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 The Ten Toughest Schools to Get Into

Article provided by The Princeton Review

As any high school senior well knows, the college grindstone begins long before their first freshman paper comes due. The Princeton Review's annual survey of college students found these ten schools to be the hardest to get into--and with most, the uphill battle doesn't stop after getting in. At these schools, competition is the name of the game.

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
Sure, "it's hard to get into and hard to stay in," but the rewards for all the difficult work include "professors who are just as eager to teach in their field as they are to research in it." MIT is the type of place where "almost everyone, including the teachers, loves to learn for the sake of learning, and you end up loving MIT for what it gives you while hating it for the work you have to do to succeed."

Students who considered MIT also looked at Carnegie Mellon University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, and University of California-Berkeley.

2. Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut)
Yale can afford to be extremely selective with a huge surplus of applicants beating down the doors, but "once you're in, they will pamper you and support your ambitions." "Yale does a wonderful job selecting students from a broad base," describes one student. "I now have friends in every corner of the globe."

Students who considered Yale also looked at Amherst College, Cornell University, Georgetown University, and Northwestern University.

3. Princeton University (Princeton, New Jersey)
While Princeton's administration is still working hard to outrun the university's "preppy white image," it's having no problem drawing in brilliant students. It's placing yourself among this elite group that's tough. Once you do get in, though, "you will have the world's foremost experts in the field instructing you."

Students who considered Princeton also looked at Boston College, Boston University, Columbia University, and New York University.

4. Harvard College (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
Unsurprisingly, getting into Harvard takes grit and more than a smattering of self-discipline. Don't think anyone caters to your needs alone at Harvard: "There's no handholding. You'd better be an independent, self-motivated type." Others agree that the administration "is distant and inattentive to students' needs. They can replace you, and don't think they don't know that."

Students who considered Harvard also looked at Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, Tufts University, and University of Chicago.

5. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering (Needham, Massachusetts)
Part of why getting into Olin is so tough is simple economics: Meeting the entire Olin student body wouldn't take much longer than reading this paragraph. Who wouldn't want to be part of this tight group of 150 "awesome, awesome people"?

Students who considered Olin also looked at California Institute of Technology, Harvey Mudd College, Swarthmore College, and University of California-Berkeley.

6. California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, California)
Caltech's "grueling" demands begin even before enrolling. Once they do get in, students arrive at Caltech knowing what to expect--namely, academic boot camp--and few graduate disappointed. Students "face far more challenges than they ever thought possible."

Students who considered Caltech also looked at Brown University, Harvard College, Princeton University, and University of California-Los Angeles.

7. Columbia University (New York, New York)
"Academic powerhouse" Columbia University boasts offerings in a staggering array of disciplines, a faculty that includes five Nobel laureates, and one of the nation's few core curricula that students actually love. As a result, it's incredibly difficult to get into. Students here warn that "Columbia truly is hands-off. It's sink or swim, and you are the only person who can help yourself."

Students who considered Columbia also looked at Boston University, Cornell University, New York University, and Yale University.

8. University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Penn is one of the hottest names in American higher education, and students here tell us that its reputation is well deserved--which does nothing to mitigate the difficulty of being accepted to this Ivy League school. Despite the fact that "world-famous" professors, fantastic opportunities, "frequent, loud, and fun" parties, and--of course--the Penn brand name conspire to deny entrance to all but a lucky few, the university boasts an admirably diverse student body.

Students who considered Penn also looked at Columbia University, Dartmouth College, and Georgetown University.

9. Stanford University (Stanford, California)
Undergrads agree that Stanford lives up to its reputation as "an amazingly hard academic institution with a laid-back atmosphere" teeming with "brilliant and down-to-earth" professors. Yes, it's tough to get in here. If you're aiming for it, know that Stanford appeals to those looking for a serious school that "doesn't take itself too seriously."

Students who considered Stanford also looked at Harvard College, Northwestern University, University of Southern California, and Yale University.

10. Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island)
Brown's famous "do-it-yourself" experience makes it "an Ivy League education without the pretense," which attracts a broad spectrum of "bright freaks" to its doors. If opening those doors is a feat, so is flourishing without rigid structure. It takes "incredible maturity" and focus to "balance all your courses and choose the right ones." The university, however, prides itself on "helping undergrads achieve their utmost potential."

