Student life

The DNA Assignment

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The University of California at Berkeley is an experimental place, and sometimes those experiments start as early as the summer before new students set foot on campus.

This summer, the university’s College of Letters and Science -- home to three quarters of Berkeley’s 25,000 undergraduates -- will ask freshmen and transfers to return a cotton swab covered in cells collected from their inner cheeks in an effort to introduce them to the emerging field of personalized medicine.

Taking on 'Habits That Suck'

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Instead of relying on a stuffy code of conduct to police its students – like Hinds Community College officials who received flak last week for punishing a student who cursed at a professor – officials at Onondaga Community College hope students will be able to keep their smoking, swearing, spitting, parking rage and littering in check with the help of good old-fashioned peer pressure.

What Freshmen Will Read

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College orientation programs don't yet have the power of Oprah's Book Club, but they increasingly feature books that students are asked to read over the summer or during their first week on campus -- and to discuss with their new classmates. The idea is that having every freshman read the same book builds a sense of common experience and adds intellectual content to a week that can easily be consumed by learning a college bureaucracy and socializing.

Students Aren't the Only Boozers

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PHILADELPHIA – At a conference all about how college health officials can help students solve their problems, one speaker took an unexpected stance in a speech on student alcohol use and abuse: colleges can’t do much to stop it.

In a presentation Thursday at the American College Health Association’s annual meeting, Edward P. Ehlinger, director and chief health officer of Boynton Health Service at the University of Minnesota, took aim at campus-based projects intended to cut down on binge and underage drinking.

Reassurance on Health Reform

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PHILADELPHIA – Just as he was delivering his opening speech to the annual meeting of the American College Health Association here last Wednesday, Jim Turner, the group’s president, got word that he was wanted at the White House that afternoon.

Teaching a Leader

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Career-minded college students (or their concerned and hovering parents) are always in search of surefire ways to make their résumés and transcripts stand out as they try to elbow out classmates for full-time jobs after graduation.

The Retention Guru

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Two decades ago, Xavier University could only count on three of every four freshmen returning for sophomore year. Even fewer made it to graduation.

Today, though, close to 9 of every 10 students who start freshman year at the Jesuit university in Cincinnati make it back the next fall. Seven in 10 will graduate in four years, and another one will likely graduate in the two years after that.

Probing Students' Pasts

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WASHINGTON -- In the aftermath of the 2004 murder of a University of North Carolina at Wilmington student by a classmate with a history of violence against women, the deceased student's family came to see the decision-making of the university’s admissions office as one of the major factors leading to her death.

Pampering or Priority?

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This fall, freshmen at George Washington University will have a little work to do that their predecessors did not: cleaning their own bathrooms. The university announced last month that it will eliminate its maid-like housekeeping services (which included vacuuming the rooms and cleaning private bathrooms) in freshman residence halls.

Texas A

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It's no surprise that universities have been eliminating extras in order to tighten budgets, but getting rid of toilet paper might really stink. Texas A&M University, which is trying to cut $60 million campuswide, hopes to save $82,000 by ceasing to stock the bathroom essential in dormitories.

“We looked at what areas can we cut and not negatively affect our students’ academics, and it was that,” said Sherylon Carroll, associate vice president for communications.


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