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Altherion

College admission in the US -- is it really this insane now?

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Re: free college, I don’t support it, fuck that shit, the system is too corrupt and cost inflated to prop up with a universal infusion.

what I’d rather see is the climate change strategy applied to cost of college attendance, meaning colleges have to put themselves on track to bring the cost of attendance below 1990 levels by 2040 or they’re fucked in accreditation and receiving federal funding.  And if burns the system to the ground, good! If it means that colleges cut their ratio of 300 administrators per student  and 3000 administrators per teacher well shit, that’s probably a great thing. Most of the money from the cost explosion has gone to insanely massive bureaucratic capture by middle management admin, lets give them all a gastric bypass.

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5 minutes ago, lokisnow said:

Re: free college, I don’t support it, fuck that shit, the system is too corrupt and cost inflated to prop up with a universal infusion.

While I'd certainly be amenable to more public investment in education, I tend to think we need to have a broader conversation about how we actually do education, beyond high school, in the US. And in my view, I think we need to think of models of education and training that go beyond the traditional college degree. This is something I think that needs to be discussed more whenever the issue of "free college" comes up.

Edited by OldGimletEye

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Also, a one trillion dollar debt jubilee of student loans would be my preferred direct stimulus method in the next recession, especially if combined with the above mentioned climate change assault on the cost of attendance. 

A better use of money instead of universal college would be universal child care, it’s a better distribution of the resources and could unlock a lot of latent economic potential tied up in young child caregiving.

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1 hour ago, Ice Queen said:

One of my daughter's friends was an engineering major--not by his choice, but by his parents', who were both engineers. The parents were livid that he wanted to change his major and only relented when he tried to commit suicide. She also dated a boy who wanted to transfer to a school in Florida, and his parents told him that if he transferred they would no longer pay his tuition. He was miserable, too, and was barely coasting by because he didn't want to be there. 

I’ve always been grateful that my parents were okay with me giving up fiancé for psychology (and then psychology and political science). I got into to one of the better business schools in the country, and they had taken that as a point of pride, but they could also see that I was deeply unhappy there despite doing really well. Thankfully Minnesota is also a good school for the programs I switched to, so it was that big of a difference in the end.

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While we're on this topic, I am all in favor of gap years. Very few people know what they want to do at 18 and it's really unrealistic of us to expect them to. Let them take a year off to work or travel or whatever and let them figure it out before committing four years and tens of thousands of what's most likely going to be YOUR money. 

I don’t know if a full gap year is ideal, but I think what I did was smart. I already had about a semester’s worth of credits when I graduated from HS, so I stayed at my CC for a year and took classes part time. I got my generals done on the cheap and I got a chance to explore possibilities outside of business. Then after a year at the U I switched to a program I preferred. If I had just started there as a freshman I likely wouldn’t have risked taking a psychology course from the get go.

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30 minutes ago, OldGimletEye said:

While I'd certainly be amenable to more public investment in education, I tend to think we need to have a broader conversation about how we actually do education, beyond high school, in the US. And in my view, I think we need to think of models of education and training that go beyond the traditional college degree. This is something I think that needs to be discussed more whenever the issue of "free college" comes up.

This gets at the tracking system more than anything else, which is the post civil rights act system of segregation that was successfully adopted fairly universally. Having put in place a system whereby all “smart” (meaning upper middle class whites plus one token of various out groups) kids are put into a college prep track, we start associating the other tracks like the trades with not-whiteness and poverty.

So whether or not there’s a good living to be made as an electrician—which requires a lot of training and a really good mind—our cultural need to enforce de facto segregation in education means that we have systematically devalued these pathways. Both in terms of cultural value but also in terms of literal brain drains, both of which enforce a negative feedback loop. This wasn’t necessarily true in pre tracking days, which were also with du jour segregation, because college was correctly viewed as a country club playground for the wealthy, or as a necessity if you were going to become a doctor or lawyer, but a ton of smart kids in the fifties very much became electricians or auto mechanics or factory workers, because unless you had that dream to be a doctor, it was just the much smarter play ( and socially embraced) to not go to college.

