Interesting eBay Auction

Julie

Oklahoma Wesleyan University is auctioning off on eBay a package that contains one year of tuition, room, and board.  The cost of books is not included.  The winning bidder can purchase this offer for a friend or relative, and give it to them as a gift.  However, ultimately the recipient of the gift must meet all standard application requirements for the 2007-2008 school years.  If it is for someone who is not yet a student at Oklahoma Wesleyan University, they must submit an application by March 1, 2007.

The auction also states:

“The recipient must apply for all financial aid (Federal, State, and Institutional) through the Oklahoma Wesleyan University Student Financial Services Office. If after all financial aid has been awarded it is determined by Oklahoma Wesleyan University representatives that the student attending owes less than the winning bid, that lesser amount will be the only amount due.”

Oklahoma Wesleyan University is located in Bartlesville, OK, and is ranked #12 in comprehensive colleges and universities in the West by the US News & World Report. Tuition at the school costs $23,000 for the year, so one lucky student might be able to snag a year of college at a discounted rate. The current bid is at $16,200.00 with 25 bids.  The auction ends February 13, 2007 at 27:26 PST.  Judging by the way bidding is going, it probably won’t end up being that much of a discount.

The school is apparently doing this auction as a way to get Oklahoma Wesleyan University some more interest and potential applicants, as well as to create some marketing buzz.  eBay will make a nice chunk of change off the sale, and the school is already gaining lots of press, with the AP story syndicated in many newspapers.

Do Advanced Placement Courses Give You an Advantage in College?

Julie

Does taking Advanced Placement courses in high school give you an advantage once you’re actually in college?  To answer that question, The College Board conducted two studies, which shows that students who took A.P. classes in high school fared much better than their peers who took regular high school courses.

The study was actually conducted by researchers at the University of Texas, but was paid for by the College Board.  College Board, if you recall, runs the Advanced Placement program and testing. Results of the study were released today.

Experts who have analyzed the reports, have thus far come to the conclusion that there is some correlation between success in A.P. classes and doing well in college.  However, they do state that the reports did not prove any kind of a cause-and-effect tie.  Others have cautioned that A.P. programs typically attract highly-motivated students, and that it might be difficult to determine whether their success in college is due to experience gained from A.P. classes, or if it’s just a result of their extraordinary personal ambition, parents’ education, extra tutoring available to financially well-off families, or other factors.

The first study tracked freshman students at the University of Texas who scored well on AP exams and skipped intro. level college courses.  They were then compared with other U of T students who had similar high school grades and admissions test scores, but never took A.P. courses.  This study found that those who took A.P. classes in high school earned higher grade point averages than those who did not.

The other study watched Texas students that enrolled in any Texas public higher education institution.  What this study found was that, again, students who took A.P. classes in high school earned higher GPAs than those who did not take A.P. classes in high school, and were more likely to graduate within four years.  The study also found some differences between A.P. students themselves.  Those who took the optional A.P. Final Exams fared better than A.P. students who skipped these exams.

I think I am going to side with the experts on this.  While it’s clear there is a correlation, how can you really say whether students are doing better because they took A.P. classes, or whether it’s because they are more motivated and bright?

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March Madness Right Around the Corner

Julie

It is February, It is cold in most of the country, and the last thing on your mind is probably college basketball. Well, in less than a month that is about to change, especially if your University goes to the ‘Big Dance’ as they call it. You know what I am talking about, the NCAA Basketball Championship. It is especially exciting here in Cleveland, as we are hosting the Women’s Final Four this year. So by, the time you read this post it is my goal to tell you who are the contenders and pretenders in this years Men’s and Women’s Final 4.

First we’ll scope the Women’s game.  The Atlantic Coast Conference looks like the premiere league for the Ladies game this year. Thursday pits No. 1 Duke vs. No. 2 North Carolina. The last two unbeaten D-I teams that are known for their fierce rivalry. So, that game will give all of us a good gauge on who will go in as the favorite to take the crown in the Women’s side. Sitting right behind them in the polls are Tennessee, Ohio State, and Connecticut. Among these teams Tennessee and Connecticut have the advantage of having historically strong Ladies program, and the Ohio State squad has the ambition to play in front of a partial crowd (Cleveland is just two hours away from Columbus) if it advances to the final four. Other teams that are in the top 10 on the Women’s side include: Maryland, LSU, George Washington, Georgia, and Arizona State.

