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What Jobs Need a Master’s Degree?
Many students choose to pursue a graduate degree after four years of college, some to gain skills to help them grow in their own industry, some to pivot to a different career, or to earn a higher income by obtaining a more advanced degree. While many reports show that U.S. college enrollment has fallen in the wake of the pandemic, graduate school enrollment has seen an unexpected surge. What types of schools are students applying to? According to the report of the Council of Graduate School, from 2019 to 2020, the number of applications submitted to public universities increased by 6.1%, private universities by 9.2%, concentrated in academic research universities (more than 20 doctoral programs) . Applicants of doctoral programs increased by 2.8%, master’s degree programs by 9.6%, certainly a huge hit! In regard to majors, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, majors including computer science, engineering, biological sciences, psychology, and art all saw increase in graduate students. Among them, computer science major saw the biggest growth in its graduate student population. Under the pandemic, people need a high-paying job more than ever. Between Fall 2020 and Fall 2021, graduate student enrollment in computer science-related majors has grown by 19.9%, a wild figure. Business majors, meanwhile, saw a drop in graduate student enrollment in Fall 2021, going down by 1.4% since last year. Source: National Student Clearinghouse Research Center How does the job market look for those with a master’s degrees? Combining sources from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Association of Colleges and Employers, Payscale, and the American Association of Universities, an agency predicted that the top 10 Master's Degrees with the highest demand by 2026 are: 1. Accounting Median Annual Income of an Accounting and Auditing Specialist: $73,560 Projected Job Growth by 2030: +7% Median Annual Income of a Financial Management Specialist: $134,180 Projected Job Growth by 2030: +17% 2. Computer Science Median Annual Income of a Computer and Information Scientist: $126,830 Projected Job Growth by 2030: +22% 3. Dietetics and Nutrition This professional mainly has to do with food biology, nutrition, food distribution policy, food technology, etc. Median Annual Income of a Nutritional Scientist: $63,090 Projected Job Growth by 2030: +11% Median Annual Income of an Agricultural and Food Scientists: $68,830 Projected Job Growth by 2030: +9% 4. Human Resources Median Annual Income of a Human Resource Management Specialist: $121,220 Projected Job Growth by 2030: +9%‘ Median Annual Income of a Vocational Training and Development Management Specialist: $115,640 Projected Job Growth by 2030: +11% 5. Library Science Median Annual Income of a Librarian/Library Media Specialist: $60,820 Projected Job Growth by 2030: +9% 6. Mechanical Engineering Median Annual Income of a Mechanical Engineer: $90,160 Projected Job Growth by 2030: +7% Median Annual Income of an Engineering Manager: $149,530 Median Annual Income of an Aircraft Engineer: $118,610 7. Mathematics and Statistics Median Annual Income of a Mathematician/Statistician: $93,290 Projected job creation by 2030: +33% Median Annual Income of an Actuary: $111,030 Projected Job Growth by 2030: +24% 8. Nursing Median Annual Income of a Nurse: $117,670 Projected Job Growth by 2030: +45% 9. Public Health Median Annual Income of a Health Services Manager: $104,280 Projected Job Growth by 2030: +32% 10. Software Engineering Median Annual Income of a Software Engineer: $110,140 Projected Job Growth by 2030: +22% For many careers mentioned above, a master’s degree is required at the entry level, including mathematics/statistics, nursing, library science. In addition, a master's degree can lead to more opportunities in some industries. For example, many employees of big tech companies choose to pursue MBA degrees to transition to management positions. A survey by Georgetown University found that graduate degree holders can earn up to 28% more than undergraduate degree holders in certain industries. The figure below shows the income gap between graduate and undergraduate degree holders in the fields of computer science, statistics, and mathematics. Dark green bars represent the income range of Bachelor’s degree holders for each respective major, and light green bars represent the income range of Graduate degree holders. Noticeably, the income gap between Bachelor’s degree holders and Graduate degree holders within relatively popular social science majors like psychology, economics, and political science is even larger than that within STEM majors. Overall, the more humanities related the field is, the larger the aforementioned income gap. Within majors in the humanities, students with a graduate degree in history, languages and literatures, or comparative literature have a much higher earning potential than those with Bachelor’s degrees. Students who are planning to pursue studies in the humanities should seriously consider continuing their studies in graduate school. Pursuing a Master’s degree can be a complex decision, and it involves a series of factors including your background, your prospective field of studies, your prospective career trajectory, etc. At Enlighteens, we are dedicated to students’ lifelong learning and progress. We believe that learning at any stage is a means to accomplishing each individual student’s personal long term goals, not an end. At the end of the day, our goal is to help every student become the best version of themselves, with a full understanding of their unique strengths and potentials.
