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  1. #81
    Quote Originally Posted by sagegrouse View Post
    And Harvard, Duke, UPenn and other universities have come out against the use of so much in the way of student loans, resulting in more grants and fewer loans. I am not totally current on this latter topic.
    Right when I graduated about 15 years ago, Duke announced they were eliminating loans for families making less than $60k. Not sure if that's changed. Princeton was the first school that eliminated loans entirely and then there was a push shortly thereafter by several well endowed universities to follow suit as much as they could.

    Today, there are only approximately 15 universities that don't ever offer loans in their aid packages, a mix of the prestigious stalwarts like Harvard as well as smaller liberal arts colleges like Amherst. In fact, Davidson eliminated loans too. Of course, just because a school eliminated loans does not necessarily mean its financial aid package is more generous than a school that does still offer loans. Federal loans are capped at $5.5 a student's freshman year and then increase $1k/year until reaching the max ($7.5k) junior and senior years.

  2. #82
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by sagegrouse View Post
    I think this thread could rapidly spin out of control, but I will restrain my remarks. When I came to Duke, the fraternities offered by far the best West Campus living arrangements. The independent dorms barely had commons rooms and little in the way of structured social life. I have fond memories of most the brothers from that day and keep in touch with a number of them. We have a list-serve and have even had the occasional multi-class reunion.

    The problem with fraternities and "selective living groups" at a school like Duke -- fairly small school, mostly on-campus housing -- is that each of these groups is exclusionary, in that one must be selected. Then what of the people who are "not selected?" Are they second-class citizens? And fraternities, of course, compete to be the best -- and tend to dislike or resent other houses. I believe there are better models available -- residential college systems, for example -- which I have seen work close-up. It's hard to do at Duke with the two campuses and the rather archaic Gothic quad arrangement on the "preferred" campus. But I understand the problems when one-half of students are in the exclusionary groups and the other half are not. It tends to promote hierarchies and is far less democratic.
    Being blunt, imho, I think you have pretty much summed up why fraternities should not exist. Big picture is not about being in and having ‘fun’ in a fraternity, it’s about who is not included and how they feel. My daughter was class of 2013. She was just a normal shy, not so confident kid and still is to some extent. She loved getting into and being at Duke but at the back of my mind to be honest i have a nagging feeling that she never felt like she fit in. She did enjoy PWild though. It sort of changed her life...
    Last edited by Furniture; 03-19-2021 at 12:30 AM.

  3. #83
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    North Carolina
    Quote Originally Posted by sagegrouse View Post
    I stated somewhere above that a lot of private institutions charge roughly the same tuition. All these institutions have very large need-based or merit-based scholarship programs. There are three classes of such institutions -- those with minimal endowments where the "scholarship" is really a tuition rebate. (The accountants, with a straight face, argue that this is a "cost.") A few very, very rich universities where the scholarships are paid for totally out of endowment funds. (Harvard's endowment exceeds $40 billion). Then -- everyone else. Duke has sizable endowment and one of President Brodhead's initiative was to raise endowment to fund scholarships totally. We made some progress, but I think there is more to do. Of those in the third group, Duke is clearly one of the strongest financially, but some scholarship (and fellowship) funds come out of the general revenue (like, other people's tuition).

    The world of higher ed has changed substantially over the past ten years -- beginning when Harvard said that no one whose family makes less than some amount ($100k?) should pay any tuition at all. Others followed suit (and Ivy athletic directors were quite pleased). And Harvard, Duke, UPenn and other universities have come out against the use of so much in the way of student loans, resulting in more grants and fewer loans. I am not totally current on this latter topic.
    my experience paying for my daughter was Duke using EFC.

    Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is an index number that college financial aid staff use to determine how much financial aid you would receive if you were to attend their school. The information you report on your FAFSA, including specific tax information and family income, is used to calculate your EFC.

  4. #84
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    Nov 2007
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    Vermont
    Quote Originally Posted by cspan37421 View Post
    That is interesting. Though with something like Duke Medical Center as a huge part of the budget and perhaps similar influence on the EE/Professor ratio, I really wonder if we're comparing apples and orangutans. Or lemurs vs. femurs.