For the Men’s side of March madness Florida is on a roll with the number 1 ranking and 15 game winning streak. The defending champions have UCLA, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and North Carolina behind them. This year’s final four will take place in Atlanta, Georgia. Rounding out the men’s top 10 are Pittsburgh, Texas A&M, Kansas, Butler, Memphis, and Nevada. If you are a fan of the underdog, root for teams like Butler and Nevada as they are considered mid-majors and often are overlooked by the bigger schools.

Ok, I know that you want my predictions for the upcoming tournament but I will be honest and say that I openly biased. Ohio State will win on the Men’s and Women’s side. The Women will benefit from the advantage of playing in front of a home-court crowd in Cleveland. On the Men’s side, Ohio State is looking for revenge against Florida after the Gators beat the Buckeyes in the College Football Championships earlier this year and crushed them on the hardwood as well. The loss on the basketball floor was with a rusty center Greg Oden, who is perhaps the best player in the game despite being only a freshman.

Really though, biased opinions thrown   out the window, if your school is in the big tournament or hosting the tournament you should get involved. It is a time of excitement and fun as you cheer on your favorite team. Enjoy it!

Use Your iPod As a Study Tool

Julie

All this time you have probably thought that our iPod was just for playing your favorite songs. Wipe that misconception out of your mind, as we will explore how you can make your iPod a useful tool to study for your classes. You can use your iPod to downloaded books, textbook study guides and languages. Not only that, can buy additional software for the iPod that will let you record your professors lectures (so while your sleeping in class you catch up when you might not be nursing a bad hangover).

Stanford University and University of Wisconsin-Madison are among schools that have professors upload their lectures on iTunes so that they are available for students to download. You can probably get some brownie points if you share that information to a hip professor and encourage them to do the same thing. Not only will you impress the professor with a great idea, you’ll be helping your fellow students and not get bugged when some bozo keeps asking you for the notes that you took during class (for the ladies out there, the guys that are doing that probably have no interest in the notes and are just hitting on you).

Audible.com has a great product that brings textbooks to Mp3 format. That is a great for those who learn better through hearing or lectures and do not want to take the time to read the book. They offer a free chapter of a book so you should check the site out and see if you can locate a book that you may be using in your classes to see exactly how it works. The site includes Pearson Education textbooks in Business, Education, English, History books among many many others. “Right now it’s a small part of our business, but we believe it’s going to be a growing part of our overall strategy,” said Sandi Kirshner, chief marketing officer of Pearson’s higher education unit.

So is the future going to be full of people just listening to their tiny Mp3 players while in college? No, the big bad books will always have a place in college but the Mp3 players do have amazing potential to revolutionize they way we all learn. One thing is for certain, technology will allow for us to learn in many new ways that will enhance the learning experience and make it easier to tailor education to best fit our needs. I urge you to at least try out an e-book to see if it works for you. Sometimes you would be surprised at a book that you can’t just get through actually makes more sense if you listen to it.  I actually had the experience when I listened to “All Quiet on the WesternFront” which was an abysmal read but a wonderful listening experience.

Advice from Recent College Grads

Julie

USA Today recently did a nice six-week series called “Young & In Debt“, which profiled five recent graduates struggling with high levels of debt just as they are starting out in the world on their own. They were asked to spill the beans about their financial situations and struggles, and were matched up with financial advisors who would give them advice on managing their debt. As a follow-up to the series, USA Today conducted a poll of recent college graduates, who had some advice for younger students, as outlined below.

  • There were not many college graduates who said they would trade their high-priced educatin for a lower-priced one. A few, however, said they would. Some students felt a better-known private school could give them an advantage later, while others felt like their school debt held them back.
  • One third of graduates said that they wished they would have paid closer attention to the terms of their loans. Read the fine print, and learn the differences between federal and private loans before you sign the dotted line.
  • Many students said they were happy with their course of study, but some said that they wished they would have choosen a more lucrative career.
  • Many, many graduates regretted the huge credit card bills they accumulated during college. It’s easy to get used to a lavish lifestyle that you can only afford by paying with plastic. Trying to keep up with other classmates whose families can afford their extra spending, can and does drive students to spend a lot more than neccessary.

