>College Applications Are Up Sharply
>By STEVE GIEGERICH
>.c The Associated Press
>GLASSBORO, N.J. (AP) - Chris Tumminia, an assistant in the admissions office
>at Rowan University, got a glimpse of the future the morning she received 61
>online applications following the Veterans Day weekend.
>Even more applications arrived in the morning mail.
>``I wasn't happy,'' Tumminia said. ``It was a lot of work.''
>Tumminia and others in admissions offices nationwide might as well get used
>to it: Counselors and education experts are expecting a blizzard of college
>applications from high school seniors over the next several years.
>The surge is attributed to a boom in the high school population, combined
>with a tendency among students nowadays to apply to more colleges.
>``It's the perfect storm of college admissions, all these forces coming
>together at the same time,'' said David Hamilton, director of college
>counseling at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Wheaton, Md.
>An estimated 3.1 million seniors are expected to graduate next June alone,
>and the boom is expected to continue through the end of the decade.
>As recently as five years ago, high school seniors applied to five or six
>colleges on average, said Robert Franek, editorial director of the Princeton
>Review, which publishes guides to colleges. Now the average is between six
>and 10 schools, he said.
>Franek attributed the increase to the introduction in the mid-1990s of
>uniform online application forms that cut the amount of time students spend
>filling out personal information.
>Competitive pressures may also play a role.
>``The more selective colleges get, the more kids feel they have to cover more
>bases,'' said Linda Zimring, administrator for college and
>gifted-and-talented programs in the Los Angeles school system.
>Sometimes, though, it is simple youthful indecision that has admissions
>Until a trip to California this summer made her think the school might be too
>far from home, Emily Yu, a senior at the Ranney School in Tinton Falls, N.J.,
>wanted nothing more to attend Stanford University. Stanford remains on Yu's l
>ist. But so are the 14 other schools to which she has now applied, including
>Harvard, Yale and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
>``I don't know what I want to major in, I don't know what I want to be, and I
>don't know where I want to be,'' Yu said with a laugh.
>The National Association of College Admission and Counseling said that 81
>percent of the colleges responding to its annual application survey reported
>an increase in submissions from the Class of 2002 over the previous year. The
>trend appears to be continuing with the Class of 2003.
>Rowan, a state-funded New Jersey liberal arts and engineering university with
>9,600 students, said open houses for potential applicants have drawn such big
>crowds that the gatherings had to be moved from the school auditorium to the
>gymnasium. The school has also seen an increase of 3,000 requests for
>applications over last year.
>``We're expecting an avalanche based on that statistic alone,'' said Marvin
>Sills, director of admissions. Last year, Rowan had 6,886 applications for
>Not only are students applying to more schools, they are doing so earlier in
>their senior years. The University of Missouri and California's Pomona
>College said applications are coming in at a faster pace than they did at
>this time last year.
>Susan Semonite Waters, director of college guidance at the Ranney School,
>attributed the rush to students wanting a break from the pressure to get into
>the right college. After spending the summer and early fall filling out
>applications and writing essays, Waters' students are saying, ``It's for
>someone else to worry about now.''
>On the Net:
>Princeton Review: http://www.princetonreview.com
>11/22/02 14:30 EST
>Copyright 2002 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news
>report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed
>without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active
>hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
Edwards Outlines Education Plan
By WILL LESTER
.c The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen. John Edwards laid out a series of financial incentives
Thursday to encourage people to teach, pay teachers more and persuade them to
live in neighborhoods near their schools.
The North Carolina lawmaker, who is mulling a bid for the Democratic
presidential nomination, also offered a plan that would pay the first year of
college tuition for students who take responsibility for the remainder of
their education and commit to at least 10 hours a week of work study,
community service or a part-time job.
``Providing a free year of college tuition will eliminate the sticker shock
that scares off so many kids,'' Edwards said. ``After students get through
that first year, which is the toughest, they'll know financial aid is
available, they'll know student loans are an investment worth making and
they'll have access to people who can help them pursue both.''
Edwards made the last of three policy speeches he's made in recent weeks
outlining his positions on foreign policy, the economy and now education.
