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‘A National Admissions Office’ for Low-Income Strivers

College admissions officers attribute the organization’s success to the simplicity of its approach to students. It avoids mind-numbingly complex talk of financial-aid forms and formulas that scare away so many low-income families (and frustrate so many middle-income families, like my own when I was applying to college). QuestBridge instead gives students a simple message: If you get in, you can go. Yet the broader lessons of QuestBridge aren’t only about how to communicate with students. They’re also how our society spends the limited resource that is financial aid. The group’s founders, Michael and Ana Rowena McCullough, are now turning their attention to the estimated $3 billion in outside scholarships, from local Rotary Clubs, corporations and other groups, that are awarded every year to high school seniors. The McCulloughs see this money as a wasted opportunity, saying it comes too late to affect whether and where students go to college. It doesn’t help the many high-achieving, low-income strivers who don’t apply to top colleges — and often don’t graduate from any college. Continue reading the main story “Any private scholarship given at the end of senior year is intrinsically disconnected from the college application process,” Dr. McCullough said, “and it doesn’t have to be.” - The New York Times takes a look at Questbridge, "which has quietly become one of the biggest players in elite-college admissions." (SL NYTIMES)
posted by beisny on Sep 16, 2014 - 27 comments

Why can't our education system be more like theirs?

In China, there are now more than 200 Waldorf elementary schools, filled with the children whose parents are looking for a more child-centered alternative to the test-driven state education system. Why can't Chinese schools be more like American schools? Meanwhile, in America, Stephen Pinker argues that Harvard and other elite universities are wasting their resources on athletes and musicians, and should select students by standardized test scores, the way Chinese colleges do. Why can't American schools be more like Chinese schools?
posted by escabeche on Sep 7, 2014 - 56 comments

Three Pie Charts That Prove You Shouldn't Slack Off in College

Students who did as little as possible during college continued to drift after graduation [more inside]
posted by Nevin on Sep 3, 2014 - 60 comments

No emails -- unless you’re scheduling an in-person meeting.

I don't always ignore your emails, but when I do, it's because the answer is on your syllabus. "In my effort to teach students appropriate use of emails, my syllabus policies [had] ballooned to cover every conceivable scenario -- when to email, when not to, how to write the subject line -- and still I spent class time discussing the email policies and logged hours upon hours answering emails that defied the policies. In a fit of self-preservation, I decided: no more." [more inside]
posted by scody on Aug 28, 2014 - 71 comments

A tale of easy student Loans, for-profit schools & private equity

The most striking feature of the Direct PLUS Loan program is that it limits neither the amount that a school can charge for attendance nor the amount that can be borrowed in federal loans. "This is, for a private-equity firm, a remarkably attractive arrangement: the investors get their money up front, in the form of the tuition paid for by student loans. Meanwhile, any subsequent default on those loans is somebody else’s problem—in this case, the federal government’s." [more inside]
posted by TheLittlePrince on Aug 15, 2014 - 66 comments

The Last Summer

Hanging on to every smell, smoke, and sound before my son heads off to college and everything changes.
posted by beisny on Aug 8, 2014 - 20 comments

The Not So United States of Infographics

One of the more ubiquitous formats for "infographics" these days is the U.S.A. Map Comparing Individual States and promoting interstate rivalries. After all, wherever you live in the U.S. of A., you need bragging rights for something, right?

Recently, Business Insider featured "27 Maps That Explain America" including ones that compared each state's percentage of residents with passports, most overrepresented job in every state, percentage of each state's population with a 4-year degree, number of billionaires in each state, number of Starbucks locations in each state, states' stances on climate change (judged by Think Progress), fast food consumption and exercise frequency (detail in a weird format here and here), and cavities per capita.

But Business Insider is certainly not the only site 'mapping the states'... [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop on Aug 1, 2014 - 29 comments

"Life is breaking up the team"

Brat packer sends brat packing... [more inside]
posted by drlith on Jul 27, 2014 - 30 comments

The nation's top colleges are turning our kids into zombies.