    One might also speculate about differences in teaching/instructional quality between large research universities and small LACs.
    FWIW, I don't think any university's cost structure is what drives the rise in tuition...rather, it's supply and demand. The very top schools, be they Duke, the Ivies, Stanford et al with lots of departments, infrastructure have learned there is insatiable demand for what they offer, so prices continue to rise. They all monitor each other, but of course none sees much of a reason to slow the rise in prices.

    Similarly, the elite small schools like Williams, Amherst, Middlebury et all are enjoying the same insatiable demand, so they too can continue to raise prices to very similar levels, irrespective of the fact they may have much smaller overall budgets.
    They charge ultra high amounts because they can.

    Of course the supply/demand situation is much much different for a whole lot of other private schools...

  5. #85
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Steamboat Springs, CO
    Quote Originally Posted by Furniture View Post
    Being blunt, imho, I think you have pretty much summed up why fraternities should not exist. Big picture is not about being in and having ‘fun’ in a fraternity, it’s about who is not included and how they feel. My daughter was class of 2013. She was just a normal shy, not so confident kid and still is to some extent. She loved getting into and being at Duke but at the back of my mind to be honest i have a nagging feeling that she never felt like she fit in. She did enjoy PWild though. It sort of changed her life...
    I wasn't aware of this program. Project WILD, from Duke web site:
    Welcome to Project WILD (Wilderness Initiatives for Learning at Duke)! PWILD was started in 1974 by a group of students who noticed a need at Duke for a program that would improve some of the impersonal and stifling aspects of university life. And here we are, 46 years later still going back to the same forest and maintaining many of the same traditions that have been around since the beginning of the program.

    So, what is PWILD? The first couple days take place on campus and involve some acclimation to Duke, getting to know your fellow first-year students, and of course the PWILD staff, who are all seasoned Duke veterans. Once you are split up into crews, the trip can begin! On the trail, participants backpack through the beautiful Pisgah National Forest in the Appalachian Mountains. In addition to the backpacking element, each crew gets a day for rock climbing! You'll hike up mountains, swim through waterfalls, and spend tons of time getting to know your crew of other first-year student like you! During the trip, you will get to know your crew fairly well and will likely form some of your most lasting relationships at Duke (if you can get along with people after no one showers for two weeks then you naturally all end up as friends).
    Sage Grouse

    ---------------------------------------
    'When I got on the bus for my first road game at Duke, I saw that every player was carrying textbooks or laptops. I coached in the SEC for 25 years, and I had never seen that before, not even once.' - David Cutcliffe to Duke alumni in Washington, DC, June 2013

  6. #86
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
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    Sea Island, GA
    Quote Originally Posted by budwom View Post
    FWIW, I don't think any university's cost structure is what drives the rise in tuition...rather, it's supply and demand. The very top schools, be they Duke, the Ivies, Stanford et al with lots of departments, infrastructure have learned there is insatiable demand for what they offer, so prices continue to rise. They all monitor each other, but of course none sees much of a reason to slow the rise in prices.

    Similarly, the elite small schools like Williams, Amherst, Middlebury et all are enjoying the same insatiable demand, so they too can continue to raise prices to very similar levels, irrespective of the fact they may have much smaller overall budgets.
    They charge ultra high amounts because they can.

    Of course the supply/demand situation is much much different for a whole lot of other private schools...
    I agree with you on this. Universities have been able to raise tuition at a rate greater than inflation because the demand is there. They have never had to really examine their cost structure and find ways to operate more efficiently, as a corporation might have to do. And in order to keep the demand as high as possible, they have improved facilities and perks to the extent that today’s college student often has access to food and lifestyle benefits that they won’t be able to afford after graduation (sushi in the dining hall, unlimited spin and yoga classes, climbing walls, etc).

    Having said this, there is a difference between the cost structures at a research university and a small liberal arts college. It is much more expensive to offer science and engineering courses with the associated labs. The facilities themselves are much more expensive to build and maintain, and the additional staff to teach the labs is also more expensive. While Duke has invested a lot in upgrading housing, athletic facilities, dining, etc., they have also greatly improved research facilities in order to attract some of the top researchers and professors (take a virtual tour of the new Wilkinson Engineering building and you will be impressed by the facilities that will help develop the scientific minds of tomorrow.)

