The Critical Role of Recommendations

To gain admission to a four-year institution outside the University of California, or California State University systems, will require recommendations. Generally, one of these recommendations will come from your high school guidance counselor, and usually, two, or possibly three teachers. There are, of course, variations on what type of recommendations schools might want; Dartmouth and Davidson College, for instance, request a recommendation from one of your peers. Duke and Smith College even request a parental recommendation. Regardless of the number or kinds of recommendations you’ll need, don’t discount their importance.

Go Midwest Young Man

Horace Greeley, the editor of the New York Tribune in 1871 told RL Sanderson, a correspondent, to go West, ‘where men are wanted, and where employment is not bestowed as alms.’ Had Mr. Greeley been around today, and the question was finding solid educational opportunities, he might well have altered his direction to the Midwest.

Grade Inflation

Grade Inflation

In the September/October 2013 Yale Alumni Magazine, an article, ‘Grade Expectations,’ notes that in 1963 10% of the grades given by Yale College were As; today’ 62% are.

This phenomenon is not, by any measure, limited to Yale. Across all campuses, 43% of the letter grades awarded were As. Grade inflation is so rampant that a former Duke Professor of geophysics, Stuart Rojstaczer, created a website, www.gradeinflation.com and is now on the frontlines of battling this academic cancer.

School Year Plan—Why the Type of School Year Plan might be important to you


  • Semester Plan
  • Quarter, or Trimester Plan
  • 4-1-4 Plans, How They Work
  • Block Plan
  • Special Plans: K-Plan

 “The Sizing up Survey” in the Fiske Guide to Colleges asks a number of preference questions to help students figure out good college matches: location, setting, size, cost, athletics, extracurricular, public vs. private, campus culture, academics, and ‘other factors.’ Unfortunately, in certain areas, especially ‘academics’, many students not only don’t have any answers, they don’t even have a clue what they’re looking for, nor do they have much time to contemplate what an ideal learning experience might be. One area to get a grasp of ‘academics,’ beyond whether the school has general education courses, a core curriculum, or distribution requirements, is to know how colleges divvy up their school year, and how these various divisions might jive with learning styles.  

The traditional curriculum, found at most universities-including 7 of the 8 Ivy League schools, is the semester system. Typically a semester is 15-17 weeks with each semester containing 4 to 5 courses. A number of these colleges start the academic year in mid to late August, but they do end the year earlier, usually around mid-May, allowing students to get a jump on internships or summer jobs. There also is a 2-3 week break around Christmas. A key benefit of the semester system is if students get behind in their classes, there is sufficient time to catch up. However, for procrastinators, the semester system can cover up a lot of waste and inefficiencies.

The quarter system, which is also known as the trimester system, divides the school year into three quarters, and usually has a summer quarter as well. Each quarter is around 10 weeks, and usually includes 3-4 classes. The quarter system, however, moves rapidly. Within weeks of starting a class, students are already preparing for mid-terms. Get behind or mess up an assignment, and there is not much time to compensate. All the University of California campuses, except Berkeley, are on the quarter system. Stanford and Dartmouth are as well, with Dartmouth requiring all undergraduates to attend at least one summer quarter sometime in their career.

The 4-1-4 program is the traditional semester program with 4-month semesters on either side of January, which is 1 month set aside to take one or two classes, study abroad, or perform an internship. A number of schools including Middlebury (VT), MIT, Williams (MA), and the University of San Diego have 4-1-4 academic years. One concern, which some students voice, is the costliness of the January term for, at the most, only two classes.

The Block Plan allots 4-5 weeks for students to immerse themselves in one subject. Cornell College (Iowa) adopted the block plan in 1978. Colorado College is also a practitioner. While some subjects such as computer science (particularly programming), social sciences, and humanities, are well attuned to block study, for math, science, or foreign languages, should students not understand a concept, or miss a day, they can get seriously behind, and with only 3-4 weeks, never catch up.  

Kalamazoo College’s K-Plan is a special course of study that features experiential learning, or "learning-by-doing." Nearly 20% of all classes, a significant portion of the coursework, are: internships and externships, study abroad programs, senior projects, and in service-learning, which is volunteering and working within the community. This takes what is learned in class and immediately applies it to the real world. Some students learn best through application—this is a good program of study for such learners.  

There are many approaches to curriculum at the university level. By the way, a list of the colleges which use these various curricula can be found at http://www.internationalcounselor.org/archives/1877. Considering which might best fit your learning style: semester, trimester, 4-1-4, block plan, or a more hands on approach to learning, where classroom theories are constantly being put to the test, warrants thought. If you find a university that acknowledges your learning style and builds upon it, you’ve probably found a good place to learn and succeed—and that’s what good college matches are all about.  