2022 Summer Planning Tips
The semester is coming to a close, and students are done with this year's AP exams; summer break is here, and for many students who have not yet planned their summer activities, it is a time of rest and relaxation. Of course, summer breaks are long. But for those who happen to be procrastinators, it might go by before anything ever gets done. College applicants are submitting higher GPAs and standardized scores by the year, which has made extracurricular activities the real differentiator. Now the million dollar question for students and parents is: what are good activities for the upcoming summer break? According to a report, 87.1% of Harvard's freshmen engages in some kind of community service or volunteering, and about half are involved in musical or sports clubs. Culture, journalism, performance, language related activities or student union experience are also quite common among Harvard freshman during high school. Surely, there are many other types of extracurricular activities in addition to attending summer schools. Diverse extracurricular activities allow admissions officers to learn about each student’s educational backgrounds, personal experiences, their forming worldviews, insights about the society, and self-perception, based on written descriptions of these activities. There are many distinct types of extracurricular activities. CommonApp, the university application system, provides only 10 vacancies for extracurricular activities, but there are in fact 30 types of extracurricular activities. Students are encouraged to organize their existing activities according to the categories below and plan accordingly. Before applying to college, 9th graders will have 3 summer vacations, and they need to make good use of each. If you haven't made arrangements for attending any summer schools, find out what other interesting and meaningful things can you do for the summer. Consider the question: what do you find meaningful? If you take your time to do something and do it with purpose, it will be meaningful to you. When deciding whether or not to undertake a certain activity, think about it from the following perspectives: Is it something you enjoy? Can you make impact? Will you meet new friends and form new connections? Will you learn new skills and knowledge? Try your best to avoid activities that: You think university admission officers may like; All your friends are doing. We have listed below 5 general categories of activities for your reference: School Service: Consider the following activities and roles that will help students at your school and around you Student Union Teaching Assistant Peer Tutor STEM: Some STEM activities require teamwork, some require project-based engagement, and summer break is an excellent time for team building and group work. VEX Robotics First Robotics School or Regional Science Fair(as participants, judges, etc.) Synopsys Science Fair iGEM International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition (Upcoming Application Deadline on 5/27) Hackathon Humanities and Social Sciences Some of these are club activities. If there is no such club at your high school, why not found one yourself? Yearbook School Press/Media Center Dance Club Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) YMCA Youth in Government YMCA Model United Nations Community Service Church Volunteer Service Volunteer Homeless Shelter Volunteer Small Animal Shelter Volunteer Hospital Volunteer Leo Clubs, an organization that develops youth leadership through community service Soup Kitchen, an organization that provides free food for those in need Sports and Personal Well-being High school students are faced with enormous pressure academically, and many students cope with that stress by doing sports. Some also found new clubs of this sort to reach more people. Yoga Hiking Meditation Other sports that you are good at, especially those in which you can take on leadership roles or can compete at a high level. Our word of advice: before summer officially starts, think carefully about whether these are things you'd like to spend the time and energy on in your busy high school life. At Enlighteens, we are dedicated to helping students through the application process, but we also strive to go beyond that and help them realize their long term goals. The further you dive into these activities, the more knowledge, transferrable skills, external feedback, and opportunities you will get out of them. After all, extracurricular activities are a way of contextualizing you as an individual person on your application, and there is simply no way to show that if you do not engage with yourself and your true passions. So, instead of fretting about who you want to appear as on your college application, take a good, hard look at yourself, and take on the responsibility of shaping who you would like to become in real life.
One School, Two CS Majors: What You Need to Know
Some of you may recall that we have shared about an article by a lecturer in EECS at the University of California, Berkeley School of Engineering. The article drew attention to the fact that the EECS department at UC Berkeley is essentially “trapped in a campus that underfunds undergraduate education but also demands that the department accommodate a huge growth in [its student population].” That growth mainly comes from the increase in the number of CS major students at the College of Letters and Sciences at UC Berkeley. In the 2020-21 academic year, the College of Letters and Science awarded nearly 6 times more CS major BA degrees than 10 years ago. Meanwhile, and the number of EECS graduates from the College of Engineering at Berkeley is only 2 times that of 10 years ago, as shown in the chart below. (Source: eecs.berkeley.edu) UC Berkeley is well known for its competitive undergraduate program in Computer Science. But only those familiar with the university and the major know there are two CS majors at UC Berkeley. The College of Letters & Science has a computer science major, or CS major for short, which confers a BA degree upon completion. The College of Engineering has an Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences major, or EECS for short, which confers a BS degree upon completion. UC Berkeley is not the only university with two CS majors. A number of other institutions ranked to have some of the best undergraduate CS programs have a similar arrangement as Berkeley, including Cornell University, Princeton University, the University of Washington, and the University of Michigan, whose computer science program enjoys a high reputation despite not being one of the top 10 on this list. Cornell University The two computer majors at Cornell, referred to as “CS Engineering” and “CS Arts & Sciences,” are among the most popular majors at Cornell. (source: datausa) Princeton University Both are referred to as Computer Science majors, and both are under the School of Engineering. However, one of them confers a BSE degree upon completion, and the other confers an AB degree upon completion. BSE Degrees require 5 more classes and 3 semesters less of independent work than AB degrees. University of Washington The CS major at the College of Arts and Sciences is referred to as Computer Science major, and the CS major at the College of Engineering is referred to as Computer Science & Engineering major. Because University of Washington considers its undergraduate CS programs as among the most competitive, it chooses to report its CS and CSE major direct entry application acceptance rates: 27% for in-state students, 3% for out-of-state students, and 4% for international students, all of which are far lower than the overall freshmen application acceptance rate at UW.‘ To make matters even worse, while there are twice as many out-of-state applicants as in-state applicants, out-of-state acceptances are only one fourth of in-state acceptances. (Data from University of Washington Office of Admissions, usually updated on Nov 1st each year) University of Michigan Both majors are referred to as Computer Science majors, the one with the suffix “LSA” is under the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; the one with the suffix “ENG” is under the College of Engineering. In Fall 2021, a total of 2,832 students are enrolled as computer-related majors, of which 25% are CS students at the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. So, what are some crucial differences between engineering college CS majors and college of arts and science CS majors? 