``In America, there should be a good teacher in every classroom in every
school,'' Edwards said. He said every student should expect to graduate from
high school and have the skills to compete in today's economy, and every
student who qualifies to go to college should be able to do so.
He said President Bush began demanding more from educators at the same time
``he proposed the smallest education budget increase in almost a decade.''
``We have raised standards without offering teachers and principals the
resources to meet those standards,'' Edwards said Thursday at the University
of Maryland. ``We used to call this an unfunded mandate. I call it unfair,
unwise and unacceptable.''
Still, Edwards said, the most critical task is improving the quality of
``Study after study shows that no single factor at school has a larger impact
on the quality of a child's education than the quality of his or her
teacher,'' Edwards said.
He said the federal government should pay for the college education of
teachers willing to make a five-year commitment to work in places where good
educators are in short supply. He also suggested a $5,000 mortgage tax credit
to teachers willing to buy homes in poor neighborhoods near their schools.
Edwards said the federal government should double the $3 billion a year it
gives states to help put quality teachers in classrooms. States would need to
increase teacher pay and hold them to tougher standards.
He proposed several ideas he said would make college or other training after
high school accessible to all young people who are interested.
Students willing to commit five years to the nation's homeland security
should get four-year college scholarships, Edwards said.
Edwards said after his speech that money for these programs could be found
through fiscal discipline, closing tax loopholes and getting rid of the top
layer of President Bush's tax cuts.
``People are hungry for new ideas to solve problems they have in their
lives,'' Edwards said, referring to ``jobs, the economy, what are we going to
do about our public schools to make them the best they can be.''
Study: Race Not a Factor in Ambition
By DENNIS CONRAD
.c The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - Black and Hispanic students surveyed in diverse,
upper-income communities have as much desire to succeed in school as their
white and Asian peers, says a study that challenges the idea that some
minority groups are less focused on school.
Researchers for the Minority Student Achievement Network study said the
findings released Tuesday, based on a survey of 40,000 middle, junior and
high school students in 15 school districts across the country, show that
black and Hispanic students are actually more likely than white students to
report that their friends think it is very important to study hard and get
But nearly half of the black and Hispanic students surveyed said that half
the time or more they don't understand their teachers' lessons, compared with
27 percent of white students and 32 percent of Asian students.
Study researchers said their data contrasts with a ``commonly held belief
that African American and Hispanic students often have an 'anti-school'
``As we present these data to teachers, we find that it sort of gets their
attention,'' said Ronald Ferguson, senior research associate at Harvard's
Wiener Center for Social Policy. ``And I think we're better able to engage
teachers and communities to say we need to do something about it.''
Ferguson, who helped analyze the responses for the network, said some
teachers were surprised and even questioned the accuracy of the data when
told that for students within the same course level, there was virtually no
difference in the amount of time that blacks, Hispanics and whites devoted to
their homework. Only Asians spent significantly more time on homework.
``How well students understand what they're being taught or what they're
asked to read for school depends a great deal on how they are being taught
and what kinds of supports are in place to encourage learning,'' said Allan
Alson, superintendent of Evanston Township High School District 202 in
Illinois and founder of MSAN.
The survey - the first major study by the suburban school network - was
conducted in the fall and winter of the 2000-01 school year. It also covered
issues such as teacher-student relationships, students' understanding of
classroom material, homework and peer pressure.
The network's districts, located in such communities as Evanston, Madison,
Wis., and Cambridge, Mass., have reputations as high-achieving, high-support
districts, but still report a common problem of having generally lower
achievement results among black and Hispanic students. They formed their
network four years ago to work to ensure high academic achievement for black
and Hispanic students.
The study found that black and Hispanic students often have fewer resources
at home to help them succeed in school.
For instance, 57 percent of white students and 42 percent of Asian students
said they have more than one computer at home, compared with 20 percent and
27 percent, for Hispanic and black students respectively.
