OnCampus Blog

The purpose of college in 14 words.

There is no more profound or more accurate statement on the role of education than this: Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. – W. B. Yeats, Irish poet and dramatist When I was a professor, this was always posted on the door to my office and included on the syllabi for every course I taught. I’m sure most students read it once and moved on. But I know there were some for…

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What college can be: The University of You

The college you choose says a great deal about who you are and what you value. It’s a reflection, a confirmation, an attitude, and yes, the name that appears on a very specific college sweatshirt that fits you well (hopefully on many levels). When you choose a college you’re choosing among the available options that currently exist, just like choosing a movie or car or vacation. Makes sense, right? Stop thinking about available options. Start building something new — the…

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What college can be: Towards a more open-ended definition

As I begin this series of blogs I’m tempted to use a more prescriptive title: “What college should be”. The differences between these two simple words are not merely grammatical in nature; they are indicative of a broader approach to finding what it is you need. “Should” points to something already visible or even tangible. “Can” doesn’t point, it opens up. As I’m writing I keep cupping my hands near my heart, and then lifting and opening up my arms until…

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Rising costs of college somewhat irrelevant

As a nation we appear split down the middle on issue after issue, but on one thing we agree: the rising cost of college is alarming. More unsettling, however, is that those high prices we often hear quoted in the media represent tuition and fees only; room and board, and what college administrators refer to as “indirect costs” are left out, perhaps to ease sticker shock. In the future I’ll address the numbers you should be using (Cost of Attendance…

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Studying Solo

The word “college” suggests a group of people — students, professors, administrators and the like — however, the real meaning of college is singular. Despite all the evidence of how effective learning in a group setting can be, in the end it must be a solo act. You sit in class, you study among others in a library, you belong to a study group that meets after hours in the student union; but those people are not responsible for your…

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