All posts by Mary Stegmeir

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

Rates of Anxiety Continue to Increase Among College Students

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For the seventh straight year, anxiety was the top concern of students seeking mental health services on campus, according to a survey by the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors.

Data show that 51 percent of college students who visited an on-campus counseling center in 2015-16 reported struggling with anxiety. The other most common concerns were depression (41 percent), relationship issues (34 percent), suicidal ideation (20.5 percent), self-injury (14 percent), and alcohol abuse (10 percent).

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Study: Having a Black Teacher Can Help Keep Black Kids in School

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Low-income black students who have at least one black teacher in elementary school are more likely to graduate from high school and consider attending college, according to a new working paper published by the Institute of Labor Economics.

Being assigned to a classroom led by a black teacher in in third, fourth, or fifth grade reduced a student’s probability of dropping out of school by 29 percent, the study found.

And the positive effects were even greater among low-income black boys, whose likelihood of dropping out fell by 39 percent.

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Join NACAC for a Facebook Live Q&A

fblivetwitpic-002Former First Lady Michelle Obama made college access a priority during her time in the White House.

Tune in April 27 at 12:30 p.m. ET to discover how the Reach Higher and Better Make Room initiatives will continue her work, and get a sneak peek into what’s planned for this year’s College Signing Day.

We’ll be broadcasting from NACAC headquarters via Facebook Live with special guest Eric Waldo. Waldo, executive director of Reach Higher, is now part of Civic Nation — a nonprofit, non-partisan group that uses organizing, engagement, and public awareness to address some of the nation’s most pressing issues, including initiatives launched by the Obama White House.

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Student View: Changes Needed to Support College Applicants with Disabilities

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Colleges must do more to provide and improve accommodations for students with disabilities, grad student Valerie Piro wrote in a recent essay published by Inside Higher Ed.

Piro, who uses a wheelchair and is currently pursuing a master’s degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, highlighted the challenges she faced when touring colleges as a high school student.

At one university, she had to use a makeshift wooden ramp to navigate a short flight of stairs. At another school, her prospective residence hall was located at the bottom of a steep hill and the college’s dorm rooms were much too small to accommodate her physical therapy equipment.

“Physical space and a well-functioning infrastructure on a campus cannot be overlooked, especially when one has a disability,” wrote Piro, who is paralyzed from the chest down. “What better way to tell a wheelchair user that they don’t belong at a college or university than by strewing the campus with stairs, broken help buttons, and pitiful excuses for ramps?”

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‘Math Identity’ Prepares Students for STEM Majors

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Looking for ways to encourage more of your students to pursue majors in science, technology, engineering, or math?

Efforts need to go beyond college-prep coursework, according to a paper published in 2015.

Students who succeed in developing an identity as a “math person” are more likely than their peers to go on to study STEM subjects in college, data show.

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Students: Share Your College Essay with The New York Times

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Is your college application essay about money, work, social class, or another related topic?

If so, The New York Times wants to hear from you.

“No topic is too weighty and no stunt too flighty or approach too light for our taste, as long as the essay has at least something to do with money,” the paper notes in its call for submissions. “In the past people have written about their own jobs or their parents’ work (or lack thereof), what it’s like to be poor, what it’s like to be rich and what it’s like to work at McDonald’s.”

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Ferguson Celebrates 30 Years with NACAC

NACAC’s Gregory Ferguson stopped by the Philadelphia National College Fair in November 2015. Ferguson celebrated 30 years with NACAC last month. (Chuck Fazio Photography)

NACAC’s Gregory Ferguson applied to the association three times before being hired in 1987 as assistant director of National College Fairs (NCF).

What kept him coming back? Unwavering support for the program’s mission.

“I really firmly believe: For any student who wants to go to college, there is an institution out there for them,” said Ferguson, who celebrated his 30th year with NACAC last month. Under his leadership, the NCF program has grown steadily and gained a national reputation for quality.

Ferguson, who now serves as the program’s executive director, recently sat down with Admitted to talk about his contributions to NACAC, the future of the NCF program, and what inspires his work.

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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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