June 19, 2013, 7:17 pm
Boston — You can’t hurry love, and you can’t hurry the U.S. Supreme Court. For weeks and weeks, college presidents, admissions officers, general counsels, scholars, students, high-school counselors, pundits, and reporters have awaited a ruling in Fisher v. Texas, which may or may not bring an end to race-conscious admissions policies.
Theodore L. Spencer knows all about waiting for verdicts. Here at the Harvard Summer Institute on College Admissions, he recalled on Wednesday the suspenseful days leading up to the rulings in Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger, the Michigan affirmative-action cases, 10 years ago.
“It was stressful,” said Mr. Spencer, associate vice provost and executive director of undergraduate admissions at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. “The cases were a big part of my daily life for four or five years, and I was pretty wound up.”
On June 2…
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, 11:10 pm
Releasing a staff member for a professional development opportunity can mean extra work for everyone else. But as he writes in a guest post today, Ed Trombley, learned that it can pay off. Mr. Trombley, the registrar at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide, was slated to present on this topic at a session of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers’ meeting this week.
For the past several years, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has partnered with the University of Central Florida to offer the Leadership Enhancement Program to populations that are underrepresented within the university management structure, specifically women and minority faculty and staff members. Operated under the supervision of each university’s Office of Diversity Initiatives, the stated goals of the program are to enable participants to gain career enhancing skills…
April 15, 2013, 7:05 pm
Colleges might have good reasons for wanting to know whether their students identify as LGBT. But they should think carefully about whether and when to ask students to share that information, writes Tammy R. Johnson in a guest post today. Ms. Johnson, executive director of admissions at Marshall University, is scheduled to present on this topic at a session of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers’ annual meeting on Monday.
In recent years, there has been increasing interest among admission officers regarding the identification of LGBT students on campus. Reliable statistics about LGBT populations on campuses across the country are all but non-existent, and many progressive institutions are aiming to remedy that problem.
It is a growing concern: How can schools provide outreach and support (and increase retention rates) for LGBT students if this…
January 17, 2013, 11:32 pm
Los Angeles — Merit. It’s the star around which the admissions profession revolves, and a major theme in Fisher v. University of Texas, a case now before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Nonetheless, the ubiquitous word too often has a narrow definition, Arthur L. Coleman said here on Thursday at a conference hosted by the University of Southern California’s Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice. Mr. Coleman, a managing partner and co-founder of Education Counsel LLC, said colleges must do more to articulate how they define “merit” in their admissions process—and how that definition entwines with diversity.
Fisher hinges on the legal question of whether and how colleges may use race in admissions decisions. Yet as officials assess their own race-conscious admission policies, Mr. Coleman said, they must remember that the court of public opinion is as crucial as any court…
December 20, 2012, 12:46 pm
Lakshmi Subramanian indicated that she is Asian on her college applications. It’s not as if she has anything to hide, says Ms. Subramanian, a senior at Thomas S. Wootton High School, in Rockville, Md.
But answering the question did make Ms. Subramanian, who was born in India and moved to the United States as a baby, think that students who responded differently could gain an edge. Perhaps a student with a weaker application than hers would be admitted “because they’re part of a really small minority,” she says.
It’s unfair, Ms. Subramanian says, but she can also see why admissions offices might operate that way. The colleges want to have a diverse student body—and she hopes to be part of one herself. In other words, Ms. Subramanian can appreciate the complexity of how selective colleges shape a class even as she wonders whether it will work against her.
December 17, 2012, 2:16 pm
Recently, several admissions officers and college counselors have asked me about “disruption” in higher education. They’d all read somewhere that academe is on the verge of transformation—or collapse. Was it true?
My answer goes like this: Imagine that you’re the head of a publishing house, and that a prospective author has proposed writing about how and why college will change in some ways but not in others, that many of those changes will be gradual, subtle, and complex, and that despite many serious problems in academe, the sky, really, is not falling, at least not everywhere, in every way.
Would you choose to publish that book over one that declared the end of higher education as we know it, and that described the brave new world of virtual learning just over the rainbow? Probably not. As a publisher you would know that nuance doesn’t sell like simplicity does.