- In the United States, there is little difference between the terms “college” and “university.” However,
the term “college” in other countries, such as Canada, refers
to a junior college or trade college, where as a “university” is
larger, more research focused, and usually contains multiple colleges.l
- Typically, the worst paying majors are Social Work, Theology, Elementary
Education, Music, Spanish, Horticulture, Education, Fine Arts, Hospitality/Tourism,
- The majors with the best pay include Engineering, Economics, and Physics.n
- Harvard Stadium was the first reinforced concrete structure in the world.l
- The word “alumnus” is Latin meaning “a pupil” and,
literally, a “foster son.”l
- The term “college” is from the Latin collegium meaning “community,
society, guild” and, literally, “association of collegae”.
It was first used to describe an academic institution in the late fourteenth
century in relation to Oxford and Cambridge.l
- “University” is a shortening of the Latin universitas
magistrorum et scholarium or “a community of masters and scholars.”l
- The term bachelor in “bachelor’s degree” most
likely is from the Medieval Latin term baccalaureate, which is a
play on the Latin words bacca lauri or laurel berries. The word
is also a re-Latinization of the French word bachelor, which
means a “youthful knight” or a “novice in arms.”b
|Mark Zuckerberg, a college drop-out, is the world’s youngest self-made billionaire
- Famous college dropouts include Reggie Jackson, Steve Jobs, Ben Affleck,
Woody Allen, Hans Christian Anderson, Dan Ackroyd, Kate Beckinsale, James
Cameron, and Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook).h
- Before the Civil War, disbelief in the in Bible or profaning the Sabbath
were campus crimes at Yale.l
- Harvard was named after Reverent Mr. John Harvard. The surname Harvard
is cognate with Hereward, literally “army guard.”l
- Harvard’s early published rules announced that the chief aim of the
school was to know “God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life . .
. and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom, as the only foundation of all
sound knowledge and learning.”l
- Approximately 2.94 million U.S. students graduate from more than 27,000
high schools each year, meaning each college applicant is competing against
27,000 valedictorians, 27,000 salutatorians, 27,000 student government presidents,
and 27,000 editors-in-chief.r
- Yale selects a freshman class of 1,300 from nearly 20,000 applications
- The “best” college for a student is not necessarily the
most prestigious but the college that offers a student the most opportunities
to develop a student’s interests.r
- If one student has high grades but low test scores and another has low
grades but high test cores, the first student is far more likely to get accepted
into a better college. Colleges prefer the “bad test-taker” to
students who don’t apply themselves.r
- The SAT was developed by Carl Brigham who, in the early twentieth century,
felt that American education was declining due to racial mixing. The SAT
was administered for the first time to high school students in 1926.o
- If a high school student is passionate about going to a particular school
but doesn’t have the grades, scores, or competitive credentials, he
or she may try to apply with a major that is less popular or harder to fill.r
- At Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania, students with a BMI (Body Mass Index)
of 30 or higher are required to take a physical education class before they
are allowed to graduate.f
- The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is currently investigating whether
colleges are discriminating in favor of boys in order to achieve gender balance.
Colleges have found that when a college has 60% girls, high school boys stop
- Colleges have rescinded admission offers based on applicants’ “bait
and switch,” or when students register for a full load of classes to
impress the college and then drop a few after the student receives Early
Decision. Early Decision is a binding early admission to a university.r
|A good grade average is typically more important than degree of challenge
- Students often ask if it is better to get an A grade in a regular course
or a B in an AP course. While an A in an AP course is important, grade average
remains more important for college admission than the degree of challenge.r
- The most difficult locations in which to qualify for a National Merit Scholarship
are Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia. The
easiest states in which to qualify are Arkansas, West Virginia, Mississippi,
- Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902), a British imperialist who established the prestigious
Rhodes Scholarships (first awarded in 1904) contended that the British were
the “first race in world.”k
- Radcliffe Heermance, director of admissions at Princeton from 1922-1950,
developed a new admissions policy that included interviews, two letters of
personal recommendation, and a social ranking of applicants in order to limit
the admission of Jews.k
- Oberlin College was the first college to grant degrees to women in 1841.
It was also the first college to grant a bachelor’s degree to an African-American
woman in 1862.q
- There are sixty women colleges in the United States in twenty-four states.
The state with the most women’s colleges is Massachusetts, with eight.
Pennsylvania comes in second with seven.q
- The first college established for African-American students was the Ashmun
Institute on April 29, 1854. It was named after Jehudi Ashmun (1794-1828)
an American ,minister who helped establish Liberia. In 1866, Ashmun Institute
was renamed Lincoln University.l
- The first intercollegiate football game took place on November 6, 1869.