    The accounting systems at universities are creative, to say the least. In the engineering school, when researchers receive grants (which bring in money which theoretically will help pay for additional dedicated facilities and personnel that are added to the school’s budget), the school also receives an increase in its allocation of overhead expenses. This allocation can actually increase the budget deficit.

  7. #87
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Sea Island, GA
    Not sure if my link worked in the above. But if you want to see the new building, you can Google “Wilkinson Engineering building tour” and find a YouTube video.

  8. #88
    Quote Originally Posted by Furniture View Post
    Being blunt, imho, I think you have pretty much summed up why fraternities should not exist. Big picture is not about being in and having ‘fun’ in a fraternity, it’s about who is not included and how they feel. My daughter was class of 2013. She was just a normal shy, not so confident kid and still is to some extent. She loved getting into and being at Duke but at the back of my mind to be honest i have a nagging feeling that she never felt like she fit in. She did enjoy PWild though. It sort of changed her life...
    Quote Originally Posted by sagegrouse View Post
    I wasn't aware of this program. Project WILD, from Duke web site:
    I know people who did PWILD 15 years ago and raved about it. Apparently, many people would get naked in the wilderness a bunch (although supposedly they didn't pressure/force anybody to). There was also an "isolation" thingy where you'd be alone in some area for an allotted amount of time with basically nothing and just had to contemplate/fend. I assume both of those aspects of the program have since been removed in recent years. But it's an opportunity to forge friendships in an interesting way before making it to campus.

  9. #89
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    Feb 2012
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    North Carolina
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluedog View Post
    My randomly assigned freshman year roommate did PWILD 15 years ago and raved about it. Apparently, many people would get naked in the wilderness a bunch (although supposedly they didn't pressure/force anybody to). There was also an "isolation" thingy where you'd be alone in some area for an allotted amount of time with basically nothing and just had to contemplate/fend. I assume both of those aspects of the program have since been removed in recent years. But it's an opportunity to forge friendships in an interesting way before making it to campus.
    My daughter did the 24 hours alone thing much to the horror of my wife!!! We only found out afterwards.
    D never said anything about getting naked!

  10. #90
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Steamboat Springs, CO
    Quote Originally Posted by Tooold View Post
    The accounting systems at universities are creative, to say the least. In the engineering school, when researchers receive grants (which bring in money which theoretically will help pay for additional dedicated facilities and personnel that are added to the school’s budget), the school also receives an increase in its allocation of overhead expenses. This allocation can actually increase the budget deficit.
    Yes, but don't grant proposals, which lay out costs, have a charge for university overhead?

    Or maybe it's a gift which is intended to pay only the specific research costs and Duke says, "Not so fast there, Gyro Gearloose, you have more people and now you have more overhead allocation."

    There was a bit of scandal more than a few years ago that Stanford was billing the cost of its luxurious yacht to the federal government. Stanford made a mistake, but the charge was ludicrously unfair. Universities apply an "overhead charge" in a grant proposal, reflecting the administrative costs over and above teaching and research -- which are direct costs. It turns out the relatively trivial operating costs of the yacht were not taken out of the pool (they are not allowable under government procurement rules). There may have been "evil intent" but the amounts involved made it a "tempest in a teapot."
    Sage Grouse

    ---------------------------------------
    'When I got on the bus for my first road game at Duke, I saw that every player was carrying textbooks or laptops. I coached in the SEC for 25 years, and I had never seen that before, not even once.' - David Cutcliffe to Duke alumni in Washington, DC, June 2013

  11. #91
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Vermont
    Quote Originally Posted by Tooold View Post
    I agree with you on this. Universities have been able to raise tuition at a rate greater than inflation because the demand is there. They have never had to really examine their cost structure and find ways to operate more efficiently, as a corporation might have to do. And in order to keep the demand as high as possible, they have improved facilities and perks to the extent that today’s college student often has access to food and lifestyle benefits that they won’t be able to afford after graduation (sushi in the dining hall, unlimited spin and yoga classes, climbing walls, etc).

