On this page you will find useful information that may help you as you prepare to study in the U.S.  Visit this site frequently for updates on academic programs, scholarships and financial aid, new developments and trends in U.S. education, and other useful information. Please feel free to leave comments and to send us your questions.  You will find our contact information on this page and also links to our social networking sites. Good luck to you!

The Future of AP Testing and College Credit

Although high AP scores have traditionally translated to credits for introductory-level university courses, schools are increasingly questioning this practice. According to this New York Times article, Dartmouth College has recently decided to stop awarding credit to students with high AP scores. Is this a new trend? Will other schools follow suit? What do you think?
January 22, 2013, 12:25 pm

Should Colleges Stop Giving Credit for High A.P. Scores?


Dartmouth College, the Ivy League school in New Hampshire, has recently announced that it will no longer give college credit to students who score well on Advanced Placement tests, my colleague Tamar Lewin reports:

Elite institutions like Dartmouth have long discussed how to handle the growing number of freshmen seeking credit for top scores on A.P. or International Baccalaureate exams. Dartmouth changed its policy after an experiment measuring whether top A.P. scores indicated college-level competence.

“The psychology department got more and more suspicious about how good an indicator a 5 on the A.P. psych exam was for academic success,” said Hakan Tell, a classics professor who heads Dartmouth’s Committee on Instruction, so the department decided to give a condensed version of the Psych 1 final to incoming students instead of giving them credits.

Of more than 100 students who had scored a 5 on the A.P. exam, 90 percent failed the Dartmouth test. The other 10 percent were given Dartmouth credit.

An official of the College Board, which administers the A.P. program, found Dartmouth’s findings “very difficult to believe.”

Still, Dartmouth’s decision, which will affect the class of 2018, may influence other colleges and universities to make similar decisions.

Source: http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/22/dartmouth-ap-exam/?ref=education&gwh=E70DE41C08A257D41B8EB00450BFBEBD

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Conditional Admissions and Pathway Programs

Pathway and conditional admission programs have been growing for years. With this growth, some question whether or not universities are lowering admissions standards or making an American education accessible to more. Read on for more ideas about this question!

Conditionally Yours

January 3, 2013 – 3:00am

American colleges seeking to increase their international student enrollments are offering more flexible admission policies than ever before. An increasing number of institutions offer conditional admission programs for students whose English proficiency test scores fall short of minimum cutoffs, and at many colleges the terms of these programs are changing.

Whereas the traditional model has been for conditionally admitted students to complete a non-credit-bearing intensive English as a Second Language course sequence before matriculating into the university, a growing number of colleges are creating pathway programs through which students can enroll concurrently in ESL and academic courses. In many cases, students can even earn academic credit for their ESL coursework.

Conditional admissions is not a new practice — universities with well-regarded, accredited language institutes like Michigan State have been doing it for decades — but what is (relatively) new is the sheer scope and variety of these programs. Driving the growth has been the rapid rise in the number of Chinese and Saudi Arabian students, who together make up 29.9 percent of all international students in the United States. These students have the means to pay for an American higher education – or, in the case of Saudi students, government scholarships to support them – but in many cases need additional English language training.

In 2011, the average test-taker scored an 80 out of a possible 120 on the Internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language, while the mean scores for Chinese and Saudi students were 77 and 61, respectively.  A college with a cut score of, say, 79 (like Michigan State) therefore risks cutting off well over half the potential applicant pool from these two countries if it doesn’t have some kind of mechanism for conditional admission.

“What conditional admissions does is it provides opportunity for that student who would not otherwise have made it, and it gives a chance for an institution to reach out to a student who it would not have been able to recruit otherwise,” said Rahul Choudaha, who researches international student recruitment in his capacity as director of research and advisory services at World Education Services, a credential evaluation agency. “I do see the value for a particular segment of students and institutions to have this kind of mechanism. The challenge is the misuse of it.”

As Choudaha asked, “How do you ensure that while you provide opportunity and a second chance to students, it does not lead to an overlooking of minimum standards set by the university?”

Barmak Nassirian, an independent higher education consultant and former staffer at the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, agreed that well-designed conditional admission and pathway programs are a good idea in the abstract, but the challenge is upholding standards when there are competing motivations – chief among them money. Colleges aren’t typically in the business of creating specialized programs for students who fall on the wrong side of a bright-line requirement, but there is money to be made by recruiting – and retaining – a larger and larger pool of international undergraduate students.

“My concern is that there is an enormous gray zone where all kinds of practices can be justified in the name of hand-holding and in the name of ‘this student will eventually get to the right place,’ ” Nassirian said.

