No one—except maybe Sheldon on “The Big Bang Theory”— will tell you the Graduate Record Exam, necessary to get into a master’s program, is easy. Some for-profit universities, including University of Phoenix and Capella University, do not require the GRE, so why take it? Potential employers may consider these online universities as diploma mills churning out unprepared graduates with insurmountable student loans, but students who earn a quality education show their skill sets so the line of judging higher education has shifted for some programs.
McGill University, which was ranked 18 in 2012 by QS World University Rankings, does not require the LSAT that is the pre-law requirement for graduate school. The university cites the LSAT would prove disadvantageous to French speaking applicants due to McGill’s bilingual learning environment.
The GMAT is the equivalent test required for MBA programs, and it is a test that may frighten students who majored in something other than math or business in their undergraduate degrees. The idea of taking tests—and not taking them well—permeates many academic records, but should those students who are not as strong in math reconsider their graduate studies, skipping an MBA altogether, or should they just apply to a school that does not require the GMAT?
Wendie Phillips, irector of student services at University of Washington Information School, cautions those who would assume lesser quality in universities not requiring the GRE.
“There is actually a trend among some graduate programs to NOT require the GRE as analysis of applicant test scores demonstrate it is not a good indicator of a student’s ability to succeed in a Graduate Program,” Phillips said. “The University of Washington has several nationally ranked graduate programs that have dropped or are considering dropping the GRE as a requirement based on this analysis.”
University of Dayton allows students the option of taking the GRE for some of its programs including a Master of Arts in English and a Master of Science in chemistry. The engineering programs do not require the GRE, but the GMAT is required for enrollment in the Master of Business Administration program. Mixed signals? It sure seems that way.
John Ward, a graduate student in Capella University’s mental health counseling program, said the quality of his instructors and the quality of his education is outstanding.
“I should finish in May, 2015; that is 18 months of course work and one year of internship,” Ward said. “I chose Capella University because it has an excellent master’s program that is accredited by the APA, and the program goes through residency and internship that most graduate schools do not offer. The convenience of it being online is a bonus.”
For those who consider graduate schools solely based on the waived GRE/GMAT/LSAT, consider the course work ahead. Students who do not t excel at math should not consider a math-intensive program, but students who simply do not test well and those who have excellent academic records can examine the programs closely to predict quality of education.
Judging a university often comes down to examination of what a student puts in to the program.
“As long as a university is fully accredited and allows the graduating individuals to sit for professional licensure in their state, then they are providing adequate training in the area,” said Craig Kerley, Psy.D., who attended Alfred University, which did require the GRE. Much the same as with an internship or extracurricular activity, students will get out of an education what they put in, but the chance that for-profit universities would not be as accepted by potential employers is the main thing to take away from the conversation because though gaining the necessary skills to work in a particular field is paramount, so is getting a job after graduation.
Garret Schweitzer, who is the Senior Software Engineer at the for-profit Universal Technical Institute expressed concern about “diploma mills” that do not offer high quality training, but schools including UTI and ITT Tech “have extremely high placement rates for graduates,” he said.
“If you’re getting a degree for something practical like engineering or computer programming or guitar playing, then I’d measure the degree by your effectiveness at the chosen profession,” Schweitzer said. “If you’re going to become a nuclear physicist, I think a more traditional route is probably better.”
To some, internships are a coveted rite of passage, while others consider internships the equivalent of free labor. While the ideal internship provides students the real-world experience necessary to achieve gainful employment, all internships—whether paid or unpaid—are the result of what the students put into them.
The field of communications is rife with students vying for a job that many people think they would pay to have. Reporters, publicists and radio broadcast journalists may seem to have dream jobs, but does that mean students should work for free under the guise of the internship?
One student fortunate enough to be offered an internship with Rolling Stone Magazine complained that his internship left him anxious about soiling an immaculate office. The most ironic aspect of an article published in Pulse Magazine in 2007, Sean Corbett writes: “As an intern at any organization, it’s an inglorious fact that part of your job is to sit around and wait for a chance to prove yourself. It’s the intern dilemma: Don’t get in their way, but make an impression.” Ironically, the comments section following the article was filled with statements from young students eager to accept a similar internship. Corbett even admitted his uncertainty about whether a job at Rolling Stone was what he truly wanted, which is central to accepting internships.
