All posts by Mary Stegmeir

Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at mstegmeir@nacacnet.org.

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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Required Reading: More Colleges Assign Books Over Summer Break

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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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Even on Welcoming Campuses, LGBT Students Face Hurdles to College Completion

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Colleges across the US have made major strides in their efforts to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students.

But a recent New York Times op-ed published by a University of Mississippi grad provides an important reminder that much work still needs to be done.

By his own admission, Dylan Lewis “thrived in college.” At the University of Mississippi he finally felt free to be himself. Lewis joined the student government, led campus tours, and felt safe and supported.

Yet despite a welcoming campus, Lewis— like many LGBT youth — faced unique challenges on his path to college completion.

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FAFSA Update: More Students File for Aid

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Will the FAFSA’s earlier filing date result in increased access to higher education?

New federal data is promising.

After a four-year decline, FAFSA completions are up for the high school class of 2017, the first cohort of students who were able to file for aid starting on Oct. 1 — a full three months earlier than previously allowed.

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Study: Students Rely on Mobile Devices to Scout Schools

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Mobile matters when it comes to college recruitment.

Data from a national survey show that handheld devices, such as phones or tablets, are the primary college search tool for roughly one-third of high school students.

In addition, roughly 40 percent of students surveyed said they plan to use social media when deciding where to enroll.

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Maryland Outlaws Scholarship Displacement at Public Colleges

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A new law prohibits scholarship displacement at Maryland’s public colleges and universities.

The state is the first in the nation to pass legislation limiting the practice, which can spur financial aid reductions for students who are awarded private scholarships.

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Chicago to Make Postsecondary Plans a Graduation Requirement

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Students in Chicago will soon need more than passing grades to graduate from high school.

Starting in 2020, seniors won’t receive a diploma until they can show they’ve secured a job, been accepted to college, enrolled in an apprentice program, enlisted in the military, or have made other plans for their future.

“We are going to help kids have a plan, because they’re going to need it to succeed,” Chicago Major Rahm Emanuel told The Washington Post. “You cannot have kids think that 12th grade is done.”

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Up Next To Offer Partnership Opportunities

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Looking for a new way to help your students navigate the college admission process?

Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Better Make Room initiative is getting ready to launch Up Next 2.0, an updated version of its text messaging service for college-bound students.

The program, introduced last summer, reminds students to complete important tasks, such as signing up for a college admission test or filing their FAFSA.

Nearly 100,000 people registered for Up Next text messages in 2016-17. Better Make Room is preparing to expand the program’s reach in 2017-18 and will offer customized messages via partnerships with high schools, colleges, community organizations, nonprofits, and government agencies.

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Check Out NACAC’s Directory of Member Blogs

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NACAC members have a lot to say.

Keep tabs on the latest developments using the association’s new directory of member blogs.

Searching for news and commentary about the profession? Check out the page’s “For Professionals” section. Want articles about the college admission process to share with teens and their parents? You’ll find a wide array of options under the “For Students and Families” heading.

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Study: Sleep Patterns Affect Academic Performance

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Late night study sessions may seem like a good idea to students looking to boost their grades, but new research suggests sticking with a consistent sleep schedule may be a better long-term strategy.

The study, published earlier this month by Scientific Reports, found that college students who did not go to bed and wake up at similar times each day were more likely to have lower GPAs.

Irregular sleep patterns upend students’ natural body clocks and can leave them feeling jet-lagged, a condition that ultimately undermines their performance in the classroom, Dr. Charles Czeisler, one of the study’s authors, told CNN.

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