66 votes

Unreasonable requests to a TA from a student

Stop apologizing and be clear and firm. Don't make excuses. I understand that you have other obligations than your studies but please understand that I too have other obligations than answering your ...
  • 8,523
40 votes

Why do American universities have so many gen-eds?

The goal of American higher education is more civic and cultural than seems to be the case in Europe. European students seem to apply to a university for a specific course, in a specific topic, and ...
  • 509
40 votes

Why do American universities have so many gen-eds?

I attended high school both in Europe and in the US (exchange programme), and my experience was that the US educational system is roughly "one step behind", timewise, compared to the ...
  • 2,263
39 votes

Why do American universities cost so much?

Examining cost drivers in an industry is a complex economic task and making comparisons between countries is also quite complex, since there are many surrounding differences in other aspects of the ...
  • 51.3k
26 votes

Why do American universities cost so much?

There are many factors. First, we should address the difference between price and cost. Price is what the student pays. Cost is what the university spends. In most of Europe, the cost is much ...
21 votes

When writing a letter of recommendation for a student, should I explicitly mention where former students of a similar calibre were admitted to?

I would phrase it differently. The part about the "median student" and "not quite as highly" worries me. And the part about "is admitted to" or "went to schools"...
  • 291k
16 votes

Why do American universities cost so much?

As for the title of the question, why it costs so much: A fundamental difference between the US and other countries (or the US several decades ago) is that the rest of the world believes that ...
13 votes
Accepted

Does the order of referees matter?

I have been in an admission committee for a master program for years now, and I don't think that that matters. The thing to remember is that we see large amounts of applications, so we quickly scan ...
  • 36.3k
13 votes

Unreasonable requests to a TA from a student

Let me be clear: you do not need to answer questions outside of normal office hours. Students are aware of deadlines and of our office hours so it’s up to them to manage their time so they are not in ...
  • 21.6k
10 votes

How to get two paid affiliations?

It might be useful to ask yourself why your PI only shares this information when he’s tipsy (and presumably less in control of his faculties). The explanation is simple: for a “not-very-known PI”, the ...
  • 177k
9 votes

Why do American universities cost so much?

Many good answers here, so I'll just address one aspect that they haven't: For the top-tier Ivy Leagues, being expensive is the point. They are, practically speaking, giant hedge-funds with a ...
  • 329
8 votes

Why do American universities cost so much?

There are several factors, but in my opinion the biggest one is federally subsidized student loans which break the "expected"/"free market" behavior. When my parents went to ...
  • 593
8 votes

How are courses scheduled for undergraduate students at US universities? Is there a pre-set schedule by major?

US education is not "one system" - every institution is potentially unique because they all run themselves. There is no national system. There are regional accreditation organizations, but ...
  • 79.2k
7 votes

How to get two paid affiliations?

If it was easy, everyone would do it. But they don't, so I think you should not make it a life goal of yours. As for your PI's situation, there are two possibilities. Both are predicated that it must ...
6 votes

How to get two paid affiliations?

This is not common and could get your PI in trouble. So don't even try it.
  • 36.3k
6 votes

Why doesn't your stipend increase after your courses are complete?

Typically the funding for tuition waivers and the funding from the stipend come from separate pools of money. This is true of my current institution. This arrangement makes more sense for the student. ...
  • 3,337
6 votes

Are sleep stations on-campus effective in promoting productivity of students?

Unfortunately, I am not aware of any particularly significant study that analyzes the effectiveness or convenience of on-campus sleep stations. There is, however, significant research on the ...
6 votes

Unreasonable requests to a TA from a student

Your action was reasonable, and she should have shown some respect. It seems she took you for granted. I faced the same situation many times with a very lazy student. She rarely went to lectures. ...
  • 1,972
6 votes

Why do referees ask for a school list?

You are asking the professor to recommend you for admission to schools. There are two or three good reasons why she might want a list of the schools to which you are applying: A directed, pointed ...
  • 7,578
6 votes

Why do American universities cost so much?

There are many reasons. The basic one is that higher education isn't fully funded by the government through taxes. Some universities get substantial funding from individual states (funded by income ...
  • 291k
6 votes
Accepted

Can I enroll in an engineering PhD as an MD?

This is a US only answer. There is nothing, in principle, that would prevent you from applying for an engineering doctorate with your degrees. In practice, however, you would be considered along with ...
  • 291k
6 votes

Why do American universities have so many gen-eds?

A few points: Market forces don't really apply here because schools that want to be accredited (which is pretty much all of them since students can't use Government-sponsored loans at unaccredited ...
  • 57.6k
5 votes

Unreasonable requests to a TA from a student

This is classic ask vs. guess culture. In ask culture, questions have low emotional involvement. You ask for something. If the answer is no then all that's happened is you've learned the answer. In ...
  • 1,052
5 votes
Accepted

Research at Public University vs Private University: A perspective for a data science enthusiast!

By "creating research directions for its students" I suppose you mean the success of faculty in suggesting and supporting research topics that turn out to be approachable and/or impactful. I ...
5 votes

Why do American universities cost so much?

Unlike Russia, there is a more clear perception of a more prestigious university = higher station in life. This does not always work out as expected (see the current outrage about student loans). The ...
  • 6,948
4 votes
Accepted

Pros and cons of asking for an application fee waiver for PhD math

Here are a couple thoughts about your numbered questions: The requirement that an applicant be a US citizen or permanent resident indicates that the fee waiver is funded by a grant (either a ...
4 votes

Unreasonable requests to a TA from a student

Be very careful. This type of student is likely to cause further problems, and this may even end in a law suit against you. Make sure you are very formal and transparent, but firm, towards the ...
  • 1,240
4 votes

Unreasonable requests to a TA from a student

You should discuss this student's behavior with the lead instructor for the course. They will probably agree with everyone here that this is not OK, and will take steps to back you up, e.g. sending ...
  • 1,378
4 votes
Accepted

What does "matriculation" refer to?

Generally it is simply referring to the official record of grades as provided by an institution. "Matriculation" is the act of officially joining some organization. It isn't about grade ...
  • 291k
4 votes

Why do American universities cost so much?

I'm rather surprised I didn't see any other answers addressing the premise that education operates like a free market because education is not a free market. In a free market, by definition, there ...
  • 141

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