Issuu on Google+

~ BY KAREN FINUCAN CLARKSON ~

T

oo many families approach the college admission process with trepidation rather than a sense of adventure and that’s unfortunate, said Dale Bittinger, director of undergraduate admissions and orientation at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). “Applying to college should be enjoyable, a celebration of 18 years of hard work. Unfortunately, it’s become so process-oriented that the experience is often otherwise.” The frenzy surrounding college admissions is fueled by several factors. College rankings may convince families “that their perfectly admissible student won’t get into college,” said Florence Hines, vice president for enrollment management and dean of admissions at McDaniel College in Westminster. That worry is exacerbated by reports of a growing pool of applicants and a rise in the number of applications each prospective college student submits. The number of students in degree-granting postsecondary institutions is expected to reach 23 million by 2020, up from 20.4 million in 2009, according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). Nearly threequarters of the nation’s colleges saw an increase in applications in 2010 and a quarter of fall 2010 freshmen applied to seven or more schools, up 3 percent from fall 2008. The result is that, on average, a college admissions officer reviews more than 500 applications annually, according to the NACAC.The average ratio of applications to admission officers at public institutions in 2010 was 981-1, compared with 402-1 at private institutions. Given the numbers, it’s not surprising that students feel pressured to create applications that stand out from the pack. That task becomes easier and some of the angst abates when an applicant’s strengths correspond to a school’s profile. In other words, where a student submits an application is as important as what he submits, both Bittinger and Hines said. ISTOCKPHOTO: THIS PAGE, BGWALKER; OPPOSITE PAGE, SSHEPARD

2

Higher Education

Special Supplement | Fall 2012

Nearly three-quarters of U.S. colleges saw an increase in applications for admission in 2010. A quarter of fall 2010 freshmen applied to seven or more schools, up 3 percent from fall 2008.

Begin the college application process by “thinking about the best fit for the student,” said Patricia F. Goldsmith, vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid at St. Mary’s College of Maryland in St. Mary’s City. Consider potential majors, campus location and distance from home, school selectivity and academic requirements. “It can be stressful for a student who ends up in the wrong place.”The student who ultimately succeeds is one who is “comfortable in his surroundings and knows the fit is right.” Treat the college admission process as part of a student’s educational journey, said Jose Aviles, director of admissions at the University of Delaware. “It should be as much about finding out what’s out there as finding out who you are—what matters to you most; what are your needs, hopes and dreams; and what kinds of services you need and experiences you want to have at an institution.” Apart from helping a student identify schools that match his needs and desires, the process of self-reflection is key to crafting an application that is “genuine and authentic” and allows the student’s personality to shine through, said Bittinger. But all the personality in the world won’t overcome poor grades. “A student’s academic work is by far most important,” said Brian Hazlett, assistant vice president and director of admissions at Towson University in Towson. “We look at the depth of what was taken as well as how the student performed in the classroom.” Towson is in good company. The NACAC reports that grades in college prep courses and strength of the high school curSpecial Supplement | Fall 2012

riculum are the top factors in admission decisions, followed closely by standardized test scores. “I’m often asked, ‘Is it better to get a B in an AP course or an A in a general course?’” said Bittinger.“My suggestion is that students should take academically rigorous courses that they can do well in.” Just because a student’s grades aren’t stellar across the board does not mean his transcript will be dismissed. Schools like upward trends and may look favorably on a student whose grades have improved over time. Conversely, “if the student has been doing well and there’s a blip on the transcript, we need to know what happened,” said Shannon Gundy, director of undergraduate admissions at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD). “We want to see that the student rebounded.” For applicants whose high school transcript and test scores may not accurately reflect their academic potential, the remaining pieces of the college application take on added importance. “The supplemental information can help move them up into that gray area and be considered,” according to Towson’s Hazlett. “At small liberal arts colleges, we use a process known as holistic review,” said McDaniel’s Hines. “It gives us the opportunity to assess a student’s life beyond the GPA and test scores and to treat an applicant as a person with experiences, not just a set of data points.” Private colleges tend to consider a broader range of factors than their public counterparts, according to the NACAC. That is due, in large part, to differences in application volume.

Of all the supplemental materials, it is the essay or writing sample that is considered most important by the greatest percentage of schools, the NACAC reported. “The essay is the student’s opportunity to talk directly to the admission counselor and the committee evaluating the file,” said St. Mary’s Goldsmith.

The types of questions schools ask and lengths of responses that they require vary. UMD includes several requiring short answers “that are frivolous and deliberately so,” said Gundy. “Because the questions are lighter in tone, students don’t struggle over them. We get more honest responses and a more accurate reflection of who the student really is.” That insight into the student is what admissions officers are looking for. “We’re trying to get a sense of what makes a student tick, what do they value or care about?” said Goldsmith. “We’re not looking for the great American novel.” The best essays are those where students “don’t try to get inside my head and tell me what they think I want to know, but speak to me about who they are and what’s important to them,” said Gundy. Applicants should stick with what they know and feel passionate about, said Bittinger, who noted that one See APPLICATION, 16

Asia Days 2013

Professional Development Seminars on Asia January - May 2013 Georgetown University

Open to K-12 Teachers

Learn:

Cultivate a deeper understanding of the East Asian topics covered in state curricula and standards of learning (SOLs).

Earn:

-Professional Development Credit -$300 Worth of Educational Materials -$300 Stipend -Eligibilty to participate in study tours and events locally and in Asia For more information, call 202-687-7163 or visit http://eageorgetown.org/ Higher Education

3

COURTESY OF GOUCHER COLLEGE

~ BY KAREN FINUCAN CLARKSON ~

S

tudents looking to improve their odds of being admitted to the college of their choice often apply early. While the percentage of early applicants admitted to a school is almost always higher than those accepted during the regular admission process, the difference at some schools is striking. Last year, of the 1,432 students who applied early decision to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, 561, or 39 percent, were admitted.That’s more than double the acceptance rate for the 19,072 students who applied regular decision.At American University in Washington, D.C., the early decision acceptance rate was 73 percent compared with 41 percent for regular decision. “Early decision is first and foremost a binding process wherein the student is saying to the institution, ‘You are my first choice and, if admitted, I will attend,’” said Michael J. O’Leary, vice president for enrollment management at Goucher College in Balti-

4

Higher Education

more. Schools may handle the binding agreement differently. For Goucher, there is a document that the student, a parent and a high school guidance counselor must sign. Early decision is ideal “for a student who can easily identify a top-choice institution, which could be a reach academically. Oftentimes, institutions with early decision find there is a range of applicants—terrific students, good students and those on the bubble academically,” O’Leary said. Early decision is not ideal for a student who needs to compare financial offers from schools, he said. All applicants—early or regular—receive the same consideration for merit scholarships and need-based aid. Those going to the school that accepted them early lose the opportunity to compare financial aid offers that they might get from other schools, as those offers are generally not issued until March. Nov. 1 is, at many schools, the early-decision application deadline. Students complete the same requirements as regular admission applicants. By Dec. 15, they have an answer.

