by which they would need to apply in order to qualify for financial aid or housing. Cardillo also spent time talking about some of the successful people who have graduated from UNH, such as David Beckerman, who founded the Starter athletic apparel company in New Haven in 1971.

Most of the students were learning about UNH well before they were ready to finish at HCC. When Cardillo asked how many of the students were interested in transferring for the Fall 2012 semester, four raised their hands.

The students posed tough questions for Cardillo at the end of her presentation. Several asked about part-time enrollment, which had not been covered in the presentation. According to HCC’s Institutional Research Office, 4,248 out of 6,132 of the college’s students this semester are enrolled part-time, accounting for over two-thirds of the student population.

One student asked Cardillo if she could estimate UNH’s ability to place students in jobs. Cardillo said it was difficult to tell. “Some students go on to Master’s programs. Others get jobs that are not in their specific majors,” she pointed out.

After the presentation, the students were given meal cards so they could buy lunch in the cafeteria, where they were joined by professors who talked to them about academic life at UNH. Several students had already formed positive impressions of UNH before arriving on campus. Rob Nerkowski, a computer sciences major at HCC, had heard about the computer engineering program at UNH from a friend who attends the College of Engineering.

Nerkowski said that everyone he had met on campus seemed kind and had said ‘hi’ to him. “There’s nothing I didn’t like,” he said. HCC Criminal Justice major Alex Antuna, Jr., said that he was excited to see the Henry C. Lee Institute. “I wanted to come today because this is one of the best schools for criminal justice and forensics,” he said. Antuna was a little intimidated by the idea that he would be living on campus by himself, however, saying he had “living on your own anxiety.”

Carolina DeLeón, another criminal justice major at HCC, was not at all intimidated. She said that she was looking for a small campus with nice people, adding that she wanted to go somewhere with the same feeling of community that she enjoyed at HCC. She was, however, reserving judgment until she had heard more about UNH’s part-time programs. She said she has a 14-year-old son, and would not be able to manage a full-time course load.

Wehr said this was the first time HCC and UNH had worked together on such a tour. She and Cardillo worked together to coordinate the trip because they felt that HCC and UNH are near one another and have numerous programs in common, including criminal justice and accounting.

Cardillo said that, since starting as an admissions coordinator in the summer of 2011 she has made it a goal to build closer relationships with Connecticut’s community colleges, as well as some in New York and Maine. “I think that having students come visit, and having our counselors visit their schools multiple times per month gives that personal touch on which UNH prides itself,” she said.

Cardillo said she is currently planning a trip for engineering students from Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury to visit the Tagliatela College of Engineering.