Archive | April, 2013

Study: Prior criminal behavior does not necessarily predict behavior on campus

27 Apr

As colleges seek to make campuses safer, they are beginning to look at the criminal records of applicants. Kelly Sennott writes in the New Hampshire article, One in 29 college students has a criminal record:

Everyone makes mistakes in high school and college. Some make bigger mistakes than others, potentially affecting their chances of getting accepted into school, getting an internship, or finding a job. This difficulty is not an uncommon problem for college students, as one out of 29 has a criminal record., a supplier of criminal background checks for students and faculty members, recently revealed a study that showed that one out of every 29 college students have some type of criminal record. In the study, which didn’t include juvenile records, 13,859 college students at 125 universities, career colleges, nursing schools, and other educational institutions were surveyed through a website,

 The names of the schools involved in the study were not revealed, but the percentages of convictions were; Driving violations topped the charts at a whopping 60 percent, followed by disorderly conduct (9.5 percent), theft (8.8 percent), drug possession (7.4 percent), sexual abuse (5.2 percent), assault (4 percent), fraud (2.7 percent), and child molestation (2.4 percent)….

Colleges debate whether students with criminal backgrounds should be admitted.

Libby Sandler is reporting in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, Students’ Prior Criminal Histories Don’t Predict Future Misconduct, Research Finds:

As colleges seek ways to make their campuses safer, many have opted to examine the criminal histories of students before they’re admitted. New research, however, reveals that criminal-background checks and pre-admission screening do not accurately predict whether an incoming student will pose a threat or disruption in college.

Based on an analysis of nearly 7,000 seniors at a large Southern university, a report says that only 3 percent of students who engaged in misconduct on the campus during their college years had reported criminal histories during the admissions process. Of the students who did report a criminal record, meanwhile, just under 9 percent were accused of misconduct during college.

The report, published in the journal Injury Prevention in February, was written by Carol W. Runyan, an epidemiologist at the Colorado School of Public Health, and three other researchers.

For years, colleges and legal experts have wrestled with the question of whether—and how—institutions should attempt to identify incoming students who might present a threat to public safety. The quandary is what to do with any information collected: how to evaluate it fairly and consistently while avoiding discrimination against some students but also protecting against any future incident.

‘Likely Troublemakers’

According to a national survey in 2010, more than 60 percent of colleges consider applicants’ criminal histories in admissions decisions, but only half of those colleges have formal policies on how to do so, and only 38 percent of admissions staffs receive training on interpreting criminal records.

The new research sought to examine if students who were likely to engage in misconduct could be effectively screened during the application process. It also explored whether students with a criminal background upon entering college were more likely to commit crimes while enrolled than were students who started with clean records.

Researchers reviewed students’ responses to application questions about their criminal history, which asked them to say whether they’d been convicted, taken responsibility for a crime, or had charges pending against them at that time. A “yes” to any of those questions meant the students were considered to have criminal histories.

To evaluate students’ behavior in college, the researchers looked at the university’s disciplinary records and kept track of nonacademic misconduct violations, focusing on offenses like assault, robbery, property crimes, driving under the influence, marijuana use, and other drug-related charges. They also included cases that the institution’s honor court had dismissed but that were prosecuted successfully in local court. (The report states that the research was approved by the institutional review board at the University of North Carolina.)

The findings reveal that students who were guilty of misconduct in college were more likely than their classmates to have had pre-college criminal records. But the screening questions often did not identify which students would go on to commit crimes, and most students who did have records before enrolling in college didn’t cause any trouble once there.

In the report, Ms. Runyan points out that the research “raises as many questions as it answers.” Many questions, she says, are practical and ethical: If colleges are going to make smart decisions about pre-admission screening, she writes, they’ll need to think about how past behavior influences future actions. And even if the screening does accurately identify “likely troublemakers,” colleges must decide in which cases to admit them.                                                                            


Can student-perpetrated college crime be predicted based on precollege misconduct?

  1. 1.    Carol W Runyan1,2,
  2. 2.    Matthew W Pierce3,
  3. 3.    Viswanathan Shankar4,
  4. 4.    Shrikant I Bangdiwala5,6,7

+ Author Affiliations

  1. 1.     1Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado-Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado, USA
  2. 2.     2Pediatric Injury Prevention, Education and Research Program, Colorado School of Public Health and University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado, USA
  3. 3.     3School of Law, American University Washington College of Law, Washington, DC, USA
  4. 4.     4Division of Biostatistics, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, USA
  5. 5.     5Department of Biostatistics, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  6. 6.     6Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Institute for Social and Health Sciences, University of South Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa
  7. 7.     7University of North Carolina Injury Prevention Research Center, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  8. Correspondence to Dr Carol W Runyan, Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, Paediatric Injury Prevention, Education and Research (PIPER) Program, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, 13001 E. 17th Place, Mail Stop B119, Aurora, CO 80045, USA;

     Received 23 September 2012

     Revised 2 January 2013

     Accepted 16 January 2013

     Published Online First 23 February 2013


Objectives Many colleges assess criminal histories during the admissions process, in part, to address violence on campus. This study sought to examine the utility of screening as a means of reducing violence.

Methods Using cohort and case-control analyses, we identified college misconduct through college records and self-reports on a confidential survey of graduating seniors, and examined precollege behaviour as indicated on admissions records, a survey and criminal background checks.

Results One hundred and twenty students met our case definition of college misconduct, with an estimated OR of 5.28 (95% CI 1.92 to 14.48) associated with precollege misconduct revealed on the college application. However, only 3.3% (95% CI 1.0% to 8.0%) of college seniors engaging in college misconduct had reported precollege criminal behaviours on their applications and 8.5% (95% CI 2.4% to 20.4%) of applicants with a criminal history engaged in misconduct during college.

Discussion Though precollege behaviour is a risk factor for college misconduct, screening questions on the application are not adequate to detect which students will engage in college misconduct. This pilot work would benefit from replication to determine the utility of criminal background investigations as part of admissions.

See, College Admission Questions Rarely Identify Criminal Behavior

A 2010 Chronicle of Higher Education article, Experts Debate Fairness of Criminal-Background Checks on Students by Sara Lipka reported that some administrators urge a pragmatic approach:

She recommended not simply considering students’ criminal histories, but establishing policies to evaluate them fairly and consistently. Such policies should specify how to handle sealed juvenile records, news reports of arrests or convictions, and other tricky circumstances like reduced charges; how to disclose admissions decisions to applicants; and how to control access to students’ criminal records, to limit accusations of discrimination and defamation.

Institutions should also consider updating their information with repeated checks, Ms. Dickerson advised. And legal and mental-health experts must regularly train the administrators who make decisions on which students to let in versus keep out, she said. “Just putting background checks in place I’m not really sure is going to do much for campus safety.”         

Unfortunately, this is an issue where colleges will be damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

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The 04/27/13 Joy Jar

26 Apr


Rhododendrons and azaleas grow in most parts of the world, but they grow especially well in Seattle. Gardens all over the city are adorned with these beautiful flowers. They are a sure sign of the arrival of Spring and early summer. Today;s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ are the beautiful rhododendrons and azaleas.

And in the woods a fragrance rare
Of wild azaleas fills the air,
And richly tangled overhead
We see their blossoms sweet and red.
Dora Read Goodale—Spring Scatters Far and Wide.

The earth laughs in flowers.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I must have flowers, always, and always.”
Claude Monet

In joy or sadness flowers are our constant friends.”
Kakuzō Okakura, The Book Of Tea

A flower blossoms for its own joy.”
Oscar Wilde

Now Spring returns with leaf and blade,
Some seek the garden, some the glade;
And all to Nature turn, but I
To the fresh fields of Poetry,

Sweet are the first green leaves, and sweet
The scents, and genial the first heat;
And backed by pine or cypress glooms
How rich the rhododendron blooms!

Yet rich or sweet as these appear,
They were as wonderful last year;
And all as then move without pause
Through the same course by the same laws….

Archibald Young Campbell

The 04/26/13 Joy Jar

25 Apr


Today was another glorious day in Seattle. Spring and summer are especially nice. The ice cream tuck or an ice cream shop just make the day even better. Nothing says summer quite like an ice cream cone. No ice cream cone today, but there are plenty of ice cream cones in moi’s future. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is the first ice cream cone of the season.

Ice-cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal.


Ice cream goes with springtime.

Susan Hill

Ice cream is happiness condensed.

Jessi Lane Adams

I don’t cry over spilt milk, but a fallen scoop of ice cream is enough to ruin my whole day.

Terri Guillemets

I doubt whether the world holds for any one a more soul-stirring surprise than the first adventure with ice cream.

Heywood C. Broun

If you like ice cream, why stop at one scoop? Have two, have three. Too much is never enough.

Morris Lapidus

I go running when I have to. When the ice cream truck is doing sixty.

Wendy Liebman

I had always thought that once you grew up you could do anything you wanted — stay up all night or eat ice-cream straight out of the container.

Bill Bryson

An ice cream cone can solve any problem— even if it’s only for a few minutes.


The 04/25/13 Joy Jar

25 Apr


Moi read this story about 72,000 Ladybugs Released in Mall of America and she was immediately intrigued because Ladybugs are one of the few bugs that moi actually likes. Not only are Ladybugs helpful bugs, but they are cute. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is the Ladybug.

Little red bug, oh so cute,
Here’s a black spot for your suit…
Susan M. Paprocki

How brave a ladybug must be!
Each drop of rain is big as she.
Can you imagine what you’d do,
If raindrops fell as big as you?
Aileen Fisher

The Ladybug wears no disguises.
She is just what she advertises.
A speckled spectacle of spring,
A fashion statement on the wing….
A miniature orange kite.
A tiny dot-to-dot delight.
J. Patrick Lewis, “The Little Buggers”

Never hurt a ladybug
We need them in the garden
Ladybugs help flowers grow
So we must give them pardon!

More colleges are putting college applicants on mid-year acceptance for enrollment

24 Apr

Moi wrote about the trend of colleges deferring decisions about acceptance of prospective students in More prospective college students getting deferral letters:

Parents and students can meet all the deadlines, complete all the forms, and provide all the supporting documentation required and still not be admitted to the college of their choice. Increasingly, students are being put on deferral lists.

Eli Clarke, Associate Director of counseling, private high school, Washington DC wrote the article, What Does it Mean to be Waitlisted or Deferred?

Being deferred can mean a wide variety of things. In most cases, the college has not completed its review of your file and is “deferring” their decision to a later date. Deferrals typically fall into two categories:

  • You applied under the Early Action or Early Decision plan and have been pushed back into the regular pool. This may be frustrating, but also has an advantage.  If you are accepted into the college/university under regular decision, you are not obligated to attend as you would have been if you were accepted under an Early Decision plan (Early Action is non-binding to begin with). You may feel free to consider offers from other schools.

  • You have applied under a regular decision or rolling admission and the college/university would like to have more information in order to make a decision about your application. In almost every case, a college or university would like to see more grades from the senior year or new test scores. If a school receives the information they want, they could admit you earlier.

Being waitlisted is unlike being deferred; the college has finished reviewing your file and made a decision to put you on a waiting list for admission.

  • Being on a waitlist typically means that you are placed within a “holding pattern” of sorts. The admissions committee may or may not admit students from the waitlist. And unlike a deferral situation, new information does not usually change a waitlist decision.

  • If you are placed on a waitlist, you can usually find out if the school has gone to their wait list in the past and if so, how many students they admitted from the waitlist. In some cases, your chances of eventually getting in are very good; at other colleges, waitlisted applicants are almost never admitted.

  • It is always wise to deposit to another institution and ensure that you have a place somewhere. Do not pin your hopes on a waitlisted college; this is the time to make plans with one of your backup schools.

Whether you are deferred or waitlisted, avoid the temptation to begin a flood of recommendation letters and phone calls to the admissions department. In almost every case, this can have an adverse affect on your chances for admission. Some institutions even state in the letters that they do not take any additional letters of recommendation or phone calls on the student’s behalf.  If the admissions office does need more materials, they are generally interested in concrete information (test scores, grades, etc.) rather than personal testimony or recommendations.

A deferral letter is not a “no” and it may provide the opportunity to look at other options for college. In Like Me.Com has excellent advice which was posted in the article, How to Handle a College Admissions Deferral

Now, there is a new type of deferred action which a prospective student is admitted to a college, BUT for either fall or winter.

Ariel Kaminer writes in the New York Times article, More College Applicants Aren’t Welcome Till Winter:

Exact numbers are not available, but according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, over the last few years more and more colleges have been sending out a new kind of acceptance letter, inviting some applicants to wait until the new year before showing up.

Back in 2001, when U.S.C. started doing it, Timothy Brunold, the director of admissions, said he assumed the university was a pioneer. Now the list includes, among others, Skidmore College, Hamilton College, Brandeis University, the University of Miami, Northeastern University, Elon University in North Carolina and Middlebury College (which actually beat U.S.C. to the punch by a few decades).

They all have their own variation on the theme. Some, like Middlebury, in Vermont, allow students to request second-semester admissions; some make the decision for the students. Hamilton, in Clinton, N.Y., does not enroll students until they arrive on campus in the spring; Skidmore, in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and Northeastern, in Boston, enroll them right away but direct them to spend their fall semester at a designated program abroad.

But all are motivated by the same basic arithmetic: between freshman-year attrition and junior-year abroad programs, campus populations drop off after the first few months of college each year. “With the economy the way it is, they need to be doing what they can to get tuition income,” said Scott G. Chrysler Jr., a college counselor in Louisiana who is active in the national group’s admissions practices committee. “An empty seat is not generating any income.”

The arrangement may not be profitable for everyone, warns Tom Weede, chairman of the committee. “Often the letter says, ‘We encourage you to enroll in another school and take core-related classes,’ ” he said. “Well, at the other school, if you want financial aid you have to be a full-time student. The school that takes you doesn’t know you’re just going to be there for a semester. So it creates a built-in retention problem at a moment we’re calling for more accountability and more numbers about outcomes like retention.”

As fast as the practice may be growing, it is still unknown to most college applicants, and even to many guidance counselors. At Brandeis University, which now enrolls 100 or so students for midyear arrival, the dean of admissions, Mark Spencer, said some applicants were so rattled by the offer that they begged to be placed on the fall waiting list instead. “I say, ‘Wait, you want me to un-admit you?’ ” Mr. Spencer said.

To address students’ concerns, many of these colleges set up special midyear open houses, or enlist former midyear arrivals to call their potential successors and talk about how it all works. And when that spring semester rolls around, these colleges generally offer midyear orientations, modeled on the welcome-to-campus events that greet most first-year students.

It is difficult for parents and prospective students to decide whether to wait or choose another college. See, Is a ‘gap year’ a good option for some students?

College Parents of America posted the article, Students May Be Accepted To College, But For Spring Admission at their site about what prospective college students can do while waiting to enroll in their top school:

Your student may have several things to consider if he is a spring admit.  It may be difficult for him to think about staying at home while his friends head off to college in the fall.  It is frustrating if he is ready to begin.  However, he may want to consider several options. 

  • He might get a job and have an opportunity to save up some money before beginning college – either to have a head start on tuition or so that he won’t need to work during the school year. 

  • He may take some courses at a local community college so that he will not lose a semester but will be on a par with his classmates when he begins in January. 

  • This may provide your student with a welcome break from academics for a semester – but with the assurance of a place in January.  He may return to the classroom with renewed energy. 

  • If the college is close enough, he might be able to take some classes through an extension division or continuing education evening division and not lose any time.

  • Although he may not have chosen it at first, this might provide your student with an interesting gap semester during which he might travel or gain experience through an internship or community service endeavor.

One advantage, for some students, of beginning their college career in January is that they can avoid all of the confusion that surrounds the arrival of many first-year students in the fall.  By the time that your student arrives on campus, life will have settled down.  However, for some students, this may be a danger.  Although there will also be other new arrivals in January, less attention may be paid to helping these students get oriented, some friendships will already have been made, key positions in clubs or on teams may have been filled, and housing choices may be more limited.  All of these are factors that your student will need to weigh.

Beginning college mid-year will not be the right choice for every student.  However, for some students it can provide a welcome break – and the assurance that they have been accepted by their first choice college.  As a college parent, you can help your student consider the pros and cons of the situation and make an informed choice with which she is comfortable.

Students and parents should research schools before applying.

Moi wrote in Choosing the right college for you:

Danielle Moss Lee, president and chief executive officer of the Harlem Educational Activities Fund offers some great advice in the Washington Post article, Top 5 factors to weigh when picking a college (by May 1st deadline):

Here are the top five factors students across the country should be considering when making this critical decision:

1. Size. When it comes to choosing a college, it isn’t one-size-fits-all. There are significant differences between large and small colleges, and students need to decide what matters to them. Factors to consider include class size, teacher-to-student ratio, name recognition and what options are available on campus – research centers, sporting events, internship opportunities, clubs and organizations, course choices, faculty members and more.

2. Location. Part of the value of college is learning to live on your own, away from your family, and in a city you choose. Students should push themselves to learn how to be successful in a new environment but also still need a support system. Students should consider how far away they can be and still feel comfortable – for some it’s a short car or bus ride, for others it can be a cross-country flight.

3. Finances. Students and their families need to think carefully about the financial impact of their choices. With student loan debt above $1 trillion (surpassing credit card and auto-loan debt) students — especially those from low-income families like many students at the Harlem Educational Activities Fund — need to figure out what the numbers really mean. How much is need-based grant aid and how much is loan-based aid? What will it cost to travel to campus? What incidentals will be required? Will my mother or father need a second job? How many hours will I be allowed to work on campus?

4. Academic focus. Not every student knows what they “want to be when they grow up” and you don’t need to pick a major to pick a college. However, students should consider the variety of courses, curriculum and majors available.

5. ‘Expert’ opinion. Get some insight. Use your family and friends as a resource. Talk to the people you admire personally and professionally, as well as recent graduates who you might know, to find out what they consider the most important aspect of the college experience.

The best advice to parents and students is to develop a Plan “B” and even Plan “C” as part of the college application process.


Colleges deferring more students                 

You Got Deferred. Now What?                     

Harvard, Princeton return to early admission by Daniel de Vise

The College Board’s Early Decision & Early Action The benefits and drawbacks of applying early

Debating Legacy Admissions at Yale, and Elsewhere by Jenny Anderson                                                   


More prospective college students getting deferral letters

Many U.S. colleges use the ‘Common Application’        

Is a woman’s college the right college for you?               

Where information leads to Hope. ©                               Dr.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:


Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                   

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The 04/24/13 Joy Jar

23 Apr


It’s going to be nearly 70 degrees in Seattle and that means not only nice weather, but putting the winter hats away and bringing out the Spring and Summer hats. At one time women had a collection of hats. The hat was a finishing touch. Moi still thinks a nice hat is a finishing touch. Today’s deposit in the ‘Joy Jar’ is a hat which fits the mood.

Some hats can only be worn if you’re willing to be jaunty, to set them at an angle and to walk beneath them with a spring in your stride as if you’re only a step away from dancing. They demand a lot of you.”
Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys

A politician should have three hats. One for throwing into the ring, one for talking through, and one for pulling rabbits out of if elected.
Carl Sandburg

If a woman rebels against high heeled shoes, she should take care to do it in a very smart hat.

George Bernard Shaw

Grab your coat, and get your hat, Leave your worry on the doorstep, Just direct your feet To the sunny side of the street.

Dorothy Fields, ‘On the Sunny Side of the Street’.

The way you wear your hat, The way you sip your tea, The mem’ry of all that No, no! They can’t take that away from me!

Ira originally Israel Gershowitz Gershwin
‘They Can’t  Take That  Away from Me’, song from the film musical Shall We Dance? (music by George Gershwin).

Women who love hats don’t get jealous.  It makes them happy to see a hat that looks good on someone else.  Women who wear hats know who they are.