All posts by Ashley Dobson

#NACACreads: Hear More from Michelle Obama

Our #nacacreads chat with Reach Higher on Michelle Obama’s Becoming is coming up in just under a month.

But in case you can’t wait that long, you can hear from the former first lady in her own words.

Obama recently talked with a group of young women convened by her publisher about “imposter syndrome,” the importance of education, and many other topics highlighted in her book.

“I had to contend with ‘how do I get my education when I’m surrounded by people who may have different expectations of me?’ And those weren’t just the kids in the neighborhood. There were teachers I had to confront, teachers who underestimated me… When I sat down with my high school counselor — somebody who didn’t know me but was assigned to work with students to help them apply to college — and I told them my intention was to apply to Princeton. That counselor told me, ‘I don’t think you’re Princeton material,’” Obama said in the interview.

“The person whose job it was to help young people reach their dreams when it came to college saw me and whatever she saw in me told her that my dreams were too high…Even though I continued on, I applied, and you know obviously I got in, but I still remember that story. I remember that feeling of doubt. Just another adult placing a barrier on me that I didn’t even have for myself. So then, to enter into an elite school when your high school counselor has told you you’re not good enough, when all of society looks at kids of color or kids from poor communities or rural communities as not belonging, I, like many others, walked into that school with a stigma in my own head.”

Watch the full video and make plans to join us next month for this important conversation. We will be discussing the former first lady’s own journey to college, her experience as a first-generation student, the importance of diversity on campus, and the role college counselors play.

The #nacacreads Twitter chat will kick off promptly at 9 p.m. ET on March 19.

Ashley Dobson is NACAC’s communications manager for content and social media. You can reach her at

Creating College-going Culture in Rural Communities


The higher education community and businesses must work together to create a college-going culture in across rural America.

The Hechinger Report found that rural communities often face a mindset problem when it comes to higher education.

For generations, rural Americans were able to get good jobs with only a high school diploma. Now many of the jobs available require a more specialized skill set.

Continue reading Creating College-going Culture in Rural Communities

Student-to-Student Advice for People of Marginalized Backgrounds


There is no better advice that the advice from people who’ve been there.

Teen Vogue recently compiled a list of advice from students of marginalized backgrounds to other students in similar situations.

Their list of student advice discusses topics ranging from the need for a support system to practical advice on saving money on textbooks.

Continue reading Student-to-Student Advice for People of Marginalized Backgrounds

NACAC Members Offer Advice on Appealing a College Rejection


A rejection from your dream college does not always mark the end of the road with that school.

Appealing the college’s decision can be an option, though one that typically only results in a few overturned rejections each year.

Every school has its own procedure for an appeal process or clearly denotes that all admission decisions are final.

Though the odds are slim for a successful appeal, NACAC members Colleen Ganjian, Eric Nichols, and Parke Muth spoke to Teen Vogue and offered advice to students looking to give it one more shot.

Continue reading NACAC Members Offer Advice on Appealing a College Rejection

Report: College Completion Rates on the Rise


National college completion rates have increased for the third consecutive year, according to a new report.

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center has been tracking this data for the past six years and the latest numbers are an all-time high. According to the report, the overall national six-year completion rate increased by 1.5 percentage points this year, reaching 58.3 percent.

Continue reading Report: College Completion Rates on the Rise

February Declared Gap Year Exploration Month


The Gap Year Association recently named February as “Gap Year Exploration Month,” an event designed to give attention to the options available to students who don’t want to jump right into college.

“Gap Year Exploration Month seeks to empower students to understand the vast array of opportunities available for gap time and research paths that are right for them,” the association wrote in a blog post.

“Behind this initiative is a passionate group of educators, program providers and others who want to help promote the benefits of gap time.”

Continue reading February Declared Gap Year Exploration Month

Report: Community College Transfer Students More Likely to Graduate


Despite stigmas that often surround community colleges, a new report from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation found that graduation rates of community college transfer students meet or exceed those of students who enroll at selective institutions as first-time freshman.

Community college transfer students also graduate at higher rates than students who transfer from other four-year colleges, according to the report.

More than 35,000 community college students transfer to selective colleges and universities each year and 75 percent of them graduate within six years. About 73 percent of students entering selective universities straight from high school graduate in that time frame, along with 61 percent of students who transfer from another four-year institution.

On average, community college transfer students earn their degree within two and a half years.

Read the full report and check out NACAC’s recent report on school counselors and community college options.

Ashley Dobson is NACAC’s communications manager for content and social media. You can reach her at

Facebook Live: Get Involved at the 2019 Advocacy Meeting

The 2019 Advocacy Meeting is just a couple weeks away and Government Relations Committee member Alyson Tom has all your questions covered.

During a Facebook Live conversation Wednesday, Tom discussed her advocacy background, the issues that matter most to her, and the upcoming Advocacy Meeting.

Tom experienced her first Advocacy Meeting at the national level last year and she offered some advice for newcomers.

“I could certainly understand if someone has never done anything like this before that it could be intimidating or a little scary to talk to these people you’ve seen on TV and read about in the news. My advice for new people is just remember you are the expert in the field. You know more about your job than anybody else. Even if they think they know what your job is, you know your job. That’s the key point to remember,” Tom said.

Continue reading Facebook Live: Get Involved at the 2019 Advocacy Meeting