So what can you as a student do to avoid some of the financial pitfalls that so many recent graduates are facing?

  • Compare schools. Do a lot of research if you know exactly what you want to study. You might find that the best program for your field is not at a high-priced private school, but rather at a more affordable state school.
  • Think about your earning potential. If you are entering a not-so-lucrative career, you may want to think twice about attending a high-priced school. It’s great to be idealistic, but reality hits hard when you’re out there on your own trying to pay back loans, rent, and all your other expenses.
  • Apply for financial aid, and study loan options. If you fully understand the terms of the loans you’ll be taking going in, you’ll be more prepared to deal with them when you graduate. Understand your responsibilities to pay them back, and the negative things that can happen if you don’t.
  • Avoid credit cards. Try to cover your daily expenses without putting expensive lattes, beers, and trendy clothes on your credit card bill. Instead, you may have to get a part-time job while in school, and maybe a full-time job during summers.


Colleges Keeping Tabs on Student Athletes Using Facebook

Julie

More and more college coaches are signing up for Facebook accounts, but not because they want to fraternize with students.  Rather, college administrators and athletic directors are asking them to monitor athletes’ profiles and Facebook activities. Some have gone as far as banning their athletes from having Facebook profiles altogether, and kicking them off teams for “inappropriate” Facebook behavior. While it is understandable that colleges would like to maintain their reputations, I think that this going a bit too far.

If college’s can get away with tracking student athletes’ Facebook profiles, what’s next?  Tracking the debate team?  The obsession with tracking individuals through Facebook is not just limited to the corporate world anymore it appears, where for sometime now human resource management has been spying on students’ profiles and using them to determine hiring. Allowing the “adult” world into Facebook seems to have defeated the entire purpose of the site, and now people’s profiles are being held against them in more ways than many would have thought of.

Even if Facebook didn’t allow corporate people, instructors, coaches, and so on into the system, there’d still be spies.  So, I guess this just goes to show you to be aware of what kind of information (and photos) you put online because it will come back to haunt you in one way or another.  Big Brother is watching.

Nielsen Tracks College Student TV Viewing

Julie

Nielsen Media Research which has long tracked the television viewing habits of Americans, but for a long time they have not tracked one particular group – college students.  Beginning this week, however, this will change.  Nielsen will begin tracking the TV viewing habits of college students this week, which could potentially boost ratings for programs popular with younger crowds.

In the past, college students were not included in Nielsen ratings unless they were not attending school, or were home on vacation.  Families with college-age students who participate in the ratings, televisions in dorm rooms, common areas, sororities or wherever students primarily watch tv, will be counted.

College students’ television viewing habits have been tracked by Nielsen for a three-year pilot program which was paid for by MTV, ESPN, Fox and others. Considering the viewing habits of college students in this study increased ratings for “Grey’s Anatomy” by 53%.  Shows such as “Ugly Betty”, “Desperate Housewives”, and “America’s Next Top Model” proved especially popular amongst women.  When college-age men were counted, Comedy Central’s “Drawn Together” received a huge jump in ratings, and football, “Family Guy”, and “The Simpsons” also did well with college men.

So maybe now that our opinions are being counted, they won’t cancel our favorite shows after just one or two seasons!  We can only hope, I guess.  Nielsen plans to continue their quest of catching up with the times by measuring TV viewing outside of the home, including video streams, over the next few years.

Congress Proposes Pell Grant Increase

Julie

Right now, going through the U.S. House of Representatives is a measure that would most definitely help lower-income students: increasing maximum Pell Grants.  House Democrats are proposing a $260 increase for the Fall 2007 term, which if implemented would bring the total maximum Pell Grant up to $4,310.

The Pell Grant, for those not aware, is a need-based grant given to lower income students.  As it is a grant, it does not need to be repaid.  The Pell Grant has not received an increase since 2003, while college tuition has continued to rise.  This has left many students with a gap in coverage, forcing many to take out extra loans. 

