One of the issues high schoolers must consider as they conduct their search for the right college is how school policies will affect their personal freedom. Schools that have strong religious affiliations usually have relatively strong to highly restrictive policies that prohibit certain kinds of activities and behaviors.
A good case in point is Bringham Young University, which recently lifted its school-wide ban on the wildly popular video sharing Web site YouTube. The college news and opinion site College News reports on why BYU did their 180:
Brigham Young University lifts YouTube ban
Mormon University recognizes site's educational merits, lifts three-year ban on video sharing site
The crisis is over: Students of Brigham-Young University can finally watch Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend” on YouTube. (*Whew*). Last Friday, administrators at the Mormon university rescinded an almost three-year ban of the video sharing site that has no word to describe its popularity.
Enacted in 2006, officials felt the ban best protected the conservative policies and honor code that is enforced and agreed to by the school’s staff and students.
The honor code is derived from the principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, whose followers are referred to as “Mormons.”
What swayed the administration’s mind? As you would expect at a university, the decision was made with education in mind.
Some BYU professors and instructors were complaining that they weren’t allowed to access the educational content found on YouTube. And thus, according to the Associated Press, the ban was lifted.
Still, students must adhere to the code and cautiously scrutinize their clicking. Though the ban no longer exists, doesn’t mean they’re allowed to go all willy-nilly and look for porn and panda videos.
To ensure the students safety, BYU has created a website entitled “Be Safe at BYU” which gives students specifics on how to guard their internet lives. It gives a general overview as well as specifics regarding spam, “phishing,” viruses, social networking, and gaming.
BYU’s network still uses filters that blocks out content of a violent, adult, or pornographic nature. YouTube itself does not allow offensive or adult content to be viewed by non-registered viewers . . .
If you're a current college student, maybe you can post some restrictive rules your school enforces. Here's an example of one school's approach to dorm policies:
On the first day of college, the dean addressed the students, pointing out some of the rules:
“The female dormitory will be out-of-bounds for all male students, and the male dormitory to the female students. Anybody caught breaking this rule will be fined $20 the first time. Anybody caught breaking this rule the second time will be fined $60. Being caught a third time will cost you $180. Are there any questions?”
“How much for a season pass?”
...hahaha. That's a real knee-slapper, isn't it? (Don't answer that.)
Anyway, the point here is: Be sure that you can spend the better part of four years abiding by the rules of your school before you send in that enrollment deposit. How best to make that determination? Talk to actual students when you visit. This is why visits are so important. Otherwise, if you don't visit, you may experience a whole new meaning to the phrase, "My college rules!"
Don’t forget to check out all my admissions-related articles and book reviews at College Confidential.