Natalie Camillo, a publicist for Adrenaline PR, completed a few internships while majoring in mass communication at York College of Pennsylvania, including one at Relapse Records and another involving marketing for a classic rock radio station. None of her internships were paid. When she started out she felt she did not do a good enough job, but by the time she did marketing for the classic rock station, she said her responsibilities included duties that “a paid salaried person would do,” including cold-calling customers and selling booth space for events, which brought profit to the company.
One of the government requirements under The Fair Labor Standards Act for an unpaid internship is that “[the] employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded.” Certainly, an internship that throws its students into a real-world environment should be a paid internship if it benefits the company, but the fact is that even when an unpaid internship is presented to a student that provides real-world work experience, the student should be thankful for the opportunity, which could lead to a paid position in the future.
The student alone has the responsibility to ensure he or she is not taken advantage of in an internship. Whether it’s an internship at Rolling Stone Magazine fetching coffee or cold-calling clients for a marketing campaign, there must be an appreciation for the opportunities the experience provides. Camillo said that had she not had the experience provided by her internship she would have felt more nervous when starting at her paid position.
Internships through the Department of Communication at KSU are overseen by Professor Tom Gray when a student meets the requirements to complete an internship for academic credit. Gray said that in his experience—more than eight years—very few student students have complained. Gray advises students to research the companies for which they consider interning because, ultimately, the choice is the student’s.
“Internship is what students want to make of it, and what the student wants to do,” Gray said.
Students should take advantage of any opportunity to hone their skills and make an impression in the networks they hope to get jobs in, especially
in a field like communications, where jobs are scarce and the market is competitive.
Camillo said that when she got her job with Adrenaline PR, a boutique PR firm that handles major festivals including the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, her boss knew the people with whom Camillo interned. The references and the networking she did for free paid off significantly because, even though education is valued, in some fields, who you know and who will vouch for you is just as important.
If a student gets the opportunity to bring coffee to the person sitting in his or her dream job position, that student should jump at the chance to learn as much as possible. In this economy, more students should recognize the value of hard work and experience and not get sidetracked by purely financial compensation. The value in an internship comes from the research the student does before applying and the work the student puts in when offered an opportunity.
If you’ve never experienced the fearful frustration of backing your car out of a space in the one of the KSU parking garages, worried that some jerk driver would careen his or hercar into yours, you’re probably one of the jerks. Or you’re one of the pedestrians ducking and running toward the stairwell, terrified someone texting while driving might miss seeing you.
Radio personalities engage in heated discussions about gun control while student commuters drive to campus, gritting their teeth in traffic; the thought of ‘car control’ jokingly comes to mind. Why doesn’t someone bring up the idea that a car can—and often does—act as a death machine? And when they are wielded by impatient drivers, aren’t we are all at risk?
According to “Buckle up! The most dangerous cars in the US,” published by NBCnews.com, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety established four rating categories for determining which vehicles perform best and which will best protect the driver. One of these categories is a side-impact crash test in which a 3,300 lb. ‘SUV-like’ object strikes the driver side at 31 mph.
Is it possible that a Hummer driven by a stressed-out soccer mom who is late dropping her kids off to daycare at 8 a.m. is more deadly than an AR-15? Do we really need cars that can exceed speeds, even halfway, past where the speedometer points to? Some speedometers go to 140 mph, but when is it ever safe to drive so fast on public roads and highways?
Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports fewer fatalities resulting from car crashes in 2010 than in 2005, and the fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled was seven times higher in 1952 than in 2010, safety measures and technological advances may be responsible, and not the drivers nor the death machines they manage. Perhaps we would less likely be killed in a crash.
Crashes seem more likely when a person who is in a hurry because he or she lacks time management, but manages a V8 engine, finds themselves stuck behind someone who simply isn’t driving fast enough. Motorcyclists, cars and even trucks are guilty of weaving in and out of traffic, darting around, just to end up two cars ahead at the next red light.
The problem that cannot be solved by government intervention lies in the fact that we are all human. We love our powerful toys, and we want so much out of life that we try to cram 33 hours of activities, studies and work into a 24-hour day. Then we speed down the highway to make up for the fact that we left the house too late because we could not tear ourselves away from Facebook in time to beat traffic.