대학 학제: 여러분에게 중요한 이유

  • 일년 2 학기(semester)
  • 4학기(quarter), 또는 3학기 (trimester)
  • 4-1-4 학제
  • 블록(Block)
  • 특별: K-Plan

대학입학안내서 Fiske Guide to Colleges의 ‘대학 조사하기’(The Sizing up the Survey)에는 학생이 본인에게 맞는 대학을 찾도록 여러 가지 질문을 던지고 있다: 위치, 전경, 크기, 가격, 운동, 특활, 공립 혹은 사립, 캠퍼스 문화, 학업, 그 외 다른 요소들.  불행히도 학업적인 면에 있어서 많은 학생들은 답을 갖고 있지 않으며, 더욱이 각자가 무엇을 원하는지, 어떤 이상적인 교육경험에 대해 충분히 생각할 시간이 없다.  학교의 교양과정이나 핵심 교과과정이나 요구조건 등을 고려하기 전에 고려할 학업에 대한 한 영역은 그 학교의 학제를 아는 것이며, 어떻게 본인의 학습 스타일과 맞추는가 이다.

아이비리그의 8개교 중 7대학이 택하는 전통적인 교과과정은 2학기(semester)제 이다.  한 학기가 보통 15-17주이며, 4-5과목을 수강한다.  많은 대학들이 8월 중순에 시작하고 5월 중순에 마치며, 학생들이 여름 직업이나 인턴쉽을 가질 수 있다.  또한 2-3주의 크리스마스 휴식이 있다.  가장 좋은 점은 학생들이 뒤처지더라도 충분히 따라잡을 시간을 가질 수 있다.  그러나 미루는 학생들은 많은 시간을 낭비하며 비효율적이다.

쿼터제는 흔히 3학기제이며, 3개의 쿼터로 나뉘어지고 보통 여름 쿼터도 있다.  각 쿼터는 10주이며, 보통 3-4과목을 수강한다.  한편, 쿼터제는 빨리 지나간다.  수업이 시작되자마자 학생들은 중간고사를 준비한다.  뒤처지면 과제준비는 엉망이 되며, 회복할 시간이 없다.  University of California는 Berkeley만 빼고 모두 쿼터제이다.  Stanford와 Dartmouth역시 이 제도이며, Dartmouth는 모든 학부생에게 적어도 한번은 여름학기를 수강하도록 한다.

4-1-4프로그램은 1월 전후로 4개월의 학기제이며, 한 달은 1-2과목을 study abroad로 듣거나 인턴쉽을 하도록 하는 2학기제 이다.  Middlebury(VT), MIT, Williams (MA), University of San Diego등은 4-1-4 학제이다.  한편, 학생들은 1월에 2과목만 듣는 것은 낭비라고 말한다.

Block Plan은 한 과목을 4-5주에 집중하도록 한다.  Cornell College(Iowa)는 1978년에 이 제도를 도입했다.  Colorado College도 실험 중에 있다.  컴퓨터 공학(프로그래밍), 사회과학, 인문학은 block study에 잘 맞는 반면, 수학, 과학, 외국어는 학생들이 개념을 이해하지 못하거나, 하루를 빠지면, 뒤쳐져서 결코 따라가지 못하게 된다.

Kalamazoo College의 K-Plan은 경험 학습, 즉 ‘learning-by-doing’의 특성을 갖춘 특별과정이다.  모든 과목의 20%정도가 다음과 같은 것들을 요구한다: 인턴쉽, externship, 해외학습, 지역사회에서 일하기 등.  교실에서 배운 것을 바로 현장에 적용하도록 한다.  어떤 학생들은 현장에서 더 잘한다.  이 프로그램은 그런 학생들에게 잘 맞다.

대학에는 교과과정에 여러 가지 방법들이 있다.  대학의 다양한 교과과정에 대해서는 http://www.internationalcounselor.org/archives/1877에 잘 나와있다.  여러분의 학습스타일을 고려하여, 2학기제, 3학기제, 4-1-4제, 혹은 실습위주 제도를 시험하여 고려하길 바란다.  여러분의 학습스타일에 맞는 대학을 찾아서 간다면, 아마도 잘 배우고 성공적인 곳이 될 것이다—이 점이 바로 대학을 잘 고르는 것이다.

