All posts by Mary Stegmeir

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#NACACreads: Students Need Good Info about Gap Year

gaptogreatartCounselors who take time to discuss gap year options provide a great service to college-bound students and their families, says author Andrea Wien.

Higher education is an expensive endeavor, and the grades and connections students make as freshmen can set the course for the rest of their college career.

That’s why teens who are burned out from high school — or just not developmentally ready for college — may benefit from taking a gap year to work, travel, or explore an area of interest, Wien said Wednesday during a #NACACreads Twitter discussion of her book, Gap to Great.

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Survey: Students (Not Parents) Should Drive College Admission Process

Parents, take note: Admission officers can tell when you pretend to be your child on the phone.

And butting in to answer questions directed at your son or daughter during a campus visit does more harm than good, a recent survey of more than 350 US admission officers shows.

Overall, 75 percent of survey respondents said that parents should only be “somewhat involved” in the college admission process.

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Survey: Cost Influences College Choice


A new study confirms what many admission professionals already know —students are cost-conscious when selecting a college.

Nearly 19 percent of students who turned down the chance to attend their top-choice school in 2016 did so because of the cost of attendance, according to new data from Royall & Company, a firm that assists colleges with enrollment management and fundraising.

“I think enrollment leaders and the public in general have had a suspicion that cost factors were driving a lot of enrollment decisions,” Royall’s Managing Director Peter Farrell told Inside Higher Ed. “This verifies it in an empirical way.”

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EducationUSA Seeks Recruitment Videos from US Colleges


Looking for a new way to reach prospective international students?

EducationUSA — a US Department of State network with more than 400 international student advising centers in over 170 countries — is inviting US colleges and universities to submit recruitment videos.

Videos should be about one minute in length and will be added to EducationUSA’s YouTube channel.

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Learn More about Financial Aid Award Letters


Reviewing and comparing award letters is an important part of the decision-making process for college-bound students.

Learn how to help families understand and interpret financial aid offers next week during a Twitter chat organized by the National College Access Network and the American Council on Education.

The hour-long discussion kicks off at 3 p.m. (ET) on Tuesday, March 28. Follow along and ask questions using #AwardLettersChat.

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IHEP Launches #CollegeNotPrison Campaign

ihepvideoA new public awareness campaign seeks to bring attention to the financial aid barriers justice-involved youth face when pursuing higher education.

#CollegeNotPrison — a initiative of The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) — made a splash on social media this week with a short video sharing the story of Alton Pitre.

As a teen, Pitre was arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. He spent nearly two years behind bars before the charges were dropped and the case was dismissed.

Pitre, now a senior at Morehouse College (GA), is an advocate for criminal justice reform. He also speaks out about the need to make college affordable for more young people. In the video, Pitre, 25, notes that while a college education offers great long-term rewards, cost keeps many young people from completing a degree.

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Parental Expectations That Are Too High Can Harm Students, Researchers Say


Editor’s note:  A version of this post was first appeared on Admitted in 2015.

Parental expectations that are too high can end up undermining student success in the classroom, research shows.

The findings, published in 2015, are derived from a five-year study of more than 3,500 middle and high school students in Germany.

Researchers examined the results of annual math tests given to students. They also asked parents to list the grades they hoped their children would earn, as well as the grades they thought their children could reasonably obtain.

The study showed that while realistic expectations helped kids perform well, unrealistically high expectations harmed student achievement.

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