It's hardly breaking news, but more and more people are questioning the race to the Ivy League that in some cases begins as early as preschool. And in addition to perpetuating the increasingly-rigid class structure in the US, the Ivy League colleges are inadvertently creating and admitting students who have no idea how to really take advantage of the resources available to them. So writes William Deresiewicz in his article, "Don't Send Your Kid to the Ivy League" from the New Republic:
So extreme are the admission standards now that kids who manage to get into elite colleges have, by definition, never experienced anything but success. The prospect of not being successful terrifies them, disorients them. The cost of falling short, even temporarily, becomes not merely practical, but existential. The result is a violent aversion to risk. You have no margin for error, so you avoid the possibility that you will ever make an error. Once, a student at Pomona told me that she’d love to have a chance to think about the things she’s studying, only she doesn’t have the time. I asked her if she had ever considered not trying to get an A in every class. She looked at me as if I had made an indecent suggestion.
See also Deresiewicz's earlier article, "The Disadvantages of an Elite Education" from American Scholar, previously discussed on the blue.
posted by math on Jul 23, 2014 - 138 comments

“The instructor is just there to deliver the content”

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), a small non-profit school, has gained a reputation for its adoption of for-profit marketing and operating techniques, relying on prolific advertising and a faculty of low-paid adjuncts to teach its online courses. More recently the school earned the unenviable title of "The Amazon of Higher Education". [more inside]
posted by Librarypt on Jul 7, 2014 - 25 comments

There are two Baltimores

My black friends call it Murderland. My white friends call it Charm City, a town of trendy cafés. I just call it home.
posted by josher71 on Jun 27, 2014 - 20 comments

Love and Death In the House of Prayer

A former member of a tight-knit college prayer group describes his community's disintegration — and how one of its members ended up dead.
posted by SkylitDrawl on Jun 19, 2014 - 68 comments

About That Hate Crime I Committed at University of Chicago

Dan Savage, the University of Chicago, free speech, and LGBT slurs.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jun 12, 2014 - 354 comments

"Within the university system today, adjunct faculty are made invisible"

”Practicing openness and making oneself radically vulnerable is not only scary, it is the opposite of what we are taught to do within the logic of the contemporary university (and society more generally). Our marginalization, meager pay and lack of job security, along with the attacks on professors by students and the administration’s refusal to back up even tenured professors, all contribute to a culture of paranoia and enmity (among administration and faculty, among tenure-track faculty and adjuncts, among professors and students). Even when we manage to maintain our commitment to our students (and we do), the university seeks to capture this affective relationship and use it to further exploit us when we ask for fair wages or better conditions with the reprimand that ‘we are doing this for the students and not the money.’ Just as the practitioners of modernity gutted the erotic and sold us the pornographic, administrators attempt to gut the material and affective conditions of teaching and sell us ‘passion.’” Dr Priya J. Shah: "My Last Day as a Professor."
posted by koeselitz on Jun 6, 2014 - 40 comments

Your life, in weeks

Sometimes life seems really short, and other times it seems impossibly long. But this chart helps to emphasize that it’s most certainly finite. Those are your weeks and they’re all you’ve got.
posted by gemutlichkeit on Jun 6, 2014 - 57 comments

The Courting of Marvin Clark

The Courting of Marvin Clark: Inside Colleges's Pursuit of a Future Star
posted by SkylitDrawl on Jun 1, 2014 - 3 comments

Out to Pasture: Herding Education to Slaughter

Friedrich Nietzsche, famously a full professor at the tender age of 24, was in a good position to develop an acute sensitivity to the university as machine: "The student listens to lectures . . . Very often the student writes at the same time he listens to lectures. These are the moments when he dangles from the umbilical cord of the university. The teacher . . . is cut off by a monumental divide from the consciousness of his students . . . A speaking mouth and many, many ears, with half as many writing hands: that is the external apparatus of the academy; set in motion, that is the educational machinery of the university." [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on May 29, 2014 - 13 comments

Who Gets to Graduate?

