What Not to Forget Before Graduating

The sheer number of tasks to complete before graduation can be overwhelming for a lot of students. As a result, many students run the risk of allowing important tasks to fall by the wayside. This could cause to headaches right before or immediately following graduation. Below is a streamlined to-do list you can refer to as your graduation date edges closer.

  • Finalize all undergraduate program details: This may seem like a no-brainer to most, but not ensuring every requirement of an undergraduate program has been met prior to graduation could lead to big problems. In the fall semester before your graduation, you should commit some time to meeting with a counselor to review your transcript. He or she should be able to confirm you have earned a sufficient credits to graduate from both your major department and the college itself. This is also a great time to review and sign any necessary paperwork required for graduation.
  • Conduct and exit interview with the financial aid office: Far too many students end up finishing college without an inkling of how much they owe in student loans. In fact, some may not even realize they need to start making payments shortly after graduation. In order to not be blindsided by your financial aid obligations, be sure to visit the school’s financial aid office and review your payment plan. Not staying on top of this important financial information could spell disaster later on down the road.
  • Network with professors and the student career center: Securing post-college employment in today’s job market can be a challenge. Now more than ever, networking with experts in your field is crucial for finding a job or career that makes sense for you. A big mistake many graduating students make is not taking advantage of the invaluable resources available at their college career center. In addition to great job leads, students can gain helpful, and often personalized, advice from their career counselors.
  • Secure letters of recommendation: This is a big one, especially if you plan to apply for graduate school. Typically, most advanced programs require at least three letters of recommendations from people who are familiar with your academic and professional background. Even employers are beginning to request such letters from potential employees, or references at the very least. The best time to collect these letters is before graduation when professors and faculty are still familiar with you and your work.
  • Register with your alumni network: While it might seem like an open invitation to junk mail for the rest of your life, signing up for your alumni network could be one of the greatest networking decisions you’ll ever make. Students often forego this valuable opportunity and lose out on years and years of connecting with fellow graduates who may be able to help you with your career path down the road.
  • Submit your forwarding address: Making sure the campus mail office has your correct address is a very important detail that is often overlooked. Without your contact information, the school will not be able to notify you regarding your transcripts, student loan payments, or other matters that may crop up post-graduation. Also be sure to check if your alumni office needs an updated address.
  • Clear your financial obligations: The period leading up to graduation is an excellent time to consult with your registrar’s office regarding any outstanding financial obligations. In many cases, students aren’t aware of some of the charges they have incurred since enrollment. Checking on these now will help you avoid any surprise bills in the mail (which won’t get “lost in the mail” if you checked off the previous step).
  • Obtain transcripts: Even though you should be able to order these after you graduate, keep in mind that when students need transcripts, they usually need them in a hurry. Not only can transcripts ordered online take weeks to arrive, but they can often be expensive if you need them in a pinch. Save yourself the time and hassle by ordering up to 10 copies before you leave campus permanently.
  • Write “Thank You” notes: These notes can mean a lot to someone, especially professors and classmates with whom you hope to maintain a relationship following graduation. Take a moment to reflect on the exceptional faculty members and students who were essential to your success as a college student and send them a brief note or card expressing your gratitude.
  • Exchange contact info with friends: As you head off into the real world following graduation, the last group of people you’ll want to forget are the great friends you’ve made during your college years. Many of the people you’ll meet as a student may come from different states, or even different countries. So be sure to exchange contact information with them prior to graduation so you can keep in touch with them for many more years to come.

Graduating from college is something you should both celebrate and be proud of, but keep in mind that not adequately preparing for graduation could lead to trouble down the road. In the weeks ahead, put aside some time to review this to-do list and take all the necessary steps to ensure your graduation goes off without a hitch. With your degree in hand and the comfort of knowing you’ve gotten the most out of your college experience, you’ll be well-prepared to take on the brand new world that awaits you.

Is Out-of-State Tuition Going Out the Door?

College tuition these days can be expensive. This is especially the case for students who attend private schools or out-of-state public schools. While the cost of attending a private institution shows no signs of decreasing in the near future, recent developments in New York state suggest paying costly out-of-state tuition for public universities may be a thing of the past.

The History of Out-of-State Tuition

It should come as no surprise that attending a public university in your home state can be a great way to save on college tuition. Unfortunately, this is not the case for out-of-state students, who often end up paying nearly three times as much to attend the same university. This is because tuition to most public universities is subsidized by state tax dollars paid by the state’s own residents. Since out-of-state students and their parents only pay taxes in their own states, they are not eligible for these generous subsidies in other states.

This has become a major issue recently, especially as public funding continues to short change state university systems throughout the United States. In order to maintain the subsidies afforded to resident students, state universities often make up funding gaps by raising tuition on out-of-state students. This has led to significant backlash from students paying these high rates, many of whom had chosen to pursue their higher education in other states due to limited options within their own state. For more information on how out-of-state tuition works, this article posted by The Economist in 2009 provides some additional background.

Out-of-State Tuition by the Numbers

While paying out-of-state tuition can be pricey, the cost is often comparable to attending an unsubsidized, private university. That said, the significant difference in tuition costs that resident and nonresident students pay might surprise many.

For instance, the University of California at Berkeley currently assesses a $12,876 tuition fee for residents of the State of California for the 2012-2013 school year. Out-of-state residents are required to pay $22,878 in supplementary tuition and fees in addition to the standard tuition fee paid by residents. If one compares this total out-of-state tuition cost of $35,754 with the cost of tuition at Harvard, which is currently set at $37,576, there really is very little difference between the two in terms of cost. With these figures in mind, it is no surprise that many students doubt the value of attending a public university in another state.

Not all students are required to pay out-of-state tuition, even if they do happen to be residents of another state. Some state universities offer nonresident tuition waivers for top performing students in order to attract the best and the brightest talent from around the country. Students who live in counties or regions that border another state can often lobby to pay resident tuition within that state. For additional information and tips on how students can get around the cost of out-of-state tuition, this article posted at Bankrate.com is an excellent resource.

The New York Proposal

New York has become one of the first states in the U.S. to draft a proposal that would essentially do away with costly regulations and tuition expenses paid by out-of-state students. The proposal resulted from the many regulatory issues that complicate the ability of universities in New York to provide online courses to students who live outside of the state. As of today, these students would have to pay significantly more to take the same online courses available to residents of New York. This is largely due to the costly web of regulations that these universities must navigate in order to offer online courses in other states.

The growing popularity of massively open online courses (or MOOCs) spurred former Secretary of Education, Richard W. Reilly, to propose a major overhaul of current laws that regulate interstate education. The goal of this proposal would be to provide residents of the 50 states access to a richer variety online education options at a cost that is both fair and reasonable. An immediate drawback to this proposal, however, would be the revenue many states would lose upon simplifying these regulations. In order to make up for this lost revenue, tuition expenses may rise across the board for all students instead of just a select group.

As state universities continue to offer more and more courses online, the need for a fairer and more simplified approach to assessing tuition for nonresident students will only get stronger. Today, out-of-state students often pay several times more than resident students for the same access to courses available both online and on-campus. The recent New York proposal to overhaul interstate education regulations promises to level the playing field when it comes to the amount of tuition paid by U.S. citizens for their higher education. This promises to be a great first step as fair access to quality education continues to expand beyond state borders.

The Young Adult’s Guide to the Educational Web

Young adults often find that they’re lost in an “in-between space”, not quite grown up enough to be adults but far too mature to be children. While the wider world may not yet cater to your needs, when it comes to information about literature, writing, reading, study, and other educational topics, there has been an explosion of growth in the number of resources on the web catered specially to the needs of young adults.

Whether you’re penning your first short story, need some help finishing a school project, or just want a fun read, there are plenty of places to look for guidance that you can access at the touch of a button. Here are some of the best of the best young adult educational resources that every student, avid reader, or aspiring writer needs to bookmark.

Literature and Reading

Young adult literature has become incredibly popular over the past decade, and not just with young adults. As a result, there are now countless resources out there that provide suggestions on what to read and book reviews, as well as literature awards and organizations and libraries focused solely on young adult lit. Fans of YA books, whether young or old, will appreciate these resources for finding the best reads out there.

Book Lists

Book lists are a great way to find young adult literature that’s not only high quality but that also fits into a particular genre or topic. While there are countless lists out there (and you can even craft your own), these book lists should get you started if you’re looking for a great read.

  • YALSA Best Books for Young Adults: While they haven’t updated their book list since 2010, YALSA’s older book lists are still some of the best places to look for great reads, both fiction and nonfiction.
  • International Reading Association Young Adults’ Choices: Here, you can get access to reading lists going all the way back to 1998, with titles selected by young adults like yourself.
  • Reading Rants: Reading Rants is a blog that provides book reviews and “out of the ordinary teen book lists.” You can find the author’s top picks for YA lit going back to 2002 as well as regular feedback on new titles.
  • Goodreads Young Adult Booklists: Check out this site for dozens of YA-themed book lists. If you’ve like, you can even create your own to showcase your favorite books of all time.
  • Booklist Editors’ Choice Adult Books for Young Adults: Not all books that appeal to young adults are written with them in mind. Here, you’ll find a book list that pulls together the best adult lit books for teens.

Award-Winning Books

Looking for the cream of the crop among young adult lit? These award-winning books are a great place to start, taking home a variety of awards in 2012 and 2013.