But a generation later, college tracking became the way segregation was maintained and enforced and college took on a whole different meaning. However this was a slow process that did not play out equally everywhere because not everywhere really had to desegregate if they were overwhelmingly white in Iowa for example or had a profound manufacturing basis in Michigan, the changes were different.

But once the neo liberal economists joined forces with the Reagan and Clinton administrations to systematically implement their jobs genocides and union pogroms, well the necessity of college became a much more life or death battle everywhere, segregation or no. You could be on the side of the college elites implementing the genocides, or you could be on the side of the victims, pick your choice.

this also gets at one of trumps biggest appeals, he pretty much the only candidate in  the neo-liberal jobs genocides era who is loudly and clearly against the genocides. Lots of democrats have been mealy mouthed politician speak “against” it over the decades, but ultimately have done nothing and always joined forces to continue implementing the genocides as their masters order.  Having anyone saying that it’s fundamentally wrong and pisses him off too is incredibly satisfying and appealing (even if you half know he’s more of the same, at least he’s not mouthing the same lying platitudes the others are always squeaking out, at least he shares your rage, and unlike the politicians that always betray you anyway in favor of their masters, he’s one of the masters that control all the politicians, maybe he really is on your side?)

Edited by lokisnow

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1 hour ago, OldGimletEye said:

While I'd certainly be amenable to more public investment in education, I tend to think we need to have a broader conversation about how we actually do education, beyond high school, in the US. And in my view, I think we need to think of models of education and training that go beyond the traditional college degree. This is something I think that needs to be discussed more whenever the issue of "free college" comes up.

This, and I would go further.  I think we need to rethink early years even more urgently.  I am a huge proponent of Universal Pre-K, for instance.  But on the back end, I would love more investment in, and reinvigoration of, state universities (land grant and otherwise).  I would like to see more public investment in public schools.  And I think that it is ok for public schools to be leveled to a certain extent, but each branch should offer a quality education and provide real options to the state's residents (e.g., taking California as an example, the flagship UC Berkeley is excellent globally, but each of UCLA, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, etc., have flagship programs that are really, really fantastic or the school itself is globally recognized as a whole).  And it's not just because I believe in quality education being universally available for its own sake (I do).  I think it is a wise investment by the state.  North Carolina is a good example of this.  There are six excellent schools within a relatively close drive of each other (UNC, NC State, UNCG, Duke, North Carolina Central (a HBC) and Wake Forest).  Four of these six schools are public.  One of the drivers of the success of the NC Piedmont (which could have been entirely devastated by the collapse of tobacco and textile industries) was the ability to attract pharma and other high tech industries to the area, in part because of the access to a well-educated pool of workers.*  So some of the turmoil in the UNC system and the funding debates right now seems...misguided.

 

*Note that Eastern NC is still very, very poor.

Edited by Mlle. Zabzie

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1 hour ago, Tywin et al. said:

I’ve always been grateful that my parents were okay with me giving up fiancé for psychology (and then psychology and political science).taking a psychology course from the get go.

You gave up your fiancé for psychology? I don't know many psychologists who would recommend that choice. :)

(I suspect you meant "finance", of course.)

Edited by Ormond

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I think one of the things I think is a problem is that these kids go off to college, then amass a substantial debt, and then can't find a job, or at least one relatively quickly, because the "Entry Level Job" seemingly now means "Entry Level, but with three years experience".
And then you have some "career expert" knucklehead suggesting people get internships, even if that means it is an unpaid internship. Well, that doesn't really work, if you don't come from a wealthy background, where not working for money is not really an option.
I guess what I'm getting at here is I'd like to explore someway of getting students real world work experience fairly quickly into their college careers, maybe after their second year or something. And then maybe they can finish up their college degrees while employed or earning experience, even if that would take longer than the traditional four years.
It just seems that employers are demanding more of recent college graduates then they did say a few generations ago. And I think something needs to be done to fix this.

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15 minutes ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

North Carolina is a good example of this.  There are six excellent schools within a relatively close drive of each other (UNC, NC State, UNCG,  North Carolina Central (a HBC) and Wake Forest).  Four of these six schools are public.  One of the drivers of the success of the NC Piedmont (which could have been entirely devastated by the collapse of tobacco and textile industries) was the ability to attract pharma and other high tech industries to the area, in part because of the access to a well-educated pool of workers.*  So some of the turmoil in the UNC system and the funding debates right now seems...misguided.