Who Gets to Graduate? "If you compare college students with the same standardized-test scores who come from different family backgrounds, you find that their educational outcomes reflect their parents’ income, not their test scores."
posted by epimorph on May 15, 2014 - 48 comments

Critical de(con)struction

"Young Minds in Critical Condition" (SLNYT) "Having strong critical skills shows that you will not be easily fooled. It is a sign of sophistication, especially when coupled with an acknowledgment of one’s own “privilege” … We should be wary of creating a class of self-satisfied debunkers—or, to use a currently fashionable word on campus, people who like to “trouble” ideas," opines Michael Roth, on the status quo of liberal education. Also "The case for a liberal education", 2014/05/09, The Boston Globe; and, "There's Nothing Liberal About Specializing in Philosophy" The Atlantic, 2014/05/09. Roth, the president of Wesleyan University, recently authored “Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters”, and teaches "The Modern and The Postmodern", offered on Coursera.
posted by polymodus on May 12, 2014 - 22 comments

On Being One's Own Fairy Godmother

Amy Schumer's tale of courage, sex and self-worth as told at the Ms. Foundation Gala. "I am a woman with thoughts and questions and shit to say. I say if I'm beautiful. I say if I'm strong. You will not determine my story — I will. I will speak and share and fuck and love and I will never apologize to the frightened millions who resent that they never had it in them to do it."
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto on May 3, 2014 - 60 comments

"descends recklessly, like an Obama-sanctioned drone"

In the past month since publishing his essay, "Checking My Privilege: Character as the Basis of Privilege," Princeton freshman Tal Fortgang has become a hero of many in right-wing politics for his refusal to believe that he enjoys privilege. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on May 3, 2014 - 283 comments

It is the first self-taught and the longest-course I have ever taken

Long Island teenager Kwasi Enin made headlines this week for having the honor of being accepted at all eight Ivy League colleges, as well as Duke, Stony Brook University, SUNY Geneseo and Binghamton University. This is the essay he credits with a big part of his success.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Apr 2, 2014 - 149 comments

NLRB Says College Football Players Can Unionize

The NLRB has ruled that football players at Northwestern University are college employees and can form a union. [more inside]
posted by Aizkolari on Mar 27, 2014 - 60 comments

The California Aggie would have been 100 next year.

Today, the UC Davis student newspaper, The California Aggie, put out its last print edition. The Aggie has been in dire straits for some time. Ad revenue started to plummet in 2009 and the paper has been working off of its reserve funds. Publication was cut from five days a week, to four days a week, to one day a week. Very few of the staff have been paid at all and those who were earned around $2 an hour. Despite the print change, the paper was due to run out of money by June 2014. Then came a last gasp, paper-saving measure: Measure 1, proposed for the winter 2014 ASUCD ballot, would add a $9.30 increase to student fees in order to subsidize the formerly independently run paper. But.... [more inside]
posted by jenfullmoon on Mar 13, 2014 - 36 comments

Administrative, not faculty, salaries are driving rising tuition

Administrator Hiring Drove 28% Boom in Higher-Ed Work Force, Report Says The report, "Labor Intensive or Labor Expensive: Changing Staffing and Compensation Patterns in Higher Education," says that new administrative positions—particularly in student services—drove a 28-percent expansion of the higher-ed work force from 2000 to 2012...What’s more, the report says, the number of full-time faculty and staff members per professional or managerial administrator has declined 40 percent, to around 2.5 to 1. Full-time faculty members also lost ground to part-time instructors (who now compose half of the instructional staff at most types of colleges)...And the kicker: You can’t blame faculty salaries for the rise in tuition. Faculty salaries were "essentially flat" from 2000 to 2012, the report says. And "we didn't see the savings that we would have expected from the shift to part-time faculty," said Donna M. Desrochers, an author of the report.
posted by mediareport on Mar 6, 2014 - 88 comments

"'You aren't black on the inside' - childhood friends"