  • In Darkness by Nick Lake: Lake’s powerful and emotional book took top honors for young adult literature in 2013, winning the Printz Award. Through dark details and magical realism, it delves into the mysterious past of Shorty, a 15-year-old who awakens in the ruins of a crumbling hospital.
  • Seraphina by Rachel Hartman: Blending fantastical elements like dragons with a murder mystery, this book was the debut novel for author Hartman, who took home the Morris Award.
  • Song of the Lioness and The Protector of the Small by Tamora Pierce: Pierce was honored this year with the Edwards Award, which recognizes an author for making a lasting contribution to YA literature. Through her two four-part series, Pierce does just that, taking readers into memorable fantasy worlds.
  • Bomb: The Race to Build –and Steal– the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin: Fans of non-fiction will appreciate this award-winning pick, that combines science and history to tell the story of the development of the first atomic bomb, complete with spy intriguge on all sides of the arms race.
  • Caring is Creepy by David Zimmerman: Facing a boring summer in rural Georgia, Lynn befriends a lonely solider online. What ensues when they meet is both creepy and life-changing.
  • Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman: Suffering abuse at both the hands of her mother and a cruel neighbor, young Rory Hendrix must use her wits and her Girl Scout Handbook to navigate life in a 1970s trailer park.
  • Juvenile in Justice by Richard Ross: This nonfiction book will capture the interest of young adults as photographs document the lives of incarcerated youths in detention centers all over the U.S.
  • Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan: This Alex Award-winning book has a little bit of everything: romance, technology, mystery, and adventure.
  • My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf: This chilling graphic novel was written and illustrated by a classmate of serial killer Jeffery Dahmer, giving insights into the early life of this disturbed young man.
  • One Shot at Forever by Chris Ballard: Sports fans will love this inspiring true-life story of the Macon Ironmen, a team of underdogs who had a record-setting baseball season.
  • Pure by Juliana Baggott: In this sci-fi pick, two teens who have remained unscathed in a world ravaged by nuclear explosions much unite to unravel the mysteries of their origins.
  • The Round House by Louise Erdrich: This coming-of-age story focuses on Joe’s quest to figure out who attacked his mother near thier home on North Dakota’s Ojibwe reservation.
  • Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt: After her beloved uncle dies of AIDS, June learns some surprising things about his life, her family, and herself in this Alex Award winner.
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple: This humorous novel follows Bee as she searches the world for her missing mother.
  • Goblin Secrets by William Alexander: This novel won the prestigious National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, telling the story of young Rownie’s quest to find his brother, with the help of some unlikely goblin allies.
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz: The Pura Belpre awards honor Latino and Latina writers and illustrators. The pick for 2013 follows a 15-year-old loner, Aristotle Mendoza, and his budding friendship with Dante Quintana, another young man in his town.

These are hardly the only winners in YA literature. Check out YALSA’s site for the full list of winners from each year in every category.

Book Reviews

If you’re not sure a title is worth reading, it can be smart to check out book reviews that will let you hear from librarians, authors, readers, and young adults like yourself whether a book is great, good, or a real stinker. Here are a few smart places to find reviews.

  • Teenreads: This is the ultimate book site for teens and young adults. It features scores of reviews, helpful book lists, contests, interviews with YA authors, and much more.
  • Young Adult Book Central: Through this site, readers can read reviews and discuss their favorite books new and old. You can even contribute your own reviews to the site or enter to win fun prizes related to young adult literature.
  • School Library Journal Adult Books for Teens: Check out this site for loads of reviews of adult books that are pefect for young adult readers.
  • Young Adult Book Reviews: Organized by category, these book reviews go back to 2007, helping you find information on a wide range of titles in YA lit.
  • RT Book Reviews Young Adult: There’s a special section of this book review site dedicated to just YA fiction and nonfiction. Even better, there’s news, commentary, and interviews to look at, too.
  • Teens Read Too: Get reviews and recommendations from a passionate reader of YA literature on this blog.
  • Refracted Light Young Adult Book Reviews: In addition to regular reviews, this site also hosts giveaways and book previews.
  • Little Book Owl: Get inspired to tackle a whole stack of books with the reviews and readathons featured on this site.

YA Organizations and Resources

Whether you’re looking for support, information, or just a good YA collection near you, these organizations and libraries are there to serve you.

  • YALSA: The Young Adult Library Services Association is an organization for professional librarians, but that doesn’t mean that young adults themselves can’t take advantage of the resources they offer. In addition to book lists, the association’s site is home to several book-related resources for young adults, including reading guides and helpful tools for finding YA material at your own library.
  • Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the NCTE: This organization, ALAN, is another geared towards adults that can be useful for teens because it highlights great genres and the best YA books being published today.
  • NYPL Stuff for the Teen Age: Formerly a book list, this collection of the best of the best for teen readers has been made into a blog full of interesting articles, book reviews, and, of course, tips on the best YA lit.
  • Teen Read Week: This celebration, held in October of each year, encourages young adults to read. Visit the site to find out more and what events may be held at your local library.
  • PublicLibraries.com: Looking for a library in your area? This site can help you find it, with a state-by-state list that will let you check out the website of any library in the U.S.
  • Project Gutenberg: Head to this site to get access to thousands of e-books free of charge, including classics like A Tale of Two Cities and Frankenstein.

Writing Resources

For some, it’s not enough to just read great books; they want to create your own. For those who have the writing bug, it’s a great time to be learning and growing as a writer. Why? Because there are countless websites out there that can provide help with developing your style, let you connect with other writers, and even enter your work into contests and get it published.

Writing Help

Even the best writers have room to improve, so since you’re just starting out don’t hesitate to reach out and learn what you can do to become a better writer. These sites offer a wealth of resources for becoming the new big thing, whether you’re into poetry, novels, or short stories. Even better, most of it is catered to the needs of young adults.

  • About.com Fiction Writing for Teens: Learn the basics of good fiction writing from this guide on About.com.
  • Purdue Online Writing Lab: This writing lab is a great place to look for help in ensuring your sticking to correct grammar, style, and citing your sources in non-fiction work.
  • Guide to Writing a Basic Essay: Are you struggling with formatting an essay for class? Use this guide to ensure you’re doing things right and will have the correct structure and tone for class projects.
  • Blue Zoo Writers: Head to this site to find loads of helpful tips for writing everything from a personal essay to poetry.
  • Today’s Teen Writer: This blog features author interviews, writing prompts, and tips for better writing.
  • Teens Writing for Teens: These teen authors share what it takes to write a great book and get published.

Forums and Organizations

If you’ve got specific questions about your writing, whether it’s for a class or just for fun, or want to hear some feedback, these forums and organizations can be the perfect place to find answers.

  • Teen Ink: This site offers just about everything a young writer could want: the chance to get published, book reviews, writing help, and even a variety of contests.
  • Figment.com: Through this site, you can connect with other writers in groups, enter contests, find great books to read, and get a little advice on improving your writing skills.
  • Read, Write and Imagine: Connect with other young writers and publish your work online through this great community-focused resource.
  • Teen Writers Club: Those under the age of 18 can join this club. While located in Australia, anyone can sign up to get advice and feedback on their work.
  • Teenage Writers: If you’re looking to connect with other young writers, this is a great place to do it. There are helpful articles, dozens of forums, and even blogs to help you hone your skills.

Writing Contests and Publications

Creating a piece of writing that you’re especially proud of and want to share is a great feeling, but many young writers don’t know where to start. While there’s no wrong way to get your writing out there, these sites can be a smart starting place for sharing your work and maybe even winning some accolades.

  • Schoolastic Art & Writing Awards: Submit your best work to this contest, held each year since 1923. Winners get scholarships and the opportunity to have their work published.
  • Teen Writers Conference: While not technically a publication, this yearly event is a great way to learn how to be a better writer, meet with those in the industry, and have fun making friends with other young adults who write.
  • The Blue Pencil: This site is a great resource for high school writers who are looking to get published, as it focuses on getting them in print and awarding the best work.
  • chixLIT: This magazine for female writers ages 13-17 offers an opportunity to get your work out there to the world.
  • The Claremont Review: This magazine features inspiring young adult writers from age 13 to 19, publishing poetry, drama, and fiction in its biannual editions.
  • Go Teen Writers: Find information about contests, read a newsletter, meet other writers, and much more on this helpful site.

Smart Research

These days, the challenge isn’t simply to find resources for research online but to find those that are reliable, truthful, and legitimate so as not to raise the ire of your teachers and instructors (and to, you know, make your paper academically sound). No matter what kind of paper you’re writing, here are a few good sources to use to get your research started.

  • Internet Public Library for Teens: This site can not only help you find resources but it can ensure you get your paper done in the right way.
  • Easy Bib: Dreading making a bibliography? Use this online tool to create a bibliography in any format with ease.
  • GeoHive: Here, you’ll find stats on everything you could need, from GDP to population for any country in the world.
  • Google Scholar: Google Scholar works just like regular Google, except that it only returns results that include scholarly publications.
  • Zotero: You can use Zotero to keep all of your research organized and accessible from the web, so you can get it anytime, anywhere.
  • Artcyclopedia: Find every artist, period, work, and museum through this helpful catalog of art history.
  • Digital History: Look up facts and information about history and take on a few new interactive lessons, on this award-winning site.
  • The Library of Congress: Forget about secondary sources; the Library of Congress allows you to search through primary sources like photographs, documents, songs, and more.
  • The Digital Public Library of America: Explore the digital collections from top libraries and small facilities alike on this site that brings together information from 42 of America’s best libraries.
  • United States Government Manual: Learn the finer points of how the government functions so you get it right in whatever you’re working on with the help of this U.S. government-published resource.
  • Public Library of Science: The PLOS is a great place to start looking up information for reports you’re doing on science and technology.
  • INFOMINE: This scholarly search engine will help you find reputable sources for your paper.
  • Wolfram Alpha: You can find helpful information on STEM topics here and even get assistance with your math homework.
  • Evernote: Every time you see an interesting website related to your topic you can clip it and save it to read later with Evernote. Even better, you can download an app for your phone so you can do your reading on the go.

