The Highest Rated Liberal Arts Colleges in the U.S.

The U.S. News has released its top five liberal arts colleges in the United States.

One notable change in this year’s rankings is the decreased emphasis on standardized test scores. Given the fluctuation in requirements for standardized tests, the report put less stock in those scores.

Taking into consideration factors like class size, acceptance rates, and student outcomes, the list includes four schools from the Northeast and one from California. Schools on the list have small class sizes in common among them. Other factors include faculty resources, expert opinion, financial resources, student excellence, and alumni giving.

Institutions on this list also have a leg up regarding social mobility. That is, the schools all score well on the improvement of their graduates’ circumstances after graduation. That is measured by comparing the status of pell grant recipients after they graduate. The Pell Grant program is reserved for undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need.

Here are the top five liberal arts colleges in the United States:

Williams College

Located in Williamstown, Massachusetts, Williams College boasts an acceptance rate of only fifteen percent. Williams College graduates join an alumni body full of influential people, including President James Garfield.

Amherst College

Also located in Massachusetts, Amherst College welcomed an inimitable freshman class. Eighty-five percent of incoming freshmen ranked in the top ten percent of their high school classes.

Swarthmore College

In the Philadelphia suburbs, Swarthmore College is ranked as the third-best liberal arts college in the United States. Swarthmore College was founded in 1864 and is one of the earliest co-educational institutions in the country.

Pomona College

Pomona College is the lone entry to the top five list from outside the Northeast. With an acceptance rate of only nine percent, Pomona is one of the most selective institutions in the country. Pomona is also notable for its commitment to diversity in its student body. It has been widely recognized for its intentionality in reaching out to lower-income and first-generation college students in its admissions efforts.

Wellesley College

Wellesley College is a women’s college located in Massachusetts. Wellesley grads join an impressive roster of alumnae, including former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the first female Secretary of State Madeline Albright.

This article was originally published on MarilynGardnerMilton.org

The Cost of a Degree for Students and Universities

Many families raising children have notions of sending their kids off to university or college so they can get an education. The hope is that such an education prepares them for adult life where they can use their skills and knowledge to generate significant income over the course of their life. That money is hoped to help them raise a family, buy a home, go on vacations, save for retirement, and generally have a comfortable life.

The truth isn’t always so simple. There is actually some debate about the costs of degrees, for both students and universities.

Costs for post-secondary education continue to rise in many developed countries. This makes getting a degree harder for many students. While there are many government programs to provide assistance with financing college or university, rarely do all these benefits add up to getting students through school without having to pay a lot of money of their own.

Worse yet, some of these benefits take the form of student loans that trap students into a vicious cycle of debt that takes years, if not decades, to get out of. Whereas degrees used to be a solid pathway to higher levels of income, much of that extra income is now offset by interest rates and payments due on student loans.

Complicating matters is how the value of degrees seems to be on the decline. Whereas they were once the gateway to a better life, there are now many jobs that require them just to be an entry-level opening into the career world. Incomes, wages, and salaries have also not always grown proportionately to the economy of most nations.

Degrees still hold value for many students, but not all. In fact, a double-digit percentage of students seems to be better off not even attending, when looking at their lifetime income as adults.

For colleges and universities, the costs of operating continue to rise, which means what they charge students also has to go up. While there is interest in obtaining degrees, not everyone can do it, resulting in fewer potential applications and actual students on many campuses. This can result in serious financial strains for institutions such as these, and cutbacks just reinvigorate the cycle of how tight money is for everyone.

This article was originally published on MarilynGardnerMilton.org

How Adult Students are Growing Higher Education

A USA Today interview with the VP of New Partner Development at the Wiley Education Services, Gene Murray revealed adult learners have different needs from teenagers, who were the bulk of traditional students in the past years. They are prompting higher institutions of education to change their models.

Below are the key points from Murray’s interview.

Provision of Learner Tailored Program

The method of instruction at institutions develops with time. Specialization to provide prompts information and is one of the ways how adult students are growing higher education. Higher education providers have tremendous expertise in subject matters, placing them as designated institutions for learners who want to progress academically. The current adult learning population does not focus on broader knowledge but specific skills that advance their career.

The main focus of these learners is to attain ongoing education that instills specific skills to advance in technology, healthcare, teaching, or other professions. Today’s adult learners focus on finding opportunities matching their specific careers because of commitments that limit time and flexibility. Institutions that provide learning opportunities were challenged to align their programs with their adult learners’ personal responsibilities and career paths.

