Category Archives: tips

Starting your College Research: Career development

As discussed many times in this blog, your major may not matter as much as you think. That said, a growing number of people want a career outcome of going to college. If you look at historical trends as to why a student chooses a particular university you will see that what resonates with the students has grown:

  • This college’s graduates gain admission to top graduate/professional schools in 2005: 27.1% rated this as very important. In 2015: 33.7%
  • This college’s graduates get good jobs in 2005: 47.4% rated it as very important. In 2015: 57.9%

Contrary to what people think, Business may not be as prevelent as people think:

Interest in business as a probable field of study peaked in 1987 when more than one-quarter (25.7%) of students intended to major in a business-related field. By 1995, interest in majoring in business had fallen to 15.5% of incoming college students. After a slight recovery in the early years of the 21st century, students’ interest in business as a prob- able field of study fell to 13.5% in 2015, its lowest point since 1973 when 13.3% of students intended to major in a business-related field.

One of the more important aspects to pay attention to is how the college helps you onto your next steps. So when you research colleges, be sure to check out their career services. You could just google “Career Services”+ college name and read about what they offer. Let’s take two examples:

Elon Career pages include:

  • ELON JOB NETWORK
  • EVENTS
  • STUDENT EMPLOYMENT
  • FIRST DESTINATIONS
  • MEET THE SPDC STAFF
  • STUDENTS – ALUMNI

    CHOOSING A CAREER

    GRADUATE-PROF SCHOOL

    RESUMES-COVER LETTERS

    EJN JOBS-INTERNSHIPS

    INTERVIEWS

    TRANSITION FROM ELON

  • Sections for parents and employers

 

UC San Diego Career pages include: 

  • ·            Upcoming Events
  • o   Job Fairs, Employer events
  • o   Graduate and Professional School Fairs
  • o   Career Development and Job Preparation
  • ·            Career Advising
  • ·            Thinking about Grad School
  • ·            Career Exploration and Preparation
    • o   Explore careers and interest areas
    • o   Prepare for pre-med/health, pre-law, and graduate school
    • o   Prepare for jobs and internships
  • ·            Online Career Development Tools
  • ·            Sections for employers and parents.
  • Basically, both universities, vastly different, cover the information in basically the same way. They even use some of the same career development/job search tools. One area I was excited to see was the UCSD Alumni Destinations page which promised “This interactive graphic demonstrates the connection between areas of study at UC San Diego and the career paths of 73,500 alumni*. The left side of the circle is divided into 15 sections, each representing a major or grouping of majors available at UC San Diego. The right side of the circle is similarly broken into 15 sections, each representing a grouping of careers chosen by our alums.” Only this page no longer exists. It would have appeared very similar to Williams. Oh well. Elon’s page does work, but the information is superficial. One university that does an outstanding job at sharing this data is UC Berkeley. All universities track this data. Ask them for it. This is, in fact, a requirement in the UK and you can compare data by major between different universities at Unistats

    Good career services should be able to tell you:

    • Where their graduates are
    • studying grad school
    • working–both by company, title, industry and salary.
  • who recruits on campus
  • where the student intern
  • Entrepreneurial competitions
  • Career development activities
  • 1:1 advising
  • Princeton Review has provided a ranking of Career services every year, but the list is probably mostly useless. As Poet’s and Quants remarks:

    Of the 42 schools that have been listed in the last six years, only six of them were listed every year, indicating that exemplary career services are rare. However, it does seem like they’re more common at private schools, as only nine public schools were listed at all.

    Here are the schools with the best career services:

    The ‘Best Career Services’ Rankings From 2015 to 2010

     

    2015 Rank & School 2015 Rank 2014 Rank 2013 Rank 2012 Rank 2011 Rank 2010 Rank
     Northeastern University  1  2  1  2  1  4
     Pennsylvania State University – University Park  2  1  2  3  2  6
     Claremont McKenna College  3  4  3  6  7  7
     Bentley University  4  3  16  8  6  12
     Clemson University  5  11  5  9  NR  3
     University of Richmond  6  13  4  10  NR  NR
     Wabash College  7  6  NR  NR  11  NR
     Southwestern University  8  7  NR  NR  NR  NR
     Washington University in St. Louis  9  NR  NR  NR  NR  NR
     University of Florida  10  5  6  1  4  1
     Kansas State University  11  NR  NR  NR  NR  NR
     Southern Methodist University  12  8  7  19  NR  NR
     Sweet Briar College  13  10  NR  NR  8  8
     Villanova University  14  NR  NR  NR  NR  NR
     Stevens Institute of Technology  15  NR  13  NR  14  NR
     Lafayette College  16  17  8  15  17  NR
     Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering  17  15  NR  20  NR  20
     Barnard College  18  9  11  5  5  2
     Connecticut College  19  NR  NR  NR  NR  11
     Wake Forest University  20  NR  NR  NR  NR  NR
     Webb Institute  NR  12  NR  NR  NR  NR
     Smith College  NR  14  NR  NR  13  13
     Grove City College  NR  16  12  NR  NR  NR
     Scripps College  NR  18  NR  NR  NR  NR
     Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute  NR  19  9  NR  NR  NR
     University of Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh Campus  NR  20  19  NR  NR  NR
     American University  NR  NR  10  18  15  19
     Tulane University  NR  NR  14  NR  NR  NR
     University of Southern California  NR  NR  15  NR  NR  NR
     Missouri University of Science and Technology  NR  NR  17  11  NR  NR
     Virginia Tech  NR  NR  18  NR  NR  NR
     University of Texas at Austin  NR  NR  20  4  10  5
     Rochester Institute of Technology  NR  NR  NR  7  NR  18
     Spelman College  NR  NR  NR  12  NR  NR
     Yale University  NR  NR  NR  13  3  10
     Cornell University  NR  NR  NR  14  16  15
     University of Missouri – Columbia  NR  NR  NR  16  18  NR
     Worcester Polytechnic Institute  NR  NR  NR  17  20  NR
     Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology  NR  NR  NR  NR  9  9
     Middlebury College  NR  NR  NR  NR  12  14
     Stonehill College  NR  NR  NR  NR  19  17
     University of Notre Dame  NR  NR  NR  NR  NR  16