Students who considered Brown also looked at Amherst College, Duke University, Stanford University, and Tufts University.



10 More Words You Simply Must Know

British novelist Evelyn Waugh once said, "One forgets words as one forgets names. One's vocabulary needs constant fertilisation or it will die." Encarta editors picked a few more of their favorite words to nourish your vocabulary. Some of them you may even use! (Tip: Click to see the full definition and hear the word pronounced.)

1. Abhorrent:
      1. "repugnant: arousing strong feelings of repugnance or disapproval"
      2. "incompatible: incompatible or conflicting with something (literary)"

The odor in his apartment was abhorrent.

2. Masticate:
     1. "to grind and pulverize food inside the mouth, using the teeth and jaws"
     2. "grind to pulp: to grind or crush something until it turns to pulp"

Be sure to masticate thoroughly before swallowing.

3. Paradigm:
     1. "typical example: a typical example of something"
     2. "model that forms basis of something: an example that serves as a pattern or model for something, especially one that forms the basis of a methodology or theory"
     3. "set of all forms of word: a set of word forms giving all of the possible inflections of a word"
     4. "relationship of ideas to one another: in the philosophy of science, a generally accepted model of how ideas relate to one another, forming a conceptual framework within which scientific research is carried out"

The heiress who has become famous for being infamous is the paradigm of celebutantes.         

4. Disseminate: "to distribute or spread something, especially information, widely, or become widespread"

Some publications may not want to disseminate rumors, but many tabloids make it their primary business.

5. Promulgate
     1. "declare something officially: to proclaim or declare something officially, especially to publicize formally that a law or decree is in effect"
     2. "make known: to make something widely known"

The City Council has approved the regulation and will promulgate it soon.   

6. Pestiferous:
     1. "annoying: troublesome or annoying"
     2. "causing infectious disease: breeding or spreading a virulently infectious disease"
     3. "corrupting: evil and corrupting (formal)"

"The pestiferous mosquitoes enveloped the campers as they sat around their campfire--a persistent annoyance in an otherwise pleasant evening.

7. Ostentatious: "marked by a vulgar display of wealth and success designed to impress people"

They were actually deep in debt, but their ostentatious parties were the talk of the neighborhood.

8. Sternutatory: "causing or resulting in sneezing"

Cat dander is sternutatory to me.

9. Salutary
     1. "producing or contributing to a beneficial effect; beneficial; advantageous"
     2. "wholesome; healthful; promoting health"

"False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, for every one takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness." -- Charles Darwin

10. Pugnacious: "having a quarrelsome or combative nature: truculent"

He was pugnacious, frequently landing himself in detention for fighting at recess.


10 Words You Simply Must Know

British novelist Evelyn Waugh once said, "One forgets words as one forgets names. One's vocabulary needs constant fertilization or it will die." Encarta editors picked some of their favorite words to nourish your vocabulary. Some of them you may even use. (Tip: Click to see the full definition and hear the word pronounced.)

1. Defenestrate: "throw somebody or something out of window: to throw something or somebody out of a window (formal or humorous)"

It is quite entertaining to defenestrate paper airplanes.

2. Garbology: "study of waste materials: the study of a cultural group by an examination of what it discards"

Garbology might be a good career choice for dumpster divers. Recycling may make the job of future garbologists extremely difficult--they'll have less to study.

3. Digerati: "computer experts: people who have or claim to have a sophisticated expertise in the area of computers, the Internet, and the World Wide Web"

Not too long ago, computer expertise was considered nerdy. These days, many people strive to be among the digerati.

4. Antipodes:
        1. "places at opposite sides of world: places at opposite sides of the world from each other, or the areas at the side of the world opposite from a given place"
        2. "opposites: two points, places, or things that are diametrically opposite each other"

One could say that Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli and Warren "Potsie" Weber are antipodes.

5. Hallux: "first digit on the foot: the big toe on the human foot, or the first digit on the hind foot of some mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians (technical)"

The ballerina had her hallux insured for $10 million!