If it’s yes, “students are obligated to accept the offer and provide an enrollment deposit by Jan. 15,” said O’Leary. They also must withdraw applications to any other schools. Goucher, which accepted about 79 percent of its early-decision applicants last year, also offers early admission, which is nonbinding.The school admitted nearly 83 percent of those submitting applications by the early admission deadline.That compares with an acceptance rate of 67 percent for regularadmission candidates. Other area schools that have higher acceptance rates for students applying early admission include George Mason University in Fairfax,Va., (72 percent early/39 percent regular), Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore (76 percent early/51 percent regular) and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., (24 percent early/15 percent regular), according toThe College Board. “Early admission gives students more time between learning of the institution’s decision and the May 1 deadline for enrollment,” said O’Leary. Acceptance does not

Goucher College in Baltimore accepted about 79 percent of its early-decision applicants last year.

preclude them from applying to other schools and allows them to compare offers of financial aid when they are sent in March. The University of Maryland, College Park has a regular application deadline of Jan. 20, along with a nonbinding priority deadline—when “the vast majority of students will be admitted,” said Shannon Gundy, the school’s director of undergraduate admissions. “Only those who apply by Nov. 1 are considered for merit scholarships and special programs such as the Honors College and living-learning environments.” Towson University uses rolling admissions. Instead of waiting to judge all applications concurrently, admissions officials consider them as they are submitted. “Students should think of the school as having a big swimming pool full of water,” said Brian Hazlett, Towson’s assistant vice president and director of admissions. “The more students we put in the pool, the more water splashes out, leaving limited space for guests.” Special Supplement | Fall 2012

1842343

Special Supplement | Fall 2012

Higher Education

5

In the 2011-2012 academic year, 123 institutions charged $50,000 or more annually for tuition, fees and room and board, up from 100 the previous year, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. In this region, they include: l American University, D.C.

$51,719 l Bryn Mawr College, Pa.

$53,714 l Dickinson College, Pa.

$53,885 l The George Washington

University, D.C. $54,473 l Georgetown

University, D.C. $54,936 l Gettysburg College, Pa.

$52,790 l Johns Hopkins

University, Md. $55,742 l Loyola University

Maryland, Md. $52,485 l St. John’s College, Md.

$53,990 l University of

Pennsylvania, Pa. $53,976 l University of

Richmond, Va. $52,420 l Ursinus College, Pa.

$51,950 l Villanova University, Pa.

$52,200 l Washington and Lee

University, Va. $52,614

ISTOCKPHOTO/IMAGEDEPOTPRO

6

Higher Education

COURTESY OF JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY

Gilman Hall, the main academic building on Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood campus, reopened in 2010 after a three-year renovation. Small class sizes and access to faculty are among the reasons tuition and fees for institutions like Hopkins top $50,000 annually.

What Does $50,000 Buy? ~ BY KAREN FINUCAN CLARKSON ~

A

s the list of colleges and universities charging $50,000 or more per year grows and U.S. student debt exceeds $1 trillion, many families wonder whether such an investment is worth it and, if so, whether they can afford it.The answer to both, contend many school administrators, is often yes. Families need to look beyond the sticker price, which is often higher than what the student will pay, and explore the tangibles and intangibles that bring value to the undergraduate experience, said Marc Camille, vice president for enrollment management and communications at Loyola University Maryland. “What families don’t often realize is that once merit or need-based financial aid is factored in and the likelihood of graduating in four years versus five is considered, the cost difference (between public and private universities) almost completely disappears or is drastically minimized,” he said. As a result, “our students have a robust academic experience on a beautiful campus with great facilities and an opportunity to study abroad.”

Small class size and access to faculty are reasons families turn to private colleges and universities.They also are one of the reasons tuition runs high, according to Dennis O’Shea, executive director of media relations at Johns Hopkins University. “The best education is one that involves a lot of faculty-student interaction. Faculty presenting; students questioning. Students presenting; faculty critiquing. Faculty leading groups of students in probing discussions,” said O’Shea. At O’Shea’s alma mater, Williams College in Massachusetts, the school’s president Adam F. Falk recently noted that the ability “to write effectively, argue persuasively, solve problems creatively, and adapt and learn independently” is directly linked to studentfaculty interaction. “By far, the factor that correlates most highly with gains in these skills is the amount of personal contact a student has with professors,” he continued in an opinion piece published in The Wall Street Journal. “Not virtual contact, but interaction with real live human beings, whether in the classroom, or in faculty offices, or in the dining halls.”

That’s exactly what Margie Orrick has witnessed. All three of her daughters have attended schools on The Chronicle of Higher Education’s list of “Colleges That Charged $50,000 or More in 2011-12.” “They receive individual attention,” said the Bethesda mom. “Students are not a number.They really do build relationships with the faculty and it’s not unusual for the faculty to invite students over for a home-cooked meal.” Orrick said that at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York, where her youngest daughter currently studies, the dean has a series of dinners with small groups of juniors. By including alumni “who talk about what they majored in and how they ended up being employed in another field entirely,” the dinners are designed to remind students of the marketable skills inherent in a liberal arts education, said Orrick. “A liberal arts education gives you a strong academic background, thinking skills and the confidence to learn something completely new. So, just as juniors are starting to get anxious about what they’re going to do with their lives, they get this opportunity.” Special Supplement | Fall 2012

What a student is able to do with his $200,000-plus degree is a concern to families. “Data here at Loyola indicates that 96 percent are employed or attending graduate school within six months of graduation,” said Camille. “Our outcome data continues to be really strong...” Camille’s assertion is supported by PayScale.com rankings. In terms of return on investment, Loyola University Maryland is among the top two schools in Maryland, ranking 64th out of 1,248 total institutions and 45th of 458 private universities. Johns Hopkins comes in at 45th and 37th. Georgetown University inWashington, D.C., is highest ranked at 36th and 30th. The average starting salary after graduation is $47,500 for Loyola students, $50,300 for Georgetown and $54,000 for Johns Hopkins. Orrick noted that many higher-priced institutions have “excellent career centers that get involved early on.” A mentorship in St. Paul for at-risk kids, arranged by staff at Macalester College in Minnesota, helped crystallize a career path for one of Orrick’s daughters. An internship in Silver Spring, set up by the career office at Hobart andWilliam Smith, allowed Orrick’s youngest daughter to live at home and “gave her marketable skills in web-based IT,” she said.