*Note that Eastern NC is still very, very poor.

As a Duke alumnus I have to point out that it must be the sixth school you are discussing. :)

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3 minutes ago, OldGimletEye said:


It just seems that employers are demanding more of recent college graduates then they did say a few generations ago. And I think something needs to be done to fix this.

One of the problems related to the corporatization of higher education in the United States is that many employers seem to be expecting colleges to now do the sort of specific training that they themselves used to do after the person was hired. This has led to more and more bachelor's degrees in very specific fields (my university unfortunately had a major in Call Center Management, for instance) which seem to me to make the student less likely to be able to switch professions in the future, trapping him or her to working in a specific industry or even for a specific employer if they don't get another degree. 

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9 minutes ago, Ormond said:

As a Duke alumnus I have to point out that it must be the sixth school you are discussing. :)

Hah it is (have the same deficit in my educational background - have done pretty well out of it :P).

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6 minutes ago, Ormond said:

One of the problems related to the corporatization of higher education in the United States is that many employers seem to be expecting colleges to now do the sort of specific training that they themselves used to do after the person was hired. This has led to more and more bachelor's degrees in very specific fields (my university unfortunately had a major in Call Center Management, for instance) which seem to me to make the student less likely to be able to switch professions in the future, trapping him or her to working in a specific industry or even for a specific employer if they don't get another degree. 

There is no doubt, I think, that firms are less willing today to do training today than they were in the past. And then they cry about a "skills gap"* and yet offer up no solutions on how to solve it.

* a good part, in recent years, was bullshit by the way.

Edited by OldGimletEye

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13 minutes ago, OldGimletEye said:

I think one of the things I think is a problem is that these kids go off to college, then amass a substantial debt, and then can't find a job, or at least one relatively quickly, because the "Entry Level Job" seemingly now means "Entry Level, but with three years experience".
And then you have some "career expert" knucklehead suggesting people get internships, even if that means it is an unpaid internship. Well, that doesn't really work, if you don't come from a wealthy background, where not working for money is not really an option.
I guess what I'm getting at here is I'd like to explore someway of getting students real world work experience fairly quickly into their college careers, maybe after their second year or something. And then maybe they can finish up their college degrees while employed or earning experience, even if that would take longer than the traditional four years.
It just seems that employers are demanding more of recent college graduates then they did say a few generations ago. And I think something needs to be done to fix this.

That sounds like the student teacher model now used for education (since we now force teachers to have $100k bachelors degrees) instead of relying on ye olde credential program employed by many other countries.

Edited by lokisnow

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33 minutes ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

This, and I would go further.  I think we need to rethink early years even more urgently.  I am a huge proponent of Universal Pre-K, for instance.  But on the back end, I would love more investment in, and reinvigoration of, state universities (land grant and otherwise).  I would like to see more public investment in public schools.  And I think that it is ok for public schools to be leveled to a certain extent, but each branch should offer a quality education and provide real options to the state's residents (e.g., taking California as an example, the flagship UC Berkeley is excellent globally, but each of UCLA, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, etc., have flagship programs that are really, really fantastic or the school itself is globally recognized as a whole).  And it's not just because I believe in quality education being universally available for its own sake (I do).  I think it is a wise investment by the state.  North Carolina is a good example of this.  There are six excellent schools within a relatively close drive of each other (UNC, NC State, UNCG,  North Carolina Central (a HBC) and Wake Forest).  Four of these six schools are public.  One of the drivers of the success of the NC Piedmont (which could have been entirely devastated by the collapse of tobacco and textile industries) was the ability to attract pharma and other high tech industries to the area, in part because of the access to a well-educated pool of workers.*  So some of the turmoil in the UNC system and the funding debates right now seems...misguided.

 

*Note that Eastern NC is still very, very poor.

I'm not a fan of preschool or pre-K, at least not in its current form. 

We have a whole generation of 16 and 17 year old kids utterly stressed out and demoralized from the strain of trying to get into good schools because we've brainwashed them into thinking they have to get into the best schools and earn the most scholarship money.