    Source: The Princeton Review

     

    Princeton Review wrote a book called Colleges that Create Futures focusing on how colleges help students with their future, profiling 50 colleges that are doing a great job. While this rather eclectic list shows breadth, they all share some common features: “hey have excellent career centers. They offer an array of internship opportunities, cooperative education, service learning, and experiential learning programs. They involve undergrads in collaborative research with faculty. They have strong cultures of civic engagement and support student participation in community service and study abroad programs. Their alumni associations are networking empires.

    Some of the schools and examples of their programs are:

    • Arizona State: At its “InnovationSpace” collaborative learning facility, students majoring in engineering, business, design, art, and sustainability work in teams that brainstorm and produce prototypes for real world products that “impact the daily lives of ordinary people.” 
    • Duke University: DukeEngage, a remarkable service-learning program, invites Duke students to identify an opportunity to provide a service anywhere in the world. Duke then helps the student act on that mission, assisting with the student’s travel, lodging, immunizations, and other expenses.  Nearly 3,000 Duke students have participated in this program and served communities in 78 countries.    
    • Northeastern University:  Participation in Northeastern’s cooperative education program –which operates in 114 countries and is one of the largest in the nation – is exemplary on all fronts: 95% of its students spend at least one semester working full time at a company in paid positions. By nine months after graduation, 90% of Northeastern students are employed or in grad school.
    • Washington University in St. Louis has one of the few undergrad entrepreneurship programs that enable students to launch their own on-campus businesses. Approved proposals are facilitated by a campus loan fund, faculty mentorship, access to school mailing lists, and other services. Among the success stories: a student-owned, on-campus bike rental and repair shop.      

     

     

    Other useful tools include:

    Linked in University tool–unfortunately, Linkedin killed this.

     

     

    Starting your College Research: Career development

    As discussed many times in this blog, your major may not matter as much as you think. That said, a growing number of people want a career outcome of going to college. If you look at historical trends as to why a student chooses a particular university you will see that what resonates with the students has grown:

    • This college’s graduates gain admission to top graduate/professional schools in 2005: 27.1% rated this as very important. In 2015: 33.7%
    • This college’s graduates get good jobs in 2005: 47.4% rated it as very important. In 2015: 57.9%

    Contrary to what people think, Business may not be as prevelent as people think:

    Interest in business as a probable field of study peaked in 1987 when more than one-quarter (25.7%) of students intended to major in a business-related field. By 1995, interest in majoring in business had fallen to 15.5% of incoming college students. After a slight recovery in the early years of the 21st century, students’ interest in business as a prob- able field of study fell to 13.5% in 2015, its lowest point since 1973 when 13.3% of students intended to major in a business-related field.

    One of the more important aspects to pay attention to is how the college helps you onto your next steps. So when you research colleges, be sure to check out their career services. You could just google “Career Services”+ college name and read about what they offer. Let’s take two examples:

    Elon Career pages include:

    • ELON JOB NETWORK
    • EVENTS
    • STUDENT EMPLOYMENT
    • FIRST DESTINATIONS
    • MEET THE SPDC STAFF
    • STUDENTS – ALUMNI

      CHOOSING A CAREER

      GRADUATE-PROF SCHOOL

      RESUMES-COVER LETTERS

      EJN JOBS-INTERNSHIPS

      INTERVIEWS

      TRANSITION FROM ELON

    • Sections for parents and employers

     

    UC San Diego Career pages include: 

    • ·            Upcoming Events
    • o   Job Fairs, Employer events
    • o   Graduate and Professional School Fairs
    • o   Career Development and Job Preparation
  • ·            Career Advising
  • ·            Thinking about Grad School
  • ·            Career Exploration and Preparation
    • o   Explore careers and interest areas
    • o   Prepare for pre-med/health, pre-law, and graduate school
    • o   Prepare for jobs and internships
  • ·            Online Career Development Tools
  • ·            Sections for employers and parents.
  • Basically, both universities, vastly different, cover the information in basically the same way. They even use some of the same career development/job search tools. One area I was excited to see was the UCSD Alumni Destinations page which promised “This interactive graphic demonstrates the connection between areas of study at UC San Diego and the career paths of 73,500 alumni*. The left side of the circle is divided into 15 sections, each representing a major or grouping of majors available at UC San Diego. The right side of the circle is similarly broken into 15 sections, each representing a grouping of careers chosen by our alums.” Only this page no longer exists. It would have appeared very similar to Williams. Oh well. Elon’s page does work, but the information is superficial. One university that does an outstanding job at sharing this data is UC Berkeley. All universities track this data. Ask them for it. This is, in fact, a requirement in the UK and you can compare data by major between different universities at Unistats

    Good career services should be able to tell you:

    • Where their graduates are
    • studying grad school
    • working–both by company, title, industry and salary.
  • who recruits on campus
  • where the student intern
  • Entrepreneurial competitions
  • Career development activities
  • 1:1 advising
  • Princeton Review has provided a ranking of Career services every year, but the list is probably mostly useless. As Poet’s and Quants remarks:

    Of the 42 schools that have been listed in the last six years, only six of them were listed every year, indicating that exemplary career services are rare. However, it does seem like they’re more common at private schools, as only nine public schools were listed at all.

