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Sep
22

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If you’re just starting to look at colleges, you’re probably feeling a little overwhelmed. There are more than 1,500 four-year colleges in the U.S.—and no shortage of folks with opinions on which are the “best.”

But even when their advice is grounded in reality, it’s based on the experiences of others, such as the data for “average” students. And nobody is exactly average.

Experts say the best way to find colleges that match your personal interests and needs is to start with those averages. That step can help limit your list of target schools to a manageable number. But don’t stop there. The next step is to dig for critical information about each school.

MONEY’s just-released Find Your Fit personalized rankings tool can help you screen for high-value colleges that fit your personal interests (such as majors, varsity sports, campus setting, size, etc.).

Here the three major factors to consider as you go about your search, with initial and more advanced screens for each one:

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The single most important reason for attending college is to learn —and to learn how to learn. So you’ll want a school that will not only help you master the material you’re studying, whether that’s accounting or Latin American literature, but cultivate critical thinking skills and lifetime learning habits.

Initial screen

While educational quality is slippery to measure, experts agree that graduation rates are a useful indicator. Kim Cook, executive director of the National College Access Network, which assists college advisers, recommends checkingcollegeresults.org, where you can look up graduation rates by race and gender to see how students like you fare. If the school you are interested in has a low rate, click on the “similar colleges” tab to get see which schools have better records. You can also screen for colleges with good graduation rates using MONEY’s tool, which automatically eliminates schools with subpar rates.

Advanced screens

Beyond graduation rates, you’ll want to make sure that the school provides the kinds of services, academics, and extracurriculars that could be important to you. For example:

  • Additional services. Cook urges students to ask about any extra assistance they might need, such as tutoring or mental health counseling.
  • Teaching methods. Sitting in big lecture classes is not a very effective way to learn for most students. So ask how much of your time will be spent in “active learning” classes that require you, to, for example, work with a team of fellow students to study real-world problems.
  • Clubs and activities. Students who participate in clubs or other school activities are more likely to thrive during college and after graduation as well, research shows. So check out whether the school has ones you’d be interested in joining.
  • Homework. Sorry, students, but research shows that undergrads who don’t do much homework don’t learn a lot and struggle after graduation. For humanities courses, for example, students learn more when they are assigned at least 20 pages of writing per semester. And look for the option (or requirement) to work on least one big semester- or year-long research project or paper, recommends Brandon Busteed, executive director for education at Gallup.
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  • © Courtney Keating/Getty Images  Money problems are the most common reason students give for dropping out of college. So choosing a high-quality school that you can’t afford is a losing proposition.

    Initial screens

    Don’t pay too much attention to the sticker prices that schools publish. At least 60% of students pay less than that. Instead, focus on how generous each school is with financial aid. You can get a general sense of your overall odds of receiving aid from a school by looking at data such as the percentage of students with merit grants, or the percentage of financial need the school meets with grants. MONEY’s Find Your Fit tool has that data for the 700+ schools we rate.

    Another useful initial screen is average student loan debt. Schools that don’t provide enough grants or scholarships generally graduate students with high debt loads. You can find the average amount of loans that students of a given college typically graduate with on the federal government’s College Scorecard. MONEY’s ranking tool also allows you to sort colleges by debt load.

    Advanced screens

    • Net price calculators. For a personalized estimate of your likely net cost at a particular college, after financial aid, enter your information in the net price calculator on its website. To save time, you can enter your information just once in the College Abacus tool, and see your estimated net prices at hundreds of schools.
    • Time to graduation. While you may assume you’ll graduate from college in four years, the average student (or parent) now ends up paying for at least one extra semester. Ask students who come from your high school, or are in the program you’re interested in, how hard it is to graduate in four years from the college you’re considering. You can also check MONEY’s estimate of the typical length of time it takes each student to finish for each school we rank.
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    • © Thomas Barwick/Getty Images
    •  While college isn’t just about landing a well-paying job, you do want to be able to afford a decent life and pay your bills, including your student loans.

