Major Leverage

Major Leverage

Some students go into the admissions process with the strategy of declaring a strange, off-the-beaten-track type major that will bolster their chances of getting into a selective school which otherwise would likely reject their candidacy.

The idea is once they’re in they’ll change their major with the advantage of being in the system not outside of it. For most of the liberal arts colleges such as Middlebury, Pomona College, or Davidson, this strategy won’t work.

Haunted Campuses

Haunted Campuses

The New York University (NYU) application essay reads: ‘NYU is global, urban, inspired, smart, connected, and bold. What can NYU offer you, and what can you offer NYU?’ Whatever you might offer NYU, NYU offers you a place in the elite of haunted campuses, along with a very good scare above and beyond its annual tuition rate of $45,000.

Founded in 1831, NYU has over 20,000 souls buried beneath its main campus. The land comprising Washington Square Park, NYU’s Greenwich Village location, was a ‘potter’s field,’ a graveyard for the indigent.  It also served as a mass grave for the thousands who died in the Yellow Fever epidemic of the 1820s. The Old University building, one of the first buildings built on the campus, was haunted by a young artist who committed suicide in one of its turrets.

The Speed Reading Fallacy

In the early 1960s, John F. Kennedy, a fervid advocate of the Evelyn Wood Speed Reading program, recommended that all members of Congress take Wood’s ‘Reading Dynamics’ course.  Using Reading Dynamics, it was claimed, could triple or more a person’s reading speed with improved comprehension levels. Reading Dynamics features having the reader move her finger down a page to increase the number of words viewed per fixation (eye scan). It also sought to suppress sub-vocalizations (saying each word either aloud or ‘thinking’ it aloud) while reading. Yet another speed reading method, ‘Photo Reading’ by Learning Strategies Corporation of Minnesota, launched a bit later with claims of users reading at speeds of 25,000 WPM.    

The International Campus Rush

  • The global academic marketplace
  • NYU and its nine international campuses: ‘of  the world’
  • Yale and National University of  Singapore: the odd couple

The September 23rd, 2011 Economist  contains an ad from the Qatar Foundation citing the efforts of Tammi Moe of Virginia Commonwealth University, who is traveling the globe, assembling an archive history of Qatar’s cultural history.  Yes, Qatar is home to Virginia Commonwealth University’s international satellite campus, which specializes in teaching fine arts. You might not even know where Virginia Commonwealth is located in the United States (it’s in Richmond, Virginia) but in Qatar it’s in Education City in Doha, Qatar’s capital. Quaint, isn’t it?

No Qatar, and VCU has plenty of company: the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, the international affairs school of Georgetown University, computer science and business schools from Carnegie Mellon (which is also about to open an engineering school in Rwanda this coming year), engineering from Texas A&M, and a journalism school from Northwestern. 

In the not too distant past, international exchange programs and junior year abroad were the extent of US university international exposure. Now, with the demand for high-level US universities seemingly insatiable, having a satellite campus is becoming the standard path for many US universities to approach international expansion. The lingua franca of post-secondary education is English, and US, British, and Australian universities are scampering to service the voracious worldwide appetite.

NYU under the direction of John Sexton, the president, has morphed itself into a university of the world. NYU, on its supplement, calls itself a global network, and it does have a set of constituent campuses in Buenos Aires, Florence, Accra, Ghana, London, Madrid, Paris, Prague, Singapore, and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. You might well gain admissions to NYU, but be asked to spend your freshman year, not in Washington Square in Manhattan, but in London or one of NYU’s other locations. A large portion of international Korean applicants who were admitted last year, spent their entire freshman year in London. Most of their courses were English classes with a rigorous blend of writing, reading, and discussion groups.     

Among all these campuses NYU sends a portion of the faculty from Washington Square, though a larger share of the top faculty is now working in the Abu Dhabi campus which began classes in fall of 2010. The Abu Dhabi satellite campus received $50 million in funding from Prince Zayed of Abu Dhabi. Moreover, while the NYU main campus is fairly selective with its admissions, admitting about a third of applicants, the NYU-Abu Dhabi campus students were hand selected by the NYU admissions office from a pool of 9,048 applications: only 150 were admitted, for an admissions rate of 1.7%.  The class average SAT scores for critical reading was 715, and math 730. More interesting, NYU-Abu Dhabi students are eligible for ‘loan-free full scholarships’ of $62,000, which includes the cost of two round trip tickets home and a $2,000 stipend’ (‘NYU’s Perilous Adventure in Abu Dhabi, at ) Obviously a lot is riding on this venture for NYU  (and Abu Dhabi).

Yale University, for years, has done joint research projects with Chinese research universities; two key projects include Yale’s Joint Center for Biomedical Research at Fudan University in Shanghai, and a joint venture in Agro-biotechnology at Peking University. Richard Levine, the president of Yale, and a noted economist with an expertise in ‘campus internationalization’ (The Great Brain Race, by Ben Wildavsky, Princeton University Press, 2010, p. 32) is now taking the next logical step, by opening up a satellite campus with National University of Singapore. While this plan received little concern from Yale Alumni, many Yale faculty members have voiced issues about the ‘repressive regime’ of Singapore and its inability to ensure academic freedom and non-discrimination—especially for homosexual faculty members.

One student who is applying to Yale National University College of Singapore makes his case at In essence, he sees great potential in a cross cultural, liberal arts, integrated curriculum. Further, he knows the race to educate the minds of the world is an international one. The spread of international satellite campuses is offering variety and perspectives never dreamt of before. This is just the beginning.

