Category Archives: College Counseling

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Common Application Revs Up Again

The 2014-15 Common Application will go live at 8 a.m. on Friday, which means this nation of eager-beaver college applicants can start their apps before breakfast. As many as 50,000 high-school students are expected to create accounts over the next few days.

Following  a difficult cycle for the Common App, admissions officers and college counselors will be watching the online system closely over the coming months. Last year a series of technical problems complicated the admissions process for a…

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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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At-Risk Students Who Fall Behind Struggle to Catch Up, Study Finds

Underachieving students in at-risk groups are less likely than other underachieving students to meet college-readiness standards four years later, according to a report released on Thursday by ACT.

The report describes the percentage of “far off track” students in at-risk categories (low-income, Hispanic, black, and special-education students, as well as those for whom English is a second language) who met college-readiness standards—based on their test scores in mathematics, reading, and scie…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…