6. Otiose
        1. "not effective: with no useful result or practical purpose" 
        2. "worthless: with little or no value" 
        3. "lazy: unwilling or uninterested in working or being active (archaic)"

Will e-mail render traditional letter writing otiose? Let's hope not.

7. Cullet: "glass to be recycled: broken or waste glass returned for recycling"

Don't forget to take the cullet out to the curbside, and be sure to put it next to the trash, not in it.

8. Pellucid
        1. "clear in meaning: easy to understand or clear in meaning (formal)"
        2. "transparent: allowing all or most light to pass through (literary)" 

The police officer's warning was pellucid: Drivers must go the speed limit in the school zone.

9. Borborygmus: "stomach rumble: the rumbling sounds made by the movement of gases in the stomach and intestine (technical)"

If you lay your head on someone's stomach, you are likely to hear borborygmus.

10. Expropriate: "take away something belonging to somebody: to take property or money from somebody, either legally for the public good or illegally by theft or fraud"

The thief's goal was to expropriate the ladies' jewelry.


6 Strange Secrets for Success

by Jennifer Merritt

Stuck in a job you don't like? Looking to move up the ranks with your current employer? You're not alone in looking for a way to get ahead. But you've likely noticed that everyone seems to spew the same advice: Revamp your resume! Schedule a meeting with the boss! Be sure to follow up!

Relevant advice? Sure. But it's also obvious, and not necessarily the best way to stand out from the crowd. What you need is a revolutionary get-ahead strategy, even if it seems strange at first because it involves peanut butter and jelly … 

Sandwich solutions
Chris Komisarjevsky is chief executive emeritus at Burson-Marsteller, a leading New York City-based public relations and public affairs firm. He's also a father to nine children. The connection between running a PR business and raising children may not be immediately apparent, but Komisarjevsky and his wife Reina found otherwise, so they wrote a book, Peanut Butter and Jelly Management: Tales from Parenthood--Lessons for Managers. In it the Komisarjevskys detail how being a good manager--or demonstrating your capability to be a good manager--requires many of the same skills as being a good parent.

"There are a lot of lessons to be found in unexpected places," Chris says. "What we see is the way people behave and the way the kids behave and we made the connection. That's not to say employees should be treated like children, but if we stop and listen, perhaps we can learn from some other parts of our lives."

Chris refers to an example from his book, in which his seven-year-old son Nicholas stomped around in a garbage can at school. When his teacher asked why, he replied, "Because--it's a free country," thus earning a lunchtime detention. "That's a wise-guy response," Chris acknowledges. "When you make a mistake you need to step up."

So, just as Nicholas later admitted fault and apologized to his teacher, take advantage of mistakes made at work. Learn from your errors and use them as an opportunity to stand apart from the keister-covering crowd. "I think in the work environment, people try to blame someone else for things that went wrong," Chris says. "Let's acknowledge the mistake and move on. You can't get very far if you don't acknowledge the mistake. It's a very important lesson in life."

Historical "cents"
History repeats itself in work as in life. According to Andrea R. Nierenberg, author of Nonstop Networking: How to Improve Your Life, Luck and Career, when it comes to capitalizing on important lessons that lead to success, an occasional career déjà vu is a good thing.

"People seemed to have it right in the past," she says. Andrea believes that our forefathers were masters of networking. "They were givers first."

"I'm a believer in the personal note," Andrea says. So much so, that she refers to the simple task as her "37-cent investment plan." She points out Thomas Jefferson's reputation for correspondence--he was known for writing 1,000 letters a year--as one of his winning characteristics. "Letter writing is a forgotten art," she points out. "It sticks out in people's minds."

Andrea says it's those kinds of basic people skills that can help you advance on the job. She makes it a point to send thank-you notes--the old-fashioned, handwritten ones--although when all else fails, e-mail suffices. What's key is forging a personal connection--something to distinguish yourself from others. After all, everyone likes to feel appreciated. And, when it's a leadership position you're seeking, it's nice to be surrounded by those who thrive on your ability to communicate praise.

Learning to lead
Some would say that leaders are born, not made. William A. Cohen, Ph.D., a retired major general of the United States Air Force, would beg to differ. "Leadership can be learned," he says. "It's a matter of not only having the qualities [of a leader], but knowing what to do."

