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Coalition app essays are here and the world rejoices

The Coalition quietly released essay topics this week. So, unless you were a student who checked on the student page every day, you would not know it. So much for signing up for notices…They want students to get a head start on it and helpful suggest they can even save it to the locker…only that does not yet exist. Without further adieu, here is what the Coalition wants to know about you:


The prompts for the 2016-17 application year are:

  • Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.
  • Describe a time when you made a meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was your focus. Discuss the challenges and rewards of making your contribution.
  • Has there been a time when you’ve had a long-cherished or accepted belief challenged? How did you respond? How did the challenge affect your beliefs?
  • What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What’s the best part? What advice would you give a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?
  • Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.

Good topics?

  • Well, number 5 is a return to what the common app had for years. 
  • Number 4 makes me wonder how a teen will answer it. It is not like they have been teenagers in another time. 
  • Number 3 seems a flip on the common app prompt number 3.
  • Number 1 and especially 2 seem to tip the hat to the Turning the Tide Report  

The language of the Coalition is a lot more direct than the Common app. Each essay topic average 19 words each whereas The Common app prompts clock an average 33 words each. While the common app clearly states a maximum of 650 words, the coalition has not defined how long the ssays should be and which of their 93 members will require it…



Advice on UCAS Personal statement

One group is finishing their process, a new group is beginning. And hopefully they will not begin the same way as so many others:

Of over 700,000 candidates who applied to university last year 1,779 began their personal statement: “From a young age I have (always) been..” and most of these continued “interested in” or “fascinated by”.

“For as long as I can remember I have…” was used by 1,451 applicants

“I am applying for this course because…” by 1,370 applicants

“I have always been interested in…” (927)

“Throughout my life I have always enjoyed…” (310)

“Reflecting on my educational experiences…” (257)

“Nursing is a very challenging and demanding (career/ profession/ course)… (211)

“Academically, I have always been…” (168)

“I have always wanted to pursue a career in…” (160)

“I have always been passionate about…” (160).

UCAS released these top 10 lines in hopes the list “would encourage students to use language that makes them stand out in their personal statements.”

CB: Higher Education: Overview and Up-Close Look

Download presentations. 

13 College Majors That Actually Exist–An improved take on the buzz feed list

Buzzfeed is a fun site to visit from time to time. They often have really fun or interesting lists like 13 College Majors That Actually Exist
Except, they were kinda lazy. While they identified majors, they failed to provide one specific example of where they actually exist.
1. Surf Science
Cornwall College in England has a Surf Science and Technology Degree
2. Comedy
Emerson made news early this year when they launched a full BFA in Comedy. 
3. Therapeutic Use of Adventure
49 colleges offer some sort of degree according to the collegeboard including: University of Utah, Prescott College, Unity College, and Ithica. Many are members of the AMERICAN THERAPEUTIC RECREATION ASSOCIATION which lists 80 such programs (but at all levels). There’s even a national honorary society for therapeutic recreation majors, Rho Phi Lambda, 
4. Comic Book Art
Actually, lots of pathways exist from Illustration (74 colleges) to Sequential Art to MCAD’s Comic Book art degree to Joe Kubert School in New Jersey, the nation’s first accredited comic art school, or The Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont
5. Bowling Management
6. Logic
I did not think it was actually that unusual, but only 5 colleges offer it as a major:

7. Puppetry
Puppetry is a real thing and the fine folks at Pupeteers.Org provide this annotated list. 

Contact: Janie Geiser
The Cotsen Center for Puppetry and the Arts was established in 1998 to allow CalArts students to explore contemporary puppetry and performing objects. This one-of-a-kind laboratory offers a framework for practical training, artistic innovation, aesthetic inquiry and interdisciplinary investigation. The center strives to combine puppet theater with the use of new technologies and emerging forms and practices that cut across traditional boundaries.

California State University, Sacramento
Contact:  Art Gruenberger
Puppetry has been found to be an excellent tool for the teaching of multiculturalism to children. Students will learn basic techniques used in creating live puppet theatre so they can use puppetry to incorporate multiculturalism into the classroom. Students will learn how to construct and  manipulate several styles of puppets and then use their puppet creations to perform multicultural/multilingual stories.

