May 16, 2013, 4:55 am
High-school counselors can influence whether ninth-graders whose parents do not have bachelor’s degrees plan to attend college, suggests a report released on Thursday by the National Association for College Admission Counseling.
The report, “Preparing Students for College: What High Schools Are Doing and How Their Actions Influence Ninth Graders’ College Attitudes, Aspirations, and Plans,” is based on an analysis of new, nationally representative data from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009.
That analysis found a relationship between counselors’ interactions with prospective first-generation students and their parents on the one hand and the students’ college aspirations on the other. The time counselors spent on college-going activities had a statistically significant effect, for example, on students’ perception that college was affordable.
Similarly, speaking to a…
May 14, 2013, 3:11 pm
U.S. News & World Report has moved York College of Pennsylvania and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor to its “unranked” category after learning that they had submitted inflated admissions data, according to a blog post on Tuesday by Robert J. Morse, the magazine’s director of data research.
A number of cases of misreported admissions data have surfaced in recent months, including Dominican University of California’s announcement that it had included incomplete applications, making it appear more selective, in data it sent to the U.S. Department of Education.
Officials at York College of Pennsylvania and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, in Texas, each advised U.S. News that they had reported inflated data. In both cases, the inaccuracies resulted in the colleges’ receiving higher rankings than they otherwise would have.
As it has in other cases when revised data would…
May 14, 2013, 2:01 pm
Many programs designed to increase college access try to reach students early. And with good reason: Decisions made starting in middle school can play a large role in determining students’ college options.
So can a program that doesn’t reach students until their senior year still make a difference in college enrollment?
It can, according to a new working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. But the program the paper examines—which includes both mentoring and cash incentives—made a difference only for women.
The paper, “Late Interventions Matter Too: The Case of College Coaching New Hampshire,” describes the effects of a program designed to reach high-school seniors who are not sure of their college plans, who are intimidated by all they must do to apply, or whose default setting is not to go to college because none of the people closest to them …
May 7, 2013, 1:55 pm
Washington — Preparing disadvantaged students for college work is critical. But there is little evidence that the federal programs meant to do so are effective, and they should be redesigned, according to a new policy brief.
The paper, “Time for Change: A New Federal Strategy to Prepare Disadvantaged Students for College,” reviews research on the TRIO and Gear Up programs. It finds that most of those program evaluations do not meet the evidence standards of the Institute of Education Sciences, the U.S. Department of Education’s research arm, and the one that does meet those standards finds the program has no major effects on college enrollment or completion. The other studies do find some effects, but the paper says that research is “suggestive rather than definitive.”
In light of that pattern, the paper’s authors—Ron Haskins, co-director of the Center on Children and Families …
May 1, 2013, 11:15 am
Disadvantaged students are more likely to search for colleges haphazardly, rather than in the systematic way a good counselor would encourage. And that makes them more susceptible to marketing from lower-tier colleges that may not be a good fit, academically or financially. That’s the takeaway of a new paper that will be presented on Wednesday at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association but is not yet available online.
The paper, “Easy Targets: Haphazard College Searching and the Reproduction of Inequalities in Higher Education,” is based on a two-year qualitative study at two suburban high schools in the Northeast. Its author, Megan M. Holland, expects to receive her doctorate in sociology from Harvard University this month.
Among the 89 students she interviewed, Ms. Holland identified two main approaches to the college search. Some students were…
April 17, 2013, 3:11 pm
San Francisco — Adult students are an unrecognized minority group at traditional colleges. Not only are there fewer students who fall into that category, but the institutions have been set up to serve a different type of student. That’s the case two administrators at Mount Mercy University made here on Wednesday at a session of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers’ annual meeting.
The two officials—Colette Atkins, assistant dean of adult accelerated programs, and Jason Clapp, the registrar—described how they had worked together to meet the needs of older students who have job and family responsibilities on top of academic ones.
In the coming years, the adult-student population is projected to grow more quickly than the traditional-age one nationwide, Mr. Clapp said. “We need to be paying attention to that market.”
Mount Mercy started an…
April 16, 2013, 11:03 pm
San Francisco — As Texas Tech University pursues an ambitious enrollment goal, it is taking some creative measures to expand its reach. University officials described one such effort, in which parents of current students call those of admitted students, in a session of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers’ annual meeting here on Tuesday.
Texas Tech is trying to increase its enrollment to 40,000 students by 2020, up from about 32,500 as of the fall of 2012.
The idea of a parent-outreach program began, fittingly, with a parent, who thought it could be a good way to raise the enrollment of students from the Houston area. Texas is a big state, and the drive from Houston to Lubbock, where the university is located, can take nine hours. That means the typical rules of in-state recruitment may not always apply.
The university had an active…
April 15, 2013, 6:47 pm
San Francisco — As state support for higher education has plummeted, public colleges have had to look elsewhere for money. That shift has brought changes, both good and bad, said Bradley Barnes during a session here on Monday of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers’ annual meeting.
Many public colleges act more like private ones in their pursuit of and reliance on tuition revenue, said Mr. Barnes, senior associate director of undergraduate admissions at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. “You may not want to admit it,” he said, “but it’s happening.”
On the positive side, tuition can be a more reliable form of revenue than state support is, Mr. Barnes said. That can give colleges a little more stability.
But as public colleges seek more students who can pay more, and especially those from out of state who are charged a much higher…
April 12, 2013, 4:55 am
Admissions offices have fought for years against what they call the “summer melt,” in which a fraction of a college’s admitted students who have sent in deposits never show up to enroll. In some cases, students’ plans change because they have been admitted off the wait list at a top choice.
But melt can also mean something quite different, especially among lower-income students. Such students are more likely to melt, and studies conducted in several locations around the United States have shown that around 20 percent of low-income students who are admitted to and are set to attend a four-year college do not enroll anywhere.
Researchers at Harvard University tested two forms of outreach—text messages and near-peer mentors—that are meant to raise the enrollment of such students. The researchers’ findings are described in a new paper, “Summer Nudging: Can Personalized Text…