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College Board Unveils Sample SAT Items

On Wednesday the College Board released a slew of information about its plans for redesigning the SAT, including several sample items that show how the test is changing. Here’s a look at five examples, with correct answers in bold.

‘Relevant Words in Context’

Obscure words are out, “relevant” words are in. The College Board plans to emphasize words and phrases that students are likely to encounter frequently in college. The following is a sample passage from the Reading section.

[...] The coming…

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Common Application Might Need ‘More Focused Mission’

The plan for rolling out the Common Application’s new platform last summer was “not realistic in scope or timing,” leaving too little time for sufficient testing, according to a recent independent review of the organization.

A summary of the findings, which the Common Application sent me on Thursday, also says the nonprofit group’s mission ”is not consistently understood and shared across the membership.” The summary describes a “long-running tension” within the Common Application, which is both…

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More Financial Aid + Less Need to Work = More STEM Graduates?

Students who major in the sciences often spend more time in out-of-class work—in labs or field research—than other students do. That means less time to earn money while in college, and sometimes it’s the reason financially needy students switch out of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, the STEM fields.

Would an extra $1,000 a year in financial aid help some of those STEM-inclined students stick with it?

That’s the essence of a new study getting under way next fall at 11 Wisconsin …

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How ‘Undermatching’ Shapes Students’ College Experience

“Undermatching,” the phenomenon in which students enroll at less-selective colleges than their academic qualifications suggest they could have attended, is a hot topic in higher-education research. Among the topics studies have examined so far: how common undermatching is, its effect on graduation rates, and a low-cost way to change where high-achieving, low-income students apply to and enroll in college.

A paper scheduled to be presented on Friday at the American Educational Research Associatio…

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How One University Is Increasing Its International Enrollment

Denver — International students have long come to North Carolina State University for its graduate programs, where they account for about a third of the enrollment. At the undergraduate level, however, they have historically made up less than 1 percent of the student body.

The university has been working to change that pattern. During a session here on Wednesday at the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers’ annual meeting, two admissions officials shared what N.C….

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Giving Credit Where It’s Due

Frank Head Shot[2]When students transfer from community colleges to four-year institutions before earning their associate degrees, they miss out on the benefit of the degree and are not counted toward the community college’s graduation goal. In a guest post, Frank Yanchak describes a program that awards associate degrees to students who’ve already transferred to four-year colleges like his. Mr. Yanchak, university registrar at Franklin University, in Ohio, is scheduled to present on this topic at the annual meeti…

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The Power of Partnerships in International Admissions

Mary Baxton Photo (1) The American higher-education system is decentralized, but American colleges that want to expand their enrollments of international students don’t have to go it alone. In a guest post, Mary Baxton, an international education consultant, and Eddie West, director of international initiatives at the National Association for College Admission Counseling, describe different groups that colleges can work with. Ms. Baxton and Mr. West, who used to work together at California State University at Northr…

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How a University Overcomes the Challenges of Holistic Admissions

Denver — Fit is a big deal at Brigham Young University, where the admissions office looks for students who share its values academically, socially, and spiritually. To select those students, the university uses a holistic process that three campus officials described here on Monday during a session at the American Association for Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers’ annual meeting.

Each applicant’s file—stripped of its grades and test scores—is evaluated by more than one reader. Re…

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Giving College a Welcoming Front Door

Maria-Moten-2014 (3)If the enrollment process at a community college isn’t well structured, new students are left to fend for themselves and might not know which options match their goals. In a guest post, Maria S. Moten explains how her college improved its “new-student flow.” Ms. Moten, assistant provost and dean of enrollment services at Harper College, a two-year institution in Illinois, is scheduled to present on this topic at the annual meeting this week of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars an…

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3 Things to Know About the Expected Family Contribution and College Affordability

The federal government should slash the Expected Family Contribution, argues an op-ed in Friday’s New York Times by Steve Cohen, co-author of a recent book on admissions and student aid.

Cutting the expected contribution, he suggests, “would force colleges to construct financial-aid packages without the artificial price supports of inflated contribution numbers—and make paying for college less agonizing.”

The Expected Family Contribution, or EFC, is calculated with data families provide on the F…