The study also found that, on average, black and Hispanic students in the
districts were more likely to live with one or neither parent, and their
parents were less likely to have college degrees than the parents of white
Pedro Noguera, a professor of social policy at the Harvard Graduate School of
Education, said the study should help provide a better understanding of what
the problems are in urban education.
``It's not in aspirations and attitudes,'' he said. ``It's more resources,
particularly parental resources.''
The districts surveyed included ones in Amherst and Cambridge, Mass.; Ann
Arbor, Mich.; Arlington, Va.; Berkeley, Calif.; Chapel Hill, N.C.; Shaker
Heights and University Heights, Ohio; Montclair, N.J.; White Plains, N.Y.;
Madison, Wis., and two each in Oak Park and Evanston, Ill.
WASHINGTON (Nov. 20) - Ask young people to pick out Iraq on a map of the
Middle East, and only 13 percent can locate it - despite a barrage of
headlines and broadcast reports about a possible war against Saddam Hussein.
Same goes for Israel or Iran, according to a National Geographic study that
finds there has been little to no improvement in students' knowledge of
geography since 1988.
The society survey released Wednesday found that only about one in seven of
Americans between the age of 18 and 24, the prime age for military warriors,
could find Iraq. The score was the same for Iran, an Iraqi neighbor.
Although the majority, 58 percent, of the young Americans surveyed knew that
the Taliban and al-Qaida were based in Afghanistan, only 17 percent could
find that country on a world map. A U.S.-led force attacked the Taliban and
al-Qaida in Afghanistan in October 2001, and President Bush has said he is
prepared to use force to rid Iraq of any chemical, nuclear or biological
The survey asked 56 geographic and current events questions of young people
in nine countries and scored the results with traditional grades. The
surveyed Americans got a ``D,'' with an average of 23 correct answers. Mexico
ranked last with an average score of 21, just three points from a failing
Topping the scoring was Sweden, with an average of 40, followed by Germany
and Italy, each with 38. None of the countries got an ``A,'' which required
average scores of 42 correct answers or better on the 56 questions.
``If our young people can't find places on a map and lack awareness of
current events, how can they understand the world's cultural, economic and
natural resource issues that confront us?'' John Fahey, president of the
National Geographic Society, said in a statement.
National Geographic is convening an international panel of policy makers and
business and media leaders to find ways to improve geographic education and
to encourage interest in world affairs, the society said.
Other findings from the survey:
Thirty-four percent of the young Americans knew that the island used on last
season's ``Survivor'' show was located in the South Pacific, but only 30
percent could locate the state of New Jersey on a map. The ``Survivor''
show's location was the Marquesas Islands in the eastern South Pacific.
When asked to find 10 specific states on a map of the United States, only
California and Texas could be located by a large majority of those surveyed.
Both states were correctly located by 89 percent of the participants. Only 51
percent could find New York, the nation's third most populous state.
On a world map, Americans could find on average only seven of 16 countries in
the quiz. Only 89 percent of the Americans surveyed could find their own
country on the map.
In the world map test, Swedes could find an average of 13 of the 16
countries. Germans and Italians were next, with an average of 12 each.
Only 71 percent of the surveyed Americans could locate on the map the Pacific
Ocean, the world's largest body of water. Worldwide, three in 10 of those
surveyed could not correctly locate the Pacific Ocean.
Although 81 percent of the surveyed Americans knew that the Middle East is
the Earth's largest oil exporter, only 24 percent could find Saudi Arabia on
The international survey was conducted for the National Geographic by
RoperASW. The results are based on face-to-face interviews with at least 300
men and women aged 18 to 24 in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico,
Sweden, Britain and the United States.
The questionnaires were in the local language, but the content was
universally the same.
Report: Diversity Not Occurring
By MARK SHERMAN
.c The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - Programs that guarantee admission to public universities
for top high school graduates in California, Texas and Florida have not made
the campuses more diverse, a draft report from the U.S. Commission on Civil
Minority students in those three states are faring worse or no better than
they were under affirmative action programs, according to the report.
``If percentage plans grow in popularity, it is inevitable that the number of
minority students attending the most prestigious public universities will
decrease,'' Commission Chairwoman Mary Frances Berry said in releasing the
commission's findings Tuesday.
