Category Archives: College Counseling


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…


At-Risk Young Adults With Mentors Go to College at Higher Rates

At-risk young people who had a mentor aspired to attend college and enrolled at higher rates than did their peers without mentors. That’s according to a survey commissioned by the National Mentoring Partnership that was scheduled for release on Monday.

About three-quarters of at-risk young adults (ages 18 to 21) with a mentor reported that they had always planned to go to and graduate from college, compared with 56 percent of those who didn’t have a mentor.

Forty-five percent of at-risk young ad…


Nonprofit Group Will Offer Personalized College Guidance Online

Get Schooled, a nonprofit group that seeks to improve college access, has received $2-million through Google’s Global Impact Awards to develop an online hub offering prospective students customized college information.

The new tool will use recommendation technology to provide personalized information to low-income students, who often lack access to college counseling and have little help navigating the college-selection process. The group plans to unveil the tool next year.

In a recent report a…


High Schools Have a Cow Over College Board Stickers

cowThe College Board is known for many things, but a sense of humor is not one of them. So Gretchen G. Parks was surprised when the nonprofit organization sent her three dozen cow stickers.

On Wednesday morning, Ms. Parks, director of college counseling at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., received an envelope containing a letter. “Dear educator,” it said. “Your students participated in the PSAT/NMSQT, along with 3.6 million other students, and had a great time taking the…


Should Your College Join the Common Application?

In an article published on Monday, I describe the rise of the Common Application, which has become a powerful force in college admissions, with more than 500 member colleges.

In the past, the nonprofit organization that runs the application recruited new members each fall. This involved friendly telephone calls to colleges that conducted holistic evaluations of applicants, by considering more than just grades and test scores, says Scott Anderson, senior director for policy at the organization,…


Leave Admissions? Maybe I’d Like to Be a Dean

starlingphoto2The ranks of high-level admissions professionals are overwhelmingly male. In a guest post today, Megan Starling, an associate director of admission at Rhodes College, lays out one reason women are less likely to be in the top jobs.

“It’s great to see you, Megan! How are things at Rhodes? How much longer do you think you’ll stay in admission?”

That line of questioning is not unfamiliar to me, even while catching up with friends at the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s annu…


First-Generation Students Lag in College Readiness, Report Says

About a quarter of high-school graduates who took the ACT in 2013 met all four of its college-readiness benchmarks, in English, reading, mathematics, and science. But students whose parents did not go to college fared quite a bit worse: Only 9 percent of them met all four benchmarks.

That finding comes from a report, “The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2013: First-Generation Students,” released on Monday by ACT and the Council for Opportunity in Education, a nonprofit group focused on a…


Who Says College Admissions Isn’t Entertaining?

OK, so I wouldn’t say these productions are better than Cats, but then again, I’m neither an admissions officer recovering from a day of high-school visits nor a college counselor writing the 37th recommendation of the month.

Such people may find themselves delirious enough to laugh (or cry) upon hearing the following news: Today the National Association for College Admission Counseling (an organization not known as an entertainment powerhouse) sent out an e-mail promoting two videos it created to help families understand the oft-confusing process of applying to college.

Below we have “The Creeping Horror of College Anxiety,” in which a young man confronts his admissions fears while conversing with four ghosts, one of which utters these ominous words: “There are only five colleges worth going to.” Say it ain’t so, foul specter!
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Tufts U. Will Accept Universal College Application

Tufts University will soon allow students to apply via the Universal College Application, the institution announced on Friday. The university previously accepted only the Common Application, which has experienced technical difficulties since introducing a new online system, in August.

Tufts is the second institution this month to join the Universal College Application. (Princeton University was the other.)

Over the last few years, the for-profit Universal College Application’s membership has dwi…


As Common App Announces Fixes, Admissions Offices Preach Calm

The Common Application announced on Thursday that it had fixed two of the major technical glitches that college applicants encountered this week.

One fix pertained to delays in receiving payment confirmations. “If you have been charged more than once for a single application fee,” a message from the Common Application said, “we have this information from our payment vendor, and we are in the process of issuing refunds.”

Another fix apparently resolved problems some users ran into when using a Ch…