Given the diversity of the workforce in which today’s graduates find themselves, concern has been raised by researchers—including Anthony P. Carnevale at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce—as to whether higher priced institutions are able to recruit students of different backgrounds. “At Loyola, a diverse student body is mission centric,” said Camille. “Students need to be sitting in classrooms with peers who aren’t all alike. Diversity of backgrounds brings diversity of opinion and that enhances dialogue and opens minds to different perspectives.” To achieve that diversity, “institutions must be intentional about offsetting perceived sticker shock,” Camille said. During his six years at the Jesuit institution,“students of color in our incoming class have gone from 12 to 23 percent, Pell Grant recipients from 8 to 16 percent and first-generation students from 10 to 19 percent.” Given the financial commitment, “it is fair to ask, ‘What will be the experience that my son or daughter will have?’” said Camille.“We are expensive.We recognize that. But, we have an aggressive commitment to helping families. The average debt of our graduates is $25,000 to $26,000, at or below much lessercosting institutions.”

STAIRS: ISTOCKPHOTO/SILENSE; GRAPHIC: ANNA JOYCE

1868432

Special Supplement | Fall 2012

Higher Education

7

College Rankings Schools Say Lists Don’t Tell the Whole Story

~ BY KAREN FINUCAN CLARKSON ~

other schools that might be a good fit for a student. “Look at clusterings and the company colleges keep. If you’re interested in Notre Dame of Maryland University and you see it’s tied with St. Bonaventure and Arcadia (universities), you might consider getting information about them.” Forget about “trying to pinpoint which school is No. 1 or 2,” said Goldsmith. “If a school is in the top 100 of liberal arts colleges, that says something.” Use a student’s interests and preferences to help refine the search within larger groupings, she suggested. And don’t write off a college simply because it isn’t top ranked, said UMBC’s Bittinger.“Not every school is right for every student.You need to set foot on campus, visit with students and faculty and ask questions.”

“W

8

Higher Education

COURTESY OF MCDANIEL COLLEGE

Students sit outside McDaniel College. While college rankings can be an excellent benchmark, it’s the qualitative aspects of the school search that are most important, according to Florence Hines, vice president for enrollment management and dean of admissions.

It’s not the rankings but the data used to rank colleges and universities that can provide insight. “You need to get beyond the one, two, three, four, five, and look at the actual data being reported,” said Patricia F. Goldsmith, vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid at St. Mary’s College of Maryland in St. Mary’s City. For example, “take a look at things like alumni giving.That’s a good indicator of alumni satisfaction.” Other data worth looking at include SAT scores, class size and retention rates, said Heidi Roller, vice president for enrollment management at Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore. Rankings also can help families identify

It’s important to understand that different assessments “pick up on different criteria,” said Peter Stearns, provost at George Mason University (GMU) in Fairfax,Va., which is currently tied for first with UMBC on the U.S. News list of up-and-coming national universities. The magazine “uses fairly conventional criteria, which is why we see the same schools clustered at the top all the time—not much dramatic movement, mostly a reshuffling.” Undergraduate academic reputation makes up 22.5 percent of the score for national universities and liberal arts colleges and 25 percent for regional universities and colleges in the U.S. News rankings, which troubles some school administrators. “How many schools can you possibly know— and know well enough?” said Goldsmith. Roller, who represents Notre Dame of Maryland University in the U.S. News voting, admits that assessing her peers can be challenging. “I don’t think anyone can have indepth knowledge about all of the schools.” See RANKINGS, 17 Special Supplement | Fall 2012

ISTOCKPHOTO/TIMARBAEV

e’re No. 1 on the U.S. News upand-coming list, but I hope no one ever comes to us based solely on that ranking,” said Dale Bittinger, director of undergraduate admissions and orientation at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) in Baltimore. “Rankings are just one piece of the college search puzzle.” While rankings of U.S. colleges date back to 1906 with the publication of American Men of Science: A Biographical Dictionary, they did not enter the American mainstream until 1983 when U.S. News and World Report first published its list of best colleges, according to The Center for College Affordability & Productivity. The rankings have been criticized by many colleges as being inadequate to the task, yet embraced by families looking for guidance with their college search. “Whether we like them, love them or completely dislike them, I don’t see rankings going away,” said Marc Camille, vice president for enrollment management and communications at Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore. “Humankind likes to see things ordinally and publications, like U.S. News, make a lot of money from these rankings.” “Rankings are big business, a hugely profitable section of American life,” said Florence Hines, vice president for enrollment management and dean of admissions at McDaniel College in Westminster. “Parents, unsure where to begin the college search, often start by buying a book.” Hines believes “rankings can supply excellent benchmarks and open first doors.” After that, she said, “it’s about getting into a child’s wants, dreams, needs and interests. It’s the qualitative, not quantitative, part of the college search that will help you find the best fit for your child.”

How Maryland Colleges Stack Up Anne Arundel Community College #65 Community College Week, Top 100 Associate Degree Producers, 2012

Montgomery College #24 Community College Week, Top 100 Associate Degree Producers, 2012

Bowie State University #27 U.S. News Best Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 2013

Morgan State University #20 U.S. News Best Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 2013

Frostburg State University #41 U.S. News Top Public Schools, Regional Universities North, 2013 #124 U.S. News Best Regional Universities North, 2013

Mount St. Mary’s University #13 U.S. News Best Value Schools, Regional Universities North, 2013 #23 U.S. News Best Regional Universities North, 2013 – One of 19 U.S. colleges recommended by The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College, 2011

Goucher College #110 U.S. News Best National Liberal Arts Colleges, 2013 #159 Washington Monthly Best Liberal Arts Colleges, 2012 #159 Forbes America’s Top Colleges, 2012 – Listed by U.S. News as an A+ School for B Students, National Liberal Arts Colleges, 2013 – Listed by The Princeton Review as a Best Regional College Northeastern, 2012 – Listed by The Princeton Review on its Green Honor Roll, 2012 – Listed by Colleges That Change Lives, 2012 Hood College #7 U.S. News Best Value Schools, Regional Universities North, 2013 #26 U.S. News Best Regional Universities North, 2013 #82 Kiplinger’s Best Values in Private Universities, 2012 – Listed by The Princeton Review as a Best Regional College Northeastern, 2012 Johns Hopkins University #2 U.S. News Best Medical Schools for Research, 2013 #13 U.S. News Best National Universities, 2013 #20 U.S. News Best Value Schools, National Universities, 2012 #21 U.S. News Best Medical Schools for Primary Care, 2013 #25 Kiplinger’s Best Values in Private Colleges, 2012 #45 PayScale.com ROI Rankings, 2012 #46 Washington Monthly Best National Universities, 2012 #67 Forbes America’s Top Colleges, 2012 – Listed by The Princeton Review as a Best Regional College Northeastern, 2012 – Listed by The Princeton Review as a Best Value Private College for 2012 Loyola University Maryland #2 U.S. News Best Regional Universities North, 2013 #14 U.S. News Best Value School, Regional Universities North, 2013 #55 Kiplinger’s Best Values in Private Colleges, 2012 #64 PayScale.com ROI Rankings, 2012 #164 Forbes America’s Top Colleges, 2012 – Listed by U.S. News as an A+ School for B Students, Regional Universities North, 2013 – Listed by The Princeton Review as a Best Regional College Northeastern, 2012 Maryland Institute College of Art – Listed by The Princeton Review as a Best Regional College Northeastern, 2012 McDaniel College #91 Kiplinger’s Best Values in Private Liberal Arts Colleges, 2012 #140 U.S. News Best National Liberal Arts Colleges, 2013 #204 Washington Monthly Best Liberal Arts Colleges, 2012 – Listed by Colleges That Change Lives, 2012