Sarah Lawrence University
Contact: Dan Hurlin
Sarah Lawrence University offers several puppetry courses through both it’s Dance and Theater programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. Classes include Puppet Theatre-Bunraku Style, and Toy Theatre and Shadow Puppetry, and Marionette Puppetry.

UC Santa Cruz
Contact: Kathy Foley
The UC Santa Cruz Theater Arts program emcompasses Drama, Dance, and Design. Both undergraduate and graduate level classes are available and include course titles such as Muppet Magic and Monsters.

University of Connecticut
Contact: Bart P. Roccoberton, Jr.
Started in 1964 by Professor Frank W. Ballard, the University of Connecticut has presented more than 500 puppet programs since its creation. The program offers a BFA degree in puppet arts and is the only institution in the country offering masters degrees (both MA and MFA) in the puppetry.

University of Hawaii
The University of Hawaii offers a Theater for Young Audiences (TYA) degree. Included in the course load are several puppet classes including Puppetry for Young Children – Methods of constructing puppets and stages with and for children 3 to 8 years of age. As well as Puppetry – History and scope of puppetry. Construction and presentation of puppets for adult and child audiences.

University of Quebec at Montreal (Canada)
DESS en théâtre de marionnettes contemporains
Contact: Marthe Adam
UQAM is proud to be the only Canadian university to offer creators of puppet theater a program specifically designed to enable them to deepen languages essential to the practice of contemporary puppet theater, and develop critical thinking skills in relation to this booming art.  The program is a 2 year certificate, and requires French language skills.

University of West Virginia
Contact: Joann Spencer Siegrist
The BFA course work includes intensive study in children’s theatre; the practice of puppetry as a theatrical art form; and educational and creative dramatic activity as methods of learning and self-development for children. In addition to a broad-based curriculum in theatre studies, students work under the direction of a faculty member to operate a complete puppetry theatre with comprehensive study in a variety of construction, manipulation, historical study, and performance techniques.

8. Decision-Making
There is a PhD over at Indiana
9. Poultry Science
20 colleges offer this degree…most near farms like that is a surprise. 
10. Auctioneering
Harrisburg Area Community College offers a two year degree, so technically not a major. So Does Warren County Career Center

11. Basic Horse Training
12. The Beatles
Sure, lots of colleges have a course or two on the Fab four, but their home town Uni, Liverpool Hope University, offers a master’s degree. 
13. Bagpipe
At Carnagie Mellon–but only 3 students in 20 years have complete the major. So you might be better off going to the college of piping. Yes, it is a real place but it operates it classes more like a business popup. 

Early numbers update

Over the next few days we will hear more:

Brown University admitted 22% early. AThis is roughly 1/3 of their incoming class. pplicants were down slightly (1.8%). 

Columbia is up 4.4% over last year

Dartmouth College saw an increase of 2%.

Davidson, up 7%, admitted 45.2%–roughly 40% of their class

Duke is up 11% admitting 22.5%. 

Georgetown admitted about 13%, aiming to keep early  and regular numbers about the same.

Harvard is up 4.4% from last year and admitted 14.8% early action. 

John’s Hopkins increased 3% this year, admitting 30.27% early decision

Northwestern admitted about 31%, filling half their class

Princeton, with a 9.8% increase over last year, admitted 18.6%. 

Stanford admitted 9.5% of their early pool–up 7.9% on last year. 

Yale is slightly down .6%. They admitted 17%.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Universities Notable facts:

  • 8 public and 8 private higher education institutions
  • Plus one American art college (SCAD)
  • Follow a UK style to learning and instruction but education was revised so university degress now are 4 years
  • Direct entry to Law and Medicine
  • Virtually all courses are taught in English
  • Chinese students are capped at 20%–9000 Chinese students with about 5000 other international students
  • Very familiar with IB and A-Levels; becoming more familiar with US education. Admission often based upon predicted results of external exams. 

Usefeul websites

Some Unique Opportunities

  • Savanagh College of Art and Design
  • Global Bachelor Business Degree (HKUST with University of Southern California, Boccini University)

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Universities Notable facts:

  • 9 public and 10 private higher education institutions–Complete list with links here
  • Plus one American art college (SCAD)
  • Follow a UK style to learning and instruction but education was revised so university degress now are 4 years
  • Direct entry to Law and Medicine
  • Virtually all courses are taught in English
  • School year similiar to US and UK
  • Chinese students are capped at 20%–9000 Chinese students with about 5000 other international students
  • Very familiar with IB and A-Levels; becoming more familiar with US education. Admission often based upon predicted results of external exams. 

