Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges (Anglais) Broché – 28 août 2012
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Choosing the right college has never been more important—or more difficult. For the latest edition of this classic college guide, Hilary Masell Oswald conducted her own tours of top schools and in-depth interviews, building on Loren Pope's original to create a totally updated, more expansive work. Organized by geographic region, every profile includes a wealth of vital information, including admissions standards, distinguishing facts about the curriculum, extracurricular activities, and what faculty say about their jobs. Masell Oswald also offers a new chapter on how students with learning disabilities can find schools that fit their needs. For every prospective college student searching for more than football and frat parties, Colleges That Change Lives will prove indispensable.
Fully revised and updated by education journalist Hilary Oswald, Colleges That Change Lives remains the definite guide for high school students (and their parents) who are looking for more in their college education than football, frat parties, and giant lectures. Building on the foundation of landmark author Loren Pope, Oswald spent more than a year visiting 40 colleges, speaking with students, faculty, and alumni to create these vivid and concise portraits.
Featuring a new introduction, a new Required Reading section, and a new chapter on learning disabilities, the book is organized into five geographic regions (Northeast, South, Midwest, Southwest, Northwest) to make for easy browsing, and urban, suburban, and rural campuses are all featured. There’s also an alphabetical index of colleges. Each profile includes admissions standards as well as relevant statistics to make your decision easier, including where the school ranks in post-graduate grants and fellowships, what percentage of students go on to graduate school or further education, distinguishing facts about the curriculum, percentage of professors who have terminal degrees in their field, even what activities are available to students and what they’re likely to do on weekends.
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In a nutshell, Pope espouses that liberal arts undergraduate education in the Ivies is faltering, if not failing, but America has plenty of great liberal arts educational centers and they are at the numerous well established liberal arts colleges (LAC's) of America. Those LAC's and some "other" LAC's are great places for undergraduate education. Some of those "other" LAC's are the topic of this book.
This is the old book (Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools You Should Know About Even If You're Not a Straight-A Student) with quips at the end of the 40 schools which update his research of each respective institution. He has added passages at the end of the 40 schools to describe what has happened at some of the schools which makes his statement(s) of a decade ago as true or even truer than when originally written. In short, the LAC's of this book are not only still good schools, most are better schools than when he delivered their names in the original book.
He writes well. He is very persuasive. And, in the end, his arguments clearly show each school's strength through his writing skills and by the statistics recited throughout this book.
If you want more, there are two others on this same line of reasoning: The College Admissions Mystique by Bill Mayher and Looking Beyond the Ivy League: Finding the College That's Right for You by Loren Pope. If you think Ivy (for undergraduate) is the answer before reading these three books, you may discover a change of opinion after reading these books.
Pope's book, it should be noted, has strong biases. His preference is for small institutions that are student-centered, i.e., institutions in which the faculty are principally teachers and not researchers, institutions in which the ethos is very `personal'. By and large, the institutions on which he focuses are less prestigious ones, institutions that `really want you' and will `really appreciate you'. There is no question that some `prestige' is relatively hollow, that statistics can be cooked and that some high-priced institutions do not return value for dollar. At the same time, there are institutions that are not prestigious for good reason. There are institutions that are desperate. There are institutions that offer high touch services in lieu of solid instruction, that balance their books by principally employing part-time faculty. Whether or not Pope's picks are overlooked jewels will also depend on the interests and needs of the individual student. Not all seek the hothouse, village environment. Some want a broader experience. Some want more exotic programmatic opportunities than small liberal arts colleges can provide.
The book indulges in some grotesque generalizations: ivy-league schools are scams; students are ignored there; there are no rewards for teaching there; professors do little or none of it; when they teach they only lecture to large groups; in many of these schools you will never be required to write a paper; half of your classes will be taught by adjuncts and many will barely be able to speak English . . . and so on.
There is some modicum of truth to these generalizations, but each ivy league school is different and each top-ranked college is different. I teach at an AAU-public, a land grant institution with far more modest tuition than the schools on Pope's list. We are a research institution, likely to be accused of the same sorts of crimes and misdemeanors which Pope finds in top private institutions. Many of our students participate directly in serious and significant faculty research projects that change their lives. Virtually all of the full-time faculty lecture from time to time and virtually all of them teach small classes. This semester I have a class of 29 and a class of 14. Several students are doing special projects (honors work, directed readings, capstone projects) with me. Good teaching is highly prized. We have multiple teaching awards that involve not insignificant financial remuneration. We have distinguished teachers appointed to special Curators' teaching professorships, system-wide awards, college awards, alumni/ae association awards and departmental awards, including awards for both professional advising and mentorship. Nearly all of the institutions against which we measure ourself do as well.
Part-time teaching is, indeed, a problem, though it is more likely to be a significant intellectual issue at marginal institutions, whose part-time teachers are often senior graduate students from local research universities or gypsy scholars seeking full-time positions elsewhere. On the other hand, dedicated part-time teachers can be of exceptional value. I spent 17 years as graduate dean at Georgetown. We had a number of programs (Public Policy, National Security Studies, e.g.) which drew on local professionals as part-time faculty. Students were taught by the individuals who actually generated the ideas or directed the programs which they were studying. There are adjuncts who are desperate for work and there are adjuncts who are otherwise-employed professionals who love to teach a single class and do it superbly well.
Each student is different and each student seeks an academic experience appropriate to that student's needs and desires. While higher education in America has problems it also offers great diversity in its institutions. Students are best advised to become highly-informed but also to seek an institution in which they themselves are most likely to flourish.