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You can do anything: The “surprising power” of a liberal arts education

November 13th, 2017

Many of you have heard me say that a liberal arts education is ideal for learning how to learn – in fact, you might have had trouble getting me to stop talking about it!

As a graduate of a liberal arts college myself, I have always stood behind the view that a liberal arts education develops analytical and creative thinking skills, oral and written communication skills, and equips students for a life of learning and adapting to new environments.  Although a liberal arts education isn’t the right path for everyone, it has tremendous value.

In today’s blog, we share Inside Higher Ed’s interview with author George Anders about his book, You Can Do Anything.  Anders shares useful data to support his opinion that a liberal arts degree is deepening in value, given major changes happening in the job market today.  The underlying theory is that those who have not simply acquired a finite knowledge set, but who know how to learn and pivot, have tremendous opportunities in the long run.  

Article below referenced from Inside Higher Ed

Robots are taking over the world (and the job market). Majoring in anything but a science or engineering discipline is foolhardy. A humanities or social science degree will get you a great job — as a barista.

Right?

Read enough internet headlines and all of those might seem not only feasible but inevitable. But like many sweeping, future-looking statements, those and other proclamations about the decline and fall of the liberal arts should be taken with a truckload of salt.

Read more at Inside Higher Ed >>

More on demonstrated interest

October 30th, 2017

You may have heard the term “demonstrated interest” in reference to college admissions – we’ve probably discussed it – but are you still wondering what it means and how important it is during the admissions process?  

You’re demonstrating interest when you show a school that you’re willing to engage and there’s a true possibility you’ll choose to enroll.  It can come in the form of campus visits, interviews, attending college meetings at school, communication with admissions counselors, and interaction on colleges’ social media sites.  Your demonstrated interest can be of great value to an admissions office when comparing two similar candidates.  

Not all colleges consider demonstrated interest, though.  Schools with minuscule acceptance rates and sky-high yield rates (Ivies, MIT, Stanford, etc.) don’t need to pay attention to this as they know just about everyone wants to enroll.  Most public universities do not use demonstrated interest as a way to evaluate students, either.  However, the vast majority of private colleges do pay attention to students’ engagement with them.  

The article linked below from Inside Higher Ed raises an important social/economic equity issue tied to demonstrated interest.  While we want our students to demonstrate interest in each college on their list to the best of their ability, our hope is that more colleges will help subsidize campus visits for students with limited means to make the trip.  Face to face interaction with college representatives is highly effective, but if travel isn’t feasible, other means of engagement can also go a long way toward serious demonstration of interest.  

Article referenced below from Inside Higher Ed

“Demonstrated interest” is one of the admissions criteria used by many competitive colleges — even though it may not have anything to do with an applicant’s intelligence or character. The term refers to ways that an applicant shows he or she is serious about enrolling at a given college. An applicant who calls with questions about a particular program is more valued than one who doesn’t communicate beyond applying. An applicant who visits shows more demonstrated interest than one who doesn’t, and so forth. Many colleges factor in demonstrated interest to admissions and aid decisions, wanting to admit applicants who will enroll. The idea is to have better planning and to improve the yield, the percentage of admitted applicants who enroll.

A new research paper suggests that demonstrated interest has become another way wealthy students have an extra edge — and recommends that colleges consider policy changes as a result.

Read more at Inside Higher Ed >>

The Purpose Challenge – scholarship competition and toolkit

October 16th, 2017

Have you ever thought about your purpose in life? Studies have shown that defining your purpose can lead to a happier and more thoughtful way of living.  What exactly does this mean?  Novelist/humorist Leo Rosten defined it like this:

“I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be ‘happy.’  I think the purpose of life is

  • To be useful
  • To be responsible
  • To be compassionate.

It is, above all

  • To matter
  • To count
  • To stand for something
  • To have made some difference that you lived at all.”

I recently came across The Purpose Challenge and thought it was worth sharing.  The essay portion of this challenge is meant specifically for seniors working on applications – you could earn a scholarship with your purpose-driven essay!  However, this is a good read for all and the site offers a toolkit that has value for high school students of all ages.  I think it can help you find that inner motivation to live each day to the fullest.

 

Read more at The Purpose Challenge >>

Best time for campus visits is upon us

October 2nd, 2017

October is now upon us and it’s the perfect time of the year for campus visits.  Leaves are changing and the air is crisp!

Not only are school grounds typically beautiful at this time of the year, but students are now comfortable with their new surroundings and schedules.  Visit schools on your list during a normal week if at all possible, rather than on a weekend or during finals week. This will provide great opportunity to see what college or boarding school life is all about and give you a chance to interact with faculty and students.

Before going on a campus visit, I encourage you to be prepared to ask a lot of questions so you can learn as much as possible.  Provided below is a link to a thorough list of questions to consider when going to view a school or college for the first time.  Many of you have this campus visit guide already; although it’s written for the college search, it’s equally valid for boarding school exploration.

Indiana University mobile pocket guide>>

But wait, there’s more!  Whether you are applying to college or boarding school, the article posted below is another wonderful resource.  Although written for boarding school families, some of the advice can benefit families looking at colleges, too.  

Article referenced below from The Boarding School Review

Many parents feel that they know a boarding school because they have spent time on its web site. They ‘liked’ the school’s Facebook page and are following it on Twitter. They also have watched all the YouTube videos the school has posted on its YouTube channel. They and their child are convinced that the school is a good fit for them and their requirements. So why bother actually hopping on a plane, renting a car, booking accommodation and taking all that time to go and visit the school? It goes without saying that you need to visit any school to which you are thinking of sending your child. The school will insist on it because they want to meet you in person whenever possible.
Your educational consultant may have given the schools glowing reports. Your great uncle has always spoken about his years at one of the schools on your short list with great fondness. In fact he has given generously to his alma mater. One of your colleagues in the Boston office has a daughter at another school on your short list. She apparently loves her school’s equestrian program. But that’s their opinion. You and your child need to set foot on each campus on your short list, scope each one out and use your own judgement about whether your child will be happy there for three or four years. Here is a list of things to look for and questions to ask.

 

Read more at Boarding School Review >>

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