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

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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.

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.

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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

Tips To Help You Pass Your Online Classes

Over the past few years we’ve seen a rise in popularity when it comes to taking college courses online. They’re great if you’re attending college later in life while working a full time job or raising children, and can also be useful when taking classes over winter and summer breaks. With the world being so heavily affected by COVID-19 this year, it’s possible that we may see a rise in students taking online college courses this coming semester. Some schools are even making all of their courses online for certain periods of the semester, such as the time between Thanksgiving and when the semester ends. Here are a few tips to help students pass their online classes.

Treat It Like An In Person Class

Just because you’re taking a class on your laptop from the comfort of your home doesn’t mean you should treat it any differently than a regular class. It can be difficult to get into a classroom mentality from home, but it’s important that you have the discipline to sit down and eliminate all outside distractions so you can get the work done and get it done on time. You have to “show up” to class just like you would if you went to a physical space for it. Remember that you’re paying for this class, just like you would a regular college course. Just because it’s an online class doesn’t mean it won’t be difficult or require your complete attention.

Eliminate Distractions

To build off of the previous point, it’s important that you eliminate all outside distractions. This can be especially difficult when learning from home. The first step is to establish your work space while learning from home. This space will be different for everybody. If things such as your television or kitchen easily distract you, be sure to set up in a room not near them so they don’t take you away from your work. If this is the first time you’ve taken an online course from home, you may not know what workspace is best for you. Be prepared for experimentation, as there may be some trial and error in the whole process. Just be sure to have a great Internet connection and you should be fine.

Participation is Key

One of the most difficult parts of learning from home is participation. Since you’re not in a classroom being lectured by a professor with your fellow classmates in the traditional sense, it can be easy to shut your brain off and just absorb the materials as opposed to actively asking questions and engaging in discussions about the content. Luckily, online classes typically have some type of forum aspect where the professor will ask questions as part of your assignments and everyone must engage. These forums can be a great way to get different perspectives on the content or make sure you fully understand the material you’re learning about.

This article was originally published on MarilynGardnerMilton.org

Best Undergrad Majors for Aspiring Lawyers

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Many people dream of becoming a lawyer their entire life. A career in law can be quite lucrative and is a great way to help others in many different ways. When it comes to studying law, there are different paths one can take. A lot of students choose pre-law as their major in undergrad when they are aspiring to become a lawyer, but there are other studies that can be a benefit in law school and in your law career. 

Business

One of the best choices for aspiring lawyers in undergrad is a business major. Majoring in business offers skills ing leadership, project planning, communication, and management. For the students who have an interest in corporate law will find that classes in management and economics will give them much of the knowledge they need for their postgraduation career. When majoring in business as an aspiring lawyer, it’s important to have electives in humanities and liberal arts for analytical and critical thinking.

Criminal Justice

When studying criminal justice or criminology extensively in undergrad, an aspiring lawyer is given an education in the identification and explanation of criminal behavior patterns which is very valuable knowledge. Many lawyers who studied criminal justice have impeccable skills in critical thinking, investigations, as well as effective verbal and nonverbal communication. Having the foundational knowledge of crime and law, they will have a stronger career. 

English

Unbeknownst to most, English is a popular choice of major among aspiring lawyers. In fact, 3,549 law school applicants held a degree in English in 2016 and 2017 and 80% of applicants with this degree were admitted to at least one law school. A major in English mainly focuses on reading and writing, which helps aspiring lawyers develop excellent skills in processing written information quickly to create analytical opinions as well as arguments and positions. This is why so many students with an English degree are so successful in law school and beyond.

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The Best Careers in Higher Education

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For some students, working in high education is their dream career. A job in higher education can be a very rewarding and lucrative career choice. There are many paths to choose from to help students grow and develop in college or university. If you are looking to work in higher education, here are the best career options:

Academic Advisor 

One of the most important people in a college student’s life is their academic advisor. As an academic advisor, your job is to counsel students about their course selection, what they can major in, help resolve academic problems, and relationships with faculty. Academic advisors make sure students get their proper education and help them graduate on time. It is a job that requires a lot of organization and people skills but is very rewarding to help students succeed. 

Financial Services

It is no secret that college requires heavy finances. It numbers is your game, working in financial services at a college or university could be a great career choice for you. Those who work in the financial services at a university oversee the business functions of the college, set policies regarding financial transactions, maintain financial records, and ensure compliance with financial regulations. This is a detail-oriented job that requires a lot of math and problem-solving skills. 

