In 2005, one of the most intense and deadliest storms in United States history made landfall when Hurricane Katrina struck Florida and Louisiana in the final days of August. Colleges and universities, including Tulane University, were forced to close their doors for the first time since the Civil War as they and the city rebuilt their facilities. Hundreds of campuses across the country welcomed students from New Orleans and neighboring cities as “provisional students,” allowing them to continue their studies uninterrupted in the fall.
While Katrina was a main story for the latter half of the year, 2005 is also remembered as the year that YouTube was founded, allowing users to upload videos for the world to see. Today, over a billion users enjoy content in 76 different languages, generating billions of views each and every day. Also in 2005, the Kyoto Protocol took effect in an attempt to cut global greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, while millions around the world attended and watched music concerts as part of the Live 8 series, including a million people in front of Philadelphia’s Museum of Art. That year also saw the passing of Johnny Carson, Richard Pryor, Peter Jennings, and Rosa Parks. Upon her death, Rosa Parks became the first woman to lie in state in the United States Capitol building, with tens of thousands paying their respects in person.
Among aspiring college students, 2005 was notable for the substantive redesign of the SAT. Starting in March, students who took the redesigned test were required to complete an additional writing section, which included a written essay component. In addition, the Verbal section had been rebranded as the Critical Reading section, and the analogies that had comprised a substantial portion of the test were no longer to be found. As a result of these changes, the test was scored on a 2400-point scale rather than the famed 1600-point one. Recent developments, however, have reversed some of the 2005 changes, and the 1600-point scale will return starting in the spring of 2016.
Educators, including admissions professionals, hoped that the new test results would help distinguish among applicants, particularly as grade inflation posed challenges for them when comparing student achievement. The 2005 Freshman Survey incorporated a question about grading, asking students whether “grading in high schools has become too easy.” A slight majority (50.6%) of students agreed with that statement, though only 13.8% indicated that they strongly agreed. Students who attended private, independent college-prep schools were less likely to agree that grading had become too easy, with 44.0% agreeing, compared to 51.5% of students at public high schools. Similarly, female students were less likely to agree that grading is too easy (48.3%) compared to their male peers (53.4%).
As the United States’ military involvement in conflicts abroad continued to escalate, the 2005 TFS also asked students about their views about whether only volunteers should serve in the armed forces—the first time the question was asked since 1989. In the late 80’s, 51.5% of all students, including 52.3% of men, thought the armed forces should only be comprised of volunteers. By 2005, students felt more strongly that the armed forces should only draw from volunteers, with 63.1% of students agreeing with that view, including 64.1% of men.
Did you know?
49.7% participated in an organized demonstration
27.3% felt an individual could do little to bring about change in society
55.1% had a job where they worked six or more hours per week
25.6% felt it’s important to participate in a community action program