1. Different educational goals This needs to be taken into account in conjunction with the student’s personal career development, and this consideration needs to be sorted out at the stage of planning and applying. The CS major under colleges of arts and sciences is more suitable for students who are interested in computer programming, software and applications, or those who intend to double-major in another subject under the College of Arts and Sciences. The CS major under colleges of engineering, such as CS or CE, are more suitable for students who want to specialize building high-performance hardware and software systems, and study how to make them more cost-efficient. 2. Differences in Coursework Different colleges have different general graduation requirements, and they may also have different major requirements. Students at the colleges of arts and sciences do not have to complete those courses lay the foundation for studying engineering, such as chemistry and physics. That being said, both have a similar number of credits required to complete the degree. Take Cornell as an example. The College of Arts and Science CS at Cornell requires students to fulfill 10 categories of liberal arts courses, while the College of Engineering only require students to complete 6 courses in 3 categories. For major requirements, the College of Arts and Science requires 2 programming courses, while the College of Engineering requires completion of courses in science and engineering; for math courses. CS major students at the College of Arts and Science also have more of math course selectives. Students should take serious consideration when planning to pursue their studies, and ultimately their career, in computer science majors. As the single most popular major at the moment, competition is unquestionably brutal at every stage, from applying for college to job seeking. Students need an immense amount of information to make important life choices, but the most valuable piece of information comes from within. At Enlighteens, we believe that every student should fully understand themselves and their academic strengths and weaknesses before they decide to embark on a career path, and we are here to help every student make an informed decision about their future.
Are Asian American Students Suffering from Diversity Admission Policies?
Are Asians being discriminated against as a whole in the admissions process of American universities? A column in the Wall Street Journal invited student readers to express their views on "Are American colleges discriminating against Asian applicants." What are the thoughts of these students who went through the admissions process themselves? A history major at Amherst College said Asian-American students feel discriminated against in the application process at top colleges, in part because Asians are more likely to apply to those colleges than other ethnic groups. Based on the law of supply and demand, perhaps Asian Americans should consider alternative paths to a successful life. Attending vocational and technical schools, such as military schools, lead to futures that are just as bright. But at these colleges, Asian students have been chronically underrepresented. The chart below comes from a research report on education from Georgetown University. The first two bars show that among the applicants with a 1300+ SAT score, 65% of Asian American students are reaching for the most competitive colleges. This ratio, for all ethnic schools combined, is 50%. (Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce) A business student from New York University said Asians have the strongest academic record of any ethnicity. In 2019, National Center for Education Statistics reported that Asian Americans had an average GPA of 3.26; the group with the second highest average GPA is White (3.09). Asian American students are also leading in SAT scores. Such performance also means that they are disadvantaged in the university's "diversity" admission policy. These policies are aimed at increasing racial and ethnic diversity. Meanwhile, Asians are being squeezed out because of "diversity." Many studies have confirmed this observation. Despite the growth of the Asian Americans population, the proportion of Asian American students at Harvard have stayed roughly the same for more than two decades. These evidences suggests that Asian Americans are discriminated against when applying to top colleges. Another student from the University of Wisconsin also brought up the Harvard case, arguing that the truth is in the data. The documents submitted in the Harvard discrimination case show that among all applicants, the academic performance of Asian students are in the top 10%, with an acceptance rate of 12.7%. Meanwhile, the acceptance rate of white students is 15.3%, Hispanic students 31.3%, non-American students American students, a whopping 56.1%. The most popular computer science major at UC Berkeley has also been struggling with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) admission policies, especially in increasing the proportion of female and minority students. The figure below is from a personal information analysis report of EECS students. In the past 20 years, the proportion of Asian applicants has stayed steadily within the 40-50% range, with rapid growth in the past few years. Conversely, the percentage of white student applicants is overall on a downward slope. Although Asian students still make up the largest ethnic group admitted into UCB EECS and CS majors in the 2020-21 academic year, it doesn’t mean this group’s has a high acceptance rate overall. The following chart is based on data on the gender and ethnicity of those admitted as computer majors. The darker the color of the block, the higher the acceptance rate of the particular group, and thus the easier for those in the group to get in. Among all applicants who reported their gender, Vietnamese, Hispanic, and African-American female students show higher admission rates, with Japanese female students (lower right corner) showing the highest acceptance rates. On the contrary, regardless of ethnicity, male students seem to show much lower acceptance rates than female students. It is the hardest for international male students to be admitted, followed by white, Chinese, South Asian (including Indian, Bangladeshi, etc.) male students. Some students also mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article that instead of discriminating against Asians in American college admissions, it is better to decide who to admit by merit (meritocracy). The average income of Asian-American families is relatively high, and they are also quite invested in their children's education. Among over 20 Asian-American groups analyzed by The New York Times, the vast majority of them have a higher annual income than average. (Source: New York Times) Asian Americans also rank among the highest in college graduation rates. Nationally, only 34% Americans over the age of 25 have graduated college, while the Asian population over the age of 25 shows very high college graduation rate: the college graduation rate of descendants of Taiwanese immigrants is as high as 83%; Indian, 79%; Malaysian, 68%; mainland Chinese, 60%. (Source: New York Times) Whether Asian American students are discriminated against in the admission process or not, the brutal internal competition among Asian American students is an undebatable fact. In this case, effectively distinguishing yourself as an applicant is crucial for prospective STEM majors and non-STEM majors alike. At Enlighteens, we know for a fact that every student possesses something special and unique, and our team always strive to make sure that uniqueness help student stand out, be it in their college applications and in the long run.