Special Supplement | Fall 2012

Notre Dame of Maryland University #10 U.S. News Best Value Schools, Regional Universities North, 2013 #33 U.S. News Best Regional Universities North, 2013 Salisbury University #11 U.S. News Top Public Schools, Regional Universities North, 2013 #47 U.S. News Best Regional Universities North, 2013 #71 Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges, 2012 – Listed by U.S. News as an A+ School for B Students, Regional Universities North, 2013 – Listed by The Princeton Review as a Best Regional College Northeastern, 2012 St. John’s College #19 Washington Monthly Best Liberal Arts Colleges, 2012 #133 U.S. News Best National Liberal Arts Colleges, 2012 #143 Forbes America’s Top Colleges, 2012 – Listed by The Princeton Review as a Best Regional College Northeastern, 2012 – Listed by Colleges That Change Lives, 2012

1842344

St. Mary’s College of Maryland #4 Kiplinger’s Best Public Colleges with the Highest Graduation Rates, 2012 #5 U.S. News Top Public Schools, National Liberal Arts Colleges, 2013 #42 Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges, 2012 #87 U.S. News Best National Liberal Arts Colleges, 2013 #150 Washington Monthly Best Liberal Arts Colleges, 2012 #153 Forbes America’s Top Colleges, 2012 – Listed by The Princeton Review as a Best Regional College Northeastern, 2012 – Listed by The Princeton Review as a Best Value Public College for 2012 Stevenson University #3 U.S. News Up-and-Coming Regional Universities North, 2013 #82 U.S. News Best Regional Universities North, 2013 – Listed by The Princeton Review as a Best Regional College Northeastern, 2012 The Community College of Baltimore County #40 Community College Week, Top 100 Associate Degree Producers, 2012 Towson University #10 U.S. News Top Public Schools, Regional Universities North, 2013 #44 U.S. News Best Regional Universities North, 2013 #76 Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges, 2012 See MARYLAND COLLEGES, 18

1861166

Higher Education

9

Beyond the Classrooms ~ BY BILL HOLLERAN ~

A

10

Higher Education

Skills for Life

Schroeder said the “life skills” students develop outside the classroom “are often of a more practical nature than academic skills taught in the classroom.” Students who are active in student-run clubs and other organizations can learn valuable leadership and interpersonal skills. Schroeder, who advises the St. Mary’s Student Government Association, said those involved in student government interact with college administrators. “We don’t make any decisions on this campus without student input,” she said. St. Mary’s students are involved in actual governance of the institution and may participate in all major campuswide committees. For example, the student member of the college’s board of trustees gives reports at board meetings about the concerns and wishes of the student body. Schroeder said students also play a hands-on role in the master planning that shapes the future design and look of buildings and of landscaping on the campus. Cassey Elder, a St. Mary’s senior, said ac-

PHOTO BY CRAIG BISACRE CREATIVES SERVICES/GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY

Students revel in some great medieval fun around the George Mason University Pilot House. Activities outside of the classroom, “give [them] an outlet and an opportunity to explore things that are new and interesting,” said Dennis Hicks, the school’s associate director of Student Involvement for Programming.

tivities beyond the classroom “have played a major role in how much I’ve grown to love St. Mary’s.” During her first two weeks on campus, Elder went to a club fair and joined the Hawkettes dance team, of which she is now captain. She also joined the Student Ambassadors, an admissions group that gives campus tours to prospective students. In addition, she became an executive board member of the St. Mary’s chapter of the Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society. Such activities “have improved my ability to speak and write and be an active member of society,” she said.

Meanwhile, at Bowie State, junior MaryAnn Jackson serves as vice president of Optimize and Overcome Leadership Academy, a group that builds student selfawareness and on-campus unity through community service. Leadership activities at Bowie State “have given me improved confidence inside and outside the classroom,” said Jackson. “I’m more outspoken and more comfortable with public speaking. I’m not as timid as I was as a freshman.”

Learning Connections

According to GMU Student Body President Williams, “There is an academic connection to every outside-the-classroom activity.You can’t have one without the other.” “I had a professor in my freshman year who said, ‘We can give you a degree but what will you have beyond that?’ College has to be more than tests and grades.You need to learn how to build relationships and work with other people, some of whom you may disagree with,” saidWilliams. Special Supplement | Fall 2012

ON THE COVER: PHOTO BY ISTOCKPHOTO/KEEWEEBOY

t George Mason University in Fairfax,Va., students came together in early October at the 21st annual “Take Back the Night” rally to share personal stories about how they have dealt with rape, other sexual assaults and dating/partner violence. According to senior and Student Body President Alex Williams, the annual event is held during international Turn Off the Violence Week to support the end of sexual and domestic violence and to symbolize the George Mason (GMU) campus as striving to be a safe place for all. At St. Mary’s College of Maryland in St. Mary’s City, student volunteers cultivate and harvest produce at the quarter-acre Campus Community Farm. Much of the produce is served to the campus community in the main dining hall, according to Assistant Dean of Students Kelly Schroeder. The surplus, she said, is donated to community service organizations. At Bowie State University in Bowie, a student government leadership program elects a Mr. Bowie and Ms. Bowie each spring to serve during their senior years as student ambassadors of the university and spearhead personal platforms for community service, said Dr. Artie Travis, Bowie State’s vice president for student affairs. Unlike traditional homecoming kings and queens, Travis said, Mr. Bowie and Ms. Bowie are elected members of the student government. According to campus administrators and students alike, social, cultural and student leadership activities such as these are key contributors to a successful college experience. “From my experience working in student higher education activities for more than 25 years, it is my observation that students are more likely to stay in school and graduate if they are engaged in significant on-campus activities,”Travis said. Activities outside the classroom, “give students an outlet and an opportunity to explore things that are new and interesting, to stretch beyond what they did in high school and what they did with their parents growing up,” said Dennis Hicks, GMU’s associate director of Student Involvement for Programming. “The key is to try new things.”

Travis said Bowie State’s Division of Student Affairs “looks holistically at the activities that occur on campus. All the things we do across the campus are very intentional because we know that the entire environment is educational. We look at the student as a whole person, and use all the pieces to make sure that the student develops fully into that person.” “At Mason, there are close to 300 organizations on campus giving students a great number of opportunities to find their niche,” Hicks said. “One of our core values…is for students to dream big, make things happen for themselves and explore who they are as a whole person. If they don’t find what they are looking for, they have an opportunity to create that 301st organization.” St. Mary’s College of Maryland is known for its waterfront on the St. Mary’s River, which provides a “congregating space” for the college community, as well as the focal point for athletic and recreational activities that include sailing, crew, kayaking and windsurfing. “Everybody at St. Mary’s has the opportunity to learn how to sail,” said Schroeder. Additionally, the school is highly service oriented. A community service commitment is required of every St. Mary’s student, she said, and begins during orientation when

incoming freshmen participate in a day of service that takes them to off-campus organizations, local schools or area parks.

