Entries in College (13)


How Teens Talk May Determine If They Want to Go to College

Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you want to know whether your teenage girl wants to go to college, listen carefully to how she talks.

A new study from Michigan State University found that girls who were looking to further their education started changing the way they spoke in the hopes of fitting into a larger arena.  The girls spoke more carefully than casually and no longer shortened words like 'running' to the slang term 'runnin''.

Researchers concluded that girls with lower social and educational aspirations felt no pressure to change and no incentive to stop sounding local.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


College Freshmen in California Asked to Declare Sexual Orientation?

Hemera/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- College freshman entering the University of California system next year could be asked to identify themselves as gay, straight, bi, or transgender when they accept their admissions offer.

The system’s Academic Senate initiated the proposal, which would add a question to the statements of intent students fill out when deciding to go to the University of California. The statements already include a host of identifiers such as race,  gender and ethnicity.

The question will not be asked on applications to the schools because students may feel uncomfortable filling out the forms in front of their parents, according to Robert Anderson, chair of the senate.

“Sexual orientation is a part of diversity and cannot be ignored,”  Anderson said after the proposal was passed,  according to the UCLA student newspaper, the Daily Bruin.

“It’s past time for this,” he told ABC News.

Collecting data on sexual orientation among undergraduates, graduate students, staff and faculty could help the school ensure there are services in place for LGBT members of the community, he said.

The senate was spurred to pass the bill by California state government, which already mandates that community colleges and California state universities collect information regarding students’ sexual orientation. It has been requested by the state that the UCs also collect this demographic information, Anderson said.

Many LGBT students told the student newspaper they thought the proposal was a good idea and would help lead to more benefits for LGBT students.

“The data may not be accurate, but something is better than nothing,” Marcus McRae, a senior who heads the student Queer Alliance, told the paper. McRae noted that UCLA’s LGBT center was very beneficial to him when he arrived on campus.

Anderson was not sure whether the information would factor into roommate assignment decisions for incoming freshmen.

The proposal comes at the same time that a college student from the opposite coast, at Rutgers University in New Jersey, is on trial for allegedly spying on and intimidating his roommate for having a gay sexual encounter. Dharun Ravi, who is accused of a hate crime, tweeted messages about his suspicion over his roommate’s sexuality, “F*** MY LIFE/He’s gay,” and told friends that he “[s]aw my roommate kissing a dude. Yay!”

The suicide of Ravi’s roommate, Tyler Clementi, and trial have sparked public outrage at gay-bullying among students.

The proposed policy at the UC system will be decided by the school’s provost, Lawrence Pitts, who is assembling a group to study the ramifications of such a policy, according to the Daily Bruin. The system has not yet announced when Pitts will issue a decision.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


‘Freshman 15' More Myth than Reality, Study Finds

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- Late-night pizza and doughnuts, buffalo wings, beer kegs, unlimited waffle servings at Sunday brunch -- these all seem to go with the college experience. But fear not, college freshmen. You're not going to gain 15 pounds of weight your first year of college, as everyone claimed. Turns out, the gain is not anything close to that.

According to a study slated for the December 2011 edition of Social Science Quarterly, college freshmen aren't actually at risk for gaining a huge amount of weight. Instead, first-year college students pack on only between 2.5 and 3.5 pounds, and that small gain has little to do with the lifestyle changes that college brings.

The typical college freshman puts on about a half-pound more than someone of the same age who didn't go to college.

"Don't worry about suddenly going to college and becoming a blob," Jay Zagorsky, a co-author of the Ohio State University study, said. "The real takeaway is there are lots of things to worry about in college. But don't worry about the 'freshman 15' -- it doesn't exist."

This study, unlike previous studies, has been considered "revolutionary" in that it used information from a study of 7,418 young people from around the country who had been part of the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. As of 2011, the participants had been reporting their height and weight every year for 14 years.