    Having said this, there is a difference between the cost structures at a research university and a small liberal arts college. It is much more expensive to offer science and engineering courses with the associated labs. The facilities themselves are much more expensive to build and maintain, and the additional staff to teach the labs is also more expensive. While Duke has invested a lot in upgrading housing, athletic facilities, dining, etc., they have also greatly improved research facilities in order to attract some of the top researchers and professors (take a virtual tour of the new Wilkinson Engineering building and you will be impressed by the facilities that will help develop the scientific minds of tomorrow.)

    The accounting systems at universities are creative, to say the least. In the engineering school, when researchers receive grants (which bring in money which theoretically will help pay for additional dedicated facilities and personnel that are added to the school’s budget), the school also receives an increase in its allocation of overhead expenses. This allocation can actually increase the budget deficit.
    Indeed, accounting can be done all sorts of creative ways, which is why I hate seeing articles on the "profitability" of various athletic departments, etc...costs can, and are, allocated in all sorts of creative and illogical ways...
    As was mentioned earlier, some of the facilities at schools these days are mindboggling, I echo the comments about the food scene at the new union building, that's just amazing.

    Once a year my wife and I go to Boston, get to walk past B.U., Northeastern, get to see the latest gigantic glass buildings holding dozens and dozens of exercise machines, all sorts of amenities...it's quite remarkable.

  12. #92
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    North of Durham
    Quote Originally Posted by Furniture View Post
    Being blunt, imho, I think you have pretty much summed up why fraternities should not exist. Big picture is not about being in and having ‘fun’ in a fraternity, it’s about who is not included and how they feel. My daughter was class of 2013. She was just a normal shy, not so confident kid and still is to some extent. She loved getting into and being at Duke but at the back of my mind to be honest i have a nagging feeling that she never felt like she fit in. She did enjoy PWild though. It sort of changed her life...
    I graduated in the late 90s and was not Greek. I entered Duke with an open mind about the Greek system but assuming that I probably wouldn't do it. I explored it and chose not to pursue - one fraternity was interested in me but I wasn't particularly interested. I initially thought the selective houses (House CC, Wayne Manor, etc.) might be a better fit but didn't pursue that route either. I had good friends in Greek organizations and went to plenty of frat parties and private sorority events.

    My sophomore and junior year I did blocks with a co-ed group of about 15 friends. Because we were a pretty big group we did not end up in ideal locations, but we made that sacrifice to be together. I think Duke should make more of an effort to promote things like this, as well as to promote continuity in dorms so there is more community.

    All that being said, I always struggled with those who went to Duke and were troubled by Greek life. Greek organizations should be held to a high standard of behavior. They should not dominate prime west campus real estate. They should be relatively inclusive. That being said, Greek life has been part of Duke for a long time. When you apply to Duke, you know what you are getting into. There are plenty of peer schools without Greek systems (though many have equivalents). Life is tough. There are plenty of universities you won't get into, jobs you won't get, clubs that won't accept you, dinner parties you aren't invited to, etc. The university only plays so big of a role in creating social lives for students and managing those social lives.

    Many non-Greek students had incredible experiences by finding communities elsewhere, whether it was The Chronicle, theater, Round Table, Epworth, Project Wild, a religious group, etc. There were also some Greek groups that did not fit the stereotype at all and were just a group of friends living together. There were also some students who consistently rallied against the Greek system with their sizeable group of friends, which I found somewhat ironic.

    All that being said, based on what I know, I am not a fan of the direction Greek life is going in and if what I have read about their large rush events is true, that is very irresponsible and they should be held accountable. But this should also not be used as an excuse to totally eliminate Greek life.

  13. #93
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    Mar 2017
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    Sea Island, GA
    Quote Originally Posted by sagegrouse View Post
    Yes, but don't grant proposals, which lay out costs, have a charge for university overhead?
    As I understand it, the grant money is intended to pay for the equipment and personnel necessary to do the work. The school (Pratt) bears the cost of any additional capital expenditures and operating expenditures beyond what the grant covers (sometimes they have to find new lab space in Durham or on campus). It is felt that the additional overhead is purely an accounting maneuver, or really a “tax”, as additional Big Duke administrative time/energy really isn’t utilized. Again, just my understanding which may be over-simplified. It has been an issue for Pratt Deans for a while...the better the professors do in attracting grants (and they do quite well on a per capita basis), the harder it is for Pratt to look good on the financial statements.