Where’s the Quicksand?

“Everything we do in student affairs is intentionally supportive of academic activities,” saidTravis. “We work to make sure student leaders do not overcommit themselves so that they can stay on top of their game in the classroom.” According to Hicks, overcommitment is a common problem on campus. “Pay attention to what you are joining. Stick to one or two groups that strongly interest you. Anything beyond that is hard to maintain if you are taking a full load of classes,” he said. “Choose your activities with purpose,” said Schroeder. “Looking beyond college; ask yourself how a particular campus leadership activity will contribute to your career development.” According toTravis, another challenge for students is to make sure they are involved in leadership activities for the right reasons, not just for resume-building. “You shouldn’t run for student government just because it will look good on your resume, but because it will help you become a good citizen.”

DROP EVERYTHING CALL US AT 301-459-8686 Winter semester 2012-2013 Begins Monday, November 19th Late Registration Ends Saturday, December 1st

APPLY NOW!

Sojourner Douglass College

1868301

8200 Professional Place, Suite 111 Lanham, MD 20785

1868021

Special Supplement | Fall 2012

Higher Education

11

Considering

Community College These schools do more than save you money ~ BY BILL HOLLERAN ~

C

ost, convenience, instructional quality and personalized attention to students are four important advantages that make community colleges a strong alternative in higher education. These schools serve a diverse student population, which includes traditional highschool-age students, adult learners seeking skill development for a second career and a senior population taking advantage of recreational educational opportunities. Typically, a student can complete a bachelor’s degree in four years by taking the first two years at a community college and then transferring to a four-year college or university. Other commonly offered programs of study at community colleges include two-year associate’s degrees, professional development certificates and continuing education courses.

Dollars and Sense

“The most obvious upside of community colleges in today’s economy is cost,” said Laura Mears, associate vice president for enrollment management at Frederick Community College (FCC) in Frederick. Dr. Robert Templin Jr., president of Annandale-based Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), called these schools “the most affordable higher education option available.” Nationally, according to the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the average annual cost per student at a community college is $2,963. The average national cost of a four-year public college for in-state students is $8,240, according to The College Board. In Virginia, completing the first two years of college at a community college and transferring to a four-year public college saves about $12,000, said Templin. If the student transfers to a private university inVirginia, the savings will be closer to $50,000, he said.

12

Higher Education

COURTESY OF FREDERICK COMMUNITY COLLEGE

Across the Potomac River, the cost to attend La Plata-based College of Southern Maryland (CSM) is about half that of a fouryear public college in Maryland, said President Dr. Bradley Gottfried. Community colleges help students save money because the cost per credit is less than at four-year colleges. Some, such as FCC, offer additional savings through discounted in-county tuition rates. According to Mears, Frederick County residents are charged $176.10 per credit, while the per-credit price for out-of-county residents is $310.10. Savings aren’t limited solely to lower tuition costs. “Since community college campuses are usually close to home, students also save on driving costs,” said Norma Kent, AACC’s senior vice president of communications and advancement. Plus, students might save by not having to pay room and board since these schools traditionally don’t provide housing. Many community colleges do offer meal plans that help students save on the cost of food purchased on campus, said Mears.

Convenience

Convenience is another advantage afforded by community colleges, said Gottfried. In Charles, Calvert and St. Mary’s counties, no student is more than 20 minutes away from a CSM campus, as locations also include Waldorf, Prince Frederick and Leonardtown. Community college students “are close to home and have access to their family support network,” said Barbara Yetman, vice president of student affairs at Bucks County Community College (BCCC) in Newtown, Pa., about 30 miles northeast of Philadelphia. “If students need to work while they’re attending college, they also have access to the local employment network.” “We are convenient in the sense that we have NOVA campuses close to where people live and work throughout NorthernVirginia,” saidTemplin. And, he noted, the convenience of a community college also extends to course scheduling. “We offer classes seven days a week and online. People can work college into their busy lives.” At FCC, “scheduling options include 14week, 13-week, seven-week, eight-week, five-

Frederick Community College offers discounted in-county tuition rates. Frederick County residents are charged $176.10 per credit, while the per-credit price for out-of-county residents is $310.10.

week and even Saturday-only seven-week sessions,” said Mears.

Quality Counts

When it comes to the educational quality provided by community colleges, Dr. DeRionne Pollard, president of Rockvillebased Montgomery College, said it begins with the “academic prowess” of faculty. “Ninety-four percent of Montgomery College faculty members hold master’s degrees and one-third hold doctorates.” “A lot of our faculty members are practicing professionals who are working in the field in which they’re teaching,” said NOVA’s Templin. “They can bring real-time issues into the classroom.” According toYetman, community college students are being exposed to a quality Special Supplement | Fall 2012

education that provides a wide variety of perspectives that extend the learning taking place in the classroom. As an example, she cited the Historic Preservation Program at BCCC. For more than two decades, she said, this program has been providing an affordable, broad-based education in historic preservation not only to the people of Bucks County and the Delaware Valley but also to preservationists across the country. Students in this program, according to the college’s website, learn about historic preservation through course work, special lectures, workshops, field work and internships. At CSM,“We have small class sizes, mostly in the 20s or fewer. No class has over 40 students,” said Gottfried. As a result, there is a lot of potential for interaction among students and instructors.

Articulating Student Success

great places to complete one.” – Dr. Robert Templin

University and the other eight four-year colleges in the University System of Maryland to set up articulation agreements,” said Gottfried. Pollard said Montgomery College has “dozens of articulation agreements with fouryear colleges across the country, including all of the schools in the University System of Maryland and major schools in Washington, D.C., such as American University, George Washington University, Catholic University and Howard University.” Transfer coordinators at Maryland community colleges use a computerized database known as ARTSYS (Articulation System for Maryland Colleges and Universities), which shows where community college courses fit into a four-year degree program as required courses or electives. “This helps ensure that students won’t have problems transferring from community college to a four-year college,” said Gottfried. “Our goal is no surprises.”

In Pennsylvania, community colleges also have a computerized clearinghouse, the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Center (pacollegetransfer.com), which Yetman said “provides a one-stop resource center to help us navigate course and credit transfer policies at four-year colleges across the state.” A special advantage offered inVirginia, according to Templin, is a statewide admissions program that provides “both an affordable and guaranteed route to some of our highly selective universities.” For example, “If a student comes to NOVA and declares the intent to transfer to any public university in Virginia, follows a prescribed program of study and achieves a high enough grade point average (usually 3.5), he or she is guaranteed admission to that four-year institution.” Participating four-year schools include University of Virginia, The College of William and Mary,Virginia Tech and George Mason University.

