Friday, October 30, 2009

Ominous Traditions and Superstitions on College Campuses

It is Free Advice Friday! I have two tips to share.

Regarding Early Action / Early Decision Applications:
1) Make sure you get a certified delivery confirmation receipt on any items you send out to the colleges. 2) For electronic submission of your applications, print out the confirmation message. Do not rely on an e-mail confirmation only. Make sure it looks as perfect as possible before you press that SUBMIT button.

Get a confirmation from your high school registrar's office that your transcripts were sent out by the college's stated deadline. Things can fall through the cracks. True story: My college application never made it to the University of Michigan. Upon my Early Decision acceptance to Emory, I called the U of M's admissions office to withdrawal my application and was informed that they never received my transcript or application and only had my test scores on file. Ouch! (I know this was pre-electronic application time, but you can never be too cautious.)

So, now for some "FUN" information: Ominous Traditions and Superstitions on College Campuses

Duke University: To get free tickets to Duke basketball games, students camp out in tents complete with on-line access so they can continue studying and stay connected. Some unofficial graduation "requirements" decree that before they graduate, students must drive backwards around the traffic circle and climb Baldwin Auditorium. Several of Duke's gothic-style buildings feature gargoyles that are difficult to find. The Duke Chapel is haunted one night every year. (Durham, NC)

Emory University: The unofficial mascot of the university is Dooley, a skeleton figure dressed in black. In the spring during Dooley's Week, he wanders the campus, showing up in classrooms to let students out of class. Back in my day, Dooley's week was during the week of Halloween and the week culminated in a big costume ball the weekend before or after Halloween. It is an honor to be part of Dooley's Entourage. (Atlanta, GA)

Georgetown University: Ever since the film "The Exorcist" was shot in part on the campus, Halloween has been a major holiday at Georgetown. The film is shown after dark on Halloween, either outside on Copley lawn or in Gaston Hall. The film ends around midnight, the hour at which Georgetown students gather in the cemetery on campus for the "Healy Howl." In the cemetery at midnight, in the shadow of Healy Hall, Georgetown students literally howl at the moon. A statue of John Carroll, the founder of Georgetown, is located at the entrance of the campus. Before they graduate, students try to have their photo taken in Carroll's lap. This requires stealthy evasion of the Department of Public Safety patrols trying to end a tradition they believe to be harmful to the statue's longevity. The usual game plan is to leap into John Carroll's lap, have a friend snap the picture, and make a run for it. (Washington, DC)
Princeton University: At the commencement ceremony, new graduates pass through the Fitzrandolph Gates, the main entrance to the campus from Nassau Street, and enter the "real world." According to fairly recent tradition, undergraduates who use the gates to exit the campus before their own commencement put their chances of graduating at risk. (Princeton, NJ)

University of California -- Los Angeles: Midnight Yell is held during finals week. The Janss Steps, an 87-step expanse of stairs, served as the original entrance to the university. The land on which the university was built had been owned by the Janss brothers, and it was proposed that a structure be built in their honor. Edwin, the practical younger brother, lobbied for a parking garage, but Hans, the older brother, insisted on something more aesthetic: sloping lawns with majestic steps leading up to the main quad. Suspecting that after he died, his little brother would simply replace the steps with parking, Hans had himself buried under the sixth step. Tradition holds that students must never set foot on the sixth step from the bottom or they will spend an extra quarter (or longer) on campus. Fraternities sometimes hold seances on the step, easily identified by the drippings from their candles. A large statue of the UCLA mascot, the Bruin, stands near the student union. Students rub his right hind paw (the "Bruin Paw") for luck before exams. Before becoming a rock legend, Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors, briefly attended UCLA. Tour guides point out a locker in the math building purported to be Morrison's that is still plastered with brightly colored stickers and remains locked. (Los Angeles, CA)
University of Virginia: According to tradition, before they graduate, students must run naked from the Rotunda down the Lawn to the statue of Homer (which must be kissed on the buttocks) and then back to the Rotunda before retrieving their clothes. (Charlottesville, VA)

Ominous Traditions Source: Leads provided by Susan Solomon, Kehillah Jewish High School, Palo Alto, California.

It is not too late to jump start your college planning process. The information provided was written by Lauren Kahn, CEO of Lone Star Ed Consulting. If you would like more information about Lone Star Ed Consulting's college planning services, please e-mail Lauren Kahn or call her at 512-294-6608. You can also view LSEDC's brochure here

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Thank you for your comment. Your input is greatly appreciated. - College News from Texas - Lauren Kahn, M.A.

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