    Here are the schools with the best career services:

    The ‘Best Career Services’ Rankings From 2015 to 2010

     

    2015 Rank & School 2015 Rank 2014 Rank 2013 Rank 2012 Rank 2011 Rank 2010 Rank
     Northeastern University  1  2  1  2  1  4
     Pennsylvania State University – University Park  2  1  2  3  2  6
     Claremont McKenna College  3  4  3  6  7  7
     Bentley University  4  3  16  8  6  12
     Clemson University  5  11  5  9  NR  3
     University of Richmond  6  13  4  10  NR  NR
     Wabash College  7  6  NR  NR  11  NR
     Southwestern University  8  7  NR  NR  NR  NR
     Washington University in St. Louis  9  NR  NR  NR  NR  NR
     University of Florida  10  5  6  1  4  1
     Kansas State University  11  NR  NR  NR  NR  NR
     Southern Methodist University  12  8  7  19  NR  NR
     Sweet Briar College  13  10  NR  NR  8  8
     Villanova University  14  NR  NR  NR  NR  NR
     Stevens Institute of Technology  15  NR  13  NR  14  NR
     Lafayette College  16  17  8  15  17  NR
     Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering  17  15  NR  20  NR  20
     Barnard College  18  9  11  5  5  2
     Connecticut College  19  NR  NR  NR  NR  11
     Wake Forest University  20  NR  NR  NR  NR  NR
     Webb Institute  NR  12  NR  NR  NR  NR
     Smith College  NR  14  NR  NR  13  13
     Grove City College  NR  16  12  NR  NR  NR
     Scripps College  NR  18  NR  NR  NR  NR
     Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute  NR  19  9  NR  NR  NR
     University of Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh Campus  NR  20  19  NR  NR  NR
     American University  NR  NR  10  18  15  19
     Tulane University  NR  NR  14  NR  NR  NR
     University of Southern California  NR  NR  15  NR  NR  NR
     Missouri University of Science and Technology  NR  NR  17  11  NR  NR
     Virginia Tech  NR  NR  18  NR  NR  NR
     University of Texas at Austin  NR  NR  20  4  10  5
     Rochester Institute of Technology  NR  NR  NR  7  NR  18
     Spelman College  NR  NR  NR  12  NR  NR
     Yale University  NR  NR  NR  13  3  10
     Cornell University  NR  NR  NR  14  16  15
     University of Missouri – Columbia  NR  NR  NR  16  18  NR
     Worcester Polytechnic Institute  NR  NR  NR  17  20  NR
     Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology  NR  NR  NR  NR  9  9
     Middlebury College  NR  NR  NR  NR  12  14
     Stonehill College  NR  NR  NR  NR  19  17
     University of Notre Dame  NR  NR  NR  NR  NR  16

    Source: The Princeton Review

     

    Princeton Review wrote a book called Colleges that Create Futures focusing on how colleges help students with their future, profiling 50 colleges that are doing a great job. While this rather eclectic list shows breadth, they all share some common features: “hey have excellent career centers. They offer an array of internship opportunities, cooperative education, service learning, and experiential learning programs. They involve undergrads in collaborative research with faculty. They have strong cultures of civic engagement and support student participation in community service and study abroad programs. Their alumni associations are networking empires.

    Some of the schools and examples of their programs are:

    • Arizona State: At its “InnovationSpace” collaborative learning facility, students majoring in engineering, business, design, art, and sustainability work in teams that brainstorm and produce prototypes for real world products that “impact the daily lives of ordinary people.” 
    • Duke University: DukeEngage, a remarkable service-learning program, invites Duke students to identify an opportunity to provide a service anywhere in the world. Duke then helps the student act on that mission, assisting with the student’s travel, lodging, immunizations, and other expenses.  Nearly 3,000 Duke students have participated in this program and served communities in 78 countries.    
    • Northeastern University:  Participation in Northeastern’s cooperative education program –which operates in 114 countries and is one of the largest in the nation – is exemplary on all fronts: 95% of its students spend at least one semester working full time at a company in paid positions. By nine months after graduation, 90% of Northeastern students are employed or in grad school.
    • Washington University in St. Louis has one of the few undergrad entrepreneurship programs that enable students to launch their own on-campus businesses. Approved proposals are facilitated by a campus loan fund, faculty mentorship, access to school mailing lists, and other services. Among the success stories: a student-owned, on-campus bike rental and repair shop.      

