College and University Blog

Resources, help, and insight for your college experience

Stalking - When Attention Goes To Far

Allegations of stalking are common on college campuses, according to psychologists and police. A study published in 2000 (the latest information available) found that 13% of college women had been stalked. Stalking is generally defined as a repeated pattern of behavior or conduct that causes a reasonable person to feel fear. Unwanted contact can include:

  • following or surveillance
  • inappropriate approaches and confrontations
  • appearing at a place of work or residence
  • unwanted phone calls, letters, text messages, or e-mail
  • threats to victim’s family and friends
  • unwanted or threatening gifts
  • damage to property
  • physical assault
  • sexual assault

Stalking affects people of all identities and can occur within any community. Stalking is especially conducive to a college campus because of the environment. People’s movements, habits, and whereabouts can be easily studied. Most students go to classes, work, and eat meals at the same time for weeks o…

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College Students and Internet Gambling

Gambling has become increasingly popular in the United States. In 2005, gambling revenues in the United States were $84.65 billion. Legalized gambling is available, in some form, in 48 of the 50 United States. The growth of gambling has lead to increased rates of disordered gambling and is a significant public health risk.

Both problem and pathological gambling are associated with a host of serious health and social consequences including suicide, work and educational disruption, criminal arrest, financial difficulties, and familial disruption. Problematic gambling has also been associated with alcohol and drug use, eating disorders, depression and anxiety. In one extreme case, a student at the University of Wisconsin murdered three roommates because he owed them thousands in gambling debts. The trio had helped him place bets with an offshore gambling company. He had lost $15,000 through gambling and withdrawn $72,000 from his bank account to support his habit before he comm…

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Is Perfectionism Getting In the Way of Your Success?

If you’re always worried that what you do is never good enough or you’re constantly disappointed in the people you live and work with, you may be a perfectionist.

Perfectionists can be either inwardly focused or outwardly focused. If your perfectionism is inwardly focused, you are probably hard on yourself and find your errors unacceptable. You may have trouble letting go and forgiving yourself. In your mind, it is ok for others to make mistakes, but it is not ok for you to make mistakes. If your perfectionism is outwardly focused, you may often be disappointed in or frustrated with others. It may feel like everybody lets you down. This causes problems in your relationships and sometimes leads to conflict.

There are two main types of perfectionists – adaptive and maladaptive. Adaptive perfectionists take pleasure in their successes. They are often characterized by high personal standards that relate positively to variables such as active coping, high self-esteem, achieve…

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Are Cults Recruiting on Your Campus?

The list of problems plaguing college campuses is extensive: illegal drugs, alcohol abuse, and sexual assault. According to experts, there’s a lesser-known, but equally-present danger: cults.

When cults are mentioned, we usually associate the word with the cults of the 1970s selling flowers at the airport. It is surprising to learn that cults still exist. The definition of cult we will use is the following: a group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing, and employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control designed to advance the goals of the group’s leaders, to the actual or possible detriment of members, their families, or the community.

Contemporary cults are likely to exhibit the following elements to varying degrees:

  • members’ excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment to the identity and leadership of the group
  • exploitative manipulation of members
  • harm or the danger of …

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Are there Sex Offenders on Your Campus?

Sex Offenders have long been considered among the most despised criminals in Western culture. The mere mention of the phrase “sex offender” conjures up images of child predators. Prevention of these types of crimes has been a concern for many years. Punishment usually includes incarceration, mandatory treatment programs, medical intervention, and strict conditions of probation and parole.

In the last decade or so, state and federal governments have become much more aggressive about requiring the collection and disclosure of information about convicted sex offenders. Most of this has come from sexual assaults on children. Occasionally concerns have been raised about the privacy and rights of the sex offenders, but those concerns have been overwhelmed by the desire of parents and elected officials to protect their children.

In 2000, Congress enacted a law called the Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act. This required sex offenders to inform officials at any institution where t…

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Text Messaging - Not Just for Students Anymore

Nearly 80% of college students send and receive text messages, averaging 115 messages per month. A 2006 study by Campus Media Group indicated that students spend almost 20 minutes a day sending and receiving text messages. Colleges are jumping on the texting bandwagon to notify students of many things.

When the shootings occurred at Virginia Tech, officials sent out e-mail alerts according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. Few people received them. Students are less inclined to rely on e-mail for information than they used to be. This trend is prompting many colleges to adopt other methods of emergency notification. Many of these services involve cell phones.

There are a variety of notification services that schools can subscribe to that will text emergency notification to students when needed. Students are required to register their contact information with the school to receive these notifications. Unfortunately, administrators are finding that students are not ru…

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College Drop Out Rates - Who's to Blame?

For some students, getting accepted to a university is only the first in an uphill battle toward a degree. Persevering long enough to graduate can be just as challenging.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau revealed in 2000 that one in three Americans drops out of college. This is an increase from the 1960s when one in five discontinued his or her studies.

