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John McCain’s GPA and College Records

There’s no doubt that John McCain’s military record is exemplary.  The same cannot be said for his academic record.  McCain won’t release his Naval Academy GPA or his transcripts, but he did admit to graduating fifth from the bottom of his class!  That’s 894 out of 899.  Here’s what he had to say:

Good for McCain for being honest about his record, but wow, that’s pretty low.

Read more about John McCain’s university background, and check out the college records of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Sarah Palin.

Common Misspellings: John Mcain, John McCane, John Macain, John McKane, Jon McCain

Sarah Palin’s GPA and College Record

Was Sarah Palin a success or a failure in college?  The Internet is positively abuzz with that question, but the answer is a mystery.

Sarah Palin attended six different colleges before she finally graduated with a degree in Communications/Journalism from the University of Idaho in 1987.  Sources say that as a kid, she was kind of a bookworm, but that at college she didn’t distinguish herself.  But really, that’s about all we know.

Palin really ought to just come out and tell us her GPA. Seriously, nobody seems to care that Joe Biden graduated 506 out of 688 from his class, or that McCain finished nearly dead last in his. I mean, how much worse could Palin’s record be? Americans seem to be more put off by evasiveness than they are by poor grades, so she may as well just release her transcripts.

Read more about Sarah Palin’s university background, along with the college records of Barack Obama, John McCain, and Joe Biden.

Common Misspellings: Sara Palin, Sarah Pallin, Sarah Palen, Sara Palen

College Records of the 2008 Presidential Candidates

So how did Barack Obama, John McCain, Joe Biden, and Sarah Palin fare in college?  What were their GPAs?  What courses did they take and excel in, and what gave them problems?

I investigated this question today, and sadly, it was difficult to find solid answers.  After all, GPAs and other information about college performance is confidential information.  When I was a professor, I couldn’t even tell parents how their kids were doing in classes, much to their frustration.  That’s the law.

Nonetheless, when an individual applies to grad school, or when they apply to a competitive job where intelligence matters quite a bit, they are asked to submit their GPA and their college transcripts.  And that’s why it irks me that information about the candidates’ college records are not readily available.   After all, the American people are about to hire two of these candidates to crucially important positions.  Shouldn’t we have this information about their accomplishments — or lack thereof– in higher education?  No, GPA isn’t a direct indicator of intelligence and future success, but it certainly is one indicator.

At any rate, here’s the information that’s out there about the college records of Barack Obama, John McCain, Joe Biden, and Sarah Palin.

4 Great All-Women’s Colleges

Although there are only four remaining all-men’s colleges in the United States, there are about 60 all-women’s colleges.

Why is this?  Well, before the 1950s and 1960s, single-sex colleges and universities were very common in the United States. However, this changed quite a bit because attitudes about men and women were changing, and there wasn’t such a strong sense that women needed to be protected from men.  Moreover, with the women’s liberation movement, there were fears that women were being excluded from many fine institutions for men (including Rutgers University, where I went to college, which didn’t become coed until the 1970s).

So why are there still so many women’s colleges?  Many young women still prefer going to college in a place where they don’t have to compete with men for personal attention.  They enjoy class discussion and a campus atmosphere that feels more “female” oriented.  In addition, many enjoy the camaraderie that comes from an all-women’s campus, many of which are quite closely knit.

Here are four great American all-women’s colleges.

1) Agnes Scott College

With less than 1000 students, this tight knit and beautiful campus in Decatur, Georgia defies the stereotype of what you might expect from a Southern women’s school.  Yes, you’ll find a few Southern belles here, but this campus is filled with diverse women who are politically engaged and outspoken.  It’s close to Atlanta, too, so if students get bored on this fun, but dry, campus, they can hop on the MARTA and go downtown.

2) The College of Saint Catherine

Located in a peaceful residential neighborhood of St. Paul, Minnesota, the Catholic-affiliated college (which is soon to become a university) has about 5,000 students, 3,000 of whom are undergrads.  The school’s motto is “educating women to lead and influence,” and on this politically left-leaning campus, students are encouraged to speak their minds and explore ideas.

3) Bryn Mawr College

Located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, this prestigious and very competitive college has about 1,200 students, with a stunning student faculty ratio of 8:1.  The school has an outstanding reputation for challenging academics and an accessible administration, and students can also take classes at nearby Haverford, Swarthmore, and Penn.

