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    #96774 - 03/12/11 06:00 PM Barron's editorial for college merit scholarships
    Bostonian Offline

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2612
    Loc: MA
    SATURDAY, MARCH 12, 2011
    In Search of Excellence


    If major universities from the Ivy League to the Pac-10 gave as many free-ride scholarships to highly qualified students as they give to highly qualified basketball and football players, there might be more kids spending hours in labs and libraries instead of on the playing fields. If donors and alumni cared as much for the country as they do about March Madness, they would support academic excellence.

    If government gave as much student aid to those of high ability as it does to those with great need, there might be fewer bright students left behind in school and more tiger mothers and fathers pushing their children to excel in academics.

    The payoff for a national scholarship program for talented students would be years in coming. But Intel's Otellini made the stakes very clear in a speech last year: "Unless government and business take firm actions to improve education [and] create a culture of investment and job creation in this country...the next Intel or the next big thing will not be invented here. Jobs will not be created here. And wealth will not accrue here. Ultimately, we will face an inevitable erosion and shift of wealth, much like we are witnessing today in Europe."
    "To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle." - George Orwell

    #96789 - 03/13/11 10:43 AM Re: Barron's editorial for college merit scholarships [Re: Bostonian]
    intparent Offline

    Registered: 12/16/09
    Posts: 553
    I do get his point. However... ivy league schools do not give athletic scholarships. I don't dispute his other points. But as a parent of a kid who got pretty good merit money going into college, I would say that an excellent education can be found at the level below the top 30 schools (many of them give very limited merit aid -- they have highly qualified applicants coming out of their ears). If your kid has great stats (grades and test scores), you can get good merit aid (does not need to be paid back) in many cases if your kid applies to a school where they fall above the 50% range for SAT/ACT scores.

    Edited by intparent (03/13/11 11:55 AM)

    #96793 - 03/13/11 01:48 PM Re: Barron's editorial for college merit scholarships [Re: Bostonian]
    Wren Online   content

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1648
    The IV's do not give athletic scholarships but they will take a kid a standard deviation below their academic cut-off if they want his or her athletic skill. And if there is need, you don't have to pay to attend the top schools -- at this point, though their endowments have really been hit hard.

    Harvard, Princeton and Yale will pull you out of the pile if you do certain sports. I recently found out that ballet is a big one for Harvard since they have a dance company. And the big thing is getting pulled out of the big pile, since academics is not enough to make you stand out.


    #96797 - 03/13/11 03:29 PM Re: Barron's editorial for college merit scholarships [Re: Bostonian]
    intparent Offline

    Registered: 12/16/09
    Posts: 553
    Sure, some spots in the admitted class go to athletes, but they do not get any additional money that other admits don't get (at the Ivys). As some admissions spots go to legacies, some to under represented minorities, etc. I still stand by the statement that you do not have to go to a top 30 school to get a great education. And there is a lot of aid money out there if you plan carefully and your kid has excellent grades and test scores (as most of ours on this board will). There is far too much focus on getting into a "top" school, IMHO. We want our kids to be challenged and get a good education, of course. But Ivy or top 10 University or top 10 LAC are not the only way to do that.

    Call me cynical, but I think more merit aid (government backed or otherwise) would not create more tiger parents/good students. The sports culture in our country is about a lot more than college scholarships. And the anti-intellectual wave that has swept over the country lately (and cuts going on in many states to higher education for everyone, not just talented students) indicate that we have a much bigger problem than not enough merit aid money.

    I feel like this guy's proposals sound good on the surface, but I am not sure that the carrot of merit money would trickle down to behavior (and education system) changes that would be needed long before a student gets to high school so they are prepared to legitimately compete for access to top colleges.

    #97168 - 03/18/11 05:11 AM Re: Barron's editorial for college merit scholarships [Re: Bostonian]
    JaneSmith Offline

    Registered: 01/20/10
    Posts: 206
    I have taught at a mediocre university and I am confident that my children's college educations would be negatively affected by the low standards and bad attitudes that prevail. Even if they were exceptionally motivated students (one is not). There is simply no challenge. With a little tutoring my 10 year-old could pass the classes I taught.

    So while I agree that a good education can be found in less prestigious school, I would be very hesitant to go too far down the list.

    Edited by JaneSmith (03/18/11 05:12 AM)

    #97172 - 03/18/11 05:55 AM Re: Barron's editorial for college merit scholarships [Re: intparent]
    passthepotatoes Offline

    Registered: 04/07/09
    Posts: 687
    Originally Posted By: intparent
    We want our kids to be challenged and get a good education, of course. But Ivy or top 10 University or top 10 LAC are not the only way to do that.

    Agreed. JaneSmith mentions the situation at a "mediocre" university, but there are more than 30 colleges in this country that aren't mediocre. Motivated students who seek out challenge will find great opportunities at a wide range of schools including many schools that are not "big name" schools. Gifted students can seek out: study abroad, double majors, graduate courses while in undergrad, undergraduate research, internships, etc. There are many options for motivated students to make the most of their education. And, there is no guarantee that a student who isn't motivated will get a great education even at a top school.

    #97188 - 03/18/11 08:23 AM Re: Barron's editorial for college merit scholarships [Re: Bostonian]
    intparent Offline

    Registered: 12/16/09
    Posts: 553
    JS, I totally agree about not going too far down the list. But, for example, my oldest D goes to an LAC ranked around 50th. She has made the absolute most of the experience, and is getting a great education. If I have any hesitation about my younger D going to that same school, it is only that sometimes the younger one only pushes herself as hard as she needs to. So the sharper the other students, the harder she works. But for a motivated kid like my older one, you can go at least that far down the list and get a very good education.

    #97190 - 03/18/11 09:00 AM Re: Barron's editorial for college merit scholarships [Re: Bostonian]
    aculady Offline

    Registered: 12/31/10
    Posts: 1040
    At many schools, it is *possible* to get a great education, but you have to actively seek it out - it isn't mandatory. I got a much better education than many of the students I went to college with because I took the time and effort to meet with my professors regularly, read all of the additional suggested texts (and asked for more), and actively engaged with the material, instead of doing the minimum required. The questions that I was asked on my exams didn't really make me think, but the ones that I asked myself outside of class did, and I made sure that I took the time to explore those questions in depth with anyone who would let me.

    I didn't attend a big-name school, but I did end up well-respected in my field, and so did many of the students at my school who took the same attitude toward their studies that I did.

    Would more doors have opened for me and would I have made social connections that would have been helpful if I had attended a more highly ranked school? Probably. But I really do think that determination, skills, perseverance, and passion probably matter just as much, and those are not dependent on the whims of admissions committees.

    In my experience, many gifted individuals are perfectly capable of being autodidacts, given access to a university-level library system and contact with even a few mentors willing and able to discuss areas of interest.

    #100059 - 04/22/11 07:35 AM Re: Barron's editorial for college merit scholarships [Re: Bostonian]

    Thank you ^^


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