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Trying to Turn English, Reading, & Literature Into a Numbers Game

readingbabyThere’s a problem that always seems to be at the root of the debate over education policy: When do we standardize and when do we personalize? If we don’t standardize enough, there’s no guarantee that everyone will receive the same opportunities and the same basic education. If we don’t personalize enough, we can ignore some really basic common sense in the interest of keeping everything “equal.” This post is about the second problem.

The institution of the Common Core Standards in most states tries to find measurable ways to ensure schools are meeting their state standards. For math, that’s not too hard. You just set the grade you should know your multiplication tables and the grade you should tackle geometry. For reading, things get trickier. That’s where the Lexile system comes into place. Continue reading “Trying to Turn English, Reading, & Literature Into a Numbers Game”

Carpe Diem When Building Your Perfect Schedule

Checking scheduleMapping out your college schedule is always a tug-of-war between short-term and long-term gain. You don’t want a schedule that’s too hard or too easy (because that just means you’re putting off the hard schedule for later). You need to keep in mind the delicate balance between core requirements, credits for your major, and electives. Even if you map everything out in advance, your best laid plans could go awry when the classes you were eyeing all get scheduled at the same time. Continue reading Carpe Diem When Building Your Perfect Schedule”

Scholarships Replace Parents As the #1 Payment Source for College

The amount of money parents contribute to their kids’ college education is dropping. Or, more accurately, it’s struggling to keep up. As recently as 2010, parents paid for 37% of the total money spent on college education around the country from their own income. Three years later, that amount has dropped 10%, with grants and scholarships now taking over a greater percentage of the heavy lifting.

Student Borrowing 18%, Parent Borrowing 9%, Parent Income & Savings 27%, Grants & Scholarships 30%, Relatives & Friends 5%, Student Income & Savings 11%
How college was paid for in the 2012-2013 academic year. Source: Sallie Mae

Continue reading “Scholarships Replace Parents As the #1 Payment Source for College”

STEM Students Can (and Should) Dream Big Too

iStock_000018821167Small

It’s a tough time to be a student. Landing a halfway decent job is always a struggle, but recent graduates have to deal with a weak economy and devalued degrees, all while more and more of them need to take out loans and find other methods of paying for their education.

Continue reading “STEM Students Can (and Should) Dream Big Too”

Why Aren’t College Students More Invested in College Town Politics?

iStock_000015650351XSmallThe traditional idea of a college town is one that’s truly built up around the college. These towns have bars and restaurants packed with students. They root for the school’s sports teams, especially the local hotels and motels who fill up with visiting family during games and graduations. The campus is the most identifiable landmark in town. It’s the largest contributor to the local economy. It’s in the identity of the town.

Many of the largest state schools are in these sorts of towns. The students of Arizona State University makes up over a third of the population of Tempe. University of Georgia students a little shy of 30% of Athens’ population. Virginia Tech is in Blacksburg, a city of 42,620. Total number of students at VA Tech? 31,087. Over 70%.

Yet in most cases, the student population is considered essentially transient, and that has a big impact on both the way these towns think about the students as members of the community and the way the students view themselves.

Continue reading “Why Aren’t College Students More Invested in College Town Politics?”

Opinion: Supreme Court Makes the Right Call on Affirmative Action, Pleases No One

This morning, the Supreme Court kicked off its summer blockbuster season with a long-brewing case on affirmative action. We first talked about the case last October, where an aspiring college student named Abigail Fisher sued the University of Texas: Austin for discrimination after not being accepted. Continue reading “Opinion: Supreme Court Makes the Right Call on Affirmative Action, Pleases No One”

It’s Better to Drop Out Than to Never Try, Says Study

A four-year college degree isn’t for everybody. I’d be reluctant to even say it’s for most people. However, everybody needs and deserves education. Our society just needs to do a better job recognizing the validity of the huge variety of types of education for different types of people, interests, and careers.

Continue reading “It’s Better to Drop Out Than to Never Try, Says Study”

How Are Unpaid Internships Legal?

Hands holding a sign reading "Will Work for Credits"

The further along students get in their education, and the closer they get to entering the workforce, the more the line between the two starts to blur. College athletes, for example, aren’t getting paid for their athleticism, other than the lucky ones offered scholarships. But in many cases, their hard work is still making truckloads  of money for their universities.

Continue reading “How Are Unpaid Internships Legal?”

10 Reasons You Might Want to Take a Few Summer Classes

iStock_000020064261XSmallPre-college, summer school is hung over the heads of students like a threat for not working hard enough. That’s already an unfair stigma for grade school and high school students, but for college that stigma truly makes no sense. If you’re reluctant to sacrifice your three months of sunshine for a few spare credits, here’s a few reasons you might want to reconsider.

1. Summer classes are typically easier. Take this one with a grain of salt, because I have no doubt there are plenty of exceptions, but generally speaking, you won’t need to do as much work during a summer term.

Continue reading “10 Reasons You Might Want to Take a Few Summer Classes”

The Five Stages of Grief Writing a Final Paper

A sad panda
Sad panda

For some, the final paper is even more dreaded than the final exam. At least with an exam, you can only do so much work in the time given. With a paper, there’s this sinister feeling that you always could have done more. So naturally, you put off thinking about it as long as you can.

I was reading the other day about the Kübler-Ross model, better known as the Five Stages of Grief. I thought I’d overlay the same ideas onto the process of writing a final paper. The comparison was uncanny.

Continue reading “The Five Stages of Grief Writing a Final Paper”

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