Studying and Homework Help

Struggling to understand your math homework? Just not getting the symoblism in A Farewell to Arms? Not sure how to prepare for your big test? You’re not alone. Luckily, there are numerous resources out there that can turn help you fight panic and frustration and become one of those cool and collected students who have it all together.

Homework Help

Look to these sites for useful references, study guides, and forums for homework questions. They’ll ensure you can avert any kind of homework disaster.

  • Teen Forumz: You can ask questions and get help with homework from other students on this forum.
  • Online Converter: Converting metric to standard U.S. units is easier than even with this helpful site.
  • CliffsNotes: Get a little help in understanding your English homework from this classic student resource.
  • Classics at MIT: Forgot your book at school? No worries. MIT has you covered with works by all the famous Greek and Roman authors online for free.
  • Bartleby.com: Find great quotes and the books they came from on this helpful site, as well as a style manual, poetry anthologies, the World Factbook, excerpts from Shakespeare, and much more.
  • The Math Forum: If you’re struggling with math, check out this page for help and support on everything from alegebra to pre-cal.
  • Khan Academy: Don’t remember how your teacher showed you how to do something? Use this site as a refresher, with thousands of videos on everything from math to computer science to choose from.
  • Chegg Homework Help: Ask any questions you have about homework on this site and get expert answers that can get you back on the right track.
  • The Homework Spot: From finding reference material to getting answers to pressing homework-related questions, you’ll find loads of resources for high school level work here.
  • B.J. Pinchbeck’s Homework Helper: Search through resources on topics like art, music, science, history, math, health and foreign language to get the assistance you need.

Study Tools

Let’s face it: studying isn’t ever really fun. You can make it less punishing, however, but using some great web tools to help you memorize information, work with others, and get the most out of your study sessions.

  • Flashcard Exchange: Use existing flashcards or create your own to study smart and review material.
  • PocketMod: With PocketMod, you can put your study information on a tiny little cheat sheet that you can carry with you to review anywhere.
  • FreeMind: Having trouble gathering your thoughts? Use this mind mapping site to relate ideas to one another and help yourself remember how things go together. It can also be great for brainstorming a paper.
  • Quizlet: This handy site lets you create flashcards for studying just about anything. Even better, you can share them with classmates.
  • StudyBlue: Head to this social site to study with others in your classes or just in your grade level. You just need a Facebook account to sign up.
  • Google+ Hangouts: Set up a study session online with others in your class so you can share notes, review, and make sure you know the material before a big test.
  • Stay Focusd: Chrome users can take advantage of this extension that can keep you on task while you’re studying and away from social media sites and other distractions.

While the web can’t do your homework for you or ensure that every book you read will change your life, it can help you get more out of everything you read, write, and do for school. Knowing where to look for support, guidance, and help is the first step, and these resources have already taken care of that for you. Now, you just have to dive in and get started!

Women in Mathematics

Girls of the past — and, tragically, in the present — hear it all the time. Because of their gender, they just can’t do math. And if they can, well, they will never be as good as the boys.

To put it very kindly, this attitude is not accurate, nor is it healthy.

Negative stereotypes perpetuate a dreadful cycle. When bombarded with messages of their own (allegedly genetic, realistically false) failings, girls internalize them. Thus discouraged, they ultimately do not perform to the fullest extent of their intellectual capabilities. Which then gives teachers, parents, and other authority figures “proof” that they should not expect much of their female math students. That this attitude persists may directly correlate with the sluggish and troubled growth of female students majoring in mathematics.

In reality, girls’ talents and capacity for academic achievement are no different than boys’. Studies prove that they perform equally well when receiving the exact same praise and support as their male counterparts. Destroy the stereotypes, and we’ll raise the numbers and status of women in mathematics. And equitable exposure and education remains the greatest strategy for improving this traditionally marginalized demographic’s profile.

Some Notable Trailblazers

It would be a fallacy to say that women mathematicians today benefit from the passionate efforts and contributions from their predecessors. They do, of course, but that declaration only peers into one facet of these great thinkers’ successes. The truth is, everyone owes a debt of gratitude to pioneering women in the mathematics. Devoting themselves to the discipline, even if they faced (or continue facing) discrimination and dismissal, can inspire anyone of any gender and career path. Their research has also propelled mathematics forward, which in turn, has propelled humanity forward.

So while the following trailblazers did help diversify mathematics and open up new opportunities for their successors, it is important to recognize that their influence stretches well beyond fostering gender equality.

Pre-Eighteenth Century

Hypatia of Alexandria (D. 415 CE) probably wasn’t the first female mathematician; she is acknowledged as the first known one. The daughter of legendary thinker Theon, Hypatia studied mathematics and Neoplatonist philosophy under her father’s guidance, eventually acquiring astronomy, philosophy, and mathematics students of her very own. Most of her contributions to the mathematics involved furthering Appolonius’ conic sections. As the editor of On the Conics of Appolonius, Hypatia helped bring parabolas, ellipses, and hyperbolas into mainstream study. She simplified the concepts in order to make them more accessible to her students and readers, thereby spreading knowledge mathematicians now consider standard today.

Historians recognize Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia (1646-1684) as the first woman to ever receive a college degree — and a doctorate at that. She excelled at music, philosophy, astronomy, theology, languages and, of course, mathematics. While known primarily as an interdisciplinary prodigy, Piscopia’s most groundbreaking accomplishment opened up new opportunities for not only women in mathematics, but academia in general. Some accounts state she enjoyed a lectureship at University of Padua starting in 1678. Because her prodigious intellect earned her accolades and respect from scholars across Europe, Piscopia almost singlehandedly busted up the myth that women contribute nothing to the academic world.

Much of Marie Crous‘ personal life , including her date of birth and death , is unknown, though her mathematical influence continues significantly impacting daily life. She did not invent the decimal point, but she created its current form separating the different parts of a number. In addition, she also innovated and popularized the concept of using zeroes to indicate a blank decimal place. These seventeenth century constructions survive and thrive today, most notably as the basis for the metric system and some currencies.

Eighteenth Century

Inspired by her confidant and possible lover Voltaire, Emilie du Chatelet (1706-1749) pursued a life of physics and mathematics not even marriage and motherhood could curtail. Institutions du physique, published in 1740, was originally intended as a textbook for her son’s mathematics and physics lessons; it eventually wound up considered her masterpiece. The book blended the research of her contemporary Willem ‘s Gravesande with that of Gottfried Leibniz to note that a moving object’s energy is proportionate to the square of its velocity, rather than just the velocity. Chatelet also translated Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica into French, adding her own notes and corrections. Today, francophone mathematicians still consider her work the definitive French-language version of the hugely influential text.

The prolific Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718-1799) produced multiple volumes of mathematical significance in her lifetime, and received a groundbreaking offer to serve as the Chair of Mathematics at University of Bologna. Nobody knows if she ultimately accepted Pope Benedict XIV’s great honor, though the brilliant academic did serve in a readership role at the school. She gave the witch of Agnesi its name in her seminal Instituzioni analitiche ad uso della gioventu italiana. Some consider this the very first book ever published covering two different styles of calculus, integral and differential. When the two volumes first hit academia, her fellow mathematicians celebrated her writing and often used her references as textbooks. This led to an invitation to join the Bologna Academy of Sciences.

Sophie Germain (1776-1831) dabbled in multiple mathematical disciplines (and even the social sciences), but is best known as one of the masterminds behind elasticity theory , which just happened to earn her a prestigious prize from the Paris Academy of Sciences. Because women were unable to receive much of an education at the time, she corresponded with mentors (most notably the renowned Carl Friedrich Gauss and Adrien-Marie Legendre) via letter instead. However, she hid behind a masculine nom de plume because she feared stigmatization from the scientific community. Number theory eventually proved her strongest subject. Germain’s most triumphant moment came when she proposed several different approaches to Fermat’s Last Theorem; one of these is now known as Sophie Germain’s Theorem. The Academy of Sciences’ Sophie Germain Prize annually honors the most innovative minds in fundamental mathematics.

Nineteenth Century

Modern computer science exists because of Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace (1815-1852). She wrote what historians and technicians consider the very first computer program for Charles Babbage’s analytical engine. It consisted of an algorithm calculating Bernoulli numbers, though remains untested even now. Because she almost singlehandedly established an entirely new scientific discipline, Byron (more popularly known as Ada Lovelace) enjoys considerably more praise and attention from contemporary audiences than any other female mathematician. The Ada Initiative promotes women furthering the cause of open source software. The United States Department of Defense developed a programming language named “Ada.” Ada Lovelace Day is a nascent holiday celebrated in mid-October drawing attention to successful women in the STEM fields.