The practice of conditional admissions may be coming under new scrutiny.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently raised concerns about the common practice of issuing I-20s certifying admission to a degree program when in fact students are being admitted under the condition that they first enroll in an intensive English program. Prospective international students present I-20s in applying for visas.

“The concern with this practice is that this is essentially defrauding the immigration requirements by telling SEVP [the Student and Exchange Visitor Program] the student met the admission criteria [for the degree program listed] on their I-20 when they did not,” the Homeland Security department said in a statement. “The other issue with this trend is that it leaves DHS with the wrong impression with regard to the student’s location. For example, the ESL program may be in a physical location not listed on the I-20, thus defeating the purpose of tracking the student’s location through [the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System].” The Department of Homeland Security is expected to issue new draft guidance on conditional admissions and pathway programs soon.

“How do you ensure that while you provide opportunity and a second chance to students, it does not lead to an overlooking of minimum standards set by the university?”
–Rahul Choudaha, World Education Services

Beyond regulatory issues, questions have also arisen with regard to conditional admissions and academic standards. In September, a dean at the University of San Francisco reportedly resigned due to concerns about the recruitment of large numbers of Chinese students who lacked the necessary English proficiency and the effect of this on the overall classroom experience. USF raised its minimum TOEFL score this fall – requiring that students not only earn a 79 on the Internet-based test (the previous requirement), but that they also score a 17 or above on each of the four subsections.

However, the university also increased the number of international students who were admitted conditionally. According to the institution’s website – officials at USF declined to comment for this article – students with TOEFL scores ranging from 48 to 78 are eligible to apply for conditional admission, and conditionally admitted students enroll concurrently in ESL and academic courses. Conditionally admitted students typically take between eight and 16 credits of English each semester, and these credits count as electives. A total of 143 Chinese freshmen were conditionally admitted to USF this fall, 23 of whom exceeded the university’s previous minimum cut score.

Furthermore, recent revelations about low standards for faculty and students at the University of Southern Utah’s intensive English program have raised questions about varying levels of institutional oversight of ESL programs, which generally serve a gatekeeper function when it comes to conditionally admitted students (as it is the ESL faculty who determine who passes each level of English and who ultimately qualifies for matriculation into the university). Although there is nothing to suggest that Southern Utah’s ESL program is typical, it is one case in which some students seem to have progressed through the program and into the university without reaching the level of English proficiency they would need to succeed.

The minimum English proficiency test scores required by U.S. universities for direct admission vary dramatically. Minimum TOEFL scores for direct undergraduate admission can range from 45 (at, for example, the University of Alaska Anchorage) to 100 at Ivy League institutions and elite liberal arts colleges (such as AmherstColumbiaand Yale). For many selective but nonelite institutions, 79-80 seems to be the norm.

For students who fall below cut scores, but otherwise are determined to meet a university’s admissions requirements, options vary. Some colleges establish a floor for conditional admission – for example, a university with a minimum TOEFL requirement of 79 for direct undergraduate entry might offer conditional admission only to students with a score of 68 or above – while others will conditionally admit students at any level of English language proficiency.

Some colleges require conditionally admitted students to enroll in a university-governed intensive English program, while others have partnerships with private language providers. The largest of these, ELS, has relationships with 613 colleges that accept completion of its English for Academic Purposes Program as proof of English proficiency. Of these institutions, 572 make admission offers to students on the condition that they successfully complete ELS’ curriculum. ELS — whose centers are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training — has 60 locations in the U.S., 53 of which are located on college campuses. Twelve of the 60 centers have opened in the last three years — at East Tennessee State, Ohio Dominican, Marquette, Northern Illinois, and Texas Tech Universities; the Universities of Arkansas at Fort Smith, Houston at Clear Lake, Mary Washington, and Tampa; Bates Technical College; and in “city centers” in Santa Cruz and Silicon Valley.

David Hawkins, the director of public policy for the National Association for College Admission Counseling, said the association’s Commission on International Student Recruitment has discussed the growth of conditional admission and pathway programs in the course of its ongoing discussions. The commission has focused largely on thecontroversial practice of using agents paid on commission in the recruitment of international students – a practice that’s barred under federal law when it comes to domestic student admissions.

Hawkins said two concerns expressed by commission members are the degree to which conditional admission and pathway programs are integrated into the institution and the extent to which the university controls them (or doesn’t). “Everyone understands that some of these programs generate revenue and are administered in a different way than the university handles traditional admissions,” Hawkins said. “They’re different business entities, if you will. And I think the concern that stems from that is perhaps the university doesn’t have oversight over the third parties that are involved in the transaction and that there are different tactics used to recruit students. The idea that there are commissioned sales going on in this environment is something that’s been discussed.” ELS, for example, has a global network of about 1,700 agents who earn commissions from the company for students recruited to its English language programs.

