Posted on October 26th, 2004 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
So much for the conventional wisdom that college jocks don't graduate at rates comparable to those for their couch-potato counterparts. They do. In fact, they do better: For Division I Athletes, the six-year graduation rate is 62 percent, two points higher than the overall average. And that figure has risen steadily over the past four years.
The NCAA also found the following D-I graduation rates in its latest study:
Black males: 48%
White males: 59%
Black females: 62%
White females: 70%
Men's basketball: 44%
Given that football and basketball drag down the average a bit, we can assume that in some sports the rate is much higher.
Moral? We should drop the "dumb jocks who don't graduate" stereotype and admire student-athletes for demonstrating commitment on multiple fronts.
Posted on October 20th, 2004 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
Sick and tired of college rankings? Didn't think so.
Neither are the several professors who ganged up to create yet another ranking system. This time, institutions are evaluated based on how often top students choose them in head-to-head battles. For instance, if a student is admitted to Duke, Princeton and Columbia and chooses Duke, then Duke somehow scores points (we're still fuzzy on exactly how). Colleges that win these battles most often fare best. Not surprisingly, Harvard came out on top. We could have predicted that given the university's high yield rate (percentage of admitted students matriculating), but I suppose these researchers needed something to do.
The authors of the study also found that their list doesn't neatly correspond to the one in U.S. News. Many high-ranking colleges in the magazine, which uses more objective data, fell dramatically in this survey.
Sound like a popularity contest? Absolutely. But the authors suggest that despite its limitations, the study gives students "useful information." Toilet paper, I might add, is also useful.
Posted on October 18th, 2004 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
(Source: University of Texas at Austin)Last night's episode of 60 minutes included a segment on Texas's Top 10 law, which guarantees admission to any Texas public university for high school students graduating in the top decile of their class. The plan was designed to combat legal limitations on affirmative action.
The segment profiles two students. One graduated among the top ten percent in her class at a non-competitive, Hispanic high school. She earned a 3.4-3.5 GPA and was automatically admitted to the University of Texas at Austin. The other student didn't graduate in the top ten percent, but attended a more competitive high school, where she earned a 3.9 GPA (can anyone say "grade inflation"?). Even though she's a UT-Austin legacy and identified the school as her first choice, it rejected her.
Fair? What in college admissions is? But there certainly are holes in Texas's plan. It was created to maintain diversity in the face of limits imposed on affirmative action, most notably through the Hopwood case. Now, however, minority numbers are even greater than they were before the restrictions took effect. In other words, it's more affirmative than affirmative action.
According to the 60 Minutes story, families are moving to towns where schools are less competitive, just so their kids can vie for spots in the top ten percent. A plan that encourages students to seek lesser challenges doesn't sound logical to me.
Posted on October 13th, 2004 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
BusinessWeek has unveiled its 2004 bi-annual B-school rankings, and Northwestern's Kellogg School is still number one. Its neighbor, the University of Chicago, remains at #2, followed by Penn's Wharton School at #3 (up two spots). Rounding out the top 10 are Stanford, Harvard, Michigan, Cornell (Johnson), Columbia, MIT (Sloan) and Dartmouth (Tuck).
The magazine's latest issue also features several articles on business education. Look for pieces on leadership, global MBAs, diversity and ethics, among other topics.
Posted on October 13th, 2004 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
Given the choice between a private college and a public university, many top students have traditionally chosen the former. To combat that trend, state institutions have established honors colleges offering a private atmosphere at a public price.
As this CNN article points out, though, there's little uniformity among them. Some institutions offer honors programs featuring courses designed specifically for honors students. Others tack on an "honors component" (read: more work) to existing courses. Still others have created discrete honors colleges sporting their own curriculum, residence halls, faculty advisors and research opportunities. The common thread is to challenge high-achieving students with a more rigorous academic path.
But how do state institutions, ostensibly more Democratic and egalitarian than their private counterparts, justify the elitist notions of an honors college?
Says one critic:
"I find it interesting that institutions that are founded for the public good are trying to get more and more selective," said George Dehne, a marketing consultant to a number of private colleges he acknowledged are facing increased competition from many such programs. "Are they supposed to educate the best and the brightest or are they supposed to educate the populace?"The answer, evidently, is both. Given the escalating costs of private higher education, many among the best and brightest are seeking public options. And state universities are trying their best to attract and accommodate them.
So if you're a top student who's not terribly eager to part with 40 grand per year, consider the honors route at a public university. But first check out how the institution defines that concept.
Posted on October 6th, 2004 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
Forget majoring in history, English or philosophy. These days you might be better off choosing sports sales, video-game development, casino studies or homeland security.
So says an article in the Christian Science Monitor, which shows that undergrads are beginning to choose more targeted majors designed to track them into (they hope) high-paying careers.
Is this wise? What about the well-rounded products of a liberal arts environment? Don't they succeed?
"Graduates employed in fields closely related to their major generally earn much higher annual salaries than graduates employed in jobs that are unrelated to their major," states The College Majors Handbook, according to the article. So much for the philosophy option, unless you're planning to hang out with Sherpas. Says one of the book's authors: "Specific knowledge has big payoffs. Kids who have this idea of where they're headed, they're generally going to find themselves substantially more advantaged."
That's super. But what happens when the latest techno fad, the field you spent years studying, suddenly fades out of fashion, and the next wave of whatever's hot washes away your job? What's Plan B?
I'm reminded of a saying about eggs and baskets….
Posted on October 4th, 2004 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
The Wall Street Journal has released its fourth annual ranking of business schools, which results from a survey of corporate recruiters the paper conducts in conjunction with Harris Interactive. This year's winner is Harv…er, Whar…er, Stan…I mean, Michigan. Michigan?
That's right. Michigan took top honors, followed by Carnegie Mellon, Tuck (Dartmouth), Wharton (U of Penn) and the University of Chicago.
According to CareerJournal.com, the paper's executive career site, the rankings now separate schools into three categories—national, regional and international. Here's more:
The new approach retains most of the elements of the original methodology used in the Journal's three previous M.B.A. rankings, including recruiters' perceptions of the schools and students on 20 key attributes, such as leadership potential, teamwork skills and interpersonal qualities, and the school's "mass appeal," or the number of recruiters that it attracts. A revised and expanded part of the ranking formula is "supportive behavior," defined as the recruiters' intention to return to a particular school and the likelihood of making job offers to its graduates in the next two years.
What has changed most is the calculation used to arrive at each of the rankings. It was revised to give equal weight to perception, mass appeal and supportive behavior because the old formula resulted in a ranking that was increasingly driven by the mass-appeal factor. In essence, the ranking was becoming more a reflection of the size of the school and its recruiter pool than of recruiters' feelings about the school and its students.Regardless of methodology, it's interesting to note how far Harvard has dropped. In this poll, HBS ranks 14th. And that's supposed to reflect how recruiters think about Harvard's B-school? I wonder how many students looking at top business schools rank Harvard 14th on their list.