Career Services

Many students struggle with wondering hat happens after college. Working in college services is a lot like being an academic advisor, except you would be advising for what happens after college. Working in career services would mean helping students find internships, develop job opportunities, create and edit resumes, practice interviewing, and much more. This is a great career choice if you enjoy working one on one with others and helping people to achieve their goals. 

A career in higher education much of the time means working with students, even if it’s not being a professor. Whether you’re aiding students or helping the university run smoothly, it is a wonderful career choice.

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Three Education Trends to Watch

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Technology is rapidly evolving, and subsequently, it has the power to transform different industries as well. Though schools and academia have not traditionally been the quickest to pick up on digital trends, that doesn’t mean that change isn’t happening. Today we’re exploring three education trends to watch. 

Artificial Intelligence

Businesses have been harnessing the power of artificial intelligence for its ability to rapidly process vast quantities of data and generate insights. Soon, the education sector can also be transformed with the adoption of this technology. Artificial intelligence is capable of performing tasks such as speech recognition, language translation, and decision-making. The best application for it so far is as a teaching tool, although supporters say that it may help to alleviate teacher shortages in the future. In the classroom, artificial intelligence is being used for personalized learning

Virtual Reality

According to education researcher Melissa Pelletier, “creative learning spaces play an important role in student engagement.” Virtual reality can do just that by creating immersive learning environments for students and help them to experience things like history, travel, and even STEM programs. Imagine virtual field trips through time and space that allow students a deeper and more personal understanding of the material. Products like Google Expeditions and various phone apps aim to make virtual reality affordable and accessible for all.  

Blockchain

Blockchain is a technology used to connect, house, and encrypt digital data. Through blockchain, the stored data is not centralized in any one location, making it publicly accessible, easily tracked, and very difficult to corrupt. As such, this has the potential to revolutionize the way that student and faculty records are stored, among a myriad of other possible applications.

Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and blockchain the three digital trends at the top of our list for the 2019-2020 school year. What are some other trends in education that you think we should watch for in the coming year?  

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3 Ways That Education is Changing

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Our world is rapidly changing, and, as a result, our education system is quickly transforming as well. Here are three of the ways that American education is changing:

1. Personalization

Schools in 2019 are making moves towards personalization. Whereas once students were all taught the same way, today we recognize that some people learn differently than others. We also know that, although learning differences exist, they are not necessarily a reflection of intelligence or potential. These realizations have resulted in a collective effort to ensure that all students are being taught in a way that gives them the best chance of success.

Large-scale education is difficult to personalize, but schools are making efforts nonetheless. Private and public schools often address personalization differently. In general, though, teachers can personalize learning by incorporating several learning styles into their lessons. For example, a Kindergarten teacher may be teaching about the life-cycle of a butterfly. He or she could read about it to their students, show them pictures or videos, or bring in caterpillars and allow the students to witness the life cycle for themselves. The teacher will know what learning styles they need to incorporate for their unique body of students, but using methods that like this covers multiple learning styles— allowing each student to learn in their own individual way.

2. Technology

Technology is rapidly changing and infiltrating our education systems. It’s not unusual to see students as young as elementary-age with IPads or other tablets. Video has become commonplace in the classroom and will likely be seen even more in the future.

Online and blended classrooms, which are a mix of online and face-to-face meetings, are also becoming popular in schools throughout the US. The inclusion of technology in education has made it more accessible. Knowledge is easier to obtain than ever. Technology has also “breaks down the walls” of traditional education by allowing students to “travel” anywhere in the world with the help of video.

3. Standards

In the early 2000s, each US state had its own educational standards. These standards, however, were not consistent across the country. In one state, high schoolers could be required to know certain things or demonstrate specific skills to graduate. Meanwhile,  the high school students in a neighboring state may have been able to graduate without the same knowledge or skills. These discrepancies led us to the system of education we now know as “Common Core.”

Forty-one states have adopted the Common Core state standards. CoreStandards.org defines the Common Core as “a set of high-quality academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA).” These standards were put into effect in 2009 after state leaders pulled together to create high and consistent goals for all students in American classrooms.

Although personalization and standardization seem to be opposite in some ways, both are being pushed in today’s education. We want all of our students to have the same opportunities to learn and succeed, but we also understand that’s it is necessary to ensure that standards are met in our schools. Personalization and standardization can work together if they are appropriately balanced.

We can expect to see our education system continue to change with new technology breakthroughs, new learning discoveries, and as standards are proven to be effective (or ineffective). Who knows what education will look like 20 years from now? Only time will tell.

from Marilyn Gardner Milton and Education http://bit.ly/2XowZR4