Category: News

Quality matters when it comes to college admissions

Quality matters when it comes to college admissions

Extracurricular activities are good for balance, but strong academics are key to getting into college.

“There’s actually no ultimate factor,” said Beatriz Gutierrez, assistant director of admission. “For us we implement a holistic approach, so we’re looking at everything that the student has to offer.”

She said a student’s GPA is good indicator of how successful the student will be in college.

”When I’m reviewing an application, I’m looking for a student that has that grit of working really hard,” Gutierrez said. She wants to see how a student will make the most of a situation they are in.

In the fall of 2016, the latest statistics available, 11,700 people applied to TCU. Of those, 4,468 or 38 percent, were accepted, according to TCU Office of Institutional Research. The composite SAT score for the applicant pool has hovered in the 1700s for several years; the ACT composite has averaged around 27.

She said students who pad their resumes with lots of activity should remember that most colleges pay little attention to the number of activities. Instead, they focus on the quality of them, she said.

For example, Donald Peterson, a junior at TCU, said when he was in high school, he volunteered at a hospital because he hopes to go to medical school. But he said, his grades were what got him admitted to TCU.

“Everyone comes to college with the mindset that I need to get good grades and the grades are what’s going to get my foot in the door,” Peterson said.  

Alexa Calcagno, a sophomore at TCU, also said “For [her] it was definitely academics, but [she] was also very busy activity wise.”

Another factor to bring into consideration is that colleges pay little attention to the amount of activities you’re enrolled in, but the quality of them.

Even when trying to transfer from a community college into universities, Gutierrez emphasized that the GPA shouldn’t be neglected as it does continue to help universities track your progress, while activities will give personality to your application.



College students say clubs and organizations are fulfilling

College students say clubs and organizations are fulfilling

Going to class isn’t the only essential college activity, students say joining organizations are also a key to future success.

Being in a club or organization helps students gain valuable skills such as leadership, organization and multitasking, said Frank Johnson, a TCU senior who works in Student Development Services. He added clubs and organizations also allow students to be apart of a larger community.

Some incoming and current TCU students said they often join clubs that allow them to continue activities started in high school.

“I want to join a sorority for sure,” said Emma White an incoming first-year student. But she added she also would consider some sort of leadership group because that’s what she did as a student council member throughout high school.

Students are encouraged early on to find a group that fits them.

“We always tell people to just apply, because the worst thing that could happen if you apply is that they say no and you’re in the same position that you would be if they didn’t,”  said

Maddie Posz, a TCU student and orientation leader. “Go for it, it helps you get involved and makes it more like a home on campus.”

Another student, Paris Jones, said being in a group is a great way to meet new people and be open to new experiences.

Also, being in a group can prepare students for their career.

“Networking is the key to success, so being a part of a group can really help you succeed in the future,” Johnson said.

UK research brings social media issues to light

UK research brings social media issues to light

Researchers in England have found a link between social media use and mental health in teens – Instagram, a photo sharing app, has the most detrimental effect.

Instagram, the second most popular social media platform according to the Pew Research Center,  can undermine young people’s well being, according to researchers with the Royal Society for Public Health.

“Social media has been described as more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol, and is now so entrenched in the lives of young people that it is no longer possible to ignore it when talking about young people’s mental health issues,” Shirley Cramer, chief executive of RSPH, said in a statement.

The study of 1,500 youth in the United Kingdom considered 14 factors, including anxiety, loneliness and body image and social media’s influence.


The Factors asked about were as follows:
1. Awareness and understanding of other people’s health experiences
2. Access to expert health information you know you can trust
3. Emotional support (empathy and compassion from family and friends)
4. Anxiety (feelings of worry, nervousness or unease)
5. Depression (feeling extremely low and unhappy)
6. Loneliness (feelings of beings all on your own)
7. Sleep (quality and amount of sleep)
8. Self- expression ( the expression of your feelings, thoughts or ideas)
9. Self-identity (ability to define who you are)
10. Body image (how you feel about how you look)
11. Real world relationships (maintaining relationships with other people)
12. Community building (feeling part of a community of like-minded people)
13. Bullying (threatening or abusive behaviour towards you)
14.FoMO (Fear Of Missing Out – feeling you need to stay connected because you are worried things could be happening without you)


Body image is seen to be a major issue that young people, both male and female, struggle with.

