August 2011 Archives

Off-Beat Lists Rank Schools on Food, Rigor, Happiness

Looking for some quirky ways to pick a college? Check out Newsweek's Best Colleges For You,—25 lists ranking schools based on everything from best food to most beautiful. After all, the magazine notes, who wants to go hungry or spend four years in Uglyville? Some lists, however, are more serious, ranking the cheapest, most rigorous, and best international schools. Although it offers an odd mix of topics, Newsweek chronicles its methodology to come up with the 25 lists. For instance, for the Accessible Professor list, it uses scores from evaluations at RateMyProfessor.com and student-to-faculty ratio from the National...


Students Want More Rigor in High School to Be College-Ready

A new survey of students taken one year after they graduated from high school shows that most highly value college, but wish they were better prepared for it. Looking back, students say they regret not taking more math, science, and writing-intensive coursework in high school. One Year Out, a survey released today by the College Board on college readiness and affordability asked members of the class of 2010 how their high school experience prepared them for work and college. In addition to taking harder classes, 47 percent wished they worked harder in high school, and 37 percent said the requirements ...


Top Ten Questions for Prospective Students to Ask Colleges

As Hurricane Irene was predicted to hit about the time many college students were moving into dorms, it was interesting to see the varying responses from institutions. Some evacuated or delayed arrivals on campus, while others went ahead with the scheduled move-ins or left it up to families. I know of some students whose first night at school coincided with the arrival of the storm—talk about bonding with new roommates. The policies and communication with families apparent in this storm reflect the cultural differences and safety approaches on campuses. This experience underscores the need to dig a little deeper...


College Enrollment of Hispanics Rises 24 Percent in 1 Year

Hispanic student enrollment in higher education grew by 24 percent in one year, while the number of non-Hispanic white students enrolling in college fell during the same period.


Advice to Parents of College Freshmen: Give Them Space

Parents everywhere are sending their kids off to college this week. An estimated 3 million Americans are enrolled as freshmen this fall, according to the American Council on Education. Interestingly, the average age of the undergraduate student is 26, and women make up 57 percent of the student body on today's college campuses. Advice for parents of students fresh out of high school on how to handle this transition is plentiful. For today's parents, who have often hovered and tried to save their children from heartaches big and small, it can be difficult to let go. This can be especially ...


Families Cope With Rising College Costs in Strategic Ways

To deal with college expenses in this uncertain economic climate, a new survey reveals families are turning to lower-cost schools and seeking more financial aid. Students are also increasingly living at home and going to college part time. As a result, the average family reported spending 9 percent less on college in 2010-11 than the previous year. Sallie Mae, the financial-services company that specializes in education savings vehicles, released its fourth annual national survey, "How America Pays for College 2011" yesterday. More families took advantage of grants and scholarships to lower the overall cost of college. Sallie Mae found the ...


Student Interest in Science, Health Jobs Doesn't Match Need

Hospitals and labs may be where the jobs are, but it's not where student interest lies. A survey of high school students conducted by Harris Interactive for the University of the Sciences reveals that 49 percent are "definitely or probably not" considering a career in science or health care—up nearly 9 percent from the year before. And among those 13- to 15-years-old, nearly 60 percent registered a lack of interest in the fields. Russell DiGate, provost at the University of the Sciences, a private college in Philadelphia, says he was surprised by the drop in interest over last year's...


New Study Quantifies Costs of College Dropouts

If policymakers weren't wringing their hands enough about low college-graduation rates, now a new study puts a dollar figure on the lost income from young men and women who never complete their degrees. The American Institutes for Research, a behavioral and social-science research organization in Washington, analyzed nearly 1.1 million students that started college in 2002 and found nearly 500,000 dropped out within six years. From that, AIR estimated the difference in their potential earning power as college graduates vs. workers without a degree. (U.S. Census figures show young adults ages 25-34 earn about 40 percent more ...


Poll Shows the Public Sees College as Key to Getting Jobs

A solid 69 percent of Americans say that having a college degree is "essential" for getting a good job in this county, a new study released by Gallup and the Lumina Foundation for Education yesterday revealed. And 95 percent of respondents think it's very or somewhat important for financial security. (The Lumina Foundation underwrites coverage of the alignment between K-12 schools and postsecondary education in Education Week.) This public support for the importance of higher education affirms the efforts of many policymakers and organizations to boost college going among Americans. "The perception matches reality. The public believes that to get ...


