Super Selective, Highly Impacted Colleges: Why didn’t I get in?

Super Selective, Highly Impacted Colleges: Why didn’t I get in?

As college acceptance and rejection letters start rolling in this month and families begin to fret over statistics and strategies, it’s worth taking note of a few facts. 

Which Desk Will Be Yours?

Not sure what you want to be when you grow up? No worries...few do! In fact, the average adult switches careers every 5-7 years. Check out these pics of desks and read the accompanying text to explore what your workaday world might look like if you head down the various career pathways. Stay tuned b/c more "desks" are coming...

Medicine: Doctors

What's the first thing you notice in this photo? Are there really 7 degrees framed on the wall? If you are interested in studying to be a doctor,  you will need a ton of education, heavy on the science and math. Plan on a minimum of 8 years: 4 years of undergraduate & 4 years of medical school just to get the MD. To actually practice medicine requires another 2-5 years of residency and fellowship, depending on the type of medicine you want to practice. Scholarships to medical school are rare and usually reserved for the absolute best and brightest of an already-super-smart student population. So, be prepared to pay for this education. The good news: earning capacity of a medical degree is high. You should be able to repay those loans! 

blsdoctors

For more details: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physicians-and-surgeons.htm

Colleges to consider: Haverford, Lafayette, Hendrix, Case Western, Washington U

Medicine: Allied Health Professions

alliedhealthdesk

 

There are a wide variety of jobs available in the healthcare industry. And, healthcare, as a sector, is growing at a fast pace. Allied health jobs include: medical assistant, radiation technologist, dental hygienist, recreational therapist, physician assistant, pharmacist, nurse, home health aide, audiologist. Some healthcare jobs require six months of education, others a bachelor's, a master's or a doctoral degree. The more education, the higher the pay generally.

Dental hygienists have one of the better ROIs that I've seen. 

blsdentalhygiene.png

Physician Assistants examine, diagnose and treat patients. This field is growing at a very fast pace. Most students have a bachelor's degree with about 3 years of healthcare experience before they even enter the 3-year Physician Assistant program.

Education:

We all remember our favorite teachers. The job outlook for high school teachers is 'just a bit above average' and for college professors, 'above average'. 

bls teachers.png

To be a high school teacher requires an undergraduate degree plus a credential (for public school systems). That said, the more education you have, the more pay you will receive over your employment contract (teachers have strong unions). A college professor will have at least a Master's and usually a PhD.

 Did you know that many professors need to read and teach and publish  and  do research, too?

Did you know that many professors need to read and teach and publish and do research, too?

How To Be a Good Student in College

Students are heading off to college this month with their brand new laptops and cell phones. Frankly, I hope they are not planning on using either one in class to take notes.  All a student really needs in their lecture halls is: a notepad and pen. And by 'notepad', I do not mean the app! If you or your student doesn't read any further than this sentence: The physical act of writing notes actually deepens the comprehension of lecture material. If you want to learn more about how to be a good student in college, read on

 Yay! I made it through high school!

Yay! I made it through high school!

What sort of techniques can students use to really learn lecture material? You obviously can't just sit back and listen to what the professor says. Without a photographic memory, remembering anything two weeks later is problematic. Some students like to transcribe lecture material. 'Transcribing' means writing down a professor's lecture word for word. While transcribing may be useful for capturing every word and idea, it is difficult to do. Most students don't write quickly enough, or legibly enough, for this to be a useful technique. Clearly, students bring their laptops into the lecture halls because keystrokes are quicker than pen strokes. There is a lot of video taping of lectures as well. If you are in a classroom with 500 students, sitting in the back row, there are a zillion distractions. Taping the lecture seems like a good idea. Plus, if you tape it, then you and the entire back row can watch that cute cat video playing on the laptop two rows down.

 Small class, Furman University

Small class, Furman University

Why I am not in favor of laptops in a lecture hall: They are noisy! They are distracting! More seriously, using a laptop encourages 'transcribing'. Yes, you can get it all down but focusing on 'getting it all down' means you are focusing on typing not learning. When you know you can't write quickly with a pen, you will then be more selective in what gets written down. You will focus on the nuance or which point or idea the professor is emphasizing. With a pen and paper, you can use 'non-linear' thinking and note-taking: writing in the margins, shorthand, symbols, stars, arrows, circles. The day's notes become more of a map or guide to the lecture. Such notes may not be readily comprehensible to a classmate but they do show a deeper level of comprehension and engagement with the material. An A+ tip: Check out this video on how to take "Cornell Notes".

 Some classes are fairly large like this one at Univ of Oregon

Some classes are fairly large like this one at Univ of Oregon

Why I am not in favor of laptops in a lecture hall: They are noisy! They are distracting! More seriously, using a laptop encourages ‘transcribing’. Yes, you can get it all down but focusing on ‘getting it all down’ means you are focusing on typing not learning. When you know you can’t write quickly with a pen, you will then be more selective in what gets written down. You will focus on the nuance or which point or idea the professor is emphasizing. With a pen and paper, you can use ‘non-linear’ thinking and note-taking: writing in the margins, shorthand, symbols, stars, arrows, circles. The day’s notes become more of a map or guide to the lecture. Such notes may not be readily comprehensible to a classmate but they do show a deeper level of comprehension and engagement with the material. An A+ tip: Check out this video on how to take “Cornell Notes“.

 Learn how to take good notes!

Learn how to take good notes!

