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The Office of Undergraduate Admissions, Stress, and Sales?

Welcome to the admissions profession, the career you just fall into. Please make eye contact with each prospective student when describing this great campus, but remember, this isn’t marketing, OK? Learn everything about data. Technology, too. As for those nerves: Sooner or later, you just get used to all the administrators, trustees, and professors watching our office like half-starved hawks.

That portrait of the admissions field was inspired by a new report, released on Wednesday by the Natio…

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Temple U. Drops Testing Requirement

Temple University will no longer require ACT or SAT scores for admission starting in the fall of 2015, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Tuesday.

Under Temple’s new policy, applicants who do not submit test scores will answer written “self-reflective short-answer questions,” according to Temple’s website. The questions will measure so-called noncognitive attributes such as leadership, determination, and grit, Temple officials told the Inquirer.

Temple received a $225,000 grant this month fro…

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3 Questions for College Counseling’s Future

Alice Anne Bailey has talked with low-income students about applying to college. Often they tell her they don’t know how to do it. “They think it’s some magical process,” she said. “Someone comes and knocks on your door, and you just pack your bags and go to college.”

Ms. Bailey, director of the Go Alliance at the Southern Regional Education Board, made those remarks on Monday during a conference at Harvard University. Convened by the White House and Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, the e…

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‘Money’ Reaches for Objectivity in College Rankings

Money magazine unveiled a new set of college rankings on Monday morning, touting its list as a tool for identifying institutions that deliver “great value.”

In a world full of frivolous rankings (colleges with the best weather!), Money set out to compile a highly objective one. The result is relatively heavy on outcomes data and light on subjective prestigery like the reputation surveys used by U.S. News & World Report. To develop the rankings, Money joined with Mark S. Schneider, a vice presid…

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Does Your Admissions Office Have ‘Cultural Intelligence’?

Chicago — The modern admissions office doesn’t need a good student-recruitment plan—it needs many of them. After all, what resonates with one applicant might not matter to another.

At the ACT’s Enrollment Planners Conference here on Friday, two admissions officials described how class and culture affect students’ college choices. The discussion was based on Inside the College Gates: How Class and Culture Matter in Higher Education, a recent book by Jenny M. Stuber.

Generally, upper-middle-class …

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5 ‘Dirty Words’ Admissions Offices Should Embrace

Chicago — Brian Wm. Niles didn’t cuss, but still a few people winced.

At the ACT’s annual Enrollment Planners Conference here on Thursday, Mr. Niles, founder of Target X, recommended five “dirty words” colleges should use regularly. (Squeamish romantics fond of quaint words like “learning,” be warned.)

Customer. Many people who work at colleges dislike the word, preferring to call students “students.” But as more Americans question the value of higher education, Mr. Niles said, institutions must…

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How Colleges Can Help Students Navigate Their Financial Lives

Bryan2Many colleges have started financial-literacy programs in recent years. In a guest post, Bryan Ashton describes a new requirement of students at Ohio State University. Mr. Ashton, assistant director for financial wellness, is scheduled to present on the topic this week at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators’ conference, in Nashville.

Most people agree that students and young adults do not fully understand their own finances. While the notion of writing a check is bec…

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What’s Missing From the Merit-Aid Debate

Nashville — Merit aid has a bad reputation: Critics say that when colleges use it, they reduce the need-based aid available to low-income students.

Jon Boeckenstedt disagrees. For many colleges, merit-based aid is a necessity, he said during a presentation here on Tuesday at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators’ annual meeting. What’s really hurting need-based aid is price increases and imprecise definitions of need, said Mr. Boeckenstedt, associate vice president for…

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Measuring Colleges’ Access and Diversity Efforts

sarahNot only do colleges have different goals when it comes to diversity, they don’t all define the term the same way. That has made one committee’s efforts to develop an index for rating colleges’ commitment to access and diversity a challenge, writes Sarah Pingel in a guest post. Ms. Pingel, a researcher at the Education Commission of the States, is scheduled to speak on this topic at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators’ annual meeting this week.

Can an institution’s…

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How One University Helps Student-Aid Recipients Make Good Choices

Nashville — Duke University is one of a handful of wealthy colleges with very generous student-aid policies. The university is need-blind in admissions and meets admitted students’ full demonstrated need. Its aid awards to the neediest students don’t include any loans, and for even the highest-income students loans are capped at $5,000 a year.

The university’s goal is to minimize student borrowing and ensure that students who do borrow take out the best available loans, Alison Rabil, assistant v…