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Spring Break During Your Education

Education is important in today's world! An education, going from preschool to elementary school, high school, college, university and continuing education through online education for lifelong learning, contributes to your success and the success of the community within which you live and work.

Spring break, travel, vacations, dating, meeting girls and guys is all a part of your education too. Make it a great time, meet your soul mate or just a friend.


A university education is important in today's world! An education, going from preschool to elementary school, high school, college, university and continuing education through online education for lifelong learning, contributes to your success and the success of the community within which you live and work.

Informative Articles On University

My university, my self

Like true love, there's only one perfect college out there, and it's your mission to find it. Right?

Wrong. There are likely dozens of colleges and universities where you would be happy and successful. The key is to decide what you want out of a college experience, do your research, and then apply to a reasonable number of schools. Whether you end up at your first–or your fifth-choice campus, in the end it's you, and not the school you choose, that will make all the difference.

The admit maze

The university admissions process continues to push more and more students to the lunatic fringe. One new book likens admissions to a game of Martian blackjack: college and university applicants find themselves at a high-stakes table where they don't know the rules and no one will tell them how to play.

U.S. News asked guidance counselors and admissions officers for insight into the mysterious inner sanctum of the admissions process, and what emerged was a world in constant flux. "To paraphrase Dickens," says Martin Wilder, vice president for admission counseling and enrollment practices at the National Association for College Admission Counseling, or NACAC, "it's the best of times and the worst of times" to be applying to college. It's never been easier to get in, he insists: The average acceptance rate at colleges and universities nationwide is 70 percent. But a study done earlier this year found that more freshmen than ever–nearly 1 in 10–are now attending colleges that were their third choice or lower.


The SAT's forthcoming makeover is the first since 1994. And despite the new essay, the news is not all bad for students in the high school class of 2006, who will be the first to take the new test during their junior year. The much-feared analogy section will be scrapped. So will the test's infamous quantitative comparisons.

According to the College Board, the new SAT will be a closer reflection of what should be learned in a typical high school curriculum.

How will you learn?

At many schools, freshmen and sophomores are packed into large lecture halls where they listen, go home, study, and later take a test or two. Sure, it's cheap for the colleges to implement, but is it the best way for students to learn? The latest higher education research indicates that there are better models. Reform-minded colleges across the country are turning to innovative programs like learning communities and intensive semester-long freshman orientations to engage students in academics and hopefully offer measurable success in the form of higher retention rates and higher graduation rates.

"I've ... learned so much about my strengths, weaknesses, and areas I need to improve on," says DeeAnn Resk, a student in a learning, communities-based program at George Mason University in Virginia. "You don't gain that from cramming for a test, passing a test, and forgetting the next day."

Growing up already

Once upon a time, college students were still considered children. Students of the opposite sex were forbidden from entering each other's rooms, or they could go in but had to keep the door open. Quaint as it may seem, some colleges and universities are turning back the clock and once again acting in loco parentis, this time, to fight rising drug and alcohol use, eating disorders, and other self-destructive behaviors.

Schools have found that students who feel more connected to a campus community are less likely to engage in certain harmful habits, and so they are expanding orientation programs and adding layers to the support system meant to catch students before they fall through the cracks. Experts say that no matter how grown-up a student feels, he should take certain steps to ensure a successful college experience.

How we got here

By Rachel Hartigan Shea
A moment of silence, please, in remembrance of 1983. Michael Jackson, Quiet Riot, and the Police ruled the charts; moviegoers packed theaters to see Flashdance, Risky Business, and Valley Girl; Cabbage Patch Kids and compact disks debuted; and Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. War was still cold, empire was still evil, and Star Wars was no longer just a movie.

In the world of education, things were no less dramatic. A federal education commission proclaimed the country "a nation at risk." Columbia University finally admitted women. And college costs at the most expensive schools had just topped $10,000 for the first time–and kept on going.