Customization of Programs to Suit Learner Preferences

Adult learners have deviated from studying for an undergraduate then a master’s to gain a full degree. Institutions have been forced to rethink their models to accommodate this class that requires ongoing education for professional career advancement certification. Traditional learning experiences that did not address the unique needs of learners compelled higher education institutions to change their delivery and meet the following requirements:

  • Flexibility to accommodative work or family responsibilities
  • Allow faster completion (with cost consideration in place)
  • Deliver specific skills that contribute to career advancement

Introduction of Remote Learning Technology

Traditional learning requires in-person attendance for students and instructors. The need to personalize lessons for today’s adult learners led to the introduction of technology in classrooms. The change came to be since many adult learners are frequently away from campus, and their needs are different from a conventional 18-year-old. It is harder to engage them. Higher education institutions are adopting technology tools like behavioral analytics. The tools have information and means to facilitate institutions to communicate better with adult learners on their terms to improve persistence.

This article was originally published on MarilynGardnerMilton.org

Encouraging Others to Pursue a College Degree

College can be a great experience for those looking to improve their futures. However, with the increasing cost, it can be difficult to convince children and other loved ones to attend college. Despite this, there are a few ways someone can be convinced to earn their degree and better their future. After all, it will help them get a better job, make more money in the future, be more competitive with employers, learn about new topics and expand their horizons, and make new friends!

Due to all these benefits, a great way to convince someone to attend college is simply by listing the benefits of having a college degree. In the face of increasing automation and globalization of the workforce, there is more competition for jobs than ever. By earning a degree in a specialized field, a college graduate has a much better chance of landing a high-paying job despite these global changes. Countless studies have proven college graduates make more money than those who don’t attend college. Additionally, the social atmosphere at college gives students a valuable opportunity to network and create lasting professional and business connections that can lead to better opportunities in the future.

Another way to convince someone to attend college is by talking about the elephant in the room: paying for college. It is daunting for low and middle-income families to think about paying for college so many simply decide not to attend and instead immediately enter the workforce. However, these money anxieties can be conquered by looking into funding opportunities. There are many pathways to paying for college. From loans to grants to scholarships, students have more ways than ever to pay for their education. Interested individuals can talk to a college’s financial aid advisor to go over their options and create a plan to fit their individual needs and situation.

Nothing is more convincing than hearing stories from someone who’s been there. So consider sharing a personal experience from college for encouragement. Whether a story about lifelong friendships or wonderful professors, these anecdotes can be powerful for those considering college.

There are many ways to convince a loved one to attend college. Encouraging them to earn a degree can be the single most important decision of their lives, so it is a decision to consider carefully.

This article was originally published on Marilyn Gardner Milton’s website.

AI in Higher Education

The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in higher education is not new. Some schools have been using plagiarism-detection software like Turnitin for over a decade. What is new is the many ways that AI is being employed. It is now routinely used to predict potential student success, facilitate admissions decisions, encourage choosing a particular school, and even acts in the role of a traditional (human) teaching assistant.

AI is now being used in higher education to aid in admissions and financial aid decisions. Some colleges and universities use it to score student personality traits based on student-submitted videos. Other schools use AI software to predict the success of prospective students. AI is even used to review applications to some graduate schools.

Some colleges and universities use AI to encourage accepted students to place a deposit, essentially committing them to attend through the use of chatbots and text messaging systems.

Once a student is enrolled, the use of AI continues. Universities use it to monitor student activities that aid learning, answer student questions about coursework, and even determine what mode of online instruction would benefit a student the most based on student data. Oftentimes students are unaware that they are engaging with a computer program rather than a live human.

The use of AI in higher education does not come without its detractors. Many university professors have long opposed the use of plagiarism-detection software like Turnitin or machine scoring of student writing. Scholars at MIT, for example, wrote a nonsense essay that nonetheless scored highly on an AI-driven assessment platform. Other studies have shown similar results.

Despite any drawbacks to the use of AI in higher education, it’s unlikely to be disappearing from the scene anytime soon. AI can reduce the time it takes for colleges and universities to complete some of the rote and tedious non-academic work necessary to run institutions. It can also be used smartly to use data about individual student learning to boost performance and increase overall student success and retention. As more and more universities work to develop their own versions of AI that are tailored to their student populations’ needs, the software will become more effective in doing the work higher education requires of it.

This article was originally published on MarilynGardnerMilton.org

How to Support Those Directly Impacted by Covid-19

Since the beginning of 2020, the world has experienced a dangerous outbreak of the COVID-19. A virus that started in Wuhan, China, has spread worldwide, killing people as it disrupts people’s social, economic, and political lives. The numerous deaths and changes of customary burial practices have left victims psychologically, emotionally, and mentally hurt.
The following are ways in which COVID-19 victims can get support in overcoming the trauma:1. Explore safe ways in which patients and loved ones may get contact.
Up-to-date and accurate information regarding the family’s risk during contact with the patient should be made available. Such connections are essential since COVID-19 patients require psychological support from their families. Psychological counseling to victims will help them face reality.