Survey: Women See More Value in College Than Men Do

Women are not only enrolling and completing college in greater numbers than men, they also have a more positive view of the value of their experience, according to a survey from the Pew Research Center released yesterday. When asked about the job the higher education system is doing in providing value for the money spent by students and families, 50 percent of women who have graduated from a four-year college gave the system excellent or good marks compared with 37 percent of male graduates. Interestingly, while there is a strong feeling among the majority of Americans that a college education ...


Webinar Today on Access to College for Low-Income Students

Just a reminder to join me for a free Education Week webinar today at 2 p.m. EST to discuss access to college for low-income students. The presenters will be Jennifer Engle from the Education Trust and Traci Kirtley of Admission Possible. For more information or to register, click here....


Universal College App Offers Alternative to Common App

When high school seniors think about applying online, many will turn to the Common Application for Undergraduate Admissions, which is accepted by 463 colleges. But there is a lesser-known avenue—the Universal College Application or UCA with 60 member colleges. Just as the Common App opened for the season on Aug. 1, the UCA went live on July 29 accepting applications for 2011-12. The UCA was launched in 2007 by ApplicationsOnline, a for-profit venture based in Baltimore. ApplicationsOnline was the tech provider for the Common Application's online service, but when its work was not renewed, the company decided to develop...


New Book Demystifies College-Admissions Process

Getting into college is not rocket science. It is a lot of hard work, but it can be done. That's the mantra that authors Robin Mamlet and Christine VanDeVelde suggest to families in their book out today from Three Rivers Press, College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step. Mamlet offers her insider view as a former dean of admission at Stanford, Swarthmore, and Sarah Lawrence. VanDeVelde is a journalist and parent of a college student, who recently went through the process herself. It's not as though they are trying to look at college admissions through rose-colored glasses. They ...


Conversation on Access to College for Low-Income Students

More students are going to college than ever before, but the road is rough if you are from a low-income family. Not only do you often lack the money for school, but the process of applying and getting financial aid can be daunting. Here's are some stark statistics: While 84 percent of high-income students enroll in college in the fall after high school, just 54 percent of those from low-income families go on to college, according to 2009 National Center for Education Statistics data. Poor students go to college at lower rates than wealthy students did 30 years ago. By ...


New Site Crowdsources Answers to College Search

Information on the college-search process shouldn't be available only to those who can afford it. That's the idea behind a new Q&A platform, CampusSplash.com, launched this week by the founders of AdmissionSplash. Here, prospective college students can pose questions about the search process for free and get answers from current students, alumni, and other experts. Users indicate if they like or dislike the responses. "That's the beauty of crowdsourcing. You vote up or down on the answer. The answer on the top has the most votes," says Allen Gannett, the 20-year-old co-founder of CampusSplash, along with Anton Zolotov, ...


What to Know Before an Overnight Campus Stay

Touring colleges during the day and watching students go to class is one part of campus life. But it is on an overnight stay where prospective students get a true flavor of a school. What to know before you go? Rather than visiting on your own, it's best if you arrange an overnight through the admissions office, suggests Lisa Sohmer, director of college counseling at the Garden School in Jackson Heights, N.Y. That way the host student is vetted and prepared to make most of the experience— including taking the high school student to class, the dining hall, and ...


Study: More Education Leads to Higher Pay, But Not for All

Higher degrees do make a difference on lifelong income, though race, gender, and ethnicity still have a substantial impact on wages, regardless of education level, a new study says.


Brief Hiatus From College Bound

This blog will be quiet for a few days (though there may be a few guest bloggers) as I take a break before gearing up for what promises to be a busy and exciting August. There will be much to follow as a new batch of freshmen transition to college life, experts examine the impact of the debt deal on the financial-aid front, and efforts to move the college-completion agenda forward continue. As always, I look forward to your feedback and ideas to make this blog helpful and relevant to readers from educators to policymakers to parents....


Figuring Out Personality Type Can Help in Choosing Major

Students choose colleges for a variety of reasons. While cost is a key factor in where they enroll, a recent survey shows the most-cited reason for students' decision is the strength of the college's academic major. But what if you don't know what you want to study? You could go for the most lucrative career and look to the latest numbers comparing lifetime earnings by college major from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. For the floundering high school student searching for some direction in his or her college pursuits, Laurence Shatkin has written a new book, ...


Common Application Opens for the Season

It's Aug. 1. And that means rising high school seniors can officially dive into the Common Application for Undergraduate Admissions.


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