Conditional admission and pathway programs can perform two main functions: 1) they create a new pipeline of international students who wouldn’t otherwise be admissible and 2) they provide international students with additional support and a lower-stakes environment in which they can acclimate to the expectations of the U.S. higher education system. The University of Delaware, which has created a robust conditional admissions program in the last five years, raised its TOEFL requirement for direct undergraduate admission to 90 to capture more students in the Conditional Admissions Program (CAP). Scott Stevens, the director of Delaware’s (university-governed) English Language Institute, estimates that about 80 percent of the university’s undergraduate international students are admitted conditionally.

“Part of the idea behind CAP is a recognition that simply having a score on an iBT [the Internet-based version of the TOEFL] does not in any way, shape or form indicate that a student is fully prepared,” Stevens said. “The idea is for these students to learn what we call in the profession ‘cognitive academic language proficiency.’ So it’s not simply understanding and speaking the language, but being able to take notes, being able to read and write critically, reading and writing academic texts, being able to participate actively in problem-based learning and making presentations: this is a very wide and complex skill set. You can’t just in any way assume that a student with a 90 iBT will have that.”

“We really see CAP as a much, much better way of preparing students for matriculation and frankly another way of vetting those students who perhaps got those [English proficiency test] scores by luck or maybe by some dishonest means,” Stevens said.

Delaware’s intensive English institute, which is accredited by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation, is of the traditional model: students cannot matriculate into university courses until they complete the English language course sequence and they do not earn academic credits for their ESL courses, save for the very highest level writing class. Stevens said he worries about the growing trend in which universities grant academic credit for ESL courses: “I don’t see how one can justify that.”

Ed McManness, director of the International Institute at La Salle University, in Philadelphia, says the justification is a straightforward one. “When we went to college we got credit for language whether we took Spanish or French or German, but many of us couldn’t take an academic test or write an essay in that language. But still we passed a course and got credit for it.”

La Salle has a new pathway program this year that allows students with TOEFL scores between 64 and 79 to earn 30 academic credits in their first year. (La Salle’s recommended minimum TOEFL for direct undergraduate entry is 76, but, as McManness explained, some students who meet or exceed the minimum still feel they can benefit from the transitional program.) Each semester, pathway students take two ESL courses in their pathway cohort and one history course taught exclusively for the pathway students, in addition to enrolling in two courses in the university at large. In another twist, the pathway students are considered fully admitted to La Salle, rather than conditionally, despite their low TOEFLs.

“Students learn language when their learning situation contains the vocabulary and the information they really want to learn,” McManness said of the benefit of letting students begin courses in their majors early on. “It’s not simply like being in an intensive language program.”

“The key thing for us is that the ex-pathway students are performing at the same level as the direct international, if not slightly better. That’s interesting when on paper they didn’t qualify for direct entry in the first place.”
–Bob Gilmour, director of academic programs for Oregon State’s INTO OSU.

The pathway approach, in which students enroll in a mix of academic and credit-bearing English coursework in a foundation semester or year, continues to grow in popularity. The programs appeal to international students who wish to begin academic coursework right away, for financial or other reasons. Some of these programs are run by institutions (like La Salle’s). For example, Miami University, in Ohio, is now in its second year of offering a semesterlong American Culture and English program, in which students with TOEFL scores of 65-75 can be conditionally admitted and enroll in a one-semester, 15- to 17-credit pathway program consisting of two ESL courses – worth nine credits all together — one sophomore-level American studies course (taught in a special section, reserved for students in the program) and one regular university course. The program also offers co-curricular activities and excursions and requires all students to live on campus with American roommates. In its first three semesters, the program has enrolled 120 students, the vast majority of whom are Chinese.

Meanwhile, George Mason University’s one-year, 28-credit ACCESS program, open to students with TOEFLs of 68 or above, consists of a mix of academic, freshman transition, and English-language support classes. The students, who are predominantly from Saudi Arabia, China and the United Arab Emirates, are provisionally admitted into the university pending successful completion of the program. The program is now in its third year, and its director, Nicole Sealey, said it experienced one-year retention rates of 70 and 86 percent for the first and second cohorts, respectively. (Mason’s overall one-year persistence rate is around 86 percent.)

Increasingly, for-profit companies are partnering with U.S. colleges to offer foundation or pathway programs. The emergence of these companies has attracted controversy (for much more on that, see this Inside Higher Ed article), but they continue to expand their footprints. An Australian company, Navitas, runs pathway programs at three branches of the University of Massachusetts, as well as at the University of New Hampshire and Western Kentucky University, while Kaplan International Colleges runs “Global Pathways” programs at Pace and Northeastern Universities and the University of Utah.

