Posts published in April, 2012

Outstanding New Book On Higher Education Finance

In their new book, Financing American Higher Education in the Era of Globalization, from Harvard Education Press William Zumeta, David Breneman, Patrick Callan and Joni Finney address basic issues and trends that cut across higher education, focusing on:

How much higher education the country needs for individual opportunity and for economic viability in the  future

  • How responsibility for paying for  it is currently allocated
  • How financing higher education  should be addressed in the future

Tips For Succeeding In The First Year of College

Now that the admissions cycle is  over , students need to think about what comes next. Guest blogger Mike Lemaire provides useful ideas.

Tips To Making The Best of Your Freshman Year

 For many students, the first year of college can seem like a blur. It can be overwhelming to deal with the sudden independence of college life. A student needs to be able to juggle so many different aspects of college life that it is almost inevitable that some students struggle or fall behind. I said almost inevitable because it doesn’t have to be a foregone conclusion. Students who are smart and organized enough can put in their own safety net, so that when they start to feel themselves slipping, they have something in place to catch them. Here are some of the best ways to put a strong safety net together.

Go to Office Hours

 So many college students have rolled their eyes when their professors mention office hours that I am surprised professors can keep a straight face about it. Having said that, there might not be a better way to ensure a good grade in a class that visits with your professor or even your teacher’s assistant. Jot down notes during lectures and go to your professor’s office hours to discuss topics with him/her. This way you become a face instead of a number in your class. Not many students go to their teacher’s assistant office hours, so when you do go, they are always excited and impressed. They are there specifically to help you out in a class, so use them wisely.

Time Management

 Managing your time is yet another cliché college survival tip that still needs to be repeated over and over. Socializing – whether it’s partying, sports, campus clubs, or just late-night movies – is inevitable and important, so make sure you are striking a balance between your social life and your academics. There are plenty of studies that prove that avoiding stress and getting sleep have a direct correlation on your academic performance – and freshman are especially prone to stressful evenings. And everyone knows that too much partying isn’t conducive to academic success. You know your body better than anyone, so make sure you maintain a healthy balance.

Get involved and stay active

 There is a reason why these universities ask about your extracurriculars on your application and I promise it isn’t because they are interested in your record in the Pinewood Derby. They ask because they don’t just want you to come to their university and become a great student. They want you to become a contributing member of the college community, whether it is through community service, the drama club, or even a sports team. If you can maintain an active social life and get good grades, that’s awesome, but you will need more than that to make sure you are extracting the most out of your freshman year. Getting involved helps you make friends and expand your interests. Staying active helps you remain mentally and physically healthy, while also relieving stress and making sure that you don’t have too many dull days in school.

Embrace your new found independence

 The independence every student becomes privy to when they enter college can be a double-edged sword. It can be liberating to make your own decisions about academics and socializing without the involvement of your parents. But at the same time, if you abuse that independence, you will quickly find yourself in a hole that will be difficult to climb out of. Academically, this independence is a chance for you to experiment. Take a biology class, or a calculus class, or a film class, or even take all three. There is no better way to find out what you want to study down the road. As for the rest of the college experience, as a freshman, the entirety of what the university has to offer lies at your feet. No one is going to tell you how you should spend your time, so make friends, attend lectures by famous guest speakers, go see a student theater performance. This is not only an excellent way to find out what you are passionate about, but it is an excellent way to have a more well-rounded college experience, which will ultimately make you happier and more successful.

Mike Lemaire is an education content writer with wide-ranging interests that include everything from eLearning, to education reform, to even design training from computer schools. He is always looking for newtopics to research, so drop him a line at”.


Hilary Pennington, director of education, postsecondary success, and special initiatives at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation writes in The Chronicle of Higher Education , and she includes a good list of reforms that have some empirical support. Pennington headed Gates higher education grant , and this is a useful summary of her conclusions after spending a lot of money.

Recommendations For New College Majors

A blog that has interesting content, created some college majors that do not exist now. These are worth considering, but I am not sure what type of general education would  precede these suggestions.   (

Education Departments New Plan To Measure Student Success

   To provide more complete information on student persistence and completion, the Education Department released an action plan today that takes steps to augment its current measures of student success in postsecondary education.  Graduation rate reporting required for institutions of higher education will be broadened to include part-time and other students who have previously attended postsecondary education.

Current law excludes a substantial portion of the student population by only requiring that schools track graduation rates for full-time, first-time students. The additional reporting would supplement this existing requirement.