The Story of a World Famous Transfer Student
The big news in the US in the past two days is Elon Musk and Twitter's board of directors have reached an agreement on a $44 billion acquisition plan. The acquisition, announced by Musk less than a month ago, seemed out of reach only a week ago, but in just a few days, the two sides turned around and the two sides finally reached an agreement. Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic, in early 2020, Musk's wealth ranked 35th in the world, but a year later, in January 2021, his wealth has surpassed Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Microsoft's Bill Gates, ranking first. (https://www.forbes.com/real-time-billionaires) In 2015, Elon Musk's authorized biography, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, came out. From this book, we got a glimpse of how this Silicon Valley Iron Man came to be. Among all, his educational experience naturally aroused everyone's curiosity. Musk grew up in Pretoria, South Africa, and since it was easier to get into the US from Canada, he applied for a Canadian passport, and while waiting for a passport, he studied at University of Pretoria for five months. In 1990, at the age of 17, Musk moved to Canada to study at Queen's University. In 1992, after a two-year stay, Musk transferred to University of Pennsylvania, after receiving a scholarship. Musk hoped that the prestigious Ivy League school can help him open more doors to opportunities, so he majored in a double major - a Wharton degree in economics and a bachelor's degree in physics. He was like a duck to water at the University of Pennsylvania, getting along well with his fellow physics students. (Photo: a physics professor shared Musk’s “physics homework” from his University of Pennsylvania days.) Musk's long-term interest in the field of solar energy and exploration of the use of new energy sources began at the University of Pennsylvania.In December 1994, he was writing a business plan for an assignment titled "The Importance of Solar Energy." The paper predicts a boom in solar technology based on improvements in materials and the construction of large-scale solar power plants. In another essay, Musk studied super-capacitors. He was enthusiastic about innovative methods of energy storage, and believed that these technologies could in the future be adapted to serve mobile vehicles, aircrafts, and spacecrafts. In his essay, Musk also referred to a new research then conducted at a lab at Silicone Valley. Musk's other paper dealt with his favorite supercapacitors, and he rejoiced in new ways of storing energy that could be used in cars, planes, and rockets in the future, citing a state of the art discovery made by a lab based in Silicone Valley in the paper. Musk soon realized that Silicone Valley was the paradise he had been searching for, full of opportunities to realize his ambitions. He came back here in the summer for two years in a row, and settled in California after completing a double major in physics and economics (Wharton) from the University of Pennsylvania. He originally planned to pursue a Ph.D. in materials science and physics at Stanford University, hoping to advance work on supercapacitors. But then Musk dropped out after two days at Stanford University, because he couldn't resist the lure of the internet industry, and he persuaded his brother to move to California and co-founded the networking software company Zip2. If Musk never transferred to University of Pennsylvania, he could be living a whole other life. Every year, at least seventy thousand US university students apply to transfer to another university. Some of then apply to transfer for better education opportunities and make their ways up their careers as students and professionals. Indeed, at many universities in the US, the transfer admit rates are higher than the freshman admit rate; it seems a “shortcut” to make one’s way into prestigious, competitive universities. Based on the driving motivations behind them, we may divide college transfers into two types: vertical transfers and lateral transfers. Vertical Transfers Vertical transfers, or upward transfers, apply to students who attend community college for two years, and transfer to universities to pursue more advanced studies and earn their bachelor degrees. In most cases, rigid demand type transfer students choose to attend a local public university in his or her state because in-state public universities are required to offer transfer admission guarantee policies to in-state community college students. For example, the Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) system at University of California ensures that as long as they meet the GPA requirement, applicants from community college will be offered admission at any one of six UC campuses (except UC Berkeley, UCLA, and UC San Diego)! Even for students who are applying for UC Berkeley, UCLA, and UC San Diego, transfer applications can e quite a lot easier than freshman applications. One of our students was offered admission as a transfer student at the Department of EECS at UC Berkeley this year. At the same time, students at community college can also choose to apply to transfer to most private institutions. Lateral Transfers Lateral transfers apply to students who are already in the process of earning their bachelor degrees at a university and are planning to transfer to a school that is more prestigious or offers better resources and professional education. Demand for lateral transfers are booming, and many students who are not satisfied with their freshman application outcomes consider making their ways into top-tier universities through transferring. Many freshman applicants who are not satisfied with their admission outcomes consider making their ways into top-tier universities through transferring. As universities are sending out their transfer admission results, two of our students from northern California have received offers from their first-choice schools! A male student enrolled at a private university ranked No. 100+ was offered admission into a well-known Top 40 public university. 🎉 A female student enrolled at a Top 30 private university was offered admission into a Top 10 university. 🎉 The students mentioned above apply to transfer for different purposes. The first student was not exactly a hard worker in high school, but he learned his lessons and gradually boosted his GPA up in college. By transferring to a top 40 university, he is building a stronger profile as a graduate school applicant. The second student has a record of excellence in high school, and certainly deserved to be offered a spot at a top 10 university as a freshman. She was offered admission by only one top 30 university due to limited entry spots at her high school, being disadvantaged as an ethnic Chinese applicant, aggressive ED round application strategy, and other factors. As a current freshman, she’s finally offered what she deserves and will continue her studies at a top 10 university. The two cases above show that depending on what individual students’ needs, transfer applications can serve quite different interests. Students with different backgrounds and different personal goals may leverage transferring as an opportunity to their own benefits. At Enlighteens, we believe that one single admission result do not simply dictate the lifelong paths student undertake, and we are dedicated to help students achieve their personal long term goals every step of the day. If you are longing for change, it is never too late to make one.