Work Experience and the College Admissions Process


  •  Present any work experience on your application proudly
  •  For potential undergraduate business majors, all work experience is applicable

“All work experience—even if it’s working in a convenience store—is life experience and involves responsibility. We value all of it…”  Karl Furstenberg, Dartmouth College (How to Get Into the Top Colleges, Richard Montauk and Krista Klein, Prentice Hall, New York, p. 282)

If you have gained any kind of work experience over your high school years, broadcast it across all you applications proudly. Why wouldn’t you? Even if, as mentioned above, it is a menial job, it shows that you understand how to sell your service to others, have discipline, time management skills, a solid work ethic, and have learned something about the real world, working with people and solving—in some form or another—real world problems. Few schools discount such efforts; Dartmouth, we know, lauds them.

You should be even more emphatic about highlighting your work experience if you plan to major in an undergraduate business program, and a lot of students are: business degrees represented over a fifth of baccalaureates awarded last year. Among the colleges that should be pleased to note your work experience (even if you’re mechanically clicking away at a register in an In-N-Out Burger) include Wharton, Emory, UC Berkeley, NYU Stern(even though the last three don’t admit undergraduates into their business programs till junior year) Notre Dame, Lehigh or Babson…

Not to belabor the point, but how in the world could anyone dream of studying business as an undergraduate without work experience? How could you begin to understand marketing, operations, accounting, let alone finance or management, without at least a passing familiarity with how the world of work operates on a first hand basis? It’s comparable to wanting to be pre-med without ever having shadowed a doctor, participated in any sort of scientific research, or worked in some capacity in a hospital. Familiarity and practice usually spark true interest; rarely is interest spontaneous. If there is no connection between what an applicant claims of interest and prior pursuits—it will be hard for the admissions office to find such an applicant credible—and that is the death knell for any application.

For the high stakes applicant wishing admission into a highly selective school, there might be some hesitation if a work experience doesn’t hint of opportunities for personal growth. Then, however, the question becomes how many work experiences for high school students allow for growth and development once basic skills have been mastered, or avail them with contacts for future job prospects in a field of interest?  Not many such positions exist unless your friends or family are extremely well connected.  There are exorbitantly expensive internships that might avail an applicant some seemingly unique opportunities, such as a two-week micro finance project in Bangladesh, but many admissions offices will see them for what they are: parent financed and packaged college essay fodder.

Obviously, if you must work to support yourself and your family, then there isn’t a college in the world that will not acknowledge your situation and respect your efforts, regardless of whatever major you’re planning to declare. Moreover, if you’re working substantial hours, colleges will not expect to see much extracurricular activity on the application.  The one thing, however, that you might try to do, in whatever job you have, is to see if you can gain any position of leadership. Even if you’re working at a MacDonald’s, possibly you can assist with scheduling, or close the restaurant, or help train. Rising from within the ranks indicates discipline, promise, and drive. Every college wants that type of person in its class.

Most jobs, certainly most jobs available to most high school students, will not be stepping stones for becoming the Chairman of Google, or even Yahoo. Most are tedious, dull, repetitive, or mind-numbing experiences. Honestly, even among the most dynamic adults, much of their work is dull and, at times, wearisome, but it must be performed and performed well—that’s why it's work. Don’t be afraid to mention your work experience on any of your applications accurately and honestly. It shows your character better than many essays and most recommendations ever will.


학에 미치는 일한 경험 

  • 어떤 일이든 자랑스럽게 제시하라.
  • 비즈니스를 전공한다면 필수이다.

 “일한 모든 경험-편의점에서 일했을지라도-은 인생경험이며, 책임감을 동반한다.  그러므로 우리학교는 높이 평가한다….”고 Dartmouth 대학의 Karl Furstenberg는 말한다(How to Get Into the Top Colleges, Richard Montauk and Krista Klein, Prentice Hall, New York, p. 282).     

여러분이 만약 고교 때 일한 경험이 있다면, 자랑스럽게 쓰길 바란다.  위에서도 언급했지만, 어떤 하찮은 일이라도, 다른 사람에게 서비스를 제공해야 하며, 훈련이 필요하며, 시간조절과 직업윤리와 실세계에서 무엇인가는 배웠으며, 사람과 더불어 일하면서 크고 작은 문제를 해결하려 애썼다는 것을 보여준다.  어떤 대학도 이런 노력을 경시하지 않으며, Dartmouth에서는 찬양을 보낸다.

만약 여러분이 비즈니스 전공을 하려 한다면, 일한 경험을 더 두드러지게 강조해야 한다.  많은 학생들이 그렇게 하고 있다.  작년 학사학위의 1/5가 비즈니스 전공이었다.  각 대학들은 여러분의 일한 경험을 높이 평가한다(비록 In-N-Out Burger의 계산대에서 계산만 했을지라도).  Wharton, Emory, UC Berkeley, NYU 대학들(물론 열거중 세 대학은 3학년까지 비즈니스 프로그램을 받지 않지만), 그리고 Notre Dame, Lehigh, Babson….등.

말할 필요도 없이, 세상 경험이 없으면서 어떻게 대학에서 비즈니스를 공부할 수 있겠는가?  일의 세계가 어떻게 돌아가는지 모르고서 파이낸스와 경영은 제쳐두고, 어떻게 마케팅, 운영, 회계를 이해할 수 있겠는가?  정말 새도우 닥터나 과학 리서치, 또는 병원에서의 경험없이 의과공부를 하겠다는 것과 비교할 수 있다.  친숙함과 실습은 진정한 흥미에서 온다; 아니면 즉흥적인 관심일 뿐이다.  응시생의 흥미와 이전의 관심사에 연결고리가 없다면, 입학심사관은 입시생을 믿기가 어렵고 떨어뜨릴 수 밖에 없다.

명문대를 지망하는 뛰어난 응시생들은 일 경험이 개인적인 성장의 기회를 줄 수 있을지를 망설인다.  이 질문은 고교생의 얼마나 많은 일 경험이 기초기술을 닦게하고 더 나아가 이 분야에서 미래의 직업과 관련이 될 것인가? 이다.  정말 친구관계나 가족과 연관되지 않다면, 그리 많은 자리가 없다.  과도한 비용이 드는 인턴쉽은 독특하게 보이지만, 많은 입학심사관은 부모의 재정으로 꾸려진 대학에세이 용도인 것을 눈치챈다.

분명한 점은 여러분이 자신과 가족을 돕기 위해 일할 수 밖에 없었다는 점이다.  그럴 때 전공과 상관없이 여러분의 형편을 고려하지 않고 여러분의 노력을 존경하지 않는 대학은 없다.  더욱이, 상당한 시간을 일을 했다면, 대학은 많은 특활을 기대하지 않는다.  한가지 고려할 점은 어떤 일을 했든 리더쉽을 배울 수 있는 지이다.  맥도날드에서 일을 해도 시간표 짜기, 가게 문닫기, 트레인시키기 등에서 훈련, 약속, 지속을 배우는 것이다.  모든 대학이 이런 사람을 원한다.

고교생에게 가능한 대부분의 많은 일들이 Google이나 Yahoo의 사장이 되는 첫걸음은 아닐 것이다.  대부분의 일은 지루하고 재미없고 반복적이고 머리가 필요없는 경험이다.  솔직히 말해서 어른이 하는 대부분의 직업도 재미없고 피곤할 뿐이지만, 이 일이 필요하고 이루어져야한다-즉 직업의 원리이다.  여러분이 일한 것을 정확하게 정직하게 표현하는 것을 겁낼 필요없다.  이것은 에세이나 추천장보다 더 많이 여러분을 설명해줄 수 있다. 

College Rankings Considered

  • Figuring out what the College Rankings Rank
  • Using a Professor Rating website to your advantage

There might not be enough corn and oil to satisfy demand, but there sure seems to be more than enough college ranking lists available to satisfy just about any taste. The most famous, of course, is the US News and World Report ranking. US News has turned ranking colleges into a major profit center for its magazine, with 2,000,000 subscribers, 9,000 newsstand buyers, and over 20,000 of its college guide book users. If you don’t like US News and World Report’s perspective on admissions competitiveness, then you can always turn to: Barron’s, The College Prowler, Princeton Review, Kiplinger, Ordo Ludus College Ranking (which is Latin for “school ranking”) –you can find a fairly comprehensive listing of the college ranking services in Wikipedia, not only in the US, but worldwide,--by going to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/College_and_university_rankings.

A new ranking, however, warrants a look. It is from the Center for College Affordability & Productivity, (CCAP), a four-year old research institute located in Washington DC. It ranks colleges by how productive its students are: what do its students gain by attending the college in question for four years?  This should not be a novel idea, but, for whatever reason, it seems to be. It ranks schools by: the percentage of students that graduate (and this is also done by US News), the number of students that win Fulbright Travel Grants and Rhodes Scholarships upon graduation, the number that succeed in their chosen profession (which it tracks through Whos Who in America), the number that go on to gain graduate degrees and PhDs,  and by student evaluations of the institutions teachers posted on www.Ratemyprofessors.com.

This last criterion caught my interest, because, even in illustrious colleges with, supposedly, the most professional faculty, there are some teachers who perform below expectations. A recent example, Ms. Priya Venkatesan, an English composition instructor at Dartmouth, which is ranked #10 by the CCAP, sued her students and filed an intellectual distress lawsuit against the college, when her lecture on eco-feminism was not well received by her students. (Dartmouth Review, May 2008; Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece by Joseph Rago) Obviously, that would have been a class worth missing.  Unfortunately, Ms. Venkatesan has transferred to Northwestern University as a Research Scholar, so she doesnt appear in Ratemyprofessors.com. Ironically, another Priya Venkatesan can be found on the site; she teaches a nutrition class at Pasadena City College in California.

Another point worth mentioning about the Ratemyprofessors.com site, is that when you think about researching a school or a professor, it can give you extremely useful information. It gives you direct feedback from students, who are currently attending a school that youre interested in possibly applying to, about a teacher in a department that might, possibly, be your major. Ratemyprofessors.com is an eleven year-old site with over 6.8 million student-generated evaluations. That, of course, does not mean that the student evaluations it displays are flawless, nothing is, but it will certainly give a sense about the teaching capabilities of teachers that might, in the future, have a direct impact on your education. When I visited the website, I did a search over the UCLA teacher list. I was looking for a teacher with at least six reviews, and who had received a ‘chili pepper’, meaning he or she is ‘hot’. I found Charles Batten, who is in the English Department, had 12 reviews; apparently he teaches very well, the students enjoy his discussions, though he seemed, to several of the student reviewers, a little ‘unapproachable.’

The actual rankings from the CCAP, are quite a bit different from the US News and World Report. You may take a look at them yourself at:  http://www.centerforcollegeaffordability.org/uploads/2010_Liberal_Arts.pdf.  Where they really diverge is among the ‘liberal arts schools’, especially in the top 15. No matter how you choose to use these rankings, just keep in mind that what they measure might, or might not, be of interest to you. They’re only as useful as your understanding of them. Where they might prove useful, is in bringing to your attention schools that might never have been discovered elsewhere.

대학 순위결정

  • 대학순위 결정 단체를 고려해야 한다.
  • 교수등급을 고려하는 싸이트를 참고하라.

옥수수와 기름의 양이 수요를 충분히 만족시킬 수 없을지라도, 대학순위에 있어서만은 각종 구미에 맞을 수 있는 순위자료들이 있다.  먼저, 가장 알려진 것으로는 US News and World Report의 순위이다.  이 잡지는 이 자료 덕분에 200만의 정기구독자와 9000부의 가판판매, 그리고 대학안내를 필요로하는 2만여명의 고객으로 인해 주 수입원을  올리고 있다.  만약 US News and World Report의 입학안내의 관점이 못마땅하게 느껴지면, 다른 곳으로 눈을 돌리면 된다.  Barron’s, The College Prowler, Princeton Review, Kiplinger, Ordo Ludus College Ranking를 구입하거나, Wikipedia의 홈피에서 세계 어디에서나 종합적인 대학순위를 파악할 수 있다. 


여기 순위에 주목할 필요가 있다.  이 자료는 Washington DC 에 위치한 4년된 연구기관인 CCAP에서 발표한 것이다.  이 순위는 학생들이 얼마나 생산적인가에 초점이 되어있다: 학생들이 4년간 무엇을 얻는가?  이 질문이 새로운 것은 아니지만, 별로 중요시되지 않았다.  자세한 기준은 다음을 고려하고 있다: 졸업생 비율(US News에서도 다룸), Fullbright Travel Grants 와 Rhodes 장학금을 수여받은 학생수, 특정분야에서 지명도를 받는 수(Who’s Who in America 참고함), 졸업후 석.박사 학위취득자 수, 학생들의 교수평가 (www.Ratemyprofessors.com)

여기에서 고려하는학생들의 교수평가(Ratemyfrofessors.com)’ 기준은 매우 흥미를 끈다심지어 명성높은 교수중에도 형편없는 수업으로 기대에 못미치는 경우가 종종있기 때문이다최근, CCAP 에서 11위에 등급된 Dartmouth 대학의 영어강사인 Ms. Priya Venkatesan 자신의 ‘eco-feminism’ 강의를 학생들이 참석하지 않음으로 자신이 ‘intellectual distress(지적 고통)’ 감수해야 했다고 학생들과 대학을 법정에 고소하였다(Dartmouth review, May 2008; Wall Street Journal, Op-Ed piece by Joseph Rago참고).  분명히 수업에 빠질 만한 이유가 있었을 것이다그후, Ms. Venkatesa 교수는 Northwestern Univ. 연구교수로 전직함으로 이제 Ratemyprofessors.com 에서는 찾아볼 없게 되었다그러나, 다른 동명이인 Priya Venkatesan 찾을 있는데. 교수는 Pasadena City College에서 영양학을 가르치고 있다.

Ratemyfrofessors.com 대학이나 교수에 대해 연구할 아주 유용한 정보를 제공한다여러분이 선택한 대학의 선택한 학과의 특정 교수에 대한 학생들의 직접 반응을 접할 있다 홈피는 680만명의 학생의 평가를 싣는 9년된 싸이트이다물론 학생의 반응이 결점이 없는 것은 아니지만, 교수의 교수능력에 대해 있는 정보를 주며, 이것은 배울 학생에게는 영향력을 미칠 있다이곳에서 나는 UCLA 교수들 중에서멋쟁이(chili pepper=hot)’ 뽑힌 영문과의Charles Batten 대한 12반응을 살펴볼 , 교수가 가르치며 학생들의 수업참여도가 높음을 있었다 (몇몇 반응은이해하기 어려움이었지만).

CCAP 평가는 US News and World Report와는 다름을 있다:  http://www.centerforcollegeaffordability.org/uploads/2010_Liberal_Arts.pdf특히 큰 차이는 ‘liberal arts schools’의 15등 까지의 등급이다.  여러분이 여러 기관의 등급을 참고할 때, 여러분은 비교하면서 고려해야 한다.  여러분의 관심에 따른 등급을 살펴볼 때, 여러 기관을 고려하는 것이 여러분에게는 유용하다.

Dealing with the Costs of College

  • The Art of Leveraging your application
  • Don't hesitate to negotiate financial aid packages with colleges that have accepted you
Tuitions are slated to rise over the next years as public schools feel the pressure of state government belt tightening, and private schools encounter a drop off of funds. One remedy might be to apply to the service academies , which will cover all your costs and pay you a monthly stipend, or attend tuition-free schools (with some, such as Deep Springs, actually picking up all costs) .  Or, if you're lucky enough to gain admission to the most selective schools, you might find some incredible blue light specials: Stanford is eliminating tuition completely for students from families earning less than $100,000; Dartmouth & MIT are eliminating tuition for students from families earning less than $75,000; Harvard is implementing a descending payment scale for families earning less than $180,000. For families earning between $120,000 and 180,000, only 10% of their income will be paid to cover tuition; under $60,000, the family pays nothing. If, however, these alternatives do not fit into your college plans, don't despair. Now is a good time to start thinking about how you're going to leverage your application in the world of financial aid. No matter where you are in high school, there is one cardinal rule: get the best grades possible, and study for your standardized tests. Many schools, such as University of Nevada, Reno, award scholarships based on combinations of high standardized scores and GPAs. The higher your grades and test scores, the more options you will have to leverage your application Next, you need to apply to a lot of schools.  Look hard for schools where there might be a shortage of candidates with your type of qualities. If the school needs male trombone players, and it's a school of interest, get your application in.  Don't fall in love with one school and decide that you're going to apply Early Decision: if you do get in, your efforts to secure grants will be hampered. The admissions office does not have to negotiate very hard with you. It will, of course, give you enough to make attending affordable (or you can withdraw from the commitment), but the word 'affordable' has many definitions. Next, determine the total cost of attending each school on your list. One quick way to do this is to use College Navigator (https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/), which contains 'estimated student expenses' and detailed financial aid information. Knowing your student expenses, you then deduct your grants and scholarships to determine your out-of-pocket expenses. You also need to know, should you be offered any scholarships, what are the requirements to get them renewed for each year you attend. Some schools offer substantial grants for freshman year. Once in, however, the renewal of these scholarships sometimes becomes extremely difficult. Also be aware of how long it will take to get your degree. For example, if you're attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and planning to study engineering, in all likelihood it's going to take 5-6 years to get your degree, not the standard 4. Again, you can find out about retention and graduation rates on College Navigator. This fact needs to be considered when negotiating your financial aid package with the admissions office. The key to this exercise is to get a mix of colleges interested in your application. You want them to feel the heat of competition. Then, you want to compare their offers. Sure, Yale's director of student financial services, Caesar Storlazzi, will tell you Yale, "does not match awards from other schools." Yet, if you've been accepted, Yale wants you. Consequently, Mr. Storlazzi adds, "(after) seeing the copy of an award from another school (it) often enables us to review the Yale 'needs analysis' and ask questions of the family to help us in reviewing our calculation of the parents' contribution." (US News and World Report, September 7, 2007, "How to Leverage Your Aid" by Kim Clark)   In other words, they're ready to play ball. Ralph Becker Founder, Ivy College Prep LLC -------------------------------------- 대학 학자금 다루는 방법
  • 대학원서 활용의 예술
  • 입학된 대학과 재정보조 협상을 주저하지 말라
대학 등록금이 공립은 주정부의 재정압박으로 사립대학은 기금의 삭감으로 앞으로 몇 년간 계속 올라갈 것이다.  한가지 처방은 군복무 학교에 지원하는 것으로, 학비와 월 생활비까지 보장받는다.  아니면, 등록금-무료 대학(Deep Springs 대학에서는 모든 비용이 무료)에 다니는 것이다.  아니며, 운좋게도 명문대학에 입학하는 길이다.  아래의 명문대학들은 믿을 수 없는 밝은 빛을 비추어 준다: Stanford는 연소득 10만불이하의 가정의 자녀의 학비무료: Dartmouth & MIT에서는 연소득 7만5천불 이하의 가정의 자녀 학비무료; Harvard에서는 연소득 18만 이하의 가정의 학비를 비율로 삭감, 즉 12만에서 18만 소득 가정은 수입의 10%를 학비로 내지만, 6만이하의 가정은 전혀 학비를 내지않는다. 한편, 위와 같은 대안들이 여러분의 대학 계획에 들어있지 않더라도 너무 실망할 필요는 없다.  이제부터 재정보조를 위하여 여러분의 원서를 어떻게 활용할 것인지 생각해야 할 시기이다.  어느 고교에 재학 중이든지 한가지 주요한 규칙이 있다: 가능한한 좋은 학점을 받기와 표준고사 시험준비이다.  많은 대학들 (예: University of Nevada, Reno)은 학점과 시험성적을 합하여 장학금을 준다.  학점과 시험점수가 높으면 높을수록, 학자금을 받아낼 수 있는 선택은 많아진다. 다음, 많은 대학에 응시할 필요가 있다.  여러분과 같은 자질을 가진 응시자가 적은 학교를 애써서 찾아라.  만약 대학이 남자 트롬본주자를 필요로 하는데, 여러분이 맞다면, 원서를 넣어라.  한 학교에 집착해서 얼리 디시젼으로 응시하지 말아라: 합격이 되면, 그랜트를 받으려는 여러분의 노력은 무산될 수 있다.  이때, 입학사정실은 여러분과 협상할 필요가 없다.  물론 여러분이 대학을 다닐 수 있도록 도울 수 있지만, 돕는다는 의미도 다양하다. 다음, 여러분의 리스트에 있는 각 대학의 전체 비용을 계산하여라.  알아보는 빠른 방법은 College Navigator(https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/)이다.  대학에 드는 재정보조 정보와 ‘평균 학생비용’이 나와있다.  전체 비용을 알고서 그랜트와 장학금을 제하면 개인 지불비용을 알 수 있다.  또한 만약 여러분이 장학금을 받게되었다면, 매년 받기위한 자격도 미리 알아두는 것이 유용하다.  그러나 한번 받으면, 계속 받기란 매우 어렵다. 또한 학위를 받는데 걸리는 시간을 염두에 두어야 한다.  예를 들면, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo에서 공학을 공부한다면, 4년이 아닌 적어도 5-6년은 걸릴 것이다.  College Navigator에서 재학과 졸업률을 알아 볼 수 있다.  이런 사실도 재정문제와 더불어 고려되어야 한다. 이런 과정의 열쇠는 대학이 여러분의 원서에 흥미를 갖게 하는 것이다.  여러분이 대학이 경쟁을 느끼게 만들 수도 있다.  그 다음 각 대학들이 제공하는 장학금을 비교하는 것이다.  Yale대학의 학생재정담당관인, Caesar Storlazzi는 ‘다른 대학에서 제공하는 장학금과 상응하는 상이 없음’이라고 할 수 있다.  그러나, 여러분이 합격되었다면, 예일대에서는 여러분을 원한다.  그래서 Mr. Storlazzi는 “다른 대학이 제공하는 장학금을 살펴보고, 경제지원 ‘필요성 분석’을 위하여 가정환경을 분석하고 부모님의 재정능력을 고려할 수 있다”고 덧붙였다.  다시 말해, 여러분은 게임을 할 준비를 해야 한다.

Researching Colleges

The importance of researching colleges and how to do it.
  • Strategies essential in conducting research
  • Resources useful for the task
One part of the admissions process that is often a bit neglected, is doing the research on potential college fits. Many students, and their parents, pull together a preliminary list of colleges based mainly upon college ratings, rankings, reputations, and opinions; that's human nature. But there is more to the research process than graduating near the top of your class and immediately applying to Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and then UCLA and UC Berkeley as your "safety schools". Today every applicant to a selective US college is facing stiff competition; most knowledgeable students and their families recognize this reality. Whether you believe it or not, even if you're the next Albert Einstein or Marie Curie, it's not a bad idea to research colleges of interest.  Furthermore, while you're going through the research process, it is critical to prepare a list of "reach" colleges-colleges that will be a challenge to gain entry, "target" colleges-colleges where you stand a good chance of acceptance, and "safety" colleges-colleges that will admit you, with very good assurance.  This coming admissions season will be the most competitive ever. The demographics confirm it. So, looking at a range of schools, and really getting to know your short list of the most promising and appealing is not just a good idea, but an essential strategy for dealing with what's ahead. Beyond these strategic necessities, there are some other reasons why research is now more important than ever before. Even if you're lucky enough to gain acceptance into your college picks, tuitions, fees, books, and room and board are becoming substantial expenses. Even if expenses are reduced through grants, or 'in state' status, the time a student invests to gain an education is not trivial: nowadays, in many institutions, taking 5-6 years to finish school is becoming less and less unusual. So, not knowing what you're getting into before you get there is plain foolish. To create a preliminary list of colleges upon which to research, some key questions need to be answered: location/setting-which regions of the country are of interest--; campus life-what school size is appealing, is it possible to live on-campus?; academic resources and requirements-does the student prefer a specialized program of study, e.g. pre-med, engineering, fine arts, or liberal arts?; extracurricular activities-study abroad programs, job internships through alumni networks, theater or intramural sports...Answering these types of questions is a good start. One standard college guide, Fiske Guide to Colleges 2008, has a "Sizing up the Survey," which you can use to guide you through this step. Assuming your preferences have led you to produce a preliminary list of schools, and remember, this is only a preliminary list, you can always make whatever changes you wish, now you are ready to get started. The first step is to grab a reliable, current guide, and read through, completely, a description of the university in question. The guide I mentioned above, The Fiske Guide, is a good source for a number of the leading selective schools. In addition, a very useful website, "College Navigator,"  mentioned previously in this column, will also give you a lot of the basic information you need to determine how well a school matches up with a student's needs. Here you'll find general information (including the school's mission statement), estimated expenses (that are pretty accurate, as this site is the government agency that gathers the FAFSA information), financial aid, enrollment, admissions, retention (what percentage of students actually graduate in 4, 5, or 6 years), programs and majors (and the number of students taking each major), and campus security. With this information, you a have a good foundation, but you still need to get more information to gain a better grasp of the school. Go to the school's website and take a general tour.  Let's assume that Dartmouth College is on your list. Then you'll want to go to Dartmouth's general information site, http://www.dartmouth.edu/apply/generalinfo/.  Here you'll find all the basic information, but there is a lot more that might give you a better feel of the campus and the students. There is a virtual tour, both video and still images, and blogs by current students, to gain an even better insight into the daily life of a student. If you have a specific interest in a department within Dartmouth, you can also go to its news site and sign up for a newsletter: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~news/features/sites/ .  There's even a site for Dartmouth experts, with biographies, one of whom, David Kang, is a noted expert on North Korea.  One other area to examine, if you're looking at a specific department, such as Physics or French, is the list of majors and their courses. This will give you a good idea of the course selection and major requirements. If you have specific information you're attempting to glean from a site, and it's not readily found, you can always enlist Google University: (http://www.google.com/options/universities.html), which allows a student to a search over whichever university website she wishes, using the Google Search engine. Sometimes, because the breadth of information available on colleges can seem virtually limitless, it’s not a bad idea to pull together a checklist with the specific information you want to find out about various schools, before you begin an extensive search. This will also allow you to customize your search to specific interests, and make the process that much more focused. Let’s assume you’re interested in MIT, and have a strong interest in studying physics. You can actually take a MIT Physics class on their website. MIT is part of OpenCourseWare, a group of universities that supplies complete courses, videos of lectures, booklists, tests, syllabi, all free, on-line. If you mention, on your application, should you decide to apply, that you have already worked through their 1999 class on Classical Physics, it tells the admissions office that you have done your homework and are more prepared to take advantage of the full scope of activities that MIT has to offer. By the way, the link to the physics class is: http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Physics/8-01Physics-IFall1999/CourseHome/index.htm. Your aim is to arrive at a list of 7-8 colleges (with the state university systems counting as one) containing reaches, targets, and safeties. Your research will lead you to schools, regardless of selectivity, that you like a lot.  I have had students that were so taken with one of  their “safety” schools, that it became difficult for them to choose where to go, when they were accepted to all of their schools. More importantly, don’t think this is a useless exercise. Researching your future is an invaluable skill that will come into play throughout your life (e.g. graduate schools, job searches).  So, do it well and look beyond the famous colleges: there are over 2,000 four-year schools awaiting your investigation. You might just fine some gems if you venture off the beaten track. Ralph Becker Founder, Ivy College Prep LLC -----------------------------------