We're doing exactly the same thing to 3 and 4 year olds on the other end of the spectrum and there are probably just as many people bribing admissions people in "exclusive" pre-K programs as there are at the college level.

My kids used to come home with homework in preschool. To me that's crazy. Once they become adults they're going to have 50 years of an overly structured environment. Can't we just let them be kids? They need unstructured playtime and time to be creative. No pre-planned Lego packages and Lincoln Logs. No "educational" video games. They need outdoor play and they need to be allowed to get dirty, climb trees, make mudpies. 

Young children are super absorbent sponges. They're going to learn anything and everything. Their brains are wired for it, and by kindergarten they're ready to learn. 

I never made my kids do summer homework, either. Being a well rounded kid is just as important as book knowledge. 

We're taking their childhood away from them by overly scheduling them and forcing them to do homework and excel before they're ready. As long as they know their alphabet, their numbers and colors by kindergarten, they're no worse off than their peers. Is there any evidence that these types of programs, in an attempt to create the next Einstein, have any benefit beyond elementary school? 

Edited by Ice Queen

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6 minutes ago, OldGimletEye said:

There is no doubt, I think, that firms are less willing today to do training today than they were in the past. And then they cry about a "skills gap"* and yet offer up no solutions on how to solve it.

* a good part, in recent years, which was bullshit by the way.

The skills gap is caused by boomers who have no idea how to use technology, much less to its full potential. And yet these people are the ones whining about how they can't get the kids to do anything, or they're not qualified. 

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1 hour ago, Tywin et al. said:

I’ve always been grateful that my parents were okay with me giving up fiancé for psychology (and then psychology and political science). I got into to one of the better business schools in the country, and they had taken that as a point of pride, but they could also see that I was deeply unhappy there despite doing really well. Thankfully Minnesota is also a good school for the programs I switched to, so it was that big of a difference in the end.

I don’t know if a full gap year is ideal, but I think what I did was smart. I already had about a semester’s worth of credits when I graduated from HS, so I stayed at my CC for a year and took classes part time. I got my generals done on the cheap and I got a chance to explore possibilities outside of business. Then after a year at the U I switched to a program I preferred. If I had just started there as a freshman I likely wouldn’t have risked taking a psychology course from the get go.

I think gap years aren't for everyone, but as long as the kid has a plan for how they're going to use it, it can be very beneficial. Sitting at home on Mom's couch playing video games doesn't count. :) But working, or taking off in a pickup truck with just a backpack and no money, the Peace Corps...these experiences can really help them sort things out. When the year is up, they're a year older, a year more mature, and hopefully more focused. 

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Look, homework in Pre-K (or K) shouldn't exist.  My understanding is that the current research supports 10 minutes a day per grade level (so, e.g., for a first grader, no more than 10 minutes), plus 20-30 minutes of reading.

BUT, Pre-K provides a lot of things.  (1)  Kids actually crave stability and structure - school may be the only place they are getting that.  School may be the only place they are getting a good meal.  Expanding universal pre-K only helps these issues.  (2) I believe that the research supports that encouraging exploration of concepts that lead to literacy and numeracy earlier gives a leg up in cognitive development, though, unfortunately, it cannot replace support from parents at home.  (3)  While not universal child care (which I also support), the option of Universal Pre-K is helpful to parents.  Free (essentially) daycare during the school day, while not a panacea, certainly is helpful.  I personally believe that Pre-K, and a large part of K (and a lot of first grade) should be largely play-based, but I digress.  

(And to digress further, I always did my summer homework, and my children will always do their summer homework - skills get rusty without use.  I'd do away with summer break if I could.  It's hard on working parents and kids.  But my mother, aunt, sister, and one of my grandmothers and my great grandmother were/are all educators, and my father was an academic, so I believe).

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1 hour ago, Ormond said:

You gave up your fiancé for psychology? I don't know many psychologists who would recommend that choice. :)

(I suspect you meant "finance", of course.)

Damn you auto-correct!

I did, however, end my engagement in part because of my political work. She didn’t want that lifestyle anymore and I wasn’t giving up my main passion.

