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  • Rosen: Think Backward About Your College Choice

    Everyone's college goal is not the same. For some students it's about experiencing college life—football games, intellectual conversations, living on campus, being away from home for the first time. For others, it's about the desire to learn about a particular area—be it art history or advanced mathematics. And for others still, it's a means to an end—a path toward a career. Many students give too little thought to what it is they really want out of college, and what kind of university can best meet their needs. And few consider whether colleges are able to meet their end of the bargain.Basing your college choice on a desired outcome can be a constructive way to approach the college-applications process. At some schools, curriculum developers actually use a process known as "backward design" to create courses by starting from the desired outcome. In other words, the curriculum is shaped and coursework selected on the basis of how well it permits a student to achieve their desired...
  • A Guide to the 2010 Newsweek-Kaplan College Guide

    By the time you reach the point of applying to college, you may feel that you've heard way too much advice from your parents, your teachers, your guidance counselors, your neighbors—even that guy who graduated from your high school three years ago whom you ran into at the movies last week. Everyone, it seems, has an opinion about where you should apply, what you should study, and even what you should write in your essay. If you can stand it, here's one more piece of advice: forget everything you've heard, at least for a moment, and think about the most important person in this process: you. What do you want out of college?It's a simple question with a very complicated answer. In fact, it's the theme of this 14th annual edition of the NEWSWEEK-Kaplan College Guide. Instead of focusing on different types of schools, we began by imagining different types of students and finding an environment that would work best for each one. Veteran education reporter Jay Mathews has assembled a...
  • Learning How to Get 'Internet Famous'

    Andrew Mahon needed to get famous—fast. So he set up a Web site—famousandrew.com—asked people to give him suggestions, and acted out their fancy on YouTube. He videotaped himself getting his bellybutton pierced, dressed as a Wall Street banker begging for change—even rode his bike around Manhattan in nothing but an American-flag thong."Famous Andrew" was an experiment, but not the kind you'd think. It was actually Mahon's homework for a design and technology course. It was an unconventional learning tool, to say the least. But at Parsons, the New York City design school where Mahon is now a senior, professors Evan Roth and James Powderly, both artists, along with software developer Jamie Wilkinson, believe that learning how to spread your work on the Web can be almost as important as creating it in the first place. "I think there's this kind of romantic notion of why artists make things, and many are reluctant to admit they want people to view their work," says Roth, a graphic...
  • Bennett: Who Should You Be in College?

    Where should you go to college? you have nearly 1,500 colleges and universities to choose among—and that counts just the accredited four-year institutions. The list gets longer still (much longer) if you include community colleges and other accredited institutions that offer two-year associate's degrees. How do you choose when the choice seems to matter so much?"Is it really my choice?" you may ask yourself. "Don't I have to get in first? And isn't it hard to get into the best colleges?" True, of the 1,500 there are 100 or so that are highly selective—that have so many applicants clamoring to get in, only a lucky minority gain admission. But is one of these the best college for you just because many, many others want to go there, too? There is very little evidence that these highly selective colleges provide a more effective education to the students who do gain admission than these same students would have received elsewhere. You need to make a right choice for you, not a choice...
  • How to Develop a Strategy for Taking the SATs

    Let's recap the good news—you now have more flexibility when it comes to your SAT scores and what colleges will actually use to evaluate your application. Ideally, this takes some of the anxiety out of the test-day experience and helps ensure you get a chance to showcase your best performance to the admissions committee.But with this new set of choices, many students are reporting anxiety over how to think through this decision—should they send one score? All scores? Some scores? Which scores?The first thing to keep in mind is that most colleges genuinely want to use your highest test score. In fact, most colleges have adopted the College Board's Score Choice policy, which allows students to selectively submit their score(s). Even many schools that have "opted out" of Score Choice have suggested that they will continue to "super score" students' test scores (i.e., take the highest sectional score from each test and combine them). This means that if you're applying to a school that...
  • Why I Let Go of My Ivy League Dream

    Reaching is great, but be careful not to overlook a less-well-known winner. The more pragmatic choice might just turn out to be your ideal one, too.
  • Lose The Weight And Keep It Off: Mission Impossible?

        Last week was not a good week for Tyler.Tyler, a 24-year-old from South Carolina, writes the blog 344pounds.com, which documents his progress as he tries to lose weight. Since beginning the site in January, he’s lost 109.8 pounds, thanks to an intense exercise regime. (As part of a blog promotion, for instance, he performed over three hours of cardio one Friday night). But last week—his birthday week—he gained weight for the first time since beginning his blog, a fact he chalked up to lowered standards: watching TV, indulging on his birthday, and skipping the gym in favor of surfing the Web. “This week should show to you that if you don’t put in the work, you won’t lose the weight. It’s not rocket science. I’ve lost weight 26 weeks in a row without fail—the first week I give just a little bit of slack I gain half a pound,” Tyler then resolved to resume his arduous exercise routine and cut back on the junk food. His plan sounds both admirable and exhausting, and raises the ques...
  • What If G.I. Joe Were Gay?

    The new action movie isn't as bad as you think. It's much, much worse. An idea for how the filmmakers could've shaken up the franchise.
  • My Day Cooking as Julia Child

    Julia Child, the world's most-beloved chef, made it look so easy. But as I learned, it's hard to master the art of French cooking.