"Other studies did one university -- you know, 50 women or 20 guys, and they followed them for three months. We did a giant national study," Zagorsky, who's at Boston University, said. "We found these people before, during and after college. We actually have the comparison group."

Zagorsky and co-author Patricia K. Smith, who's at the University of Michigan at Dearborn, found that women gained an average of 2.4 pounds during their freshman year, while men gained an average of 3.4 pounds. No more than 10 percent of college freshman gained 15 pounds -- or more -- while a quarter of freshman students reported they actually lost weight their first year.

The study also found that the average weight gain differed according to gender and was higher for men than for women: Men gained an average of 3.4 pounds and women gained an average of 2.4 pounds. Zagorsky believes this has to do with the fact that men tend to drink more alcoholic beverages in college than women do.

As to why the students gained weight, it could be for a multitude of reasons, said Zagorsky. Students are in a new environment without parental supervision. They often eat high-calorie cafeteria food. Most students need to watch their budgets, and ramen and pizza aren't the best options for the waistline, although they're certainly the cheapest. Increased stress and lack of sleep, and less physical activity also contribute to the pounds.

Zagorsky's biggest piece of advice in helping newly minted college students stay lean is lay off the booze.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study: Undergrads' Drinking Patterns May Lead to Continued Abuse 

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(FORT COLLINS, Co.) -- Heavy college drinking may lead to unhealthy habits down the road, according to new study.

HealthDay reports that the study, due to appear in the January 2012 print issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, found that college students who drank heavily may be more likely to continue their habits after graduation if they have high levels of impulsivity and aggression.

The study surveyed 265 female and 96 male undergraduates who completed an anonymous online survey that asked questions regarding their drinking patterns and personality traits.

The study found that 6 percent of the participants met the criteria for having a dependence on alcohol, and about 31 percent fit the criteria for having alcohol abuse problems.

"Many, if not most, undergraduate college students reduce their level of drinking after they graduate from college and are no longer in the environment that led to their drinking," corresponding author Cheryl L. Beseler, a researcher at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Co., said in a journal news release. "However, some young adults continue to drink at levels that increase their risk of an AUD (alcohol-use disorder). We do not yet understand why this occurs, but probably the reasons include genetic and personality factors and interactions between them."

Researchers assessed some potentially relevant aspects of personality and family history to determine which behaviors contribute to heavy drinking in students after graduation.

"Our most interesting finding is that we found two groups of college students who drank at fairly high levels, but one group was more inclined to drink to feel better, more impulsive and more aggressive than the other group, which also drank a lot of alcohol," Beseler said.

The study concluded that students who were more impulsive and aggressive were more likely to continue heavy drinking after they finish school.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Students Who Post Drunken Facebook Photos Could Be at Risk, Study Says

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(MADISON, Wis.) -- College students who post the details of their drunken nights on Facebook can end up with a few problems on their hands -- embarrassment, regret or explanations to Mom and Dad. But a new study from researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison suggests those Facebook postings may also signal that a student is at clinical risk of having a drinking problem.

Dr. Megan Moreno, the study's lead author and a pediatrician, said she often talks with teenage patients and parents who are worried about college students they know who post status updates on Facebook about drinking.

"College is a frequent time that students will drink, and we often see references to alcohol on Facebook," she said. "So we wanted to find if there is a way to separate what might be 'rite of passage' drinking from drinking that shows actual clinical risk."

Moreno and her colleagues analyzed more than 200 Facebook profiles of 18- to 20-year-old college students at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Washington, looking for pictures, status updates and comments that referred to drinking alcohol. Then they had those students, both with and without alcohol mentions on their profiles, take the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, a survey that clinicians use to assess potential problems with alcohol.

They found that students who posted on Facebook about drinking while driving, blacking out, drinking alone or other "problem drinking" behaviors were more likely to be considered "at-risk" for alcoholism. Based on their responses to the clinical survey, the researchers found that 58 percent of them met the clinical definition for at-risk problem drinking, compared with 38 percent who merely displayed alcohol in pictures or status updates on their profiles.

