Many of us know Steve Jobs as the co-founder of Apple and Pixar, but did you know Jobs encountered many hardships, failures, and unexpected turns throughout his life, including dropping out of college?
In his commencement address to Stanford’s graduating class of 2005, Jobs is very generous, personal, and honest. Unlike many speakers who focus on their successes and impart advice to students to emulate that kind of success, Jobs’ speech is composed of three surprising stories from his life that have made him the person he is today. Jobs offers no easy answers, but delivers an incredibly inspirational speech that may feature some of the most valuable words of wisdom for any graduate.
As college students have attested, choosing which institution of higher learning to attend can be a baffling experience, particularly when even the experts can’t agree. The New York Times has enlisted a variety of experts (such as a law professor, the director of the nonprofit Colleges Change Lives, and an economist) to each give their own take on the myths associated with the college application process, cite what they think are the most important factors to consider when choosing a college, and provide resources and strategies for students who are looking for a quality education. The featured discussion offers students a spectrum of ideas and perspectives on a very difficult and often times nerve-wracking process.
University of Florida Graduates Thousands: Coordinating One of the Biggest Graduation Events in the US
University of Florida ranks among America’s largest post-secondary institutions. To give you an idea of its size, previous universities I wrote about, such as Southern Methodist University and University of Miami, have student populations around 16,000, while UF’s is over 50,000! Donna Stricker, UF’s Commencement Coordinator, reveals how she has not only overseen the successful completion of various ceremonies, but has also managed to keep them all under ninety minutes long, as she is constantly mindful of the family members and friends who attend.
Often times, schools have been pressured to focus more on academics and less on sports, or vice-versa. Athletic students have often been stereotyped as being less academically engaged or successful. So one might be surprised to learn that at University of North Carolina – Asheville (UNC-A) and New Mexico State (NMSU), student athletes are more likely to graduate than any other students. NCU-A takes pride in the fact that its student athletes, who have a 98% graudation rate, have been surpassing the national average since 2001. Jason Groves, in his article for the La Cruces Sun News, notes that the establishment of the Graduation Success Rate and APR (Academic Progress Rate ), has played a major role in this phenomenon. Not only are coaches being hired based on their team’s successes, but on how well their athletes perform academically, as, according to NMSU’s Associate Athletic Director, a school’s “president can look back and see what [a coach's] APR score was at their old school,” and “It can be the difference between if they hire you or the next person.”
UNC-A stresses, its coaches’ and other faculty’s focus on ensuring athletes’ academic success. “The athletic department and the university work with student athletes who need another semester or more to graduate,” Janet Cone, athletics director at UNC-A states.Other staff note that UNC-A’s unique “academic atmosphere” is a major ingredient in the school’s recipe for success. In the end, it seems, that separating sports from academics is no longer an option with measurements like the GSR and APR allowing prospective students and parents to see, for a particular school, an athlete’s likelihood of graduating. “We are all trying to improve graduation rates,” Cone said. “We’re trying to recruit students first and athletes second.”
In the past, I’ve provided a list of the most affordable quality colleges and even the schools with the highest drop-out rates, but one other factors to keep in mind when college-hunting is the look of the campus–and your new home if you’ll be moving. In this Yahoo News article, Forbes interviews a panel of architects to cobble together a list of the world’s most beautiful college campuses. College faculty take note: architects say the key to preserving a school’s character and aesthetics is by “taking in its surroundings instead of alienating them” as the school expands for increasing numbers of students. Both unknown colleges such as Kenyon University, the one pictured here, and renowned schools such as Oxford University, have made this diverse list. Yahoo lists the top five, but you can find the full list here.
The ACT has found that taking the required courses in high school does not ensure that you will have the skill set you need to succeed in college. According to their recent news release based on this year’s test scores, although progress has been made (the number of students who meet ACT’s readiness requirements increased by 1% since last year, which experts find encouraging) nearly half of all test takers either meet none of the ACT’s readiness benchmarks for college or only one of them. The benchmarks are based on grades students actually get in college and indicate the likelihood a tested high school student will get a good or bad grade in college based on their performance. From this data, the ACT has concluded that the core high school classes are often not rigorous enough to prepare students for the challenges of college. Read more…
When choosing a soundtrack for commencement or a graduation party, you’ve got to keep in mind that people are going to be looking both backward to the past and forward to the future during the event. And they’re going to want to cry.
To give you some ideas for the kind of songs young people are looking for during graduation, ibeatyou, a website the hosts online contests in which people post videos and images and compete for votes, hosted a contest for best song to play at graduation. The video below won first place as top song–I still remember this song from when I was younger. As one of the few coming of age pop songs that literally refers to graduation, Vitamin C’s “Graduation (Friends Forever)” has secured a place on most top graduation songs lists out there. The most massive, comprehensive list of graduation songs I could find probably includes nearly every contemporary song associated with goodbyes, change, education, and/or graduation.
Most of us are used to reading articles about America’s “Best” Colleges, particularly the U.S. News & World Report’s annual selection of America’s top 50 colleges. But Washington Monthly has shifted the spotlight to draw the public’s attention to schools many of us probably have never heard of. Instead of listing the 50 best schools, Washington Monthly ranks the so-called “dropout factories” of our country–the 50 colleges with the lowest graduation rates in the nation. Jay Matthews of the Washington Post, highlights this list, in his Class Struggle blog article, as important journalist research into a relatively unexplored terrain: that of the colleges for low income students. Read more…
I don’t know about you Junior and Senior high school students out there, but when I was applying for college, I was a bit disoriented by all the choices. More than that, I felt intimidated by the very best of schools, like UC Berkeley and UC Santa Barbara, and hopes of getting in seemed like groundless dreams. But UC Berkeley’s youtube account UCBerkeleyEvents, brings the whole application process down to earth in its video for potential incoming undergrads. Staff, faculty, and students address some of the myths about UC Berkeley that often intimidate potential students, and provide helpful tips on how to use your application to paint a unique, accurate picture of who you are. Even if you’re not applying to UC Berkeley in particular, most of these facts and helpful guidelines can pertain to the application process to any prestigious university.
Many people–experts, students, and laymen alike–keep saying that a degree isn’t enough to secure a job. But what’s the reason behind that? People try to blame the faulty economy entirely, but Heather R. Huhman, president of a career and workplace education firm, states that employers aren’t just looking for people with degrees: they want employees with specific skills. Currently, more young people than ever are attending college. Having a degree won’t necessarily make you stand out. So Huhman, in her Wall Street Journal Hire Education blog article, discusses the kind of skills and experience employers in most fields are working for. More than that, she defines each of the core skills and explains why they are useful in the workplace. She also lists opportunities for college students to acquire these skills, like volunteering and joining school clubs, ways students can begin to compile a repertoire of strengths to list in their resumes and reference in their interviews.