4) Smith College

A prestigious, extremely selective school with a traditional New England feel, Smith College is located in Northampton, Massachusetts and is home to about 2,600 students.  Arguably the most rigorous and selective (the average GPA of incoming students was over a 3.9) of the nation’s women’s colleges, Smith students come prepared to work hard.  For fun, they hang out in local Northampton, where there’s a great music scene and unusually strong town-grown relations.

Britain’s Princess Beatrice Goes to University

When you’re a typical freshman, you have all kinds of stresses in your life — a new roommate, homesickness, worries about finances, worries about classes, and so forth. When you’re a princess, though, you probably don’t have these worries. Princess Beatrice of York — the oldest daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson — just started Goldsmith’s College in London, where she plans to study history and the history of ideas.  Beatrice is living in nearby St. James Palace, so she doesn’t have to worry about dorm life and cafeteria food and such.

What you do have to worry about when you’re a princess and a college student is that the media’s going to be watching your every move, especially in the UK, where there’s an insatiable appetite for news about the royals. Poor Beatrice quickly learned that after a night of partying that caused her to be 20 minutes late to her philosophy class, she’s all over the tabloids.  Oops.  There’s also much ado being made about her pricey Louis Vuitton satchel that she uses to carry her books.

Think of that the next time you’re 20 minutes late for class.  Yes, you have to worry about roommates and tuition, but you don’t have your every move scrutinized by the media.

Students Stay Away from Parent-Teacher Conferences

All through middle school and even the first few years of high school, I always dreaded the day I would have to walk around school with my mom talking to my teachers about my grades and progress. Most of the time my grades were great, it was the comments my teachers had I didn’t enjoy hearing. Each year I always heard comments on how I talk too much and I have the tendency to create distractions in class from time to time. Of course when mom asked me about this I defended myself swearing that I didn’t talk THAT much and I wasn’t that much of a distraction.

I have always avoided going to parent teacher conferences. Not because I am afraid to hear what my teachers have to say about me, but rather because I believe that teachers will not be as honest with you there. Your teachers don’t want to hurt your feelings or make a comment that could possibly offend you, so when you are present at the conference, they seem to censor what they tell your parents.

This censoring may be good for some who aren’t as motivated as some or who are a constant distraction, but for other students, it can cause more harm because as a student you want to know what you need to work on so that you can improve yourself and your grades. I think that students should avoid going to conferences unless they are forced to go or want to go. But of course, going to conferences is up to the individual!

Obama Wants to Help College Students; McCain Says Students on Their Own

The two candidates couldn’t differ more on any hot-button issue you toss in front of them. Their positions on supporting American college students is also quite the contrast, as are their individual college experiences. Obama attended Columbia and Harvard, and only recently paid off his student loan debt; McCain attended the U.S. Naval Academy, which was free.

Amongst a crashing economy where college tuition support is harder to come by, and college tuition is skyrocketing faster than inflation, one candidate is in favor of the government lending support to college students, while the other thinks that you should cram in a night job between an 18-hour class schedule- plus labs and study groups. While they agree that college tuition isn’t affordable to most Americans and that the process to attain that aid is convuluted- the similarities part there.

McCain’s message when it comes to increased tuition is, ‘You’re on your own,’” says Michael Dannenberg, senior fellow with the New America Foundation and not a member of Obama’s campaign. “Obama’s message to families is, ‘We’ll give you more financial aid to help you with college costs, but your kids are going to have to help others.'”

Obama’s plan is more detailed than McCains, albeit with a larger price tag. His position is that it’s the government’s job to support college students persuing a degree. He’s not giving it away- in exchange for 100 hours of community service each year, the government will offer students a $4,000 tax break. McCain has put focus on making the financial aid system more efficient, but does not intend to increase its breadth. He wants parents to be more informed and says more money can be available if we eliminate wasteful spending. (more…)

College Students Were Actively Involved in 2004 Presidential Election, Says Survey

College students aren’t always taken as seriously by politicians as they should be.  After all, as the old (and increasingly outdated) logic goes, college students don’t vote as much as other groups (like elderly people), so why pay lots of attention to the issues that matter to them?

Well, college students are voting more than they used to, and overall, they are increasingly interested in and involved in the political process.  In fact, here’s a Fact Sheet about student political participation in the 2004 election that was compiled by CIRCLE, the Center for Information & Research on Civil Learning & Engagement.  According to to a survey of students by CIRCLE:

  • More than 85 percent of students followed the 2004 campaign at least somewhat closely.
  • About 43 percent of students followed the campaign very closely.
  • Nearly 90 percent of students were registered to vote.
  • About 77 percent of all students voted — compared to a voter turnout of only 42 percent nationwide among voters 18-24.
  • Students didn’t just vote in the highly publicized presidential and Senatorial races. Instead, almost 80 percent of the students who voted cast a vote for other candidates as well.
  • Nearly three-quarters of students said that they had conversations about the election at least once a week.  A third of students had conversations about the elections almost every day.

