Posts Tagged “College”
In a fluffy post that makes for rather uncomfortable reading given its grisly news peg—the recent string of tragic student suicides at Cornell University—the Daily Beast has compiled a list of the top 50 most stressful colleges and universities in America, where Georgetown is ranked a solidly stressful 19th.
And yeah, Georgetown is a pretty stressful place to be. But we’re suspicious of Daily Beast‘s metrics—who wouldn’t be, what with the University of Southern California ranked above us, at 18.
Beast ranks schools according to competitiveness, using U.S. News & World Report data (35 percent), and cost (another 35 percent). Fair. But acceptance rate (10 percent), which doesn’t really affect us that much once we’re here? Whether or not the school has a rigorous engineering program (10 percent), which only affects engineers? And crime rates (10 percent)? Those are stressful, but there’s nary a school where crime is so bad, it weighs on students’ thoughts constantly and causes them significant, lasting stress.
But OK. Georgetown’s in its rightful place. Still, we can’t believe the University of Chicago didn’t even break the top ten.
Via Jen Sachs
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Men, the world is your oyster
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is investigating whether colleges are giving men—who are making up a smaller and smaller portion of the higher education population across the nation—a leg up over women in their admissions processes, or giving them more generous aid packages to try to encourage them to attend in higher numbers.
According to the Washington Post, on Wednesday, federal civil rights commissioners voted to subpoena records from 19 Washington-area schools for their investigation—and that includes Georgetown University.
The school is not being fingered as a perpetrator of admissions discrimination. Rather, the commissioners are selecting colleges that will give them a “representative example of higher education nationally.”
Vox has been trying to get numbers on Georgetown’s admissions rates by gender for the last week or so, ever since it saw this opinion piece in USA Today, “Why men warrant a break on college admissions“—take a gander and let us know if you think that failing to give preferential treatment to men “would threaten the diversity that defines our world-class higher education system.”
We’ve been unsuccessful in getting those numbers so far, but we’ll post them when we get a hold of them.
Photo from Flickr user CarbonNYC under a creative commons license
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Today the House of Representatives took a step towards modernizing the federal student aid system by passing the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act. The act will eliminate the government subsidies and guarantees that private lenders get for issuing student loans and will make the federal government the direct lender for student loans.
Estimates are that the government will save $87 billion over ten years by eliminating the subsidies. That money will be used to make sure that interest rates on student loans remain low and expanding the Pell Grant program. The bill also contains promises to streamline the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and expand access to Perkins Loans.
The bill was sponsored by George Miller (D—Calif.) and was passed 253-171 (247 of the votes in favor of the bill were from Democrats and 167 of the votes against it were from Republicans).
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Monument-filled AND college-kid friendly!
A new report by the American Institute for Economic Research ranked Washington D.C. as the fourth best metropolitan area to attend college, according to the Washington Post.
The report highlighted the 75 best college locations in America, subdividing the list by city size. D.C. was grouped into the major metropolitan category, and finished behind only New York, San Francisco and Boston.
The rankings were determined based on 12 factors, including the number of college students per every 1,000 residents and the cost of living. D.C. particularly excelled in the student to resident ratio category, with 81 students for every 1,000 residents. We also had the lowest unemployment rate and the second-highest average income of the major metropolitan areas in the study.
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If this fail proof tactic didn’t work, there’s always litigation!
If you’re one of the many jobless recent grads out there, Monroe College alumna Trina Thompson may have found the perfect solution for you: sue your college’s career center for failing to find you gainful employment!
Thompson, who graduated from the New York school in April with a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology, recently filed a lawsuit against her alma mater alleging that their Office of Career Advancement did not help her find a job. She’s suing them for $72,000—the cost of tuition plus $2,000 for the emotional stress of her job search.
Thompson—who had a 2.7 grade point average—also alleges that the College’s Office of Career Advancement treats students with higher GPAs preferentially.
According to CNN, Monroe College had this to say about the lawsuit:
While it is clear that no college, especially in this economy, can guarantee employment, Monroe College remains committed to working with all its students, including Ms. Thompson, who graduated only three months ago, to prepare them for careers and to support them during their job search.
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This weekend the Washington Times ran a lengthy feature about the myriad of problems college students are facing in the rough economy (hey, I wonder why no one else has thought of running that…).
The article is pretty broad, hitting on everything from excessive student loan debt and poor employment prospects to skyrocketing tuition costs and the pressure students feel to avoid low-paying careers in the nonprofit and public service sectors.
What sets the Washington Times‘ woe-is-the-college-student piece apart from the rest, though? The fact that it features none other than Nick Troiano (COL ’11), GUSA rabble-rouser extraordinaire!
Read the rest of this entry »
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Interviews of University administrators by official Georgetown publications are generally pretty fluffy, but the question and answer session Georgetown Alumni Online recently had with Chester Gillis, the newly permanent Dean of the College, is surprisingly meaty.
Gillis starts off the interview by talking about how Georgetown has changed since he started working here 21 years ago. He says the quality of the faculty has improved and that the students, while consistently excellent, have increasingly adopted a disconcerting pre-professional mindset.
