Amherst will be replacing the student loan portion of all students’ financial aid packages with a scholarship.
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The New York Times featured an article about Fordham's plans for expansion at its Lincoln Center Campus--a plan that includes "a high-rise quadrangle for 10,600 students would be created on the
Columbus Avenue end of the superblock between 60th and 62nd Streets,
with seven new buildings around a 1.5-acre courtyard." This plan is far from new, though. In fact, the sketches that appeared in the article detailing what Fordham Lincoln Center might look like in the future actually appeared much earlier in The Ram--the University's student run newspaper in 2000. (I'm pretty sure it was 2000, because I think it was related to Fordham in the new Millenium. Anyway... I'm quite sure I've seen this before).
If I remember correctly, the plans also included moving the undergraduate business school to Lincoln Center as well. As much as I hate to say it, this makes a lot of sense. While I enjoyed my time at Rose Hill, if you are going to have a more competitive business program, it really needs to be in Manhatten. That is not to say that you won't have students living at Rose Hill taking classes at the Lincoln Center business school. Having the classes in the city gives the school better access to local businesses for internships, recruiting, and for having professionals contributing in the classroom with speaking engagements.
Even if this wasn't in the Ram before, it doesn't take a lot of effort to realize how valuable Fordham's location on 60th and Columbus is, and how underutilized it is in terms of the numbers of students it serves.
This is ambitious thinking and I hope it comes to fruition. I have two hopes for the plan, though. First, and most important, I hope the expansion is done in such a manner that it maintains all of Fordham's traditions--which include a very personal touch with small class sizes, accessable faculty, and a tight community of students. This also includes maintaining the influence of the Jesuit philosophy. I hope expansion of the student body doesn't dilute the amount of people interested in what this philosophy brings to bear.
Second, I hope that the alumni start opening their pockets when those little envelopes come in the mail when the school is headed in the right direction like this. The percentage of alumni who donate, especially relative to the number of people who got some kind of scholarships or financial aid, is pathetic. There's really no excuse for it. I hate it when people say, "I gave them enough money." Do you water a plant with a gallon of water the first day you get it and then forget about it? These percentage giving rates count bigtime in college rankings and the school, which doesn't run off of its endowment like Harvard or Princeton, really needs the money as it ramps up to become a premier institution. If the giving rates go up, then Fordham can actually see these ambitious plans through. Then, all of the sudden, you got a degree from the premier Catholic college in the country. What's that worth to you? Is it worth $100 a year for the rest of your life? Sounds like a lot? $5000 over the next 50 years doesn't sound like a lot to me, especially if all of the sudden you went to the 25th ranked school in the country (That's where Georgetown is right now... Fordham is 70th.) Anyway... enough of my grandstanding. This move is good for Fordham. I just hope they do it right and that the alumni give the school the support it needs to get there.
GothamGal has a though provoking post up about the insanity of carefully crafting over acheivers and getting kids into college today. She says that we should drop the current system and look for a new way to screen students... fewer tests, less pressure.
I do think that what is going on is insane, but anytime there's insanity, you don't have to get caught up in it.
When I was in high school, the average graduating SAT score for my class was 1350. Now I hear its up over 1400... average... 1400! I was lucky because we all seemed to take a pretty healthy approach to it, but one could go nuts trying to test prep your way to a score like that.
If you need to take two test prep courses and hire a private tutor to get your kid to score a 1520, then, well, sorry, that kid just isn't a 1520 student. I remember this guy in my freshmen year of college who used to study in the lounge about 10 hours a day to get a 3.7 and I just remember heading out the door with my baseball glove to have a catch and enjoy a nice day while he was studying. If that was what it took to get the really high grades, well then I just wasn't going to be a great student... simple as that.
It was that kind of approach that I had in high school. In hindsight, I probably could have worked harder, I admit, but it was where my head was at the time. Pushing me wouldn't have helped.. .I had to push myself... which I did, big time, when I got to Fordham. Yeah, so I went to Fordham, which was a good school, but it wasn't Harvard or Yale or Princeton. However, I wouldn't be where I am today at another school. Being at Fordham, close to the city, enabled me to intern at the GM pension fund during school. It also meant that another Fordham grad who was at GM sort of took me under his wing, rather than the Harvard intern we had, because he felt like this guy would get everything he wanted anyway. That led directly to my job in the private equity group, which led to Union Square Ventures, which led to Oddcast.
If I was coming out of Harvard in '01, it wouldn't have been enough for me to just go to Harvard... I would have had to beat out all my own classmates for jobs. When you go to a top school, you almost have to be the best there, too, because there will already be 5 or 6 Harvard resumes in for a job, and they're not going to interview all of you.
You don't have to go to a top ten school and you don't have to be a Goldman Sachs investment banker to be successful either. Teach your kids to follow their own way at their own pace. Of course, give them all the tools and encouragement to be their best, but don't push them to be more than they're mentally ready to handle. I wasn't ready to take the lead in high school and I would have burned out very early had I tried. I'm lucky that my parents were just happy I was in a good school and supportive of whatever I did. They let me come around on my own terms.
Oh, and I wound up doing better than that kid who studied ten hours a day... and I really do owe it mostly to my mental health. In college, I really believe its really not about how hard you work, but more about how smart you work and how you handle stress. Oh, and networking, too. You'll never make good contacts in your field, which can take you a lot further than your GPA, if you're a big ball of stress that seems mentally unstable.