2. Role of spiritual advisors, religious leaders, and local leaders.
The health practitioners should work closely with the community leaders and religious leaders in exploring alternative practices that will allow physical distancing during the funeral process. Some communities may become resistant to the authority’s measures; hence, religious and local leaders’ involvement in coming up with an amicable solution. The process must incorporate the religious and cultural values of the people.

3. Provision of end-of-life companionship by Health workers to those without close relatives.
Some of the victims of the COVID -19 have got no close relatives to give them emotional support. The health care system should come up with an end-of-life companionship program to support those in critical conditions.

4. Open and transparent communication with the family of the deceased.
Open and transparent communication with the family of the deceased helps in eliminating any uncertainty that may arise. It also helps reduce the psychological and emotional effects on the bereaved.
The family members, community, and religious leaders should get all the information on the planned care protocols, but they should be allowed to identify the burial sites.

5. Strengthening of the physical, administrative, and human resources for local mortuaries.
Strengthening of the local mortuary capacities is an urgent matter as they have never faced such a pandemic. Caring for the deceased should also be enhanced to reduce the emotional stress on their families. There should be proper handling of the deceased in a manner that will accord them the necessary respect.

6. Proper psychological support systems for Health care workers.
Health care practitioners exposed to high mortality rates are becoming stressed; hence need to be supported emotionally. Counseling services are, therefore, essential for health workers.

It is the role of everyone in the community to support those affected by COVID-19. The media plays a very vital role in reporting about the pandemic. Credible journalism is very critical as some sensitive images have a huge psychological impact on the victims. However, media influence will help reduce the spread of the pandemic.

Tools To Help Improve and Enhance Distance Learning

Because of Covid, 2020 has become a year where students are doing more learning from home than ever before. Some students have to remain at home. Some are doing a mixture of online learning and learning at home. As a result, there are some tools that teachers may need that will help them.

One tool that is recommended is “Quizizz.” This is a site that has online learning games. This site has games for almost any topic. The games include activities that re-enforce the lesson and allow players to find out how well they’re doing. The lessons these games teach are individually paced as well.

“Bamboozle” is yet one more gaming site. Students play in teams. They can pick a question and talk to each other in order to arrive at the correct answers.

“Quill” allows students to learn grammar. In order to get additional practice when needed, “Quill” recommends the appropriate practice lessons.

The Math Sites:

For those students who are math-challenged, there are online sites for that as well.

“Google Slides” is free and it’s simple to use. The questions let students use third-party applications that let them insert screen shots that show the work they did. This allows teachers to observe and modify the answers.

“The Math Learning Center” lets students interact with things that are familiar to them. Teachers are able to customize things. They can create their own problems. This encourages flexible thinking that lets students find different ways to understand a problem.

“Flip Grid:” This website is exceptional because it offers back-and-forth video dialog among students. “Flip Grid” allows for collaboration.

“Peardeck” offers immediately visible replies from students. It works well with “Google Slides.”

Tools That Make It Easier:

These tools are useful to online instructors who need to add to their lessons. They provide teachers with solid support.

“Padlet” lets students learn from one-another. The instructor can upload the content and give the students feedback. It has something called an “image search option.”

“Kahoot” is yet another supportive tool. It can help an instructor to wrap things up.

“Wordwall” has lots of content to support teachers with.

Whatever needs fit your lessons, there are tools available online to help enhance lessons and learning.

Preparing For College Finals

November is here and that means that finals season for college students is right around the corner. For most universities, finals week hits shortly after Thanksgiving break, and many students end up smacked in the face with a mountain of work and studying to do. This can lead to tons of stress and exhaustion, which means you may not do as well on your exams as you want to do. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for finals week if you’re a college student (especially if it’s your first finals week).

Start Early

One of the best ways to prepare yourself for your finals is to start studying early. If you haven’t started yet, you might want to look into it! While cramming may work for some students, it’s generally better to study in intervals, such as 30 to 50-minute increments and taking breaks in order not to exhaust yourself. How early you choose to start may be based on how many finals you have to take and what kind of subjects you’re studying, so feel it out and make sure you give yourself enough time to fully understand all of the content.