A "Shortcut" to UC Berkeley’s Most Competitive Major
UC Berkeley’s Department of EECS (Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences) at UC Berkeley has enjoyed a wi popularity among students of Computer Science, and the Undergraduate Program at the department is easily one of the most competitive ones in the US. In the 2020-2021 academic year, its freshman admit rate was 5.2%, making it almost as competitive as any Ivy League school. EECS enrolls around 500 undergraduate students every year, and these students are certainly the best among the best of all candidates. In this article, we present to you two admissions into Berkeley EECS, entering Fall 2022. One of them, who we’ll refer as Student A, was rejected by quite a few prestigious universities with outstanding grades and extracurricular activities; the other one, Student B, has been working with Enlighteens for two years. Both students were admitted into the most renowned and most competitive program at the Department of EECS at UC Berkeley. But as applicants, their academic performances, test scores, and extracurricular activities are very different. Many believe that the past application season has been the harshest on ethnic Chinese applicants, and we hope to share with you the cases of these two applicants, because we believe their different examples demonstrate a universal logic about planning for applicants. Basic Information Student A ● Male, ethnic Chinese US Citizen ● attended a public high school with intense internal competition located in the California Bay Area Student B ● Male, Chinese international student ● attended a niche private high school with no ranking and attended a community college in California after graduation Asian male students make up the most part of the student body of top-tier college’s computer science majors. This group also face the most severe internal competition. As applicants, these students almost always have perfect transcripts, computer science related activities such as competitions, research experience, etc. Student A happens to come from a public high school in the Bay Area with a larger number of such candidates. When applying for colleges, students often have to outcompete other applicants from the same high school before they are compared with other applicants on other aspects. Academics Student A ● Unweighted GPA：3.94 - Grade 9：AP Calculus BC - Grade 10：AP Chinese, AP Statistics - Grade 11：AP English Language and Composition, AP Computer Science, AP Chemistry, AP US History - Grade 12：AP English Literature and Composition, AP Physics ● SAT/ACT：SAT 1600 (Full Score) ● AP：5 in ten subjects, 4 in three subjects (self studied 6 subjects) Student B ● transferred frequently during high school, and GPA suffered from different grading scales ●worked hard at community college, and maintained a 4.0 GPA ● SAT/ACT: None ● AP：4 in one subject, 3 in one subject An SAT score of 1550 isn’t exactly rare among applicants applying to competitive schools and competitive majors, but a score of 1600 is admittedly very uncommon. Combining with scoring 5 in all ten AP subject tests he took, Student A is certainly demonstrating exceptional academic performance in his profile. Student A has a high school GPA of 3.94, most possibly with only one B on his transcript. Still, taking all of his AP classes into account, his weighted GPA is outstanding among students at public high schools. But is this a competitive GPA at his high school? Not necessarily, since at certain well-known Bay Area public high schools, around 20% of students get straight A’s in all of their classes, and maintain a 4.0 unweighted GPA. Many may think that Student B’s 4.0 GPA at the community college is an “easy win.” This is certainly a bias, because without strong self-motivation and self=management skills, it is extremely difficult to maintain a perfect GPA at community college. Extracurricular Activities and Award Student A ● created a theme-based platform with more than 3 million registered users across 950,000+ communities. ● computer science related research project at University of California. ●developed a math competition platform to be used by the Stanford Math Tournament and the Berkeley Math Tournament that served more than 3000 contestants. ●developed a mobile APP for his high school that kept students engaged during the pandemic through online events. ●founded Project Code Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization in 8th grade to teach classes to the community. ● founding member of NanoMath, an organization that runs online math competitions for middle schoolers with 700+ participants. ● placed 9th nationally in The Future Business Leaders of America in E-business in 9th grade, 10th nationally (and State Champion) in Computer Game & Simulation Programming in 11th grade, State Champion in Networking Infrastructures in 11th grade. ● member of the Science Olympiad team A team at his high school, most medals are received after college applications are submitted. ● vice president at his high school Anime Club. ●Eagle Scout at Boy Scouts of America — highest honor that can be awarded by the organization. Awards ● USAPhO Semifinalist (top 400 in nation) ● USACO Platinum Contestant ●3 times AIME Qualifier ● Ranked #34 globally out of 150,000+ people inAdvent of Code 2020, a 25-day programming competition challenge. Ranked #39 out of 200,000+ in2021. ● Pokétwo voted#4 Discord bot worldwide on Top.ggwith 3M+ users Student B ● participated in an online free Google certificate program ● developed a simple game using C++ ● member of the VR club at community college ●volunteer at the Food Bank ● volunteer afterschool tutor ● badminton Awards: None Judging by his extracurricular activities, student is no less than an innovative entrepreneur. His accomplishments set him apart from the vast majority of his peers, even surpassing some full-time APP developers and teams. Not to mention, even not many adults can adequately balance such an array of extracurricular activities and at the same time keep up with school work. He applied to Caltech, Stanford, MIT, but wasn’t offered admission by any of these schools. This is no big surprise. Although he entered USAPhO and USACO, his rankings isn’t top tier