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, 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 1, 2013, 3:26 pm
In an article this week, I describe the culture of College Confidential, the Web site many people love and/or hate. So far I’ve received several e-mails from readers who complained that my story was too negative (one anonymous soul informed me that my alma mater is a “joke”). Other readers suggested that the story wasn’t harsh enough.
Yet the most interesting response came from David Hawsey, a longtime admissions professional who helped create College Confidential in 2001. “It was founded for a different reason than people may think,” he wrote.
Mr. Hawsey, now vice president for enrollment management at Emory & Henry College, in Virginia, described his motivations for starting the free Web site: to educate the public about how colleges recruit and select applicants, and determine financial-aid awards. Back then, as the site’s primary producer of content, including responses to…
February 21, 2013, 12:05 am
The Common Application’s ranks will soon grow by 39 institutions, pushing its total membership over 500. The organization announced on Thursday that three new public flagships, including the University of Oklahoma, will join in 2013-14. Purdue and Temple Universities will also accept the popular application.
King’s College London and the University of Bristol are among the new international members. The addition of Modul University Vienna, in Austria, will extend the Common Application’s membership to seven nations outside the United States.
For the record, the Hogwarts Graduate School of Witchcraft and Wizardry will not be among the 527 institutions accepting the Common App next fall.
February 5, 2013, 3:20 pm
College-application essays are a waste of time—except when they’re not.
This is what I’ve gathered from admissions officers who plow through thousands and thousands of words each year. Searching for insights in essays raw or polished, they might find a vivid sketch of a life or nothing at all. One essay informs a committee’s discussion of an applicant; the next essay evaporates from memory.
In an article today, I describe the Common Application’s new essay prompts, which will shape the responses admissions officers at 510 American colleges will read during the 2013-14 application cycle. An advisory panel of 15 college counselors helped create the prompts. They spent much time discussing wording and word limits (the new maximum is 650 words).
It’s fair to say they sweated the details in seeking prompts that were neither too narrow nor too open-ended. Why all the fuss?
November 29, 2012, 12:01 am
Over the last 10 years, the Good Ship Admissions has taken on great numbers of passengers who, in various ways, have changed the profession’s course. These high-achieving applicants—wired to new technologies and hailing from many nations—have greatly challenged those who recruit them, by filing an increasing number of applications, shrinking acceptance rates at the most-selective colleges, and driving down yield rates everywhere.
This image arises from the 2012 “State of College Admission” report, released on Thursday by the National Association for College Admission Counseling. This year’s report marks the 10th installment of the annual compilation of data on admissions trends. Each chapter includes a “retrospective” look at major themes of recent years (do you remember reading that applying early to a highly selective college increased an applicant’s chance of admission by the…
November 8, 2012, 10:40 am
As election week winds down, it’s worth considering the similarities between the campaign cycle and the admissions cycle. After all, the outcomes of both always cause fits of joy in some and feelings of despair in others. And both cycles inspire participants to put stickers on their cars.
Anyway, if you like extended metaphors, then Burke R. Rogers is your guy. Admissions officers, he writes, are like voters: “Some are fickle, but generally they want to make good and thoughtful decisions. Analysts have spent lifetimes trying to figure them out, but no consensus has emerged on what really makes them tick.”
Years ago, Mr. Rogers, director of college counseling at St. George’s School, in Rhode Island, started using political metaphors to help campaign donors (er, parents) understand what their beloved candidates (applicants) and campaign managers (counselors) experience while wooing…
October 31, 2012, 3:09 pm
If you’re a college counselor, then maybe—just maybe—you’ve had a recurring nightmare in which you’ve been replaced by a computer, or a robot, or perhaps some kind of artificial intelligence, a HAL 9000 for the Age of Demonstrated Interest. Rest assured, this isn’t happening, at least not yet.
Nonetheless, each week, it seems, brings news of another high-tech alternative to in-school college counseling. Today a company called Unigo announced the launch of “Absolute Admit,” an interactive online course for prospective college applicants.
The system is designed to assess a student’s strengths and weaknesses, and to provide customized video segments about various aspects of the application process (those “lessons” are delivered by former admissions officers). Students may also participate in live, one-on-one video chats with admissions experts in Unigo’s 1,000-strong network, …
October 26, 2012, 12:00 pm
Miami — Each cohort of high-school students includes some 35,000 who are high-achieving and low-income—their test scores are in the top 10 percent and their income is in the bottom quarter. But new research shows that many of them are not applying to the colleges where they would probably have the best outcomes.
Caroline M. Hoxby, a professor of economics at Stanford University, presented some of her findings about how those students choose colleges at a session of the College Board Forum here on Friday. She also shared suggestions about what colleges might do to help.
While highly qualified low-income students should have many strong college options, 82 percent of them did not apply to any “good fit” colleges, defined as ones in which students like them experience good outcomes, Ms. Hoxby said. Most of those students’ “undermatching,” or enrolling in less-selective colleges…
October 16, 2012, 3:10 pm
Back in high school, I was assigned to a college counselor who really knew her stuff. Mrs. Frazier had a cozy office with big windows, a shelf full of college guides, and—most important—a lot of time to spend advising students. She kept this procrastinator in line.
Many students never know a Mrs. Frazier, however, and that’s a major problem for colleges. Without the right guidance, students might end up on the wrong campus—or on none at all. They might not learn about the high-school courses to take, the deadlines to meet, and the forms to complete until it’s too late. And they might go on thinking that they can’t afford to attend any college.
Like many problems in higher education, however, the counseling gap’s inviting innovation. As part of The Chronicle’s “College, Reinvented” package this week, I wrote about ways in which college counseling is going high-tech. “Just as…