April 30, 2012
A study that looked at the correlation between college majors and earnings highlights the role of math skills in this relationship.
The economists examine the large differences in labor-market outcomes across college majors in several ways. In one section of their paper, they look at data on wages by college major obtained through the Census Bureau‘s 2009 American Community Survey. They find that among other things, math skills are correlated to higher earnings. “Wages tend to be high for engineers and low for elementary education majors, suggesting that perhaps much of the wage differences between majors are due to differences in mathematical ability and high school course work,” the authors write.
Apparently, innumeracy has a cost.
Average wages for some of the most lucrative college majors
I’m surprised at how well a political science major pays, even without an advanced degree.
Average wages for some of the lowest-paying college majors
Considering that the average salary for educators in Westchester County approaches six figures, it’s surprising to see such low wages for education majors. I suspect that part-time workers included in this and other categories deflate the average wage.
American Community Survey - Questions on the form and why we ask
Related: Two recent reports on college majors, salaries, and unemployment rates
April 27, 2012
Students lack good Google search skills.
Sadly, though web searches have become an integral part of the academic research landscape, the art of the Google search is an increasingly lost one. A recent study at Illinois Wesleyan University found that fewer than 25% of students could perform a “reasonably well-executed search.” Wrote researchers, “The majority of students — of all levels — exhibited significant difficulties that ranged across nearly every aspect of the search process.”
If college students are so poorly prepared to conduct Google searches, K-12 students must be even less so. With all the talk about teaching 21st century skills in our public schools, not enough time is spent on this basic element of school work. What’s going on?
Here’s an infographic from HackCollege that offers basic search tips. If teachers even spent a few hours on this every year, high school graduates would be better prepared for college and for life.
CLICK IMAGE TO GO TO INFOGRAPHIC
I need to use these tips more regularly:
April 20, 2012
Our local public school touts the teachers’ availability for after-school help sessions as a wonderful benefit. But I’ve grown cynical.
If a school’s pitch to parents is: We have tons of Extra Help, that is a very bad sign.
It sounds like the school is saying: Your child will have lots of personal attention with his teacher, one on one.
But what is really being said is: your child will have trouble learning what the teacher is teaching.
I’m not saying that a young student seeking out personalized extra help from his teacher isn’t wonderful. I just think that blithely telling a struggling youngster to go for after-school help is often not the most helpful advice. It makes me think something is missing in the classroom, and it’s not being addressed.
I’d like to see the top five canned comments that are used in our school district’s report cards. I wouldn’t be surprised if this one showed up on that list.
Should attend extra help sessions more often
April 19, 2012
A good explanation of a Likely Letter comes from the University of Virginia Admission Blog:
What is a Likely Letter?
Around this time of year [early March], many colleges and universities send letters to some very strong students telling them that their applications are impressive. These letters are commonly referred to as likely letters, but you might also seen them called love letters or early writes.
Why do you send Likely Letters?
In this day and age, it’s hard to feel confident about admission. These letters let some of our strongest candidates know we were impressed by their applications. These letters are not specific to UVa. Selective schools around the country send them. Doing a search for “Likely Letter” or “Love Letter” on College Confidential will yield signs of them being sent by plenty of other schools.
It must be exciting to receive a Likely Letter from your dream school, but remember that it is not a guarantee of admission.
A quick recap:
- Likely Letters are sent by many selective schools to some top applicants
- The vast majority of applicants will not get a Likely Letter
- Decisions are not finalized yet
- Getting a Likely Letter does not equate to an offer into one of the scholars programs
- Likely Letters are sent via standard mail
Do not read into the absence of a letter.
Apparently Likely Letters have been more likely this year.