      Initial screen

      PayScale.com’s College Salary Report has alumni earnings by school. You can use it to find colleges that graduate high earners.

      Advanced screens

      • Career services. An active career services office that helps students write a winning résumé, perform well in job interviews, and obtain paid internships during college is crucial these days, says Deborah Fox, an independent college counselor in San Diego. So ask what each school offers.
      • Earnings by major. Your future earnings will be determined much more by the skills you develop in college than by the name of the school on your diploma, says Jeff Strohl, director of research at the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce. So check out the earnings of people who studied what you did in school. You can find national average numbers on the Georgetown center’s website. If you plan to study in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, or Virginia, you can find see what people in your major and your college are earning using the College Measures website.

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Aug
12

‘Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory.’

  Article 26, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948

Over sixty years ago education was declared a basic human right for every person, and enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in 1948. Since then, it has been reaffirmed in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), the Conventional on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (1979) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), among many other international human rights instruments.

In 1990, over 150 governments adopted the World Declaration on Education for All at Jomtien, Thailand to boost efforts towards delivering the right to education. Ten years later, the World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal reaffirmed this commitment and adopted the six Education For All (EFA) goals that run to 2015:

Goal 1: Expanding and improving comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children.

Goal 2: All children, particularly girls, children in difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities have access to free, quality and compulsory primary education by 2015.

Goal 3: Ensuring that the learning needs of all young people and adults are met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life skills programmes

Goal 4: Achieving a 50 per cent improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015, especially for women, and equitable access to basic and continuing education for all adults

Goal 5: Eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005, and achieving gender equality in education by 2015, with a focus on ensuring girls’ full and equal access to and achievement in basic education of good quality

Goal 6: Improving every aspect of the quality of education, and ensuring their excellence so that recognised and measurable learning outcomes are achieved by all, especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life skills

180 countries signed up to make these goals happen, committing to putting legal frameworks, policies and finance in place so that everyone, no matter what their circumstances, could have an education – one that is available, accessible, acceptable and adaptable. The richest countries pledged to help make Education for All a reality by committing to principles of international cooperation towards those countries with fewer financial resources.

Commitment towards the right to education was also reflected in the UN Millennium Development Goals, set in 2000 with a deadline for achievement by 2015. There are eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), of which two focus on education:

Ensure that all boys and girls complete primary schooling by 2015

Eliminate gender disparities in primary education by 2005 and at all levels by 2015

Progress has been painfully slow. In the period immediately after the setting of both the MDGs and the six EFA goals, investments were made by governments committed to achieving these goals. Education budgets, both foreign and domestic, increased, enabling the abolition of tuition fees for primary school in several countries and the development of improved national education plans. However, as we move closer to the 2015 deadline, progress has slowed.

  • Despite an average of 8.9% of domestic budget going to education in low income countries – rising to an average of over 10% in sub-Saharan Africa – States are still falling behind.
  • Enrollment in primary school may have increased since 2000, but this has slowed towards the end of the 2000-2010 period; worse, completion rates remain low, with 10 million children dropping out of primary school every year in sub-Saharan Africa alone.
  • Millions of children who do complete primary school do so with lower than expected levels of reading, writing and numeracy due to the poor quality of education they receive when they are in school – where pupil-teacher ratios can be as high as 100:1 in the very poorest areas.
  • Women and girls remain at a huge disadvantage: although gender parity in primary enrollment is within reach, girls are stil less likely to progress to secondary education – in the vast majority of African countries, this chance is less than 50% – and women make up almost two-thirds of the 796 million adults without basic skills.
  • Another 1.8 million teachers are needed to achieve universal primary education by 2015 – with 1 million of these needed in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Global Campaign for Education is stepping up the pressure on States to make significant efforts to realise these goals for the millions of adults and children who are denied their right to education.

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Aug
08

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ISLAMABAD: In what appeared to be a great achievement a gypsy girl has obtained 1004 marks in the matriculation results in Fatoohi District in the area of Chakwall.