“Not all students take a linear path in their pursuit of higher education,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “Many students work full-time and are balancing family obligations while also attending school. These new outcome measures will accurately demonstrate how postsecondary schools are preparing students for success in different ways.”

Entitled “Action Plan for Improving Measures of Postsecondary Success,” the plan responds to the final report of the Committee on Measures of Student Success (CMSS).  The committee was created under the Higher Education Opportunity Act  to help two-year degree granting institutions comply with the law’s disclosure requirements, and to develop alternate measures of student success that are comparable to completion and graduation rates.   The 15-member committee, appointed by Secretary Duncan in June of 2010, held five public meetings in 13 months and made several recommendations that are incorporated in the action plan. One key recommendation adopted by the Department is that broader measures of student success be implemented for four-year as well as two-year institutions.


College Choice For Students With Moderate Achievement

Postsecondary Access
This policy brief from MDRC describes an intervention program called the College Match Program, which targets a population that has been overlooked by many other college success initiatives: moderately to high-achieving students who are prepared for college but need advice and support to choose college wisely.

Lack Of Job Growth For Graduate Degree Holders

Guest Blogger: Rhonda Campbell

Even in an improving economy college graduate degree holders may face job growth challenges. Reasons for the job shortages facing some graduate students are as varied as the types of advanced degrees students earn.

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) reports that nearly 86 percent of the Master of Business Management (MBA) graduates from the Class of 2011 responding to a recent survey said they were employed. This represents a two percent drop from the 88 percent employment rate experienced by MBA graduates from the Class of 2010. Furthermore, of the 86 percent of employed 2011 graduates, about 12 percent returned to work for previous employers after they earned advanced business degrees.Two industries that didn’t experience decline in job growth were science and engineering. In fact, the National Science Foundation states in Science and Engineering Indicators 2012 report that, “While both the total and S&E employment experienced smaller growth rates in the 2000s compared to the 1990s, the trend of higher growth rates in S&E occupations relative to other jobs continues, even through the recent economic downturn.” The report continued, “S&E occupational employment has grown from 2.6% of the workforce in 1983 to 4.8% of all employment in 2010.”

College Majors Impact Job Growth for Graduate Students

Additionally, Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) job outlook handbooks show that subjects graduate students major in play a role in the amount of job opportunities students receive after they leave college. By researching job outlook handbooks and career fields, students can discover which industries, markets and jobs are expected to experience growth over the next several years.

Another factor creating a lack of job growth for 2012 graduate degree holders involves the large numbers of previous graduate students who continue to search for employment as the economy slowly recovers. As Carl Van Horn, a public policy professor at Rutgers University is reported in the September 7, 2011 Huffington Post “Jobless College Graduates Struggle Under Ongoing Recession” article as saying, “You have another class of graduates that are facing not only a difficult labor market but competition from the previous three, four and five years of young graduates also clamoring to find their way into the labor market.”

Other factors that can cause lack of job opportunities for graduate degree holders include poorly written job resumes and cover letters, ineffective job interviewing skills, lack of professional networking and/or poor networking skills. Graduate students who do not work with their college career counselors to get hired into internships or work study programs before they earn advanced degrees may also experience a lack of job opportunities.

Fortunately, the Council of Graduate Schools reported in its March 16, 2012 “Data Sources: Strong Employment Growth Expected for Graduate Degree Recipients” article that the job outlook for students holding advanced degrees is looking up. The report states, that according to BLS’ projections, “the number of jobs typically requiring a doctorate or a professional degree for entry is projected to increase by 20 percent between 2010 and 2020, and the number typically requiring a master’s degree for entry is expected to grow by 22 percent.” Of course, if previous graduates do not find jobs soon, projected available jobs may fill up quickly, competition for top paying jobs being intense.

About the Author: Rhonda Campbell is a content writer for  Rhonda enjoys writing about education topics for both accredited online colleges and campus based universities.Sources:

Huffington Post: Jobless College Graduates Struggle Under Ongoing Recession, September 7, 2011 Jobs: 10 Reasons College Graduates Can’t Find a Job

National Science Foundation: Science and Engineering Indicators 2012

Council of Graduate Schools: Data Sources, Strong Employment Growth Expected for Graduate Degree Recipients

US News and World Report: Job Outlook Improving for Class of 2012

Bloomberg Businessweek: The MBAs Value? Debatable

What to Do If Accepted, Rejected Or Waitlisted At Colleges, 212.453.7538

Just When You Didn’t Think It Could Get Any Lower…Another Year of Record Low College Acceptance Rates: What’s An Applicant to Do? 

