Dec 31, 2012

Some Excellent Reasons College-Bound Students Should Give Thanks in 2012

At year’s end, it’s traditional to give thanks for all the many blessings received during the previous twelve months and to look forward to the coming year with a renewed sense of optimism. 

The following are a few very excellent reasons college-bound students should be giving thanks this year: 
And most important of all:

Family and friends who support and love you!

Best wishes for a healthy and Happy New Year!

2012 in Rap

Once a year, the super smart rappers at Flocabulary call off the Week in Rap to pull it all together and celebrate the preceding 52 weeks in rhyme.  And the annual Year in Rap is born.

If you’re not familiar with the weekly current events program promoted and brilliantly executed by the hip hop poets behind Flocabulary, check it out. It’s part of larger project targeted to a community of educators who proved struggling high school students can be reached with rap songs covering everything from U.S. History to SAT vocabulary words.

But this year they’re adding a twist.  In partnership with the education page of The New York Times, Flocabulary is offering students an opportunity to get their rhymes published by two very prestigious news organizations.

Super creative rappers can choose at least four important New York Times stories and write their own Year in Rap following NYT’s Learning Network commenting standards—no profanity or vulgar language.

Lyrics should be submitted to the Flocabulary-New York Times Learning Network Year in Rap contest as a comment to an article inviting Year in Rap submissions by 5 p.m. Eastern time on January 7, 2013.

The top five raps, as judged by The Times and Flocabulary staff using a posted rubric, will be featured on both the Learning Network and

You can work in a team or by yourself.  But the rules allow only one submission per student.  And, sad to say, no videos.

It’s all for fun and a little recognition. 

It’s been a crazy year.  Lots of ups and downs and a whole lot of change.  But life goes on.  Just ask Flocabulary:

Shout out to 2012, we did it,

Another Year in Rap, get with it…

We live in times that the Mayans couldn’t dream,
Year in Rap, you’re in 2013!

Let’s Go!

Dec 29, 2012

The Common Application Warns Last Minute Applicants

College of William and Mary

In recent posts on Facebook, officials from the Common Application organization warn college-bound seniors to submit materials well in advance of posted deadlines and to pay particular attention to the order in which they send required elements of individual applications.

“If you are applying to a college that requires a payment before you can submit your application, do not wait until the deadline to pay,” according to the Common Application. “Processing of credit card and eCheck payments can take up to 48 hours, and you will not be able to submit your application until the payment has gone through.”

Approximately one-third of the Common App’s member colleges and universities require that students submit a payment or supplement—or both—before submitting the application. In these cases, the requirements are clearly displayed in the Application section of a student’s My Colleges page.
Unfortunately, some online credit card payments can take up to two days to go through the system. Because a record of payment will not appear in a student’s account until the fee has been processed, students who wait until the last minute may find they are unable to submit an application because of delays in updating their account.  And on occasion, a credit card may be declined causing additional delays while you scramble to find an alternate form of payment.

This is a problem because once a deadline has passed for a particular college, the Common Application may no longer permit applications to be submitted to that college.  It’s up to the college and some are very strict about their deadlines.

Locally, Christopher Newport, the College of William & Mary, Towson University, UVa, Saint Mary’s College of Maryland, and the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) require both payment and the required supplement before the application may be submitted. 

Other area schools including American University, George Washington, the University of Mary Washington, the University of Richmond, and Johns Hopkins want their applications first and payments second. In other words, there’s no predicting who wants what when. You just have to pay attention to the instructions!

In addition to potential submission snafus related to forms sequencing, students should also be aware that technical support is not an instantaneous operation. The Common Application annually reminds students that waiting until the “11th,” may not leave enough time for staff to respond to questions submitted electronically “before the clock strikes midnight.”

For those keeping track, the Common App reports that individual applicants registering with the system now number over 405,698—nine percent more than the same time last year. And as of December 1st, 1,248,267 applications had already been submitted to Common App member colleges. This represents a nine percent increase  in application submissions.

For more information or further clarification of rules relating to the timely submission of applications, visit the Common Application website.

Dec 27, 2012

Top 25 Colleges for Study Abroad

Goucher College

Forty years ago, students studied abroad. But it wasn’t quite as easy or inexpensive as it is today. Although we weren’t exactly packing a trunk and riding in steerage for months, foreign travel was still something of a luxury that not everyone could afford.

All that has changed now, as colleges are making study abroad options accessible to virtually any student with dreams of visiting foreign countries and experiencing new cultures.

In fact, new report by the Institute of International Education (IIE) shows that increasing number of US college students are taking advantage of study abroad options offered on their campuses. IIE’s Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange counted 273,996 US students studying abroad for credit during the academic year 2010-11—an all-time high.

“Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders,” said Ann Stock, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. “International education creates strong, lasting relationships between the U.S. and emerging leaders worldwide. Students return home with new perspectives and a global skill set that will allow them to build more prosperous, stable societies.”

According to the 2012 Open Doors survey, the United Kingdom continues to be the leading destination for American students, followed by Italy, Spain, France, and China, which remained the fifth largest host destination for the fifth year.   

There were also significant increases in the number of Americans studying in “non-traditional” destinations outside of Europe, including Brazil, China, Costa Rica, India, and South Korea. Not surprisingly, students going to Japan dropped 33 percent (programs were disrupted by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami), and Mexico saw a 42 percent decrease in American students studying across the border.

A number of local colleges and universities were among the schools with the highest undergraduate participation rates for study abroad. American University (70.9%), Georgetown University (52.7%), the College of William & Mary (38.1%), George Washington (49.5%), and UVa (30.4%) were in the top 40 doctorate institutions. Loyola University of Maryland (86%) came in 5th among master’s institutions, and Goucher (95.2%), and St. Mary’s College of Maryland (72.7%) were listed as top 40 baccalaureate institutions.

Study abroad by American students has more than tripled over the past two decades.  In fact, Open Doors reports that 33 campus had study abroad participation rates of more than 70 percent of their total student population.

Without separating by size, the following 25 colleges had the highest percentages of undergraduates going abroad during the 2010-11 academic year:

  1. Arcadia University, PA (147.3%)
  2. Centre College, KY (134.2%)
  3. Taylor University, IN (122.2%)
  4. Austin College, TX (108%)
  5. Wofford College, SC (104.6%)
  6. Elon University, NC (103.8%)
  7. Lee University, TN (100.9%)
  8. St. Olaf College, MN (95.6%)
  9. Goucher College, MD (95.2%)
  10. Colorado College, CO (95.2%)
  11. DePauw University, IN (89.7%)
  12. Luther College, IA (88.6%)
  13. Kalamazoo College, MI (87.9%)
  14. University of San Diego, CA (86.8%)
  15. University of Dallas, TX (86.7%)
  16. Loyola University Maryland, MD (86%)
  17. University of Redlands, CA (81%)
  18. Lewis & Clark College, OR (80%)
  19. Goshen College, IN (79.6%)
  20. Bates College, ME (78.9%)
  21. Hanover College, IN (78.6%)
  22. Earlham College, IN (78.5%)
  23. Oberlin College, OH (77.4%)
  24. Pepperdine University, CA (75.9%)
  25. Haverford College, PA  (75.6%)

And once again, NYU wins the top award for sending the most students abroad—3,799.  Michigan State (2,577) and the University of Minnesota (2,562) came in second and third respectively.

For the complete report, visit the Institute of International Education website.