Archive for January, 2004
Ever notice what dominates media coverage of higher education? Does the media highlight curricular innovations, scientific breakthroughs, promising faculty research or student achievements? Not much. Instead, we see two principal themes recurring endlessly: Who gets in, and what should they pay?
Take these recent stories for example. First we have a frontal attack on legacy admissions. Texas A&M decided that this strategy is discriminatory and eliminated legacy status as a favorable category. Just how many A&M students actually benefited from this practice? I have no idea, but suffice it to say that on a campus of 44,000 students, giving such an "advantage" to a relative handful would not tip the diversity balance out of whack.
Next is yet another bashing of the SAT. Pitzer College in California no longer requires scores from applicants with a GPA over 3.5 and a class rank in the top 10 percent. Can't we just agree to accept this test—any standardized test—as one variable among many, or to eliminate such a measure altogether? Constant tinkering is getting us nowhere. But again, we obsess over the SAT because, to some extent, it determines who gets in.
And here's one that combines "who gets in?" with "what should they pay?". Yes, college costs are out of control, but as I pointed out in an earlier post, most people have limited and therefore erroneous views of what colleges cost and what families actually pay. The headlines persist nonetheless.
For a more balanced perspective on college costs and financial aid, visit studentmoneytips.com. You'll find good advice that cuts through much of the hyperbole the media continually feeds us.
Posted on January 20th, 2004 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
Despite decades of progress, women still account for only one-third of full-time MBA students. Why aren't more women in business school?
The answer is complex, but as a Wall Street Journal article points out, a primary reason is that most people attend B-school in their late 20s—precisely when many women are settling down and planning families. This "biological collision" forces them to make difficult choices, and many don't choose career advancement over having children.
Fear not. If you're glued to "The Apprentice" and envision yourself a budding corporate mogul, but can't seem to fit an MBA into your schedule, you do have options. Many colleges and universities offer part-time programs that suit your needs. Here are a few particularly flexible examples:
University of PhoenixEllis College of NYITKeller Graduate School of ManagementTo compare part-time programs, follow this link to find a useful Business Week tool. You can view vital statistics from over 200 schools.
Good luck, and don't forget to give "The Donald" my best.
Tuition and fees continue to rise, with no relief in sight. As this "MSN Money" article points out, the cost of attending a public college rose 14 percent last year; at privates, it climbed six percent.
Why the constant increases? Most pundits blame escalating institutional expenses for personnel and health insurance, the expectation among students and parents for first-class facilities, and shrinking support from state and federal sources.
But as this report suggests, most people don't pay the outrageous costs we hear associated with elite universities. About three-quarters of college students attend public institutions, where the average tuition for a year is less than $5,000. Only 8 percent of students attend colleges with price tags above $24,000 per year. And don't forget that 43 percent of all students attend community colleges, where a year will typically cost you less than $2,000.
So I have little sympathy for students and families grousing over a $500 increase in tuition at a good state university. It's a car payment. They evidently don't realize the bargain they're getting.
The bottom line is that college is an investment in yourself. Studies show college graduates earn considerably more than people with only a high school diploma, perhaps as much as a million dollars over a career. Oh, and you might actually learn something along the way.
Here's a wake-up call for students still at home waiting for the spring semester to begin. As this piece points out, many students try to recreate their college lives when they return home for break or during the summer, often to their parents' chagrin.
Things at home aren't the same anymore, and that's especially difficult for college freshmen to acknowledge. Freedom Cuts both ways—your parents have come to appreciate it just as much as you have. At the same time, it's tough adhering to house rules once you've shed them.
Ah, what a rough life you college kids have.
Posted on January 13th, 2004 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
Not long ago I presented at a conference for leaders of proprietary, or for-profit, colleges. I went with the notion that such schools were still relatively small, with limited courses, outdated facilities, small budgets and questionable reputations. Boy was I wrong.
For-profit schools have shed those stereotypes and now compete quite well with "traditional" colleges and universities. By catering primarily to working adults, these institutions have established a strong and permanent foothold on the landscape of American higher education. Many combine face-to-face classes with online instruction, offering maximum flexibility.
If you’re busy with a job and family, want to complete your degree, and can’t find programs that meet your schedule and particular needs, don’t fret. Visit the following sites and request more information. Your career will thank you.
The National College of Business & Technology, with campuses ranging from Virginia to Tennessee to Kentucky, offers programs in business, technology, health care, paralegal studies, hospitality management and broadcasting.
The Katherine Gibbs School, whose storied history dates back to 1911, has nine campuses throughout the Northeast. At the Philadelphia campus, for example, you can study design, business and technology.
