Filling out college applications can be a stressful time for high school seniors; there’s plenty of grief as they wonder whether their grades, SAT scores, and extra-curricular activities were impressive enough to warrant a letter of acceptance from their dream school. It’s especially nerve-wracking for students who are wondering how in the heck they’re going to finance their college education should they even get accepted.
Even though I attended a small private university without a medical school, I met a handful of people who claimed to be pre-med majors. That certainly made me raise my eyebrows, but I also had friends who wanted to be attorneys and our college didn’t have a law school, so I didn’t bother to question them further.
If you’ve never had to purchase a college textbook—which are typically necessary to pass courses and often required by professors —you might be unaware how outrageously expensive they are these days. According to the Federation of State Public Interest Research Groups, college students spend an average of $900 a year on textbooks— which is approximately 20 percent of tuition at an average university and half of tuition at a community college. The Washington Post reported similar estimates in 2008, claiming that students spend anywhere from $700 to $1,100 annually on textbooks, figures that will definitely open your eyes.
Most college websites and brochures feature photos of solemn-looking students hunched over their textbooks at desks in the library. Maybe those shots are taken so students’ parents can imagine their son or daughter as a scholar, because in reality most college students stay up until 5 AM with a pot of coffee, cramming for the exam that they have to take at 8:30.
This weekend I met a friend for lunch, and somehow we started talking about the way our high school hadn’t really done much to help us prepare for college. We had a guidance department; they probably even had some brochures about colleges in their office, but it’s pretty sad that no one ever offered advice about college. Neither of my parents went to college, so they were as ill-prepared as I was. Everyone knows that hindsight is 20/20, but I definitely wish I had known more— or taken the initiative to learn more— before deciding on my college path.
College can be incredibly expensive. As I mentioned the other day, the cost of a college education is rising rapidly, and “How will I pay for college?” is a legitimate concern for most people. Few people pay for college completely out of their own pockets— the majority of college students have some type of financial aid— but young people planning to attend college immediately following high school often mistakenly assume that a college education is a right that their parents owe them.
Back in the 1980s, the United States led the world in having a college-educated workforce. Over the past few decades, though, things have changed dramatically. According to a disturbing new report issued by the College Board this Thursday, July 22, the United States ranks 12 th among 36 developed countries in the number of adults with college degrees. College and high school graduation rankings have also dropped drastically, and the College Board warns that this growing gap between the U.S. and other countries threatens to undermine American economic competitiveness.
Tenure can be thought of as a permanent job contract for a professor, and it’s usually granted after a probationary period of six or seven years. Tenure is typically based on the professor’s teaching ability, their publication record, and their reputation among their peers.
We’re living in an age where the majority of entry-level positions require a bachelor’s degree, and the thought of working at McDonald’s for the rest of their life is enough to scare most young people into assuming that a college education is 100% necessary to survive. Some people even grow up in families where heading off to college after high school is simply assumed and expected, a right more than a privilege.
The International Baccalaureate, or IB, is an international education foundation with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The IB offers three educational programs for children between the ages of 3 to 19: the primary years program, the middle years program, and the diploma program. In 2006, Time magazine called IB “a rigorous, off-the-shelf curriculum recognized by universities around the world.”
For some odd reason I started watching King of the Hill reruns a few months ago. If you’ve never seen the show, it’s a cartoon about the blue collar Hill family that resides in Texas. One of the characters, a student named Luanne, wanted to join a sorority on her college campus but a group of snotty girls wanted nothing to do with her and pushed her away. She was just about heartbroken, but she became extremely excited when she was recruited by a different sorority. Luanne decided to join the group, who soon told her that her new name Jane, she was no longer allowed to eat meat, and she had to go around town selling jars of Jane’s Jam along with the other sorority members.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
It’s an innocent enough question, one that parents ask their children regularly and elementary school teachers ask their students when they’re getting ready to assign reports about careers, but when the time arrives to seriously consider— gulp! —a college major and a potential profession, some people have a lot of trouble making up their minds.
A few weeks ago I went over my friend’s house for dinner. It wasn’t a party, but a few of her co-workers were also there and I somehow got stuck talking to one of the other women. After being around her for an hour or so I found myself trying to think of excuses as to why I had to leave early. I wanted to escape.
Wondering how much time you should spend studying for your college classes? Some classes will be easier for you than others, but a good rule of thumb is to study two to three hours per credit hour per week. Slightly confusing, I know, so let’s break it down a bit: if you’re taking 15 credit hours this semester, you should expect to spend 30 to 45 hours studying each week.
Advanced Placement exams and dual enrollment programs are both great ways to earn college credit before you actually start college, but there’s another alternative that you might not be aware of. The College Level Examination Program—or CLEP, as it’s commonly called—is a group of tests that assess college level knowledge in multiple subject areas.
Most incoming freshmen show up at school with hopes of becoming friends with their new college roommate. After all, it’s probably the first time that both of you have lived away from home, and being instantly forced into sharing close quarters with someone means that you’ll get to know them rather quickly.
Nearly everyone is trying to shave costs here and there in order to save money, but studies show that sales of Blackberries, iPhones, and other smart phones such as the Android are constantly on the rise. I was unintentionally at the mall the day the new iPhone 4 was released last month, and judging by the line snaking from the Apple store down the mall corridor, people are willing to spend a lot of money on the latest phones.
It’s only July but the fall is approaching rapidly and you know what that means! New student orientations will be taking place across the country as thousands upon thousands of college students head to campus to start classes— many for the first time.
We’ve all heard stories about people that got kicked out of college. You know what I’m talking about, right? The drunken frat guy who took his pranks a little too far one night, or the computer lab assistant that mysteriously “lost” a brand new iMac … which was later found on her desk in her dorm room. Who knows, stories like these might be urban legends that got embellished more and more as they spread around campus, but the truth is, some students really do get kicked out of college. The reasons might not be as exciting—or as funny—as the ones I just mentioned, but it’s probably a wise idea to know the rules regarding probation or dismissal from your college or university.
It’s slightly embarrassing but I’ve got to admit when I was still in high school, my definition of professor was pretty much “the word they call teachers once you’re in college.”
Then again, I was the first member of my immediate family to pursue a college degree, so it wasn’t like we sat around the dinner table discussing higher-level education. That reason alone is enough to make me feel pretty confident I’m not the only person out there who didn’t really have a grasp on the subject of professors until they got to college themselves.
Volunteering during spring break and summer vacation has been growing in popularity among the college crowd in recent years, and some students are even opting to spend time helping others while school is still in session. Volunteer work is not only an act of philanthropy, it’s a good way to gain experience in various fields and possibly earn college credit or even win scholarships.
College students are often encouraged to find mentors that can offer advice and provide guidance throughout their undergraduate years, so why not turn the tables and join a mentoring program? Spending time with young children and teenagers is a great way for college students to volunteer and encourage young people.
Even though it’s illegal, a lot of people think nothing of letting their friends have copies of their music, movies, and television shows. Others just download shared files from the internet as opposed to purchasing them. Universities are actually a major den of illegal downloading activity because the vast majority of college students use the high-speed Internet access provided by the schools to quickly and easily – and illegally – download files.
This isn’t a new trend, but things are about to change.
It normally seems as if the activities and events occurring on large university campuses are never-ending, but there are other benefits to living in a college town—benefits besides the school itself and the entertainment factor it provides for students and local residents.
The majority of American cities recently went through a few years of quick economic growth followed by a devastating landslide into recession that includes high unemployment rates, but current Census analysis is showing that college towns seem to have made it through the recession and subsequent housing market decline unscathed.