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Posted at 09:39 AM ET, 10/05/2012

Friday Five: Loan debt, midterm stress and banned books

It’s Friday again — and here are five interesting articles, videos, documents or ideas that I came across this week. You can help write next week’s list by forwarding links to me on Twitter, @wpjenna, or via e-mail,

1) Admissions officials are cool with five-digit debt: A new survey from Inside Higher Ed found that 22 percent of college admissions directors are comfortable with the average student loan debt being even higher than it is now, at about $25,250.

A graduation ceremony at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., in 2011. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) (Butch Dill - AP)
Inside Higher Ed reports: “The willingness of almost all admissions directors to accept debt — and some to accept substantial amounts of debt — may reflect a change in attitude from just a few years ago. In 2007 and 2008, many of the wealthiest (and most expensive, by sticker price) colleges were announcing plans to eliminate debt entirely or to eliminate debt for those below certain income levels, while limiting debt load to $10,000 or so for those above the maximum income levels. As the recession has dragged on, however, some of those institutions — among them Cornell University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology — have moved away from ‘no loans’ policies or raised debt limits.”(Full article: “Debt, Jobs, Diversity and Who Gets In: A Survey of Admissions Directors.”)

2) Multiple midterms: The Hoya student newspaper published an editorial this week asking for relief for those who have more than one midterm exam scheduled for one day. The editorial board wrote: “Anxiety is a part of undergraduate life, but with students constantly encouraged to pursue excellence, it is only fair that the university allow them time to achieve it. When it comes to midterms, the phrase “multiple choice” should apply only to test questions, not to the issue of which exam a student should study for sufficiently.” (Full editorial: “Solving the Stress of Tests.”)

3) Lawyer in debt turns to online entertainment industry: Nick Freilich is 30, has a Georgetown law degree and is living with his parents in Santa Monica, Calif., as he pays off his pile of loans. And so he has started a fundraising campaign called “Save Nick from Living with His Parents until He’s 40” and created this hilarious video:

(HT to Huffington Post, which published a profile of Freilich: “Nick Freilich, Georgetown Law Graduate, Will Write You A Theme Song If You Help Pay His Loans.”)

4) University of Chicago swears it’s still uncommon: For years, the University of Chicago held out against using the Common App, opting instead for its own application with quirky, out-of-the-box questions. The university gave up a few years ago, though, and saw its number of applications sky-rocket and its acceptance rate fall. But it’s still doing all that it can to be quirky and unlike everyone else. The latest example, which an admissions counselor just told me about this week, was a letter sent to prospective students in August that played off the “Call Me Maybe” craze.

The letter reads: “I know that we just met you — and this is crazy — but here are our numbers” and then lists off school stats like number of Nobel Prize winners on faculty and the number of “uncommon essay prompts.” The letter sign-off states: “So call us, maybe? <3” (Full letter is posted on the UChicagoAdmissions Tumblr.)

5) Banned Books Week turns 30: This week librarians, students and book-lovers across the country yet again recognized and celebrated controversial literature. At Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., students, faculty and volunteers flash-mobbed the library and read aloud passages from books that have been challenged and banned over the years, including “To Kill a Mocking Bird,” “Lord of the Flies,” “Harry Potter” and (my all-time-favorite book) “The Great Gatsby.”

You can add to this week’s reading list by leaving a comment below. And you can help write next week’s list by forwarding links to me on Twitter, @wpjenna, or via e-mail,

By  |  09:39 AM ET, 10/05/2012

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