According to the RSPH, there are as many as 9 out of 10 teenage girls who claim that they are unhappy with their body. With 10 million new photographs being uploaded to Facebook alone every hour, it provides an almost endless potential for young women to be encompassed into appearance-based comparisons while online.

Some students have discussed how Instagram has affected their experience with self doubt about body image, and struggle to reach the “ideal” body type that is often seen in photoshopped pictures around social media.

“Always on social media you see these ideal body types, and as a plus sized woman it’s kind of hard because you’re always looking at these people and you’re like ‘oh I wish I had that type of body’,” said incoming first-year student at TCU Cydni Spurlock. “But it really doesn’t matter what type of body you have. As long as you’re healthy that’s all that matters.”

Along with facing struggles of body image, young people often encounter cyberbullying and harassment online.

MARY from TCU Student Media on Vimeo.

According to the RSPH seven in ten young people have experienced cyberbullying, with with 37% of young people saying they experience cyberbullying on a high frequency basis. This is especially detrimental when developing personally and socially as victims of bullying are more likely to experience low academic performance, depression, anxiety, self-harm, feelings of loneliness and changes in sleeping and eating patterns.

Skylar Tippetts, an incoming first-year, said that social media has a way of following you around, and that it’s impossible to just go home and be completely isolated unless you choose to put your phone away.

“I think one of the main reasons it affects people so strongly is because it’s a lot easier to say things when it’s not face to face, and it’s harder to get away from too,” Tippetts said.

With social media contributing more in recent years to depression and anxiety rates, TCU has taken action for struggling students with their suicide prevention program, “R U Ok?” This program allows for students to address symptoms and signs of depression, and helps to educate students on having conversations about suicide prevention.

With the implementation of this program, TCU hopes to create a healthier and more aware atmosphere for students.

Programs hope to reduce college sexual assaults

Programs hope to reduce college sexual assaults

First-year women are most at risk for sexual assault on a college campus.

They tend to have less experience being in environments with heavy drinking and so do not know how to drink safely, or take measures to protect themselves from their drunk fellow party-goers, said TCU police Detective Robert Rangel.

In 2015, the latest statistics available, 12 rapes were reported on TCU’s campus. In most of these cases, the woman knew her assailant.

“I would say 90 percent or more is acquaintances,” said Darron Turner,TCU’s Chief Inclusion Officer and Title IX Coordinator. Turner added that he suspects there are more cases than reported.

“I don’t fool myself into thinking we are getting 100 percent of cases reported to us,” he said.

Nationally, about  “11% of college women who experience rape report it to the police,” according to One In Four USA, a non-profit that is trying to prevent rape by educating men and women about warning signs and risky behavior.

Like Rangel, One In Four USA cites free-flowing alcohol as a driving cause of sexual assault on college campuses.

In “72-81% of cases in which a male rapes a female college student, the female is intoxicated,”  according to One In Four USA.

Rangel said he could not recall the last time that there was an sexual assault report on campus that did not involve alcohol.

One In Four USA warns that sorority women face a high risk of assault, noting “women in sororities are 74% more likely to experience rape than other college women.”

The group cited two studies that suggest “fraternity men are three times more likely to commit sexual assault than other college men.”

TCU has implemented a variety of safety measures to help students protect themselves from sexual assault and be aware of behaviors that can lead to assault.

The university offers an online bystander intervention training that teaches students the importance of intervening when they see someone who appears to be in a sexually threatening situation.