The issue is expected to be brought to the House floor on Wednesday, with final actions by both the House and the Senate expected by February 15, the date that temporary funding runs out for the Department of Education programs.  Last year’s Congress adjourned without finishing work on the 2007 education budget.

According to the College Board, last year’s maximum Pell Grant covered only one-third of tuition and fees at a four-year public college.  Twenty years ago, the maximum grant was enough to pay for sixty-percent of college costs.  A boost in the maximum Pell Grant award would be much needed one.

To help pay for the Pell increase, Democrats are looking to impose a one-year ban on earmarks, which are the pet projects that members of Congress traditionally add to government spending bills.

Why Women Now Outnumber Men in College

Julie

In 2003, there were 1.35 females for every male who graduated from a four-year college, which is almost the complete opposite of the picture in 1960, when there were far more men graduating from college than women. In a recently study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, they’ve attempted to figure out exactly why and how this switch has happened.

What they found, was the changes stemmed from the changing expectations of women’s future labor force participation in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Beginning during this time period, women had greater guarantees by the U.S. government that job discrimination by employers against women could not and would not be tolerated. Women also anticipated a more level playing field with respect to men in terms of access to high-paying careers for college graduates and to professional and graduate college programs.

According to the authors, these changes, as well as others, led to a dramatic shift. In 1960, only 39 percent of 30-to-34-year old women were employed and 47 percent of those employed were teachers; 73 percent had children at home. Ten years later, in 1970, only 49 percent of 1970 graduates were employed at ages 30 to 34 and 55 percent of those with jobs were teachers. In 1980, when women reached 30 to 34 years of age, 70 percent were employed; only 36 percent employed were teachers and 60 percent had children at home.

The advancement of women in society seeking careers, and not just jobs, can be seen elsewhere. From 1970 to 1971 women earned 9.1 percent of bachelor’s degrees in business. From 1984 to 1985, women earned 45.1 percent of bachelor’s degrees in business, and then from 2000 to 2001, women earned 50 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in business. Similarly large increases have been seen in the female share of bachelor’s degrees in physical sciences, life sciences, and engineering since the early 1970s.

Women are now tending to mary at a much older age. From the 1950s to the 1970s, women tended to marry no more than a year after graduation. But by 1981, the average age of marriage for college educated women was 25. Women are now working on gettin their degrees and starting a career before getting married and starting a family.

The author of the study asserts that the decline in male to female ratios of undergraduates is real, and is not due to changes in the ethnic mix of the college age population or to the types of post-secondary institutions they send. The number of women in college, and the overall female share of college students has expanded in all of the 17 member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development throughout the past few decades. It has increased so much so that women now outnumber men in college in almost all rich nations.

Cheating on Tests

Julie

Cheating on your papers is not the only thing that can land you in hot water.  Cheating on exams is highly prevalent amongst students, with some agencies reporting that up to 3/4 of all students cheat at one point or another.  With technology such an integral part of our lives, it’s no wonder that students are now coming up with ingenious ways to use it to their advantage.

Some methods of cheating that tech savvy students are using these days are sending text messages and photos of exams to other students.  Not sure of the answer to a question?  Some students will text their friends to get the answer.  With the new ringtone that teens and young adults can hear, that adults cannot, they can easily notify eachother without the instructor hearing a thing.  How are some teachers combatting this?  They may confiscate cell phones prior to exams, and if they’re really crafty they might activate something called C-Guard, which blocks cell phone signals within a 262 foot radius.

iPods are another sneaky way students are cheating and getting ahead during exams. iPod-ready crib notes published by SparkNotes and iPod dictionaries are being published and sold by a company called iPREPpress.  iPREPpress retails reference material that is viewable on digital players, such as the iPod nano.  Other students record lectures and notes to audio, and then save it on their iPods to listen to during an exam. 

Then there are the old tricks of the notebook on the floor, notes on the inside label of your water bottle, special pens imprinted with test info in super-tiny writing.

Getting away with cheating on a test is much easier now than getting away with turning in a plagerized paper.  But the consequences are similar.  If you get caught, automatic failure in most schools.  Repeat incidents might get you tossed out, or put on academic probation. 

So other than the moral issues at stake, deciding whether or not to cheat leaves you weigh whether the risks are worth the potential rewards.