Mathematician and astronomer Mary Somerville (1780-1872) calculated the probability of a planet whose orbit disturbs Uranus’ in the sixth edition of On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences, published in 1842. Thanks to her mathematical speculations, John Couch Adams discovered Neptune. Even before that, however, 1835 saw her and Caroline Herschel sharing the historical honor of being the first women named to the Royal Astronomical Society. Somerville’s translation of Mecanique Celeste by Pierre-Simon Laplace absolutely thrilled English-speaking scientists. They appreciated how concrete and easy-to-understand she presented the material. The succinct and simple writing style she employed led Somerville to receive The Royal Geographic Society’s first Victoria Medal for making complex science more accessible.

Although Sonia Kovalevsky (or Kovalevskaya) (1850-1891) was not the first woman to edit a scientific journal, her work with Acta Mathematica set her among the most significant. She also holds the honor of being the first woman in the Russian Academy of Sciences and the first European woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics. A calculus whiz, one of her most notable contributions to mathematics is the Kovalevskaya top. Only Joseph Louis Lagrange and Leonard Euler had devised a fully integrable system for rigid body motion. This distinguished discovery, which furthered the study and application of classical mechanics, earned her the French Academy of Science’s prestigious Prix Bordin in 1888.

The name Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) conjures up images of nurses, but she accomplished much more than advancing medical science. She also happened to be quite the crackerjack statistician. Although she did not create data visualizations such as graphs and pie charts, Nightingale adopted them very early. Incorporating statistical graphics into her discussions of sanitation reform and other healthcare topics helped popularize the medium; today, they remain crisp, clean, and clear options for anyone trying to relay statistical research. Nightingale herself even created her own style of pie chart, known as the polar area diagram.

Twentieth Century

No less than Albert Einstein himself considered Amalie Emmy Noether (1882-1935) an inspiration. In a 1935 piece for The New York Times, he referred to her as “the most creative mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of women began.” Her early work, especially the landmark paper Idealtheorie in Ringbereichen, eventually birthed the term “Noetherian ring” and provided an abstract algebra foundation used in theoretical physics. As a topologist, she focused her prolific output on non-communicative algebra, rings, linear transformations, and invariants while also delving into physics. She did not found the practice of algebraic topology, but her research , especially regarding homology groups , constructed the foundation. In terms of historical impact, however, her Noether’s Theorem is now considered one of the most essential cornerstones of theoretical physics.

Mary Cartwright (1900-1998) claimed many firsts throughout her prestigious career — first female mathematician elected as a fellow at The Royal Society, first woman to win the Sylvester Medal, and the first woman to serve as the President of the London Mathematical Society and as a councilmember of The Royal Society. Collaborations with John Edensor Littlewood yielded major inquiries into chaos and its relationship with differential equations. While they did not establish chaos theory (more commonly known as “the butterfly effect”), their work refined and better defined it. Cartwright’s theorem is probably her best-known contribution to analytic functions.

Ada Byron was the world’s first computer scientist, and Grace Hopper (1906-1992) followed her illustrious influence as one of the world’s first computer engineers. She contributed heavily to the development of COBOL, the first programming language independent of any particular machine, and programmed the Harvard Mark I while serving in the US Navy during World War II. COBOL was not her only creation; Hopper also developed FLOW-MATIC, MATH-MATIC, and ARITH-MATIC under UNIVAC, but COBOL remains her most continuously popular innovation since its 1959 inception. The widely-used term “debugging” also hails from an incident where a moth trapped in a computer disrupted her calculations.

For nearly three decades, Julia Robinson (1919-1985) and her team of mathematicians , Yuri Matiyasevich, Martin Davis, and Hilary Putnam , wrestled against the notorious Hilbert’s tenth problem. They ultimately concluded that no algorithm could resolve the Diophantine equation. For most of her career, Robinson exclusively focused on decision problems. But she dabbled in game theory, even solving a problem worth $200 at RAND. The United States National Academy of Sciences elected her the very first female mathematician member in 1975, and she broke further ground in 1983 when she was elected the first woman president of the American Mathematical Society.

Resources for Women in Mathematics

Although women remain underrepresented in the mathematics and related industries, they do not waiver when supporting one another. They form organizations and initiatives to network, provide opportunities, celebrate the most notable names, and encourage more women to reject stereotypes and embrace number nerdery.

The Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) remains one of the cornerstones furthering the eponymous cause. It hosts a plethora of events, lectures, awards, scholarships, and seminars uniting participants and nurturing a love of all things mathematical. Members also mobilize on college campuses and participate in educational advocacy programs. Above all, they seek to increase representation and appreciation of women mathematicians. For any female professionals and students — or aspiring students — this organization serves as an essential gathering place for mentorships, advice, and sharing new opportunities for personal, professional, and societal growth.

For women currently enrolled in a mathematics undergraduate or graduate program, The Institute for Advance Study, National Science Foundation, and Princeton University offer an 11-day mentorship program. Qualified applicants receive opportunities to meet with industry professionals, academics, and their fellow students through seminars, roundtables, panels, and lectures. Emphasis lay on mentoring up-and-coming women in mathematics. Discussions also center around resolving issues of underrepresentation and attracting more female students to the profession.

Women in Mathematics Education largely reaches out to girls in kindergarten through high school. However, they do provide plenty of opportunities for female mathematics educators to learn and grow as well. Members organize events and trade ideas on how to best address classroom stereotypes and make more female students enthusiastic about math. Undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to contact WME to open their own campus chapters. Doing so helps them best address any unique needs local learners have , not to mention gaining valuable resume fodder.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ada Byron inspired many a mathematically-inclined undertaking celebrating women in mathematics. The Ada Initiative does not exclusively cater to female open source professionals, though it was founded by two women pursuing equal standing in a male-dominated industry. Every October, Ada Lovelace Day is celebrated in cities around the world. Organize put together fun and educational local events lauding the accomplishments of female mathematicians and scientists as well as teaching young girls to pursue the STEM disciplines.

Reading up on the lives of influential and inspiring female mathematicians can kick-start motivation and creativity. Both Agnes Scott University and University of Oregon produce and collect biographies of groundbreaking women in mathematics. Getting lost in their archives makes for a lovely educational treat for fans of both math and history.

Prizes, Awards, and Honors

Watching women mathematicians receive accolades for their achievements inspires others to press forward with their studies, no matter their age, level of schooling, or their gender. Anyone can watch these accomplished academics accept validation and recognition and hope to emulate their example.

The highest achievements women may earn in mathematics are the very same ones men do well. No Nobel Prize in Mathematics exists, but the International Mathematical Union’s International Medal for Outstanding Discoveries in Mathematics (better known as the Fields Medal) and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters’ Abel Prize are often cited as the equivalents. Unfortunately, just because women are eligible does not mean any have won. Mathematics’ upper echelons cower behind a thick barricade begging to be smashed open.

American Mathematical Society devotes numerous prizes to the development of mathematics, one of which exclusively recognizes women; the others are, of course, open to qualified individuals of all genders and gender identities. The Ruth Lyttle Satter Prize in Mathematics rewards $5000 every two years, celebrating the contributions of one female mathematician. Eligible research must have been released within the past six years.

Obviously, AWM provides the most awards and honors furthering the cause of women in mathematics. With four grants, three distinguished lectures, and six prizes and awards available, female mathematicians do not want for peer recognition. The Ruth I. Michler Memorial Prize bestows upon the recipient $47,000 and a coveted semester-long fellowship at Cornell University, making it one of the most prestigious mathematical honors unavailable to men. Other awards honor educational achievements, mentorships, and promising undergraduate students. There’s even an essay contest for inspiring middle school, high school, and college girls to keep with their mathematics lessons.

With any luck, they’ll continue nursing a passion for the subject.

The Future

With the decline in women majoring in mathematics, the demographic’s future may appear to be in danger. But “danger” does not necessarily indicate “disaster.” So many professors and professionals devote themselves to the cause that there is no real danger of the female mathematician species going extinct.

Programs like the Carnegie Science Center’s Girls, Math and Science Partnership (GMSP), Girls Inc.’s Operation Smart, and numerous camps target the pre-college crowd. All of them provide nurturing environments, activities, and mentorships conducive to mathematical exploration. They actively combat the negative stereotypes about women in math. Encouraging girls to succeed at an early age rather than ramming them into rigid dictates builds the confidence and drive to follow their passions. Rather than stepping into a male-dominated industry, deeming it a lost cause, and switching over to something more “feminine,” participating kids learn how to stand up and stay put.

Colleges themselves also serve as valuable staging grounds in the fight for equal representation of women in math-related fields. Many campuses , such as Carleton College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and George Washington University, among others , offer resources, throw events, and organize mentorships specifically for math-loving ladies. Smith College’s renowned Center for Women in Mathematics is often cited as the most attentive, progressive, and inspiring program of the type. Female students majoring in math should check if their schools already have outreach available. If not, they might want to organize their own show of solidarity. Doing so will keep them and their peers focused on their studies, and maybe even encourage more women to embrace mathematics and revolutionize the practice.

And, maybe someday, even win a Fields Medal and an Abel Prize.

Hispanic Trends in Higher Education

President Barack Obama was clear in his Feb. 2009 address: he wants the U.S. to have the largest proportion of college graduates by 2020, and several states have jumped aboard his completion agenda.

Hispanics make up almost 17% of the nation’s population, and they are the largest minority population in the U.S. To meet this lofty college completion goal, the nation must prioritize degree attainment among Hispanics, a group statistically more likely than some races to struggle in school.

Enrollments on the Rise

A key step in increasing the educational outcomes of Hispanics is first getting them to enroll.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, Hispanic college enrollments reached a record high in 2011. More than two million 18- to 24-year-old Hispanics enrolled, which was 16.5% of all college enrollments.