So who did students vote for?  The students in this survey preferred John Kerry, who earned 55 percent of their votes to George Bush’s 41 percent (a trend that echoed the national youth vote as a whole).  Support for Kerry was the highest among students with social science and humanities majors, while support for Bush was the highest among science and business majors.

So will these trends continue with the 2008 election?  Let’s hope so.  Get out and vote, students!

5 Reasons Why College Students Need to Vote

College students:  get off your duffs and vote!  In case you need a good reason to do so, here are five:

1) Politicians will pay more attention to college students and their issues if they vote

So why don’t politicians pay more attention to the issues that you care about, like the price of tuition, financial aid, and the availability of entry level jobs? Because traditionally, college students have had relatively low voter turnout.  Instead, the candidates pay lots of attention to issues of importance to the elderly, like Social Security, because the elderly vote!

Fortunately, voter turnout among college students is increasing, and the candidates (especially Obama) are paying closer attention to student needs.  This trend will only continue if students demonstrate that they have excellent voter turnout, and therefore are a group to be taken seriously by politicians.

2) College affordability is a serious concern

As you are well aware, the average cost of a college education has become out of reach for many students and their families, and the price of college has dramatically outpaced inflation — which means that college has become significantly less affordable than it was when your parents went to school.  This directly affects your life and your future, and politicians need to know that this matters!  Research the candidates’ positions on tuition reform and keep this closely in mind when you vote.

3) Financial aid is a serious concern

Politicians can make a major difference when it comes to how much financial aid you receive.  The Bush administration has been slow to make changes to increase the Pell Grant and to make it easier to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.  And now that the country’s in the middle of a credit crunch, student loans may well become harder to get, so it’s imperative that you research the candidates’ positions on financial aid and vote accordingly.

4) This election is crucially important for all young people

So guess who inherits the financial mess created by the mortgage crisis, and the implications of global warming, and the aftermath of the current policies and conflicts in the Middle East?

5) You don’t want them to think you’re apathetic and lazy, do you?

Students have a reputation for being lazy and unconcerned about what’s going on in the world.  Some of this is because older people always like to whine about “those young people today,” so to some degree, this stereotype won’t entirely go away.  But if this is a stereotype you don’t want people to have about college kids, do something about it.

Register to vote today.

Vice Presidential Debate at Washington University in St. Louis

Vice Presidential candidates will have their first chance to face-off in person tonight, during the VP debate at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. The debate hosting honors have been Wash U’s for every election since 1992.

While the facts being shared by Joe Biden and Sarah Palin might be, well, debatable – here are some facts about Washington University in St. Louis that you might not have known (and probably can’t be disputed!). Other famous faces who’ve walked the hallowed halls at Washington University, and walked away with a degree, include the following. Their alumni also include 27 Nobel Prize recipients.

  • Harold Ramis, 1966, Co-Writer “Animal House”
  • Peter Sarsgaard, 1995, Actor
  • Tennessee Williams, 1936, Playwright
  • Steve Fosset, 1968, Adventurer
  • George Zimmer, 1970, Founder Men’s Warehouse (we guarantee it!)
  • Conde Nast, 1897, publisher Vogue magazine
  • George Herbert Walker, 1897, Founder of Walker Cup; great-grandfather to President George W. Bush

Established in 1853, it is a private university with an undergrad enrollment of about 7,400, post-grad of about 6,200 and faculty of about 3,100. They’re quite proud of their institution, have an incredibly selective enrollment process (for the class of 2011 it was 19%). Tuition is about $33,700/year with room and board topping $10,000.

The school is very tech-friendly, offering Internet more than 10,000 internet connections throughout the campus, and 2,500 computers available for student use.

More than 70% of the student body resides in campus housing, where alcohol is allowed on campus. For students interested in being active in university activities, there are more than 200 organizations, including honors groups, newspaper, government, musical and religious groups. For those interested in Greek life, there are 12 fraternities and 12 sororities, with 50% of students participating. Athletic types can show their talents in one of the 19 varsity sports.

Washington University in St. Louis is located in one of the United States’ major cities- so even if life on campus isn’t appealing, the bustling city is sure to accommodate your interests.


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