And William believes there's no better place to learn leadership than from the military, particularly from the elite few elected to special operations. In his book Secrets of Special Ops Leadership, William details how the principles of the U.S.'s unique fighting forces can teach you how to make yourself a leader.

"These [men and women] are in high-risk situations with limited resources," he says of those placed in special ops. "They're different, and we can learn from them in terms of business."

William says that special ops soldiers frequently do things others may consider impossible--such as finding Jessica Lynch or capturing Saddam Hussein. He cites the story of Major Gregory "Pappy" Boyington as a prime example. As a fighter pilot during World War II, Boyington persuaded his superiors to let him create a fighter squadron, known as VMF 214, to fight Japanese forces. Originally, the squadron was temporary, but in the 12 weeks VMF 214 was in combat, the squadron rewrote the record books, destroying 94 fighters and going on to become one of the Air Force's best squadrons.

"Within a few days, he turned [the squadron] around," William explains. "He made the most of what he had." By "daring the impossible," Pappy led himself and others to success. So even if you're a long shot for a promotion at work, ask the boss to consider you--it will show you're ambitious and anxious for more responsibility. Or like Pappy, suggest creating a task force to temporarily fill the void left by the open position. Your boss will not only be impressed by your ambition, but by your desire to lead, as well.

6 Strange Secrets for Success

Part II: Ready, willing, and succeeding

A willingness to learn how to lead was what drove Aretha Rhone Bush to go back to school. When she was working as an assistant principal at Hilton Head High School in Hilton Head, South Carolina, Aretha saw the opportunity she'd been waiting for--one that would not only enhance her career, but ultimately her education, too.

"I saw the proposal for the bond referendum to build a [new] school," she says. "When I was hired as an assistant principal, I told my principal I wanted the opportunity to lead the school."

That's one of the reasons why, after leading a 55-member committee through the design and build process of Bluffton High School, a state-of-the-art technology school in Beaufort, Aretha was unanimously chosen as its principal. Then 34, she became one of the youngest high school principals in South Carolina.

Now 35, Aretha is pursuing her Ph.D. in elementary and secondary administration.

One tough lunch
Richard "Bo" Dietl certainly didn't learn the traditional way. A self-made man, Dietl's ready to let the world in on his success secrets in his book, Business Lunchatations: How an Everyday Guy Became One of America's Most Powerful CEOs … And How You Can, Too! Bo and his coauthor, Bob Bly, discuss creative ways to advance, not just professionally, but monetarily, as well.

Many know Bo as the tough New York police detective who inspired the 1998 movie One Tough Cop, starring Stephen Baldwin and Gina Gershon. After he retired from the force, Bo founded Beau Dietl and Associates, which specializes in corporate investigations for major international companies.

Dietl's "catalyst strategy" says you don't have to invent a new widget to get rich--you just have to own a piece of it.

"My role as a business catalyst is to keep an eye out for those shared and complementary interests, and facilitate the introductions that begin relationships between the multiple parties," Bo writes. "What it does is allow me to generate revenues beyond the companies and products that I actually own and produce. It works because of the tremendous network of contacts that I work nearly full-time to build."

The idea is similar to networking, and even when no deal is made, Bo says at the very least the interaction opens up possibilities for future negotiations. So even if you don't land that big account at work, keep the company's objective in mind--introducing them to another firm with similar goals could prove beneficial for you when it comes to your future success.

Exercise and temper tantrums?
Plenty of other people are doing the same and cashing in, like Jake Steinfeld, trainer and founder of Body by Jake, in his new book, I've Seen a Lot of Famous People Naked, and They've Got Nothing On You! Using himself as an example, Jake divulges how everyone is the same underneath it all. Just like with diet and exercise, all it takes is a dedicated effort to be successful in business.

Likewise, in his book How to Negotiate Like a Child, Bill Adler, Jr., explores how throwing tantrums, acting irrationally, and pretending you don't understand what the other side is saying can help you get everything you want. Think about it: When it comes to cajoling, sweet-talking, and arguing, children are the best, so why not learn a thing or two from their playground?

The bottom line? If you find yourself stuck in a dead-end job or stagnant in your current job, take the Komisarjevskys' advice: Look for get-ahead lessons in unexpected places.