Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ivy Jungle . . . Campus Ministry Update

The Ivy Jungle Network
Campus Ministry Update
September/Octorber 2009

As I mention each month, this is my favorite Newsletter, here is some of the latest issue . . .

Trends in Campus Ministry, Culture and Higher Education:

Most Young Adults Think They are Spiritual: A survey conducted by LifeWay research indicates the vast majority of unchurched young adults consider themselves spiritual. This contrasts a view of young adults as uninterested in God or spiritual matters. 73% of 20-29 year olds said they think they are spiritual and want to learn more about "God or a higher supreme being." Among those 30 and over, that number is only 62%. 89% of 20-29 year olds said they would be open to a conversation about Christianity – 14% higher than those over 30 years old. 63% said they would attend church if it presented truth to them in a way that "relates to my life now." 58% said they would be more likely to attend if they felt the church "cared for them as a person." ( September 16, 2009)

How Students Pick Schools: A study by the college matching site reveals the factors that most influenced their users' choices for which college to attend. Parents ranked the highest, with 58% of students saying their parents were "extremely influential" in their college choice. Only 12.5% ranked their parents as a three or lower on a seven point scale. Teachers and guidance counselors were much less influential. College visits held more sway than websites or view books. Making the choice can be stressful, with nearly 50% of students said the college choice caused them "quite a bit" of stress or experienced "more stress than I ever imagined" in the process. ( September 16, 2009)

Friending Your Admissions Officer: As Facebook has become a common communication tool for college students and graduates alike, the social networking medium has created a small dilemma for college admissions officers who regularly receive friend requests from potential students. Some students seem to think friending the people reading their applications might help their chances for admission. While less than 15% of schools have an official policy about Facebook communication, most schools have an approach that falls into one of two camps. The first avoids making any contact through social media. The other embraces it as one more way to communicate with potential students. Only 9% of admissions counselors say they looked at a student profile when evaluating an application. (USA Today September 17, 2009)

Religious Life at USC: The University of Southern California reports that has extended official recognition to 86 campus religious organizations. Of those, 60 are Christian, 7 Jewish, 4 interfaith, and 3 each for Buddhist and Muslim groups. The school just appointed a Hindu as the next director of Religious life on campus. (Touchstone October 2009 p. 71)

Community College Enrollment Grows: California community colleges continue to report growth at a rate that will lead to a total annual enrollment of more than 2 million students in the next 10 years. At the same time, the 110 two-year schools in the state are currently facing a significant budget cut of 8%. If applied to students, that cut will mean 180,000 fewer students next year. (Inside Higher Ed September 1, 2009)

Diversity and the SAT: 2009 marked the most diverse class to ever sit for the SAT. 40% of test takers self identified as minorities. However, the overall score also dropped by 2 points from the previous year, with scores differing widely among students grouped by race and family income. Hispanic students represented the fastest growing group of test takers, but also posted average scores 152 points below the overall average. Students of Asian descent saw a 13 point gain in their average scores. The largest gain came from students whose families earn more than $200,000 annually, posting a 26 point gain. (US News and World Report August 27, 2009)

Borrowing More For College: Last year represented the largest ever increase in student borrowing to pay for college. The total amount borrowed by college topped $75 billion last year, a 25% increase over the previous year. Two-thirds of college students borrow for college, at an average rate of $23,186. Twelve years ago, only 58% of students took out loans at a much lower average amount of $13,172. (Wall Street Journal September 2, 2009)

More Students Using Pell Grants: Legislators can add Pell grants to their ongoing budget concerns on Capitol Hill. Grant applications came in at a rate much higher than expected this year. The nearly 13% increase in applications is good news for college admissions, but means that the cost of Pell grants will be $27 billion higher than expected over the next decade. (Inside Higher Ed August 26, 2009)

Swine Flu on Campus: Every week different schools have posted stories about swine flu cases on campus. To date, swine flue is responsible for the deaths of at least two students. Thousands of students have contracted the flu this fall, representing a small, but noticeable, percentage of the more than 14 million students in higher education this year. Schools have taken steps to prepare for the H1N1 virus including purchase of thousands of masks, doses of Advil and Tylenol, and gallons of hand sanitizer. Some schools have set up student quarantines for those who have the flu – swine or otherwise. Most schools are ordering thousands of doses of the H1N1 vaccine which is still in production at this point. ( September 18, 2009) (Inside Higher Ed September 29, 2009)

Jerry Falwell and Snowboarding: In an effort to increase its appeal to students, Liberty University, founded by Jerry Falwell, has built a snow board hill that uses a synthetic material called "snowflex" to provide students at the Virginia school with year round snowboarding. Wanting to offer recreational alternatives to the typical college party scene, the Christian school has added a number of student perks to help increase enrollment and student retention. In his book, Undercover at America's Holiest University, Kevin Roose called the many recruiting and retention perks like being in "Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory." Students say they just enjoy the hill. (Inside Higher Ed August 25, 2009)

Gym Credit for Video Games: The University of Houston is one of several schools that have begun to offer credit for PE courses using the Nintendo Wii. The school says the classes offer an hour of credit just like more traditional physical education courses and have found the Wii Fit another way to attract students and encourage physical activity. (Houston Chronicle September 7, 2009)

Luxury Dorms: Boston University has joined the list of schools offering luxury dorms as it opened its new 960 room high rise this fall. Amenities include walk in closets, private baths, and elegantly furnished common rooms with flat screen TV's. Many parents can't believe the contrast with the cinderblock dorms of old. Critics say these posh accommodations represent one more way today's young people are coddled. BU officials say the dorms are part of a long range plan to increase on-campus housing and recruit students. ( September 2, 2009)

You can read the entire list, and older Ivy Jungle Newsletters on the IJ web site: here >>

3 John 8
Bill H.

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