Study Group, which offers pathway programs at James Madison and Widener Universities, just announced it would open a new location at Roosevelt University, in Chicago, next fall. And INTO University Partnerships, which enters into long-term, joint ventures with partner universities, has established pathway programs at Colorado State and Oregon State Universities and the University of South Florida. It announced a new partnership, with Marshall University, in West Virginia, in November.

The oldest of the INTO programs, at Oregon State, has about 400 students enrolled in pathway programs offering entry into various undergraduate majors and graduate programs. For example, a student enrolled in a pathway program in business will take a slate of courses in anthropology, ESL, English composition, health, math, and public speaking, as well as an introductory business course. Oregon State retains control over the academics: the ESL instructors are Oregon State employees, and content courses in the various disciplines are controlled and taught by faculty in the corresponding academic departments. Students in the undergraduate pathway programs must earn a minimum 2.25 GPA and at least a C- in English composition and college algebra to progress into Oregon State with sophomore standing at the end of the pathway year.

The students who gain entry into INTO pathway programs may fall below standards for direct university admission not only in terms of English, but also GPA: while Oregon State requires a TOEFL of 80 and a GPA of 3.0 for direct undergraduate entry, students can be provisionally admitted into the INTO OSU undergraduate pathway programs with a 60 on the TOEFL and a 2.5 GPA. “The assessment of a credential from a high school beyond our borders – in China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh — is more art than science,” said David Stremba, the managing director for INTO North America.  “It’s very difficult to understand the level of rigor; it’s very difficult to understand a system that is often quite different than what we’re used to in the United States.”

A pathway program, Stremba  said, is about “leveling the playing field, and allowing very good students to prove that they are ready for a degree program.” Not all will succeed – in using the metaphor ”widening the funnel,” Stremba emphasized that a funnel is by nature widest at the top – but many will. Oregon State and INTO report that for the fall and winter 2011-12 cohorts, 67 percent of undergraduate pathway students successfully completed the program and progressed into Oregon State as sophomores. Another 3 percent completed and transferred into other universities, and another 22 percent are currently retaking one or more pathway courses and still have the chance to advance into OSU. Eight percent failed or dropped out.

Of those who do progress, former pathway students earn higher average GPAs than international sophomores who were directly admitted to Oregon State: 2.78 to 2.64.

“The key thing for us is that the ex-pathway students are performing at the same level as the direct international, if not slightly better,” said Bob Gilmour, director of academic programs for INTO OSU. “That’s interesting when on paper they didn’t qualify for direct entry in the first place.”

Gilmour said the benefit of a pathway model is that it allows universities to maintain or even raise their standards for direct admission while still creating opportunity for students who fall below those standards. “It’s really creating a buffer zone for the university, which is in everyone’s interest, including the students themselves,” Gilmour said. “They know what they have to achieve in that pathway year and it’s really in their hands to achieve it.”

Source: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/01/03/conditional-admission-and-pathway-programs-proliferate

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중앙대-한국외대 ‘1+3 국제특별전형’ 폐쇄… 학생 수백명 오갈 데 없어져

Source:  DongA.com – http://news.donga.com/Society/3/03/20130116/52349409/1

수험생 강모 양(19)은 지난해 10월 중앙대가 모집하는 ‘1+3 국제특별전형’에 합격했다. 중앙대가 모집만 하고 미국 워싱턴 주의 한 대학 소속으로 현지 학위를 받는 전형이었다. 중앙대에서 교환학생 신분으로 1년간 30학점과 영어교육 960시간을 이수하고 미국에서 나머지 세 학년을 마치는 방식이었다. 강 양은 미국 대학 입학금 3000달러를 포함해 한 학기 수업료로 총 1만1580달러(약 1223만 원)를 냈다. 이미 대학 입학이 결정된 터라 대학수학능력시험은 대충 치르고 나왔다.

하지만 강 양을 포함한 중앙대 ‘1+3 전형’ 합격생 210여 명은 수능 20여 일 만인 지난해 11월 29일 졸지에 ‘불법전형’ 응시자 신세가 됐다. 이날 교육과학기술부(교과부)가 강 양이 합격한 ‘1+3 전형’을 불법이라 규정하고 폐쇄 명령을 내린 것이다.

교과부는 중앙대 등 20개 대학이 운영하는 ‘1+3 전형’을 국내외 대학의 공동학위 과정으로 볼 수 없다고 판단했다. 중앙대는 ‘1+3 전형’은 국내에서 교환학생 자격으로 1년 동안 공부한 뒤 영어와 학점 등에서 일정 수준을 넘어야 미국 학교에 정식 입학하는 전형이라고 설명했다. 하지만 교과부는 이들이 먼저 미국 대학에 입학한 뒤 국내에 들어온 학생이 아니어서 정식 교환학생으로 인정할 수 없다는 논리를 펴고 있다.

