About forty miles west of Boston, past Framingham, the starting line for the Boston Marathon, right off the I-90, is Worcester, Massachusetts. Contained in this town of 168,000 citizens are 38,000 students attending nine schools. While it’s not Boston, it shares in Boston’s rich fabric of higher educational institutions, including the medical school for the University of Massachusetts, and a branch of MCPHS (the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences), whose main campus is in Boston.
Imagine going to college without sitting in a 500-seat lecture hall, or working on problem sets alone in the library until the wee hours, or writing mind-numbing papers after a couple of meetings with a marginally engaged professor.
Instead, consider being part of a team experimenting on methods of capturing carbon dioxide and storing it deep beneath the earth in carbonate minerals. Students want challenges: projects that introduce them to problems that have no clear answers, and that require experimentation and exploration. This is why colleges are offering extensive experiential learning.
Hot off the press! We've had a chance to review the Fall 2018 admissions data released recently by the University of California and thought it would be helpful to summarize it and share our key findings.
Overall freshman admission rates are up for non-residents and down for residents as the University of California continues to settle on a new normal that accommodates a larger mix of out of state and international students. If you're an out of state or international student, pay close attention...there continues to be a window of opportunity to take advantage of favorable odds at several UC campuses.
Conducting research in high school provides experience that often translates to the college level. For some career paths, research is mandatory. Specifically, if you are applying for a combined degree, such as a BS/MD program at Northwestern Medical Honors, or the Brown PLME program, your credibility as an applicant is bolstered by any science related research projects performed during your high school years. Such programs as BUGS at USC, or RISE at Boston University (https://www.bu.edu/summer/high-school-programs/research/), which offers both internship and practicum summer tracks, present opportunities for high school students to build college level research inquiries and skills.
Straight-A students from some of the best high schools in the country become unhinged at the thought of crafting a 600-word essay in response to such a prompt: “Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you. Describe that influence.” (Recent Common Application, Question #3). It’s not surprising-- very few students learn the craft of essay writing. It’s become such a neglected art that Harvard, among many of the most selective schools, now requires all its undergraduates, without exception, to take an expository writing class. Knowing that the state of essay writing is in the doldrums, what might you do to attack this very daunting task?
With the average student loan debt in 2017 ranging between $20,000 and $25,000 and the amount of outstanding student loans exceeding $1.5 trillion nationally, it’s becoming imperative for students to understand basic financial literacy before they graduate and have to set budgets to pay back their share of this growing debt load.
Mahir Jethanandani’s California high school offered only a few classes related to business and finance – disciplines he was interested in exploring. So, he turned to massive open online courses, or MOOCs, offered through Coursera to learn on his own.
“It came with an extension of knowledge and fundamental concepts that I felt improved my understanding of subjects that I claimed that I loved” but didn’t have much exposure to, says the 18-year-old. MOOCs also led him to explore other disciplines he was curious about, including law and neuroscience.
To take your independent reading game to the next level, consider selecting books that take center stage on university lists. The following books have been recommended to current classes at UMass Amherst, Duke, Stanford, USC, Washington State, and Occidental College. Pick up one and see what you’re missing. You might just become addicted.