Available for Interview: A Kaplan Test Prep College Admissions Expert to Explain the State of College Admissions and What Accepted, Rejected and Waitlisted Students Can Do Next

New York, NY (April 5, 2012) – “Thank you for applying, but unfortunately…”  While many of the millions of high school seniors who applied to college succeeded in getting into their top picks in a year when the nation’s top colleges accepted record low percentages of applicants (Harvard at 5.9%, Yale at 6.8%, Princeton at 7.9%, Dartmouth at 9.4%, Duke at 11.9%), those who were outright rejected or waitlisted into admissions limbo are wondering what to do next.  And what of those who were accepted to their top choices, but can’t decide where to enroll?  Here are some pieces of advice for each scenario that a student may find themselves in:

  • My top choice school rejected me!  Where do I go now?  Yes, it’s a major disappointment, but with many of the nation’s most competitive schools announcing record high rejection rates this cycle, you are in good company.  A college rejection is not a stigma.  Life’s fate will not be determined by having earned more “yes’s” than “no’s.”  Now you must seriously consider one of your “ safety schools,” which may be more appealing than you originally thought.  Focus on the options that are available, citing the positive aspects of the colleges that said “We want you.”
  •  I’ve been waitlisted.  Do I wait?  The last thing you should do if you are put on a wait list is wait. Take action!  Submit new relevant information to the college admissions office: midterm grades, awards, new leadership roles, etc.  Show them why you are a “must-have student.”  Chances aren’t great getting off the wait list, but taking some concrete steps may increase the odds.
  • I got in to several of my top schools, but how do I decide which one to attend?  This is not exactly a bad situation to be in, but that doesn’t mean the decision will be easy. Refer to the list of factors you considered when you first applied.  See how well the colleges that have offered you admission meet those requirements.  If how to pay for college is also an important factor, evaluate their financial aid packages.  The best way to make the final decision is to visit (or revisit) the campuses that are still in the running.  Then discuss it with those who know you best and make an informed decision on a school that you are excited about.

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Community College Students Can Take New Statistics Courses Rather Than Algebra

by Sue Frey/EdSource Extra
Some California colleges are helping struggling math students complete all the math they need in a single yearlong course, instead of requiring them to take the usual sequence of courses that can take years to complete and that many never finish.

First offered during the current academic year, the course is called Statway — short for Statistics Pathway — and is aimed at students who are not ready for college-level math. So far, five community colleges and three CSU campuses are participating in this national initiative, which is being developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, located in the foothills above Stanford University. Statway wraps the usual two-course sequence of elementary and intermediate algebra into a year-long statistics course. The Statway project is part of a $13 million initiative that has attracted support from a number of foundations including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Community college students majoring in the humanities or social sciences must pass intermediate algebra to earn an associate degree and a college-level math course — typically statistics — for transfer credit to California State University. The Statway course satisfies both those requirements and, for many CSU students, will also be the only course they will need to meet the math requirement for a B.A. degree. The course is tackling what has become a major obstacle for many students: getting stuck in the standard course progression from elementary algebra to intermediate algebra to a college-level course, such as statistics. An EdSource analysis of data from the state’s 112 community colleges found that only 55 percent of students who enrolled in a math course that they could apply toward an associate degree or use to transfer passed it during the fall 2010 term. (more)

When $63,000 per College Student Is Not Enough

By Watson
Scott Swail
, President & CEO, Educational Policy
Institute/EPI International

An article in today’s The
Chronicle of Higher Education
, “Hey, Students, Your Education Costs More Than You Might Think,”
discusses how Hamilton College’s cost per student is over $63,000.

Hamilton College is a private liberal arts college based in
Clinton, New York that serves 1,812 students with a cost of attendance of about
$54,000. Hamilton has an endowment of exceeding $600 million, with a 27 percent
acceptance rate and average SAT scores in the lower 700s. They have a four-year
graduation rate of 84 percent and placed 17th on the US News and World Report
top liberal arts schools, number 24 on the high school counselor rankings, and,
get this, number 20 on the “best value schools.” Really.

In addition, 70 percent of the students are White, with only 5
percent Black and 5 percent Hispanic. Take away the 7 percent Asians and the 5
percent “international” students, and realistically you have a university with
1:10 diversity ratio (I don’t count Asians in this demographic). One Hamilton
student wrote on the website: “We’re pretty white.” As well,
only 12 percent of Hamilton students receive a Pell grant, meaning “poor,” in
the federal sense.