Hount it Earls
BY BONNIE DATT
PHOTO BY: BENJAMIN GLOTZER, SYRACUSE U.
CAPITOL PHOTO BY: CLAIRE DUGGAN,
GEORGE WASHINGTON U.
OULD '96 BE THE FIRST ELECTION
that hinges on who has the
best Web site? In '92, Bill
Clinton went for sax appeal on
Arsenio. Now the hip thing is
to go online. Worlds of information
about each candidate - QuickTime
movies of speeches we didn't listen
to the first time around, pictures
of monuments, flags and seals,
copies of Senate bills - are
available at the click of a
mouse. No doubt we'll
soon be able to down- r
load adorable pictures
o f P hil G ram m as
a toddler. That's
The 18- to 24- -,,
year-old vote steadily
declined from 1972
- when the voting
age was lowered to 18
and 49.6 percent of
that age group voted -
until an upswing in
1992, when 42.8 percent
voted. But '94 saw new lows,
with only 20 percent of 18-to-
24-year-olds voting. Now the
scramble is again on to make voting
I want a new plug
"College students can literally be the deciding
factor in this election," says Kevin Geary, College
Democrats national president. "Coming up on the
25th anniversary of the change to an 18 voting age,
we're in the position to issue a challenge to our gen-
eration: Your future is at stake."
Go to the polls because our age group has only
had the vote for 25 years? Whatever - everyone
needs a gimmick. Of course, the biggest gimmicks
come at those every-four-year blowouts. What else
but a presidential election would induce Madonna
to swathe herself in an American flag and nothing
else? OK, bad example.
"A major presidential election will attract a lot of
voters," says Joe Galli, College Republicans national
chair. "But generally, students are pretty apathetic.
The majority are there to get an education, better
themselves and get a part of the American Dream."
Tom Edwards, a grad student who runs College
Park Libertarians at the U. of Maryland, notices this
attitude at his school. "I don't think a lot of them
take political groups seriously," he says. "We don't
have a job to give them right now."
Mike Juel, Arizona state chair of the College
Republicans, agrees that political interest falls off
once a major election passes. "Only a few of us are
"Although I hate the term GenX, we are GenX
because we don't have anything tangible to rally
around," Geary says.
"Are students doing something besides going to
classes and parrying on the weekends? Yes, they are,
whether it's getting involved in Green Peace,
Amnesty International or other smaller organiza-
tions, or volunteering - it's just not rallying
around one issue."
What's at issue here?
So how will organizations get students fired up
about one issue - that small matter of who's going
to run our country for the next four years? ,
Rock the Vote, which targets 18-to-24-year-
olds in its drive to encourage voting, had remark-
able success with the '92 election. But '96 is
going to be a different challenge, says Pam Batra,
"We're not really sure we have the same level
of excitement," Batra says. "Young people
tend to need immediate gratification.
There was a lot of excitement in the '92
election and with Clinton as a young
president, but there was not a lot of
media attention about what he did
once he got into office.
"There was a serious drop in
the '94 election, and we got a
new Congress that is not inter-
ested in youth issues."
And Washington won't
care about youth issues if
youths themselves don't,
"It's important that we
mobilize campuses to bring
attention to youth issues. If
students talk about them, the
issues will be addressed. If
they're not addressed, they're
going to be overlooked."
Making students aware of the
iues is the College Democrats'
main goal, says Betsy Arnold, com-
munications director for College
Democrats and a senior at the U. of St.
Thomas in Minnesota. "We want to educate
them, get them to vote, and then we hope that
when they vote, they'll vote Democrat."
Juel also thinks education is the best tactic, but
he says it goes beyond just getting students interest-
ed in the election. He's wary of sounds-good poli-
tics that, upon examination, are full of holes.
"In '92, students got fairly involved with the
presidential election because of the great work-for-
school programs proposed by Clinton, but they
weren't really involved enough to really check out
the details," he says.
Galli thinks colleges are teeming with conserva-
tives, and College Republicans hope to tap into it.
"They might not seem active, but if you talk to
them, you'll find that this generation is generally
conservative," he says.
"Our ideas are ideas that they can grasp. If we
MICHAEL VANCE HAD
known for months he
was in trouble, but lit-
erally becoming a "starving stu-
dent" was a bit more than he bar-
Although the U. of Texas,
Arlington, junior worked three jobs,
nothing seemed to shrink the
monthly stack of credit card bills,
totaling more than $5,000. One
day, he hit bottom - his financial
pinch was so tight he skipped meals
for three weeks.