     

     

     

     

    Starting your College Research: Student life

    The last two post focused on exploring the academic experience. Today’s focuses on what happens outside of class. Click on teh tab for student life. For example, let’s look at Lewis and Clark, with about 2200 undergraduates, it is a classic resdential Liberal arts and science college in Portalnd, Oregon. 70% live on campus. How about yours? Probably the percentage is much higher in freshman and sophomore year which will create a dynamic energy and provide instant access to friends. Feeling more independent after a couple of years, you could move off campus. You might want to keep close though beause Lewis and Clark has 100 registered clubs and oranizations. Scan through the list and see how many you might want to join–Cuba club? Rugby (Men and women), Mock trial, Slam poetry, psychology club, SCUBA, and oh so many more. How active are the clubs and organizations you want to join? How well organized are they? These will not only be your kindred spirits, but these organizations give you a chance to develop skills. Indeed Gallup has found that that you are more than 1.8 times likely to be engaged in work if you were extremely active in extra curricular activities during college. Moreover, you are 1.4 times likely to be thriving in all areas of wellbeing. 

    What a lot of people do not realise is just how much times you have when you are not in class. Sure, you should be studying some of that time (2-4 hours per hour you spend in class). This still leaves a significant amount of time to get invovled. Before you do, you should be brainstorming types of experiences you want to have in college. Certainly some of them might have to do with what you did in high school. ut college is about expanding your horizons. 

    Retrun to student review sites like Unigo and Niche

    Utalizing the Gallup Purdue index for insight on your college research

    I have mentioned the Gallup Purdue Index before. I have argued that students should ask three simple question of colleges:

    1) Tell me about the Professors at your college–and listen for sentiments that describe that they teach with passion, look for evidence that they care about their students as people and watch if they describe these relationships going deeper as in a mentor type experience. 

    2) What opportunities are their for applying learning in real world contexts? List for them to go beyond “our students do internships”–of course they do, but how did the college help? Do they have coop? How active in undergraduate research are most students?

    3) What long term projects do students get involed in? Do they talk about senior thesis or Capstone experiences? These are the experiences you want. How hard are they to get involved in?

    While you could ask about extra curriculuar activities, I find that one is a given. 

    Purdue has a nice handout that goes deeper into questions you should be asking. Check it out here

    Starting your College Research: Student life

    The last two post focused on exploring the academic experience. Today’s focuses on what happens outside of class. Click on teh tab for student life. For example, let’s look at Lewis and Clark, with about 2200 undergraduates, it is a classic resdential Liberal arts and science college in Portalnd, Oregon. 70% live on campus. How about yours? Probably the percentage is much higher in freshman and sophomore year which will create a dynamic energy and provide instant access to friends. While most colleges offer dorms, look at what they do by way of the dorms. Mark B. Ryan in A Collegiate Way of Livingdescribes the difference: “A dormitory is organized to provide food and shelter; a college, to provide for the student’s intellectual, social, and personal development.” His webpage provides a fairly comprehensive list of universities who have embraced the Residential College system. Other places like the Colleges that Change Lives are also worth looking at–and Lewis and Clark is one of them. 

    Feeling more independent after a couple of years, you could move off campus. You might want to keep close though beause Lewis and Clark has 100 registered clubs and oranizations. Scan through the list and see how many you might want to join–Cuba club? Rugby (Men and women), Mock trial, Slam poetry, psychology club, SCUBA, and oh so many more. How active are the clubs and organizations you want to join? How well organized are they? These will not only be your kindred spirits, but these organizations give you a chance to develop skills. Indeed Gallup has found that that you are more than 1.8 times likely to be engaged in work if you were extremely active in extra curricular activities during college. Moreover, you are 1.4 times likely to be thriving in all areas of wellbeing. 

    What a lot of people do not realise is just how much times you have when you are not in class. Sure, you should be studying some of that time (2-4 hours per hour you spend in class). This still leaves a significant amount of time to get invovled. Before you do, you should be brainstorming types of experiences you want to have in college. Certainly some of them might have to do with what you did in high school. ut college is about expanding your horizons. 

    Retrun to student review sites like Unigo and Niche. What do students say about their experiences? While the obvious tabs at Ungo to click are What are the most popular activities on campus and Describe students at your campusI really like the Describe the stereo type at your school and the follow up how true is it. Tory, for example, describes students as: 

    The big stereotype my friends & I hear is that LC is the standard hippy/pot-head liberal arts college, off in its own little bubble, occupied by a small population of well-to-do students, whose parents have way too much money. There is also a stereotype that LC academics is not very rigorous. And of course, everyone is ultra-liberal/ultra left-wing.

    and then goes onto put it in context:

    Sort of. It isn’t a homogenous student body. There are more people wearing birkenstocks and fewer wearing flip-flops here than you would find at the University of Texas, for example. And its less cloves than just regular old cigarettes that people smoke. The majority of students are some form of liberal, though libertarianism is not completely unheard of. Our school’s chapel is used more for concerts or speeches than actual church, so I would agree that religion isn’t widespread. I think the stereotype used to be more true five years ago than it is now.

    Given that these are the people you will be living and learning with, it is essential to probe deeper. Now reach out to some current students or alumni. Perhaps older friends from your own high school or you can ask admission to connect you or simply facebook stalk them. Most students really like their colleges. 

    Starting your College Research: Exploring the academics part 2

    Continuing a deeper dive into a college’s academic, it is time to take a look at other parts of the academic experience. Your major, in US colleges, account for about 33% of your actually classes. In other countries it is up to 100%. What happens in the US? What do you do with the rest of the time? Cterainly you have room for electives–in some colleges, a lot f electives. You can trade some of your electives in for a minor or even another major. 

