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Marcia Y. Cantarella, Ph.D
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Marcia Y. Cantarella, PhD, has held positions at Hunter College, Princeton University, New York University, and Metropolitan College of New York during her distinguished career as a dean and vice president of student affairs. Through her expertise in delivering student services and strategies, she has enhanced the academic experiences of and outcomes for generations of students. She is president of Cantarella Consulting in New York City, where she works with colleges and organizations on issues of higher education pipelines, access, diversity, and student access. She is the daughter of the late civil rights leader Whitney M. Young, Jr. and the author of I CAN Finish College: The Overcome Any Obstacle and Get Your Degree Guide.

Entries by Marcia Y. Cantarella, Ph.D

Inquiring Minds Succeed

(1) Comments | Posted July 12, 2016 | 6:27 PM

The expression "inquiring minds want to know" came, ironically, from an ad campaign for the National Enquirer which has actually been known more for sensationalism than solid journalistic practice. However the expression " inquiring minds want to know" actually speaks to a very important truth. I talked about it in...

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Oxymoron: Work and Joy? Thoughts for Graduates Entering the Work Force.

(0) Comments | Posted June 9, 2016 | 4:17 PM

In the 1970s a reporter/historian named Studs Terkel did interviews with dozens of people from every walk of life from executives to steel workers, social workers, a hooker, and artists. He wanted to know how they felt about their work. He captured these stories in a book called Working. It...

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College Students: Summertime and the Living Is ... Useful?

(0) Comments | Posted May 11, 2016 | 1:50 PM

We like to think summertime and the living is easy but maybe not. Summer is when you need to get busy. We think of summer as a time to kick back and relax. Lazy beach days, hiking, vacation time. The reality is that except for kids at camp that is...

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Being Black and Fitting in at College

(1) Comments | Posted November 23, 2015 | 5:42 PM

On almost any campus where I have been I have had some student -- or many -- talk about how they did not feel they belonged where they had landed. Generally race or class or first generation status was at the core of their feelings of being fraudulent misfits or...

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The Case of the Lonely Professor (or Why Students Should Reach Out to Their Professors)

(3) Comments | Posted July 2, 2015 | 2:00 PM

There she is, sitting in her office surrounded by books and maybe a wilting plant. The Lonely Professor. Piles of papers on her desk and no one comes to see her. She has her lonely apple for lunch. She thinks about the students she sees in her classes and wonders...

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Don't Ask 'What Can I Do With This Major?'

(0) Comments | Posted February 24, 2015 | 2:57 PM

A really smart student of mine who has been getting stellar grades in Economics was considering it as his major. But he wanted to know what he could do with it. I have had that question regarding every subject you can name. And the reality is that it is a...

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Just Not Feeling it -- Or When You Don't Love a Subject You Have to Take

(0) Comments | Posted January 10, 2015 | 5:29 PM

I had a great email when I got back to a work focus after the holidays. The topic was what to do when you are just not loving the subject you have to take. It was from a student I had met when I did a workshop this past summer...

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Panic at the End of the Semester

(0) Comments | Posted November 24, 2014 | 1:51 PM

Around this time of year with exams and papers looming and only a few weeks left in the term many students face panic at the end of the semester. It is academic crisis time.

An academic crisis may look like this scenario: A student has been going along for...

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Choosing Your Professors and Keeping Those Ties

(2) Comments | Posted July 4, 2014 | 9:39 PM

Among the most important people who will influence your college life and, even life after, will be your professors. They will help you increase your grades if you know how to engage them. They may suggest you for scholarships or ask you to be part of their research, which looks...

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It Is Not Just About Finding a Job, It Is About Finding a Fit

(0) Comments | Posted May 6, 2014 | 1:03 PM

I was a panelist at the conference of the National Partnership for Educational Access (NPEA) recently. The topic of our panel was first-generation students. I gave the overview on the issues confronting first generation college students and my colleagues and I then focused on solutions from our varied institutional perspectives....

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College Is Not Just for Kids Anymore

(0) Comments | Posted March 5, 2014 | 11:01 AM

People think of education as something the young engage in, but education is right at any age. Obviously, kindergarten through high school are years of education for the young. College years can be a time of transition between adolescence and adulthood, especially if you're between the ages of 17 and...

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How Your "Peeps" Can Get You Through College

(0) Comments | Posted October 25, 2013 | 4:58 PM

For some crazy reason I always love it when the Today Show's Al Roker stands on his platform and shouts to the crowd. "My people, my people!" There is something we all crave that is tribal about belonging. It has been cited as essential by psychologists like Eric Erikson for...

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Registering for Classes Is a Workplace Skill -- Really

(0) Comments | Posted October 18, 2013 | 9:42 AM

Where does the time go!? It seems like the term just started. But the end of midterms and the approach of the holidays also signals that students will be asked to register for the next term really soon. Usually first year students and seniors get to register first. Seniors get...

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Are Colleges to Blame?

(3) Comments | Posted September 11, 2013 | 6:37 PM

A recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education and an Ernst and Young report I just picked up via CNBC both say the same thing. Employers are not happy with their new hires among young people. The issues range from the inability to communicate well,...

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The Good News and the Bad News About College Students and Technology

(0) Comments | Posted August 20, 2013 | 5:00 PM

I am ancient. I remember when I typed my 85-page senior honors thesis on a Corona typewriter sitting in my dorm room, record player blaring as I sang along to the Beatles. I had to use carbon paper so making a mistake was a disaster. I had a space in...

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Seven Big Mistakes College Students Make

(1) Comments | Posted June 11, 2013 | 11:09 AM

College students have been known to make all kinds of mistakes, including stupid ones usually involving too much beer. The ones I will focus on here, however, are not those which are often noisy but those which are more the function of silence. Students, in their insecurity, remain silent believing...

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Entering the 'Is College Worth It' Debate

(0) Comments | Posted May 16, 2013 | 9:55 AM

It is everywhere. This question of "Is college worth it?" is being discussed on the news, in blogs, on websites, in chat rooms and in social media as well as living rooms across the country. I figured I needed to get into it, too.

The question is driven by...

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What You Get for Your College Degree: The Value of Being an Alumnus

(1) Comments | Posted April 11, 2013 | 9:23 PM

The current hot button article is about finding your spouse while you are in college. Frankly I am not a fan, believing that there are issues of maturity that need to be in place before closing in on the spouse. However, there is something in the basic premise that does...

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Just Do What Justice Sonia Sotomayor Did

(0) Comments | Posted March 20, 2013 | 1:10 PM

Having been a dean at Princeton, and also having had the privilege of meeting Justice Sotomayor, I was delighted to read an interview with her in the Princeton alumni magazine. By now all know that she was a child of the Bronx, did not grow up in a...

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The College Declaration of Independence

(0) Comments | Posted March 6, 2013 | 9:09 AM

Two different articles struck me recently. One discussed the fact that first generation students, in particular, hesitate to go too far afield in selecting a college and many go home every weekend. The other talked about the negative impacts of hovering (helicopter) parents who send their kids to college and...

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