College Education That Works

“Community colleges not only offer programs of study geared to transfer of credits to four-year institutions, but also a variety of career-oriented programs that lend themselves to immediate employment,” saidYetman. Compared with students at four-year schools, more community college students “don’t know what career field they should pursue,” said Gottfried. “That’s why we provide enhanced support in career exploration. Our career counselors can point students toward the career that is right for them.” Just under half of the students at CSM don’t plan to transfer to a four-year school and are taking courses to enhance their skills, Gottfried said. Nursing and health sciences are the most popular studies in this case, as they often yield well-paying jobs that don’t require a See COMMUNITY, 17 four-year degree.

1867093

Transferring credits from a community college to a four-year institution is facilitated by “articulation agreements” specifying predesignated courses of study that ensure acceptance of credit, and in some cases, admission at many four-year universities. “Every community college in Maryland has transfer coordinators who work with University of Maryland, College Park, with Towson

“Community colleges are not only good places to start a college career. They can also be

Students who were enrolled in CSM during the 2009-2010 school year “transferred to 110 different four-year colleges and universities in 31 states and the District of Columbia,” Gottfried said. “It takes a high level of quality in education and support services to help students find those destinations,” Pollard said.

Special Supplement | Fall 2012

Higher Education

13

PHOTO COURTESY OF JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY

Engineering professors and students at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore work in a mock operating room with a surgical robot that develops techniques for computerassisted surgery.

14

Higher Education

~ BY KAREN FINUCAN CLARKSON ~

S

tudents looking to maximize the return on their undergraduate investment should major in engineering. Six of the top 10 highest paying majors, according to an analysis by PayScale Inc., are a subset of engineering. Of the 20 highest paying majors, 18 are in STEMH (science, technology, engineering, math and health) fields.“STEM-H is the hot ticket right now,” said Peter Stearns, provost at George Mason University in Fairfax,Va. Petroleum engineering is far and away the most lucrative major. The average starting salary, according to the 2012-13 PayScale College Salary Report, is $98,000.That’s $30,500

higher than chemical engineering, which boasts the second highest entry-level pay. Few schools offer a major in petroleum engineering. The Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pa., and West Virginia University in Morgantown are the closest institutions conferring such a degree, according toThe College Board. Although biomedical engineering ranks 13th on the PayScale list, an analysis by Forbes—which takes into account median mid-career pay, growth in salary and wealth of job opportunities—puts biomedical engineering at the top of the magazine’s 15 “Most Valuable College Majors” list. The average $53,800 starting salary reaches $97,800 by mid-career.With a projected 62 per-

cent growth in job opportunities between 2010 and 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, biomedical engineering is the fastest growing of any major on the Forbes list, according to its website. “This is a particularly great field for women,” said Dawn Elliott, a professor and director of the biomedical engineering program at the University of Delaware, which will graduate its first majors in 2014. While women earned just 18.4 percent of all undergraduate engineering degrees in 2010-2011, according to the American Society for Engineering Education, they received 39.1 percent of bachelor’s, 39.2 percent of master’s and 36.7 percent of doctorate degrees awarded in biomedical engineering.

Biomedical engineers develop devices and procedures that solve medical and health-related problems. For example,“they might work in the research and development of devices for implants—in the heart, spine, hip or knee,” said Elliott. “Or they might develop the next generation of MRI or ultrasound, devices used to detect disease.” Biomedical engineers enjoy interdisciplinarity. “They have the capacity to talk to those in the medical and scientific communities as well as engineers,” said Elliott. Given the novelty of the major, an advanced degree is not always necessary to land a top job, she said. Elliott estimates that about a third of biomedical engineering undergrads eventually go to medical Special Supplement | Fall 2012

school. She noted, however, “that as a doctor, you save the world one patient at a time. As a biomedical engineer, if you make a discovery, you can affect the life span or quality of life of millions of people.” In addition to the University of Delaware, schools offering biomedical engineering degrees in the Mid-Atlantic include Johns Hopkins University, topped ranked in the field by U.S. News and World Report; George Mason University; University of Virginia; Virginia Commonwealth University; Virginia Tech; The Catholic University of America; The George Washington University;The University of Pennsylvania; Drexel University; and Temple University.The University of Maryland, College Park offers a related degree in bioengineering. Another STEM-H major that pays well, especially for women, is pharmacy, said Heidi Roller, vice president for enrollment management at Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore. Pharmacists must complete a four-year professional degree and are subject to state licensing exams.The average entry-level salary is $64,000, according to simplyhired.com, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the median pay at $111,570. Forbes ranks

Special Supplement | Fall 2012

pharmacy as the second-highest paying profession for women, behind physician/surgeon. The magazine noted that women comprise 48 percent of the pharmacy profession and earn 83 percent as much as male pharmacists. That compares favorably to chief executive officers, Forbes’ third-ranked profession for women. Only 26 percent of CEOs are women and they earn just 72 percent of what their male peers command, according to Forbes. For those not inclined to a career in STEM-H, management degrees can offer a significant return on investment. “Management is popping up all over the place,” said Roller. “Risk, knowledge, marketing and health care management are emerging fields and, as such, have well-paying jobs that require only a bachelor’s degree. Of course, a master’s will make you even more competitive.” Health care is a popular management subset within the Mid-Atlantic. U.S. News and World Report includes nine schools from the region in its list of best health care management programs.The University of Pennsylvania is No. 4,Virginia Commonwealth is No. 5, Johns Hopkins is No. 11, GeorgeWashington is No. 21,Temple is No. 24, Georgetown is No. 29, GMU is No. 36 and Marymount

University is No. 63.Towson University also offers a degree in health care management and the University of Maryland, Baltimore offers a related degree in health systems management on its main campus and through The Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville. There is often a significant difference between the starting salaries commanded by STEM-H and business majors and the entry-level pay of liberal arts majors, but that gap diminishes somewhat over time, Stearns noted. In fact, the top three schools in the Southeast ranked for salary potential by PayScale are liberal arts schools: the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, starting salary of $72,200 and mid-career salary of $122,000; Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., starting salary of $52,100 and mid-career salary of $108,000; and Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore, starting salary of $48,300 and mid-career salary of $104,000. While wanting to maximize one’s return on college tuition is understandable, Stearns hopes “it does not exclude consideration of what a student is good at, what he enjoys, and from what he will derive the greatest satisfaction, not just the biggest paycheck.”

ISTOCKPHOTO/JAMESBREY

Although there is often a significant difference between the starting salaries commanded by STEM-H and business majors and the entry-level pay of liberal arts majors,

that gap diminishes somewhat over time.

Higher Education

15

JOHN T. CONSOLI/UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND

University of Maryland, College Park applications include several questions that are deliberately light in tone and require short answers. A college spokeswoman said they get more candid responses this way, as students tend not to fret over them and reveal more of themselves.