    Many US colleges require you to take certain classes to meet graduation requirements. Called things like the core curriculum (thank you Columbia) or General Education Requirements, you need to look at what specifically you must take to graduate. Let us look at three examples:

    Columbia University. 

    Regardless of your major, all students will complete the core curriculum, known affectionally The Core, which inlcudes the Great Books:

     

    • Literature Humanities
    • Contemporary Civilization
    • University Writing
    • Art Humanities
    • Music Humanities
    • Frontiers of Science

    You also have to fufill some other requirements:

     

    • Science Requirement–Three courses bearing at least 3 points each (for a total of at least 10 points) must be completed to meet this portion of the Core Curriculum. 
    • Global Core Requirement–Students must complete two courses from the approved list of Global Core courses for a letter grade.
    • Foreign Language Requirement
    • Physical Education Requirement

    Duke University

    To graduate students must successfully complete two courses in each of five areas of knowledge:

     

    1. Arts, Literatures, and Performance (ALP) Courses focus on the analysis and interpretation of the creative products of the human intellect, and/or engage students in creative performance requiring intellectual understanding and interpretive skills.
    2. Civilizations (CZ) Courses focus on the analysis and evaluation of ideas and events that shape civilizations past and present.
    3. Natural Sciences (NS) Courses focus on the interpretation or interpretation of scientific theories or models of the natural world.
    4. Quantitative Studies (QS) Courses provide instruction in a quantitative skill to achieve proficiency in math, statistics, or computer science, or engage in the application of explicitly quantitative methodology to analyze problems.? NOTE: one of the two required courses must be taken in Math, Statistics, or Computer Science.
    5. Social Sciences (SS) Courses focus on the causes of human behavior and the origins and functions of the social structures in which we operate.

     

    While there are robust offerings in each area. But it goes beyond just the areas of knowledge. To graduate students must successfully complete two courses (or 1-3 in a foreign language and 3 in writing) in each of six modes of inquiry.

    The first three Modes of Inquiry address important cross-cutting themes that transcend individual disciplines and may be approached from various disciplinary perspectives. Students need to be prepared to grapple with issues pertaining to these themes throughout their lives and careers.

    • Cross-Cultural Inquiry (CCI). ?This Mode of Inquiry provides an academic engagement with the dynamics and interactions of culture(s) in a comparative or analytic perspective. It involves a scholarly, comparative, and integrative study of political, economic, aesthetic, social and cultural differences. It seeks to provide students with the tools to identify culture and cultural difference across time or place, between or within national boundaries. This includes but is not limited to the interplay between and among material circumstances, political economies, scientific understandings, social and aesthetic representations, and the relations between difference/diversity and power and privilege within and across societies. In fulfilling this requirement, students are encouraged to undertake comparisons that extend beyond national boundaries and their own national cultures and to explore the impact of increasing globalization.
    • Ethical Inquiry (EI). ?Undergraduate education is a formative period for engaging in critical analysis of ethical questions arising in human life. Students need to be able to assess critically the consequences of actions, both individual and social, and to sharpen their understanding of the ethical and political implications of public and personal decision-making. Thus, they need to develop and apply skills in ethical reasoning and to gain an understanding of a variety of ways in which, across time and place, ethical issues and values frame and shape human conduct and ways of life.
    • Science, Technology, and Society (STS). ?Advances in science and technology have wrought profound changes in the structure of society in the modern era. They have fundamentally changed the world, both its philosophical foundations, as in the Copernican or Darwinian revolutions, and in its practical everyday experience, as in the rise of the automobile and television. In the second half of the last century, the pace of such change accelerated dramatically; science and technology will play an even greater role in shaping the society of the future. If students are to be prepared to analyze and evaluate the scientific and technological issues that will confront them and to understand the world around them, they need exposure to basic scientific concepts and to the processes by which scientific and technological advances are made and incorporated into society. They need to understand the interplay between science, technology, and society-that is, not only how science and technology have influenced the direction and development of society, but also how the needs of society have influenced the direction of science and technology.
    • Foreign Language (FL). ?Duke has set internationalization as an institutional priority in order to prepare students to live in an increasingly diverse and interdependent world. By developing proficiency in a foreign language, students can develop cross-cultural competency and become more successful members of their increasingly complex local, national, and international communities. Foreign language study substantially broadens students’ own experiences and helps them develop their intellect and gain respect for other peoples. Students need an awareness of how language frames and structures understanding and effective communication, and a study of foreign language improves students’ native language skills.
    • Writing (W). ?Effective writing is central to both learning and communication. To function successfully in the world, students need to be able to write clearly and effectively. To accomplish this, they need to have a sustained engagement with writing throughout their undergraduate career. Thus, students must take at least three writing courses at Duke: a) Writing 101 in their first year and b) two writing-intensive courses (W) in the disciplines, at least one of which must be taken after their first year. Through the latter type of courses students become familiar with the various modes and genres of writing used within an academic discipline and learn how the conventions and expectations for writing differ among the disciplines.
    • Research (R). ?As a research university, Duke seeks to connect undergraduate education to the broad continuum of scholarship reflected in its faculty. Such a rich setting provides students with opportunities to become involved in a community of learning and to engage in the process of discovery and move beyond being the passive recipients of knowledge that is transmitted to being an active participant in the discovery, critical evaluation, and application of knowledge and understanding. Engagement in research develops in students an understanding of the process by which new knowledge is created, organized, accessed, and synthesized. It also fosters a capacity for the critical evaluation of knowledge and the methods of discovery. This is important not only for undergraduates who wish to pursue further study at the graduate level, but also for those who seek employment in a rapidly changing and competitive marketplace.