I, Too, Am Harvard. A photo campaign highlighting the faces and voices of black students at Harvard College. 63 students participated, sharing their experiences with ignorance and racism. "Our voices often go unheard on this campus, our experiences are devalued, our presence is questioned-- this project is our way of speaking back, of claiming this campus, of standing up to say: We are here. This place is ours. We, TOO, are Harvard." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 5, 2014 - 38 comments

One look at the Fiji house and he gets the message

The Atlantic's yearlong investigation on the current state of fraternities in America, and the lawsuit industry that rides alongside.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Feb 20, 2014 - 119 comments

Trusting God

Patrick Henry College has been called "God's Harvard." The tiny, elite school is considered a safe haven for fundamentalist evangelical Christians. It teaches a dominionist "Biblical Worldview" and has a uniquely religious campus culture (pdf) that emphasizes evangelical moral values. Which leaves female students in a particular bind: How do you report sexual assault at a place where authorities seem skeptical that such a thing even exists?
posted by zarq on Feb 18, 2014 - 154 comments

Helping you beat Turnitin.com Since 2012

With recognition software making the use of recycled term papers impractical, a new service is now allowing students to hire unemployed professors to write term papers from scratch.
posted by reenum on Feb 10, 2014 - 139 comments

"I Felt Like I Was Set Up to Fail"

Inside a For-Profit College Nightmare (SLSalon)
posted by box on Jan 26, 2014 - 71 comments

"We Just Can't Have You Here"

“What makes you think I will be safer away from school, away from my support system?” School was my stimulation, my passion and my reason for getting up in the morning. “Well the truth is,” he says, “we don’t necessarily think you’ll be safer at home. But we just can’t have you here.” (article contains description of cutting behavior)
posted by dsfan on Jan 24, 2014 - 54 comments

Broken Pledges

Bloomberg has been publishing a series of articles on the misdeeds of the fraternity system in the U.S., particularly how Greek organizations "dodge liability for mayhem at their local chapters, oppose anti-hazing bills in Congress and pressure colleges to drop restrictions on recruiting freshmen as pledges. Colleges face litigation from fraternities and the withholding of donations by wealthy alumni." [more inside]
posted by Cash4Lead on Dec 30, 2013 - 127 comments

The Pareto of our Discontent

College football attracts a lot of rabid fans. Of late, college football (and football in general) has also attracted an increasing number of stats enthusiasts peddling increasingly obscure metrics to quantify success and failure. At MGoBlog, a popular Michigan fan blog, one intrepid poster has turned the statistics tools on the fanbase itself. A Season in Profanity details the usage of various swear words in open game threads. Among the relationships detailed are the usage of various colorful expressions by game, mood of the fan base by opponent, swearing efficiency, which coach(es) should be fired, and even the individual play outcomes that inspired the greatest amount of swearing. As it was kind of a rough season for the team, there was a substantial amount of data to comb through. [more inside]
posted by Existential Dread on Dec 17, 2013 - 13 comments

Confession of an Ivy League teaching assistant

The revelation that the median grade at Harvard is an A- prompted lots of discussion, especially among Ivy-league educated journalists. Some speculated high grades reflect intelligence. Others say professors just want their students to get jobs, or, selfishly, they want favorable teaching evaluations. As a teaching assistant in the economics department at Columbia, I too inflated student grades, but for none of those reasons. I just didn’t want to deal with all the complaining.
posted by latkes on Dec 13, 2013 - 164 comments

Chinese students at UW-Madison speak out

Channel C WISC is a YouTube channel where UW-Madison undergrads from China talk about the experience of being Chinese at a big public American university, with the aim of both helping newly arrived international students understand what's going on around them, and helping American students have some sense of what's going on with their Chinese classmates. Videos include "Why Chinese Students Don't Party,", "Chinese Names,", "Pretty Chinese Women", "Who are the Chinese Second Generation Rich?", "Why Chinese Students Don't Speak English," and many more.
posted by escabeche on Nov 1, 2013 - 31 comments

That is not an exhaustive list, but it’s exhausting.

