About Me

My name is Spencer. I'm 23 years old, and I'm a junior at Princeton. So far college has taken me five years. I've taken time off to work, transferred to USC and come back, and learned a lot along the way.

I like to think about life and what I'm going to do with mine.

I've met a lot of people my age with the same sorts of thoughts so feel free to read, take surveys, and comment.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Random Thought - School Costs a Ton of Money

So out of interest I just looked up the average cost of tuition for private colleges in the US... it's a whopping $32,000 per year (which seems kind of low to me). So let's say I take like 32 credits worth of class for both semesters (about 8 classes)... then that's $4,000 per class. So about 12 weeks per semester... that's $333 a week rounded down.

So that's like what? About $20-30ish per hour that you're in the classroom.

I'm still not quite sure if it's worth that money (at least to me.) I know that we absolutely need to have a degree to really get anywhere in the working world (as society has dictated), but I'm not quite convinced yet.

Well, if you consider that things like therapy are like $250 an hour and expert witnesses can charge up to like $1000 an hour... I guess the cost of school is pretty minimal.

Anyways, that was just a random thought with me thinking like George Costanza.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Race and College Admissions - The Supreme Court

Nine years ago, the Supreme Court of the United States allowed universities to make race a qualification for admission to increase diversity within the student body; in other words, they approved Affirmative Action.


In my opinion (although well intentioned), it made room for an unprecedented level of reverse racism within the college admissions process, giving a greater edge to certain races in the already extremely competitive world of college admissions.

In the Associated Press article that I read, the justices will be taking a look at the University of Texas's admissions program used to help fill one quarter (let me emphasize 25%) of the incoming freshman classes. I.e. about one quarter of the incoming class is reserved for minorities.

The AP article says that "Race is one of many factors considered by admissions officers. The rest of the roughly 7,100 freshman spots automatically go to Texans who graduated in the top 8 percent of their high school." It used to be that the top 10 percent of the high school graduates were automatically admitted; however, since the new U of Texas admissions process has taken over, that number has dropped significantly to 8 percent.

Also, keep in mind that this is purely admitted students, not committed students. Those in the top 8 percent may decide to go out of state or to more prestigious universities elsewhere. This implies that other students on the wait list etc get admitted, but which of those students get in? Is it based more on minorities or merit? We can't really know. Additionally, this does not include the numbers that are reserved for athletes, major donors, famous people etc.

The University of Texas says as well that the number of students of Asian backgrounds will increase if race were not taken into account. For more on my opinion about why Asian-Americans (not international students) are not considered minorities and are discriminated against at all universities, see the post on International Students.

Think about the implications that this would have over all other universities or at your school. Would it affect international student rates or the overall look of the student body?

For more information on why the result from the 2003 affirmative action case Grutter v. Bollinger (FindLaw article) is being looked at so soon after its decision, please see the article.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Test Banks - Cheating or lazy teachers?

For those of you who are not aware, there are many fraternities and other groups at many universities that keep records and answer keys for old exams through a whole gamut of different subjects (just Google test banks and you'll find a wealth of information). In fact, I've seen advertisements around campus for "study guides" to certain classes exams (ie there is a community of people who sell old exams and answers to students for certain classes).

Although quite a smart idea for help with studying (as old exam questions most likely reflect the difficulty and type of questions that one would be asked), there are many times when teacher will reuse questions or even whole tests.

This, in my mind, undoubtedly presents a problem. Is it considered cheating if these resources are only available to a select group of students? Or if students are buying the material? Or is it the teacher's fault for reusing material?

There was a forum entry about it in College Confidential if you want to look more into other people's opinions on it.

New Place, Different Perspectives

It's been a few months since I even gone onto my blog. Things have been hectic at home and all that, and I've recently made the big decision to transfer to another school and see how things are elsewhere.

I certainly like it better at this new school for various reasons (bigger city, bigger campus, more to do etc); however, there definitely are a lot of similarities to my previous college experience. Things that I had only assumed or guessed that were true for most schools based on stories from friends are now coming to fruition in a way. Granted two schools is a tiny sample size, but these two schools about as different on paper as they come (different coasts, reputations, vibe etc). Nevertheless, that still doesn't change that eerie feeling that a lot is just the same in terms of social life and just the overall college climate.