The University of Delaware campus somehow manages to be inviting even in the dead of winter, when most of its palpable energy moves indoors. Precisely because it was a snowy Monday afternoon, and visitors were few, the two of us were treated to a personal tour by five (!) undergrads, each more enthusiastic than the next. That was the first surprise. The second was the five things they told us that most applicants probably don’t know about the University of Delaware. Number one is the the school’s 350-acre, 100-cow, teaching farm and creamery that makes and markets ice cream. The UDairy Creamery not only enables students to learn about dairy production, food science and sustainable agriculture, but also business management and finance. A rotating menu of 34 flavors is available to students on campus and to outsiders via bulk orders.
That UD was the first college to offer study abroad back in 1923 is a second little-known fact. What’s more, UD’s World Scholars program allows students to study abroad during their first semester freshman year, live in an on-campus International House sophomore year and then study abroad a second time junior year. Seniors are invited to networking opportunities with global professionals, and a special symposium. A global outlook is a major feature of the UD community, which relates to our third little-known fact: UD’s Student Center displays about 100 flags representing the home countries of its international students. The flags are changed annually as students come and go.
Number four: Students can take a four- or five-week intensive course during winter break, shoehorning a semester of learning (and credit) into a single month to catch up, get ahead, or perhaps make room for a semester abroad. And coming in at number five, at the end of our tour, is the full, 2,220 square-foot trading floor, complete with Reuters and Bloomberg data feeds, where members of The Blue Hen Investment Club student-manage some $2 million in assets. We didn’t have time to visit Vita Nova, the university’s four-star, student-run restaurant, or stay at the student-run UD Marriott, but both certainly underscore the hands-on ethos that marks UD as a surprisingly engaging school that consistently punches above its weight.
St. Olaf Magazine: “From 2011 to 2016, 75 percent of St. Olaf students who applied to medical school with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.60 were accepted, compared to the overall national average acceptance rate of 47 percent among students with comparable grade point averages during the same time period … Students interested in the health professions earn majors across the liberal arts, including science and non-science disciplines. Those who are considering medical school can pursue pre-med (or pre-health) studies in tandem with their major.”
“Among those who do head to medical school, the Association of American Medical Colleges notes that, nationally, only 51 percent of medical school enrollees in 2012 majored in biological sciences. The remaining matriculants majored in the humanities, mathematics or statistics, the physical sciences, the social sciences, or specialized health sciences … St. Olaf’s philosophy is to help students think past the title of ‘doctor’ to examine how they can best use their skills to improve the lives of others.”
“While nursing students earn a bachelor of arts degree in nursing, they also partake of St. Olaf’s liberal arts curriculum by completing the general graduation requirements, such as courses in a foreign language, oral and written communication, and abstract and quantitative reasoning …pre-health students can also study abroad … Many choose St. Olaf’s service learning–focused Peruvian Medical Experience, during which students assist alumni health professionals who are serving the dental and medical needs of Andean communities in and around Cusco, Peru.”
UChicago News: “The University of Chicago will expand its presence in Paris through the construction of a new building … growing opportunities for education, research and scholarly engagement across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Expected to open in 2022, the project will double UChicago’s space in Paris and replace the University’s existing Center.”
“The Center in Paris hosts activities across the University, serving as home to UChicago’s largest undergraduate study abroad program, a hub for research and scholarly collaborations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and a focal point for a wide variety of alumni activities. The new project will grow the space for these activities through such additions as a theater, laboratory and café … The project is comprised of two interlinking parts: the new UChicago Center in Paris and a mixed-use development not owned or operated by the University. The two parts will be housed in separate buildings connected through shared outdoor space.”
“The Center in Paris project will support faculty research and collaborations across the region, including housing dedicated workspaces for research teams and visiting scholars. It will serve as an administrative center for programs and events, including supporting alumni and admissions activities, and serving as a link to distinguished colleges, universities and organizations in the region.”
The Wall Street Journal: “Northeastern University, a onetime blue-collar commuter school in Boston, is continuing a yearslong international expansion with the purchase of a small, private college in central London. The acquisition of The New College of the Humanities, a six-year-old private college with about 200 students, underscores the growing pressures and incentives for universities to globalize their business model in an era of rising competition, shifting demographics and increasing nationalism.”
“Universities around the world have been establishing branch campuses at an accelerating clip for several years. The Northeastern purchase is unusual in that instead of building a branch, the university is acquiring a school that is already established, accomplishing overnight what typically takes several years.”
