College T-Shirt Beach Etiquette


Editors note: This column was first shared on the NACAC Exchange.

Like many college counselors, the only T-shirts I own are college T-shirts. Last week, I wore lots of them during a beach vacation. Since the only time I usually wear them is at the gym at 5 a.m., I don’t usually get many reactions. However, at the beach, people would respond to the college on the shirt, and it became challenging to know how to respond:

Steve Peifer with his wife, Nancy. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Person at Beach: I WENT TO TEXAS A&M!

Me: That’s nice.

PAB: DON’T YOU JUST LOVE IT? (At the beach, people scream when they see their college on a T-shirt.)

Me: I think it is one of the greatest large universities in the US.


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More Training Needed for High School Counselors Serving International Students

From negotiating language and cultural divides to interacting with agents, US high school counselors face unique challenges when advising international students about their postsecondary options, according to a new report from NACAC.

The association’s  latest study, Supporting International High School Students in the College Admission Process, draws primarily upon interviews with 20 counselors from public and private schools, as well as the NACAC’s 2016 Counseling Trends Survey.

Interview respondents reported that international students often have difficulty understanding vocabulary and slang specific to the US college admission process. And counselors themselves said they were uncertain of how best to collaborate with agents —  professionals contracted by schools and universities to recruit international students or hired by families for college counseling services.

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Free ACT/SAT Exams Boost College Enrollment Rates


College enrollment rates increase when high schools cover the cost of college entrance exams, new research suggests.

The finding — published by Education Finance and Policy — is based on a study of six classes of high school juniors who attended Michigan schools from 2003-04 to 2007-08. The state has required teens to take a college entrance exam since 2007.

“Overall, the policy increased the probability that students would enroll in college by about 2 percent,” according to an Education Week article about the new research. “Students at schools with higher poverty rates increased their college enrollment rates by 6 percent, and those students who had a low to middling probability of taking the ACT before the policy took effect saw their rates improve by 5 percent afterward.”

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Campus Visit Tips for Moms and Dads


Prospective students should take the lead during campus visits, but if parents are tagging along they also have a role to play.

An extra set of eyes and ears can prove invaluable, W. Kent Barnds, executive vice president of Augustana College (IL), wrote in a recent Huffington Post column.

And perhaps more importantly, moms and dads can help prepare their student to make the most out of the visit.

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Study: Economic Factors Influence College Graduation Rates


Money talks. It’s an old adage, but it rings true even when it comes to college graduation rates.

A new study from Oregon State University found that both the socioeconomic status of a college’s student body and the school’s own revenue and expenditures are significant predictors in whether first-time students will complete their degree and graduate within six years.

Researchers focused solely on four-year broad access institutions, which are colleges and universities that accept 80 percent or more of their applicants.

“For those students, resources really matter, in a way that is different from the population as a whole,” Gloria Crisp, the study’s lead author, said. “That finding is consistent with the persistent inequities in college completion rates for these underserved populations.”

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NACAC Urges Passage of DREAM Act

NACAC expressed its strong support today for the reintroduction of the DREAM Act, which would provide certain undocumented students the opportunity to become lawful permanent residents and eventually apply for citizenship.

The DREAM Act, first proposed in the early 2000s and reintroduced this afternoon by Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), would also allow states to grant in-state tuition to DREAMers — making a college degree more affordable for thousands of students.

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NACAC Member Retires After 67 Years Serving Students

After 67 years working with students, one of NACAC’s most experienced members has stepped away from the desk.

Lillian Orlich retired last month from her position as a counselor at Osbourn High School in Manassas, Virginia. She spent all but three years of her career serving students in the Manassas area, first as a teacher and then as a counselor.

“Her former students and counselees became doctors, lawyers, accountants, and landscapers,” according The Washington Post. “Manassas City Major Hal Parrish was in her social studies course in the late 1960s. NBA legend David Robinson checked into her office in the early 1980s.”

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Lessons Learned: Reflections and Advice from a Regional Admission Counselor


After 14 years working in the admission office for my alma mater, I had it good. I coordinated the campus visit team, supervised tour guides, worked with transfer students, and held many “other duties as assigned.” In short, I knew what I was doing.

Then two years ago, I was offered an exciting new role that turned my career on its head: I became Gettysburg College’s first West Coast regional counselor.

In the past 24 months I have learned about the challenges of a three-hour time difference, work-life balance, and the importance of communication with the office. I’ve also reflected on how counselors — and campus-based leaders — can work together to make the most out of regional positions.

Here are my tips for counselors and admission leaders who are considering making the jump.

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Required Reading: More Colleges Assign Books Over Summer Break


A growing number of colleges are using summer reading assignments to introduce incoming freshmen to the new ideas and topics they’ll encounter in their undergraduate courses, according to reports from The New York Times and Inside Higher Ed.

About 40 percent of college orientations include discussion of a common reading assignment,  the Times reported last month.

“The books are almost always tied to current events and often make strong statements on issues like immigration, race, and the perils of technology,” the article noted.

Two popular choices this summer include Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson’s memoir about prison reform, and Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ exploration of race in America, according to the Times.

J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy — an autobiographical look a rural poverty — is another popular read in a field dominated by titles that address racial or social issues.

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Member View: How to Appeal to International Students Despite the Political Climate


NACAC Member Milyon Trulove believes that his school has found the magic recipe for recruiting international students in the current political climate.

Trulove’s school, Reed College (OR), relies on international students to make up 8 to 9 percent of each incoming class and rumblings from guidance counselors at international high schools and internal projections following the 2016 election had the school worried.

In an interview with Inside Higher Ed, Trulove, Reed’s vice president and dean of admission and financial aid, shared the strategy that brought the college a record number of international students for the upcoming school year.

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