Though part of these increases in enrollment can be attributed to population growth, the Pew report shows that the Hispanic high school completion rate is also increasing. In 2011, an all-time high of 76.3% of Hispanics aged 18 to 24 had a high school diploma or GED. Of this number of high school graduates, 45.6% enrolled in two-year or four-year colleges.

Experts have expressed that the number of enrollees needs to continue to increase by focusing on need-based financial aid, increasing funding for Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), and increasing the capacity for Hispanic students in higher education institutions.

Completion Gap

Though enrollment figures look promising, simply enrolling in college isn’t enough. The overall goal for the nation is to increase college attainment, which means retention and completion should be the main focuses. Hispanics are enrolling in college at record rates, but the completion gap that exists between Hispanics and their White counterparts is still an issue.

According to a report from the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES), only 52% of Hispanics who began a four-year college in 2003-04 earned a college degree by 2009, compared to 73% of White students, 76% of Asian students, and 66% of students of two or more races.

The Hispanic Access Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 2010, works to promote educational attainment among Hispanics throughout the United States. HAF’s executive director Maite Arce said one of the main challenges facing Latino students is realizing that college is possible and affordable. Through community outreach, which includes free tax education programs, providing Hispanic families with information about scholarships, and college prep fairs, HAF strives to remove some of the barriers and obstacles to college completion for Hispanics.

Schools That Are Getting it Right

According to the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, there are 247 Hispanic-Serving Institutions – which the HACU defines as colleges, universities, or systems/districts where total Hispanic enrollment constitutes a minimum of 25% of the total enrollment – in the U.S. These schools are an important variable in Hispanic completion rates because they enroll a significant number of Hispanic students.

Each year, HispanicBusiness.com ranks the top schools based on the percentage of Hispanic student enrollment, percentage of Hispanic faculty members, percentage of degrees conferred to Hispanics, and progressive programs aimed at increasing Hispanic enrollment.

The University of Texas at El Paso and The University of New Mexico both ranked in the 2012 HispanicBusiness list for business and engineering. The University of New Mexico was also ranked one of the best for law and medical schools. Both schools are Hispanic-Serving Institutions.

UTEP is a research institution with a campus of more than 22,600 students – a majority of them Hispanic students. The school takes pride in becoming the first national research (Tier One) university to serve a 21st century student demographic.

The University of New Mexico, located in the heart of Albuquerque, takes pride in being the only HSI in the nation that is classified as a Carnegie Research University with Very High Activity. The school serves a diverse population of students – 22,278 students on the main campus and 7,933 students at branch campuses and education centers.

The University of Texas-Pan American is located in the southernmost tip of Texas in the Rio Grande Valley, an area whose population is 85% Hispanic. The majority of UTPA’s students is also Hispanic. In an effort to address the growth and demand of its population, UTPA recently launched an accelerated online MBA program.

“The University of Texas-Pan American works hard to provide a supportive environment for students within our high-quality academic programs,” said Cynthia Brown, UTPA’s Vice Provost for Graduate Studies. “Since such a large number of our students are first-generation college-goers, we strive to provide a variety of support systems, both academic and non-academic, so that they are successful. For example, we have a Graduate Resource Center that holds monthly workshops on academic topics as well as work-life balance and time management.”

Hispanic Faculty Trends

Some experts believe more Hispanic faculty at colleges and universities will help increase Hispanic students’ success. Brown said that UTPA has a relatively high share of Hispanic faculty compared to other universities, with Hispanics representing about 33% of total faculty in fall 2011.

“It is a national imperative to increase the educational attainment of everyone. This is especially true of the Hispanic population given its rapid growth and increasing share of the total population,” Brown said. “UTPA is very proud to be among the top universities awarding degrees to Hispanics in several fields at both the undergraduate and graduate level. This is our mission and we will continue to provide access to higher educational opportunities for Hispanic students and work to ensure their success.”

Efforts to Increase College Success

In the NCES report Projections of Education Statistics to 2021published in Jan. 2013, data shows that the projected enrollment of Hispanics in post-secondary degree-granting institutions will increase 42% by 2021. It will be imperative that those enrollments translate into degree attainment.

There are numerous organizations that are invested in the educational success of Hispanics. These are just a few of them:

  • Excelencia in Education:

    Founded in 2004, Excelencia promotes education policies and institutional practices that support Hispanic academic achievement. Excelencia collaborated with 60 national partners for the initiative The Roadmap for Ensuring America’s Future, a tool to stimulate dialogue about necessary actions for increasing Hispanic degree attainment. Excelencia also released fact sheets for each of the 50 states detailing the current status of Hispanic college attainment.

  • Hispanic Scholarship Fund:

    The Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF), founded in 1975, is the nation’s largest not-for-profit organization supporting Hispanic higher education. To date, HSF has awarded more than $360 million in scholarships. Through the Generation 1st Degree initiative, HSF hopes to close the completion gap for Hispanics by helping to put at least one college degree in each Hispanic household. The HSF will provide scholarships to qualified Hispanic students who are the first in their families to attend college.

  • Hispanic Access Foundation:

    HAF was founded in 2010 to tackle several issues in the Hispanic community, including education, health, immigration, science and environment, and tax education. HAF uses out-of-school and informal education, as well as some in-school work to reach first-generation and second-generation Hispanics. HAF has identified the following education-related issues as areas to focus on: growing enrollment in public schools, high school and college graduation rates, college attendance, math and science performance, and learning the English language.

  • Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities:

    HACU was established in 1986 and now represents more than 400 colleges and universities committed to Hispanic higher education success in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America, Spain and Portugal. In 1992, HACU was a leader in the effort to prompt Congress to formally recognize campuses with high Hispanic enrollment as federally designated HSIs and to begin targeting federal allocations to those campuses. HACU aims to promote the development of member colleges and universities and improve access to and the quality of post-secondary educational opportunities for Hispanic students.

Reaching President Obama’s completion goal is not the only benefit of focusing on success for Hispanics in higher education. Statistics show that more Hispanics are being hired for senior-level jobs. In fiscal year 2011, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security employed the largest number of Hispanics at nearly 21%. The Social Security Administration and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission employed the next two highest percentages at 14.1% and 13.7%, respectively.

As the U.S. becomes a more globalized society, it’s important to have a diversified and educated workforce. Increasing the number of Hispanic college graduates will certainly help their job prospects after graduation, and hiring managers looking to diversify within their companies may seek out these graduates.

Beyond College Rankings: The Students’ Guide to College Comparison

College rankings have become a pretty big deal over the past few decades, with many schools fighting tooth and nail to raise their rankings or to maintain their current position. The system, however, has some flaws. While college rankings can give prospective students some idea of what schools have to offer, they’re not exactly a great predictor of which schools would be a good match and which may truly offer the best educational experience depending on individual student needs.

The best way to compare colleges and to ultimately determine which is the best for you? Focus on doing your own meaningful, customized college research. If you’re not sure where to begin, read on to learn some essential tips and tools that can help you in the process and ensure that you end up at the right school for you.

Helpful Tips

Want to really compare colleges? Use these tips to guide you through the process.

  • Look beyond reputation.

    Sometimes, the best schools aren’t the best for you. If you’re trying to decide between two schools, don’t let reputation be the deciding factor. Similarly, don’t write off schools because they aren’t as well known. You may find that the best experience and value for your money lies somewhere else (or you may not, but it’s best to keep your options open).

  • Know how rankings work.

    Rankings aren’t useless when comparing colleges, but you need to know what they really measure. Take a look at the factors weighed into the rankings. Sometimes, factors that won’t really improve your educational experience are more heavily weighted than other, more crucial aspects. Keep that in mind when using rankings and never take them just at face value; they are subjective by nature.

  • List your priorities.

    What do you want or need to get out of your college experience? You can create your own ranking system by giving a numerical value to different priorities you have, then rating each college you’re considering. It’s not a foolproof method, but it may give you a more accurate idea of which schools are best for you than the large-scale rankings.

  • Focus on departments.

    It is possible for a school to not rank among the best in the nation overall but to have a few academic programs that seriously stand out. If you know what you want to major in, take a look at colleges on a departmental level rather than as a whole. Those who aren’t sure what they want to major in (you’re not alone in this, many students change majors, sometimes multiple times) may want to pick a school with a more well-rounded assortment of high-quality departments instead.

  • Look at data.

    Instead of allowing rankings to do the talking, look at data about schools yourself. Examine their graduation rates, how much financial aid they give out, and employment post-graduation. Be careful, however; schools aren’t always honest and many have gotten into hot water over inflated numbers. Always read the fine print and check up to see what has been said about a particular college’s data.

  • Use college matching sites.

    There are numerous sites designed to help you find a college that’s a good match for your personal goals. They can help take a lot of the guesswork out of the college choice process. We’ve listed a few below in our resources section that you should check out.

  • Compare apples to apples.

    When looking at colleges, focus on comparing like things. If a good library is important to you, look at the libraries of different schools. If research grants matter, see what your chances are of getting one at different schools. It makes it much easier to single out these factors rather than try to compare schools that may be vastly different. It can also help to compare schools that are similar in size or specialization, something rankings often fail to do.

  • Don’t focus on tuition.

    With tuition higher than it’s ever been, many quickly shy away from schools charging $30,000 and up. Yet you shouldn’t eliminate these schools out of hand. Instead, look at what schools can offer you in financial aid. You may find that a more expensive school can actually be cheaper depending on the financial support you can qualify for.