또 중앙대 한국외국어대를 제외한 대다수 대학은 이 전형을 부설 평생교육원이 운영해 정식 고등교육과정으로 인정받을 수도 없었다. 중앙대와 한국외국어대는 뒤늦게 “불만은 있지만 교과부 조치를 따르겠다”며 정부 조치를 받아들이는 바람에 이번 사태가 난 것이다.

교과부는 이 대학들이 해당 전형을 운영하면서 유학원을 끼고 돈벌이를 한 것으로 보고 있다. 국내 대학과 유학원이 미국 대학에 학생을 연결하면서 수십억 원을 챙겼다는 것이다. 교과부에 따르면 중앙대와 한국외국어대는 K유학원에 이 전형 운영을 일임해 왔다. K유학원은 2011년 두 대학이 이 전형으로 거둔 수익 107억 원(중앙대 60억 원, 외국어대 47억 원) 중 39억 원을 받아갔다. K유학원은 지난해 50억여 원의 수익을 거둔 걸로 알려졌다. 교과부 관계자는 “대학이 유학원과 유착해 돈벌이를 한 부분에 대해서는 해당 대학을 종합감사하고 국세청에 유학원에 대한 세무조사를 의뢰할 수도 있다”고 밝혔다. 일각에서는 교과부도 2009년부터 시작된 이 전형의 위법성을 뒤늦게 제기해 피해 학생을 양산한 책임에서 자유롭지 않다는 지적이 나온다.

중앙대와 한국외국어대 ‘1+3 전형’ 합격자와 각각의 부모 100여 명씩은 지난달 12월 서울행정법원에 교과부 장관을 상대로 ‘교육과정 폐쇄명령 취소청구’ 소송과 집행정지 가처분 신청을 냈다. 서울행정법원은 14, 15일 각각 한국외국어대와 중앙대 학부모들이 단체로 제기한 집행정지 가처분 신청을 받아들였다. 이 결정에 따르면 교과부는 본안 소송 판결 선고 후 14일까지 폐쇄조치 집행을 멈춰야 한다. 교과부 측은 “일단 가처분 결정에 항고하겠다” 고 밝혔다.

중앙대는 ‘1+3 전형’ 폐쇄명령에 항의하며 총장실을 점거한 학부모들에게 15일 절충안을 제시했다. 이 전형 합격생들을 시간제 등록생으로 전환하는 것이다. 시간제 등록생은 정규 학생이 아닌 일반인 자격으로 1년간 최대 24학점을 들을 수 있다. 따라서 이 신분으로 24학점을 채운 뒤 나머지 6학점은 계절학기로 채우도록 한다는 내용이다. 허연 중앙대 사회교육처장은 ”학생들이 신분만 다를 뿐 이전과 똑같은 교육을 통해 미국 대학에 진학할 수 있다”고 말했다. 하지만 학부모들은 “청강생과 다를 바 없는 시간제 등록생 자격으로 딴 학점을 미국 대학에서 정식 학점으로 인정해 줄지 의문”이라며 “처음 약속대로 교환학생 자격으로 학교에 다닐 수 있게 해달라”고 목소리를 높였다.

조동주 기자 djc@donga.com

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법원, 중앙대 1+3 전형 폐쇄명령 집행정지 결정

Source:  Chosun.com – http://news.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2013/01/15/2013011501879.html?news_Head1

한국외대와 중앙대의 ‘1+3’ 국제전형에 대한 교육과학기술부의 폐쇄명령 처분 집행이 모두 정지됐다.

서울행정법원 행정4부(이인형 부장판사)는 15일 중앙대 합격자와 학부모 101명이 교육과학기술부 장관을 상대로 낸 1+3 전형 폐쇄명령 처분 집행정지 신청을 받아들였다.

이로써 교과부의 폐쇄명령 처분 효력이 정지됐다. 따라서 해당 대학이 이 전형을 강행하더라도 교과부로부터 불이익을 받지 않게 된다.

재판부는 “신청인들에게 생길 회복하기 어려운 손해를 예방하기 위해 집행정지가 긴급히 필요하다”며 “본안 소송 판결 선고 후 14일까지 처분의 집행을 정지한다”고 결정했다.

같은 법원은 전날 1+3 전형으로 한국외대에 합격한 학생과 학부모가 제기한 가처분 신청을 인용했다.

앞서 중앙대 합격자 1명이 제기한 가처분 신청은 기각됐지만, 이날 결정으로 해당 학생은 함께 구제받을 수 있게 됐다.

법원 관계자는 “학교 측이 법원 결정 취지에 따른다면 지난 11일 가처분 신청이 기각된 1명도 함께 구제된다”고 설명했다.

