Unraveling buzzwords when scoping out local area universities

college universitiesThere is much to be proud of in our community located in the Shenandoah Valley of Western Virginia, but most of all we pride ourselves on having some of the nation’s finest institutes of higher education. If you or your children are searching for a college or university, we suggest you look no farther afield than our local area schools. However, when it comes to sorting through the buzzwords you’re likely to encounter on each institution’s website, there are some common words you might need to translate. Here are a few of the most common buzzwords in higher education to familiarize yourself with.

First a Look at Our Amazing Colleges and Universities

It’s not really ethical to say that we have some of the finest colleges and universities without mentioning a few of them by name. As you will find elsewhere on this website, some of the local institutes for higher education we are so proud of include:

  • Blue Ridge Community College
  • Bridgewater College
  • Eastern Mennonite University
  • James Madison University
  • Mary Baldwin University
  • University of Virginia
  • Virginia Military Institute
  • Washington & Lee University

And there are others not far from home as well. When reading through the pamphlets and online information about courses and amenities offered at each campus, you may want to understand why these buzzwords are so prevalent in today’s system of education.

Why Buzzwords Are Important

Without listing all the buzzwords that you are likely to encounter, a few examples might help you to understand why they are so important. Typically, each of these words exemplify something that is integral to the school’s mission statement or to education on the whole on a national level. For example, you might find information on how a particular school focuses on “building relationships” or “connecting with peers.” Not only is this important in campus life, but it is also important in the professional world.

A lot of emphasis is given to teamwork in today’s corporate environment and most parents now realize that graduates who demonstrate an ability to be a “team player” are likely to get the job easier than someone with higher credentials. Are you beginning to see a pattern here? Those buzzwords are important because they also help parents and prospective students understand just what each school can do for them above and beyond excellence in education.

It’s All About Implied Meaning

In the end, when scoping out the university or college you’d like to attend, keep in mind that buzzwords are simply various ways to describe age-old concepts. They are usually ways of saying things in a politically acceptable way so as not to be threatening. A good example would be the way in which the term “assessment of intellectual ability” is perceived. When reworded to a “test of problem solving skills,” which one do you think is less frightening or threatening to a student? You got that right!

Problem solving skills is so much less threatening than thinking someone is going to measure your intellect! Although the tests remain the same, the description is toned down. It really is all about implied meaning, so if you see a prolific use of one phrase between universities you are considering, you’ll now know why. It’s only a buzzword after all, so don’t let that worry you. There are more important things to worry about like on campus activities and the quality of the food in cafeterias! Wouldn’t you say that’s something of major import to a college student?



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