The percentage plans guarantee admission to the top 4 percent of graduates at
California high schools, the top 10 percent in Texas and the top 20 percent
In Texas, for example, the report showed fewer blacks and Hispanics were
admitted and enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin in 2001 than in
1996, before a federal court outlawed affirmative action in admissions at
In California, the same was true in graduate law and medical admissions, the
report said. The state voted to end race-based admissions in 1996, although
the ban did not take effect until the 1998-99 school year.
Florida's state university system showed an increase in black and Hispanic
students since the advent of Gov. Jeb Bush's program to end affirmative
action in 2000. But at the University of Florida, the most selective state
institution, their numbers dropped.
In September, Bush's office released figures showing that the number of
minority students enrolling for the first time at state universities rose in
the current school year, but not as quickly as the overall growth in incoming
That means that minority enrollment dropped almost half a percentage point
compared to last year's incoming class, despite the overall increase.
Bush maintained the numbers show his plan is actually helping increase
minority enrollment. ``What I said was there would be more African-American
and Hispanic students attending our university system,'' he said in
September. ``Promise made, promise kept.''
University of California spokesman Hanan Eisenman said the percentage of
minority enrollment has increased for four straight years and now exceeds
what it was before the policy barring race as a factor in admissions went
into effect. California and the civil rights commission used different base
years in comparing affirmative action admissions to those under percentage
``There was an initial drop, but since then we've been rebounding,'' Eisenman
The California university system said last month that minority enrollment at
the medical and law schools also is up over last year, but still is lower
than it was before the passage of Proposition 209, which outlawed affirmative
Two years ago, the civil rights commission said percentage plans are ``no
substitute for strong, race-conscious affirmative action.''
The new report said, ``This is not to suggest that existing percentage plans
are entirely without merit, but they are simply not enough.''
The initial report was approved by the commission's Democrats, but rejected
by its Republican members. Commissioners reviewed the updated study at their
monthly meeting last week in San Diego, but took no action on it, commission
spokeswoman Danielle Lewis said.
The panel, created in 1957, has no regulatory power.
On the Net:
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights: http://www.usccr.gov
College Admissions Increase
By STEVE GIEGERICH
.c The Associated Press
Colleges and universities across the United States stepped up their
recruiting efforts to offset dwindling numbers of high school graduates over
the two decades ending in 1999, a study by five leading educational
institutions reported Monday.
That helped schools maintain their academic standards, according to
researchers who produced ``Trends in College Admission 2000.''
The report was issued by: the National Association for College Admission
Counseling; the Association for Institutional Research; the two organizations
behind the SAT - the Educational Testing Service and the College Board; and
Similar reports were issued in 1979, 1985 and 1992.
From 1979-99, the annual number of high school graduates declined by more
than 250,000 students to less than 3 million, the new report said, though the
decline ended in 1994. Graduation numbers have increased since then and are
expected to keep rising.
Jim Maxey, a senior research scientist with ACT, said schools began marketing
themselves more heavily in the 1970s, driven partly by concern they would
have to lower academic standards to survive as the pool of students became
``The fear was that if they raised standards they would have fewer students
because less students would be eligible,'' Maxey said. ``But what has
happened over time is that indeed a greater share of the high school
graduates are going to college.''
The report said schools are marketing themselves a wide variety of ways:
visits to high schools and college fairs, using the Internet and mailing
services, hiring public relations consultants and calling prospective
The report partly credited recruiting efforts for an increase in the
percentage of students going on to college after high school.
In 1979, only about half of graduates enrolled in college immediately after
high school, the report said. By the late 1990s, that figure had increased to
about 60 percent of high school graduates.
The percentage of blacks graduates moving on to college straight from high
school increased from 45 percent to 60 percent, the report said. Hispanic
high school graduates went to college at rate of over 50 percent, up from 45
percent, the study said.
On the Net:
The Association for Institutional Research:
11/18/02 19:34 EST
Norman A. Stahl
Professor and Chair
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115
Phone: (815) 753-9032
FAX: (815) 753-8563
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