다만, 외대와 중앙대는 이미 교과부 처분에 따라 해당 프로그램을 폐쇄하기로 방침을 정한 상태다.

교과부 관계자는 “법원이 학생을 보호하기 위해 가처분을 인용한 것으로 본다”며 “가처분 결정에 항고하고 1+3 전형의 불법성 여부를 다투는 본안 소송 대응에 최선을 다하겠다”고 밝혔다.

1+3 전형은 한국 대학에서 1년 동안 어학과 교양 수업을 듣고 외국 대학에 편입하는 유학 프로그램이다. 교과부는 지난해 11월, 이 과정이 고등교육법 등을 위반했다며 폐쇄 명령을 내렸다.

이에 1+3 전형을 통해 외대와 중앙대에 합격한 학생과 학부모는 ‘전형이 폐쇄되면 재수를 해야한다’며 폐쇄명령 취소 청구소송과 집행정지 신청을 동시에 제기했다.

중앙대 합격자 학부모 50여명은 전날 오후부터 ‘원안대로 프로그램을 진행하라’며 총장실을 점거하고 농성을 벌이고 있다.

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Yale Young Global Scholars Program

Yale is now accepting applications for the Yale Yale Young Global Scholars Program for Outstanding High School Students.  See the article below for more details!

Yale seeks young global leaders for high school summer program

New Haven, Conn.— Yale University today announced that it is accepting applications for the Yale Young Global Scholars Program for Outstanding High School Students. The summer program is open to rising high school juniors and seniors from across the United States and around the world, who will live and study at Yale for two weeks in the summer of 2013.

The Yale Young Global Scholars program features intensive interaction with renowned Yale faculty in the fields of history, political science, law, economics, and international affairs. Unusual among summer programs, need-based financial aid is available to both American and international students. Yale Young Global Scholars builds on the successful Ivy Scholars summer program that Yale has offered for the last 12 years.

“Yale educates global leaders in our undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools,” said University Vice President Linda Lorimer, who oversees Yale’s Office of International Affairs, which administers the program. “Now, with the Yale Young Global Scholars Program, we are extending leadership training to outstanding high school students. This is a wonderful opportunity for talented young people from around the world to develop their abilities to think critically, speak powerfully, and write persuasively about some of the most important issues of our time.”

Students may apply to either one or both of the two-week summer sessions offered: (1) “Studies in Grand Strategy,” which focuses on strategic lessons from history and their application to contemporary international affairs; and (2) “Politics, Law, and Economics,” which focuses on great ideas and thinkers in the American intellectual tradition. Both sessions feature lectures and seminars by renowned Yale faulty and accomplished practitioners in their respective fields. Lecturers have included Yale professors Akhil Reed Amar, John Lewis Gaddis, Paul Kennedy, Anthony Kronman, William Nordhaus, Ian Shapiro, and Steven Smith, among many others.

Students live together in Yale’s residential colleges, eat at Yale’s dining halls, and take advantage of Yale’s library and online resources, all of which combine to give students a comprehensive introduction to life at Yale. Because the student-to-faculty ratio is only 6:1, students will enjoy an extraordinary level of attention, note the organizers.

To cement the classroom learning, the Yale Young Global Scholars program also features several interactive activities. For example, students in the “Studies in Grand Strategy” program can participate in an international crisis and negotiation exercise, or research and present a team policy proposal to a group of faculty members simulating the United Nations Security Council. In the “Politics, Law, and Economics” program, students might write and present a political campaign speech, publicly defend a legal opinion, or engage in a Constitutional Convention deliberation.

“We are looking for the best and brightest high school students, from every country, who relish the idea of working together to better understand 21st-century global challenges,” said program director Ted Wittenstein. “If this is you, we encourage you to apply, even if you need financial assistance in order to participate.”

For further information and application details, visit the program website at http://globalscholars.yale.edu.

Source:  http://news.yale.edu/2012/12/05/yale-seeks-young-global-leaders-high-school-summer-program

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5 Colleges that Award International Students the Most Financial Aid

Source:  U.S. News:  http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2012/09/19/infographic-5-colleges-that-award-international-students-the-most-financial-aid

Infographic: 5 Colleges That Award International Students the Most Financial Aid

Some schools offered students from abroad more than $50,000 in financial aid in 2011.

U.S. News & World Report released its 2013 Best Colleges rankings last week, packed with data on more than 1,600 colleges and universities. For some international students who use the rankings, many U.S. schools may seem out of reach financially, due to the high costs of tuition and living expenses and the limited financial aid options for international students.

