Ivy League Grads Fall For Aflac's Siren-Song Quack; Tale of an Easy-A Med School Professor

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Today in Academia: fragile college endowments, an easy-A professor, Ivy League grads working as insurance salespeople, foreign student enrollment rises, and pysch grad students scrounge for internships.

  • A few sales jobs are available in this job market. The latest entry in the continuing, depressingly-themed "Generation Jobless" series for The Wall Street Journal finds that plenty of Ivy Leaguers who graduated with college without good job prospects (especially now that those with MBA degrees are also fighting for employment) have settled in by working in sales or insurance industry companies like Aflac and New York Life insurance. At least some places are hiring. "Where debt-laden college graduates once might have resisted commission-based sales positions, the 14% unemployment rate for 20- to 24 -year-olds means fewer grads are turning up their nose at sales," finds The Journal. [The Wall Street Journal]
  • The glut of graduate psychology students means that internship opportunities are dwindling. Internships in any field seem scarce right now, but The New York Times highlights what appears to be a particularly grueling, algorithm-based, matching process for qualified graduate psychology students hoping to get hands-on experience at hospitals and clinics. It's the sheer numbers nationwide that don't work: "The number of enrolled students is growing twice as fast as the number of internships. 'You can’t cram 4,100 students into 3,100 positions,' said Greg Keilin, the director of psychology training at the University of Texas." [The New York Times]
  • You may have been (un)lucky enough to have an absent professor. Is it worth getting good grades from a professor who is too easy? Reportedly, a few students at George Washington University medical school complained that one of their professors, Venetia Orcutt, assigned 'A's to students but didn't show up to class, the Associated Press reports: "At least three students wrote letters to GW’s provost this fall complaining that Orcutt did not teach two out of three semesters of a course on evidence-based medicine during the 2009-2010 school year." Orcutt resigned last month. [Associated Press via Huffington Post]
  • Foreign graduate student enrollment is trending up this year.  Overall applications to the top, full-time MBA graduate programs may be downward trending overall, but foreign student enrollment to all types of graduate schools is up this year by 8 percent, Inside Higher Ed reports. And American universities appear to be happy about the trend: "The increases are likely to be especially welcome to American graduate programs because of increased competition in recent years from countries such as Australia, Britain and Canada for some of the best foreign talent." [Inside Higher Ed]
  • Even though Harvard and Yale are OK, many college endowments are still fragile. "College endowments earned an average 19.8 percent in the last fiscal year," The Washington Post reported from an annual survey of endowments. Both Harvard and Yale, as we've previously noted, appear to have somewhat weathered the storm. But, the "average college endowment is worth 86 percent of its value in 2007, before the downturn," the Post notes. [The Washington Post]

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