Transition to College Can be Challenging for Rural Students

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The faces of rural education in America are changing, but the challenges these students encounter in earning a college degree have not.

Universities have been slow to recognize these issues, but programs for supporting rural students are starting to crop up across the country.

“We never really came to terms with the fact that they needed extra support,” Naomi Norman, associate vice president for instruction at the University of Georgia, told NPR.

Though rural students graduate from high school at higher rates than urban students and at about the same levels as suburban students, only 59 percent go straight to college. And even if they enroll, they are more likely to drop out than their suburban and urban counterparts.

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Reflections on a College Tour

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Editor’s note: A version of post was first published on Counselors’ Corner.

I had a first in my college counseling career last week when I went on an organized multi-college tour. When you’re the only person in your office—as I was for so long—getting away to see colleges is, at best, a one-day commitment, so the idea of taking an entire week away from the office to see nine college campuses was new to me. It also left me wondering if I could follow the advice I offer my students—to write down your impressions the minute the tour is over, so you don’t confuse the qualities of one campus with the features of another.

It turns out I didn’t have too much to worry about in that department. This tour has been going on for ages and those in charge leave no detail to chance. We were greeted with an itinerary that would have made any logistics expert shed a tear of joy, including a booklet that included a summary of the essential statistics and vital qualities of each school. I was free to add my own notes in the ample notes section in the back, but even if I didn’t, there was no way I was going home with nine schools jumbled in my head.

Overall, the experience taught or reminded me of three things about this profession, all lessons that were timely.

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#NACACreads: Change Needed to Better Serve At-Risk Students

Building trust and working to transform campus culture are two steps counselors can take to better support today’s students, according to author Karen Gross.

Gross—who served as president of Southern Vermont College for eight years—offered those suggestions Wednesday during a far-reaching #NACACreads Twitter discussion of her most recent release, Breakaway Learners: Strategies for Post-Secondary Success with At-Risk Students.

In her book, Gross makes the case that America’s youth are changing, but schools and colleges have been to slow to adapt to their needs. In particular, the road to and through higher education remains filled with barriers for low-income students, first-generation students, and students who have experienced trauma.

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#NACACreads: Transcript of Chat with Author Karen Gross

On Dec. 12, #NACACreads chatted with Karen Gross about her book, Breakaway Learners . The book calls on college counselors and others to rethink the ways they help students prepare for life beyond high school.

Couldn’t make the discussion? Use this chat transcript to catch up on what you missed.

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Could Enhanced Advising Help More Students Find a Right-Fit Major?

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It’s no secret that switching majors can increase the time and money a student spends earning a degree. But college officials say it’s a scenario more and more undergrads are now facing.

According to federal data, a third of all college students change their major at least once. Ten percent of students switch paths two or more times.

Carol Jean Vale, president of Chestnut Hill College (PA), attributes the shift to a rise in college access. As more first-generation students enter college, they need different types of support, she told The Hechinger Report.

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Join Us Tomorrow Night for #NACACreads

What can we do to better serve at-risk students in our high schools and on our college campuses?

Share your insights tomorrow night during a special #NACACreads chat with Karen Gross, author of Breakaway Learners.

Packed with strategies to aid counselors in higher ed, as well as those working in K-12 schools and community-based organizations, the book calls on college counselors and others to rethink the ways they help students prepare for life beyond high school.

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Survey: Admission Professionals Sound Off About Social Media Checks

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“You know, colleges can see that. You really should watch what you post.”

It’s a common refrain from parents and teachers throughout the college admission process, but are admission officers actually checking social media?

A new survey by Kaplan Test Prep found that just 25 percent of college admission officers check the social media accounts of prospective students, down from a high of 40 percent in 2015.

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Do Your Research on Financial Aid

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Many college fairs are held during the fall. They provide a great opportunity for high school students and their parents or guardians to talk with college admission representatives. At two annual college fairs I am familiar with, financial aid representatives have a booth and talk about local scholarship options. Unfortunately, their booths are not very busy while admission representatives have many students waiting to discuss admission requirements. Usually the reps whose colleges are the most competitive and have the most well-known names have the longest lines.

In many instances, top students wait in long lines for well-known colleges because they have been encouraged to apply. Student GPAs and test scores can assist with the admission process, but there is a catch. Because most of the students applying to these colleges will also have impressive academic backgrounds, the colleges may not offer a generous financial award package to each student. Every college does things differently.

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#NACAC19: Call for Proposals and Facilitators is Open Through Jan. 7

Share your expertise and give back to your professional community next September in Louisville.

NACAC’s 2019 National Conference call for proposals and facilitators is open until Jan. 7 and the format for this conference will be different from years past, with a larger array of presentation types sought.

Check out the changes and submit your proposal. You can also apply to be a reviewer, a position where you’ll help determine the educational offerings selected for next year’s conference.

Continue reading #NACAC19: Call for Proposals and Facilitators is Open Through Jan. 7

Daily updates on NACAC and the world of college admission counseling. For more information about NACAC, visit nacacnet.org.