On Tuesday night, Jacques Steinberg spoke to a sweltering Memorial Chapel. He is the author of The Gatekeepers, a bestselling nonfiction account of the college admissions process that used Wesleyan as its backdrop, but the subject of the evening revolved around a more urgent issue in higher education than just the insane selectivity of the best schools — that of college affordability. Steinberg had recently left his post at The Choice, the New York Times education blog that he pioneered, to work at a New York-based nonprofit called Say Yes to Education that helps disadvantaged high school students get into college, pay for it, and graduate.
Many of the problems he described, he felt, were too urgent to simply stand by and observe as a journalist. With budget cuts, many college counselors’ caseloads in public schools have ballooned to over 500 students. The student loan/debt cycle is a familiar anxiety to many students here, as well as recent graduates, and he described how some graduates in debt don’t pay off their loans until their children are almost ready to go to college.
He reminded Wesleyan students of how fortunate they were, in spite of the controversy over need-aware admissions. Wesleyan remains one of the few institutions in the country that can meet students’ full demonstrated financial need. The question of the value of higher education, he said, is relatively new and wasn’t really circulating at the time that he wrote The Gatekeepers, but now it will likely become a key policy question in the next few years. He said it will probably become important to ask about vocational and differently-paced tiers of higher education without seeming racist or insulting.
We’ve come to learn more and more how tremendously hilarious college rankings are, and here’s a new one to get you through the wee hours of Sunday night. Unigo, whose founder might just happen be an alumnus of this fine institution, recently included Wesleyan on its list of the most “Intellectually Endowed” Schools in the country. The Huffington Post has taken that ranking and turned it into one of their amazing slideshows, deeming us one of “The Brainiest Colleges.” Rather than just copy and paste the text, however, I’ll take the liberty of relaying the information in the style of our precious Admissions website:
Are you…“driven, hyper-intelligent, and liberal-minded”? Do you question…“every single thing in society”? Can you not just…“go with the flow and accept life the way that it is“? Do you “harbor a strong…desire for knowledge”? Does work…come first? Is there no…“pressure to go out and party”? Do you not spend all four days of reading week…partying?
Click here to read the actual text.
Jordan Goldman ’04, the co-editor of “The Students’ Guide to Colleges” (which he started as a Wes freshman), has hit it big with Unigo.com, a free, student-generated guide to North American colleges for prospective students which is starting to give the likes of Princeton Review and U.S. News a run for their money.
He and his apparently very profitable start-up site are featured in this weekend’s NY Times Magazine, the College Issue:
Broke young college graduates with ideas for awesome new Web sites are about as thick on the ground as pigeons in New York City, but Jordan Goldman has a talent for getting noticed. Born and raised in Staten Island, he graduated from Wesleyan in 2004, spent two post-grad years in England and, upon his return to his native city, lived in 16 different sublets in the next two years. His own parents referred to him as the Wandering Jew. “I was ordering Chinese lunch specials and dividing them into three,” he remembered recently, “and that was my food for days. My mom thought I was nuts. She kept saying, ‘Get a job,’ and I’d say, ‘No, Ma, I have this idea.’ ”
…“For so long, the colleges have been able to have this stranglehold on the P.R. image of their school,” Goldman said recently in his office, decorated boy-workaholic-style with nothing but an open box of Frosted Flakes and a toy robotic dinosaur. “It’s just harder to look at them as the main source of information. If you’re a college student, you are as much of an expert on being a student at that college as anyone.”
Check out the site, it just might be a game-changer in the college process industry.
NY Times: The Tell-All Campus Tour