Alvernia Admissions


College Fairs vs. College Visits - What’s the difference?


Oh, man! There’s so many colleges and so little time! I have a math test tomorrow, I have to drive my little sister to school, my mom is making me mow the lawn/shovel the driveway depending on the time of year, and I still don’t know where I’m going to college!

If this sounds like you, don’t worry. Take a deep breath, easy does it, now exhale. Of course, picking the right college may be stressful at times, but us admissions counselors are constantly trying to make it easier on you. Our job is to lighten your load, and though we can’t take that math test for you tomorrow, we can at least make your college application process a little less strenuous.

See, picking a college is like picking a new home; it’s where you’ll spend the majority of your time for the next four years, make some of your closest friends, and discover your passions both socially and academically. So you really don’t want to mess that up, it’s kind of a big deal. And with so many options, how can one possibly find the ‘right fit’?

Well, for starts, we come to you. There are two ways you can make it easier on you before even stepping foot on a college campus for a visit: by taking advantage of college fairs and high school visits.

1. College Fairs

College fairs are events held by your high school (or by a high school in your area) where students come to be exposed to a plethora of colleges and universities. Typically, there will be universities represented from all over the state and the surrounding states eager to meet you and learn about your passions and interests.

This is a time to really test the waters. You have the chance to meet admissions counselors and learn about the school that they represent. It is a time to pick up literature on the particular school, and also sign up to be on their mailing list. You can inquire about different academic or athletic programs, the demographics of the university, social clubs and organizations, and really whatever else comes to mind.

College fairs are great for students who want to be exposed to many colleges and get a basic grasp for the different types of institutions and experiences one may have at an undergraduate level. It’s also a time to make that first connection with a college or university that peaks your interest.

2. College Visits

High School visits are set up by individual schools. They contact the guidance office, and through them, advertise their visit to your particular high school. You can sign up ahead of time to meet with the admission counselor that represents the college.

These meetings can be anywhere from ten minutes to an hour. Often times you can get out of class or a study hall to attend these affairs. Sometimes they even come at lunch, so as to not conflict with your academic schedule.

These visits are sometimes more individualized than college fairs. They give you a chance to sit one-on-one with a representative of a university, and really dive into the life of a college student. Though it may not be just you in the meeting, chances are it will be a smaller group than a college fair. Discussion is encouraged, and specific questions can be more easily answered.

If you’ve heard about a university at a college fair, or just in general, high school visits are great for making that next step and getting some questions answered at a more focused level. If it feels like the right fit, many students go on to visit the campus and/or start the application process for that particular institution.

At the end of the day, choosing a college is about finding the right fit. Does it have your major, your sport, are there extracurricular activities and clubs, do you see yourself here for four years, will you grow as a student and as an individual? College fairs and high school visits give you a good base for understanding a specific university and its students. It helps you see through the fog, and allows you to take the next step.

Whether it be a visit or a fair, these events allow you to connect first-hand with your admissions counselor and better understand both the university and the admissions process.

-Brandon Pytel, Admissions Counselor

Oct 1

We Want YOU…to visit us this Fall!

Fall is here! You know what that means? I know you’re probably thinking pumpkin EVERYTHING…but it means that some of our best visit dates are here! There are plenty of visits to help you decided if Alvernia is the place for you.

My favorite type of visit is an Open House. We will have two Open Houses this fall: Saturday, October 18th and Saturday, November 15th. This is a great opportunity to see everything on campus that YOU want to see. Some of the activities of the day include tours of campus and all our residence halls, a faculty fair so you can meet with faculty in your major of interest, the opportunity to meet with coaches and athletics staff to discuss NCAA Division III sports, intramural activities and health and wellness and a University Life fair to discover the clubs and activities on campus. Let us show you what we love about Alvernia and register for an Open House!

If you are unable to attend a big event, we do have Information Sessions available. There are two more dates for this semester on Monday, October 13th and Friday, November 21st. During an Information Session, you will attend a presentation about Alvernia, a tour of campus from our awesome student tour guides, lunch with students, faculty, and staff and a brief admissions/financial aid overview.

We also have individual visits every weekday with tour times at 9:00am, 11:00am and 2:00pm. During that time, you will have a tour of campus and a one-on-one meeting with your admissions counselor. There will also be select Saturday Hours for those of you unable to visit during the week.