Teams from Princeton and Rutgers met in New Brunswick, New York Each
team had 25 players. Rutgers won 6-4.l
- The four remaining all-male, four-year colleges are Wabash College, Hampden-Sydney
College, Morehouse College, and St. John’s College.i
- The top three schools with the most males are United States Air Force Academy
(82% male), California Maritime Academy (82.5% male), and Berklee College
of Music (73% male).i
- Costs associated with higher education constitute 3 percent of the gross
- There are over 4,000 accredited colleges and universities in the U.S. which
enroll over 15 million students and grants over two million degrees a year.j
- Skull and Bones is the most prestigious of Yale’s senior societies.
Its members have included William Howard Taft, William F. Buckley, George
H.W. Bush, John Kerry, and George W. Bush.k
- As late as 1940, fewer than 1 in 20 adults held a B.A. degree. From 1945-2000,
the number of B.A degrees awarded annually rose almost eightfold, from 157,349
to approximately 1.2 million.g
- Yale was chartered in 1701 and was originally named the Collegiate School
at New Haven. It was created by a group of Harvard alumni who were alarmed
at their alma mater’s decline in Puritan orthodoxy.l
- Columbia University (1754) was originally named King’s College, and
Brown University (1764) was originally named the College of Rhode Island.
Rutgers (1764) was called Queen’s College. All had the dual purpose
of educating civil leaders and preparing a learned clergy.l
- Eight U.S. colleges make up the “Ivy League”: Brown, Columbia,
Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, and Yale.l
|Harvard University (1636) housed soldiers during the Revolutionary War
- Harvard is the oldest college in the United States. It is also the first
and oldest corporation in the United States.l
- In the seventeenth century, Harvard created the Indian College to educate
and Christianize Native Americans. It was disassembled in 1693.l
- A group of Harvard students were expelled in 1920 for homosexual conduct.
The expulsion committee’s treatment of the students led to the suicide of two students and permanently ruined the reputation of others.s
- Yale was named after Elihu Yale (1649-1721), a governor of the British
East India Company who donated a crate of goods to the fledging school.l
- Yale has the second largest academic library in the nation, boasting 9.5
million volumes. Harvard's is the largest, with 13.6 million volumes.m
- In 2006, the five colleges with the highest enrollment were University
of Phoenix online campus (165,573), Ohio State University main campus (51,818),
Miami-Dade (51,329), Arizona State University Tempe Campus (51,234), and
University of Florida (50,912).g
- During 2008-2009, colleges were expected to award 731,000 associate’s
degrees, 1,603,000 bachelor’s degrees, 649,000 master’s degrees,
and 61,7000 doctorate degrees.g
- U.S. colleges with an acceptance rate of 100% include Baker College in
Flint, MI; West Virginia University at Parkersburg; Mountain State University
in Beckley, WV; and Northwest University in Kirkland, WA.c
- U.S. colleges with the lowest acceptance rates, in order, are Curtis Institute
of Music in Philadelphia, PA (4.0%); Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins,
TX (4.5%); Rust College in Holly Springs, MS (7.6%); Juilliard in New York,
NY (7.6%); and Harvard University in Cambridge, MA (7.9%).c
- The U.S. schools with the highest rates of students who graduate in four
years are St. Francis Medical Center College of Nursing in Peoria, IL (100%);
Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA (94%); Davidson College in Davidson,
NC (92%); College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA (92%); and Haverford
College in Haverford, PA (91%).c
- U.S. colleges with the most students in sororities are Clearwater Christian
College in Clearwater, FL (100%); University of the South in Sewanee, TN
(88%); Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA (77%); DePauw University
in Greencastle, IN (68%); and Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC (57%).c
- U.S. colleges with the most transfer students are University of Phoenix
online campus (35,515); Excelsior College in Albany, NY (16,541); Arizona
State University in Tempe, AZ (5,446); University of South Florida in Tampa,
FL (4,623); and University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL (4,455).c
- U.S. News & World Report recently ranked the top four national
universities as being (1) Harvard University, (2) Princeton, (3) Yale, and
(4 - tie) California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT), Stanford, and University of Pennsylvania.c
- Several members of the Harvard class of 1767 were sent home to be cured
of “The Itch,” the outcome of “associating with,
countenancing, and encouraging one or more lewd women.”c
- In hard times, early colleges in the U.S. were forced to accept payments
such as cotton, sheep, pewter, and food rather than hard currency. Most U.S.
colleges were constantly on the verge of insolvency.c
- College enrollment varies by race and ethnicity. Nearly 41% of white 18-
to 24-year-olds were enrolled in college in 2008, compared to 32% of African-Americans
and 26% of Hispanics in the same age group.e
- Of the 3.2 million youth who graduated from high school from October 2007
to October 2008, 2.2 million (68.6%) were attending college in October 2008.