A collective narrative of trying to make it on $17,000 a year: bargaining testimony from a UCSC student-worker
We make only $17,000 a year. We make only $17,000 a year in a town where almost that entire paycheck goes to rent. So today I’m going to talk about how academic workers try to get by on $17,000 a year.
posted by andoatnp on Oct 30, 2013 - 54 comments

"This is my gift to you. Do with it what you want."

The Course of Their Lives. While much in medicine has changed over the last century, the defining course of a first year medical student's education is still 'Gross Anatomy.' This is their hands-on tour of a donated cadaver -- an actual human body -- and is an experience which cannot be replicated by computer models. When Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Mark Johnson came up with the idea of following a med school gross anatomy class for a feature story, his editor challenged him to make it different. So he chose to intertwine the students' stories with that of Geraldine 'Nana' Fotsch, a living future donor, as sort of a stand-in for the cadaver. (Via. This four-part series contains descriptions of a human dissection. Some may find it disturbing.) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 19, 2013 - 29 comments

No SATs, No Grades, No Problem

Bard College has introduced a new admissions criteria: No consideration of SAT scores or grades. Students can now submit four 2500 word essays and be admitted if their work is judged to be of B+ or better quality by faculty. Is this system just waiting to be gamed?
posted by reenum on Oct 11, 2013 - 112 comments

Administrators Ate My Tuition

Washington Monthly examines the rapid increase in the numbers of middle managers at universities and the correlation to the rampant increase in tuition costs at American universities.
posted by reenum on Oct 8, 2013 - 184 comments

Is college worth it?

From a purely economic perspective: Is college worth it?
posted by Westringia F. on Sep 24, 2013 - 70 comments

The Tuition Is Too Damn High

Over the past couple of weeks, Wonkblog has examined the fast rising cost of college tuition in the United States and its effects on society. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Sep 8, 2013 - 48 comments

Intellectuals vs Academics

Academics are farmers and intellectuals are hunters - and the hunters may be the future of the liberal arts, writes Jack Miles.
posted by shivohum on Aug 28, 2013 - 47 comments

"The charmingly naive American student is in fact a cash cow"

"The coming of “academic capitalism” has been anticipated and praised for years; today it is here." (Thomas Frank for The Baffler)
posted by box on Aug 28, 2013 - 121 comments

Matt Taibbi on the Ripping Off of Young America

Ripping Off Young America: The College-Loan Scandal. "The federal government has made it easier than ever to borrow money for higher education - saddling a generation with crushing debts and inflating a bubble that could bring down the economy."
posted by homunculus on Aug 16, 2013 - 142 comments

Meritocracy is..fluid..

White definitions of merit and admissions change when they think about Asian-Americans.
posted by kanuck on Aug 13, 2013 - 60 comments

Confidential:

Don't go to art school. Why it's a bad idea and what you can do with the money instead.
posted by Artw on Jun 26, 2013 - 103 comments

“free as air and water”

For the first time in over a century, Cooper Union announces that it will begin to charge undergraduate students tuition.
posted by Whitall Tatum on Apr 23, 2013 - 71 comments

How the Other Half Tests

"Students are told, reassuringly, that there is no such thing as failing the Accuplacer or the COMPASS. But there is: students who score below a certain number, or “cut score,” flunk the test for credit-bearing work." The consequences can be dramatic.
posted by eotvos on Apr 21, 2013 - 55 comments

NDT 2013

Last week Emporia State University won the National Debate Tournament for the first time. Ryan Wash and Elijah Smith won the round over Northwestern's Peyton Lee and Arjun Vellayappan in a close 3-2 decision. (link goes to a video of the round) [more inside]
posted by LSK on Apr 9, 2013 - 49 comments

MOOCs of Hazard

Will online education dampen the college experience? Yes. Will it be worth it? Well... [more inside]
posted by latkes on Apr 3, 2013 - 39 comments

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