For those of you who have visited the campus already, we offer more in-depth visits for you! You can spend the night on campus and/or shadow classes the next day. It’s like living a day in the life of an Alvernia student…without taking the exams! 

Visiting campus is an important part of the college search process. You can do all the research you want online, but that feeling you get when you arrive on campus will really help you make a college decision. It is important for you to feel at “home” while you are away from your own home. My advice to you is visit as many colleges and universities as possible. Big, small, in-state, out-of-state, private, state institutions, etc. Sometimes students know the minute they step foot on campus that they are in the right place. Or it might take a couple visits to gather all the information needed to make an informed college decision. Either way, our helpful and friendly Admissions staff is always willing to lend a helping hand to lead you to success. Please reach out to us with any type of question. (And if you think it’s a “silly” question…I can guarantee many other students had the same question!) Even if your question is not directly Alvernia related, we are here to help guide you through the college search process. Our ultimate goal is to make sure you are happy and comfortable with your decision.

I will promise you this: Alvernia is absolutely worth the trip! It is a beautiful campus nestled in historic Berks County, with some of the most amazing faculty and staff I’ve ever met. And now that it is fall, the trees on the mountain will be changing to red, yellow and orange…I can’t wait! It’s simply a gorgeous site. So don’t forget to register for your visit. We can’t wait to show you why we love Alvernia so much. 

(And if you read this blog, be sure to come find me at an event to let me know!)

I can’t wait to meet you!

-Megan Jaid Schroeder, Admissions Counselor

About Alvernia University

Alvernia University is one of the leading Catholic colleges in PA. Receive a classic, liberal arts education in over 50 different subject areas, combining all the best features of an outstanding university, delivered in the personal setting of a college environment. Alvernia provides an affordable, private education in Reading and the surrounding communities in Pottsville, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lancaster, Kutztown and Philadelphia. For more information visit:

Calling All Seniors: It’s Application Time!

Hello, I hope that the first few weeks of the school year are off to a roaring success, especially for our senior students. I know that I have enjoyed meeting students at their high schools down in Maryland these last few weeks. The top questions that are on all seniors’ minds deal with the application process.

With that in mind, I have developed a 10 step guide for completing your application. I hope that you find it helpful, and if you ever have any questions about Alvernia’s application process, please don’t hesitate to contact your admissions counselor.

Step 1: Find the application – I know this sounds silly, but all schools have different application forms, you can find ours online by clicking here.

Step 2: Start and complete the application – Make sure you answer all the required questions, including telling us all about the activities, jobs, community service and other stellar things you are currently doing.

Step 3: Write the essay – Our essay is on community service. Feel free to answer the question or tell us what community service you have done; don’t stress, just do your best!

Step 4: Pay the application fee - If you visit us on campus, we will waive your application fee!

Step 5: Make sure you submit it – You did all that work, make sure to hit the submit button.

Step 6: Talk with your guidance counselor – You need to make sure they send us your transcript, test scores and anything else they have on file.

Step 7: Send test scores – If your counselor does not have your test scores on file, you will need to have them sent from the SAT or ACT websites.

Step 8: Follow up – Make sure your counselor sends us your documents and that we have received everything we need to review your file.

Step 9: Respond to any requests from your admissions counselor – We will also be following up with you letting you know what we still need to complete your application.

Step 10: Relax and wait – You should hear from us in about 2-4 years… Just kidding! 2-4 weeks!

The most important part of the application is to be you! If you would prefer to complete one of our paper applications, let us know and we can mail one out to you!

Questions? Contact us at or at 610.796.8269.

We hope to see those applications soon, and we will begin reviewing in early October!

Christopher Fake, Admissions Counselor

Freshman Move-In Day and Orientation

Who can believe that summer is almost over and our new freshman class will be moving in on Thursday! This is truly one of my favorite times of year on the college campus. Seeing our new freshman move in and all the rest of the students back after the quiet summer is great! I hope the class of 2018 is ready to begin their college journey with move-in day and orientation. 

Those students not already on campus for various reasons you will join us bright and early on Thursday morning and can begin checking in at our registration tent at 8:00a.m. Once you are done checking in, our staff, faculty, students, and alumni will help you unload your car. That’s right; we will help move all of your stuff into your dorm room. This is our way of saying welcome to the Alvernia family!

Our commuter students will join us a little later, but are expected to participate in the rest of the day on Thursday and throughout orientation weekend.

