When I booked my travel for my annual trip to the College Prep Invitational Horse Show, I confess that the idea of maximizing both my working time and the amount of time I would be able to spend soaking up the sunshine in southern Florida while everyone at home in the Midwest was still shoveling their driveways and double-blanketing their horses was more than a little appealing.
Okay, it was a LOT appealing.
It also didn’t hurt that Lynn University, a small school with some big programs, was located a short 25 minutes south of the greater West Palm Beach/Wellington equestrian community and the decision was made that much easier. And so, it was with absolutely zero reluctance that I left 8 degree weather and, one short flight later, landed to 80 degrees, sunshine, and a very warm welcome on Lynn’s modern and expanding campus. (My own personalized parking place in the visitor lot? Yes please!)
Unlike its larger and somewhat more widely known neighbor, Florida Atlantic University, Lynn is a campus of just over 2,000 students. The smaller student numbers enhance the community feel on campus – in fact, my tour guide was greeted by name by each and every student and faculty member we passed, something that’s rare even on some of the other small campuses I’ve been to. This sense of unity and community is essential in order for Lynn to continue to enhance their nationally-recognized programs, including the one designed especially to support students with learning disabilities and challenges who need extra help to make their college dreams a reality. This program – the Institute for Achievement and Learning – is rather unique (even among small colleges) and it was a treat for me to sit down with its director and learn more about how it functions.
By the end of our conversation, I saw clearly that, for students who need one-on-one support, coaching, tutoring, and access to the very latest in technology to assist with learning support, Lynn is the place to come. Students are able to work with their own assigned tutors and learning coaches to develop individualized study plans designed to help them succeed at the college level and move into a variety of careers. In addition, many of the faculty at Lynn undergo specialized training to help them to better understand the types of students who are sitting in their classrooms and facilitate a variety of learning styles and variations. Depending on a student’s needs when they arrive on campus, it might require a five or even six year commitment in order to complete the requirements to finish a Bachelor’s degree, but at no point does the support of the campus community waver. Students at Lynn are groomed to finish and to succeed.
Lynn’s Boca Raton location also aids the university in a way in which outsiders might not even consider when looking at the potential opportunities presented by the school and its various programs. As in real estate (“location, location, location”), Lynn benefits from its sunny community in the level and qualifications of the subject tutors its able to attract. That’s right – thanks to a vibrant community of well-educated retirees who wish to stay active and volunteer, a math student at Lynn might very well find him or herself tutored by a former IBM CEO and a business student struggling with finance might be paired with a retired Wall Street financier.
Lynn’s location and curriculum can also be advantageous for equestrians thanks to the riding opportunities available 25 minutes up the road in Wellington and this close proximity to America’s winter equestrian playground serves as a pretty fair trade off for the fact that the campus itself doesn’t currently field an equestrian team or club. Still, from November through as late as April (which – if you think about it – covers the majority of the school year), horse people know that Olympic-level riders and trainers from across the country and around the world make southern Florida their winter home and therefore afford passionate equestrians a plethora of riding and learning opportunities to choose from. What’s more, if you aspire to become a professional equestrian yourself one day and don’t want to give up your daylight riding hours, Lynn offers night classes towards degrees in business, communications and media, and even hospitality management that might fit into your hectic schedule.