What Does Your College Prioritize?

What Does Your College Prioritize?

Applying for college is a headache- but your attention to detail will pay off

Today, it is likely that most high school students will apply to college in order to gain some concentration in higher education. Students do this with the hopes of acquiring a dream job, or even just a stable job. However, the four years (and sometimes more) we spend in college will, ultimately, help define and shape us as young individuals. I am sure some of the current college readers can recall the stress of choosing a school that best fit your needs. So, one could say that the pressure to choose the 'perfect' school is pretty high.

When most high school students are narrowing their options for college they appear to focus on aspects such as major, location, social life, student-professor ratio, school size, etc. Now, while all of these aspects can influence one's decision, most students seem to forget about the specific focus the university puts on professors. Now, I realize that probably doesn't make much sense at the moment, but in time it will.

To start, I am going to give you an overview of the overall professor ranking. If you are already in college, you are probably thinking, 'aren't they all just professors?' (p.s. if you are a high school student, never call a professor a teacher-they hate it). And you would be right to think so. While they are all professors, they each are at a certain level within a ranking. There are three levels of professors; assistant, associate, and full. Many schools also have part-time or adjunct professors, but for this brief explanation the three will suffice. An assistant professor is an entry level position. An associate professor is typically appointed once the professor has worked at the institution for some time and has also contributed some meaningful research. A full professor is when professors acquire the golden ticket, tenure. For those who don't know what tenure is it's guaranteed job security at a specific institution. Of course, if the professor decide to commit a felony, tenure can't save them.

Phew, now that was a long and winded explanation, huh? I bet you are now thinking, 'why does this matter?' Well, I will tell you why. The process of moving up in ranking is based on a combination of three things; teaching, researching, and service. Professors are required to encompass these three aspects into their job. However, most promotions depend on which of the three the university values most (teach, research, service). If a professor works at an institution that is research-oriented (typically Ivy League schools), and publishes several articles in a journal, then they are more likely to climb the ladder to tenure faster. So, why is this all important when applying to college?

If you choose a research-oriented institution, the professors are most likely going to be more worried about producing excellent articles than teaching their students. If you look at many Ivy League schools you will notice that there are many student teaching assistants that instruct class. So, you have to ask yourself, if your professor is going to be focusing on their research, will they be able to provide you the education you are looking for? Most of the time, student's opinions of professors are skirted under the rug in research-oriented institutions. Why? Because the university is more concerned with the research they produce because it increases the image of the school.

On the flip side, if you choose a teaching-oriented school (typically small schools, i.e. Stonehill College) your professor is prioritizing teaching students first, and researching second. Thus, you are the professors main concern, even though the chant "publish or perish" is echoing in the professors mind. So, for those who go to a school with student course evaluations, do you ever wonder to what extent they listen to you? Typically at teaching-oriented schools, they do listen to the students. So if you give a professor a D, they will most likely be submitting their resume elsewhere. So at these universities, you have some control and say in who is teaching you. You are given a voice in your education.

Overall, one should take into account what the prospective universities prioritize. For some it may be research, for others it could be teaching. Since professors are trying to reach the end goal of tenure and promotion, they will likely attempt satisfy the universities desires (research, teach, service). However, your goal as a student is to gain a higher understanding in your desired field. So, it is important to try to align your goals with those of the professor and institution. Thus, I strongly recommend investigating what is going on under the hood of your prospective professors because when it comes down to it, they are the one's who will be teaching you the skills to accomplish your dreams in goals. So, don't you owe it to yourself to know that your professor and you have the same mentality?

Lastly, I want to echo that the professor is not evil for focusing on research instead of the student. Their work is contributing to the our large database of knowledge. As scholars, we could end up examining their work. So, no one institution is worse or better because it focuses on one aspect over the other. But, picking a college is a personal choice, and it is important to be completely informed before you make a life-altering decision.

So go forth, and think!

Cover Image Credit: Liberty Classical Academy

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10 Things Someone Who Grew Up In A Private School Knows

The 10 things that every private school-goer knows all too well.


1. Uniforms

Plaid. The one thing that every private school-goer knows all too well. It was made into jumpers, skirts, shorts, scouts, hair ties, basically anything you could imagine, the school plaid was made into. You had many different options on what to wear on a normal day, but you always dreaded dress uniform day because of skirts and ballet flats. But it made waking up late for school a whole lot easier.

2. New people were a big deal

New people weren't a big thing. Maybe one or two a year to a grade, but after freshman year no one new really showed up, making the new kid a big deal.