among all applicants. These ranking aren’t even nearly as impactful as Pokétwo, the platform he created on his own. Since his competition rankings did not meet the standard of these three schools, he was not offered admission by universities who favor competition awards from students like him. Compared to Student A, Student B’s profile doesn’t seem to include any eye-catching accomplishments. So, does the outcomes mean “transferring from community colleges is a shortcut?” Enrolling at community college and planning for transfer applications may not be for everyone. As students are trying to decide where to attend before May 1st, somee students feel that admission results did not meet their expectations. They begin considering enrolling at a community college and transfer into a more prestigious university. However, in most of the cases, our consultants would advise against going to community colleges. Attending a community college appears a deceptively easy shortcut to a “brighter future,” so why should we caution against it? Depending on students’ individual backgrounds, attending community college may not be for everyone. We take every student’s learning experience seriously, and whether students will adapt to and benefit from attending a community college depend on a range of personal factors. At Enlighteens, we believe that students’ learning experience and progress are worth more than the name of their college, and we are always devoted to helping every student achieve their long term, personal goals every step of the way.
What Makes 2021 the Most Difficult College Admissions Year (until next year)?
How to deal with another historical low rate of college acceptance in the U.S.? Taking more AP courses? Spending more hours on extracurricular activities? Actually, most people chose to apply more colleges to “boost” their odds of accepting to at least one college. According to reports published by Common App, one of the most commonly used application submission platform, as of March 15, 2022 it has received a record high number of 1,182,322 freshman applications (an increase of 14.4% from 2019-20). Universities received a record high number of applications this year. However, the former associate dean of admissions at University of Pennsylvania and former dean of admissions at Franklin & Marshall college, Sara Harberson, urged students to apply to fewer colleges, “for the benefit of [themselves] and every other student applying...to [prevent] another record-breaking application year from happening.” As the 2021 Application Season comes to its end, we know for a fact that her plead was not heard. There are a number of factors behind this rapid increase in the number of applications submitted. Expectedly, students are applying to more colleges than ever, under the lasting influence of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Reports published by Common App confirms the trend that applicants are applying to more [colleges], on average, in 2021–22 than in 2019–20 (+6% from 5.30 to 5.62 applications per applicant). It would be naive to assume that the continuing growth of the freshman application pool would cool off as the lasting effects of the pandemic begin to lift. The hard felt growing competition of college applications also has a lot to do with concentrating major choices among applicants. The most popular majors are undoubtedly engineering, computer science, among the other STEM majors. Applicants applying directly into these majors are facing significantly fiercer competition than others. Take UC Berkeley, whose undergraduate engineering program is ranked No.2 by US News, for example. According to data published by the Department of EECS at Berkeley, admission rate for freshman EECS applicants for the academic year 2020-2021 is 5.2% (EECS only). Meanwhile, Berkeley’s admission rate for all freshman applicants is 14.5%. But even so, the Department of EECS still finds itself falling short of adequately accommodating all incoming students. Evidently, applicants interested in studying popular majors such as engineering, CS, and other STEM majors face significantly more competition as applicants. Furthermore, as the former admissions official at the beginning of this article has pointed out, college admissions offices are facing unprecedented stress, burdened with more than ever applications pouring in and no support from the school. The surge in applications has led admissions offices to streamline reviewing of applications, which can destroy the very essence of “holistic admissions,” the approach used by selective colleges that focuses on the “whole student” rather than just GPAs and test scores. Considering all that’s been said, we have begin to why the past application season had become the most difficult one ever. More applications are being submitted by students with generally overlapping academic interests, while admissions offices are heavily strained and had difficulty keeping up the holistic review process that allows them to see applicants in individual lights. We all have heard stories, maybe from friend, or over the internet, about prospective STEM major students who had a perfect resume, flawless GPAs and test scores, and was still rejected by quite a few schools one would assume he or she as a good chance with. True stories or not, these cases are proof of a consented realization that an even, “well rounded” profile is not a winning hand anymore. All in all, it has become harder for students to self-distinguish as candidates and individuals to their dream colleges. So, how to break the vicious cycle? Is it even worth to spend all that hard work to build the perfect profile anymore? Instead of questioning the value of hard work, it is worth keeping in mind that the meaning of hard work lies beyond admission results. At Enlighteens Education, we believe that it is more important to help student to discover one’s genuine academic interest, or intellectual curiosity to borrow the beautiful phrase from Stanford University’s admission requirement page, rather than getting into the arm race of perfecting GPA, SAT/ACT test, and AP exams. After all, the personal growth is the best measurement of individual learning outcome as no two students are the same.