Automation answers and assuages the fear of those who park as close to the parking deck exit as possible, hoping to reduce the time spent among other drivers hurriedly looking for spaces.
When we automate our cars so that they drive themselves, we find a safer and more reliable system in place. We will no longer need insurance because the question of who’s to blame in a crash is answered the same way we investigate subway crashes. We have the technology; we need lawmakers to catch up on deciding the issues of liability.
We take our lives into our hands each time we travel by car or motorcycle, and we buy insurance to protect against the risk. The insurance companies will most likely try to stall progress by confusing people with the need to find fault for future failures, but the reality is that technology and innovation are advancing toward automation and a system where everyone drives an automated car will be as safe as a subway.
Dan Strumpf of The Wall Street Journal wrote in his Jan. 27 article, “Auto makers trumpet the potential safety benefits of driverless cars, saying they could ease traffic jams and react to hazards more quickly that drivers can.”
Within our lifetimes, we students should sit in automated cars that allow us to finish our homework on the way to class without risking a fatal crash or even risking spilling our coffee. Until then, let’s calm down while driving because our efficient cars are as dangerous as assault weapons and will never be regulated by government.
In the midst of arguments over hope and change, the battles in the ongoing war on drugs leave behind the bodies of students. The policies that make drug use a crime impact students destined to make mistakes and poor choices in their quest to live life to the fullest.
College is known as the time in one’s life to learn from experience, and take life firmly, so the idea of a ‘war on drugs’ at the university level often conjures images of consumption as opposed to policy. A fraternity’s idea of waging war on alcohol often means polishing off a drink before the ice melts.
Our education borne from experience is wisdom, and our 20/20 hindsight vision allows us to accept our mistakes and impart our new-found knowledge on our children—or those with whom we associate as adults. So, why do the adults of this country not see the dire effects of the Nixon-waged “war on drugs” that started in 1971, before many of our parents were even married?
The question of whether or not drugs should be legal boils down to a distinction between perceiving drug use as a health issue or an issue with crime.
In an article published by Forbes.com July 5, 2011, President of the Institute of Drugs and Drugs Addiction Joao Goulao said in an assessment made ten years after the country decriminalized drug use in 2001 that decriminalization, along with a confluence of treatment and risk reduction policies, worked to reduce the phenomenon of addiction in Portugal.
The fact that getting caught with a small bag of marijuana carries the same arrest penalty that being caught with a large amount of heroin fails the user because the law does not recognize the inherent problem of drug use.
News editor Greg Bieger closed his February 5 opinion on over-prescribing psychotropic medication with the question, “Do we really need to tell them [our children] to say no to heroin and then prescribe Klonopin to reduce stress?”
This matter of perspective is what will allow policy makers to distinguish the difference between viewing a student recreationally experimenting with drugs at a party from a student suffering from depression, anxiety and addiction. And this differentiation will allow parents, friends and anyone concerned to encourage the user to seek help for the underlying issues that led to the drug use in the first place.
While the average college student will experiment with dangerous drugs, those who become addicted usually start with issues stemming from poor self image, depression and other serious mental issues. Learning to reduce stress and cope with life bumps in the road will stop the vicious cycle of anxiety and substance abuse more quickly than a jail sentence.
A report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality finds that almost one in eight of the 95 million visits to hospital emergency departments made by adults in the United States in 2007 were due to a mental health and/or substance abuse problem (www.adaa.org).
The students who get caught are often arrested (and if not they are warned away from the criminality of their action rather than counseled to seek help for their health issue), which means facing the stigma of a criminal record.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics, Department of Justice shows that about 50% of the inmates in federal prisons and 20% of those in state prisons have been convicted of either selling or using drugs. Regardless of whether or not these individuals sought treatment for their possible addictions, they will experience a difficult path obtaining a job.
For college students, the dangers of drinking and drug use can mean much more than a life of addiction; the simple act of experimenting can lead to a stigma that will all but negate the degree earned. Ask yourself about the choices—mistakes—you’ve made and distinguish between the idea of criminal acts and opportunities to better health. Herein lies the mindset policy makers need to consider when making and, hopefully, changing laws. Ellen is a senior and a Communication major.