Today in academia: it's good to be in Boulder, going to drone school, not dining with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and, yes, being able to afford tuition makes for an attractive applicant.

  •  Looking for a degree in a growing industry? Go into designing unmanned aerial drones. Demand is only getting larger. So why not just think about applying for the new postgraduate course at the UK's Southampton University designing "unmanned autonomous vehicles"? The course director tells The Guardian about an added benefit: "I believe the course is the only one in the world taking students from designing and building a UAV to flying the aircraft." Sounds exciting. [The Guardian]
  • Rigorous college admissions criteria: can you pay the tuition? Are you friends with alumni? There are lots of  revealing admissions trends in the results of this new Inside Higher Ed survey. But the most telling is this blunt concession: "For many colleges, a top goal of admissions directors is recruiting more students who can pay more." The New York Times added: "More than a quarter of the admissions directors said they had felt pressure from senior-level administrators to admit certain applicants, and almost a quarter got pressure from trustees or development officers." The findings, unfortunately, only quantify trends that could be spotted a mile away. [Inside Higher Ed via The New York Times]
  • And, yes, admissions people will Google you, peruse your Facebook page. 25 percent of admissions officers surveyed by Kaplan Test Prep. admitted that they "learn more about an applicant" by checking out Facebook profiles, USA Today reported. We'd like to think that most people have finally figured out how to use the social-networking sites' privacy settings, but maybe that's a bit optimistic. 12 percent of these admissions officials who viewed Facebook pages found stuff that "negatively impacted" a person's chances of getting accepted. [USA Today]
  • These are college towns that you might want to consider living in. At least, if your primary motivation is to get a job or join a start-up after graduation. At our sister site, The Atlantic Cities, Richard Florida and his colleagues have data-crunched the "most economically vibrant" college towns. And leading the pack, unsurprisingly for those who've heard good things about it, is Boulder, Colorado. [The Atlantic Cities]
  • These Columbia students won't take part in dining with Ahmadinejad.  A lot of hot air amounted to confusion. After a few weeks of speculation that students who were a part of Columbia's international relations group CIRCA may dine with the Iranian president, The Columbia Spectator confirmed this morning that it wasn't to be: "CIRCA members said that they were informed by the mission on Monday that its students were no longer invited to the dinner in the wake of the media firestorm." On campus, students had organized a catchily titled protest called "Just Say No to Ahma(dinner)jad." [The Columbia Spectator]