Whether you take notes or succumb to recording the day's lecture, there are a few additional steps you need to take to really learn the material. First, you need to review the day's lecture the day of the lecture. Neuroscientists have conclusively shown that reviewing the material and then summarizing the material on the very same day works to embed that material in your brain. If your notes are more 'map-like' and non-linear, and you can transform the day's lecture into prose then you, clearly, demonstrate a deeper level of understanding of the material. Second, quizzing yourself every day or every few days for just 15-20 minutes on the material is way better than cramming the night before. (You already knew that cramming was a terrible learning technique, right?) The final step involves 'speaking' the material. You listen to the material in class. You write the material down by taking notes. The next step is to verbalize the material. There is nothing like talking about the lectures to let you know if you get the material. Visit your professor during office hours and discuss the material. Join a study group. Ask questions of the professor or your classmates about the subject. Try teaching the material to classmates.

The night before any exam, take and walk, relax and sleep well. Do all of the above, repeatedly, for four years and you will be one smart college graduate!

A+ Tips for Being a Great College Student:

1. Don't just sit back and listen to lectures: Engage!
2. Don't transcribe lectures: Take good notes!
3. Don't take laptops to lectures.
4. Or, if you do, don't watch cat videos during lectures!
5. Review your notes on the same day of the lecture.
6. Summarize your notes daily!
7. Review your notes 15-20 minutes every few days at the very least.
8. Don't cram for the exam.
9. Join a study group.
10.Visit your professor during office hours: Engage!

Student Loans: Can You Avoid the Trillion Dollar Problem?

Clients ask us daily: Where are the ideas on how to pay for, at least part of, a $60,000 University education?

 Look for value in your college search!

Look for value in your college search!

1. Don't go to a college that charges that much--Live at the parent's house, attend Community College, transfer and then pay for only 2 years at a private college. Transfer out rates are online. That stat generally tells you how many transfer students your college of choice needs.

2. Study hard in high school, maintain above a 3.5 gpa and attend a school that offers merit aid. Supply and demand is a useful principal in implementing this strategy. Even for very high-income families!

3. While in college, apply to be a residential advisor to earn stipends AND/OR waived dorm fees.

4. Study hard in school, take lots of AP's and only go to a college that will give you credit for all of your exams, graduate early thereby saving, potentially, a semester to over a year of college tuition. If you are able, speed up the process even more by taking an extra college class each semester.

5. Did we mention: Study Hard In High School!!! There's little-to-no aid available for average students. And, if you are not a high achieving student, why not go to your local CC first, or take a MOOC, or try Vo-Ed and figure it all out.

Shameless plug: Don't Stress: We, at A+, can help you with all of the above!

  What is your pathway after high school?

What is your pathway after high school?

 

For those interested in learning more, here are links to very worthwhile reading on the subject.

good background on issue: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/25/upshot/a-quiet-revolution-in-helping-lift-the-burden-of-student-debt.html?action=click&contentCollection=U.S.&module=MostEmailed&version=Full&region=Marginalia&src=me&pgtype=article&abt=0002&abg=1

what a typical community college charges: http://web2.cuyamaca.edu/hsout/fees.asp

a typical merit aid matrix: http://www.millsaps.edu/administrative_offices/financial_aid_types_of_assistance.php

College Admissions Anxiety: Just One Person’s Perspective

My thoughts on the over-scheduled, overworked, stressed-out teen begin with the age-old question: What came first, the chicken or the egg? When I look back a few decades, I see the phenomenon of both parents working outside the home starting in earnest at just about the same time public high school budgets started going haywire.  Since a typical, public, school-day is as short as 5-6 hours, working parents needed to find activities for their children after school, in the afternoons and evenings, and often, during school holidays. Many after-school businesses have emerged to fill the void.  The plethora of available activities are of critical importance to working parents, especially for public school families. 

When the first generation of kids that engaged in organized after-school and vacation activities started applying to college, they had lot of activities and adventures to report–all those blanks on the application forms were filled in.  Demographic changes (ie. the baby boomer’s boomlet plus globalization) coupled with highly-involved parents transformed what was once a merely competitive college admissions process into a nerve-racking, debt-defying, lifestyle pursuit.

I don’t see the long term problem as one of over-scheduling (any associated stress disorders and/or unhealthy family dynamics is, obviously, a problem) so much as it is one of inequity.

While many private schools have always provided a full day of academics and “enrichment”, public high school students receive the most basic of academic, athletic and arts exposure. The only language taught at the public Valhalla High School, for example, is Spanish but the private Bishop’s School offers Latin, Greek, Spanish, French, Mandarin. Though Valhalla enrolls over 2100 students, it has 23 athletic teams; Bishops, with 800 students, offers 40. The first thing I noticed when my older son transferred to a private school? Students hangout on-campus, in the library, on the fields, in the music room, till way past dinner time. At my younger son’s public school? Unless you were on a team or in a band, you weren’t at school after last period.

Most parents work outside the home.  Most students attend public not private schools. Most public schools are underfunded and overcrowded with scant attention to advising, to development of critical-thinking skills, or to job skills. Most parents do not have resources and cannot overcome their child’s inadequate educational environment.  Don’t you think we need all students to have access and exposure—to the arts, 21st century science, athletics, nature— to become fulfilled, contributing members of society?

Editor's note: Originally published in 2014. The only additional comment I would add, in 2017,  is this: college costs about 10% more now. So, admissions stress is still there. Shameless plug: call A+ for detailed analyses, the pros/cons, of your own college adventure.