TCU also operates Froggie Five-O, a ride service from 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. for students who don’t want to walk alone in the dark. All incoming first-year students are required to complete an alcohol and drug education program.

The university also offers self-defense classes.

Rangel said TCU is committed to preventing sexual assault on campus.

“Everyone works together to make sure we are doing everything we can to keep everyone safe,” he said.

Voting rates of millennials don’t reflect their numbers

Voting rates of millennials don’t reflect their numbers

Millennials are nearly even with Baby Boomers when it comes to the ability to influence an election, but they lag behind their elders because they don’t vote.

Less than half of eligible millennials voted in the November presidential election.

The turnout can be attributed to the views that vary among generations on what responsibility voting should be: an obligation to democracy for most older people and a personal choice for most millennials.

Although voter turnout can fluctuate based on factors such as a person’s ethnic and gender backgrounds, as well as income and education, millennials aren’t forecast to be a force at the polls. So, while young voters who are white often have a higher turnout than young voters of color, neither exceeds voting ratings among Boomers.

The lack of voter participation, particularly in the 2016 fall election, frustrates some millennials.

“I think our generation feels as if their vote is irrelevant,” said Ben Smith, a student at Texas Christian University who voted in November. “You have the right to stand up for what you believe in and if you don’t vote, you can’t complain about the results of the election.”

Passive young people may be the main upset for their more proactive peers.

Similarly, student Paris Jones said, “It’s sad there’s a low turnout. Voters’ voices should be heard. Younger millennials don’t really have the opportunity to run for positions of power and voting is the chance to exercise that.”


Colleges work to raise first-year retention rate

Colleges work to raise first-year retention rate

Finances, rather than academics, are what usually prompts first year college students to drop out.

Among 2,142 students surveyed by the Pew Research Center, 57 percent said they dropped out to work and make money, while 48 percent said they could not afford college.

Still, one third of those dropped out for academic reasons.

All these reasons might trace back to a lack of connectedness with the campus, said Deidra Turner, associate director of TCU’s Center for Academic Services.

“The campus is too small, the campus may be too large, or they just feel like the students around them don’t reflect who they are,” said Turner.

Turner said first-year students who are struggling with mental health or family issues are also at risk of dropping out. Turner added these problems can burden the student and make college life harder, leading them to dropping out altogether.

Sometimes, Turner said, college just becomes too much for some students to handle.

“New school, new classes, a new way of working,” she said. “You may have your family tugging at you. Your own issues tugging at you. So those things will create a sense of ‘This is not the time for me to be in college.'”

Turner said universities have programs aimed at keeping first-year students in college. TCU students who fail their first semester are often enrolled in College 101. They are introduced to new study methods and are assigned a coach who works with them throughout the next semester.

TCU tries to connect incoming first-year and transfer students to the university, its traditions and other students through Frog Camp.

“We are looking for signs early. They’re not going to class, they’re not involved in any organizations, they have swipes on their meal plan that they are not using,” Turner said.

TCU works to keep the campus safe

TCU works to keep the campus safe

TCU has a police department dedicated to keeping the campus and surrounding area safe.

In recent years, video cameras have been installed across campus to help deter crime. There are also more than 1,500 emergency lights scattered around the 273-acre campus. The lights are equipped with a speaker and a call button which connects directly to the TCU Police Department.

With the press of a button, any member of the community can request Froggie 5-0, a student initiative with over 3,000 escorts that aid people who are going to or coming from remote areas of campus.

Officers patrol the campus 24 hours a day, using bicycles and SUVs. They also have foot patrols.

Officers must have at least 20 years in the police workforce, said Interim Assistant Chief Robert Rangel.

“Overall, the department has over 1,000 years of police experience,” said Rangel. The department has two full-time detectives who are in charge of investigating any bringing charges to any crime committed on TCU property.

TCU Police have a quicker response time and they understand the campus more and the way that the students function, said senior Amy Van Burkleo.