Some studies indicate that a considerable proportion of college dropouts come from low-income families. The U.S. Department of Education found that 41% of low-income students enrolled in a four-year institution managed to graduate within five years. For higher income students, this jumps to 66%. Of the low income students that did not return, 47% left in good academic standing.

Though research links financial difficulties to dropout rates, there are a number of factors that account for why students decide to leave school. Students tend to drop out because their expectations of college—academically, socially, or both—don…

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Preparing for your College Admissions Interviews

The college interview can be extremely stressful for students. Often it is the first real interview high school students have experienced. Fortunately, admissions committees realize that high school students have little interviewing experience and the process is usually straightforward. The interview probably isn’t going to make or break your application, but you still want to interview well.

Very few colleges use interviews to weed out applicants. A great interview could enhance your application, but it won’t make up for a weak academic record or poor test scores. Just taking the time to visit the college and talk to an admission officer makes a positive impression, because it shows that you’re really interested in the college.

College interviews generally fall into one of the following three categories:

  • On-campus evaluative interviews. A representative of the college will interview you on-campus—typically in the admissions office. While you’ll be given a chance…

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Sleep Deprivation - A Common Occurrence for College Students

Many of us are familiar with the after effects of a night or two without sleep. Without sleep, we are less efficient and more irritable. It may even become difficult to think clearly. 63% of college students do not get enough sleep, according to a recent study by the National Sleep Foundation. Obviously, Sleep deprivation is a way of life for most students, especially during exam times. 15% percent of college students admit that they fall asleep in class. Students who studied hard all week and then stayed up all night partying on the weekend lost as much as 30% of what they had learned during the week. This is not a problem only seen in college students. Much of society suffers to some extent from sleep deprivation.

Most students do not get enough sleep because their sleep hours changed based on their workload. Other reasons students don’t sleep include stress, roommates, or miscellaneous noise. Most students don’t realize they are lacking sleep. It comes out in other ways …

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College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) - Testing for Credit

The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) are tests that grant college credit. They are based on knowledge learned through professional experience, independent study, adult courses, or advanced high school courses. Students usually take CLEP tests to fulfill classes taken at the freshman or sophomore levels. Most students who take the CLEP are older returning students. 34% of those taking CLEP exams are older than 30.

There are 34 different tests in a variety of subjects. You choose which particular test or tests to take depending on what type of college credit you wish to earn. Tests are offered in the following categories:

  • Composition and Literature (American Literature, Analyzing and Interpreting Literature, English Composition, Freshman College Composition, and Humanities)
  • Foreign Languages (French Language, German Language, and Spanish Language – all levels 1 and 2)
  • Social Sciences and History (American Government, Human Growth and Development,…

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Suicide and Suicidal Behavior Among College Students

Why is suicide the 2nd leading cause of death among college students? Major life transitions—such as leaving home and going away to college—may exacerbate existing psychological problems or trigger new ones. Add leaving family and friends to this can deepen depression and/or increase anxiety.

Nearly 1,100 suicides will occur on college campuses this year. Many more students think about suicide or make a suicide plan. In the past fifty years, the suicide rate for those age 15-24 increased by over 200%. About 12 people aged 15-24 will commit suicide today – that is one about every two hours.

Caucasians account for over 90% of all completed suicides. Although Caucasians are twice as likely to commit suicide as African Americans, the rate of suicide is growing faster among young African Americans than among Caucasians. Suicide rates from 1980-1995 increased 93% for African American females (age 15-24) and 214% for African American males (age 15-24). Native Americans have the…

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Arguments For and Against Affirmative Action

Around 12% of all college students are African American. If the student body at your college is only 1% African American it’s likely that there is some discrimination at work. This isn’t always the case, but it’s the principle that affirmative action was built on.

Affirmative action is the practice of giving preference to racial minorities or women in hiring or admissions. Affirmative action came to be due to a desire to bring minorities into institutions and professions that had traditionally been dominated by white males. This was after the civil rights movement of the 1960s and was an attempt to give minorities’ social and economic equality.

Racial quotas for public colleges were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in the case of Bakke v. California. Since then, public colleges seeking to increase diversity have used other types of affirmative action. Private institutions have more freedom in their admissions practices. Most find that other affirmative acti…

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Liberal Arts - Learning to Think

A liberal arts education refers to studies in a college or university intended to provide general knowledge and develop intellect. Most liberal arts colleges offer majors in “traditional” liberal arts fields – language, history, and science. Students who complete the degree requirements typically earn a bachelor’s degree.

The term ‘liberal arts’ is taken from the Latin phrase liberales artes, which means, “that which should be known by a free man.” A liberal arts education does not teach a single point of view, but rather provides the tools to find your own conclusion from competing points of view.

A Liberal studies major provides a student with broad knowledge about the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. Students usually have the option to customize their major with the help of an academic advisor. Many people who major in the liberal arts have to create their own career path. If this uncertainty doesn’t alarm you, you may have what it takes to be a liberal arts…

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Military Academies - Much More Than ROTC

With the cost of higher education skyrocketing, it’s no surprise that college-bound students are looking for ways to finance their education. In some cases, they need not look further than Uncle Sam. The best and brightest can receive a four-year education and salary at one of the U.S. military academies. This education is not free – men and women who agree to accept this education are obligated to serve in the branch of the military that educated them for a minimum of five years after graduation.

A military academy is an educational institution that prepares candidates for service in the military. University-level institutions in the U.S. award Bachelor’s degrees. In the United States, the term “military academy” does not mean that the institution is run by the armed forces to train military officers. It can also mean a public or private institution that instructs its students in a military fashion with discipline and tradition. Graduate institutions already catering to o…

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Community Colleges - Advantages and Disadvantages

Community colleges can be an important part of a postsecondary education. About half of the undergraduate students in the U.S. are attending a community college. Community colleges are preparing students for transfer to 4-year institutions, providing workforce development and skills training, and offering noncredit programs.

There are about 1200 community colleges in the United States with an enrollment of 11.6 million. Of these, 40% are enrolled full time. The choice to attend a community college may be based on open admissions policies, convenience, or the low cost of tuition. Most community college campuses are populated with people of all ages, ethnicities, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Community colleges generally offer three types of programs:

  • Associates degree

An associate’s degree is earned when a student takes necessary courses needed to earn a 2-year degree. This degree will allow for entry into jobs requiring some level of college educati…

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Community Colleges - Should They Offer Four-Year Degrees?

The nation’s community colleges are currently seeing growth similar to when they first opened. Today they enroll more than half of all undergraduates in the country. The reputations of most community colleges are stellar.

The path is a common one. Go to a community college for a year or two, figure out what you want to be when you grow up, and transfer to a four-year college. In the near future, you may be able to omit the transfer portion. That’s right—-some community colleges are now offering bachelor’s degrees and many more are planning to.

Traditionally, community colleges have educated those who cannot afford to study elsewhere. The open enrollment policies and flexible class schedules appeal to students who work or have families. Community colleges play a large part in training the local workforce. Unfortunately community colleges are at a crossroads. Many think that community college should toughen their academic standards rather than focus on awarding bachelor’…

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What You Need to Know to Be a Successful Transfer Student

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, community colleges now educate “about 45 percent of undergraduates nationwide.” And for 71 percent of these students, transferring is their primary or secondary academic goal. If you go to a community college, you may already know that if you want to get a bachelor’s degree, you’ll have to transfer to a four-year institution. But in order to get accepted; stay on schedule; and have your credits count, it’s important to know what you’re getting into.

Are you a college student planning to transfer from a two-year college to a four-year college? As a community college student you may not have had many college options. Your options to transfer to a larger institution increase dramatically as you consider becoming a transfer student.

Size, cost, location, program ranking, degrees offered, and admissions requirements are all things you should consider when looking at transfer institutions. Begin by looking at both the geographic…

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Study Abroad - an Exciting College Experience

A large number of students begin their college careers with the intention of studying abroad. Nearly 60% expect to continue studying a foreign language. Just under half want to study abroad. By the time they are entering college, 98% have had language courses, and about half have traveled overseas. Once these students get into college, only 7% of college students actually take language courses. Only 3% end up studying overseas.

58% of American college students who studied abroad chose to study in Europe. This was followed by Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. All are all growing. Although part of the decline in European travel can be explained by the decreasing value of the U.S. dollar, length, seems to be an issue as well. Most students who studied abroad in the 2005/06 school year chose to participate in short-term programs: 52% of students participated in short-term programs 37% of students studying abroad participated in semester study. 5.5% of students s…

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Law School - Acing the LSATs

Law school generally requires 3 years of full-time study. Part-time study, when available, usually takes 4 years. The Juris Doctorate (JD) will be awarded upon completion of the academic requirements. While most law schools share a common approach to educating their students, opportunities may differ between schools. Law school can be an intense, competitive environment. Students have little time for outside interests. Most schools encourage their students to become totally immersed in reading, discussing, and thinking about the law.

The first year of law school can be exciting and anxiety-provoking. You must be prepared in class. In many courses, grades are determined by exams at the end of the semester or end of the year. You may receive little feedback until the final exam. However uninformed, unprepared, or puzzled you may be, you will be expected to participate in class.

After the first year, you will probably have the opportunity to select from a broad range of co…

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Medical School - Acing the MCATs

Entry into medical school requires a lot of work during the first four years of college. Pre-med studies can be grueling. On top of making good grades in difficult classes, your MCAT score will also affect whether you get into medical school.

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a standardized, multiple-choice exam needed to enter medical school. It is designed to assess problem solving, critical thinking, writing skills, and knowledge of science concepts and principles needed for the study of medicine. Scores are reported in Verbal Reasoning, Physical Sciences, Writing Sample, and Biological Sciences.

Almost all U.S. medical schools require applicants to submit MCAT scores as part of their admissions process. Most schools do not accept MCAT scores that are more than three years old. The MCAT exam is offered in the United States, Canada and in 15 other countries.

The physical sciences section of the exam has 52 questions. The verbal reasoning section of the …

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