But there are schools across the country that offer substantial financial aid packages specifically to international students hoping to study in the United States. During the 2011-2012 academic year, 350 ranked schools offered financial aid packages to 50 or more international students, averaging $17,289 in institutional aid per student. (Note: U.S. News only considered colleges and universities that awarded financial aid to at least 50 international students for this analysis.)

[See how international students can cut U.S. college costs.]

Harvard University and Yale University, which placed first and third, respectively, in the National Universities rankings, are among the top five schools that awarded the highest average financial aid to at least 50 international students. The other three schools on this list are National Liberal Arts Colleges, including second-ranked Amherst College.

Below is an infographic that highlights the five schools that awarded the highest average financial aid packages for international students during the 2011-2012 academic year. Keep in mind that since these are averages, not every student at each of these schools received the full awards below. The financial aid data below are correct as of Sept. 19, 2012.

U.S. News 2013 Best Colleges: Financial Aid for International Students

Searching for a college? Get our complete rankings of Best Colleges.

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Graduate Students Hone Their English Language Skills

Source:  New York Times  http://tinyurl.com/9rl8sbt

This New York Times articles highlights efforts some universities are making to improve the English language skills (particularly speaking proficiency) of graduates students.

Smoothing the Path from Foreign Lips to American Ears


ATHENS, Ohio — For hundreds of grown men and women here, work can mean sticking fingers into models of the human mouth, or trying to talk while peering at their tongues in mirrors or while hopping up and down stairs.

They are foreign graduate students at Ohio University who are spending up to two hours a day learning how to speak so that their American colleagues and students will understand them. Many of them spend more than a year in the program, and they are not allowed to teach until their English instructors say they are ready.

It is a complaint familiar to millions of alumni of research universities: the master’s or doctoral candidate from overseas, employed as a teaching assistant, whose accent is too thick for undergraduate students to penetrate. And it is an issue that many universities are addressing more seriously, using a better set of tools, than in years past.

“These are often students whose reading and writing in English is excellent, but whom Americans have a very hard time comprehending, and it calls for a lot of work,” said Dawn Bikowski, the director of the English Language Improvement Program here.

At American universities, one in every six graduate students hails from another country — about 300,000 of them, almost half from China and India, according to the Institute of International Education. In science and technology fields, foreigners make up nearly half of the graduate students.

Those from China and other East Asian countries are often like Xingbo Liu, a graduate student in nutrition here, who said she had taken English classes nearly all her life. “But we only learn how to write and read,” she said, “how to choose the right answer on a written test.” Many Indian or African students have done most of their formal education in English and are comfortable speaking it, but with accents that challenge American ears.

“This is something that nationwide, people are paying a lot more attention to,” said James Tierney, the director of the English Language Program at Yale University. Universities worry not only about the foreigners’ ability to function as students and teachers, but also about “competing on an equal footing in the job market when they graduate.”

Graduate students require particular attention because their exposure to American education and culture can be much narrower, said Julia Moore, the director of the English Language Program at Northwestern University, with “friends, colleagues, roommates and even faculty mentors who speak their languages.” In addition to requiring language instruction for many graduate students, Northwestern enrolls them in a monthlong summer immersion program in American language and culture.

In some cases, university action has been prodded by politicians. Louisiana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Washington have laws requiring that instructors be intelligible, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and similar bills have been introduced in many other states in the last decade.

Foreign applicants to American universities must submit scores on standardized tests of their English skills. In the not-too-distant past, that almost always meant a written exam. But university officials say that the growth of tests that include oral components has given them a much better idea of applicants’ speaking skills.

The test most commonly used by American institutions, the Test of English as a Foreign Language, or Toefl, added a spoken portion in 2005 when it was first administered online. The company that produces the exam, ETS, says that 98 percent of people who take it now take the Internet version, which includes listening and speaking.

In another step forward, professors say, increasingly sophisticated software programs analyze and critique speech. One program, NativeAccent, which became available three years ago, has been adopted by more than 100 universities.

Briju Thankachan, an Indian graduate student here in instructional technology, has spent hundreds of hours using NativeAccent. The software can isolate hundreds of pronunciation issues and even show animations of how to position parts of the mouth for each sound.

“Every morning I would hear him repeating things over and over into the computer, and you could hear him getting better,” said Mr. Thankachan’s wife, Betsy J. Briju, a visiting assistant professor in plant biology.

The comprehension problem is far from solved. Even at an institution like Ohio University, with an unusually robust remedial program, undergraduate students say they have run into hard-to-understand teaching assistants.

“You get better at understanding after a while, and they’re willing to talk it over again, but it can be hard,” said Karen Martinez, a sophomore from Chicago.

The university’s efforts to address the accent problem date to the 1980s. Every foreign student’s command of spoken English is assessed on arrival, and each year about 300 go through the improvement program, part of the linguistics department.

