October 27, 2011, 6:27 pm
New York—A while back, Frank Ashley was sitting in a meeting with other College Board trustees when a colleague told him to look around the room. “Almost everyone here,” the trustee said, “has gray hair, or no hair.”
The same is true of a generation of admissions leaders who have defined their profession during a time of great change. Many of the old lions are retiring, and the next wave of deans and enrollment chiefs is rising fast.
Who they are, what they believe, and how they operate is a growing concern among members of this evolving field. This is why Mr. Ashley, vice chancellor for academic affairs at Texas A&M University, said colleges must develop mentoring programs for early- and mid-career admissions professionals: “It’s our responsibility to do this. It should be part of our job description.”
Vern Granger seconded that. As director of undergraduate admissions and …
October 27, 2011, 6:21 pm
In a guest post today, Vern Granger, director of undergraduate admissions at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, shares some thoughts on what tomorrow’s enrollment leaders should keep in mind. Mr. Granger is president of the Southern Association for College Admission Counseling.
The story of university admissions is quickly evolving from “once upon a time” to “what’s the next chapter?”
In the next few years, a significant number of prominent university admissions directors will be retiring. While there are some admissions officials in their late 30s ready to step into top leadership roles, many junior admissions employees are likely to be tapped to fill the gaps in the middle and at the top.
As we groom the next generation of university admissions leaders, we should consider how our student applicant pools are changing, how the world is evolving and how the …
October 27, 2011, 1:27 pm
New York—The ship relies on technological instruments to navigate the sea, but as it nears the port, the pilot takes over, using his best judgment to guide his passengers to the dock.
On Thursday morning, Walter Robinson used that metaphor to describe the work of enrollment officials, who, it’s long been said, use both art and science to select a freshman class. This has never been more true at the University of California. The system’s admissions process has changed significantly over the last decade, and many campuses are adjusting the models they will use to admit next fall’s freshman class.
Mr. Robinson, assistant vice chancellor for undergraduate admissions, outreach, and visitor services at the university’s Davis campus, said faculty members have embraced the move to a more holistic review. His institution, which has used a fixed-weight, algorithmic review process, will…
October 27, 2011, 12:53 pm
Sometimes, students don’t respond when a college reaches out to them–and then apply anyway. In a guest post today, Susan Dileno, vice president of enrollment at Baldwin-Wallace College, shares some thoughts on how the interaction between colleges and prospective students is changing. She will present on this topic at a session of the College Board Forum on Thursday.
How often have we gazed out our office windows, pounded the treadmill, or taken a long shower hoping for sudden inspiration for our yearly search campaigns? If only we had a stand-out piece that would get students to open our letters at a higher rate. What kind of irresistible offers do we need to get thousands of students to take action to learn more? If only we could come up with a catchy subject line that would encourage every bright student to open our emails. How many hours have we spent agonizing over …
October 27, 2011, 12:52 pm
New York—Sometimes it seems like financial-aid administrators have their own language. To make matters worse, words that mean one thing in regular conversation can mean something entirely different in the financial-aid office. C. Anthony Broh, principal of Broh Consulting Services and a former registrar, gave a few examples at a session of the College Board Forum here on Thursday.
Take, for example, “the sacred cow: Expected Family Contribution,” Mr. Broh said. The word “contribution,” he said, might lead families to believe that this term is related to university development. Besides, he added, “If a contribution is given voluntarily, what’s an expected contribution?”
Nothing in the term suggests what it is: a calculated measure of what a family can (supposedly) afford to spend on higher education.
Mr. Broh presented a different framework he has developed for describing…
October 26, 2011, 11:19 pm
New York—Some kids decide at age twelve that they want to major in anthropology, engineering, or physics, and they go on to do just that in college. Then there are the hordes who remain undecided long after they matriculate.
At the College Board’s annual conference on Wednesday, I listened to an intriguing discussion of how a student’s choice of major may shape her college experience, not to mention her odds of gaining an admission offer in the first place.
Robert Springall, dean of admissions at Bucknell University, described how he weighs information about an applicant’s intended major, or the lack thereof. Mr. Springall, who brings in about 920 new students each year, said that such information is crucial to meeting a variety of enrollment goals.
“I can’t have 920 students who all want to do the same thing, and I can’t have 920 students who all come in undecided,” he said. …
October 26, 2011, 6:22 pm
New York—Chat Leonard can remember a time when she had a clear answer for high-school seniors who asked her whether they could negotiate with colleges for more merit aid. Colleges don’t negotiate, she would say, unless there has been a change in your circumstances.
But those days are gone, Ms. Leonard, director of college counseling at Metro Academic and Classical High School, told a session of the College Board Forum here on Wednesday.
Now, Ms. Leonard said, some colleges say they consider scholarship appeals on a case-by-case basis. Others still say they won’t negotiate. Counselors want to uphold colleges’ policies, Ms. Leonard said, but it’s hard when they don’t know what those policies are. Her sense, though, is that merit-aid negotiations may be becoming the rule, rather than the exception. “With all respect to my college colleagues,” she said, “we feel that you have created…
October 26, 2011, 11:37 am
In just a few days, colleges will be required to post net-price calculators on their Web sites. In a guest post, Marvin Smith, senior associate director of financial aid at Purdue University, describes how calculators could change the financial-aid process for families. Mr. Smith will present on this topic at a session of the College Board Forum on Wednesday.
In accordance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, by this Saturday, October 29, each postsecondary institution in the United States that participates in Title IV federal student aid programs is required to post a net-price calculator (NPC) on its Web site.
So will NPCs help families make good decisions about college choices? Or will NPCs make the financial-aid process even more confusing? It depends on whether you see the glass as half full or half empty. I happen to be a fan of the NPC effort, so I…
October 26, 2011, 12:01 am
Back in 1999, Hal Higginbotham was working at the College Board’s headquarters one Saturday when his telephone rang. It was a colleague calling to share some big news: the Board had just named Gaston Caperton as its new president.
Mr. Higginbotham’s response was, “Who?”
The question echoed among admissions deans and college counselors, many of whom wondered why the Board had tapped Mr. Caperton, a two-term former governor of West Virginia and a veteran of the insurance industry, to run a membership organization devoted to college access. Indeed, some of them still wonder why.
“It was a nonconventional and enormously provocative choice because he came from a world that was different from all of the previous presidents,” says Mr. Higginbotham, a senior vice president at the Board. “Our trustees at that point in time wanted somebody who was committed to improving education,…