Admissions officials: Students shouldn’t bank on application gimmicks

The University of Michigan admitted 42 out of 4,498 waitlisted students last year.

College applicants shouldn’t rely on a viral YouTube video to spring them from the confines of a university’s lengthy wait list, admissions officials say—despite the success of one high-profile applicant whose video plea went viral.

Campus admissions officials frown on gimmicks like tins of homemade cookies or phone calls from vaguely famous relatives. But for one college hopeful, a Motown love song did the trick: After posting a YouTube video of himself singing about his love for the University of Michigan (UM), Lawrence Yong was plucked from the waitlist and admitted to the school’s 2012 freshman class.

Students who receive waitlist letters in April typically must wait until late June to see if any spots remain after admitted students submit their enrollment deposits.…Read More

Do today’s college students have less empathy than past generations?

A study from the University of Michigan says college students today show less empathy toward others compared with college students in decades before—and the researchers attribute this partly to the time they spend on social networks, USA Today reports. Sara Konrath, a researcher at the university’s Institute for Social Research, looked at 72 studies that gauged empathy among 14,000 college students in the past 30 years. She found that empathy has been declining, especially since 2000. The research finds that college students today show 40 percent less empathy vs. students in the 1980s and 1990s. The students are less likely to agree with statements such as “I often have tender, concerned feelings for people less fortunate than me” and “I sometimes try to understand my friends better by imagining how things look from their perspective.” The study did not evaluate why students are less empathetic, but Konrath says one reason may be that people are having fewer face-to-face interactions, communicating instead through social media such as Facebook and Twitter. “Empathy is best activated when you can see another person’s signal for help,” Konrath says. Another cause may be changing expectations about success. Since the 1980s, there has been a steady trend in people feeling more stressed about trying to “get ahead,” Konrath says…

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Study explores the future of book digitization

As more libraries move their collections online, some faculty are concerned about their ability to find and read digitized texts.
As more libraries move their collections online, some faculty are concerned about their ability to find and read digitized texts.

Reluctant faculty members, challenges in scanning old texts with foreign characters, and conflicting ideas about whether information should be commodified or made free on the internet have been barriers to educators and librarians who advocate for book digitization, according to research conducted by digital media experts from Rice University and the University of Michigan.

The report, “The Idea of Order: Transforming Research Collections for 21st Century Scholarship,” was released June 2 by the Washington, D.C.-based Council on Library and Information Resources, a nonprofit group that advocates for greater access to information. The research examines the “wistfulness” for the days of print libraries that has slowed the creation of digitized book collections, among other topics.

Many in higher education have argued for more comprehensive web-based libraries like Google’s much-publicized Book Search, which has come under scrutiny from the U.S. Justice Department.…Read More

Universities hope to top Google’s high-speed list

Google plans to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in communities across the United States.
Google plans to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in communities across the United States.

As cities and towns vie for the opportunity to be chosen for Google Inc.’s pilot of an experimental, ultra-fast internet network, some colleges and universities have thrown their support behind their local towns.

Google is planning to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in at least one and possibly several locations across the United States. The plan is to be able to deliver internet speeds of 1 gigabit per second through fiber-to-the-home connections—more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today. Google hopes to be able to offer the service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people.

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