College enrollment rates were 71.5% for young women and 65.9% for young men.d
- In the fall of 2008, there were a projected 18.2 million U.S. students
enrolled in college, more than any previous year except 2007. Between 2007
and fall 2017, enrollment is expected to increase by 10%.d
- In 2008, the unemployment rate for high school graduates not enrolled in
college was 26.7%, compared with 14.9% for graduates enrolled in (either
two- or four-year) colleges.d
- Fifty-four percent of full-time students at two- and four-year colleges
last year were female.d
|More students from India attend U.S. colleges than from any other country
- The number one country of origin of foreign college students in the United
States is India, followed by China and South Korea.p
- For the seventh year in a row, the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) leads U.S. institutions in international student enrollment,
with New York University in New York City coming in second.p
- Individuals with bachelor’s degrees earn an average of 60% more than
people with only a high school diploma, which adds up to more than $800,000
over a lifetime.r
- The oral defense of a dissertation or thesis is a direct descent from the
obligatory oration of the colonial college and from the medieval university
disputation, or conventus, and even of oral interrogations of the
- The term “Ivy League” was officially used in 1954 to describe
an athletic conference involving the schools. The term “Ivy” was
first used by a sportswriter in 1933. Ivy League schools are also called
the “Ancient Eight” or just the “Ivies.”l
- Harvard receives the largest financial endowments of any institution in
the world at $26 billion.k
- The first Greek student society, Phi Beta Kappa (“Love of learning
is the guide of life”) was founded by John Heath in 1776 at the College
of William and Mary. Heath was initially declined admission in Latin-Letter
fraternities. The society chose Greek letters because Heath was the best
Greek scholar on campus.q
- The first national fraternity was Sigma Phi (1827) at Hamilton College
in Clinton, NY. It is the second oldest Greek fraternal society after Phi
- The first sorority, Adelphean Society (now Alpha Delta Pi), was created
at Wesleyan Female College in Macon, GA, in 1851 as a secret society for
women. Phi Mu (the Philomathean Society) followed in 1852. They did not take
Greek names, however, until 1904.q
- Kappa Alpha Theta (1870) was the first women’s organization founded
with Greek letters and Gamma Phi Beta (1874) was the first organization to
use the word “sorority.”q
- The graduation cap was initially a “hood” and is believed to
date back to the Celtic time when Druid priests wore capes and hoods to symbolize
their intelligence. Historically, academic dress for faculty or students
was clerical dress.l
- In 2009, the Delaware Attorney General’s office charged University
of Delaware fraternity Sigma Alpha Mu with hazing after Brett Griffin, 18,
died after the fraternity allegedly pressured him into drinking excessive
amounts of alcohol. Fraternity brothers did not call for medical assistance
-- Posted March 18, 2010
Students Charged in California Fraternity Hazing Death.” American School & University.
May 26, 2009. Accessed: February 18, 2010.
b “Baccalaureate.” Online Etymology Dictionary.
Accessed: March 15, 2010.
Colleges 2010.” USNews&WorldReport.com
Accessed: February 18, 2010.
Enrollment and Work Activity of 2008 High School Graduates.” Bureau of Labor
Statistics. April 28, 2009. Accessed: February 18, 2010.
Enrollment Set Record in 2008.” The New York Times. October 29,
2009. Accessed: February 18, 2010.
f “A Different Kind of Test.” InsideHigherEd.com. November 20, 2009. Accessed: February 28, 2010.
of Education Statistics: 2008.” National
Center for Education Statistics. Accessed: February 18, 2010.
Rich, and Successful People Who Were High School or College Dropouts.” The
College Dropout Hall of Fame. Accessed: February 18, 2010.
Remaining All-Men’s Colleges in the U.S.” Edu in Review. Accessed:
March 16, 2010.
Education in the United States.” State University.com. Accessed: March 17, 2010.
Jerome. 2005. The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and
Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. New
York: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Christopher J. 1994. American Higher Education: A History.
New York: St. Martin’s Press.
Largest Libraries by Volumes Held.” LibrarySpot.com.
Accessed: February 19, 2010.
Best and Worst College Degrees by Salary.” CBS
Money Watch.com July 21, 2009. Accessed: February 19,
of the SAT.” PBS.org.
Accessed: February 18, 2010.
Enrollment at U.S. Colleges Again Breaks Records.” America.gov. November 18,
2009. Accessed: February 18, 2010.
Diana B. 2004. Bound by a Mighty Vow: Sisterhood
and Women’s Fraternities 1870-1920. New
York: NYU Press, 2004.
Elizabeth. 2006. What Colleges Don’t Tell
You (And Other Parents Won’t Tell You).
New York: Hudson Street Press.s Wright,
William. 2005. Harvard’s Secret Court:
The Savage 1920 Purge of Campus Homosexuals. New
York: St. Martin’s Press.