Usefeul websites

Some Unique Opportunities

  • Savanagh College of Art and Design
  • Global Bachelor Business Degree (HKUST with University of Southern California, Boccini University)



Publicly-funded Local Degree-awarding Institutions :

Hong Kong Baptist University
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts
The Hong Kong Institute of Education
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
The University of Hong Kong

Self-financing Local Degree-awarding Institutions :

Caritas Institute of Higher Education
Centennial College
Chu Hai College of Higher Education
Hang Seng Management College
Hong Kong Shue Yan University
Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong, Vocational Training Council
The Open University of Hong Kong
Tung Wah College
Hong Kong Nang Yan College of Higher Education
HKCT Institute of Higher Education

Institution Providing Locally-accredited Non-local Degree Programmes :

Savannah College of Art and Design

Self-financing Institutions Providing Locally-accredited Sub-degree Programmes :

Caritas Bianchi College of Careers
City University of Hong Kong – Community College of City University
HKU SPACE Po Leung Kuk Stanley Ho Community College (HPSHCC)
Hong Kong Baptist University – College of International Education
Hong Kong Baptist University – School of Continuing Education
Hong Kong College of Technology
Hong Kong Institute of Technology *
Lingnan University – Lingnan Institute of Further Education
The Chinese University of Hong Kong – School of Continuing and Professional Studies *
The Community College at Lingnan University
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University – Hong Kong Community College
The Open University of Hong Kong – Li Ka Shing Institute of Professional and Continuing Education *
The University of Hong Kong – HKU SPACE Community College
City University of Hong Kong – The School of Continuing and Professional Education *
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University – The School of Professional Education and Executive Development
Vocational Training Council *
Yew Chung Community College
YMCA College of Careers *


Korean University points:

  • There are 43 national and almost 180 private universities and universities.
  • 376 official HE institutions that support 3.7m students and 60,000+ academic staff. This includes 179 private four-year universities, 43 national universities, polytechnics, cyber-universities and other types. Two-year and three-year Junior colleges number 149, with a student population of 770,000 and 12,500 faculty. In 1970 there were 160 HE institutions serving about 200,000 students.
  • SKY Univerities are the most presitigous (Souel National, Korea U, Yonsei). In 2010, it was reported that 46.3% of high government officials and 50% of CEOs of major financial industries were graduates of SKY universities. Also, over 60% of the students who passed the 2010 Korean Bar examination were graduates of SKY universities.




Unique aspects

Songdo International Development area: State University of New York (SUNY) will open in March 2012 and George Mason University in September 2012. Ghent University 

Bollocks! On worthless careers instead of idealist ones.

“I think it’s a very blunt and inappropriate means [of comparison], that rings alarm bells in my mind.” So laments the head of Career services at Cambridge on the fact that the UK government requires all Universites to provide data on salaries of graduates, a task the US government is moving to require. Forget that PAYSCALE already ranks colleges based on self reported salaries. Guess what? Engineers earn a lot more money than most other majors. 
The piece is well worht the read even with its full on asault of judgements about people who choose high paying careers. 

Financial aid for international students

Cost of attending college in America keeps getting higher. For many international students the dream can only happen if they can get some support from the institution itself. For years, OACAC would put out a spreadsheet detailing financial aid available for international students. Unfrtunately the last one came out in 2013. Fortunately, Jennie Kent and Jeff Levy have provided an updated list. Actually, the list offers more insight by detailing who offers need and merrit aid. As you can see, many public universities offer none. Some like Washington State, offer modest amounts. Other like Stanford and Yale appear to go to full ride. 

Currently, only six us colleges identify themselves as Need blind, meaning they evaulate yoru application without regard to your ability to pay:

  • Amherst College
  • Dartmouth College
  • Harvard University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Princeton University
  • Yale University

Keep in mind that some people see any claim of need blind as dubious.  Jon Boeckenstedt, an associate vice president for enrollment management and marketing at DePaul University in Chicago, asserts that There is no such thing as need blind admissions.