STUDENTS TAKE NOTES, TAKE TESTS, TAKE OFF. That's life at a commuter school, but at Wisconsin-Milwaukee the emphasis is on taking off.

Only 40 percent of those surveyed felt that the coursework that they were given would be relevant in everyday life. This is 10 percentage points lower than the national average for schools the size of UWM.

Very few of those surveyed feel that they have learned stronger social skills or gained understanding of global and political issues since coming to UWM.

Part of the problem may be that less than half of those surveyed feel that they have adequate contact with faculty members outside of class.

Most of the students in the survey never went out of their way to contact professors, join professional clubs or participate in academically enriching programs.

The academic department may not be to blame in the long run, however, because the survey also shows that UWM students are doing little to help themselves get the most out of their college careers.

Some specifics.

Almost half reported skipping class frequently or coming to class late.

UWM students are not engaging in their academics with their fellow students either. Of those surveyed, only 25 percent stated that they discussed coursework or engaged in intellectual conversations with their peers.

Although last year’s freshmen class rated UWM’s academics low, they were quick to point out that their overall college experience was rated very highly. Over 72 percent rated their experience at UWM to be great.

This surprising result may be attributed to the fact that UWM students are more social than most colleges across the country.

Freshman students at UWM rate slightly higher than the national averages in drinking, attending parties and getting involved with community events.

I'm sure the Wisconsin legislature is pleased to appropriate money for Club-Med-by-the-Lake.

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