In classes, the students learn to break language into individual sounds, forcing them to be aware of how each part of the mouth is positioned to make a particular bit, while instructors contort their faces and touch their tongues to drive home the point. Students take sentences apart to learn rhythm, emphasis, pauses and rising and falling pitch — elements that can convey as much information as words — and reinforce them with stair-hops and other physical exercises.

“Many people come here without having learned intonation at all,” said Lara Wallace, a lecturer in linguistics. “Everything comes out in a flat monotone, which makes an accent even harder to understand.”

Students are assigned to practice in computer labs, using the speech analysis software, and — possibly the most unpopular exercise — recording audio or video of themselves speaking. They have to transcribe those recordings verbatim, with every pause, false start, repetition or “um” noted.

“I like it and I hate it,” said Xuan He, a 24-year-old sociology student. “Every time, I feel like I sound very stupid. But it is useful.”

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The College Board’s List of 101 Great Books Recommended for College-Bound Readers

Follow this link for a list of books recommended by the College Board for students preparing to attend a U.S. college or university.


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Comparing High School and College

High school and college life are different in any country; the differences between college life in the U.S. and high school life in Korea can be even greater.  The University of Minnesota Duluth has an interesting group of pages comparing high school and college life.  Take a look!


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Study Abroad Can Change Your Life—And Your Country

Study Abroad Can Change Your Life—And Your Country

Source: http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/site/entry/promoting_educational_exchange

Posted by Fabiola Rodriguez-Ciampoli / March 28, 2012

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Fabiola Rodriguez-Ciampoli holds a roundtable discussion on educational exchanges in the Americas at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., March 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

Fabiola Rodriguez-Ciampoli serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.

I am living proof of how study abroad can change your life. I came from Mexico to the United States as a Fulbright graduate student. That led to — in addition to a master’s degree — falling in love, getting married, becoming a U.S. citizen, campaigning in the 2008 presidential election, and ultimately being chosen to lead public diplomacy for the Western Hemisphere at the U.S. Department of State.

Although most people realize that study abroad can change an individual’s life, they often don’t recognize how important international exchanges can be as a contribution to relations between our countries. Study abroad enhances our understanding of other cultures, provides an enlightening perspective on our home country, and builds partnerships that foster progress toward greater prosperity, economic equality, and sustainability. Recognizing the importance of international exchanges, President Obama launched 100,000 Strong in the Americas with the goal of bringing 100,000 Latin American and Caribbean students to the United States and sending 100,000 U.S. students to study in Latin America and the Caribbean annually. Supporting this bold educational exchange initiative is one of the U.S. government’s highest priorities for the Western Hemisphere.

The Department of State recently hosted an education roundtable with local colleges, universities, educational associations, and nine U.S. Ambassadors serving in countries in the Western Hemisphere. The Ambassadors offered insights about the environment for educational exchanges in the countries where they serve, and explored ways they can work with the U.S. higher education community to achieve the 100,000 Strong in the Americas goal. The associations and schools offered to work with the Department of State and our Embassies to identify U.S. partners interested in exchanges with Latin America and the Caribbean. It was striking to see how many of our most senior Ambassadors in the region view promoting educational exchange as an essential part of building strong bilateral relations.

The 100,000 Strong initiative got another boost from a conference the Department of Commerce, Department of State, and Georgetown University recently sponsored. At the conference, some 500 government, business, and academic leaders from throughout the Western Hemisphere came together to discuss the importance of improving and internationalizing our higher education systems to produce workers equipped with the knowledge and experience to compete in a global economy. Educational exchange is not just a nice thing to do; it’s the absolutely necessary thing to do. In the words of a Brazilian businessman who was quoted at the conference, “I am not doing this (supporting education) because I am a nice guy. I am doing it, because if I don’t, I will go bankrupt.” That’s how important it is to have a skilled, well-educated, and culturally savvy workforce in the 21st century.

At the conference, I had a great roundtable discussion with government and university officials from the Western Hemisphere about what we need to do to increase educational exchange among the countries in the region. I was able to share with our guests some updates on 100,000 Strong in the Americas. I was thrilled when Vice Minister Botero of Colombia said, “We welcome 100,000 Strong; it’s like a ring to our finger.”

International exchanges are, without question, the best way to build lasting ties of international understanding and friendship, as well as to prepare for success in an increasingly interconnected global economy and workforce. As we work with our partners in the region to increase exchange opportunities, students interested in studying abroad should know that there are a lot of opportunities already out there. Check with your study abroad or international exchange office. If you are overseas, contact our EducationUSA advisers who work in hundreds of advising centers around the world.

Study abroad. It could change your life, and your country.

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