“Just a handful of U.S. schools—mostly for-profits—have bought schools in other countries. Generally, schools that are seeking to expand globally choose to build a branch campus. In 2000, there were about 50 international branch campuses built by universities from around the world. There are now more than 250 … Northeastern has been aggressively opening campuses in the U.S. and Canada for several years. It now has campuses open or under construction in Seattle, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Charlotte, Vancouver and Toronto. The school has plans to expand to Asia.”
The Atlantic: “A couple of years ago, the nonprofit Institute of International Education launched a campaign called Generation Study Abroad to double the number of U.S. students who spend time in foreign countries each year to 600,000 over five years. Right now, only around 10 percent of American college students study abroad. While people of color make up about 40 percent of each graduating class, they comprise just a quarter of those who go abroad. The numbers are especially low for black and Latino students. So hundreds of schools across the country … are focusing on reaching out specifically to students of color.”
“Where study abroad has traditionally been viewed as a year-long immersive experience, universities are expanding short-term opportunities for students who don’t have the money or time to go away for longer. These days, more than 60 percent of students who go abroad do either a summer program or a trip during the school year that is less than eight weeks. Around a third spend a semester abroad, and just 3 percent go for an entire school year.”
“Wagaye Johannes, the project director of Generation Study Abroad, said students see cost as the biggest barrier, even though some study abroad programs are less expensive than staying at their home universities … Culture is another, sometimes tricker, topic … Sometimes the pushback comes from families who are fearful of their children going someplace unfamiliar.”
“There is evidence that studying abroad has measurable benefits. A study prepared for the European Commission found that students who went abroad had lower unemployment rates after graduation. A report by the University System of Georgia found that graduation rates were higher for students who had been abroad, especially for low-income and minority students. Other studies have indicated that students come back more culturally aware … not only do individual scholars stand to benefit, but so does the nation’s ability to interact with other countries in an increasingly global economy.”
Vox: Christopher Blattman, an associate professor at Columbia University, offers 10 “suggestions to help make the most of college.” Here are a few of his ideas:
“Don’t wait until you finish law or medical school to discover you hate working in your specialty. Try early and often. Test out different careers in the summer — researcher, journalist, medical assistant, nonprofit worker, congressional aide, and so on … For anyone interested in law, public policy, business, economics, medicine — or really any profession — I suggest at least two semesters of statistics, if not more. Data is a bigger and bigger part of the work in these fields, and statistics is the language you need to learn to understand it.”
“In my experience, you learn more from great teachers than from great syllabuses … pick eight or nine classes based on the syllabus, go to them all, and then keep the four or five classes with the most engaging professors … Languages are hugely important. And you should learn another (or many others) besides English. But I think they’re better learned in immersion, during your summers or before and after college … Take writing seriously. You will use it no matter your career.”
“Use a summer or a school year to live abroad, ideally a place completely different from home, where you’ll come to know local people (and not just the expatriate community) … An independent research project can be the perfect capstone to your college years. Sadly, I often see theses that weren’t worth the students’ investment of time and energy. Some people’s time would be better spent acquiring technical skills.”
“At the end of each year of college, you should look back at your thoughts and opinions 12 months before and find them quaint. If not, you probably didn’t read or explore or work hard enough.”
BloombergBusiness: “Many students are choosing to go further than a one-semester break and attend all four years of college in a foreign city. The number of students enrolled in college outside their countries rose 463 percent from 1975 to 2012, said a report last month by Moody’s Investors Service. International students in the U.S. have grown by 70 percent since 2005, according to the report.”
“College in Europe can be astonishingly cheap for Americans. Forty public and private colleges in continental Europe offer free bachelor’s degrees, taught in English, to Americans … An additional 98 colleges ask tuition of under $4,000 per year … European colleges want American applicants because they can charge higher tuition for non-EU residents. Americans in Europe will still pay considerably less than they would at home … The main thing that holds some Americans back from studying across the Atlantic is a fear that they’ll sacrifice quality—and North American career opportunities.”
Jennifer Viemont, “co-founder of Beyond The States, a database of 350 colleges in 30 countries that offer bachelor’s degrees taught in English,” comments: “The biggest worry people seem to have is that a name from Europe won’t carry the same weight as one from the U.S., but there’s a serious upshot of graduating a year early and with a fraction of the debt. Plus, you’ve seen the world.”