Apr 28, 2012

William & Mary Inches up Tuition While Virginia Tech Stands Back

University of Mary Washington
Yesterday’s meeting of the William & Mary Board of Visitors ended with the announcement of a relatively small tuition increase for 2012-13.

Tuition and mandatory fees will go up by $438 or 3.3 percent for in-state students.  Out-of-state tuition and mandatory fees will increase $1,382 or 3.8 percent.

“This is the lowest percentage increase for Virginia undergraduates in more than a decade,” said WM President Taylor Reveley, in a message on tuition and fees.  “With the addition of room and board for those undergraduates who live on campus, the total expense in 2012-13 will be $22,888 for in-state students and $46,663 for out-of-state students.”

The William & Mary decision to ease up on tuition increases places UVa firmly in the unenviable position of “most expensive” in the Commonwealth for both resident and nonresident students.  Add on UVa’s tuition differentials for the business, engineering, and nursing programs and the gap in total tuition and fees becomes even greater—well beyond Governor Bob McDonnell’s recent request for increases below 3 percent.

But William & Mary and UVa aren’t the only state institutions to ignore the Governor’s request.  The University of Mary Washington is increasing tuition and fees by 4.7 percent for in-state students.  The total cost for students living on campus will be $18,086—$812 more than last year.  For out-of-state students, tuition is increasing 4.8 percent to $30,400.

In other areas of the state, the tuition-setting process continues to proceed slowly.  The James Madison Board of Visitors didn’t take up the issue at their April 13th meeting, leaving students to speculate on how much they will be asked to pay next year.

At Christopher Newport University, which has increased its tuition by 50 percent since the 2004-05 academic year—the highest percent change among all Virginia schools—the Board of Visitors will consider tuition and fees at its May 4th meeting, several days after the May 1st deadline for student enrollment decisions.

And in Blacksburg, a Virginia Tech Board of Visitors meeting on 2012-13 came to an abrupt end with no decision.  After a presentation by university Chief Financial Officer Dwight Shelton on increases to tuition and fees—including a 4.7 increase for in-state students—the Board went into closed session and adjourned after an hour of debate. The board did not set a date to vote on revised tuition recommendations.

Apr 27, 2012

Colleges, Exhibits, and Authors at the 2nd Annual USA Science & Engineering Festival

In case you missed the email, the 2nd annual USA Science & Engineering Festival will take place this weekend, April 28-29, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Billed as the “largest celebration of science in the US,” the Festival will feature over 3,000 interactive exhibits, more than 100 stage shows, and 33 author presentations at a science and engineering “Book Fair.”   In addition, high school students will find special exhibits contained within a “Career Pavilion” that will include a college fair, a job fair, and a “meet the scientist/engineer” networking area.

 “One of the focuses of the Festival is to impress upon students and their families the many exciting career opportunities available with the best job prospects for the future in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields,” said Larry Bock, Executive Director of the USA Science & Engineering Festival. “Many of the top employers in the U.S. are participating in our Career Pavilion to engage with prospective future employees and tell them about the wide array of great jobs available to them if they pursue a career in one of the STEM fields.”

The CareerPavilion also includes opportunities for students to learn about degree programs and meet representatives from colleges including Johns HopkinsUniversity Applied Physics Laboratory, Purdue University, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Michigan Technological University, The Pennsylvania State University, George Washington University – School of Engineering and AppliedSciences, University of Georgia, Georgia Institute of Technology, George Mason University, Georgetown University, Polytechnic Institute of NYU, Vanderbilt University, VCU School of Engineering, and many more.

And in the STEM Programs Exposition, students can learn about scholarships, internships, mentorships, as well as after-school programs targeted to building a science and research resume before they even get to college.

A few major “science celebrities” will also be on hand at the Festival including Bill Nye the Science Guy, Mayim Bialak from the Big Bang Theory, and Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman from “MythBusters.”  Book Fair authors include Robin Cook, Joel Auchenbach, William Gurstelle, Homer Hickam, Ken Denmead, Theodore Gray, Lisa Randall, and many more.

It’s all free and open to the public.  Pre-registration is encouraged but not necessary.  

Win a $10,000 Nordstrom Scholarship

Savannah College of Art and Design
Once again, Nordstrom is reaching out to high school juniors.

