Posted on May 28th, 2004 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
Heading to college this fall or next year? Check out College Bound Teen magazine. You'll find articles on admissions, scholarship aid, studying abroad, money management and dorm living, among other topics. For aspiring writers, there's information on how to become a correspondent.
The magazine is part of the College Bound Network, which features a good bit of commercial content.
Posted on May 27th, 2004 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
Here's another reminder to students and parents that a college education is less expensive than what many of them think. As the linked article points out, few families pay a college's sticker price. At 28 elite (and expensive) colleges, says one study, although expenses represent 66 percent of an average family's income, those families are likely to pay only 23 percent of their income toward college costs after grants and loans are factored in. In other words, tuition discounting and loans have evened the playing field for the middle class.
The point here is that while a college education remains expensive, and private-university costs have crept beyond $40,000 a year, families shouldn't dismiss any potential institutions because they assume they're beyond financial reach. Apply, get in, and then worry about paying.
Posted on May 24th, 2004 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
Are U.S. colleges and universities incubators of radical liberalism? Are professors and administrators hostile toward conservative thinking? One recent UCLA grad thinks so.
Ben Shapiro, a former campus newspaper columnist who was apparently fired for his right-wing views, recently wrote Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America's Youth. His treatise, published by WND Books, a conservative organization, tells of professors spouting liberal propaganda and colleges adopting speech codes to repress unpopular views.
Critics cite Shapiro's lack of data and source materials, claiming that his book is nothing more than a conservative diatribe. One Amazon review calls it a "disgruntled teenage diary" rife with "unsubstantiated assertions, out of context anecdotes [and] third party quotes." Some reviews, however, say "Amen" to a book which points out, if not entirely convincingly, that American colleges, or at least American professors, tend to lean to the left and can be intolerant of opposing views.
To make sweeping generalizations about such a diverse industry is to invite criticism, but criticism can sell books.
Posted on May 20th, 2004 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
Heading to college this fall and dread having to take Econ 101? If your destination is one of the 50 "best" institutions, you won't have to.
As a Washington Post piece points out, most of those top 50 colleges and universities receive poor grades for their general education curricula, according to a new report by the American Council of Trustees and alumni. That report examines the rhetoric and reality of "Gen Ed" programs and concludes that most undergraduates can escape college without taking basic skills courses (e.g. composition or math) or survey courses in literature, history and science. Instead, they can substitute specialty courses ("History of Comic Book Art") to meet distribution requirements.
Here's a bit from the report itself:
Despite widespread lip service to the importance of a general education, a new survey by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni finds that a solid core curriculum in higher education has gone the way of the dodo. At a time when most colleges endorse the importance of a general education—a set of courses required of all students—in fact, colleges have virtually abandoned a solid core curriculum in favor of a loose set of distribution requirements. As a consequence, college students are graduating without the basic knowledge that was once considered the hallmark of a liberal education.Why are so many universities being rotten to the core? Faculty don't want to teach survey courses; they want to teach their pet specialties. And institutions fear losing market share (student demand) should their requirements appear too stringent.
That said, if students want broad exposure to the liberal arts and sciences, they can fashion their own course of study to ensure it.
Posted on May 18th, 2004 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
Graduation marks the end of college life, but as we all know, "commencement" means "beginning." And here's some good news: the job market looks rosier than it has in recent years. It's not as robust as it was in the late '90s, but at least things are moving in the right direction.
Competition for top jobs remains tough, though it might help to have scored well on the SAT. Say what? It seems some companies want to see applicants' SAT scores to determine mathematical Aptitude. Did you think the SAT was just supposed to get you into college?
Just to be safe, don't throw away those third-grade report cards.
Posted on May 14th, 2004 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
(Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology)Anyone who's been on a campus tour knows how universities like to showcase new buildings. Students and their families expect the latest and greatest facilities, and the competition among institutions has resulted in a sort of construction arms race.
Enter MIT, which certainly has caught people's attention. Its new Ray and Maria Stata Center for Computer, Information and Intelligence Sciences is, well, unique. Some might call it odd. The architect told the New York Times that it "looks like a party of drunken robots got together to celebrate." And that, I assume, is a good thing.
I give MIT credit for pushing the envelope on this one. After all, they're supposed to be experimental and forward-looking. Still, I'm no architecture critic, but only one phrase comes to mind: ugly as sin.
Take a closer look and judge for yourself.
Posted on May 11th, 2004 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
(Source: Washington University)Ivy League schools are used to saying "no." They're just not used to hearing it.
Still, a number of top students each year tell the Ivies to keep their offers. Instead, they're attending second-tier private colleges and top public universities because of hefty scholarship packages. Ivies claim to meet students' financial need, but do not give merit aid.
So faced with a decision either to drop tens of thousands on an Ivy sheepskin or to graduate from a less prestigious institution with little debt, some students are choosing the latter. If you're faced with this dilemma, be sure that the scholarship package covers four years, and is not just a "bait and switch" scheme designed to hook you and reduce aid in succeeding years. And if you can get a relatively free education at a decent place, go for it.
Posted on May 7th, 2004 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
Isn't technology wonderful? Students now can take college tours online, submit applications via the Web, and even receive admissions decisions by email. Eventually, though, something was Bound to go wrong.
Many universities have recently reported problems with some form of electronic communication involving applicants—a wrong admissions decision, a false promise of financial aid, a lost SAT score. Apparently the problems stem from the sheer volume of students submitting materials electronically and the growing pains associated with these new techniques.
So students who've received puzzling information (or no information) from colleges should double-check things the old fashioned way: pick up the phone.
Posted on May 5th, 2004 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
If they haven't already, high school seniors will soon decide where to attend college next fall. But what drives that decision? Location? Financial aid? Reputation?
Maybe it's a little of everything, but sometimes it comes down to a gut feeling. You might find one place that, regardless of rankings or other essentially meaningless measures, just feels right. That's why it's important to visit campuses you're interested in.
This decision is important (though not as important as you may think), and it's Wise to weigh options and compare data. But go with what your heart says, and you won't go wrong.
Posted on May 4th, 2004 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
Students and parents across the country are scratching their heads trying to figure out the complexities of financing a college education. The dizzying array of options can confuse even the most fiscally savvy.
Here's some help. Visit icreditcentral.com, a treasure trove of information on the intricacies of borrowing. You'll find free advice on credit scores, bankruptcy, mortgages, consolidation and refinancing. There's even a section about college students and credit cards. And while you're there, be sure to attend "Credit School" and browse its comprehensive "Dictionary of Credit Terms."
If you already have a shaky credit history, check out www.badcreditalliance.com. You'll find plenty of resources that can help you regain your financial footing.
What's more, both sites offer free email newsletters, so take advantage.
Links: Loans & Credit Cards; Bad Credit Loans