 국제적 캠퍼스의 바람이 분다.

  • 학문의 국제 시장화
  • NYU: 전 세계 9개의 캠퍼스
  • Yale과 National University of Singapore의 연계

Economist 9월23일자에는 카타르단체에서 Virginia Commonwealth Univeristy의 Tammi Moe교수가 전 세계를 여행하며 카타르의 역사를 모으는 노력을 하는 광고를 담고 있다.  카타르는 Virginia Commonwealth University의 국제 위성캠퍼스가 있는 곳이다.  이곳에서는 미술교육이 전문이다.  아마도 이 대학이 Richmond, Virginia에 있는 지를 모르는 분도 있을 것이다.  한편, 카타르에는 수도 도하(Doha)의 교육도시 안에 이 대학이 또한 있다.

카타르뿐만 아니라 VCU대학은 많은 대학과 연계하고 있다: Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Georgetown University의 국제학교, Carnegie Mellon대학의 컴퓨터와 비즈니스대학 (이 대학은 Rwanda에 공과대학을 열 예정임), Texas A&M의 공과대학, Northwestern의 신문학과 등.

얼마 전까지는 국제 교환프로그램과 3학년의 외국연수가 주종을 이루었다.  지금은 이 정도로는 만족하지 않고, 위성 캠퍼스를 갖는 것이 외국과의 연계의 표준이 되고 있다.  고등교육의 공용어가 영어가 되면서, 미국, 영국, 호주 대학들은 무섭게 국제 입맛에 맞추려 애를 쓰고 있다.

NYU는 총장 John Sexton의 지휘아래 전 세계에 캠퍼스를 확장하고 있다.  Global network을 강조하면서, Buenos Aires, Florence, Accra, Ghana, London, Madrid, Paris, Prague, Singapore, United Arab Emirates의 Abu Dhabi로 뻗어 나가고 있다.  여러분이 NYU에 입학을 한다면, Manhattan의  Washington Square의 캠퍼스가 아니라, 런던이나 다른 외국에서 공부할 수도 있다.  많은 한국학생들이 이 대학에 입학했으나, 모두 1학년을 런던에서 공부했다.  대부분 과목들은 영어과목으로 writing, reading, discussion 이었다.

이런 캠퍼스에 Washington Square에 있는 교수진을 파견한다.  최고의 교수진들이 현재 2010년 가을에 시작한 Abu Dhabi 캠퍼스에서 가르치고 있다.  Abu Dhabi 캠퍼스는 정부의 Prince Zayed에게서 $50 million의 후원금을 받았다.  본교 NYU대학은 응시생의 1/3을 선발하며 우수한 학생들이 입학한다.  한편, NYU-Abu Dhabi 캠퍼스는 NYU입학심사관이 선발하며 9,048명 중에서 150명을 선발하였으며, 이는 1.7%에 해당한다.  시험성적은 critical reading, 715; math, 730이 평균이다.  입학생들은 고향방문 비행기표를 포함하는 $62,000에 해당하는 장학금을 받는다.  이 대학에 관해 연구할 가치가 있다 (‘NYU’s Perilous Adventure in AbuDhabi,

예일대학은 수년간 Chinese research universities와 연계하여 연구하고 있다.  두 개의 중요 프로젝트는 Fudan University in Shanghai와 Joint Center for Biomedical Research와 Peking University와의 Agro-biotechnology실험연구이다.  예일대의 총장, Richard Levine은 캠퍼스의 국제화를 위해 National University of Singapore와 연계하여 위성 캠퍼스를 열고자 한다 (The Great Brain Race, by Ben Wildavsky, Princeton University Press, 2010, p. 32).  한편, 예일 동창회와 교수진은 싱카폴의 억압적인 정부를 걱정하며, 학문의 자유와 비차별 (특히 동성애 교수에 대한)을 염려하고 있다.

 Yale National University College of Singapore에 응시하는 한 학생은 본인의 경우를 설명하고 있다(  핵심은 다문화적 인문과학과 통합적인 커리쿨럼 안에서 무한한 가능성을 내다보고 있다.  더욱이, 시대는 국제화 그 자체이다.  국제 위성캠퍼스의 확산은 다양성을 제공하며, 과거에는 생각도 못했던 관점이다.  이제 출발인 셈이다.

“Why Carnegie Mellon [or any other school you are applying to]?"

 “Why Carnegie Mellon [or any other school you are applying to]?"

Look at the following prompts from some of this year’s supplements to the Common Application:

“…explain why you have chosen Carnegie Mellon?”

“Tell us how you will utilize the academic programs in the College of Arts and Sciences [Cornell University]?”

“Write about subjects and learning situations that interest you most, and how you intend to use your autonomy here [University of Rochester]?”

 They are all asking pretty much the same question:  What do you expect to gain by attending our school?

The Academic Index (AI)

The Academic Index (AI)

Thirteen years ago, Michelle Hernandez, a former assistant director of admissions at Dartmouth College, wrote her groundbreaking work on the selective school admission process, A is for Admission.  The book contained a revelation about the existence of the academic index that is used prominently by seven of the eight Ivy League schools to rate applicants.

Colleges and the Financial Crisis

Colleges and the Financial Crisis

Few of us have escaped the economic impact of what some economists are calling the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression. The colleges haven't escaped either.  Many, whether public or private, are more vulnerable than you might suppose. It's a good idea to be aware of how they will be affected, especially if you're planning to join their campuses either this fall or next.