  • Think about the virtues of location.

    Just like in real estate, location is key when choosing a school and there are a number of reasons you should rank it above other factors. First, attending a school in state can qualify you for cheaper tuition and certain scholarships. Secondly, depending on the career you want to pursue, some schools are located in hubs of activity for those fields, which can make a big difference in networking, getting internships, and finding a job post-graduation.

  • Consider your comfort level.

    When choosing a school it’s important to consider how comfortable you’d feel there. You want to feel at home, but not too comfortable. After all, college should challenge you with new ideas and experiences. Try to find something that offers you both of those things without making you feel incredibly homesick.

  • Deconstruct the brand.

    Colleges are really great at talking themselves up, but how much is truth and how much is marketing? That’s where you need to do some research. Talk to students who attend the school, read online forums, and find out if the schools you’re considering are really as amazing as they claim to be.

  • Give non-academic opportunities some thought.

    Going to college is about more than just learning. Colleges are a place where you can meet new people, travel abroad, join a club, play a sport, or become an active part of the community. Don’t neglect to consider these in choosing a school; becoming integrated in a school’s social aspects can play a big role in your success there.

  • Make up your own mind.

    It’s easy to let a friend or family member’s good or bad experience at a school change your image of it, but you shouldn’t. Not everyone wants the same things out of school and not everyone will have the same experience in school. That’s why it’s important to form your own ideas about a school’s potential instead of letting others’ stories, passion for an alma mater, or prejudices influence you too heavily.

  • Take a tour.

    Much of what you’ll learn about a college before you actually set foot on it comes in the form of marketing materials online and off. Needless to say, those won’t give you an accurate impression of life on campus. Narrow down your college choices to just a few and tour each. If that’s cost prohibitive, at least tour them online. Sometimes, you’ll just know which one is the right fit.

  • Find out where grads are now.

    While there’s a lot to gain from the college experience, you also want to make sure that college is a sound investment for you. One way to do that is to get an idea of where a school’s alumni are now. Check out groups on LinkedIn or other online resources to track the success (or lack of it) of a school’s grads.

  • Useful Websites

    These sites can help you to make savvy choices when comparing schools and deciding where to spend your college years.

  • Campus Tours:

    This site features interactive maps and video tours of dozens of colleges, allowing you to do a little comparison shopping without ever leaving your house.

  • Youniversity:

    Youniversity is another site with a great assortment of virtual tours students can check out. There are also articles, career videos, and other resources to help with the process.

  • College Navigator:

    This tool from the United States Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences allows prospective students to browse the IES database using a range of criteria. You can search for schools that are in your area, have great sports teams, are budget friendly or all of the above.

  • College Prowler:

    Find out what great schools there are near you, compare various criteria, and figure out how much it will all cost you on this helpful comparison site.

  • College Search by College Board:

    Looking for more comparisons? Simply enter the name of the schools you’re interested in on this site and you can get direct help sizing up everything from enrollment numbers to room and board.

  • College View:

    Choose your field of interest and your location and this handy tool will help you find the best schools in state that will suit your needs. You can further narrow the search with several other options as well.

  • Campus Compare:

    Enter up to three schools into this comparison site to learn more about what the top majors are at a school, how many faculty you’ll have access to, tuition costs, and how hard it is to get in. Even better, you can read the schools’ mission statements to get a better understanding of how you might fit in.

  • Nerd Scholar Graduate Comparison:

    On Nerd Scholar, you can get a better idea of the kind of success you’ll have after graduation. The site gave surveys to grads from a wide range of schools to see where they were in the years post-graduation, and you can choose schools and compare easily on the site.

  • ConnectEDU:

    Not even sure where to begin the college search process? Using data analytics, this site will help you learn which schools are a good match for you and where you’re most likely to get accepted.

  • WiseChoise:

    WiseChoice is another option for college matching. Enter in factors related to your personality, academics, learning style, and other preferences, and you’ll get scored matches you can use to better inform your comparisons.

  • CollegeData:

    Search for colleges that match your preferences or analyze colleges by their data alone via this helpful site.

  • Smart Reads

    If you’re still looking for advice on college comparison and choice, give these selections a read.

  • The College Solution: A Guide for Everyone Looking for the Right School at the Right Price by Lynn O’Shaughnessy:

    If you’re really concerned about being able to find an affordable college that meets your needs, check out this book. You’ll learn more about financial aid and how to get the best deal for your money.

  • The Insider’s Guide to the Colleges: Students on Campus Tell You What You Really Want to Know by Yale Daily News Staff:

    Who knows a school better than a student who’s there? This book offers insights into what it’s really like to attend America’s universities straight from students, as well as stats and college comparison tools.

  • Harvard Schmarvard: Getting Beyond the Ivy League to the College That Is Best for You by Jay Mathews:

    Hung up on attending one of the top tier schools in the U.S.? Read this book from education writer Mathews and you may just open your mind to a schools outside of the Ivy League.

The Biggest Movements Supporting College Readiness

Many of America’s students graduate from high school unprepared to meet the academic, social, and personal challenges posed by college. This has resulted in high dropout rates and billions of dollars spent on remedial courses at schools all over the nation. While colleges themselves are working to help remedy the problem, many other organizations are aiming to help nip it in the bud, providing students with support and academically challenging material as early as elementary school. It may just be what many struggling school systems need to help them give students a chance for a better, brighter future in college and beyond. Here, we highlight just a few of the great programs, organizations, and policies that are helping improve college readiness.


These programs operate on a federal level and impact almost every state (some have opted out of all or some of the provisions) in the U.S., giving them the potential to impact a large number of students.

  • Common Core State Standards:

    The Common Core educational standards don’t fully go into effect until next year, but many schools are already implementing elements of them in classrooms. While it could take several years for the full effect of the standards to be seen, they were created with the goal of helping students achieve at a higher level, ostensibly so that they’d be better prepared to enter college or the working world with stronger, more well-rounded skill sets. While not every state is adhering to Common Core standards, the long term effect on student achievement and college readiness could take decades to discern.

  • Race to the Top Commencement Challenge:

    Race to the Top has been a heavily criticized education policy, but that doesn’t mean it is without its merits. The Race to the Top Commencement Challenge is one way the policy is helping to encourage schools to work hard at preparing students for college. The competition asked public high schools to submit applicants who were representative of the school’s commitment to preparing students for college and careers, judging the submissions on performance, essay questions, and supplemental data. Each year, six schools are chosen, often lauded for their creativity, strong support systems, and academic results that are helping to produce students who are ready to take on college after graduation.


College readiness programs are also having a big impact at the state level. Here are just a few (there are more) of the state programs making big strides in getting students ready for college.

  • CSU Early Assessment Program

    : Some states are taking college readiness into their own hands, with California being a great example. California State University is working with the California Department of Education and the State Board of Education through the Early Assessment program to help ensure that students graduate from high school ready to meet the challenge of college-level study. Despite previous college preparatory programs at high schools in the state, more than 60% of the students admitted to CSU needed remedial classes in English or mathematics, at a significant cost to both students and the state. The Early Assessment Program takes things one step further in order to help stem this problem. In their junior year students take the California Standards Test, used to determine which additional prep courses a student may or may not need to take. The program also provides additional training for high school teachers to help improve their educational outcomes.

  • K-20 Finance Program:

    In Oregon, student success is also being accelerated with a little help from higher ed. The state is redesigning its infrastructure to unify its education delivery system and its curriculum, create a single data system for tracking students, and connect all the education sectors through one large, transparent budget for K-12, undergrad, and graduate school funding. The goal is to reorganize the system not by time but by achievement, and to have set exit standards for high school and entrance standards for college. The changes have yet to be fully approved in the state (and have attracted quite a bit of controversy), but if they are they could bring sweeping changes to how students are prepared for college every step of the way.

  • Twenty-first Century Scholars Program:

    Indiana created the Twenty-first Century Scholars program back in 1990, using state financial aid to provide college tuition to low-income middle-school students. In order to obtain this funding, students must complete a pledge to finish high school, maintain at least a C grade point average, remain drug and alcohol free, apply for college and financial aid, and enroll in an Indiana state school within two years of graduation. In addition, the program also allows students to take advantage of college prep courses, support services, and assistance with the financial costs of applying to schools. Since the program has been in place, the number of low-income students taking prep courses has gone up, high school honors diploma rates have increased (12% at the start of the program and 29% in 2004), and more students than ever are enrolling in college.

  • Florida Linked Data System:

    It’s hard for many states to improve their educational programs because they can’t track students accurately to see their outcomes. Florida is one place where that’s changing. The state has linked two major data systems, the Data Warehouse and the Florida Education and Training Placement Information Program, which allows them to better see how students are progressing through the state’s educational systems and in the workforce. This data tracking has made it easier to create policies that can truly help students succeed in life, measuring the impact of different educational choices, participation in state programs, and other factors. Other states using linked systems are Connecticut, Maine, and Washington. This type of system could soon become a common practice nationwide.

  • Postsecondary Education Improvement Act:

    Kentucky’s legislature passed this act in 1997, establishing goals for the state-run institutions of higher education and creating an accountability system to help ensure that all institutions were providing access to quality education, making good use of resources, and serving students the best they could. The goal was to help the state track whether or not students were ready for college, if they could afford it, how many students were graduating, and the direct effect of these graduates on the state economy. By creating this system of accountability, the state made it possible to make changes at the secondary level that would improve college readiness and accessibility.