Alongside the police, there are many organizations and programs in regards to Crime, Alcohol, and Drug Prevention.

TCU police also offer students self defense training – the Rape Aggression Defense and the Resisting Aggression with Defense programs. TCU students learn about threat assessment skills and raise awareness against aggressive behavior. You can learn more about the various programs here.

For many parents campus safety is important.

“To my parents, campus safety was a big factor, but TCU was able to answer all of their questions,” said TCU student Libby Gonzalez.

Toni Johns, a parent of an incoming first-year student, said campus safety was a big factor when it came to research on TCU.

“I feel very comfortable with the officers, the blue emergency lights, and with Froggie 5-0,” Johns said.

VANESSA from TCU Student Media on Vimeo.

TCU nearly split evenly greek to non-greek

TCU nearly split evenly greek to non-greek

Almost 50 percent of the TCU community is involved in one of the 39 on-campus sororities or fraternities.

TCU Junior Brooke Morrissy is a member of Eta Iota Sigma (ΗΙΣ) Sorority.

“I wanted to find a group of girls who were awesome and shared my same values but find it fast,” she said.

Many Greek members feel that the greek community is exclusive when it comes to socializing with non-greeks.

“As far non-greeks go we don’t really do much with them,” Morrissy said.

She feels that greeks and non-greeks don’t interact as much.  

Sophomore Taylor Sutton, is involved in Greek life, is a legacy. 

“My grandfather was a Sigma Nu, my great grandfather was a Sigma Nu and all of my great grandfather’s brothers were Sigma Nu’s,” he said.

Sutton said, “there are some people in greek life that don’t associate themselves with non-greeks, but that is a huge mistake.”

A member of the student government association, Sutton said he hopes to improve this divide for next year. 

“I think that the best way to do it is to start with myself and lead by example. If I associate myself with non-greeks, then other greeks will do the same.”

He said  the TCU Community is very open to the idea of bringing the two groups together.

“Everyone supports the aligning of greeks and non greeks, because everyone wants it but not necessarily everyone is willing to act.”

Sutton said he’s striving for coexistence between the two groups. “Putting aside our labels as society labels us is important and I think that if we form a more cohesive community then it will be for the best for TCU.”

Facts behind the first year weight gain

Facts behind the first year weight gain

Many first year college students expect to gain weight, but instead the “freshman 15” most gain 2.5 to 6 pounds, and experts say there are ways to keep from putting on pounds.

Some weight gain is normal because students’ bodies are often still maturing, said  Beth Winthrop, national wellness director for Sodexo Campus Services, which handles food services for TCU.

“The freshman 15” is more like the freshman five and it’ll most likely stick with you because it’s natural,” said Winthrop. “I think the main cause of weight gain among students is because of a decrease in physical activities and students might’ve been more active in high school sports.”

An Ohio State University study found the average student gains around 3 pounds during the first year of college.

Meanwhile, University of Michigan study found that the typical first year weight gain is 2.5-to-6 pounds.

Not getting a enough rest and exercise and not eating properly can also add pounds to a first year waistline.

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File photo courtesy of TCU 360

“Students complain about the variety of food provided at the Market Square. We have a great salad bar, but we also have great desserts too,” said TCU Nutritional Science Professor Dr. Anne VanBeber. “Some students might be used to home cooked meals and others eat out. Stress and drinking could also be a cause of weight gain among students.”

A spokesperson for the TCU recreation center Abby Ferguson said the facility offers lots of exercise option. “Students usually gain weight by losing track of staying fit.”

She said students can go on adventure trips, take classes and clinics, join sport clubs, and participate in aquatics.

Winthrop said there are subtle changes that can lead to weight gain.

“Students might’ve used to get water whenever going to restaurants because it was free, but now they choose to drink juice and sodas because of the availability,” she said. “In college, it’s very common to get limited sleep which leads to missing breakfast and making poor food choices.”