    And still more:

     

    • First-year writing. Students must successfully complete Writing 101 in fall or spring of your first year. If they do not, they must enroll again during the summer (if offered) or the fall of sophomore year. Failure to do so can result in academic withdrawal for two semesters.
    • First-year seminar. During their first year, students must successfully complete a seminar (usually designated with an “S” after the course number). Participation in the Focus Program, the 89S seminar series (open to first-year students only), the 80S seminar series, or any seminar for which students qualify fulfills this requirement. If students do not take a seminar in their first two semesters, they must do so during summer session I or II. Failure to do so can result in academic withdrawal for two semesters.
    • Small Group Learning Experiences (SGLE). Students must complete two SGLEs – seminars, tutorials, thesis courses, and independent study courses – after their first year.

    Brown University

    Unlike the other Two, Brown subscribes to an Open Curriculum:

    Brown’s Open Curriculum is based on three principles. The first is that students ought to take an active role in their education by assuming responsibility for the direction of their learning. Secondly, an undergraduate education is seen as a process of individual and intellectual development, rather than simply a way to transmit a set body of information. Finally, the curriculum should encourage individuality, experimentation, and the integration and synthesis of different disciplines.

    While you will have requirements in your major, the only other thing you have to do is demonstrate “excellent skill in written English before they graduate.”

     

    Each approach can have its advantages. Some will prefer a more freedom, others will want more direction. Some want choice. As you explore your options on your major possibilities, dig into what the university requires of you while you are there. As you explore this aspect, check on student’s experiecnes themselves through websites like Unigo and Niche

    Brown, according to Niche:

     

    What Students Say About Professors

    POLL
    88%
    of students say professors are passionate about the topics they teach.52 responses
    POLL
    90%
    of students say professors care about their students’ success.52 responses
    POLL
    87%
    of students say professors are engaging and easy to understand.52 responses
    POLL
    92%
    of students agree professors are approachable and helpful when needed.52 responses

     

    Duke

     

    What Students Say About Professors

    POLL
    92%
    of students say professors are passionate about the topics they teach.65 responses
    POLL
    85%
    of students say professors care about their students’ success.65 responses
    POLL
    86%
    of students say professors are engaging and easy to understand.65 responses
    POLL
    88%
    of students agree professors are approachable and helpful when needed.65 responses
    Columbia

    What Students Say About Professors

    POLL
    91%
    of students say professors are passionate about the topics they teach.92 responses
    POLL
    77%
    of students say professors care about their students’ success.91 responses
    POLL
    77%
    of students say professors are engaging and easy to understand.91 responses
    POLL
    76%
    of students agree professors are approachable and helpful when needed.91 responses

     

    Be sure to read the reviews, both at Niche and Unigo:

    Duke, for example, is called her experience awesome: “I have taken three large lecture classes: Econ 51, Psych 11 and Compsci 82. Otherwise, almost every other class I have taken has had 16 or fewer students. I am an English major with a concentration in history, documentary and visual and media studies. My professors not only know my name by the end of the semester, but they know my goals and interests. From a practical perspective, this makes networking easy. Yet it makes for a much more meaningful classroom experience, as well. Class participation is expected and often encourages discussion outside of class.”

    Brown also receives rave reviews for its academics: “Do professors know your name? In most classes yes · Tell us about your favorite class. I’ve had many! One is “Hispanics in the US”, where other than the readings and class discussions we each volunteer every week at a local public school and tutor, usually in Spanish. During spring break some of us also participated in a Brown community service project that takes volunteers to a clinic in the Dominican Republic · How often do students study? Depends on the student. But you can find a lot of people in the library on a Sat night. Kinda scary · Is class participation common? Yes, everyone loves to hear themselves speak · Do Brown students have intellectual conversations outside of class? Yes · Are students competitive? I don’t think so. Everyone just has high standards for themselves · Do you spend time with professors outside of class? I was invited to two holiday dinners with professors, and one professor in a class I took last semester, took 5 students to dinner at a restaurant after class every week.”

    As does Columbia, although some do take exception of the workload:  ”As I said before, the courseload is beyond ridiculous. The amount of reading is mindblowing and I am sure most of the professors could not even do it. Ya they could probably finish the readings for their individual class. But if they took an entire semester worth of classes and tried to keep up on the readings in every class simultaneously they would realize they are completely out of line with what they assign.”