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1 hour ago, Ice Queen said:

I'm not a fan of preschool or pre-K, at least not in its current form. 

We have a whole generation of 16 and 17 year old kids utterly stressed out and demoralized from the strain of trying to get into good schools because we've brainwashed them into thinking they have to get into the best schools and earn the most scholarship money.

We're doing exactly the same thing to 3 and 4 year olds on the other end of the spectrum and there are probably just as many people bribing admissions people in "exclusive" pre-K programs as there are at the college level.

My kids used to come home with homework in preschool. To me that's crazy. Once they become adults they're going to have 50 years of an overly structured environment. Can't we just let them be kids? They need unstructured playtime and time to be creative. No pre-planned Lego packages and Lincoln Logs. No "educational" video games. They need outdoor play and they need to be allowed to get dirty, climb trees, make mudpies. 

Young children are super absorbent sponges. They're going to learn anything and everything. Their brains are wired for it, and by kindergarten they're ready to learn. 

I never made my kids do summer homework, either. Being a well rounded kid is just as important as book knowledge. 

We're taking their childhood away from them by overly scheduling them and forcing them to do homework and excel before they're ready. As long as they know their alphabet, their numbers and colors by kindergarten, they're no worse off than their peers. Is there any evidence that these types of programs, in an attempt to create the next Einstein, have any benefit beyond elementary school? 

A couple things universal child care and universal pre k are different things. A lot of kids don’t learn shapes or colors much less a number/letter glyphs without the structure of a pre school. No preschool should ever have homework, and preschool and kindergarten should have a large play component, trying to teach sub six year olds any sort of academic discipline is a good recipe to damage kids or at least damage their relationship to education for life. And very few preschools cater to that sort of parentally demanded damage (those that do are more interested in extracting fundraising from parents than in the kids, to these pre schools the kids are ATMs, not children)—most parents that want to demand such damage be inflicted on their kids in preschool wind up hiring nannies or au pairs to do pre school intensive tutoring for the poor kids—which results in outcomes probably a lot like  Olivia Jade Mossimo.

My favorite sell line I ever heard from a pre school was, “let me be clear, your kids will come home dirty from playing outside.”

i never received any summer homework, only suggested summer reading lists, which I mostly ignored or had already read half of. I find the idea vaguely repulsive.

i do think we need to figure out a way to titrate up the length of the school year, so summer breaks are at least a month shorter, but the additional days of labor must be commensurately compensated, not de facto wage cuts. 

Edited by lokisnow

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 the details of the fake UCLA soccer player (who got in to UCLA after singer screwed up her USC application and accidentally sent it to regular admissions, so the dirty USC soccer coach (who still got paid) referred her to the dirty UCLA mens soccer coach (who also got paid) who recommended her to the UCLA  women’s soccer coach who just passed her application through the student committee to approve it since such a player would just be a practice squad person since she already had the best recruitment class of all time).

So one thing bouncing around my head today is some sympathy for these kids and their parents  (not much, but sympathy for the circumstances that drove them to a life of crime, a sympathy we liberals ought to be familiar with hmm?)

anyway, the whole thing is outrageous—violates fairness modules in our brain— and also really sad and pathetic, but we’re also talking about Im guessing maybe 1,000 kids total around the country per annum whose parents fall into a life of crime of their behalf.

now that number is big, and if they all want to go to only five-ten certain universities that’s a huge problem for those universities, but any one of those universities would probably be able to accommodate 100 extra kids per year without displacing existing admitted kids if their parents agreed to pay triple to 10x the regular cost of attendance.

In other words, they’re spending the money, why not let the universities capture it at a competitive market rate.

call it Lexus lanes or maybe, uh, congestion pricing:

the cost premium increases the more congested the admission class is.

So long as you had a strict state oversight regulatory board (that was statutorily neutral with severe prison sentences for regulatory capture offenses) administering the Lexus lanes, and could guarantee there was no displacement beyond the 100 available slots you’d kind of nip this in the bud.

And if the Lexus lanes kids are paying 10x cost of attendance, you can afford any “dorm” solution you want. For instance in the early 2000s, while USC was waiting on new student housing construction, they bought an off campus hotel and put overflow students on a couple floors there.

Edited by lokisnow

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