Colleges' Approaches and Outcomes
The student meetings are taking on a more serious tone. My Common App dashboard, up and loaded, is getting plenty of use. How did it get to be October, the month during which seniors are putting final touches on their Early apps? And with advisory meetings for sophomores and juniors, It couldn’t be a busier time for college counselors, students and parents.
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Who's Making the Big Bucks? You know how I feel about the media and their overhyped college ratings. But who can resist an article about graduates’ salaries? Let's look at the WSJ's Top U.S. Colleges that Make Their Graduates Richer and which college is at the top: not Princeton (second) or MIT (fourth), but the mighty Penn Quakers. (The colleges received a Salary Impact score based on actual versus predicted earnings 10 years after graduation.) I'm liking that Babson, which understood undergraduate business education long before it was trendy, took tenth place. But remember: earnings are mainly a function of the individual's program, grit and connections, not to mention how they maximize their opportunities.
Moms Paying for Mom-Like Services? You Can't Make this Up! At times parents of college students can't help themselves, wanting to show up on campus or text frequently. Now, some families are taking that next step and hiring concierge services, profiled recently in the Wall Street Journal. A particular agency that launched at WashU, so very popular with New Jersey students, helps students with everything from dorm-furniture placement to medical help to wardrobe selection. Another takes University of Tampa students to the airport, then sends the parents a photo of the student going through security! How will students become independent? Hands-off parents want to know.
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At UVA, Commerce Rules When it comes to studying undergrad business, UVA always did things their own way, including insisting that students benefit from two years of liberal arts before moving on to the McIntire School of Commerce. Now, McIntire, acceptance to which is competitive, has expanded from a two- to a three-year program. In an announcement, they state that "a better-timed program aligns with this (career-focused) trend and syncs with evolving industry demands, while affording students more time to explore professional opportunities, develop their career interests and skill sets." What would Jefferson think?
Then there's Miami University Ohio, which is on the verge of eliminating unpopular majors - and not those at the Farmer School of Business. As reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education, 18 programs, many of which are humanities-based, will have to merge with existing programs or face extinction. What's behind it? "Student demand is trending toward disciplines that are perceived to lead to better jobs . . . such as business and engineering." In fact, "72 percent of students are enrolled in just 30 majors." Programs like American Studies, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies and even Spanish education are on the chopping block.
Who's Nuts About Taylor? Stanford, NYU and Travis Kelce, Too! We know how NYU feels about Taylor Swift, honoring the megastar with a class and a spot as commencement speaker. But that's New York. Now, a Stanford sophomore is teaching her first college-level class, reportedly "a way for students to have a say in what’s taught at the school." Shocker: It’s also about Taylor! Don't worry (not that you would); the class doesn't count toward a student's GPA and is only worth 1.0 credits. Let's see, For the Swiftie class, 2000 are interested but only 20 get in, a 10 percent acceptance rate. But Stanford's acceptance rate is 3.7 percent . . .
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ChatGPT and the College Search How do students choose a college, anyway? According to a forbes.com article, which cited a survey by Spark451, the perception of quality is more important than cost. "Rounding out the top five decision factors [after quality and cost] for students were scholarship offers, a college’s location or setting, and campus appearance." To me, the feeling of walking a campus and sensing the community can't be beat; the research indicated that as many as 84 percent of respondents had visited campus: "Campus visits and events were the next most reliable sources of information for parents, followed closely by search engines like Google or Yahoo." All this leads me to a webinar I attended a few weeks ago sponsored by Simpson Scarborough, which advises colleges on branding. The session, "Hey ChatGPT, Where Should I Go to College?" was scary - not because a student would ask AI for help but rather because the model search was based on old (no-holistic) measures, that is, college fit based on grades and test scores. More about holistic admissions below!
Intellectual Curiosity: Another Holistic Attribute According to a forbes.com article, "intellectual authenticity is the new face of holistic admissions." What exactly does that mean? Forbes says, "Now more than ever, colleges will increasingly rely on qualitative measures of intellectual authenticity as a way to cultivate diversity of thought and perspective on their campuses."https://admissions.duke.edu/ Of course colleges evaluating the "whole student" will look for this attribute, hopefully extracting more on an applicant’s intellectual prowess from the Personal Essay, certain supplements and also teacher recommendations. Yet the article fuels interest in pay-to-play options, noting how high-end institutions mentioned that many of their admitted students had conducted and published research; the writer tells us that "in a nutshell, they (elite universities) look for applicants’ demonstration of genuine commitment to their intellectual passions.” I'd argue that it's just as much what gets the student excited as it is "genuine commitment." (See Duke's prompt below.)
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U.K. Unis in Trouble?
This college counselor loves the focus and application process used by U.K. universities. But last week, I read in the WSJ that the U.K. universities are struggling, with tuition caps leadlng to unfortunate cutbacks, more movement to online courses, and unhappy students and staff. As a result, they're relying on foreign students who pay more (sounds like the United States). In the article, a uni chancellor laments: “ . . . we won’t be able to attract the brightest and the best to our universities, who will then feed through into the U.K. economy, which is really built on services and knowledge.” If you recall, some U.S. universities have been called out for excessive spending.
On the Gridiron Which coaches are getting a bum rap now? You've got Deoin Sanders coaching the Colorado Buffaloes. running them like an NFL squad and encouraging undergrad players to transfer to CU Boulder. As reported in Fansided, "Though there may be a nice niche for Colorado being an elite transfer destination program, it is hard to contend for championships without landing high schoolers." Then there's Notre Dame, which brought in Marcus Freeman last year but has been disappointing in Big 10 games. Yet Saturday, when Colorado lost to USC, Notre Dame defeated Duke 21-14. Ah, the beauty of sports - like October, Taylor and Travis, it's full of tricks and treats. So if your family needs to talk about college readiness, set up a meeting.