It is great that Mason is being given money to grow in academic areas. However, can you explain how an 18 year old freshman would benefit from this?
Now that all the numbers for the incoming freshman class have been reached, there is a big elephant in the room for graduating seniors. All the state schools are working on improving their numbers. This is not unique to GMU. That being said, what happens to the Fairfax County student who had their heart set on “going away to college” and only got into GMU. Do they attend GMU and transfer. Or do they attend NOVA, save some $$, and then transfer. This question has more to do with the developmental age of a high school senior then it does numbers. NOVA specializes in 100 and 200 level classes. The classes are smaller and more focused on this age. Mason seems to be defining itself as a powerhouse in the more advanced research type settings. My thoughts are that a child that has no intention of graduating from Mason would receive a more appropriate experience at NOVA.
In a perfect world, a student would reluctantly start at Mason, fall in love with it, and set the world on fire as a Patriot. If a school does not recruit for leadership and passion, it will loose students who wish to become engaged on a human level. This is why Mason falls short in alumni contributors and why Mason has such a large transfer rate,
Okay, so what do YOU think. Where do our gorgeous, talented, spirited local kids hang their hats until they can move on to a school that shares the same value system? ( Try not to mention the has been basketball team and research/upper level resources and minimize sarcasm).
I’ll do my best to minimize the sarcasm, but golly gee you do make it difficult to do so, but I’ll try.
Funded programs attract top faculty. Here’s how it works: Among the ways that Mason has risen so much farther and faster than nearly any institution in history is based on innovative programs that, coupled with our proximity to those that award the funding, has provided for a range of spectaular programs such as the one described in the article. This, in turn, attracts faculty members who want to participate in such highly regarded programs, and also helps fund top faculty already on board. This is why you tend to have the best known faculty at the institutions with the biggest research/grant portfolios. In examining possible schools, you then want to explore whether those institutions have those top faculty teaching undergraduates (like we do at Mason) and whether these programs also provide opportunities for undergraduates to gain exceptional experience in their fields (like Mason).
Also, and I mean this with all sincerity, being a reluctant student at an outstanding institution is just plain foolish. You may feel that Mason falls short (I refer you to the fact that Mason was named one of the top schools in the country for student success, and has one of the highest contributions by age group as well – so you just MIGHT want to get your facts straight…oops a little sarcasm there), and if so, maybe Mason isn’t the right choice for you or your oh so wonderful offspring. I think that gorgeous, talented, spirited kids should go to schools that are the same way. I think that place is Mason for the right students, but there are PLENTY of choices.
If your heart is set on going away to college, then go away to college. The fact that you’re from Fairfax country places you in a school district with one of the highest college placement rates in the nation. I’ve said before that setting your sites on only one or two “dream schools” without thinking about why the schools are a good match just leads to disillusionment, and that certainly seems to be the case you describe. I’d suggest widening your search as, even among Virginia publics, you have plenty of options. If after all that you decide to go to the community college and then transfer, whether by choice or because your grades weren’t up to snuff, then yes I believe that is a great option for many students (60% of students in the U.S. transfer at some point before receiving a baccalaureate degree).
Now, did I leave anything out? Oh yes – our basketball team won our conference AND went to the NCAA tournament again this year. Sorry you find that having a Final Four appearance AND a second NCAA trip in three years a has been. Darn, there goes that sarcasm again.