Monthly Archives: May 2012

KnowHow2GO

Love these images from the KnowHow2GO Campaign! This national initiative provides free, comprehensive guidance on preparing for and applying to college. A must-have resource for all college bound students.

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If You Want To Get The Best Bang For Your Buck, You Better Be (more than) Exceptional

Interested in which colleges give you the most bang for your buck? Most of us are and there is a new list out – Which Colleges Have The Best Return On Investment?

But, before you get too excited, consider this. The top schools worth your investment according to this list are tip, top, elite and very highly selective colleges and those least worth your investment are little or unknown to most people. Coincidental? Probably not, yet it does do one great thing for us. It highlights the shameful gap in access to quality and affordable education for all students. Students who can get to Harvey Mudd, Cal Tech, MIT, Stanford, Harvard (those named most worth your investment) have a certain level of access that trumps the average college bound student.

Barriers to access are plenty, but class and race are two common barriers. Sure traditionally underrepresented students (by race and class ) do make it to the elite schools and the numbers are increasing, but many of those students still start a few steps behind for a myriad of reasons specific to community, family etc. And let us not forget the millions of students who are not underrepresented who also don’t have access to college.

How crazy is it that someone must go to a school with a near impossible acceptance rate to get the most return on investment? This very dynamic represents one way in which higher education, despite all its strengths, continues to be a divisive entity.

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Veterans Mislead

Controversial for profit universities are widely known to actively recruit (some say prey on) military veterans. In Veteran Urges Popular College Rankings To Include Veteran Friendly Statistics, Huffington’s Max Rosenthal explores the push to include veteran friendly categories in rankings.

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From Princeton, MIT, Harvard & Yale to Oxy, Bard, St. John’s & Reed

Most college bound students have a dream college and I often wonder what defines the dream. We are, I think, naturally self-conscious creatures which is not to suggest people can’t also be confident, but we all base our opinions, to some extent, on what we’ve heard from others. And even when our opinions deviate from the norm, that’s still in fact, based on what we’ve heard from others – we don’t like what they have to say.

So, where is this going? This is where. I just saw a list, The Top 10 Dream Colleges For Students, with no surprises of course, yet it provided a clear reminder that we are still trying to conform to something that is not one-size-fits-all. We are still self-conscious about the name of our college.

The idea of a dream college stems from that one time “someone told me I was smart” or “my mom’s boss, who went to Stanford…” or “when our teacher took us to USC” or “when Elle in Legally Blond went to Harvard” or “when someone gave me a Yale sweatshirt”. The fact of the matter is, all the aforementioned institutions are remarkable for some students – what’s sad, however is how so many college bound students go to extremes to try to make themselves a fit for these dream schools and then miss out on other remarkable institutions that want exactly what those students already possess.

By now it’s no surprise to our readers, we advocate looking beyond the quintessential dream school to find your dream school. Case and point – student’s dream changed from Princeton and MIT, Harvard and Yale to Occidental, Bard, St. John’s and Reed. How? He honestly evaluated his priorities, passions, quirks and needs and then found the latter four schools made sense, they got him.

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Reality of College

This is an honest and well-written take on the brutal realities of college…after the acceptance. Take a peak and share with college-bound students you know –

College Advice: ‘Remember That Time When You Couldn’t Pay For School?

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Defining “First Generation”

It seems straight forward enough, a first generation college student is someone whose parents did not graduate from a four-year institution. But…

…the U.S., colleges, universities and companies are particular about the kinds of degrees they deem worthy enough of credit or employment. I’ve met with countless families with a similar story – immigrants to the U.S., mom went to college in another country, say nursing school, but mom is unemployable because U.S. hospitals don’t recognize her degree, so she’s faced with low paying jobs she’s technically overqualified for. When their children reach college those they will be the first to attend a U.S.-worthy-accredited institution. In essence, they are first generation college students. Right?

In my mind, one of the components of the first generation college experiences is having access to a world, a language if you will, that your family was previously excluded from for any number of reasons. This ability to gain access is hard fought and it’s this access that helps to shape a future workforce that can more accurately reflect changing demographics of the U.S.

For good reason, there are a number of programs that provide support (academic, monetary, social) for first generation college students. It’s a population not defined by race or even explicitly by class, but by a shared experience of being “the first”. Some programs do welcome students whose parents were educated in some foreign countries, though the politics of that are far too complicated to tackle right now.

What I will pose, however, is this – should a student whose parent was educated in the Philippines, but whose degree isn’t recognized in the U.S., be able to benefit from programs and monies specifically for first generation college students? Or, what if that parent was educated at Oxford? I realize neither student falls into the technical category of first generation, but can the experience of being first generation really be categorized so specifically to exclude students whose experience may be eerily similar to a student who exactly fits the criteria?

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Commencement Time

Aside from the diploma, hoopla and excitement of finishing something huge and transitioning to something new, my favorite part of college graduations are the commencement speakers. It’s always a highly anticipated announcement and when your alma mater gets a great speaker (who actually delivers an inspirational address), pride pours over all alumni.

Check out a few speakers from recent commencements that are getting a lot of attention:

Kathleen Sebelius Georgetown Graduation Speech Embraces Church, State Separation

Barbara Walters Examines Leadership With Yale Class Of 2012

Glee’s Jane Lynch Gets Personal In Smith’s Commencement Address

Tony Blair At Colby College: ‘Are We An Empire That’s Fading?

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