If you have any last minute questions on Thursday, you can check in with most of our offices on campus including student financial planning, student billing, the bookstore, and the health and wellness center, to name just a few.

Make sure you don’t miss your class picture, after which you will move on to the opening convocation. Next on the schedule will be our presidential reception and a time for you to say goodbye to your family.  This is always a time filled with good food and tears as you have a chance to say goodbye to your parents as you continue on your college journey.

Now that you are on your own you will meet your first year seminar class and your OWL, or Orientation Weekend Leader. Our OWL’s are returning students who have volunteered to help out with leading our freshman students through this weekend’s orientation. Dinner comes next, and after one last meeting, a few awesome activities will keep you busy throughout the evening. 

All students are required to attend events the rest of the weekend; I have been sworn to secrecy on these events, but I promise that you will have a ton of fun. These events will keep you active, engaged, and meeting new people all weekend! The hope is that you will instantly feel at home on campus, your new home away from home. You will get your full orientation weekend schedule on Thursday morning when you arrive on campus.

If at any point you need help or have any questions throughout the day, please don’t hesitate to ask any of the staff, faculty, students, or alumni that are helping out. We want to make this an enjoyable experience for both our new students and their families.

Make sure to take it all in, and enjoy every moment. You will only have one freshman orientation, and I promise you it will be a fun, action packed time!

See you all soon!

-Christopher Fake-Admissions Counselor

Welcome, Class of 2018!


Here in Admissions we are excited to welcome the incoming Alvernia Class of 2018 this week. This quote is a great reminder of the opportunity ahead of all of you, whether a new or returning student. Take advantage of all that your education has to offer and use it to change the world in a positive way!

-Rebecca Finn Kenney, Dean of Admissions & Student Financial Planning

HELLO! My Name is _________! (Getting to know YOU!)


Hello and Happy Summer! I hope everyone is enjoying all the beautiful things summer has to offer. Summer seems to be flying by, and all you rising seniors will be starting the college application process before you know it! (If you haven’t started already!) We have seen a lot of friendly faces around campus, so thank you to all the students and families who have visited us so far! Being a small-to-medium sized campus allows our admissions staff to really get to know our students. We hope you know our passion is helping YOU.

It is important when you are applying to different colleges and universities, to stay connected with your admissions counselor. We are here to help you through the admissions process. Starting now through enrollment, we will be with you every step of the way. Counselors are here to assist you through the admissions application, getting accepted, interviews, visiting campus, financial aid and to just lend a helping hand and a friendly face. No matter how silly you think your questions are, we can guarantee plenty of other students have asked the same thing! At Alvernia, we stay in contact with our students at least once a month. We may call or e-mail you regarding missing documents, or let you know when you’re accepted. (And sometimes we’ll even reach out just to say “Hi!”)

Our ultimate goal is to make sure you choose the institution that is right for you, and to make sure you are comfortable throughout the entire admissions and financial aid process! And while we are always reaching out to you, feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns at any time.

We have a great staff on hand… so be sure to visit us soon to meet your counselor!

Our undergraduate admissions staff includes:

Christopher Fake ’10, Admissions Counselor
Megan Jaid Schroeder, Admissions Counselor
Yarcelly Jimenez, Admissions Counselor
Bret Krotee, Assistant Director of Admissions
Melissa Manny, Assistant Director of Admissions
Shanna Bossler, Senior Associate Director of Admissions and Transfer Coordinator
Dan Hartzman, Director of Admissions

We travel to various cities and states throughout the fall and spring, so keep on the look-out for an Alvernia representative near you! We will be hitting many high schools and college fairs all over the Mid-Atlantic region. (Bonus points for remembering our names!)

We are in this profession because we love helping students follow their dreams. Whether you have applied already, or waiting until the school year begins, we look forward to working with you through your college search journey. Enjoy the rest of your summer… and we’ll see you soon!


Megan Jaid Schroeder, Admissions Counselor

About Alvernia University

Alvernia University is one of the leading Catholic colleges in PA. Receive a classic, liberal arts education in over 50 different subject areas, combining all the best features of an outstanding university, delivered in the personal setting of a college environment. Alvernia provides an affordable, private education in Reading and the surrounding communities in Pottsville, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lancaster, Kutztown and Philadelphia. For more information visit:

Preparing for the College Search

Have you already visited quite a few colleges? Have you started to narrow down your choice? Or are you just starting your college search process? Two weeks ago one of my colleagues blogged about visiting campus and ten different questions to ask while on campus, but what else can you do to prepare for college other than visiting campuses? In this blog post I am going to take a look at a few other things that a prospective college student can do this summer to be better prepared for the college search process. What better time to concentrate on the college search than now so your last year of high school can be enjoyed!