Sources said that this gypsy girl named as Nargis Gull has resided in a gypsy house containing two rooms with her family and they earned money by selling bangles.

Farzana Bibi the mother of gypsy girl expressed her happiness saying that no one from their family has a chance to get education except her daughter Nargis. She said she has great expectations from her.

Farzana said that Nargis wanted to get education from their nearby school so that she was not taking her along with for selling bangles.

Cousins of Nargis Aakash and Aksar are also studying in class eight to follow her.

Safha College of Chakwal awarded free admission to Nargis where she will get education of FSC (Medical).

Nargis also appealed to Chief Minister Punjab Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif for her help in obtaining future education.

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Aug
01

As you read these words, a new law is being hustled through Israel’s Knesset that would abolish all requirements for the teaching of a “core curriculum” in ultra-Orthodox Israeli schools, even those that are partly funded by the government itself.

If the bill becomes law, many young Israelis educated in right-wing Orthodox yeshivot will learn nothing about math, science or history — even though these subjects are (rightly) deemed essential by the same Israeli public that will be underwriting the children’s education. And this breathtaking deprivation of educational basics is being carried out, we’re told, in deference to the rabbinic leaders of the communities involved, who prefer that such “secular” subjects not be taught to their young.

An Orthodox Jew myself, I regard this initiative as a serious attack on the basic rights of children. But to explain what I mean, I have to focus for a moment on the way many of my coreligionists defend such measures.

Yitzchak Adlerstein and Michael J. Broyde recently provided a good example right here in the Forward. They argued that ultra-Orthodox rabbis’ decision to “den[y] the most basic educational tools available to other Americans” to their community’s children should be seen as a “religious freedom problem.” That is, since “compelling secular education will destroy [the ultra-Orthodox community’s] basic religious values,” its rabbis’ right to religious freedom allows those rabbis to prohibit such education — even if that ensures the functional illiteracy of the students.

Adlerstein and Broyde didn’t invent that way of framing the issue; their argument is concerned mostly with how to ensure better secular education for Orthodox children (a goal they clearly favor) without treading on U.S. Supreme Court precedent that includes decision-making power about children’s education among the religious rights of their elders.

Maybe it’s my extensive involvement with issues of child abuse that leaves me so deeply dissatisfied with that whole approach.

There’s an elephant in the room, and the sooner we recognize it the better off our children will be. Why, in all this talk of “rights” and “freedom” in connection with the education of the young, is there so rarely any mention of the rights of the people with the most to lose? Why does “religious freedom” in the arguments we hear about this question invariably mean the freedom of adults — specifically, of rabbis — to impose on children the sort of educational system they prefer, not the sort those children deserve? Why is no one charged with protecting the rights of those young people who, lacking outside help, will have absolutely no say in the sort of education they are allowed to have?

Once you see the issue from this perspective, it’s very hard to accept at face value a discourse about “rights” that enshrines the rights of the powerful (in this case, rabbis and other Orthodox leaders) over those of vulnerable children.

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May
28

300_2799202 As the school year comes to an end many college graduates will start their professional careers. If you are unsure how to begin establishing a professional online profile there are many resources available.

Face the World along with Aussie, COVERGIRL, Gillette and Olay Fresh Effects have teamed up with LinkedIn to help graduates define their online identity, allowing you to confidently “Face the World.” The first thing you want to do is to establish your professional profile on LinkedIn.  Continue Reading…

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Apr
26

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Trisha Zulic, a hiring recruiter based in San Diego, got an email from a job applicant recently with a single word in the subject line: “Management.” The email itself included only four words: “Attached is my resume.” Continue Reading…

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Nov
20

Student loans to Bulgarians and Romanians have been frozen after a “suspicious” surge in the number enrolling at British colleges.

students-loan-frozenDavid Willetts, the Universities Minister, said he had suspended loans to students from the two countries after an unusual increase in the number receiving support from the Student Loans Company (SLC). As many as three quarters of the students involved have so far failed to prove they are entitled to their loans, sources said.

Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007 but restrictions were introduced Continue Reading…

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