Posted on June 30th, 2005 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
(Source: abc.go.com)This week's episode of "The Scholar," ABC's reality show featuring 10 high-achieving kids vying for a "full-ride" college scholarship, allowed the contestants to demonstrate creativity and teamwork. Each team was charged with writing and producing a two-minute film based on a famous literary quote.
At least this task related to what admissions officers seek. Earlier episodes, especially the one in which the kids had to organize a pep rally of sorts, seemed somewhat irrelevant. Of course, this assignment enabled host USC to brag about its famous theater arts program (like I've said, the real winner of this show is USC, which couldn't buy this amount of publicity…or maybe it did).
Anyway, the winning team's captain and two other students chosen by the "admissions committee" (see photo above) squared off in a challenge on early American history. The victor, as always, received a $50,000 scholarship from the show's runner-up winner, Wal-Mart.
So there's one spot left in the "finals," in which five contestants will battle for the grand prize.
Just curious about something. Let's say the overall winner or any of the weekly winners receives a full scholarship from his college of choice. Does he get to keep the prize money too?
Posted on June 28th, 2005 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
Is Shaquille O'Neal trading in the NBA for a career as an MBA? Not yet, but that's his long-term plan. Shaq, who recently earned his MBA from the online education giant University of Phoenix, intends to pursue business ventures once his basketball run ends.
"It's just something to have on my resume [for] when I go back into reality," he told ESPN. "Someday I might have to put down a basketball and have a regular 9-to-5 like everybody else. Sports for me has always been, you know, fairy tale life. And this [degree] is real life. This right here means more."
I wonder if he applied for financial aid.
Posted on June 24th, 2005 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
Let's be honest: Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs in writing, which typically offer instruction in fiction and poetry, have never been considered terribly practical. Can a brief stint in graduate school really teach you how to write and master the creative process? Probably not, but that doesn't stop students from flocking to the nation's 250 MFA programs. Perhaps they're seeking inspiration and, more important, professional contacts.
For an inside look at the MFA experience, consider this diatribe from a recent dropout:
I was admitted to a prestigious program in the Northeast. On the first day of my workshop class, the instructor asked us one question. "What goals do you hope to obtain with your writing?" One by one, seated at the round table, my fellow writers spoke. "I want a big book deal." "I'm sick and tired of being poor." "When do I get my million dollars?"
I was dismayed. My experience in publishing had taught me that writing literary fiction did not lead to great financial wealth. While there are a few literary fiction writers who are rewarded with huge book deals, most are lucky if they receive a small advance and are able supplement their income teaching. The odds are extremely slim that you will get a big book deal, and if you are one of the lucky few to win that large advance, your book better sell real well, or you will be dropped by your publisher.
In addition to being disheartened by my fellow writers' "show me the money" attitude, over time it became increasingly clear to me that the core of the MFA experience, the workshop, was distorting the creative process.You can read more here, and see what others have to say about their MFA experiences here.
Posted on June 22nd, 2005 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
(Source: usnews.com)U.S. News and World Report has become famous (infamous?) for its annual college and graduate school rankings. But aside from the statistical evaluations of institutions and programs, the magazine also offers advice on choosing schools and navigating the admissions maze.
On its website, U.S. News features a five-step process to college admissions that helps students prepare while in high school, search for the "right" institution, create a solid application, find money and hit the ground running as they enter college.
Definitely worth a look.
Posted on June 21st, 2005 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
(Source: abc.go.com)Last night's episode of "The Scholar" saw the kids learning about community service. Each team received a $500 Wal-Mart (i.e., "The Sponsor") allowance to outfit and refurbish two centers for disadvantaged youth. The winners demonstrated leadership skills, teamwork and ingenuity. Of course, the real winners were the youth (sniffle).
The winning team's Captain faced off against two opponents picked by the scholarship committee, that august tribunal of humorless droids. This time, the topic was African geography. The three girls did well, answering several questions. In the end, only one would survive, earn a "guaranteed" $50,000 scholarship (again, courtesy of "The Sponsor"), and rescue her dreams from the scrapheap of wistful hope.
Can't wait for next week's episode.
Posted on June 16th, 2005 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
Here's some bad news for students still lingering on a college's wait-list. Most elite schools are reporting that they'll be admitting fewer students from the list; in many cases, that means none at all.
Consider this from a Wall Street Journal article:
The months of May and June are the time when colleges nail down their incoming freshman classes by filling any empty seats with students they neither admitted nor rejected, but put on hold. This year, amid a record flood of applications at some schools, admissions officers added slots in their freshman classes and extended more acceptances and wait-list offers than the year before, offering hope to an unusually large number of students.