Admission Rates Drop to 3%, What’s Next?
Last Thursday was “Ivy Day,” the day Ivy League schools announce their admission decisions. This year, among all 8 Ivy League schools, only 5 choose to make their admission rates public. The rest: Princeton, Cornell and University of Pennsylvania, kept theirs secret. Penn, for example, only provided information on the number of applications received and the expected first-year class size. But not everyone admitted actually enrollments, so there is no way of calculating the exact acceptance rate solely based on these statistics. Applications to prestigious schools have been steadily increasing for years, and changes to admission policies such as SAT and ACT test-optional during the pandemic further spiked that growth. Acceptance rates at some of these institutions slid to the low single digits last year. According to data from a recent Wall Street Journal article, Harvard admitted 3.2% of the 61,220 people who applied to join the fall 2022 class, edging down from 3.4% last year. On Thursday, Yale and Brown also reported record-low acceptance rates for this year, at 4.5% and 5%, respectively. Columbia and Dartmouth roughly tied last year’s rates of 3.7% and 6.2%. Some admission officials worry that “this information raises the anxiety level of prospective students and their families and, unfortunately, may discourage some prospective students from applying.” Through mid-March the widely used Common App received 6.64 million applications, a dramatic 21% jump from the 2019-20 school year. There were 1.18 million applicants, an increase of 14%. One factor explaining the increases is that many schools became test-optional during the pandemic. There is also a longer-term trend at play: High-school students with high aspirations see the statistics from prior years and, concerned about getting in, decide to apply to more schools. In 2008, Stanford University stopped reporting its admission data, saying it wanted to de-emphasize the perceived value of low acceptance rates, though other schools have been slow to follow suit. We can certainly induce the admission rate from other information made public by colleges, but the disclosure of such information may take as long as a year, if not longer. Before that information is officially published, applicants may want to consult the expertise of their school counselors or consultants. College admission officials are probably right in predicting that students will be more scared than ever to be rejected, seeing the record low admission rates from the the 2021 application season. Some have also observed, with some pessimism, that in a competition that is getting more and more brutal by the year, the only chance to secure a spot seem to lie in putting on certain “labels”. Contrary to what some may expect, our Harvard acceptance this year comes from a student from an ordinary middle income family in the Bay area. The student did not have a shiny profile with national awards or activities traditionally favored by first top schools like Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, neither is she a first generation college student, a child of a low-income family, or an athlete, and she attended a non-top tier public high school. The aforementioned observations are precisely the reasons why this particular student’s example is more valuable than ever for us. As an applicant, what set her apart is her demonstrated humility, maturity, and resilience through the application season. At a time when anxieties threaten to take over, we should remember that what distinguishes us as not just applicants, but also life-long learners are qualities like humility, persistence, and faith in our selves. At Enlighteens, we believe that every student and every family is unique in their own ways. The purpose and value of education lies in how much progress it brings, not admission results.
Which Degrees Pay You Back?
A recent report suggests that most four-year college degrees allow graduates to recoup the cost of education in a reasonable amount of time. In fact, of the more than 38,000 degree programs, nearly two-thirds (65%) of graduates earn enough to make up for their college fees within a decade, and 46% have achieved the same results within five years of graduation. However, out of all college programs (10,000), almost a quarter of graduates have insufficient income to pay for their education costs within 20 years of completing their studies. Around 6,000 of such programs are at the associate's degree level and have no financial advantage over a high school diploma. This means that more than 350,000 students are enrolled, generally taking on large debts to pay for all education expenses and graduating from these projects, but there is little or no financial benefit! Although a bachelor's degree takes longer to complete and is generally more expensive than a shorter degree program, 65% of graduates earn enough to recoup the cost of education in 10 years or less, which is 75% of the participants of all graduates. Only 10% of bachelor's programs (5% of four-year students) show that their graduates earn less than a typical high school graduate within two years of earning their degree. Degree programs in public institutions are most likely to allow graduates to recoup their educational investment within five years (56%) or 10 years (73%) after completing the course. Of the 1.3 million students who graduated from these programs, about 1 million (76%) had enough income to pay for their education in 10 years or less. But there is some bad news: Most graduates of more than 3,000 programs (13%), or 109,183 students, earn less than a typical high school graduate two years after the program ends. Since the cost of attending private non-profit institutions is usually higher than that of public universities, students who graduate from these schools will take longer to recover the cost of education. Only 31% of private non-profit university projects show that their graduates have recovered their education costs in five years or less. Nevertheless, most programs (56%) indicate that their students can recover their costs within 10 years after graduation, accounting for 62% of all graduates from private non-profit institutions. Overall, the best ROIs include degrees related to the following: nursing, construction management, allied health, and a number of subfields in engineering. On the flip side, the worst ROIs include degrees related to religious studies, anthropology, zoology, religious studies, film studies, and various majors in the performing arts. In conclusion, if your ROI is an important factor in choosing your major, best to pick a degree that pays off in the end at a public institution!
Learning Styles Are a Myth!