Do Your Research
What do you want to do with the rest of your life? Tough question isn’t it? Your college major could dictate what job opportunities you have as you graduate college. Take some time now to think about your future and explore different majors. Research all the different types of majors available, ask questions and don’t be afraid to change your mind as you discover new opportunities. Many college students will change their major while in college, but if some time is taken now to explore different options you will be ahead of the game. You can utilize the internet, high school guidance counselors, library, admissions counselors, family and friends. Summer is also a good time to do a job shadow, so if you think you might be interested in a specific field, find someone in that profession and shadow them for a few days to see if it’s what you expected.

Take the Test
Now is the time to register for your first or next set of standardized tests. Most colleges require you to take the SAT or ACT for acceptance and/or to receive scholarships. Here at Alvernia, we require test scores as part of the application and scholarship process. Visit the 
SAT or ACT websites to register and find a testing site near you. Now would also be a good time to look over some of the material that you might find on the test. College Board also offers online practice tests on their website.  Don’t stress or worry too much; just do your best!

The dreaded college essay season will soon be upon you. Many schools, like Alvernia, will have a specific essay question that they would like you to answer. You might want to start working on these essays now; I know, I know, it’s summer, and who wants to write over the summer? But it will considerably lighten your load during the school year. I know you can do it; hey, I wrote this blog post! You can find most college essay requirements on school websites or application sites. If you aren’t sure what to write, just contact your admissions counselor at each school, and they will be able to help you out! 

Find Free Money
Last but not least, take some time now to search for scholarships. Every college will probably offer specific scholarships, so ask about them and what it takes to receive one. You can find ours on our website

We also always encourage our students to look in their local community, Lions Club, Kiwanis club, parent’s employer, and through your high school just to name a few. There are also many national websites where you can find scholarships including These three are reputable websites where our students have had success in the past. All three websites have scholarships sections that you can browse or create a profile for yourself. 

Take some time this summer to prepare yourself for the college search process. There are many different things that you can do and most of them can be completed from the comfort of your own home, so pull up your computer and get to work!

As always if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at the university!

- Christopher Fake, Admissions Counselor

About Alvernia University

Alvernia University is one of the leading Catholic colleges in PA. Receive a classic, liberal arts education in over 50 different subject areas, combining all the best features of an outstanding university, delivered in the personal setting of a college environment. Alvernia provides an affordable, private education in Reading and the surrounding communities in Pottsville, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lancaster, Kutztown and Philadelphia. For more information visit:

Jul 9

Advice for Communicating with your Future Coach

In addition to serving as the Assistant Director of Admissions, I am also the Assistant Men’s Soccer Coach here at Alvernia. I hope the following advice will help you effectively communicate with your future coach resulting in a positive college search process on and off the field (court, track, etc). There are many institutions that offer a great education, but finding the best fit, both academically and athletically takes extra time, commitment, and research. 

The athletic recruitment process begins simple enough; either the coach contacts you or you contact the coach. Each coach has a different recruiting philosophy, so I will offer some assistance on what you should do to encourage their interest in you as a prospective student-athlete. 

Do your research first. Before you contact a coach, be sure the school offers the major, size, and location that meet your standards. Additionally, be realistic about the level of play you wish to participate in. NCAA Division I, II, and III offer a wide range of competitiveness with different levels of commitment. Not only will this ultimately make for a better experience, your increased knowledge about the school will impress the coach. 

Be proactive! After you research schools based on criteria that is important to you, contact the coach(es) directly. Most successful athletic programs offer a specialized webpage on their school’s athletic website that lists the coach(es) desired contact information. The best form of initial communication is email. Begin with a brief introductory email to the head coach and copy all of the assistant coaches. Introduce yourself, tell them why you are interested in playing at their school, include an academic profile (GPA, SAT or ACT), list a schedule of upcoming games and give contact information with a best time to contact you. Follow up with a phone call in a week if you do not hear back. Keep in mind that coaches work camps and are out of the office recruiting during most summer months. 

