Getting off-campus COVID-19 tests often easier and faster, University of Michigan students say

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ANN ARBOR, MI — The number of coronavirus cases at the University of Michigan has increased in recent weeks, and a majority of students with positive cases have chosen to get tested off campus.

It’s simpler, faster and more convenient than being tested at University Health Services, some students said.

UM updated its dashboard in late September to reflect the number of positive cases tested outside the university. Since Sept. 13, there have been 607 positive cases in the UM community with 409 of these positive cases being tested off campus.

After update, University of Michigan coronavirus dashboard shows more than 100 positive cases in last 2 weeks

A majority of positive cases since Sept. 13 were from tests done outside UM facilities, according to data on the dashboard, and students say they have had differing experiences trying to get tested at UHS.

Students can contact UHS to get tested in a number of ways, said Andie Ransom, co-lead for UHS’ COVID-19 planning and response. The most popular is an online questionnaire, which UHS employees respond to and give students a call to assess them over the phone, taking into account whether they sound sick, if they’re coughing or short of breath or talking in full sentences.

From there, UHS determines whether the student needs to go to the UHS clinic or get a COVID-19 test at the Power Center, which the university has been using as a testing site since August, Ransom said.

For some students, like Ollie Paulus, a sophomore from Huntsville, Alabama, getting a COVID-19 test using the questionnaire was easy. However, others, like Katie Furman, a Ph.D. student from New Jersey, experienced long wait times after submitting the questionnaire.

Furman had a headache, cough and shortness of breath the morning of Oct. 5, she said, prompting


Covid-19 will make college admissions even easier for the elite

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The idea of pure meritocracy has always been a fantasy, of course. The offspring of alumni often get an especially close look, some colleges give an advantage to students who can pay full tuition or close to it, and top-notch students can lose out to weaker ones who fill key roster spots on athletic teams. But one thing that surprised me during the year I spent inside the selection process at three top-ranked institutions, to research a book, was how often admissions officers were evaluating high schools as much as they were students. It’s that tendency that is going to make life more difficult this year for bright students from high schools without a track record of sending lots of people to competitive colleges.

Selective colleges — by which I mean the 200 or so institutions that accept fewer than half the students who apply — have a long tradition of looking to “feeder” schools that can be relied on to produce students who perform well, year after year. As late as the 1950s, that often meant they preferred students from New England prep schools.

But even today, highly selective colleges depend on what the admissions professionals refer to as “busy” high schools to supply a significant portion of their incoming class. There are some 43,000 high schools in the United States, public and private. One analysis of 130,000 applications to a top university over the decade beginning in 2005, by an admissions-consulting firm, found just 18 percent of these schools were responsible for 75 percent of applications. Those few schools were responsible for fully 79 percent of admitted students.

For admissions officers, there is comfort in certainty: Can students do the academic work here? Will they enroll if accepted? Such questions become easier to answer when colleges are familiar


Does Ohio State or Clemson have an easier path to the College Football Playoff?

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State and Clemson are clearly the best programs in their conferences.

In the six-year College Football Playoff era, Ohio State has won four of six Big Ten titles and reached the playoff three times. Michigan State has the only other Big Ten playoff appearance.

For Clemson, the Tigers have won five straight ACC titles and reached the playoff every year. Florida State won the league crown and made the playoff in the first playoff season in 2014.

They’re on top. But who’s on top more?

On the big Wednesday Buckeye Talk podcast, Nathan Baird, Stephen Means and I discussed two parts of this OSU-Clemson comparison.

One was whether the Big Ten or the ACC has a bigger gap between the team on top and the pack of teams in pursuit. That’s Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota in the Big Ten, and Notre Dame (for this season), Miami, North Carolina and Virginia Tech in the ACC.

That’s an issue both of the moment and the future. Notre Dame playing a full ACC schedule is a one-year fix because of COVID-19, but long-term, are Miami, North Carolina, Virginia Tech (and maybe Boston College and Georgia Tech) really on the rise? Is the gap going to narrow in the ACC permanently?

Then there’s the issue for this year and the playoff path for the teams that met in a College Football Playoff semifinal last year. For instance, Ohio State does not play Wisconsin or Minnesota during its eight-game regular season. Also, the ACC isn’t using divisions this season, so the top two teams in the final standings will make the ACC title game. That means there’s a chance that Clemson could end up facing Notre Dame or Miami twice. Ohio State can’t play Penn State or Michigan twice.