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EDUCATION: SMART RESOURCES FOR STUDENTS AND PARENTS
| THE COLLEGE SCENE / KENNETH R. WEISS

Applying Online Is Popular, but It Has a Downside

October 05, 1998|KENNETH R. WEISS

Aspiring MBA students can kiss goodbye the idea of mailing the traditional paper application to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management. This graduate school, on a campus known as a "techie paradise," has become the first in the nation to accept applications only by e-mail.

Perhaps it's not such a radical move, given how laptops have become a fashion accessory on campus and how some college students spend more time chatting online than they do by phone or in person.

It's only a matter of time before other graduate programs follow MIT's lead. A recent Georgetown University survey showed that 94% of its MBA students would have preferred to apply online.

But don't expect colleges to place any such restrictions on undergraduate applications.

One hitch: Who would be excluded? Studies show that minorities and poor are not as likely as their white classmates to have computers at home or access to the Internet.

Furthermore, younger students remain suspicious about releasing personal information into cyberspace.

USC students raised this concern in focus groups held by Joseph Allen, dean of admissions and financial aid. "Besides security issues, they were concerned these applications would not be read as thoroughly as those that came in on paper."

To be sure, most colleges now accept applications sent in over the Internet, or mailed in on CD-ROMs.

Some schools love how they can download the information directly into their own computers for quick sorting by grade-point average and SAT scores.

Others, though, cannot mesh their computers with the Internet. Although they accept online applications--out of fear that they will be viewed as technologically backward--they must print out each application and then pay a typist to enter information into their own computer system.

It's a process that one admissions wag called tantamount to "turning natural gas into coal."

Keeping the Collegiate Waistline From Graduating

It used to be called the "Freshman 10," as in the excess pounds gained by first-year students enjoying a bit too much starchy dorm food . . . or beer.

But just as tuition swells, so it seems does the collegiate waistline. College dietitians now refer to the phenomenon as the "Freshman 15."

"Most of the freshmen who come to see me for help with weight loss have gained about 10 to 20 pounds," said Janice Cochran, a nutritionist at the State University of New York at Buffalo. "But there are more extreme cases."

Cochran blames a smorgasbord of temptations: All-you-can-eat dining halls that beckon students to go back for seconds; social events that encourage nervous teenagers to eat or drink too much; academic pressures that prompt students to skip a meal and then binge later.

Aside from the usual advice--exercise regularly and avoid fatty foods--Cochran recommends:

* No more midnight pizza runs. Or any other late-night splurging.

* Drink more water and keep other beverages in check. As she notes, two beers and a shot equal 400 calories.

* Tell those dishing out dorm food, "That's enough," before they load up your plate.

* Eat slowly and savor your food. That way, you'll have a better sense of when you're full.

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