All posts by Mary Stegmeir

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

#NACACreads Giveaway: Win a Copy of “Breakaway Learners”

Our next #NACACreads chat is just around the corner!

Help spread the word about our Dec. 12 Twitter conversation with author Karen Gross for your chance to win a free copy of her important book, Breakaway Learners.

Here’s how to enter:

You may only enter the contest one time. The giveaway ends Friday, Nov. 16 at 12 p.m. ET. The winner, chosen via a random drawing, will be announced on Twitter and mailed a copy of Breakaway Learners courtesy of Columbia University’s Teachers College Press.

New to #NACACreads? Learn more about Breakaway Learners and be sure to join our chat, scheduled for 9 p.m. ET on Dec. 12.

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

ICYMI: NACAC Releases Annual State of College Admission Report

How do colleges build a freshman class? NACAC’s  annual State of College Admission report — released on Thursday — offers students, parents, and others a peek at the various factors weighed when reviewing applications.

Now in its 15th year, the report continues to emphasize the importance of academic performance in the admission process. Altogether, colleges on average accept nearly two-thirds of first-time freshmen, with students’ grades and the academic rigor of their course loads weighing more heavily in decisions to admit than standardized test scores, high school class rank, or demonstrated interest in attending.

But other factors also play a role. For example, 22 percent of colleges rated the high school a student attended as at least moderately important in admission decisions for first-time freshmen. And roughly half of all colleges attributed some level of influence to alumni relations when accessing the applications of such students.

Continue reading ICYMI: NACAC Releases Annual State of College Admission Report

New Report Highlights Changes to Rural Education

Like many other segments of society, small towns in the United States are changing.

Today, roughly one out of every five residents in rural America identifies as Latino. Between 2000 and 2009 alone, rural schools saw a 150 percent increase in enrollment of Latino students, according to a recent report from the Center for Public Education (CPE).

“As rural areas become increasingly diverse, it becomes more important to examine how this trend may change student needs,” according to report author Megan Lavalley, a CPE research analyst.

Continue reading New Report Highlights Changes to Rural Education

NACAC Survey Shows Student Activism is on the Rise

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The intensity of the current political climate has led to increased activism among students at more than half (52 percent) of all secondary schools across the US, according to survey data from the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC).

The finding is one of several included in a new NACAC research brief that explores the effects of today’s political rhetoric on college-bound students and examines how the political climate is affecting the college admission process. The association surveyed school counselors and college admission officers on the subject earlier this year.

Although levels of activism varied across schools, with 27 percent of respondents reporting that the political environment had no effect on the students they served, a full 52 percent of school counselors reported increased political engagement.

In the words of one respondent: “They’re woke and they’re angry! And they’re registered to vote!”

Continue reading NACAC Survey Shows Student Activism is on the Rise

#NACACreads: Join Us for a Discussion of ‘Breakaway Learners’

Building a freshman class has never been an easy proposition.

But attracting and retaining students today requires admission professionals and their university colleagues to possess a different set of skills than in the past.

“At the most basic level, the students of today and tomorrow are not the students of yesterday or yesteryear,” author Karen Gross writes in Breakaway Learners. “…Many of today’s students are the first in their families to attend college, let alone graduate; many are immigrants; many are low income. Many have experienced trauma or toxic stress.”

The book — now available in paperback and electronic format — will be the subject of our next #NACACreads discussion. The hour-long Twitter chat will kick off at 9 p.m. ET on Dec. 12.

Continue reading #NACACreads: Join Us for a Discussion of ‘Breakaway Learners’

University’s Commitment to Transfer Students Pays Off

Students walk to class on the University of Central Florida campus. (iStock)

Transfer students are an important part of the University of Central Florida.

In fact, in recent years, the institution has welcomed more transfer students in its incoming class than first-year freshmen — and in the process has created what some consider a national model of excellence while increasing access for underrepresented students.

“We’ve always been concerned with the success of every student, but as our numbers started to increase with transfer students, we really started to focus heavily on how we could work with our transfer population to make them as successful as possible,” said Jennifer Sumner, a UCF administrator.

Continue reading University’s Commitment to Transfer Students Pays Off

Report: Structural, Motivational Barriers Undermine Community College Grad Rates

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Helping community college students select courses suited to their interests and finding ways to connect classroom lessons with the real world could help more students persist in higher education, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution.

“The key takeaways are that making it easier for students to navigate the college environment and connect their coursework to their lives can improve student outcomes,” noted report author Elizabeth Mann Levesque.

Continue reading Report: Structural, Motivational Barriers Undermine Community College Grad Rates

ICYMI: New Research-to-Practice Brief Addresses College Access for Rural Students

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Nearly half of America’s school districts are located in rural areas, yet the unique needs of these students are too often overlooked in the college search and selection process.

While family income, parental educational attainment, and prior academic achievement all play a role in limiting college access, systemic constraints also come into play – resulting in lower rates of college attendance for rural students when compared to their urban and suburban peers.

One such barrier? Poverty due to the loss of economic opportunities.

Continue reading ICYMI: New Research-to-Practice Brief Addresses College Access for Rural Students

Stanford Report: College Rankings Are Deeply Flawed

Are the families you serve overly concerned about college selectivity?

Researchers at Challenge Success — a nonprofit organization based at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education — released a white paper this fall that calls into question the value of university rankings.

“There is no question that the college admission process can be stressful. We hope that this paper prompts students and families to examine what college success means to them and to question common assumptions about college selectivity,” the authors note in the paper’s executive summary.

Continue reading Stanford Report: College Rankings Are Deeply Flawed