Two decades have passed since U.S. News & World Report first ranked colleges, and those years certainly have been tumultuous for higher education. Professors, administrators, and their critics have fought pitched battles over perceived "political correctness" inside and outside the classroom; new academic fields like genomics and postcolonial studies have opened up; and more people than ever before have signed on for a college education. Meanwhile, the ivory tower has been scaled by powerful market forces as financial realities have forced colleges to embrace such previously foreign concepts as "return on investment," "customer service," and "branding."

Life outside. Much of the tumult facing higher education today springs from the central role it has taken in American society–and in the individual lives of its citizens. Colleges and universities provide the necessary ticket to career success and financial well-being and the research that leads to new ideas and new inventions. But perhaps more important, campuses are where the nation's social anxieties and growing pains come into full relief. "Universities cannot be cloistered institutions thinking about their own precious production of knowledge and teaching," says Derek Bok, a former president at Harvard and noted education scholar. "They have become too important to society."

By the early 1980s, higher education had largely completed the tremendous growth spurt that began after World War II, when the GI Bill opened the gates to veterans. With new federal financial aid programs aimed at nonveterans kicking in during the 1950s and baby boomers heading to campus by the hundreds of thousands in the 1960s and '70s, enrollment had increased nearly sixfold by 1983. The number of two- and four-year colleges had nearly doubled.

Among the hordes of new undergrads were students who hadn't traditionally attended college in large numbers: women, minorities, and older adults. In 1978, after centuries of marginal representation in higher education, women outnumbered men for the first time by a 2 percent margin. By 2000, the gap had widened to a full 12 percent, leaving many universities today scrambling to come up with ways to recruit young men. Minority enrollment also increased significantly, with African-American college-going rates up from 45 percent in 1972 to 55 percent in 2001, and Hispanic attendance rates rising from 45 to 52 percent.

Meanwhile, the growing variety of the college population and the influx of professors who came of age in the 1960s led to pressure to diversify the curriculum by including more works by underrepresented writers and scholars. But critics worried that cornerstones of the traditional curriculum, writers like Shakespeare and Milton, would be squeezed out. Fierce battles broke out between conservatives like William Bennett and Lynne Cheney–who consecutively headed the National Endowment for the Humanities during the Reagan administration–on the one hand, and liberal humanities scholars on the other. "The time is right for constructive reform of American education," wrote Bennett in a controversial report for the NEH in 1984. Philosopher Allan Bloom's book The Closing of the American Mind attacked what he saw as academia's cultural relativism and became a bestseller. A group of prominent scholars, including Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Stanley Fish, issued a statement declaring that the debates over feminism and multiculturalism were a result of the increasing democratization of higher education and "a sign of educational health, not decline." At the same time, City College in San Francisco established the first gay and lesbian studies department, and Temple University created the first doctoral program in African-American studies. And in 1988, Stanford scaled back its western civilization-based core curriculum, a move that outraged conservatives (as did the memorable chant of student supporters: "Hey hey, ho ho, western culture's got to go").

In the news. The battle spread outside the classroom, too, with the most extreme incidents attracting the most attention. College mascots came under attack: The University of Alabama- Birmingham had to ditch "Blaze," its Nordic warrior mascot, because he seemed too macho and too white. Speech codes at schools like Brown, Emory, and the University of Michigan–aimed, their supporters said, simply at restricting racial, sexist, and homophobic slurs–were criticized as inhibiting free expression. The codes quickly inspired lawsuits and such incidents as the charge of racial harassment against a Jewish student at the University of Pennsylvania for calling several African-American women making noise outside his dorm "water buffalo." (His supporters said that the Hebrew-speaking student was using a literal translation of nonracially tinged slang.)

All the squabbling drowned out a subtle shift in how the nation thought about higher education. The prevailing wisdom had been that the country as a whole benefited from a college-educated citizenry. In the 1980s, that notion was supplemented by increasing evidence that the economic benefit to individuals was substantial. (Indeed, bachelor degree holders earned 89 percent more than high school grads in 2001, the most recent year for which data are available.) "The government used to give financial aid to people because the country benefited," says Arthur Levine, president of Columbia University's Teachers College. "During the Reagan era, we made a fundamental change and decided it benefited the individual."