But in the end, some of those schools wound up being unexpectedly stingy in admitting wait-listed students. The reason: Many admissions officers were caught off-guard by the large number of students who accepted offers of admission made earlier in the spring. Every year it's a gamble as to how many students will accept, and this year, slots at highly competitive schools filled quickly, leaving little or no opportunity for wait-listed applicants. In fact, some schools are finding their incoming freshmen classes a little crowded. [....]
The calculus for predicting how many students will enroll has been particularly slippery for the past two years. Last year, uncertainty surrounding changes in early-admissions policies at Harvard, Yale and Stanford caused many top schools to be more cautious with the number of students they accepted, allowing them to admit more students from wait lists later in the spring. This year, a number of admissions officers extended many more acceptances for a variety of reasons, from expanding class size to continuing uncertainty over how the early-application changes would affect enrollment. At many top schools, those additional offers were snapped up.More specifically, check out these sobering figures:
(Source: Wall Street Journal)So if you're still holding out hope while wait-listed at your dream school, you'd better start thinking seriously about Plan B.
Posted on June 15th, 2005 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
(Source: Yale University)Want to teach but need a master's degree? If you don't mind teaching in New Haven, Yale has a program for you. Free.
Yale, which doesn't operate a school of education, is offering a master's degree program in urban education studies. That program will become a pipeline into the New Haven schools. More details from a university press release:
Yale will offer up to 10 Urban Teaching Fellowships each year. The Fellowships will cover all tuition costs and pay a stipend of $18,000. Successful applicants, known as the Yale Urban Teaching corps, will commit to teach in the New Haven public schools for three years after completion of the program.
Applicants to the Yale master's program will be expected to have a strong background in the subject they intend to teach and an interest in urban education that includes a serious commitment to students' achievement, a willingness to solve problems and an ability to develop trusting relationships across racial, class and gender boundaries. All candidates must meet Connecticut state subject matter requirements prior to entry into the program. Mid–career applicants will be especially welcome. The admissions process will open in August 2005 for the first class, which will be selected in the spring of 2006.Kudos to Yale for creating such a program. Urban schools need all the help they can get.
Posted on June 14th, 2005 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
(Source: abc.go.com)Episode Two of ABC's "The Scholar" aired last night. This time, the college-bound hopefuls had to drum up school spirit by enticing USC students to attend a men's volleyball match. The team that whipped the crowd into the biggest frenzy would win.
What that has to do with college admissions is anyone's guess. In fact, the episode's winner was the home-schooled kid who had never attended a pep rally or waved a pom-pom. He did, though, demonstrate his zeal by painting his face and arms red. That show of support earned him a spot in the $50,000 face-off; the subject du jour was biology, again with easy questions (e.g., The heart has how many chambers?).
I still don't get it. If these students are so bright, why can't they figure out that scholarships, grants and loans will enable them to go to college? Why do they make it seem like this competition is the key to their dreams? They must be following the script to heighten the drama. But I don't buy it, and it's certainly misleading the uninformed public. At least USC is getting a good deal of exposure, as is Wal-Mart.
How many more weeks of this?
Posted on June 13th, 2005 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
(Source: Harvard University)Sticking with the Harvard theme for a bit, here's some news courtesy of the Chronicle of Higher Education. It seems NBC's Tim Russert, the university's choice for Class Day speaker, has made a habit of delivering essentially the same address for each commencement appearance. And this is how Harvard students had fun with him:
It's a time-honored tradition for celebrities who are in demand as commencement speakers to use ghost writers. And when all else fails, the speakers have been known to simply deliver the same speech they gave the previous year. So it was that Tim Russert, the NBC newsman and best-selling author, found himself addressing Harvard students on Wednesday, at the university's annual Class Day event. It wasn't a commencement address, but it was one of four graduation-related speeches he has delivered this spring. Turns out, the speeches had more than a little in common. As first reported last month in the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester, Mass., Mr. Russert has apparently delivered the same basic commencement speech for several years. (According to The Chronicle's commencement-speaker database, he has spoken on 17 campuses since 2000.) At Harvard on Wednesday, the students were ready. Equipped with cards listing pat phrases from past speeches, set out in a bingo-like format, they ticked off the passages as Mr. Russert spoke and then, having completed a row, shouted out "Bingo!"
Now that's news!
Posted on June 8th, 2005 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
(Source: Harvard University)Just how powerful is the Harvard brand? What does it represent? Does the university still attract the best and brightest, and do graduates still dominate various professions?
A recent USA Today article explores these very questions. Here's an excerpt:
As Harvard prepares to confer degrees on yet another batch of graduates Thursday, academic experts scratch their heads at how this institution maintains its reputational dominance in an era of academic parity. But a marketer would understand the Harvard aura in a nanosecond: It's the ultimate brand, at least in the academic world.
"There isn't any doubt that brand matters and that Harvard is the prestige brand," says Stanley Katz, director of Princeton University's Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies. "It's the Gucci of higher education, the most selective place."Read more here.