~ APPLICATION, from 3 ~ of the best essays he’s read detailed a student’s relationship with a grandparent. “In the scheme of things, it might not seem remarkable, but I still recall it. It put such a value on that relationship, but not in a hokey way,” he said. When it comes to essays, “the irony is that there are so many people trying to stand out that the ones that don’t try are the ones that succeed.” Hines concurred. “Students too often think they have to have accomplished something extraordinary in order to write a compelling essay. Make the extraordinary out of something ordinary.Tell us what mattered to you and why,” she said. Forget the thesaurus but remember to use spell-check. A proofreader can be invaluable. “It’s not cheating to have someone proof it,” said Gundy, but the proofreader shouldn’t rewrite it. “Give your essay to a friend, someone who knows you well,” said Bittinger. “Then, ask him, ‘Is this who I am and what I’m about?’”

ISTOCKPHOTO/MILOSLUZ

16

Higher Education

Those who know a student well should be tapped for letters of recommendation. “The letters give us a sense of what kind of community member a student is.That’s particularly important at a small residential col-

lege where we’re not just looking for scholars, but contributors,” said Goldsmith. “Recommendations from teachers provide insight into the student’s strengths in the classroom.” Goldsmith also encourages applicants to take advantage of interview opportunities— be they on campus or close to home. Many college admissions officials visit high schools or hold coffee socials to which prospective students are invited. Sometimes alumni meet with applicants in the area. “I’ve never seen it work against an applicant,” she said. “It’s just one more opportunity to get to know the student better.” Colleges want to hear about a student’s extracurricular activities, community service and employment, as well any instances where leadership was on display. “We appreciate when a student puts together a strong resume that, in one page, provides a snapshot of his academic career,” said Hazlett. When it comes to after-school activities, colleges favor depth over breadth.“We’d rather see students actively involved in a few clubs than taking a shotgun approach,” he said. “We’re looking for a developing and increasing commitment to something the student cares about,” said Goldsmith. “Has the student moved along in something throughout his high school career?” Demonstrating leadership is important.

Students often “don’t realize that they can lead without having president or vice president in their title,” said Bittinger. “Leadership takes many forms. Accomplishing something behind the scenes is just as impressive.” An impressive application is made less so when questions are left unanswered, supporting materials are omitted or deadlines are missed, said Gundy. “Follow directions and act in a timely manner.” While there is likely to be some disappointment associated with the college admission process—four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. accept, on average, about two-thirds of applicants, according to NACAC—rejection can be minimized by submitting an application that paints a vivid picture of who the student is and what he has accomplished to institutions that will appreciate the colors on that canvas. That’s not to say some schools won’t be a reach, but that colleges to which a student applies should be those that will challenge and embrace, rather than overwhelm, him. “It doesn’t do anyone any good if the fit is wrong,” said Hazlett. “We want students to feel connected to our institution.That increases retention and graduation rates. And, it means they will stay connected to us well beyond graduation.” Special Supplement | Fall 2012

school guidance counselors,” said St. Mary’s Goldsmith. “They deal with the industry day to day. Many of them visit schools, know admissions requirements and have students who attend a wide variety of institutions.”

~ RANKINGS, from 8 ~ Other factors that U.S. News uses to rank colleges include retention, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and graduation and alumni-giving rates. Among the measures not considered is diversity, according to GMU’s Stearns, which he regards as important. A number of other organizations rank schools or provide selective listings of top institutions. Kiplinger is known for its lists of best college values. Forbes, in partnership with The Center for College Affordability & Productivity, publishes “America’s Top Colleges.” Washington Monthly’s college guide provides rankings within four categories based on schools’ “contribution to the public good.” The Princeton Review ranks colleges regionally based on student surveys and has honor rolls for financial aid, fire safety and environmental sustainability. PayScale Inc. assesses the return on investment graduates can expect when college tuition is compared to lifetime earnings. Less mainstream rankings—of things such as campus housing, Greek life, athletics and campus strictness—are offered by College Prowler, a by-students for-students website. Newsweek and The Daily Beast combine resources to provide top 25 lists of party schools, least affordable colleges, least

Community colleges help students save money because their cost per credit is less than at fouryear schools.

ISTOCKPHOTO/DANABETH555

Special Supplement | Fall 2012

ISTOCKPHOTO/AIMINTANG

Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., currently ranks 21st on the U.S. News list of top national universities.

rigorous colleges, most stressful colleges, most beautiful colleges and happiest colleges, among others. Lesser known ratings and groupings may sometimes be more beneficial to families in the college search than popular rankings. Loyola’s Camille recommends exploring data from the National Survey of Student Engagement, some of the data from which has been

published by USAToday. Randomly selected freshmen and seniors respond to a survey that measures the amount of time and effort students put into their studies and how the institution deploys its resources and organizes its curriculum.This year, 577 colleges and universities participated. “One ranking that is very interesting and underutilized is the (U.S.News) polling of high

~ COMMUNITY, from 13 ~

was developed in partnership with Constellation Energy, which operates the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant near Lusby, Md. The company is providing scholarships, equipment and technicians who serve as instructors, Gottfried said. And when it comes to professional development, community college transfers often work in reverse. “We have a significant number of students who start at a four-year school and end up at NOVA,” said Templin. “Usually, these are students who have earned arts and sciences degrees but lack marketable skills.They come to NOVA to supplement their bachelor’s with marketable skills in fields such as geospatial skills and cybersecurity.” “Community colleges are not only good places to start a college career,” said Templin. “They can also be great places to complete one.”

Courses can also help advance an existing career more quickly. “In IT, a person may just need a Microsoft certification to qualify for a promotion. In business management, there are certificates providing skill sets that can make employees more competitive,” said Mears. “Some programs you can start only at a community college,” said NOVA’s Templin. “One example is automotive technology. In two years, you can pick up the sophisticated skills needed to become a master mechanic. At the same time, the articulation agreements we have with four-year colleges ensure acceptance of most of those credits toward a four-year degree.” Community colleges are usually quite agile in picking up on new fields, such programs for developing gaming software, said the community college association’s Kent. “They are listening to what employers are saying in their market, looking for new and emerging trends and ways to work with local employers.” CSM recently introduced a new degree program for nuclear energy technicians. It

Strong Value Proposition

In assessing the value offered by community colleges, Pollard points to the “significant economic, cultural and educational impact we provide.”

Colleges That Change Lives (CTCL) may be “useful to parents in expanding the college search,” said McDaniel’s Hines. CTCL is a nonprofit with 44 member schools, including three in Maryland and two in Virginia. Each school, according to founder Loren Pope, has “a familial sense of communal enterprise that gets students heavily involved in cooperative rather than competitive learning and a faculty of scholars devoted to helping young people develop their powers.” Given the wealth of information available about colleges and universities, it is a disservice to students and schools to focus exclusively on rankings, said Jose Aviles, director of admissions at the University of Delaware. Students should “move away from looking externally—to rankings and ratings—and focus more on local resources, teachers and counselors who can help students identify institutions that would be a good fit based on criteria they, not someone else, have developed….Then they should turn to the institutions themselves for access to information that will help them make informed decisions.”