The study also found that students who posted about problem drinking behaviors were more than six times as likely to report an alcohol-related injury, compared with students who didn't mention alcohol use on Facebook at all.

The study was published online on Monday in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

Moreno said that Facebook posts and Twitter hashtags don't always indicate that a student has an alcohol problem. Nearly 23 percent of the students in the study who never mentioned alcohol on Facebook were still considered at-risk based on their responses to the clinical survey. But she said social media activity can be a red flag that some students have a problem. The key is to keep an eye on how a young person talks about alcohol use.

Moreno said the goal of her study wasn't to encourage university officials to stalk students' drinking habits on Facebook. But she said social media tools could be a valuable way to reach students who weren't willing to report their problems with alcohol on their own.

"Most college students are going to balk at being approached by a stranger about their drinking. The most helpful approaches are going to be by someone in that student's trusted circle," Moreno said. "Often that cool aunt or uncle who is the student's Facebook friend, or even other college friends or an RA [Resident Advisor] will be in the best position to help."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Texas College Cafeteria Goes Vegan

Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock(DENTON, Texas) -- The Big Texan, an Amarillo, Texas landmark, has been serving 72-ounce steaks to customers since the early 1960s.  Now, a few hundred miles to the east, some Texas college students are going all vegan.

The University of North Texas (UNT) in Denton opened an all-vegan, full-service cafeteria on its campus last week, prompting applause from animal-rights activists, environmentalists and, of course, vegan students on campus.  Although college campuses around the nation have been offering vegan choices for several years, UNT’s cafeteria appears to be the first exclusively vegan venue.

The menu eschews animal products, like meat, milk, and eggs, and instead features vegetarian soups, paninis and vegetarian sushi.  The university’s dining services reports that so far, many of the students who eat there aren’t necessarily vegan, but just want to eat healthy.

These students aren’t alone.  A 2004 survey of college students by food service provider Aramark showed that one of every four students surveyed wanted vegan meal options on college campuses.

Keith Ayoob, director of the nutrition clinic at the Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said it makes sense that college students would want to explore new diets.

“Lots of young people experiment,” Ayoob said.  “They do it with booze, drugs...why not a new way of eating?”

At first glance, going vegan seems far healthier than the typical college student diet.  But dietitians warn that meals missing animal fats aren’t necessarily more nutritious.

Connie Diekman, director of nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, said that students who don’t choose their fruits and vegetables wisely may be missing out on key vitamins and nutrients, like protein, iron and vitamin B12.

“Vegetarian eating, and the vegan aspect, can be very nutritious if people are educated to make the right choices to meet their nutritional needs,” Diekman said.

And students still need to watch their intake of sugars, refined starch and oils, which are still included in vegan foods.

“Simply eating a vegan diet doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be eating better,” Ayoob said.  “There can be vegan junk food, too.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study Ties College Education to Improved Mental Well-Being

Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- For years, people have heard that getting a college degree is a good way to get ahead in life.  Now, researchers think it can also do a lot for your mental health.

According to a new Gallup poll, Americans 65 and older who went to college generally score higher in emotional health scores than people in the same age group who didn't.

This index is based on questions about smiling/laughing, learning/doing something interesting, being treated with respect, enjoyment, happiness, worry, sadness, anger and stress.

Those with scores from 90 to 100 were considered emotionally well-off, and the people who fell into that category were often Americans who received a college education.

Since it wasn't a cause-and-effect study, no definite link was established between attending college and feeling good about one's self and situation in life after 65.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Men vs. Women: Who Gets the Most from College?

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Do you have a daughter heading off to college right about now?  A new study says she may get more out of the experience than her male counterparts.

The Pew Research Center tried to find out who gets more out of the experience of going to college: males or females, and women told the researchers they get more out of their time at school.

“They see more value in the education that they come out with,” explained the study’s co-author, Kim Parker. “And they see more benefits in terms of the personal and intellectual growth they experience.”