Acknowledging that educational funding has become a “greater challenge than ever,” Nordstrom is funding 80 $10,000 college scholarships designed to recognize students across the country for exceptional academic achievement and community involvement.

 A chain of upscale department stores located in 28 states, Nordstrom is extraordinarily committed to the communities in which the company does business. “Helping students achieve their dreams of higher education is a meaningful way” to show this commitment.

Limited to students residing in specified states and the District of Columbia, these scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic achievement, awards/honors, leadership, school activities, community/volunteer activities, financial and employment history.

To qualify, students must:
  • Be a high school junior
  • Live and attend high school in an eligible state (including Maryland, Virginia, and DC)
  • Have participated in community or volunteer activities
  • Have and maintain a cumulative unweighted GPA of at least 2.7 (on a 4.0 scale) throughout high school
  • Plan to apply for financial assistance to attend college
  • Be eligible for and plan to attend an accredited four-year college or university in the US
Applications must be completed online, and an online recommendation from a current high school official will be required by June 1st, for applicants who become semifinalists. The recommender will be asked to discuss how the applicant meets the selection criteria.

Key to winning the scholarship will be a thoughtful, well-written essay on one of three topics as well as a personal statement addressing a character-defining moment, cultural awareness, or a personal hardship or barrier overcome.

The Nordstrom scholarship application may take a little time to complete, so try to get started as soon as possible. It will be great practice for completing those pesky college applications next summer!

Note that applications must be submitted by no later than 5:00 p.m., Central Time, on May 1, 2012. Semi-finalists will be notified by email, and all finalists will be interviewed in person or via video conference.

This is an amazing opportunity for a student anticipating financial need, who has a proven track record of service to his or her community. More information and the complete application may be found on the Nordstrom website.

Apr 25, 2012

On the Road with the Heart of Ohio Tour (HOOT)

Marietta College
Heading into the heart of Ohio, 31 independent and school-based college counselors recently explored seven colleges and universities on a tour taking them from Cleveland to Athens and back.  Representing 14 states, including both Maryland and Virginia, the counselors acted as an “advance team” for their students and clients—attending information sessions, touring campuses, sampling the food, and otherwise soaking in the atmosphere at each college.

For the most part, all seven campuses were in the process of winding up the school year and libraries were packed with students studying for finals.  Several were either completing or just beginning a transition from quarters to semesters, in a move designed to facilitate transfers among state schools.  And almost all were continuing to consider applications for the fall of 2012.

Here is a little more of what the 31 counselors learned about each school:

John Carroll University is the home of the Tim Russert Department of Communication and Theatre Arts, a highly competitive school within JCU where students explore communication through radio and television, film, multimedia, journalism, public relations as well as organizational communication, rhetoric, public address, theatre, and performance.  A top honor is the NBC/John Carroll University “Meet the Press” Fellowship which is awarded to one graduating senior planning to pursue a career in political journalism.

Originally designed to be built in Arizona, the Kent State University campus is situated on 866 beautifully landscaped acres near both the Kent State University Airport and Golf Courses.  The Aeronautics Program includes majors in Aeronautical Studies, Aeronautical Systems, Air Traffic Control, Aviation Management, and Flight Technology.

The Ohio State University is one of 37 colleges and universities joining the Common Application for the first time for the upcoming application cycle beginning on August 1, 2012.  To celebrate, Ohio State will be offering  the newly-created “Eminence Scholars” program, which will provide full rides plus a $3000 stipend to 50 incoming freshmen.  Details are still being worked out, but the university has already committed $1.4 million to support the program.

Founded in 1847, Otterbein recently rebranded to university status.  Some of Otterbein’s “niche” programs include Equine Science, Actuarial Science, and a brand new program in Zoo and Conservation Science—one of only two such programs in the U.S.  As one of only six universities nationwide to earn a grant from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), Otterbein joins such universities as Georgetown and Tufts in recognition for innovative first year experience programs.

The first university in the Northwest Territory, Ohio University is the ninth oldest public university in the U.S.  Located on more than 1800 acres, the university houses students in 42 separate residence halls and one apartment complex located in clusters throughout the campus and boasts of 180 different “learning communities.”  The award-winning Ohio University Culinary Services employs over 1300 students and offers a production manager internship program where students may earn up to 10 undergraduate or graduate credits. 

Marietta College offers a unique opportunity to study petroleum engineering in a "college" environment.  Students benefit from smaller classes as compared with those at the large public universities offering the same degree, and seniors in the program have the opportunity to work through a comprehensive, integrated engineering design project.  The program is highly competitive and currently enrolls about 250 students from around the world.  New facilities at Marietta include the Rickey Science Center, the Anderson Hancock Planetarium, and a couple of beautiful new residence halls housing Marietta’s 1400 students.

Baldwin-Wallace College will transition to Baldwin-Wallace University on July 1, 2012.  Proudly test optional, Baldwin-Wallace is implementing a four-year graduation guarantee starting with the incoming freshman class of 2012—the first of its kind in Ohio.  Over the past four years, B-W has created 14 new “demand driven” degree programs including Digital Media and Design, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Public Health.  Every student is required to have a minor for graduation, and starting this year, all students will also have to have at least one experiential learning experience.  The B-W Conservatory is housed in a new and renovated facility and boasts of one of the best Musical Theatre programs in the country.

Apr 24, 2012

Local Colleges among 120 Vying for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence

The Aspen Institute recently released a list of 120 community colleges qualifying for the second annual Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.  This announcement kicks off a multi-step process for identifying a single institution to receive a $1 million award recognizing innovation and high levels of community college student success.

Local finalists making it to the next round of competition include Frederick Community College and Hagerstown Community College—both in Maryland.

In a comprehensive review of publicly available data, community colleges from 31 states demonstrated strong outcomes in three areas of student success:
  •  student success in persistence, completion, and transfer
  • consistent improvement in outcomes over time, and
  •  equity in outcomes for students of all racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
The Aspen Prize was introduced at the 2010 White House Summit on Community Colleges and is based on graduation rates, degrees awarded, student retention rates, and “equity in student outcomes.”  Site visits will also collect information through interviews with leadership, staff, faculty, students, and community partners.  Ten finalists are expected to be named in September.

Learn What It Takes to Prepare for Medical Careers at the NHMA Health Professional Recruitment Fair

If you’re a high school student interested in learning what it takes to prepare for medical school, you may want to attend the NHMA and AAMC Health Professional School Student Recruitment Lecture/Fair, scheduled for Saturday, April 28, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington DC.

Organized in partnership with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the fair will include opportunities to meet with medical school representatives and admissions staff.

In addition, you may attend a workshop (scheduled for 9:00 to 10:30) on how to get ready for the challenges of medical school, the application process, and how to finance a medical education.  On the panel were representatives from LIJ School of Medicine at Hofstra University, UCLA’s Geffen School of Medicine, Jefferson Medical College, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and the Texas A&M University Health Science Center.

Registration is not necessary. And counselors as well as parents are welcome to attend.

This is a great opportunity to learn more about navigating the path to medical school. For more information, visit the National Hispanic Medical Association website.

Apr 22, 2012

Celebrate Earth Day with Princeton Review's FREE Guide to Green Colleges

American University
Just in time for Earth Day, the Princeton Review has released the third annual edition of its unique FREE downloadable guidebook profiling the nation’s most environmentally responsible “green colleges.”

“The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges” reports on 320 US institutions and two in Canada demonstrating “strong commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.”

Developed in collaboration with the Center for Green Schools at the US Green Building Council (USGBC), the 232-page book can be downloaded free of charge from either the Princeton Review or Center for Green Schools websites.

Although colleges are listed alphabetically and not by rank, the Princeton Review salutes 16 schools with Green Ratings of 99 on its “Green Honor Roll.” Of the 24 local colleges and universities presented in the guide, only American University and Virginia Tech earned this distinction.

In addition to detailed descriptions of environmental and sustainability initiatives, the guide provides statistics and facts on each school’s use of renewable energy sources, recycling and conservation programs, and the availability of environmental studies programs. For the uninitiated, a glossary of more than forty “green” terms and acronyms is also provided.

“College-bound students are increasingly interested in sustainability issues,” commented Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s senior vice president for publishing. “Among 7,445 college applicants who participated in our spring 2012 ‘College Hopes & Worries Survey,’ nearly 7 out of 10 (68 percent) told us that having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school.”

The Princeton Review chose the 322 schools based on a survey of hundreds of colleges that asked about institutional sustainability-related policies, practices, and programs. Green Ratings were tallied for 768 institutions and all those receiving a score of 83 or above were included in the guide.

For more information or to download a copy of the “Guide to 322 Green Colleges,” visit the Princeton Review website.

Apr 21, 2012

Johns Hopkins tops the List for Expenditures in Research & Development

University of California San Diego
High-profile research universities, many of which are members of Association of American Universities, provide many benefits for undergraduates on the fast-track to professional or graduate school programs.  In part, this is because of the level of funding these schools receive from the federal government as well as from industry and nonprofit organizations.

And despite an anemic economy, it appears that big money continues to flow to big name national research universities.
According to a study recently published by the National Science Foundation, university spending on research and development in all fields increased 6.9 percent between FY 2009 and FY 2010 to $61.2 billion.
Among the ten broad fields studied, life sciences accounted for the largest share by far ($34.9 billion) with engineering the next largest ($9.3 billion) in reported research and development expenditures.  All of the fields saw in an increase in reported expenditures except for social sciences, which declined by more than 4 percent.
Of the 742 institutions surveyed, the top university in terms of expenditures was Johns Hopkins University with over $2 billion dedicated to research and development, most of which came from the federal government.
If you’re considering spending the next four years at a research university and want to know where the money is (which supports labs, attracts professors, and opens opportunities), here is a list of institutions reporting the largest FY 2010 R&D expenditures in all fields:
  1.  Johns Hopkins University
  2.  University of Michigan—Ann Arbor
  3. University of Wisconsin—Madison
  4. University of Washington
  5.  Duke
  6.  UC San Diego
  7. UCLA
  8.  UC San Francisco
  9. Stanford University
  10. University of Pennsylvania 
  11.  University of Pittsburgh
  12.  Columbia University
  13. University of Minnesota—Twin Cities
  14. Pennsylvania State University
  15.  University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill
  16. Ohio State University
  17.  Cornell University
  18. Washington University St. Louis
  19. UC Berkeley
  20. Texas A & M
  21. University of Florida
  22.  UC Davis
  23. MIT
  24.  Yale University
  25. Georgia Tech
This concludes a two-part series on national research universities.

Apr 20, 2012

Why Consider National Research Universities

Johns Hopkins University
High school students who already know they’re destined for medical school or a graduate program in one of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields may want to get an early start on undergraduate research.
One place to look for these opportunities is within the membership of the Association of American Universities—a selective organization of 61 high-profile research universities in the United States and Canada.
Founded in 1900, the AAU focuses on research policy, research funding, and both graduate and undergraduate education.  Local members include Johns Hopkins University (one of 14 founders), and the Universities of Maryland and Virginia.
Consistently on the forefront of innovation, these universities perform about half of our nation’s basic research.  And there are many benefits for undergrads willing to tackle the challenges of what tends to be larger and more competitive research environment.
Here are a few of the advantages associated with research universities:
  • Opportunities to assist in well-funded labs working on cutting-edge research
  • A faculty of acknowledged “experts” connected to industry and academia (a benefit for students looking for jobs and internships)
  • State of the art facilities for research that include significant investment in equipment, support staff, and libraries
  • A larger variety of courses featuring professors who are aware of or possibly working in the newest developments in their fields
  • Larger choice in majors in more specific areas
  • Opportunities to take graduate level courses in many different program areas
  • Easy access to a variety of 5-year or “coterm” masters programs
  • The availability of well-funded summer research opportunities both on and off campus
  •  Publishing opportunities or the chance to present work in professional forums
  •  Invitations and financial support to attend conferences
  •  Admission advantage to those graduate and professional schools biased toward training available at research universities or strong institutional name recognition in key research areas
  • The chance to network with acknowledged experts who not only provide connections but also the possibility of five-star recommendations
  • The very real psychic rewards of being in on important findings or discoveries
Note that many of these same opportunities are available at smaller universities and colleges, but for the student ready to step into a large university environment, the research and variety of course offerings at these schools can be very attractive.
For more information on research universities, visit the AAU website.
This is the first of two articles on national research universities.

The Common Application welcomes 37 New Colleges and Universities

Marymount University
The Common Application (CA) is announcing the addition of 37 new colleges and universities effective July 1, 2012, bringing the total number of institutions accepting the association’s standardized application forms to 490.

Locally, Emory & Henry College, Marymount University, Roanoke College, and Virginia Intermont College will be joining the CA team for the 2012-13 application cycle.

Nine of the new members are public institutions including two new flagships:  Ohio State University and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. In addition, the association will welcome 5 international institutions and 2 historically Black colleges and universities.

Membership in the association is open to undergraduate colleges and universities that are accredited by a regional accrediting association and are nonprofit members in good standing of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). All members must agree to promote college access by evaluating students using a “holistic” selection process.

Other local Common Application members include American, Christopher Newport, George Washington, Catholic, Johns Hopkins, Goucher, Hood, Howard, Loyola University of Maryland, Salisbury, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Stevenson, the College of William and Mary, Mary Washington, UMBC, St. John’s of Maryland, UVa, Towson University, the University of Richmond, Randolph-Macon, and Virginia Wesleyan.

The newest Common Application members are:
  1. Alma College
  2. Anna Maria College
  3. Blackburn College
  4. Calvin College
  5. College of St. Joseph
  6. Concordia University Irvine
  7. Dillard University
  8. Elms College
  9. Emory & Henry College
  10. Grove City College
  11. Hult International Business School
  12. Keele University
  13. Keuka College
  14. Lincoln University of Pennsylvania
  15. Lyon College
  16. Manchester College
  17. Marymount University
  18. Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
  19. Mercer University
  20. Molloy College
  21. The Ohio State University
  22. Rhode Island School of Design
  23. Richmond The American International University in London
  24. Roanoke College
  25. Rowan University
  26. Saint Joseph College CT
  27. Simpson College
  28. Soka University of America
  29. St. Thomas University
  30. Tennessee Wesleyan College
  31. The University of Tennessee Knoxville
  32. University of Illinois at Chicago
  33. University of Stirling
  34. Virginia Intermont College
  35. Warren Wilson College
  36. Woodbury University
  37. Yale NUS College
This article also appeared in the Examiner.com.

Apr 18, 2012

AU tops the List of Universities Graduating Students with Internship Experience

According to a survey conducted by US News & World Report (USNWR), American University tops the list of national universities with the highest percentage of 2010 graduates who worked as interns at some point in their undergraduate careers.

With 84.7 percent of its 1,515 graduating seniors working as interns, American takes advantage of its intern-friendly location in the nation’s capital to place students in government-related positions in D.C. and beyond.

Similarly, George Washington University placed fifth on the USNWR list, with 66 percent of its 2,405 graduating seniors with internship experience most of which in the D.C. area.

Based on data provided by 416 colleges and universities, USNWR found that on average 37.6 percent of 2010 graduates took part in an internship while in school. Of the “national universities” providing data to USNWR, an average of 30.4 percent graduated with internship credentials.

In today’s competitive job market, grads are finding that it’s not always enough to have top grades to get the job. Employers are increasingly looking for hands-on experience to support academics.

And colleges are responding by encouraging students in all majors to seek out “experiential” learning opportunities. In fact, many are beginning to require internships, clinical experiences, or practicum experiences for graduation.

At American University, most students intern locally at institutions such as the World Bank, National Institutes of Health, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or the Smithsonian Institution. But there also exists a “global network of opportunities” where students may also find exciting internships at places like the Associated Press in Thailand or the Global Conscience Initiative in Cameroon.

To capture some of their experiences, American asks interns to contribute to a blog which recently included entries from Capitol Hill, the State Department, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Fox business studio, and the Caps locker room.

Across town, GW’s National Security Internship Program is a great example of how academics and practical experience can be tied together to produce amazing opportunities through the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security. Created through a partnership with the Classics and Semantics program in GW’s Columbian Department of Homeland Security, the internship is designed to provide students the skills necessary to serve the country focusing on matters related to the Middle East.

Internship programs are not without controversy, and colleges have recently been called to task for displacing paid workers with unpaid students. The Department of Labor was concerned enough to publish a series of Federal Guidelines on Internships.

Nevertheless, the top 10 “national universities” producing the most interns are:

  1. American University (85%)
  2. Colorado School of Mines (81%)
  3. Dartmouth College (72%)
  4. University of Pittsburgh (69%)
  5. George Washington University (66%)
  6. Florida Institute of Technology (60%)
  7. South Carolina State University (60%)
  8. University of Massachusetts—Amherst (57%)
  9. Pace University (57%)
  10. University of South Dakota (53%)