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Letters

A crucial consideration in the college search: career services

Regarding the Dec. 15 article, "College choices: a deeper look": College-bound students and their parents cannot overlook or ignore a critical fifth tip the article didn't cover. Tip No. 5: Critically evaluate career services.

Almost all colleges and universities offer some sort of career services to their students, but the quality varies. So as students and their parents assess a particular school, they need to ask crucial questions such as these: Are career counselors available to help students, freshman through senior, with the full range of career issues - everything from self-assessment and career exploration to internships and the job search?

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What jobs do the institution's students land after graduation, and what hard data does the career center have to prove it?

What is the institution's reputation among employers and graduate schools?

How proactive is the school's career center in reaching out to students? To employers? Alumni? Parents?

My colleagues and I see the unfortunate consequences of students and parents leaving career concerns out of the college- selection equation. That's ironic considering a 2004 Chronicle of Higher Education survey. Its respondents concluded that a college's most important role is to prepare its undergraduate students for a career.
Peter Vogt
Career counselor, College to Career Inc.
Bloomington, Minn.

Medical advances depend on animals

The Dec. 12 article, "US makes strides against 'ecoterrorism,' " sheds much needed light on two shadowy organizations. The Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) have claimed responsibility for multiple attacks across the US where extremists have targeted schools and intimidated biomedical researchers and other individuals. ALF endorses direct action - a euphemism for violence - to achieve the liberation of all animals.

Virtually every major medical advance of the past century has depended, at least in part, on animal research. Animal extremists choose to ignore the vast body of Nobel Prize-winning work in physiology and medicine that has been based on animal studies.

Animal systems provide invaluable and irreplaceable insight into human systems because of the striking physiological and genetic similarities between the two. The essential need for continued humane, responsible animal research is recognized and supported by medical societies and health agencies around the world.

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For compassionate as well as scientific reasons, researchers are deeply concerned about the well-being of the animals they study. There is no constituency for inhumane treatment.

It may not always be easy to reconcile our natural love for animals with the essential need for research. But knowing the facts, and rejecting the hyperbole of activists who want to abolish animal research, strengthens our understanding of and respect for the value of animal research and its tremendous contribution to improving the quality of life of people and other animals.
Frankie L. Trull
President, Foundation for Biomedical Research
Washington

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