Over 81 percent of women told Pew they found college "very useful" in increasing their knowledge.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


The Thin Envelope: Coping With College Rejection Letters

David De Lossy/Photodisc(NEW YORK) -- Ah, April. Spring is in the air and college admissions letters are on the way to mailboxes across the nation. With many schools reporting more applicants than ever, teens and parents are bracing for the news: will it be the proverbial "big envelope" or the sting of rejection?

Though rejection letters have always been par for the course for undergraduate hopefuls, plummeting acceptance rates and tough competition in the college market suggests that teens today are likely to face more rejection and higher emotional costs than their predecessors just a few years ago.

How can parents and teens keep their sanity in this high-stakes atmosphere, especially when the dreaded, and usually inevitable, rejection letters come? Here are some pointers that psychologists and admissions experts offered parents and teens when it comes to coping with an acceptance let-down:

  • "Number one, be realistic. This year is a perfect storm of a tremendous applicant pool. If you get rejected, realize that it's not something about you personally. They only have a certain number of slots and you could be a very well qualified applicant and still not get in," says Deborah Pearson, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston
  • A lot of it is luck of the draw. "Understanding that, especially for top schools, it's always going to be a long shot, may help you prepare a little for the disappointment of a possible rejection," says Laurence Steinberg, professor of psychology at Temple University and author of You and Your Adolescent: The Essential Guide for Ages 10 to 25.
  • Celebrate the accomplishment of admission for the schools you do get into, says Pearson. Parents and teens should be focusing on the options at hand and getting excited about where they know they have the option of going. These schools may turn out to be a better fit for them
  • Research shows that there's very little connection between where one goes to college and success in the workplace later on, says Steinberg. The number of years of education is a much better predictor of success than the name of the school
  • Finally, don't blame yourself. "You cannot be responsible for everyone else who has applied. You can only be responsible for yourself and what you've done over the course of your education," says Mabel Freeman, assistant vice president of Undergraduate Admissions and First Year Experience at Ohio State University.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sex Study Shatters Myth of College Girls Cavorting With Girls

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- Sociologists are shaking their heads at a recent study that shatters the myth that college women are more apt to dabble in same-sex experiences than their less-educated counterparts.

For years, terms like "lesbian until graduation," were used to describe a promiscuous college culture where enlightened and emboldened women experimented in bisexuality. Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that women with bachelor's degrees are less likely to have a same-sex experience than those who did not finish high school.

The study was based on data from the 2006-08 National Survey of Family Growth, which attempted to measure sexual behavior, sexual attraction and sexual identity among males and females aged 15 to 44.

Of the 13,500 responses, 10 percent of women aged 22 to 44 with a bachelor's degree said they had had a same sex experience, compared with 15 percent of those with no high school diploma. Women who had completed high school, or had some college, were somewhere in the middle. Six percent of college-educated women reported oral sex with a same-sex partner, compared with 13 percent who did not complete high school.

"Women who have college educations are much more open about it, and that's why we had the impression they were the ones who had done it," said Stephanie Coontz, co-chair and director of public education at the Council on Contemporary Families at the University of Illinoise and author of, A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s.

"They are much more willing to joke about it, even when they haven't done it," she said. "When you actually look at same-sex families, many are working-class and impoverished, raising kids."

According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, more same-sex couples are raising children in economically poorer states like Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas than in places like California and Massachusetts. These families defy the stereotype that mainstream gay America is white, affluent, urban and living in the Northeast or on the West Coast. They are much more socio-economically diverse, according to U.S. Census data.

The CDC report, which was released earlier this month, also showed that the gender gap in same-sex relationships was wide. Twice as many women as men reported same-sex behavior. Three percent of the women -- and 5 percent of the least-educated women -- said they were attracted equally to men and women, compared with one percent of the men. Even though 13 percent of all the women surveyed said they had experienced sex with another woman, the vast majority did not identify themselves as gay or bisexual.

A similar survey in 2002 showed no patterns of educational difference in women's behavior.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio