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'Location, Location, Location' May Not Apply to Students

November 11, 1998|KENNETH R. WEISS

Are college students happier living in California rather than the Midwest? Apparently not, says a pair of psychologists, even though there is less complaining about the weather.

A survey of 1,993 students at UCI, UCLA, the University of Michigan and Ohio State showed that they all were equally happy with their lives, said David Schkade of the University of Texas and Daniel Kahneman of Princeton.

"It appears the advantages of California are often overestimated and that some advantages are perceived even where none exist," they wrote in Psychological Science, a journal of the American Psychological Society.

"The similarity of overall life satisfaction in the two regions is remarkable because satisfaction with several aspects of life shows significant differences, all favoring California," they wrote. "In particular, students in the Midwest were less satisfied with every aspect of their climate, with the national beauty of their region, and with their opportunities for outdoor recreation."

Yet students in California thought the Midwest was prettier, with its green hills and trees.

Although the weather is much discussed, it seems to have little influence on personal satisfaction, the authors surmised. "We propose that people do not spontaneously focus their attention on the pleasures and pains of climate when attempting to work out how happy they are."

'Fatal Error' on Entry Exam Is Only a Test of Nerves

Sometimes taking a big test feels like, well, life or death.

So imagine the 400 aspiring MBA students who after completing the final question of the grueling three-hour Graduation Management Admission Test saw these words flash on their computer screen: fatal error.

The Educational Testing Service, which now only offers the test on computer, said the software glitch has not affected any scores. It has also been fixed.

But the fatal error message rattled several hundred of the 10,000 students who took the test this month. How can they be sure it didn't lower their scores? After all, these scores play an enormous role in determining where the students will be admitted to business school. Graduates of the top schools now waltz into jobs with six-figure starting salaries, while those from lesser schools have fewer options.

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