     

    Starting your College Research: Exploring the academics part 1

    While you can use such tools as the Meyers-Briggs Type Inventory or the Career Interest Profiler to zero in on potential careers, many stuent may not yet be ready to commit. Indeed many have no idea what they want to major in. If you do know your personality type, head over to Ball State and see which majors they offer up for your type. How important is a major? It ranges from not very, to essential, depending on your goals. You might be surprised what you can do with a major, but the evidence is clear: Your major matters if it requires professional certification (like accounting, nursing, law, teaching, engineering etc.), but not so much for most other positions. 
    Some colleges, like Loyola University of Chicago, offer their own custom built quiz that focuses specifically on the majors they offer. As you answer straightforward yes no questions like “I’m interested in intellectual ideas, including those that are shaped by religious beliefs.” it will highlight majors for you to focus on. 
    The Collegeboard’s Big Future site includes straight forward Major profiles. This section outlines teh skills and highlights some resoures and questions you should be asking. A click of a hyperlink and you can find which colleges offer that major. 
    Now onto the College’s Own Website
    As youd drill into the Academic Section of a particular college website, what do you notice? Are there a few majors that you might like to pursue? Pick one and dive deeper:
    • How many courses are actually offered?
    • How many of the courses are prescribed?
    • Who are the professors? What do they research?
    • How satisified are the students with the major itself? Unfortunately, few universities actually publish this information, but it in the UK, the government requires it. See Unistats. Perhaps a proxy to utalise is Ratemyprofessor, a stdent review site. You can look up a specific university and sort by department. Take it with a grain of salt. 

     

    Tommorrow in part II, we will look at other aspects of the academic experience. 

    Parenting for normal in the college process

    By loading kids with high expectations and micromanaging their lives at every turn, parents aren’t actually helping. At least, that’s how Julie Lythcott-Haims sees it. With passion and wry humor, the former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford makes the case for parents to stop defining their children’s success via grades and test scores. Instead, she says, they should focus on providing the oldest idea of all: unconditional love.

     

    8 Mistakes teens make in applying to colleges

    After having done this a long time, I notice students have a tendency to make certain mistakes. 

    1) Mistake #1: Waiting to the Last Minute 

    Fred Hargon, formerly of Princeton and Stanford, used to say that an application was not like a fine bottle of wine. It does not get better with age. Waiting to the last minute often creates stress for you and the people in your life. 

    Julie Shimabukuro, Director of undergraduate admissions, Washington University in St. Louis  offers this insighte:

    Many students who submit on the date of the deadline assume that everything transmitted and was received. But sometimes things are lost in cyberspace. By the time we process the thousands of pieces of information that come in on the final day, the actual deadline has come and gone, and it’s possible that something is still missing.

    The best tool to help you? Your calendar. 

    2)  Mistake #2: Not working with your counselor
    Your counselors often know a lot about admissions, specific colleges and universities and you. Your hopes and dreams, interests, quirks and pet peaves. Moreover, in many cases they will be directly advocating for your admissions. So it is encumbent on you to ensure your counselor knows you. To that end, aim to check in every two weeks or so. 
    3)  Mistake #3: Not applying deep
    Personally I love workith with ambitious students. But the goal of college admission is to not just get in, but to thrive when you get there. To first part, getting in, you need some schools on your list at which you will be a star. Malcolm Gladwell has a strong opion about going to the place you can be the star. 

    Work with your counselor to examine the specific selectivity of a college, especially as it relates to your school. Take advantage of visits to your campus. If a college is visiting, they are interested. 

    And every college on your list ought to inspire you. 

    4)  Mistake #4:Scratching the surface

    If a collges has a supplimentary question, it matters. Often they want to know your specific motivation. As Eric J. Furda, admissions dean at the University of Pennsylvania, indicates:
    “We wanted to know, why Penn? Did you submit a generic essay that was part of a school’s supplement—another school’s supplement? You may need to do a little bit more research before you hit the submit button. Take notes during the campus visit, and even if it isn’t your top choice, still understand that you need to speak to that school and show what you are going to contribute to that campus. Articulate why this school is for you. Students who do well will start citing faculty and programs they want to explore.”
    Typically, the application offers specific, limited opportunities to share about you. Amy Jarich
    UC Berkeley, offers this insight: 
    In the application, the real estate is so valuable. Each part of it should be telling us something new … If you’ve told us in one essay how you live with your extended family and how important that is in your life, don’t tell us in the second essay about how the person you most admire is your grandmother … You want us to think: “That brings a new piece to this puzzle. I like that.” 
    5)  Mistake #5: Well begun, half done
    Just write it. Students overthnk the essays, and underwrite. Or more precisely, underedit. I have found using the pomodero method can greatly help in your productivity as an applicant. There are a few stages in the technique:
    1. Decide on the task to be done–write an essay or fill in the application. 
    2. Set the pomodoro timer (traditionally to 25 minutes).
    3. Work on the task until the timer rings. If a distraction pops into your head, write it down, but immediately get back on task.
    4. After the timer rings, put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
    5. If you are in the zone, continue on. If not, take a break (3-5 minutes–leave your desk)
    6. When you return do a different task with the same timer. 
    7. After you have 3 ticks, (ie you spent three pomoderos doing tasks, take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, then go to step 1.
    Learn more from the woman who originated it. Here is a free iphone timer
    Using your calendar to set specific tasks each week is inspired. Keep it simple and you will feel more satisifed. 
    Another part of the story to keep in mind: All admissions are conditional. SO aim to keep a storng year. Here are some tips to avoid senioritous. 

    6)  Mistake #6: Missing the Details, details, details

    Check deadlines directly with all your colleges.
    Check all entry requirements and admission documents specifically with your university. 
    Do both of these now. 
    Proof-read all your applications. 
    Have someone else profreed your applications. 

    7)  Mistake #7: Not owning the process

    Who is going to college? Yes, parents are paying and often know their teen well and thus should be involved, but as sounding board and coach. the student MUST take respoonsibility for all parts of the process from researching to applying. One idea I think works very well is a weekly meeting between student and mom and dad conducted in a business style. o it over lunch. Have to do lists. In between, avoid talking about college. The senior knows what needs to be done and needs space to do it. 
    Here is a handy to avoid role confusion. 
    8)  Mistake #8: Not looking after yourself
    Most teens are going to really blow it with the following:
    • Not eating well
    • Not getting enough sleep
    • Not exercising
    • Not enjoying life
    Technology is part of the issues, but it can also be part of the solution as I portray it in this article here. I am a big fan of also taking time every day to cultivate some stillness through mindfulness. My personal favorite is Smiling Mind, a free web platform and phone app. 

    Colleges for Twins

    Got Twins?

    Sure they are twice as much fun, and often twice the price, but it does not have to be that way when it comes to colleges. Twinversity offers up important considerations in the colleges search. Verywell offers a specific list of colleges offering discounts or scholarships for Twins

     

     

    One For All: Scholarships for Multiples Who Attend the Same College

    Generally, the available scholarship funding is offered when twins attend the same college.

     

    Here are some colleges and universities with specific programs.

    • Randolph College, Lynchburg, Virginia. Offers a 15% discount on tuition when both twins are enrolled; the scholarship is renewable each year of enrollment. There is no application process; contact the financial aid department for further information. In 2008-2009, five sets of twins took advantage of the discount.
    • Sterling College, Sterling Kansas. Sterling College has had a Twin Scholarship program for 20 years or so. Each twin (or multiple births) students receives a 50% tuition scholarship. For 2009, that amount would be $9,000 for each twin. Both twins (or multiple births) must be enrolled full time at Sterling College and must meet admissions requirements of a 2.2 GPA and a score of 18 or above on the ACT.
    • Wilson College, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Wilson College is another all-female school that offers an annual scholarship for twins and triplets. It will pay 45% of each student’s annual tuition. To be eligible, all of the female siblings must enroll full-time each semester. Each recipient must submit her enrollment deposit by May 1 in order to receive this scholarship. Awards are made on a first come, first-served basis.
    • Carl Albert State College, Poteau, Oklahoma. The Paula Nieto Twin Scholarship was established by her twin, Penny Nieto Gooch, and family friends. This cash scholarship is awarded to twins. In 2006, the amount was $200 to each student.
    • Lake Erie College, Painesville, Ohio. This full tuition scholarship (up to 18 credit hours per semester) is awarded 50/50 if both are enrolled full-time at Lake Erie College. In essence, both twins can attend LEC for the tuition cost of only one.

     

     

    • Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College , Miami, Oklahoma. The Twin/Triplet Dorm Waiver covers the amount of semi-private room expenses for each twin or triplet who attend NEO together. It is available for both fall and spring semesters. Anapplication form is available online.
    • Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. The Layton Frazier McKinley Scholarship is given to twins with a preference given to identical twins. Twin students must have a 3.33-grade point average or higher with a first choice of accounting as their major at the school. The amount is unconfirmed.
    • Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan. The Furlotte Twins Endowed Scholarship is for upperclassmen enrolled in the College of Education Elementary Education Program with a minimum 3.0 GPA that exhibits promise, creativity, and academic conscientiousness. Preference is given to twins.

    Multiple Sibling Discounts

    Even if a college or university does not have a specific scholarship fund or award designated for twins, they may have a sibling discount program.

     

     

    These programs offer a discount when siblings from the same family are enrolled simultaneously. Amounts vary and may be a set discount (ex. $500 per semester) or a percentage of tuition (such as 10-50% off the cost of tuition).

     

    • Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Connecticut. Full-time, undergraduate siblings concurrently in attendance at Quinnipiac are eligible to receive an additional $2,000 award, per year, in addition to their regular financial aid award. This award is applicable toward tuition only and is renewable each year in which undergraduate eligible siblings are concurrently in attendance.
    • George Washington University, Washington D.C. Not just for twins, the family program at GWU offers a 50% discount for a second sibling. For more information about the Family Grant at GWU, contact the Office of Financial Assistance at 2121 I St., NW #310, Washington, DC 20052, (202) 994-6620 or (800) 222-6242.
    • California Baptist University, Riverside, California. The Multiple Sibling Discount is designed to assist students from families with two or more members who are simultaneously attending the traditional undergraduate program at the university on a full-time basis. Recipients must be immediate members of the same family (siblings or parents) in which two or more family members are currently enrolled at California Baptist University on a full-time basis. Recipients receive $500 per semester for the Spring and Fall semesters.

    Some others from TwinStuff

    • Morris Brown College (web site) — Atlanta, GA
      • Provide some financial relief for parents with twins who are enrolled full-time at Morris Brown College by waiving full tuition for one of the twins. Each twin must maintain a 2.0 GPA at the end of each academic year. Tuition for 2002-03 was $4184 per semester.
    • Northeastern Oklahoma A & M College (web ?site) — 200 I Street NE, Miami, OK 74354
      Twins/Triplets must attend NEO together. Provides $440 for each twin/triplet each fall and spring for room expenses.

    • West Chester University of Pennsylvania  Bonnie Evans Feinberg Scholarship
      To an incoming first year student from a middle-class, multiple – sibling family who is a solid “b” or better student. Renewable with maintenance of a 3.0 gpa (awarded to one student only per year).