Tuesday, November 23

Mind the Gap - The Los Angeles Times reports on the growing phenomenon of a gender gap in college admissions. Nationwide, 57% of bachelor's degrees are awared to women, and with the balance between male and female students thrown off, some colleges are taking steps to restore the equilibrium. For example, at Santa Clara University in San Jose, "the college has targeted special mailings to high school boys. Current students also telephone every accepted male to encourage him to attend, something that is not done for every girl."

What's at the heart of this off-kilter gender statistics at the university level? "Some say the gap is limited to lower-income students and minorities, with girls from those populations more likely to attend college and boys more likely to go directly to work or the military." AKA, the "more young black men go to jail than go to college theory." But some experts disagree, saying that the gap cuts across the class and racial lines. These arguments aren't new, and some people even blame Ritalin.

But finding solutions to a problem without identifying the root cause is what's driving some colleges to appeal to male prospective students at a "visceral level." This tactic is accomplished through targeted marketing materials, such as:
...pictures of the rugby team added to the school's admissions brochure. One photo shows a hulking, mud-covered player on his knees in a puddle, with this caption: 'Members of the men's rugby team take their jobs seriously, and the more mud, the better.'

WOOF! Which leads me to question of the percentage of gay male students is in alignment with the percentage of lesbian students? Maybe there is a standard percentage of gay male students within the 43% of male graduates, and the same percentage of lesbians within the 57% of female graduates, with the numbers all washing out. But isn't it also possible that some students are attracted to a campus with a disproportionately female and gay male population? (Hello, Yale?)