    I might add that 50% of Pratt tuition dollars are allocated to Trinity...the theory being that Pratt students take half their classes in Trinity. The fallacy here is that 1) many/most Pratt students today really load up on engineering classes and 2) Pratt classes are the more expensive classes with more hours/semester and high cost labs.

  14. #94
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    Dec 2014
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    I'd tell ya, but then I'd have to kill ya
    Quote Originally Posted by Tooold View Post
    I might add that 50% of Pratt tuition dollars are allocated to Trinity...the theory being that Pratt students take half their classes in Trinity. The fallacy here is that 1) many/most Pratt students today really load up on engineering classes and 2) Pratt classes are the more expensive classes with more hours/semester and high cost labs.
    It's been decades since I've seen a lab so I don't know their current make-up, but all the sciences are in Trinity and they have lots of labs. A well-rounded education is well worth the cost.

    Again decades ago, but my science degree had a ton of requirements (if you didn't decide to be a geology major as a first semester freshman there was virtually no way you could graduate on time, but that may have changed). Duke still required that I take a certain amount of 'off' courses. If that has changed, and students today are loading up in their specialty, they are truly doing themselves a disservice.

  15. #95
    Quote Originally Posted by budwom View Post
    FWIW, I don't think any university's cost structure is what drives the rise in tuition...rather, it's supply and demand. The very top schools, be they Duke, the Ivies, Stanford et al with lots of departments, infrastructure have learned there is insatiable demand for what they offer, so prices continue to rise. They all monitor each other, but of course none sees much of a reason to slow the rise in prices.

    Similarly, the elite small schools like Williams, Amherst, Middlebury et all are enjoying the same insatiable demand, so they too can continue to raise prices to very similar levels, irrespective of the fact they may have much smaller overall budgets.
    They charge ultra high amounts because they can.

    Of course the supply/demand situation is much much different for a whole lot of other private schools...
    I think you're (largely) right here. No doubt that many of the top colleges and universities figured out decades ago that they could raise tuition and other costs 5 to 7% every year and not hurt the "demand" (applications for admission) for their product. As we all know, applications for admission have skyrocketed at Duke and the other "elite" colleges and universities, so why not continue to raise the fees to attend? If you run a business and you can increase the price of the goods or services you sell every year without hurting the demand for your products or services, why would you not do that? Furthermore, we've seen somewhat of a "Robinhood" strategy where the schools charge the affluent applicants (really their parents) very large amounts to attend and then discount (sometimes by huge amounts) those same fees for many other students. Take from the affluent and give to the less affluent is basically the strategy. I've often wondered what Duke and the other schools would have to charge if they eliminated all financial aid and simply had everyone pay the same amount to attend - maybe $35,000 to $40,000 per year?

    But I have to also believe that the overall cost structure does factor in somewhat is setting tuition and other fees and no doubt the cost per student has increased substantially over the years.
    Last edited by duke79; 03-19-2021 at 02:08 PM.

  16. #96
    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyNotCrazie View Post
    I graduated in the late 90s and was not Greek. I entered Duke with an open mind about the Greek system but assuming that I probably wouldn't do it. I explored it and chose not to pursue - one fraternity was interested in me but I wasn't particularly interested. I initially thought the selective houses (House CC, Wayne Manor, etc.) might be a better fit but didn't pursue that route either. I had good friends in Greek organizations and went to plenty of frat parties and private sorority events.

    My sophomore and junior year I did blocks with a co-ed group of about 15 friends. Because we were a pretty big group we did not end up in ideal locations, but we made that sacrifice to be together. I think Duke should make more of an effort to promote things like this, as well as to promote continuity in dorms so there is more community.