Find A Study Partner

This may not be for everyone, but studying with another person can be a great way to make studying engaging and fun. Often times having someone else with you to help study can help you better understand something you’re struggling with, or vice versa. You can ask one another questions to make sure you fully understand the content and make a good friend in the process. It’s often best to avoid studying with a very close friend because it’s easier to get distracted, which is the last thing you want when preparing for a test that might make or break your grade for the semester.

Make Sure You Eat and Sleep

The most important part of preparing for your finals is making sure you don’t neglect important things like rest and food. While you may feel the need to pull an all-nighter to make sure you understand the content, it’s actually rather detrimental and can make it difficult to concentrate as well as putting extra stress on your shoulders. It can also be tempting to order greasy foods from restaurants open later in the evening, but this is also a bad idea. Be sure to fill your meals with healthy food, and plenty of water in order to make sure your brain is in tip-top shape before heading into your finals.

This article was originally published on MarilynGardnerMilton.org

Preparing For College Finals

Marilyn Gardner Milton’s Latest Blog Post

November is here and that means that finals season for college students is right around the corner. For most universities, finals week hits shortly after Thanksgiving break, and many students end up smacked in the face with a mountain of work and studying to do. This can lead to tons of stress and exhaustion, which means you may not do as well on your exams as you want to do. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for finals week if you’re a college student (especially if it’s your first finals week).

Start Early

One of the best ways to prepare yourself for your finals is to start studying early. If you haven’t started yet, you might want to look into it! While cramming may work for some students, it’s generally better to study in intervals, such as 30 to 50-minute increments and taking breaks in order not to exhaust yourself. How early you choose to start may be based on how many finals you have to take and what kind of subjects you’re studying, so feel it out and make sure you give yourself enough time to fully understand all of the content.

Find A Study Partner

This may not be for everyone, but studying with another person can be a great way to make studying engaging and fun. Often times having someone else with you to help study can help you better understand something you’re struggling with, or vice versa. You can ask one another questions to make sure you fully understand the content and make a good friend in the process. It’s often best to avoid studying with a very close friend because it’s easier to get distracted, which is the last thing you want when preparing for a test that might make or break your grade for the semester.

Make Sure You Eat and Sleep

The most important part of preparing for your finals is making sure you don’t neglect important things like rest and food. While you may feel the need to pull an all-nighter to make sure you understand the content, it’s actually rather detrimental and can make it difficult to concentrate as well as putting extra stress on your shoulders. It can also be tempting to order greasy foods from restaurants open later in the evening, but this is also a bad idea. Be sure to fill your meals with healthy food, and plenty of water in order to make sure your brain is in tip-top shape before heading into your finals.

from Marilyn Gardner Milton and Education https://ift.tt/38vDU3k

How Educators Can Prepare For The New School Year

With the 2020 – 2021 school year starting soon or having already started in some places, it’s time for teachers and professors around the country to make sure they’re prepared for the year to come. Teaching isn’t an easy profession and there are countless aspects that go into it, from lesson plans to supplies and everything in between. This year, in particular, is especially unique due to the COVID-19 pandemic still deeply affecting our country, meaning that in many places teachers are either doing remote learning or some type of remote/in-person hybrid. Something like this is new to the current generation of educators, and it’s understandable if they don’t know how to approach the situation. Here are a few ways educators can prepare for the new school year.

Communicate With Your Class Early On

In order to make the teaching and learning experience smoother for everyone involved, it’s best to stay on top of communication with your students or their parents, especially in the times we’re living in. Consider your options for reaching out to everyone – if you’re a college professor, you can likely email your students their syllabus and any important information they may need a week or two before class starts, giving them plenty of time to read materials over and reach out if they have any questions. If you’re teaching younger students, you’re likely better off reaching out to their parents. This can be done via email, but it might be better for you to reach out with a phone call in order to introduce yourself and ensure everyone is in the know when it comes to your class.

Check Out Your Old Lesson Plans

One of the best things about being an educator is that with each new year or semester, you effectively get to start all over again. This means you can take a look at your previous years teaching and apply what worked while leaving what didn’t work at the door. Being an educator often involves a lot of trial and error, and not every lesson will stick with your students. The fact that you get to take on a new group of students each year means you start fresh and employ new ideas.

Discuss With Your Fellow Educators

One of the few great things about how the pandemic is affecting education is that no teacher is alone. There are educators all over the country who are in situations just like yours, and most of us are figuring it out as we go. With so many peers who understand what you’re going through, a good way to prepare for the new year is to talk to your fellow educators and determine what they’re doing, and what might work for you. Share your various ideas and experiences and perhaps you may come out with a brand new idea that might make this year that much more impactful for you and your students.

This article was originally published on MarilynGardnerMilton.org