3. You've been to school with most of your class since Kindergarten

Most of your graduating class has been together since Kindergarten, maybe even preschool, if your school has it. They've become part of your family, and you can honestly say you've grown up with your best friends.

4. You've had the same teachers over and over

Having the same teacher two or three years in a row isn't a real surprise. They know what you are capable of and push you to do your best.

5. Everyone knows everybody. Especially everyone's business.

Your graduating class doesn't exceed 150. You know everyone in your grade and most likely everyone in the high school. Because of this, gossip spreads like wildfire. So everyone knows what's going on 10 minutes after it happens.

6. Your hair color was a big deal

If it's not a natural hair color, then forget about it. No dyeing your hair hot pink or blue or you could expect a phone call to your parents saying you have to get rid of it ASAP.

7. Your school isn't like "Gossip Girl"

There is no eating off campus for lunch or casually using your cell phone in class. Teachers are more strict and you can't skip class or just walk right off of campus.

8. Sports are a big deal

Your school is the best of the best at most sports. The teams normally go to the state championships. The rest of the school that doesn't play sports attends the games to cheer on the teams.

9. Boys had to be clean-shaven, and hair had to be cut

If you came to school and your hair was not cut or your beard was not shaved, you were written up and made to go in the bathroom and shave or have the head of discipline cut your hair. Basically, if you know you're getting written up for hair, it's best just to check out and go get a hair cut.

10. Free dress days were like a fashion show

Wearing a school uniform every day can really drive you mad. That free dress day once a month is what you lived for. It was basically a fashion show for everyone, except for those upperclassmen who were over everything and just wore sweat pants.

Cover Image Credit: Authors Photos

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22 Things Parents Should Send Their Children At College, If They Love And Miss Them

We're getting to that point in the semester, y'all.


Even though college students are just a little over a month into the spring semester, we are already feeling high amounts of stress over tests and papers. Nobody said college was going to be easy, and this statement is ringing truer and truer each day. So, to the parents, grandparents, or anybody else who loves us and cares about our well being, here are 22 things you should send us if you love and miss our presence.

1. Gift cards to the local grocery store. 

Preferably Walmart or Food Lion, since that's all we have here in Farmville, VA.

2. Room decor from the Target dollar section. 

Or anything from Target, for that matter. Some college towns don't have one of these glorious establishments, and we are experiencing withdrawals.

3. School supplies. 

You can never have too many sticky notes or colored pens.

4. Mints. 

Because some people need it after lunch, and gum is disgusting.

5. A cozy blanket. 

For those cold nights spent in the library until 2 in the morning.

6. A handwritten letter. 

These are one of my favorite things to get in the mail, and there is always something so sentimental about snail mail.

7. A giant box of fruit snacks...

Definitely one of my favorite grab and go snacks.

8. ... Or candy, in general. 

Preferably, gummies. But, I won't refuse chocolate candy either.

9. Cash. 

For those late night Taco Bell runs, or just to make us feel a little bit better about ourselves.

10.  A funny movie/DVD. 

There's something so simple and serene about watching a funny movie on a DVD player that brings us back to the less stressful times of our childhood.

11.  Hot chocolate mix. 

I always get random cravings for hot chocolate, but it's never enough to make me want to go buy a box of mix.

12.  Starbucks/Dunkin Donuts gift cards. 

Because the majority of our lives revolve around coffee, and sometimes our Keurigs just don't cut it.

13.  Peanut butter crackers. 

These are so quick and easy to eat between classes (or if you're like me, IN class).

14.  Scent diffuser. 

This can be even better if you send a scent that reminds us of home.

15.  Hair ties. 

For some reason, I only own about five at a time because I am always losing these!

16.  Homemade cookies/brownies. 

These always make me so happy knowing my mom took time out of her busy day to think of me and bake yummy treats.

17.  Gift cards for our favorite online shopping stores. 

What better way to relieve stress than buy clothes you don't need?

18.  Nail polish. 

You can never have too many bottles of the same shade of pink.

19.  Mug warmer. 

These help keep your cup of coffee warm for long periods of time so you don't end up wasting such a sacred drink.

20.  Lysol wipes/hand sanitizer. 

I go both of these things at an alarming rate because some places are just plain disgusting.

21.  Band-aids. 

No one ever really thinks of buying these, but they work for so many more reasons than their typical use.

22.  iTunes gift card. 

For all those "educational apps" our professors tell us to buy. *wink wink*

Every college student loves getting a care package in the mail, so if you really love and miss us, please send one our way!

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