    All that being said, I always struggled with those who went to Duke and were troubled by Greek life. Greek organizations should be held to a high standard of behavior. They should not dominate prime west campus real estate. They should be relatively inclusive. That being said, Greek life has been part of Duke for a long time. When you apply to Duke, you know what you are getting into. There are plenty of peer schools without Greek systems (though many have equivalents). Life is tough. There are plenty of universities you won't get into, jobs you won't get, clubs that won't accept you, dinner parties you aren't invited to, etc. The university only plays so big of a role in creating social lives for students and managing those social lives.

    Many non-Greek students had incredible experiences by finding communities elsewhere, whether it was The Chronicle, theater, Round Table, Epworth, Project Wild, a religious group, etc. There were also some Greek groups that did not fit the stereotype at all and were just a group of friends living together. There were also some students who consistently rallied against the Greek system with their sizeable group of friends, which I found somewhat ironic.

    All that being said, based on what I know, I am not a fan of the direction Greek life is going in and if what I have read about their large rush events is true, that is very irresponsible and they should be held accountable. But this should also not be used as an excuse to totally eliminate Greek life.
    I will sign up for your newsletter.
    This is also my experience from around the same time. My group of 10 stayed together all four years. It did not stop us from intermingling with other groups individually or separately. My only knock on the Greek system was the fact that they have files of old exams, assignments, etc. I did not know that was a thing at all colleges apparently. Even if the profs aren’t reusing thinks that helps.

    It does seem the lines are a lot sharper now that then. Or maybe the 90’s were an anomaly.

    On PWild: As a person who is friends with several PWild members - It’s a cult 😀...in a good way. Those people have a bond beyond normal freshman dorm mates. Also they tend to be really good people.
    Last edited by Kdogg; 03-19-2021 at 04:15 PM.

  17. #97
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    Nov 2007
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    Vermont
    Quote Originally Posted by duke79 View Post
    I think you're (largely) right here. No doubt that many of the top colleges and universities figured out decades ago that they could raise tuition and other costs 5 to 7% every year and not hurt the "demand" (applications for admission) for their product. As we all know, applications for admission have skyrocketed at Duke and the other "elite" colleges and universities, so why not continue to raise the fees to attend? If you run a business and you can increase the price of the goods or services you sell every year without hurting the demand for your products or services, why would you not do that? Furthermore, we've seen somewhat of a "Robinhood" strategy where the schools charge the affluent applicants (really their parents) very large amounts to attend and then discount (sometimes by huge amounts) those same fees for many other students. Take from the affluent and give to the less affluent is basically the strategy. I've often wondered what Duke and the other schools would have to charge if they eliminated all financial aid and simply had everyone pay the same amount to attend - maybe $35,000 to $40,000 per year?

    But I have to also believe that the overall cost structure does factor in somewhat is setting tuition and other fees and no doubt the cost per student has increased substantially over the years.
    I'm sure that's true (that the cost structure has gone up. What's nice for the elite schools is that while demand is seemingly insatiable, there's essentially no increase in supply. It's not like the country adds a few elite schools every year, and the existing elites may increase class size, but only modestly. Quite the seller's market.

    OTOH as I said before, some perfectly good but less prestigious private schools I'm familiar with are having a rough go of it...they also have upward cost pressures, but their demand is not rising similarly. If you look at acceptance rates at some schools, they are rather astoundingly high these days...

  18. #98
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluedog View Post
    I know people who did PWILD 15 years ago and raved about it. ... There was also an "isolation" thingy where you'd be alone in some area for an allotted amount of time with basically nothing and just had to contemplate/fend.
    Interesting. I did the same thing at a YMCA wilderness camp when I was about 13 years old. We were blindfolded, taken to a remote location, given a quart of water and an emergency whistle, and told we'd be picked up in 24 hrs.

    After about an hour, one of my fellow campers came down the trail and asked me who else I had found. No one yet ... but before long, we found all our comrades. Serious hijinks ensued for the next 23 hours or so, before we returned to our dropoff location.

    I learned a lot from that experience. Probably not what was intended, though.

