Big Public University? New York Times article, Survival of the Fitest

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<p>You may need to register to read this but please read this sad commentary on big public Universities. It describes several students at the University of Arizona and it is not a pretty picture. What do you think? One hour of homework a night, avoiding classes and even finals and still passing, coaches that help atheletes avoid certain classes, only two basketball players on scholarship have graduated in so many goes on.</p>

<p>I found the article to be an eye opener and was delighted to read about the last student who was challenged and motivated.</p>

<p>That is SO sad for all those students, and outrageous on many levels. I was amazed at the candid comments of the administraters at the school - actually admitting that the athlete helpers petition professors for grade changes if the athlete's grade is low!!!!</p>

<p>Makes one wonder: Do we as a society produce kids who are just too immature for college (or for their lives for that matter)? Are the high schools failing? Or, do most people simply fail to thrive in large crowds?</p>

<p>I have to say though, to hear government people talking about "standards" at the college level is pretty scary...</p>

<p>holy crap, its that easy to graduate? I need to go to Arizona.</p>

<p>Mr. B, thanks for posting this.</p>

<p>I wanted my son to think of Arizona as a safety school because the weather is great, the students are good looking (A good thing), the state has a growing population, sports are a big part of the campus and I thought the academics were fine.</p>

<p>I'm changing my mind after reading that article.</p>

<p>Arizona has to change the way it educates students. The people that run the school should be disappointed and ashamed.</p>

I think Arizona U is just an example. The problems mentioned are not unique to Arizona, most large schools will have the same problems.</p>

<p>One of the students profiled in that article was just plain lazy and unmotivated.....He looked on the college experience as just party time. A couple of generations ago a goofball like that wouldn't even be in the college system.</p>

<p>When they asked the student who had stopped going to classes and had just avoided a bar brawl the night before what he would think about when he remembered his college years, he tells the interviewer that when he is older he probably wouldn't be able to drink and party this much so he was glad that he wasn't letting this opportunity go by. I don't know if I would trust him as a drug sales rep.</p>

<p>"A couple of generations ago a goofball like that wouldn't even be in the college system"</p>

<p>Oh, I can think of a few. Ted Kennedy for one.</p>

<p>For a kid like me who's choosing between a top-rated LAC and a top-rated State U. (but out-of-state), this article was a real eye-opener. At a large State U, I think in order to succeed you have to really stand out above the masses of other students. And for the middle-of-the-road students (1200 SAT, 3.0 GPA) at these places this can be very tough to do. I think these schools need to do a better job advising, mentoring, and just in general reaching out to the types of students mentioned in the article.</p>

<p>College_Hopeful, there are big schools that aren't like Arizona.</p>

<p><<oh, i="" can="" think="" of="" a="" few.="" ted="" kennedy="" for="" one="">></oh,></p>

<p>And the President, of course.</p>

<p>Boy, reading that article I veered between wanted to dopeslap some of those students to being angry at the experience they had. </p>

<p>To some extent, maybe this is what happens when we, as a society, send so many kids on to college. They really may not all be college material. It's awful that they wash out, but maybe some of these students should not be there in the first place (and the tragedy is, others should be there but never go). </p>

<p>It's not really their fault for having the aspirations. I think college is valued for the wrong reasons sometimes, and for a certain class of people I think NOT applying to college (and at least starting out as a freshman somewhere) is simply not a socially acceptable option.</p>

<p>Maybe U of AZ, and places like it, wouldn't be so big and impersonal if college wasn't the default choice for so many people. They could be smaller, give a better education. Of course, here I sit in a state where a big commission just said the state should double the number of people graduating from college. That's moving in the opposite direction.</p>

<p>I'll bet the PR people at U of AZ are in fits over this. FITS.</p>

<p>Wow- my d has had SUCH a different experience at UA. She has been so impressed with her profs AND TAs. She has worked very hard and been disappointed to not get the A's and B's she was shooting for. The transfer students she met complained how difficult it was to get good grades at UA compared to their previous schools. But, she is a serious student and driven. Too bad they didn't talk to more students who are more serious about school-and mature enough to be pro-active.
The size of UA was actually a draw for her. She knew she would outgrow a small school. She is impressed by the size of her classes, the personal attention of the profs (you need to speak to them, not wait for them to find you), even the President and the facilities (freshman care about that stuff?).Very few probs. There is alot to be said for large, state unis and we have been very pleased with UA. </p>

<p>And besides all that, you can't top Lute Olson and AZ basketball! Great stuff!</p>

<p>Colleges shouldn't hand you a degree on a silver platter, it should actually require some work on the part of the student. So many more kids are going to college now than used to be the case, but you can't say that high school students are smarter than high school students 40 years ago. If they aren't willing to put in the work, then they shouldn't get the reward (the degree).</p>

<p>My D was offered a full-ride to UA and didn't even apply. </p>

<p>Fwiw, I think you <em>can</em> get a good education at UA but you really have to work at it compared to the places she did apply. And certainly I'd take UA over AzSt. For most top students...the kind that haunt this board...I'd guess that UA would be disappointing.</p>

<p>I think the article did a pretty good job of illustrating that challenges are available at a big state U if you seek them out. Notice that the students who said they did so little homework did not say that they tried to choose the toughest majors or smallest classes...quite the opposite. No doubt there's a huge difference between biochem or Chinese literature vs., say, communications.</p>

<p>That being said, no one should get through the freshman year in any B.A. program in the U.S. without passing a serious and intensive writing requirement. That's an embarrassment.</p>

<p>I agree that if I were an Arizona PR staffer, I'd be out on a ledge right now. There may be no such thing as bad publicity where celebrities are concerned, but I don't think that applies to colleges.</p>

<p>You cannot generalize. There are kids who get an outstanding education at public universities, and at UA as well. But there is latitude there for some slackers as well. Two of my childhood friends went there, one as a recruited athlete who was later injured there. Both are professors today at major universities after graduating from UA. You get what you put in.</p>

<p>I agree that you can get a good education anywhere, but I was particularly struck by the last student, the one who'd "made it". She is a poster child for getting a good education, but to do so she had to go against the prevailing culture, academically and otherwise. That's not a great experience, compared to what our own kids are getting at schools where they're challenged both by professors and by fellow classmates. </p>

<p>My D had that experience in her first school, and even in the Honors program, the degree of apathy was palpable. Yes, she'd have come out of there with an education, but it would have been in spite of the academic culture of the school, not as a part of it, and that would have been, in my eyes, a loss.</p>