In the early 1990s, a New Zealand man named Neil Fleming decided to solve a problem he was confused when he supervised the classroom as a school inspector. After watching 9,000 different courses, he realized that only a few teachers could reach every one of his students. What did they do differently? He suggested that people have different "learning styles" (early theories include "VAK" without reading and things involving "convergence" and "assimilation"), but VARK has become one of the most prominent models. Experts are not sure how this concept spread, but it may be related to the self-esteem movement in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Everyone is special, so everyone must have a special way of learning, people concluded. Teachers told students about various learning styles as early as in elementary school. Teachers like to think that they can reach all students, even struggling students, and just personalize their teaching according to each student's preferred learning style, according to Dr. Ebinol, a student at Central Michigan University studying learning styles. At the same time, students like to attribute their academic failure to the teacher's failure to align to the student’s own learning style. Much evidence shows that people are not really any kind of learner. In a study published in the journal Anatomical Science Education, Polly Husmann and her colleagues asked hundreds of students to answer a VARK questionnaire to determine what kind of learner they should be. Then the survey provided them with some learning strategies that seemed to be related to this way of learning. Husmann found that not only did students' learning styles not seem to reflect their learning styles, but also those who adjusted their studies to their own styles did not perform better on tests. Husmann believes that students have developed certain learning habits, and once formed, they are difficult to break. Students seem to be interested in your learning style, but it is not enough to change learning behavior accordingly. Even if they are aware of a learning style, it doesn't matter. Husmann said that for anyone who wants to learn new things, the most important thing is to really focus on the material; this is what the most successful students in his research did, rather than putting some flashcards on the table while watching a football game. Learning styles may help you understand yourself, but it may not help you actually learn!
A Decreasing Number of Colleges – How it Affects Admissions
The days of publishing newsworthy federal data on college admissions are basically gone, as the National Student Information Clearinghouse begins to provide more up-to-date information, which is provided quarterly. The U.S. Department of Education's comprehensive higher education data system is still the best source of data on many other aspects of U.S. higher education. Its latest data show that the higher education industry continues to shrink, and the for-profit industry is no longer the only shrinking industry. The decrease in the number of two- and four-year public universities, and a smaller percentage decrease in the number of four-year private nonprofit universities (0.8%, a decrease of 13 colleges), may reflect a slight but significant number of closings. There has been more instances of merger of institutions or merger of multiple public institutions into a single institution, as has happened in Maine and Connecticut in recent years. In New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Vermont, similar mergers are taking place or are under discussion. Mergers between two private non-profit institutions occur more frequently, but are still rare, because most of these mergers have caused one of the universities to largely disappear from public view. Mergers in higher education are more like acquisitions than peer mergers, and the most troubled independent universities may close rather than merge. In recent months, Northeastern University announced plans to absorb Mills College, Judson College, Becker College and Concordia College in New York have been closed. Major rating agencies began predicting in the middle of the last decade that the number of closed colleges could triple, from about 5 to 6 per year (the average for most of the 1990s and 2000s) to about 15 or more. The massive influx of federal recovery funds in the past 12 months, especially the US bailout plan, has provided a lifeline to universities (if not hundreds) facing financial stress prior to the global pandemic, many of which have suffered heavy losses. The main takeaway in regards to college admissions is simple: fewer institutions mean fewer spots available for potential students, resulting directly in more competition and lower admit rates. However, other research has shown that declines in enrollment have not largely affected the more popular schools, namely those in the top 50 in the US News Rankings. With that in mind, it’s important to keep an eye on how and if the consolidation of universities will continue to affect other schools.
In Defense of Test Optional/Blind
If the SAT is eliminated, critics foresee the end of the world. Larry Su, an English professor at the City College of Chicago, recently wrote in Inside Higher Ed predicting that this change will make American students unprepared for college, will prevent minority students from completing their studies, and will convey the value of misinformation about American learning institutions and destroying America’s basic beliefs of hard work and personal responsibility, further jeopardizing America's national and international interests. Although this long list of details is common in academia, it lacks factual basis. For The Atlantic, Caitlin Flanagan made a different argument: The UC decision will hurt minority students. The SAT is a pass for many smart kids who, for whatever reason, did not perform well in high school. (By the way, this has been exceptionally true in my own experience with my own students! I’ve met low-GPA students with high SAT scores who still were accepted to great schools!) In 2018, approximately 22,000 UC students took standardized tests, with about half of these students from low-income families, and more than a quarter are black, Latino or Native American. However, Yale University economist Zachary Bremer, who spent years analyzing data, contends that Flanagan seriously misunderstood the way UC admissions works. According to Bremer, fewer than 100 students entered the University of California because of their SAT scores alone, and the best available evidence shows that the impact of canceling the SAT on the admission of disadvantaged students is negligible (which might be a good thing). UC graduation rates may drop slightly due to the college's decision. However, due to low test scores, students who would not otherwise advance will benefit greatly. As Bremer's research shows, they are far more likely to graduate than students with similar records enrolled in one of the least selective campuses in California. After six to eight years, the graduate’s income increased by $15,000. 11 national organizations recently asked the U.S. News and World Report to stop using average SAT and ACT scores in their college rankings. NACAC recent claimed that using average freshman scores to rank an institution has never made sense, but is even more absurd during a deadly pandemic.