  19. #99
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    Feb 2007
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    New York, NY
    Quote Originally Posted by sagegrouse View Post
    I wasn't aware of this program. Project WILD, from Duke web site:
    I did the freshman Project Wild summer trip in 1977, and it was terrific. We did the 24 hour solo and lots of long hiking days. Our 10 person group accidentally poured fuel onto much of our food on day one/two (okay, “we” didn’t pour the fuel; one of didn’t adequately twist the container fully shut, but we were close enough to the 60’s that it immediately became a “we” even though literal tears were shed as we sniffed petroleum sodden bagels and realized we just didn’t have enough food and were in the middle of a wilderness). We did bum extra food from another of the 10-person Duke groups that was hiking in tandem with us, but they donated what we already had in abundance (rye crisps and apple butter). For much of the trip, that’s all we ate. Rye crisps and apple butter. Apple butter and rye crisps. If you think it’s boring to repeat here, just wait until you’ve hiked all day and have to eat rationed rye crisps and apple butter that looked a lot like the apple butter and rye crisps that you’d eaten for breakfast and lunch. I don’t think I’ve eaten either of them since.

    Did I mention that it’s not intuitively obvious how to convert tarps and twine into an effective shelter? Or that it rained a lot, and that it’s unpleasant to hike in damp, moldy clothes? While trying to lug a dirty, wet tarp? While hungry? Otoh, my new buddies were terrific, with one—only on request—being able to recite long poetry chunks that would be applicable to the moment (eg, soldiers wearily trudging home from the Iliad); that guy convinced me, by being so smart and well read, that I’d never make it in English grad school if he was going to be the average grad student, so I shifted to a back-up career. Suffice to say, that particular guy has held endowed chairs at Stanford, Yale, and Chicago, so maybe he wasn’t average.

    But I digress. Great program—one of my favorite things about Duke.
    Last edited by johnb; 03-21-2021 at 10:25 AM.

  20. #100
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    Feb 2012
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    North Carolina
    Quote Originally Posted by johnb View Post
    I did the freshman Project Wild summer trip in 1977, and it was terrific. We did the 24 hour solo and lots of long hiking days. Our 10 person group accidentally poured fuel onto much of our food on day one/two (okay, “we” didn’t pour the fuel; one of didn’t adequately twist the container fully shut, but we were close enough to the 60’s that it immediately became a “we” even though literal tears were shed as we sniffed petroleum sodden bagels and realized we just didn’t have enough food and were in the middle of a wilderness). We did bum extra food from another of the 10-person Duke groups that was hiking in tandem with us, but they donated what we already had in abundance (rye crisps and apple butter). For much of the trip, that’s all we ate. Rye crisps and apple butter. Apple butter and rye crisps. If you think it’s boring to repeat here, just wait until you’ve hiked all day and have to eat rationed rye crisps and apple butter that looked a lot like the apple butter and rye crisps that you’d eaten for breakfast and lunch. I don’t think I’ve eaten either of them since.

    Did I mention that it’s not intuitively obvious how to convert tarps and twine into an effective shelter? Or that it rained a lot, and that it’s unpleasant to hike in damp, moldy clothes? While trying to lug a dirty, wet tarp? While hungry? Otoh, my new buddies were terrific, with one—only on request—being able to recite long poetry chunks that would be applicable to the moment (eg, soldiers wearily trudging home from the Iliad); that guy convinced me, by being so smart and well read, that I’d never make it in English grad school if he was going to be the average grad student, so I shifted to a back-up career. Suffice to say, that particular guy has held endowed chairs at Stanford, Yale, and Chicago, so maybe he wasn’t average.

    But I digress. Great program—one of my favorite things about Duke.
    Funny that while this thread is evolving my D is here “working from home” . We are in NC and her real home is Annapolis where she works for the EPA. I said before that P-Wild changed her life. I asked her about the naked thing and she confirmed that she did do some water fall slide naked. Mrs. Furniture was shocked. However the 11 years that have passed have softened the blow.
    Of the several cool things about P-wild one is that they were not allowed phones or watches during whole 10 days. We were completely out of contact with her. I will never forget that day we left her at east campus and she never looked back. During their trip they could also not leave any trash and they had to go off in the bushes to poop. To bury the evidence they had a spade affectionately known as Sarah Palin.
    Last edited by Furniture; 03-21-2021 at 11:16 PM.

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