If you have a positive rapport throughout emails and phone calls, ask to meet with the coach during a future visit. A face to face interaction will give you a real feel for the coach and program you wish to be a part of. This on campus visit should be set up through admissions as they will be able to best tailor the visit to your needs. This could include a student-led tour of campus and meeting with an admissions counselor. 

If a coach contacts you, have the courtesy of returning the phone call or email thanking them for their interest. Coaching circles around the country can be very small. After researching the school that contacts you, be honest about what you are looking for in a student-athlete experience in your reply. The coach will appreciate your honesty which will help the program be more efficient in their recruiting efforts. 

After you narrow down the schools that you are interested in and that are interested in you as a student-athlete, combine an overnight visit with a team member and watching a game. This will give you a true day-in-the-life of being a student-athlete at that school. You will have a different experience at each school which should help confirm your enrollment decision. Again, this should be coordinated with the head coach and admissions office. 

The aforementioned process will take time, but should help for a better collegiate experience. Remember to have fun throughout your journey and ask a lot of questions. There are many willing professionals and coaches that will help guide you throughout your college search! 

-Bret Krotee, Assistant Director of Admissions & Assistant Men’s Soccer Coach

About Alvernia University

Alvernia University is one of the leading Catholic colleges in PA. Receive a classic, liberal arts education in over 50 different subject areas, combining all the best features of an outstanding university, delivered in the personal setting of a college environment. Alvernia provides an affordable, private education in Reading and the surrounding communities in Pottsville, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lancaster, Kutztown and Philadelphia. For more information visit:

Jul 1

10 Questions to Ask on Your Campus Tour!

Hello everyone! I have given and shadowed many campus tours in my day. This is your sneak peek into college campus life, make the most of your visit at each campus so that you can make an informed decision about where to spend the next few years of your life. Feel free to make a list of questions to ask before your visit. 

Listed below are top 10 questions that students should ask on campus tours: 

10. What are ways that students get involved on campus and off campus?

9. What health and wellness services are offered on campus? What are the local medical facilities available (Drs. offices, hospitals, etc.)?

8. For student athletes, what is the relationship like between the athletics department and the faculty? Are reasonable accommodations made for athletes?

7. How should students approach securing an internship? What is the process? Should students talk to their advisor, their department, career services?

6. What is there to do on and off campus for fun? What event venues, coffee shops, stores, museum, movie theatres, bowling alleys, parks, are nearby?

5. What study abroad opportunities are available? Is there a difference in tuition/fees between the home institution and the institution abroad? Are there scholarships available (at the institution, locally, nationally, and internationally)?

4. What is the food like on campus? Are their options available for special dietary needs/food allergies, etc.?

3. Is there university or public transportation available on and off campus for students? Are there discounts for students?

2. What are the extra fees that students face (ex. Printing costs, books, laundry, etc.)?

1. What financial aid is available for students (based on merit, need, outside scholarships, etc.)?

Happy touring this summer!

-Melissa Manny, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions

My Favorite Place…

Alvernia University has a ton of great spots on campus. Whether you are looking to take in the view, sit down for a study session or hang out with friends, you’ll find some great spots, some well-known and some more secret.

My favorite place on campus is the glass staircase along the side of the library. The staircase is not often given the attention it deserves (it’s obviously one of the more secret spots), but I think that it is fabulous. It is not a commonly frequented area of campus, and has a spectacular view of the quad, Student Center and residence halls.

The staircase also embodies some of the core values of our school if you use your imagination. The staircase represents contemplation because it transitions from the bottom floor to the top “quiet” floor of the library. It is a silent area and gives you time to reflect amidst a busy day. The staircase also represents collegiality because it is in the University library. Humility can also be found on the staircase because when a person stands there looking out you feel a sense of wonder and your small place on campus. Looking through the windows you see such a beautiful scene which helps embody the history and the values of the school.


Everyone should get a chance to walk on this staircase and enjoy this amazing place on campus. Next time you are using the library take a turtle moment to really enjoy it. Don’t race around like a cheetah and miss out on all it has to offer.

What is your favorite spot on campus?

-Shanna Bossler, Senior Associate Director of Admissions & Transfer Coordinator

About Alvernia University

Alvernia University is one of the leading Catholic colleges in PA. Receive a classic, liberal arts education in over 50 different subject areas, combining all the best features of an outstanding university, delivered in the personal setting of a college environment. Alvernia provides an affordable, private education in Reading and the surrounding communities in Pottsville, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lancaster, Kutztown and Philadelphia. For more information visit: