Valuable insights from Lynn O’Shaughnessy
a nationally recognized college expert.
January 15, 2009
Ditching Lecture Halls at MIT
Underclassmen have been attending classes at universities the same way for generations. Students plunk down in a large lecture hall and listen (sometimes) to the professor droning up on a stage. The difference for today’s students is that increasingly it’s difficult to fall asleep during these lectures because the halls are often so jammed that stragglers have to stand in...
January 13, 2009
Getting into the Top University of California Campuses
Between my daughter’s sophomore and junior year in high school about 40 of her classmates disappeared. The students ditched the private girls’ school for one chief reason: It was going to be impossible to gain admission to UCLA, the UC Berkeley or another top UC campus. The girls, and more likely their parents, decided that their best hope to earn...
December 31, 2008
How Colleges & Universities Should Cut Back
I’ve talked to lots of parents who are wondering how they are going to foot the college tab with their investments in tatters. Hey, I’m right in there with everybody else with a sophomore attending a private college and a junior in high school. While parents like me are grappling with how to compensate for college account losses, universities are...
December 22, 2008
Cutting the Cost of College
An increasing number of high school seniors are deciding to skip applying to private colleges and universities because they worry that the costs will be too high in these hard economic times. That was the gist of a story in today’s New York Times. While it’s always essential to apply to financial safety schools, families could be cutting off their...
December 11, 2008
Studying at MIT for Free
I spent a few minutes with my teenage son last night watching a mad professor flailing a student with cat fur. Actually, the MIT physics professor wasn’t mad, but he was entertaining. Walter H. G. Lewin was giving a demonstration on electrical charges in a class exploring electricity and magnetism. After getting pelted by the swatch of cat fur, the...
December 4, 2008
Harvard & Crocodile Tears
I had just woken up yesterday when my husband Bruce motioned me over to his laptop to show me a news bulletin about Harvard. The august institution had announced that thanks to the turmoil of the financial markets it had lost $8 billion of its $36.9 billion endowment since the summer. My husband’s boss, who happens to work in Cambridge,...
December 3, 2008
The Perils of Part-Time Professors
A report that was released today made me feel guilty. The study concluded that the number of part-time instructors who are teaching our kids at public universities and colleges has reached an alarming level. Temporary faculty members now teach 49% of the more than 1.5 million undergraduate classes that are held each semester at public colleges and universities. The vast...
November 22, 2008
University of California: A Fading Reputation?
The University of California has been living on a starvation diet for a long time. For the past 18 years, state support for the campuses has dropped 40% and now Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed draconian mid-year cuts. In an article in the San Francisco Chronicle today, Stanton Glantz, a prominent UC professor, had this to say: I think what...
November 16, 2008
The Double Major Bind
I was talking to a professor at the University of California, San Diego, at a dinner party earlier this year about colleges (naturally) and we ended up discussing why it’s taking so long for kids to get college degrees today. At UCSD the four-year graduation rate is 53%. While that number is underwhelming for a top research university, if you...
October 31, 2008
Runaway College Costs
Here’s a news bulletin that’s certainly appropriate for Halloweeen: The cost of a bachelor’s degree has climbed again. According to the College Board, tuition and fees for the 2008-09 school year jumped anywhere from 4.5% to 6.5%, depending on the type of institution. Here are today’s typical tuition costs: Four-year public institution: $6,585. Four-year private college: $25,143. Community college: $2,300....