The College Workout

Love What You Study

Amy Jasper Thursday, March 27, 2014

Love What You Study by Michael Valacer Notre Dame '17

“What can you do with that?”

The question every liberal arts major ever has heard again and again. And again. And again. By parents and friends alike. My philosophy professor this past semester told us about a student who was given two options by his parents: go to his local state school for less than $20,000 a year and study whatever he liked, or go to Notre Dame for $55,000 a year and study engineering, to ensure a return on their investment. 

Freshmen often choose their majors because of the job prospects. Yet, as this year has gone along, many of my friends who are engineers and science majors with expectations of being millionaires a decade after graduating or who want to be well-paid doctors once they are done with their education have gone one of two routes almost universally: many are either no longer enrolled in the Colleges of Engineering and Science, or they are working their you know whats off just to keep their GPA above a 2.7. Even my friends who thus far have maintained good grades in their science and engineering majors have suffered for it. My friend Katie, a pre-med student who had a 4.0 last semester, mentally broke down the night before her Chemistry 101 final and began laughing manically and doing cartwheels through the library before her friends removed her to the relief of the other students studying there. My friend Henry is a chemical engineer who pulled 3 or 4 all nighters in the ten days before spring break, though he still has a GPA of around 3.5.  This is not to diss their majors, Katie loves her science classes and Henry says his chemical engineering class is his favorite class, but it has come at a cost that would not seem worth it for four years if they were just doing it to get a job and not for love of their studies, as other students have done.

            The irony is, two of the past three years, a higher percentage of Notre Dame's liberal arts majors have either a job, enrolled in graduate school, joined the military, or are doing full-time volunteer work than their compatriots in the College of Engineering, and were either tied or within two percentage points of their peers from the Colleges of Science and Business.  Philosophy, one of the biggest punching bags in the liberal arts, had zero percent of its graduates seeking employment after college. Zero. The nine classics majors in the class of 2011 all had jobs or graduate programs, including two students studying to be doctors at the University of Chicago, a very prestigious school.  And they did this not without studying hard materials, but without working themselves into the ground and while still being able to enjoy college and their studies. 

            Again, I wish not to diss the engineers and scientists who make the cut and love their studies.  They will all be very successful and will probably make much more money than me, as most data shows. But time and time again, I hear how college is supposed to be the best four years of our lives. So don't ruin that by studying something you hate and which controls your life.  Study what you love, and love what you study.  You will excel in those fields, and will be just fine in the long run.  There's no reason you can't enjoy every aspect of college.

Goucher College - Creating Global Citizens

Amy Jasper Monday, January 14, 2013

Location. Location. Location. Goucher College definitely has a location that is appealing to a variety of people. It sits on 300 beautiful sprawling acres yet is only 8 miles from downtown Baltimore. It is walking distance from Trader Joes, Barnes and Noble, and a mall that Macy’s, Apple, and many other stores call home. 

Though not Quaker, Goucher values the Quaker ideals of equity, and justice; and students and professors are all on a first name basis.  Goucher has an innovative multidisciplinary approach to the liberal arts tradition. In 2006 it became the first college in the nation to make study abroad a requirement for all undergraduate degrees. Classroom learning is discussion based with International Studies, Psychology, and Education among its most popular majors. The college also has non-traditional majors such as Peace Studies as well as Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Symbolic of the very essence of Goucher is the landmark Athenaeum. It crosses boundaries, creates harmony, and is LEED Gold certified. This striking building takes mixed used space to a new level. It houses the library, computer commons, amphitheater, art gallery, a cardio-fitness loft (what better way to break-up a late night of studying then hopping on the treadmill), a gourmet café, and the Community Service and Multicultural Affairs Center. It is in the center of the very residential walking campus and serves as its hub. Goucher’s 1,500 students are involved, happy global citizens.
FOr a change of pace they can take courses at Johns Hopkins, UMBC, Loyola, or Towson. All of which are within 15 minutes and a free shuttle ride away. Students speak of how good the food is and how vast the options are. There is a kosher dining hall, a coffee house, and all night dining options as well a more traditional cafeteria.

Goucher has 18 Division III intercollegiate sports and a highly successful Division I indoor and outdoor equestrian program that finished 7th in the country last year.

Goucher admissions process is test-optional. Of admitted students who submitted their scores, the average SAT range was 1030-1270 and the average ACT range was 23-28. The average GPA was a 3.1. It is one of the schools featured in Loren Pope's "Colleges That Change Lives" (CTCL). Find out more about Goucher at and

Campus Spotlight: The College of William & Mary

Amy Jasper Tuesday, October 16, 2012

When Sean, a junior from Long Island, began talking about his major in Neuroscience and his Biology/Chemistry minor, it was clear that he fit a stereotype of the William & Mary student. When he passionately spoke about his neuro-degenerative lab research on Huntington's Disease, there was no doubt that this was a brainy (no pun intended) kid who loved to learn. However it was when he began talking about his non-academic passions: collecting food from local restaurants at night to be used to feed the hungry, cheering on the Tribe football team with a painted face, or playing a mean game of ultimate Frisbee with his hall mates, it became evident that his experience reached far beyond the classroom and included a great deal of fun.

Self-described as being "Smart, Fun, and Diverse," William & Mary seems to live up to all three descriptors. There is an intellectual culture that not only promotes classroom learning but also the application of thoughts, ideas, and passions to other dimensions of the college experience. Hundreds of student clubs and organizations (including an alive and well Greek system) offer a multitude of options for social and/or active fun, service, and activism. This is a place where students that represent a variety of life experiences and ideas are celebrated and contribute to the diverse fabric of the school.

As a college that prides itself in being the second oldest in the country, the alma mater of four US presidents dating back to Thomas Jefferson, and the home of numerous firsts, William and Mary is very much a part of the here and now. They value a worldview, so much so that among Virginia state schools it has the highest percent of students who study abroad. Students are involved in cutting edge research and learning opportunities, faculty accessibility is a reality, and a passion for learning is a must. Students are encouraged to explore the curriculum, and in true liberal arts fashion, writing exist regardless of the subject.

William and Mary is a state school, in Williamsburg, Virginia. It accepts the Common Application with two supplemental essays. Admission is competitive. 80% of admitted students with a class rank are in the top 10% of their class. The middle 50% range for the SAT (CR+M) is 1240-1450. The middle range for the ACT is 28-32.


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