Category Archives: Student Recruitment

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Admissions Leaders Gather to Weigh ‘Prestige, Financial Aid, and Love’

Indianapolis — Gray areas, pink hair, and a silver scooter.

I heard about all of those over three days here at the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s annual conference, where officials shared concerns about many issues. The challenge of recruiting students in this high-tech age. The relentless need to bolster the bottom line as institutional budgets remain tight. And the weight of expectations—some reasonable, some not—to deliver a bigger, better freshman class each year.

In…

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Common App No Longer Requires Members to Conduct ‘Holistic’ Reviews

Indianapolis — The Common Application will no longer require member colleges to conduct “holistic” reviews of applicants, the organization announced on Friday. The change in policy will allow institutions that do not require admission essays or recommendations to join the 549 colleges worldwide that use the standardized online admission form.

Officials of the Common Application discussed the change, effective with the 2015-16 admissions cycle, during a session Friday morning here at the National…

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What Can a 2-Minute Video Say About the Next 4 Years?

Ever since George Mason University started inviting prospective students to send in videos as part of their application materials, Matthew P. Boyce, the interim admissions director there, has seen applicants try to prove their mettle in some odd ways.

One young man wrote and performed a rap about why he wanted to go to the university, featuring a cameo by his grandma. Mr. Boyce recently watched footage of another candidate biting into an Indian “ghost pepper,” one of the world’s spiciest v…

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At Goucher College, Applicants Who Send Videos Need Not Send Grades

Starting this fall, applicants to Goucher College may submit a self-produced video instead of test scores, high-school transcripts, and recommendations. With the Goucher Video App, announced on Thursday, the liberal-arts college in Towson, Md., becomes the first institution to offer an application option in which a videotaped response will be the primary factor in admissions evaluations.

“Students are more than just numbers,” says Christopher Wild, an admissions counselor at Goucher. “We’ve alwa…

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Does Your Admissions Office Have ‘Cultural Intelligence’?

Chicago — The modern admissions office doesn’t need a good student-recruitment plan—it needs many of them. After all, what resonates with one applicant might not matter to another.

At the ACT’s Enrollment Planners Conference here on Friday, two admissions officials described how class and culture affect students’ college choices. The discussion was based on Inside the College Gates: How Class and Culture Matter in Higher Education, a recent book by Jenny M. Stuber.

Generally, upper-middle-class …

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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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What the 6 Types of Prospective College Students Are Looking For

To maintain or increase enrollment amid overall national declines, a new report by the Parthenon Group tells colleges to go beyond students’ demographics and focus on their motivations.

Institutions recruit on the assumption that so-called traditional students (age 18 to 24) go to college to discover themselves and that adult learners (“nontraditional” students) have more career-oriented goals, says Haven Ladd, a partner at Parthenon, a consulting firm. He and another partner, Seth Reynolds,…

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Has Common App Turned Admissions Into a ‘Straitjacketed Ward of Uniformity’?

Anyone in the mood for colorful renderings of the big business built around the college-admissions process should read the lawsuit filed last week against the Common Application in a federal court in Oregon. The nonprofit group behind the ever-growing online application, a competitor asserts, “has orchestrated a sea change in the student-application process, turning a once vibrant, diverse, and highly competitive market into a straitjacketed ward of uniformity.”

The complaint was brought by Coll…

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Still Shopping for a College? This List Is for You

If this year is like the last few, the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s annual “College Openings Update” will be trotted out as one more piece of evidence that American higher education is in crisis.

The update, formerly known as the “Space Availability Survey,” is a list of colleges belonging to the association that are still accepting freshmen or transfer applicants, or both, for the fall. It was released on Tuesday and will be updated by the association, known as NACAC,…

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How ‘Undermatching’ Shapes Students’ College Experience

“Undermatching,” the phenomenon in which students enroll at less-selective colleges than their academic qualifications suggest they could have attended, is a hot topic in higher-education research. Among the topics studies have examined so far: how common undermatching is, its effect on graduation rates, and a low-cost way to change where high-achieving, low-income students apply to and enroll in college.

A paper scheduled to be presented on Friday at the American Educational Research Associatio…