“Community colleges serve as the access point to higher education, and our value is tied to that access,” said Mears. “Lower cost, open-door admission and geographical proximity provide opportunities for education and training that may not otherwise be available.” According to Pollard, as many as 90 percent of Montgomery College students remain in Maryland and contribute to the economic growth of the state. “We strengthen the Montgomery County local economy by $1.8 billion through college operations, student spending and alumni productivity.” According to December 2011 figures published by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, Montgomery College has 2,749 employees, making it the 13th largest employer in Montgomery County. “Community colleges are not only affordable, but are highly accessible and on the cutting edge of emerging fields,” said Kent. “Whether you’re an 18-year-old entering college or a 55-year-old looking to change careers, community colleges have something to offer.” Higher Education

17

~ MARYLAND COLLEGES, from 9 ~

Does it matter which degree you pursue?

~ BY LYNDA GRAHILL ~

C

hoosing between a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree can seem a little like choosing between red and redder. “It’s almost like splitting hairs,” said Dr. George Delahunty, Lilian Welsh professor of biological sciences at Goucher College in Baltimore. While Delahunty oversees Bachelor-of-Arts-in-biology students at Goucher, he himself received a Bachelor of Science for his undergraduate studies. “What determines your future will be how well you did in your studies, not what degree you received,” he said. Even the United States Census Bureau, which reported that in March 2011, for the first time in U.S. history, more than 30 percent of Americans held at least a bachelor’s degree, didn’t distinguish between the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in its overarching statistics. The census bureau’s 2012 Educational Attainment report, based on data from 2009 surveys, shows that 32 percent of those 25 or older in the Northeast have bachelor’s degrees, as do 35.7 percent of those in that age group in Maryland, 34 percent in Virginia and 48.5 percent in Washington, D.C.The report details all manner of specifics regarding educational levels in the U.S., but groups all bachelor’s degrees together—as it does all master’s, doctorates and professional school degrees. So what is the difference between a B.A. and a B.S.? Both degrees are usually granted by U.S. colleges and universities after four years, with a predetermined number of credits accumulated and a minimum cumulative grade point average sustained. “Differences revolve around what the institution has to offer and the requirements the school determines for each field of study,” Delahunty said.

18

Higher Education

One of the most common differences in course requirements, which can be found on the websites of any individual college or university, is foreign language study: B.A. programs generally require language study, while B.S. programs may accept language study as an elective, but not require it. Goucher College, for instance, offers dual-degree programs in biomedical, chemical, biomolecular, environmental, and materials science engineering, in addition to its B.A. programs in nonengineering sciences, Delahunty said. As part of the program, students can earn a B.A. from Goucher, plus a B.S. from the G.W.C. Whiting School of Engineering ISTOCKPHOTO/KICKSTAND at Johns Hopkins University. The University of Virginia (UVA) in Those with a Charlottesville, while traditionally a liberal bachelor’s degree arts school, offers students a choice between a B.A. and a B.S. in environmental engineeron average earned ing. Although the degrees are billed as substantially different, the university catalog assures students that “both degrees provide more per year than an excellent basis for graduate work in Enviworkers with only a ronmental Sciences as has been demonstrated throughout the history of the Department high school diploma. [of Environmental Sciences].” – U.S. Census Bureau The B.S. at UVA requires approximately 25 credit hours beyond the B.A. and is aimed In the most general terms, a B.A. is the- more specifically at professional or science oretical and a B.S. is technical, which means employment or future studies in engineerthat a liberal arts school is more likely to ing, while the B.A. grounds students for confer a B.A. in a field in which a technical future study in law, planning or business. For most students, the decision will be school would confer a B.S.—which is why their college catalogs show one can get a what to study, and not which degree to B.A. in engineering from Harvard and a pursue. “Whether it’s a B.A. or a B.S. is not a big B.S. in literature from MIT. “You have to go institution by institution to look into the de- issue in trying to determine where you want to go,” said Delahunty. “You might want to tails,” said Delahunty. Each university, or even department of look at the degree requirements after you study within the university, will determine pick the place and the field—but which dethe type of degree it will grant, as well as the gree will be secondary. Most people will ask where you went, not which you have.” course requirements for that degree.

about $20,000

Towson University [con’t.] #87 Forbes America’s 100 Best College Buys – Listed by U.S. News as an A+ School for B Students, Regional Universities North, 2013 – Listed by The Princeton Review as a Best Regional College Northeastern, 2012 Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences #62 U.S. News Best Medical School, Research, 2012 United States Naval Academy #1 U.S. News Top Public Schools, National Liberal Arts Colleges, 2013 #3 Forbes America’s 100 Best College Buys #14 U.S. News Best National Liberal Arts Colleges, 2013 #43 Forbes America’s Top Colleges, 2012 – Listed by The Princeton Review as a Best Regional College Northeastern, 2012 University of Baltimore #23 U.S. News Top Public Schools, Regional Universities North, 2013 #82 U.S. News Best Regional Universities North, 2013 – Listed by U.S. News as an A+ Schools for B Students, National Universities, 2013 University of Maryland, Baltimore #37 U.S. News Best Medical School, Research, 2013 #39 U.S. News Best Law Schools, 2013 #71 U.S. News Best Medical School, Primary Care, 2013 University of Maryland, Baltimore County #1 U.S. News Up-and-Coming National Universities, 2013 #84 Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges, 2012 #87 U.S. News Top Public Schools, National Universities, 2013 #160 U.S. News Best National Universities, 2013 – Listed by The Princeton Review as a Best Regional College Northeastern, 2012 University of Maryland, College Park #8 Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges, 2012 #8 The Wall Street Journal Top 25 Recruiter Picks, 2012 #19 U.S. News Top Public Schools, National Universities, 2012 #55 Forbes America’s 100 Best College Buys #58 U.S. News Best National Universities, 2013 #70 PayScale.com ROI Rankings, 2012 #105 Washington Monthly Best National Universities, 2012 #168 Forbes America’s Top Colleges, 2012 – Listed by The Princeton Review as a Best Regional College Northeastern, 2012 – Listed by The Princeton Review as a Best Value Public College for 2012 University of Maryland Eastern Shore #33 U.S. News Best Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 2013 Washington College #96 U.S. News Best National Liberal Arts Colleges, 2013 #146 Forbes America’s Top Colleges, 2012 – Listed by U.S. News as an A+ School for B Students, National Liberal Arts Colleges, 2013

Special Supplement | Fall 2012

1868292

Special Supplement | Fall 2012

Higher Education

19

1867127

4

Higher Education

Special Supplement | Fall 2012


Highereducation pg103112pdf