  • HOPE Scholarship:

    Students in the Georgia public school system who earn a B or better in college preparatory classes can receive financial aid, regardless of need, through the HOPE Scholarship program. It’s just one of many ways the state is seeking to change attitudes about college and motivate students to better prepare for the academic challenges they may face. Georgia has also implemented a College and Career Ready Performance Index that high school and middle school counselors can use to help students prepare for post-secondary education.

Independent and Private

Businesses, foundations, and nonprofits are also working hard to prepare young scholars for a future that includes a college education. Here are some that stand out.

  • College Summit:

    College Summit is a national nonprofit organization that helps high schools raise their college enrollment rates by building a better college-going culture. Focused on those from low-income and underserved communities, the organization partners with more than 180 high schools in 12 states to help them build college prep programs, help teachers improve through professional development, and give students support and guidance. Since it was founded, the program has garnered numerous awards and has helped to improve college enrollment rates by 25% at some of the worst schools they serve.

  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:

    The Gates Foundation has billions set aside for improving education in America. Part of that has gone towards helping students get a college-ready education. In 2012, the foundation donated $5.4 million in grants to support 13 new technologies focused on improving college readiness and completion. Winners represented a diverse group, ranging from public colleges like the University of Washington (which plans to partner with Coursera), to start-up companies like Altius Education. It’s too soon to see if the ideas will change education and improve college readiness, but the innovative thinking and support the foundation provides certainly constitute a step in the right direction.

  • University Support:

    Colleges don’t want students to be unprepared; it costs them time and money and in many cases increases their dropout rates. As a result, many schools have created programs that help to improve college readiness and ensure that students who head to their schools are ready for the challenging academic work ahead. The University of Chicago, often ranked among the top schools in the nation, is one example. The school has numerous programs in the Chicago community, many focused on impoverished areas of the south side of the city where the school is located, that help students to learn, grow, and get ready for college. Another great example is Morehead State University, home to an Early College Program that last year helped 2,300 high school students get college-ready.

  • Year Up:

    Founded in 2000 by Harvard Business School graduate Gerald Chertavian, this nonprofit group aims to help young, urban students gain the skills, experience, and support they need to reach their potential in careers and post-secondary education. Recent high school grads can enroll in the organization’s intensive, yearlong program that offers them the chance to learn new skills through courses and internships, with the long-term goal of helping participants gain college acceptance or a solid new job. It has won numerous awards and has a great record of success, with 84% of its graduates employed or in college full-time within four months of graduation.

  • The Posse Foundation:

    For many students, succeeding in college has just as much to do with finding a strong support system as being academically gifted. The Posse Foundation helps to provide students with that support. It forms groups of 10 to 12 students who are then enrolled together in an 8-month pre-college training program that helps to get them ready for enrollment at top-tier universities around the nation. Unlike many other programs, the Posse Foundation doesn’t just focus on academics; students also learn how to manage the social and personal challenges they face when they enter college. So far, the program has placed more than 3,100 students in top colleges in the U.S., including big names like UCLA, the University of Pennsylvania, and Vanderbilt.

10 Places The Liberal Arts are Thriving

While the U.S. still offers some of the best liberal arts programs and universities in the world, in recent years the liberal arts have faced numerous challenges ranging from budget cuts to public criticism that they simply aren’t relevant or useful college majors. Yet in other parts of the world, the liberal arts are seeing a great deal of attention, focus, and funding, as educators and businesspeople realize the value of teaching students about literature, communication, history, and other liberal arts topics. While the U.S. may be moving away from college studies focused on the liberal arts, here are some nations where the liberal arts are seeing a surge in growth and popularity.

  1. China:

    While the U.S. has scrambled to emulate the focus on science and mathematics education found in China, ironically, China is slowly moving in the opposite direction. While STEM fields are still the focus for much of Chinese education, liberal arts are slowly but surely becoming a major issue in education policy. The change is in part due to international criticism from business owners who feel that, while Chinese-educated employees are highly competent, they lack certain skills that make them good team players, flexible workers, and creative thinkers. Yet a bigger problem is also motivating a new openness to liberal arts education: a change in the Chinese economy away from manufacturing. In this new economic climate, workers need much more than just practical training, and must be able to be creative and innovative to get ahead. As a response to these issues, many schools have been adding liberal arts courses and departments (the Bo Ya College at Sun Yat-Sen University is an example), and recently Xing Wei College, a school that focuses exclusively on the liberal arts, has opened in Shanghai, something the country hasn’t seen since the Communist Party came to power in 1949.

  2. Malaysia:

    Malaysia is another Asian nation seeing growth in support and funding for liberal arts programs, but the surge isn’t as homegrown as that of China. Malaysia has seen a growth in partnerships with foreign-based liberal arts colleges over the past few years. Examples include Australia-based Monash College, which has had a campus in Malaysia for well over a decade, and the British school Nottingham University, which offers degrees in the arts as well as business, engineering, and science. Perhaps the biggest news in liberal arts education in Malaysia has been the announcement that U.S.-based school Smith College will open a women-only liberal arts school in 2015, designed to emulate the “Seven Sisters” liberal arts education found stateside.

  3. Singapore:

    Students in Singapore may not need to travel halfway around the world to enjoy a liberal arts education from Yale. As evidence of the increased popularity of the liberal arts in this nation perhaps more famous for its focus on science and math (much like nearby China), the prestigious U.S. university has opened a new liberal-arts-only school in Singapore called the Yale-National University of Singapore College. The multimillion-dollar project aims to bring the concept of general education—with students taking courses in literature, the humanities, philosophy, political thought, and scientific inquiry—to students abroad, with courses that address both Eastern and Western works, schools of thought, and history. Yale is not the first American institution to offer liberal arts in the nation, however, (though perhaps it has been the most prominent); NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts opened a branch in Singapore in 2007.

  4. South Korea:

    The liberal arts are thriving in South Korea, but not necessarily at the college level like many of the other nations on this list. Instead, the liberal arts are seeing a major surge in the workplace, with many CEOs realizing that their employees may not be ready to take on the challenges of a rapidly changing business environment and believing that liberal arts training can help. Chung Joon-yang, CEO at POSCO, is one executive getting in on the liberal arts action, now offering lectures and courses for employees to help them learn more about liberal arts topics from Eastern literature to ancient history. Embracing the liberal arts has been just one way that many South Korean employers are hoping to boost critical thinking and creativity, with the goal of preparing employees to keep up with the complicated, global, and fast-moving business world. POSCO isn’t alone in offering liberal arts lectures to employees. Even big names like Samsung are getting in on the liberal arts movement, hoping to inspire their employees to create the next big tech tool.

  5. Russia:

    Long the home of world-renowned philosophers, writers, and other top names in the liberal arts, Russia has a lengthy history, though one perhaps interrupted by years of Soviet oppression, of producing brilliant minds in the arts and humanities. Yet while previously offering access to a variety of universities, the large nation had no liberal arts college. That changed in 1999 with the establishment of Smolny College, a partnership between St. Petersburg State University and Bard College. Opening with just 78 students enrolled, the school was the first in Russia to offer a four-year degree in liberal arts and now boasts more than 500 students.

  6. United Kingdom:

    While Europe may be home to many great universities, liberal arts colleges aren’t especially common. The U.K. is one place where that’s changing, with the island nation boasting nine different liberal arts colleges and universities. The number of liberal arts schools is growing as well, with noted academic A.C. Grayling announcing plans to open a new liberal arts college that combines the traditional American liberal arts model with instruction similar to that at Oxford or Cambridge. While sweeping cuts to education have left many leading colleges with minimal offerings in the arts and humanities, there has been a growth in popularity of separate liberal arts colleges that require students to learn about literature, history, philosophy, and other liberal arts topics. In addition to the aforementioned New College of the Humanities, students can get a liberal arts education through several large universities and a number of smaller degree programs throughout the U.K.

  7. The Netherlands:

    The Netherlands is another European nation that has decided that the liberal arts have something to offer students, opening a number of new colleges and developing liberal arts programs that focus on the arts and humanities. There are currently six liberal arts colleges in the Netherlands, with the model gaining support and popularity after the first school of this kind opened in 1998. While it might come as a surprise to many, liberal arts colleges are very much a rarity in Europe, with most students having to choose a specialization from the get-go, with no chance to take a general curriculum. Breaking that model, Netherlands’ new liberal arts colleges have had a great appeal to students who need more time to decide on a career or who just want to combine elements from several subjects into their education.

  8. Germany:

    Germany is another country spearheading the growth of liberal arts programs in Europe. There are currently three schools with liberal arts degree programs in Germany (not counting the Munich School of Philosophy), but only one, the European College of Liberal Arts, is a true liberal arts college. ECLA was created through a partnership with Bard College in the U.S. Those ties enable the school to bring in notable guest professors from some of the best colleges in the world (Harvard, Oxford, Columbia, and the University of Chicago to name a few). It has been one of the most successful in bringing the liberal arts model to Germany and while it still has a very small number of students (just under 100), it offers the chance to take courses in art, aesthetics, ethics, politics, literature, and rhetoric.

  9. UAE:

    Asia and Europe aren’t the only places seeing a surge in the number of liberal arts programs and colleges; the Middle East has also proven to be a fertile place for many new liberal arts programs. The UAE, more specifically Abu Dhabi, has recently seen the opening of a college sponsored by NYU that offers degrees in the social sciences, arts, and humanities. While other liberal arts programs in the nation have struggled (though less for lack of interest than because of an economic crisis in Dubai and throughout the UAE), NYU’s program appears to be doing quite well. Opening in 2011, the school has had steady enrollment since, but it remains to be seen whether it will make a lasting impact on the study of liberal arts in this highly conservative nation.