He also talks about what his big plans are as Dean, both in the short and long-term. Over the summer, he and the rest of the dean’s office will be discussing how to improve the advising system and give it more of a mentoring dimension. A big long-term focus is going to be improving the sciences, with the goal of securing funding for the long-awaited new Science Center and adding 35 scientists to the Georgetown faculty over the next few years.
Possibly the most interesting part of the article, though, is when he talks about the need for allowing College students to do work through the SFS, MSB and NHS:
A second goal I have, (and I don’t mean this to contradict my comments about liberal arts), is to see the lines between the schools a bit more porous. If a student in the College wants to minor in a business discipline, I think that’s perfectly legitimate. I think it’s perfectly fine to have a history degree and a minor in finance.
I’ve had discussions with Dean Daly at the business school and he’s open and enthusiastic about this idea. The same is true for the School of Foreign Service and Nursing and Health Sciences, though that may be something to entertain down the road, as we should work with school at a time.
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Perhaps not 100% reliable
The world of Higher Education has been in a tizzy lately over a couple allegations of ranking rigging. I know what you’re thinking: ‘What? The U.S. News & World Report college ranking system isn’t a pristine, uncorrupted process that results in a completely accurate, objectively true portrait of how colleges and universities stack up? Preposterous!’ But that’s what some are claiming…
A couple of weeks ago at the annual forum of the Association of Institutional Research, Catherine Watt, a former institutional researcher for Clemson University, gave a startlingly frank talk about what Clemson had done to improve its U.S. News & World Report ranking. When James F. Barker took over as President of Clemson in 2001, he publicly vowed to make it a top 20 public research university—and he’s been pretty successful: they’ve sky-rocketed from 38th in 2001 to 22nd in 2008.
But according to Watt, Clemson’s success has been due to some sneaky tactics, including:
- Increasing the proportion of classes with fewer than 20 students by “manipulation around the edges”—cutting a few students from classes with 20-25 kids, but letting the enrollments of slightly larger classes to jump way up (for example, a class meant for 55 students could be bumped up to 70 students).
- Admitting students with an eye on how they’ll improve the school’s ranking, with the admissions committee reassessing the average SAT score of admitted students after every round to see if they’re on target.
- Making budgetary decisions by running “multiple definitions to figure out where we can move things around to make them look best.”
- Ranking all other programs “below average” on the reputational survey form in order to make Clemson look comparatively better.
After the jump, Clemson’s response and a second mini-scandal…
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Only for the fortunate few, now more than ever
The recession has led to a lot of hardship and disappointment all around. This year’s crop of high school seniors deciding where to go to college are in a particular bind, having to reconcile their academic dreams with economic realities.
The Associated Press has an especially heartstrings-tugging story out today about the issue. The article is largely focused on Laura Mueller-Soppart, a Chicago senior who had her heart set on the School of Foreign Service (which was “sparkling with erudite conversations about international affairs” and employs her personal heroine, Madeline Albright):
She got accepted, but when the financial aid award letters arrived, her family’s expected contribution was way beyond what they felt they could afford, given how the drop in the stock market had cut their savings by more than half. She also had two younger brothers to think about.
So when Northeastern University in Boston offered her a nearly full ride, she asked herself: “Do I go $200,000 in the hole because so many told me Georgetown was indispensable, or do I take the full ride?”
She is taking the full ride.
“It was really hard for me, hard to the point where I cried all the time because I felt it was so incredibly unfair,” Mueller-Soppart said. “I told myself I could have worked half as hard as I did and ended up in the same place.”
The article goes on to explain that because Georgetown uses federal financial aid forms to assess a family’s expected contribution, Mueller-Soppart’s family was at a disadvantage because they hadn’t invested their savings in retirement funds (which can’t be counted for determining a family’s financial contribution). She still hopes to come to Georgetown for grad school, though.
Here’s what University Spokesperson Julie Green Bataille had to say about the story:
[W]e know that students and families are making difficult decisions about college this year and that’s why we’ve taken the steps we have in terms of limiting tuition growth and increasing our financial aid budget.
Photo from Flickr user ehpien, used under a Creative Commons license.
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There’s a new study out from the University of California at Irvine about sexual orientation and the college experience. The results of the the study, which is based on surveys from more than 40,000 college students, are pretty interesting.
The study showed significant differences between to college experiences of straight, gay and bisexual students. Gay males, for example, had “systematically ‘better’ experiences while in college,” reporting higher GPAs, greater involvement in student organizations, a higher likelihood of being close to a faculty member or administrator and a higher perception of academic work as important than their heterosexual counterparts.
For other sexual minorities besides gay men, the results were more “nuanced.” Bisexual females, for instance, spent less time studying, were less satisfied with their education, perceived their academic work as less important and reported fewer close friends than their straight peers. However, they also spent more time socializing and involved with student organizations and received more financial support from their families.
The study also found that gay students (particularly males), were less likely to have parents who are college educated. Gay students also saw participation in parties as less important than their peers and had higher odds of finding the arts and politics important areas of study.
Via Inside Higher Ed.
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