Orlando shooting spurs gun control debate

Orlando shooting spurs gun control debate

Congress is struggling to reach consensus about gun control after the Senate again Monday defeated an effort to ban people from the “no fly list” from purchasing weapons and rebuffed universal background checks.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., speaks during a media availability on Capitol Hill, Monday, June 20, 2016 in Washington. A divided Senate blocked rival election-year plans to curb guns on Monday, eight days after the horror of Orlando's mass shooting intensified pressure on lawmakers to act but knotted them in gridlock anyway — even over restricting firearms for terrorists. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., speaks during a media availability on Capitol Hill, Monday, June 20, 2016 in Washington. A divided Senate blocked rival election-year plans to curb guns on Monday, eight days after the horror of Orlando’s mass shooting intensified pressure on lawmakers to act but knotted them in gridlock anyway — even over restricting firearms for terrorists. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The latest effort came a week after a gunman in Orlando killed 49 and wounded 50 people in a nightclub.

On Monday night, the Senate rejected 56-44 rejected legislation proposed by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut. Last week, Murphy led a 15 hour filibuster to promote tighter firearm regulations.

Three other gun control measures failed as well.

“I’m mortified by today’s vote but I’m not surprised by it,” Murphy said after Monday’s vote. “The NRA has a vice-like grip on this place.”

Murphy took office less than a month after the Sandy Hook shooting in his home state left 28 dead, including 20 children.

“I can’t tell you how hard it is to look into the eyes of the families of those little boys and girls who were killed in Sandy Hook and tell them that almost four years later, we have done nothing — nothing at all — to reduce the likelihood that that will happen again to another family,” Murphy said at one point during the filibuster. “This isn’t new to me, but I am at my wit’s end. I have had enough. I have had enough of the ongoing slaughter of innocents, and I have had enough of inaction in this body.”

Many Democrats favor stricter gun control laws, while many Republicans argue they don’t want to infringe upon the Second Amendment.

Forty-four senators – 42 Democrats and two Republicans – participated in the filibuster. They advocated for universal background checks and the prohibition of firearm sales to terror suspects. Similar measures failed in the Senate last December after 14 people were killed and 22 wounded during an attack in San Bernardino, California.  

At the time, some Republican senators argued that the bill would restrict the gun rights of those who have mistakenly been placed on the no-fly list.

The Orlando gunman was on a watchlist for sympathizing with extremist Islamic groups, but was later removed. As of 2013, the governmental database The Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, or TIDE, identified about 25,000 American citizens suspected of having ties to terrorism.

“One side shouts: It was a gun that killed all those people. The other side shouts: It wasn’t a gun; it was a terrorist that killed all those people,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, said during the filibuster. “Through all of the shouting, we miss what should be obvious: It was a terrorist with a gun that killed all those people — a terrorist with hate in his heart and a gun in his hand that killed all those people.”

The 9th longest filibuster in Senate history ended with Murphy recounting how teacher Anne Marie Murphy comforted a 6-year-old autistic boy in their final moments during the Sandy Hook shooting.

“It doesn’t take courage to stand here on the floor of the United States Senate for two hours or six hours or 14 hours,” Murphy said. “It takes courage to look into the eye of a shooter and, instead of running, wrapping your arms around a 6-year-old boy and accepting death. If Anne Marie Murphy could do that, then ask yourself: What can you do to make sure that Orlando or Sandy Hook never, ever happens again?”

A recent CNN/ORC poll showed that 92 percent of Americans say they support expansion of background checks and 85 percent want to prevent those on terror watchlists from purchasing guns.

The event went viral on Twitter, with such hashtags as #Filibuster and #HoldTheFloor trending.

Some viewers, noting the absence of presidential candidate Sen.Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, who was in Vermont, started the hashtag #WheresBernie. In the past, Sanders has said he supports bans on the sale of assault weapons, but he has also favored legislation protecting gun manufacturers from lawsuits.

For his part, Sanders said he supported those filibustering, adding “Congress has been silent for too long.”