That meant that paying for college became the student's responsibility, not the government's, and loans overtook grants as the chief form of federal financial aid. Twenty years ago, the Pell grant took care of 84 percent of the total price tag (tuition and room and board) at public universities; with college costs rising, the Pell covered just 42 percent in 2002. New programs introduced in the 1990s, like tuition tax credits and state-sponsored merit scholarships, tended to favor the middle class. "There's been a real tilt in the last 20 years away from making [higher education] available to all citizens toward helping people who might need help less," says Bok. Sixty-eight percent more low-income high school graduates head off to college today than did in 1972, but the amount of debt they carry by the time they graduate has also increased. Public university students at the lowest income level have seen their debt load go up nearly 70 percent–after inflation–since 1989.

Students now face increasing tuition sticker prices, as well. Average college costs are around $25,000 at private schools, while some publics have instituted double-digit-percentage tuition increases in the face of severe budget constraints. The rising cost of personnel accounts for much of these changes, as does students' appetite for fancy gyms and plush dorms. The main culprit for public universities, however, is the decreasing state support of higher education. Over the past two decades, running a public university became increasingly expensive, and state legislatures--beset with ballooning healthcare and primary and secondary education costs–were paying a shrinking share. "The funding structure of higher education changed from being high state support and low tuition to moderate support and moderate tuition," says David Ward, president of the American Council on Education and formerly chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Universities learned quickly that if they wanted to be better than average, they needed to turn elsewhere for support. Fundraising activity increased, and private donations to public schools have shot up 159 percent since 1980. And this past spring, the University of Virginia became one of the first public universities to receive more of its operating budget from private sources than from the state. (The state provided a mere 9.6 percent of the university's total budget last year.)

Public and private universities, alike, have become much more savvy about finding money. Luckily for them, as the chief providers of what Bok calls the three ingredients essential to prosperity–"well-trained people, expert knowledge, and new discoveries"–opportunities for colleges to cash in have multiplied over the past two decades. Industry is funding more scientific research, and legislation passed in 1980 allows universities to patent and license findings from federally funded research. Since then, 3,870 companies have been formed to turn these patents and licenses into products (the Google search engine is one of the more famous ones); in 2001, they had an income of $1.1 billion. Universities have also been quick to introduce new programs tied to the employment needs of potential students, including vocational master's degrees in such fields as healthcare leadership, computational finance, and human-computer interaction–and charged hefty fees for them.

Money for something. Today's students, says Alexander Astin, director of the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California-Los Angeles, put "less focus on the intrinsic value of higher education [and more] on the instrumental value of college and financial aid." In other words, they want to know what's in it for them. Fully aware of the economic benefits of a degree, these budding careerists want higher education to give them the credential that gets them a well-paying job. It's all part of their "galloping psychology of entitlement," says Robert Sevier, senior vice president at Stamats, an educational consulting company. "The educational consumer is so much more sophisticated and so much more interested in return on investment" than in the past.

This utilitarian view of higher education could be blamed on a materialistic generation. But college students span all generations these days, with 39 percent of the postsecondary population consisting of adults over 25 years old. Indeed, 73 percent of all students count as "nontraditional," i.e., they are older, attend part time, have children, or support themselves financially. These students have to focus on the practical outcomes of a college degree; otherwise, it's not worth the effort. "College is what they're doing in addition to everything else," says Sevier.

Critics worry that all this talk of money and job preparation has diluted the soul of higher education. Will departments be judged by how much cash they generate? Does a program need to have vocational relevance to survive? What happened to knowledge for the sake of knowledge? "Since we depend on public funds, we have a responsibility to serve the needs of society," says Bok. "It isn't going to help society if we break the essential academic values that allow us to perform effectively in the long run." But you can't turn back the clock. "You could say [commercialism] is bad because of some loss of the public spirit," says Ward, "but on the other hand, we could have gone the way of the dodo."

Of course, that's unlikely to happen. If the past two decades demonstrate anything at all, it's that the United States needs its institutions of higher education–for job training, for scientific discovery, and even as a proving ground for social change. Now, more than ever.

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Articles courtesy of US News.com


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