  10. Lebanon:

    Lebanon is another country that has opened its doors to American-style liberal arts education and in one case, an American university itself. The American University of Beirut has been in the nation since 1866, but decades of civil war in Lebanon left its campus and its staff in ruins. (The university president was shot in 1984.) In 2002, the school began rebuilding the campus and reestablishing academic programs. It hasn’t been easy; the threat of violence has driven away many faculty members and students, but the school is hoping to draw in more local and foreign students by promoting programs like Islamic history, archaeology, and English literature. The school’s current president, Peter F. Dorman, believes that this kind of liberal arts education is just what the country needs to get back on the right track, stating that past regimes “have not enabled individuals to take part in governance and to think about their larger civic responsibilities, so any institution in the Middle East that is based on the American liberal arts has an enormous opportunity.”

10 Creative Ways Colleges are Raising Money

With the economy being what it is, nobody should find themselves surprised that colleges and universities must carefully fine-tune their budgets just like everyone else. As dry as that prospect sounds to anyone who isn’t a Ben Wyatt, finding ways to make or preserve money can actually be … fun? Finances might hail from the numberly arts, but they provide challenges requiring innovative, creative minds to effectively address. Check out some of the following fascinating ways schools are both fundraising and scooting around money to try and ensure jobs stay as intact as possible and education quality does not waiver.

  1. Creating controversy:

    West Hills Community College District knew that signing up former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin as a guest speaker would draw in curious investors, regardless of whether stthey showed up out of admiration or purely for laughs (which is kinda mean). Not only did this attract attention, but the $5,000 a ticket fundraiser involving an exclusive event with the contentious political figure went straight toward a brand new building. And, more importantly, attracted donors who wound up giving far more money later on! So while Palin may always prove an incredibly divisive figure, she still brought in the crowds hankering for some controversial potential.

  2. New degree plans:

    University of Texas at San Antonio cleverly faced down the reality that budget cuts would force an increased student-to-teacher ratio of 26-to-1 with an incredibly innovative solution. It began offering an undergraduate degree in interdisciplinary studies, allowing students to zero in on three majors of their choosing. Such a measure addressed the $12.7 million budget cuts without cutting any programming. Texas A&M – San Antonio and Alamo Colleges saved some money by teaming up and providing students hoping to major in information security a degree plan costing enrollees only $10,000 total. Inexpensive diplomas meant inexpensive overheads, helping the partnership pinch pennies while simultaneously addressing swelling classroom sizes.

  3. Crowdsourcing:

    The Creative Adaption Fund at The College of William & Mary puts $200,000 in the coffers of any faculty member who forges a viable idea for maintaining (if not increasing) academic quality while simultaneously saving money and addressing budget concerns. With this initiative, they hope to encourage discussion among the faculty with the promise of additional funding toward pet projects. At least 60 stood out, and the school believes they will lead to a cumulative savings of $2 million annually. For a school whose “base operating expenditures” dropped by $8.2 million, every little snippet of cost cutting helps.

  4. Printer changes:

    Yale’s budget cuts resulted in some interesting – and small – alterations meant to help the school address the tightened purse strings. Color printing went bye-bye, and to save space and money they defaulted to double-page jobs. While it didn’t really “raise” money, the measure did certainly help curb costs in its own beautiful and unique snowflake way. When combined with other initiatives, of course, like ditching coffee machines and lessening the amount of food served at school functions. It was either this or start cutting staff, which the Ivy League giant desired to avoid at all costs (pun totally intended!!!).

  5. Digital-first periodicals:

    With print media’s demise a constant fixture in print media (also digital, of course, because they do love gloating), it’s unsurprising that the regular newspapers at colleges like University of Georgia’s Red & Black and Daily Emerald at University of Oregon transition to either all-digital or digital first formats. The latter blends traditional printing with new media by breaking stories online and subsequently releasing them to their regularly scheduled analog editions. Easing on into one of the two news delivery structures saves quite a bit on ink, paper, and other expensive necessities of the traditional school newspaper. Plus, most Internet-inclined whippersnappers these days prefer soaking up their stories on the go anyways, so they’re also changing things around to meet current consumer demands.

  6. Digital sports competitions:

    In order to cut back on travel costs while still engaging in the age-old tradition of sports competitions, Bryn Mawr College and Dickinson College organized a swim meet over the Internet. Both teams swam at their respective schools, streaming the video and comparing times virtually. They estimate this innovative solution saved each school $900 on travel expenses without compromising the quality of the athletics offerings or requiring staff layoffs. More schools may attempt such a cost-effective approach for sports programs where it makes sense (probably not football or basketball) as more and more face budget cuts.

  7. Resource sharing:

    In Ohio, public colleges and universities enjoy the same quality of education they’re used to without worrying about whether they can afford all the necessary materials. While still in an inchoate phase, participating institutions will schedule who uses what when in a resource sharing program. Services will also stretch across campuses in order to address budget cuts without denying students the necessities. Every quarter, a team of 40 administrators collected from across qualified schools gathers to discuss the most effective strategies for fairly distributing the involved resources.

  8. Not building anything new:

    St. Louis Community College needed to grow, land-wise, in order to address mounting enrollment. Problem was, they just could not scrape together the funding needed to design a brand new building. So the school purchased a former Circuit City located nearby, converting it into classrooms for an additional $2 million on top of the $1.185 million price tag. Estimates believe this move may have saved them nearly $6 million total, and other institutions needing to expand might want to look into the option of buying abandoned or soon-to-be-abandoned structures nearby. They may not match, but they sure do save quite a bit of money over building from the ground up.

  9. Contracted copying:

    Also in Ohio, specifically Cuyahoga Community College and Cleveland State, privatizing certain campus essentials, like copying and printing. Both schools contract out their services to Xerox, which should shave $500,000 off the budget annually. Unfortunately, this comes at the cost of some jobs in the now-empty copy centers, although Cuyahoga swears they found other positions for their displaced workers once the partnerships launched.

  10. Teaming up with publishers:

    Other corporate connections institutes of higher learning love to make include Follett, which runs campus bookstores all across the country. Outsourcing saves some schools, like Ivy Tech Community College, upwards of $2.2 million over the span of five years and involves standardizing textbooks from course to course as another cost-cutting measure. Plus, selling them back proves far less painful an experience for students.

Why Liberal Arts Colleges Are Scared of MOOCs

Although massive open online courses — also known as MOOCs — started populating scattered sections of the Internet roughly around 2008, 2012 bore witness to the structure’s acknowledgement on a more mainstream level. No longer the exclusive domain of edupunks and schools like MIT and Stanford, known for their enthusiastic experimenting when it comes to welding technology and education, their increased visibility means a wider number of institutions turn toward them for various reasons. Some love the decreased costs associated with bringing hundreds (if not thousands) of online students together, others the sheer levels of diversity available. In fact, University of Colorado recently announced a partnership accepting credits from certain computer science courses offered by MOOC juggernaut Udacity. Obviously, nobody knows whether this “hot new craze that’s sweeping the nation(s)” will wind up a cherished classic like a waltz or the, uh, Macarena. But high-profile grants by the likes of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation now test their ultimate efficacy, as well as researching the strategies that could improve upon the areas where MOOCs fail.

And MOOCs do fail. Some critics point to their bloated capacity as their greatest asset and their most glaring weakness. For liberal arts schools such as Wesleyan and Wellesley College, which recently opened themselves up to collaborations with Coursera and edX, respectively, class size marked their most major concern. Understandably so; liberal arts colleges thrive among kids who prefer learning with the smallest teacher-to-student ratios possible. “Massive” comes built right there in the movement’s name. Although the involved disciplines thrive thanks to diverse perspectives, questions over just how many enrollees will receive arise with hundreds of them available. Not to mention comparatively minimized time to actually share said diverse perspectives.

Other criticisms overlap with those levied on online courses themselves. Because they cater to remote enrollees, MOOCs feature a comparatively more hands off approach than the traditional classroom. For the liberal arts, this turns the lively, off-the-cuff seminar discussions essential to the experience into something considerably less interactive. Bryn Mawr, using some of the aforementioned funding by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, currently experiments with psychology MOOCs and hopes to find a viable solution to this understandable issue. Even more disconcerting to the liberal arts (more specifically, the humanities) professors out there, the transition toward MOOCs centering on technology wind up sparking debates on ethics. Invisibility in these realms denies students the philosophical skills necessary to weigh their decisions and choose the most honest, respectful options. So when liberal arts schools start dabbling in the world of massive online classes, it restores balance to The Force.

If The Rise Of The MOOCs predicated the collapse of private liberal arts institutions, it would likely shock pretty much everyone. But it might come to pass that these schools must practice more flexibility than before in order to address demand. Despite the critiques, not all turn away from the new(ish) development, as evidenced by the few notables (Bryn Mawr, Wesleyan, and Wellesley) deliberately searching for a happy harmony. In the case of Bryn Mawr, they found the results of their initial dabblings encouraging. Wesleyan and Wellesley’s respective partnerships reflect openness to courting technological advances in education, despite initial hesitations. It’s entirely possible, if not plausible, that these experiments might eventually yield some perfectly legitimate answers to the usual issues of incorporating the liberal arts into a MOOC setting.