The Chubb Institute gives students the skills necessary to become information technology professionals. Campuses are located throughout New York and New Jersey, and in Chicago, Arlington, VA, and Alpharetta, GA.
DeVry University has emerged as one of the nation’s leading for-profit institutions, with campus locations across the nation. You’ll find associate degree programs in electronics and health information, and Bachelor Degree programs in fields ranging from biomedical engineering to business to IT. DeVry also features the Keller Graduate School of Management, with Master Degree programs in accounting, human resources, and information systems, among others, as well as graduate certificate programs.
Vatterott College offers a wide array of programs in management, design, health care and information technology. Campuses are located throughout the Midwest.
And of course, the nation’s largest university, the University of Phoenix, also features campus locations nationwide and overseas. You can join the other 135,000 students from around the world studying business, technology, education, nursing, health care, counseling and criminal justice.
Jesse "The Body" Ventura, more recently self-dubbed "The Mind," will test his wits next semester against the best and brightest. Yes, Jesse's coming to Harvard University.
According to CNN, the former Minnesota Governor, wrestler and actor will be a visiting fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government's Institute of Politics. He'll offer seminars and oversee study groups for about three months. Jesse's MSNBC talk show was cancelled last month, so I suppose he has some time on his hands.
Don't get me wrong—I like Jesse, and appreciate his straightforward candor. He's come a long way since the feather boas and multicolored tights. I'm just not sure how his style will play at Harvard, where nuanced debate, not bombastic table-pounding, rules the day. It should be fun, though.
And he's certainly right about one thing: In America, anyone can make it. Heck, even a college dropout can teach at Harvard.
Just what is a weblog, anyway? Do "blogs" have anything in common? Why do people, in fact, bother to blog?
Answers to these questions vary considerably, but one thing's for sure: Blogs have become influential means of communication, and are gaining in popularity. To be honest, some blogs, especially those more personal in scope, attract limited interest. They're nothing more than online diaries that might appeal to a person's friends or relatives. But many blogs focus on particular topics and offer insightful commentary.
Higher education one such topic. I've found several higher ed blogs ranging from personal accounts of college life to adjunct issues to "moments of monumental malfeasance on campus." You can also find blogs based on campus, like this one at Harvard Law School and this one at Oxford, that address myriad issues, including higher education. Faculty have gotten into the blogging game, as this article points out. One faculty weblog, Instapundit, attracts more than 100,000 visitors per day. To get a good sense of the variety of such sites, look here.
Several blogs offer content related to education or its application to industry. Joi Ito, for instance, offers this commentary on the potential for blogging to aid participatory democracy among Japanese youth. Students of the world, unite! And this one on technology, venture capitalism and entrepreneurship has implications for university-industry partnerships and tech transfer opportunities.
So, again, how does one define a weblog? Donna Wentworth, affiliated with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law, offers the following: "A weblog…is a website updated frequently with links, commentary and anything else you like. [....] Blogs can be political journals, news digests, and/or personal diaries; they can focus on one narrow subject or range across a universe of topics. The weblog form is unique to the Web, highly addictive, and may be changing how we communicate with one another."
So there you have it. I hope you enjoy poking around and reading what others have to say about this fascinating subject.
As if college admissions predators need any encouragement, this New York Times article sheds light on ThickEnvelope.com, a new Web site that promises to predict, with some accuracy I assume, your chances at gaining admission to America's "top" 80 colleges. All you need to do is complete an online questionnaire and deposit your $79.95 (or, of course, about a buck a college).
Scam or anxiety reliever? I'd vote for scam, although I haven't seen it in action. Suffice it to say that it's almost impossible to determine how someone will fare in the admissions game at any competitive college, let alone 80. The site also asks if you're applying Early Decision to one institution. If so, why pay $80 to "discover" if you'll get in? You can apply to Harvard for $60 and find out for sure.
Oh, and by the way, the "experts" at this site have no formal experience in college admissions.
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Think you're a shoo-in for admission to your dad's college just because he went there? Think again.
Giving preference to children of alumni—legacies—has come under fire recently, as concerns about preferences of any sort continue to surface. This article discusses how state lawmakers are pressuring Texas A&M to eliminate a policy that gives legacies an advantage, albeit a small one, in the admissions process. Opponents persuasively argue that such a policy discriminates against minority students because previous generations of students largely were white. Of course, Texas' public institutions had to ban affirmative action programs in 1996 as a result of the Hopwood case, and minority enrollments have declined considerably. As of last year, only two percent of A&M's undergrads were black.
Will this backlash against legacies spread to other public universities and to privates? Time will tell, but this article shows just how pervasive this practice is among prestigious institutions.
As things currently stand, though, if your dad went to Yale, you have some advantage. Just ask George Bush.