Vance could only blame him-
self - and the plastic domino
effect triggered by his credit card
- for his temporary fast. "I started
opening one charge account after
another," he says. "When I first
got the [credit card], I said, 'This
is only for emergencies.' After
awhile, a new pair of shoes became
Vance's situation sounds all too
familiar to Akash Sharma, a former
Arizona State U. grad student. He
owed $7,500 in tuition, plane tick-
ets and other travel expenditures to
two major credit card companies.
But his dilemma was not so much
plastic mania as the desire to be
"In my situation, credit cards
are a compulsion to not ask my
parents for money," he says. "It's a
pride issue for me. I've been a lit-
tle unrealistic about it, though,
which is why my debt has grown
Jason Abell, author of the per-
sonal and financial advice book
Start Now, doesn't find these situa-
tions at all surprising.
"Credit cards are exactly like
fire," says the Loyola U., Md., '93
grad. "They are a great resource
when you need them because
they're a convenient alternative to
cash. If you don't treat them with
respect, though, they can also
"If you don't have the money in
the bank, you shouldn't be buying."
Jen Robinson, a Michigan State
U. senior, has a bank card and "sev-
eral" clothing store credit cards. She
says she was irresponsible at first
but has learned to avoid the pitfalls
"You really have to manage your
money," she says. "You have to tell
yourself not to spend, spend, spend
the second you're out of debt. It's
not easy, but it's possible."
Bill Smith, a counselor with
Getting stuck with the high cost
of getting into med school
Prep Course .................. .. $850
Secondary Application Fees ................ $150
AMCAS Application Fees ......................... $310
These guresarebasedonaveages. Total: $1,465
Pick a card, any card.
New York-based Credit Counseling
Centers of America, says the credit
card issue should be addressed more
thoroughly on campus.
"Since colleges require physical
education credits, they should
require one hour in budgeting
and money management," he sug-
gests. "If they can teach about sex,
they can certainly teach about
We can just see it now: Max-Out
101: Paper vs. Plastic.
Keliie Gormly, U. of Texas, Arlington/
Photo by Jeff Geissler, West Virginia U.
MEDICAL SCHOOL. SOME
consider it the pinnacle
of prestige in this soci-
ety hellbent on fame and fortune.
What you may not know is that
those future physicians will lay out
thousands of dollars just to get their
foot in the E.R. door.
It all starts with the American
Medical College Application Service
application - a packet made up of
the student's transcripts, biographi-
cal information and a personal essay
students use to get noticed.
The cost to send AMCAS applica-
tions to medical schools: $50 for the
first school,$180 for up to five schools,
then $20 for everyadditional school.
"On average, I would say that
most students apply to 10 or 11
schools, so that runs about $300,"
says Robert Kucheravy, an AMCAS
Ty Brown, a senior at UCLA,
consIders the getting-in game a scam.
"I think the whole selection process
is weighted toward those who can
afford the initial process," he says.
"In other words, rich white people."
Don't jump on your soapbox
too quickly, though. AMCAS does
offer fee waivers based on financial
need and special circumstances.
But wait, there's more. Add in
another $155 for the MCAT, a
postgraduate test that determines a
student's aptitude for the sciences.
(Go ahead and budget at least $310
so you can take it again.)
"The majority of students take
the MCAT at least twice," says
Collin Morely, associate vice presi-
dent for the medical division of
And if you're thinking of signing
up for one of those MCAT prep
courses, you can tack on about $850
to the tab.
In addition to paying the AMCAS
fees, med school hopefuls have to lay
out between $10 and $95- the aver-
age being $30 - for each university's
individual application. Some students
claim medical schools send out appli-
cations to unqualified students just to
bank the fees. But remember: If
AMCAS waives your fees, most
schools will drop them, too.
"I don't know of any medical
school that wouldn't allow a fee
waiver for a good reason," says Mil-
lie Peterson, admissions director at
the U. of Utah.
Don't put your gold card away yet.
Med school hopefuls often have to
travel to schools for interviews. "The
only way to get into a school is to get a
good interview," Morely says. "Person-
to-person interviews are much more
common than over the phone."
Once accepted by a school, you
can avail yourself of all the financial
aid you can muster. But if you can't
come up with a lot of clams, the appli-
cation process itself may shut the door.
Sickening, isn't it?
Amy Zukeran, Florida A&M U.
Illustration by MattEricson, U. of Iowa
sadistic enough to keep involved. But I don't think
the apathy on campus is any greater than in the
nation as a whole."
And just because students aren't decking them-
selves in red, white and blue doesn't mean they
don't care. Campuses and communities have thou-
sands of groups - social, humanitarian, environ-
mental, religious, political - that divide students'
time and attention.
Geary, a senior at St. Joseph's College in Penn-
sylvania, worries about low voter turnout, too, but
he also thinks activism is alive and well on campus.
16 November 1995
November 1995 13