What Does Your College Prioritize?

What Does Your College Prioritize?

Applying for college is a headache- but your attention to detail will pay off
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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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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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5 Tips For Incoming College Freshman

Remember when everyone told you that high school was going to be the best four years of your life.. and then it wasn't? Well now for some of you, comes the BEST and WORST four years of your life. Here's a little bit you need to know in order to be prepared for the eventful year to come.

Scleigh1
Scleigh1
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Yes, believe it or not your parents, friends, and teachers were right. College is SO much different than high school in so many different ways. Luckily, I just survived my freshman year so I was in your place literally a year ago today. Everyone tells you how different college is from high school but they don't tell you how and that's what I'm here for! Lets just start with the 1st difference....

1. A whole new world

You will feel like your in a new world because in a way you are. You will suddenly be surrounded by so many groups of people, new cultures, different lifestyles, different languages, everything is so NEW. Not only are you not going to class with the same people everyday that you have seen in the hall for years but you are going to classes with complete strangers from all over the states and sometimes even the world. You are suddenly going to have to share a room with a stranger or even a best friend which can also lead to some issues. But what is most important to know is that even though you feel alone the first few weeks or even months... trust me so does everyone else, its okay to feel overwhelmed its normal. We all have absolutely no idea what we are doing we are all just pretending like we have somewhat of a plan. I met most of my friends my freshman year through being completely LOST on campus.

2. Making new friends

One thing that you aren't taught how to do in high school or honestly by anyone is how to make friends. I knew most people in my classes throughout high school so when I started college I hardly knew anyone besides my roommate. It definitely took me a while to branch out and start making friends but I had to remind myself to put myself out there and eventually I met some wonderful humans. Remember to always be yourself and you will attract people that WANT to be your friend. It takes time but once again, you are not alone. It will look like people already have their group and stuff but everyone is struggling just as much as you most likely.

3. Responsibilities 

The new responsibilities you will have... get prepared, they will hit you like a truck or at least they did me. You will suddenly be responsible for cleaning your room, doing your laundry, feeding yourself, doing your homework, remembering specific dates, paying bills, honestly the list becomes never ending because you are slowly becoming an adult :(((( I remember a time when I wanted to be an adult, now all i want to do is be in kindergarten taking a nap LOL, Luckily I already was familiar with most of these things as were others im sure but there are also people that haven't had to do some of the things by them selves before which can be overwhelming at times. You will eventually fall into your own personal routine and get your own system going and things will become second nature. Don't be afraid of this, just be prepared in order to have the most stress free incoming year.

4. Academics...

The real reason we are in college in the first place. Yeah, here is where your parents and teachers were right... high school courses and college courses can be either very similar or very different. It honestly depends on what the course is and who your professor is but, for the most part, college courses and professors are much different. Professors do not like to repeat themselves and expect you to remember any important dates they mention. They expect you to write it down, no excuses. In high school you teachers would give you a break but that's not really how college works. Some professors may cut you some slack but most wont. Do NOT waste a professors time and remember that even though you are paying to go to school there, you can get kicked out in a heart beat so don't risk it. Refrain from talking in class, and show up!!! you can miss one thing and the next thing you know you have a 5 page paper due in a few days. Save yourself the stress and just pay attention for the whole 50 minute or hour and a half class you have.

5. Packing 

PACK LIGHTLY!!! I packed so much unnecessary clothes, decorations, etc, that I ended up not needing or never even using. Safe as much space as you can because your dorm room will definitely get cluttered fast and you will accumulate more things throughout the year. So, pack the clothes and decor you NEED. Try your best to not over pack (as hard as it is (; )

6. Homesickness

No one:

Every college student ever: "Ugh I can't wait to go to college I hate living here!"

You know we've all said it but you will most likely get homesick at some point. My house is not far from the College at all and even I still was homesick sometimes. Its one of those things that everyone goes through so remember you are not alone. Luckily, we live in the 21st century too so you can always video chat your fam and send them some love. Its okay to be homesick just try to get more involved and do things you would do if you were at your own house. I always try to bring a few things from home too just to look at and remind myself that I will see my family soon.

Freshman year was difficult for me to adjust to as im sure it was to others, so hopefully you keep these tips in mind this summer as you prepare for your first year of college! I am excited for you all to start this next chapter, welcome to the beginning of adulthood class of 2023!

Scleigh1
Scleigh1

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