Category Archives: Access

Researcher: US High Schools Must Invest in College Counselors

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Editor’s Note: A version of this post originally appeared on Admitted in December 2015.

US high schools must devote more time to college counseling if they want to “see the fruit of other investments,” according to one education researcher.

In a 2015 column, New America staffer Abigail Swisher makes the case that students need both rigorous curriculum and personalized guidance to achieve their postsecondary plans.

“If we want to recreate the American high school as a place where all students have the resources for success in college and career, we need to reinvent the role of counselors,” Swisher writes, citing data from NACAC and other education associations. “This could mean reducing the caseload or number of responsibilities each counselor has, or it might mean moving to an entirely different model of support.”

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Michelle Obama Cites NACAC Data in White House Remarks

First Lady Michelle Obama used NACAC data Friday to help shine a spotlight on the importance of school counselors.

The comments were woven into Obama’s remarks honoring 2017 School Counselor of the Year Terri Tchorzynski.

“A recent study showed that students who met with a school counselor to talk about financial aid or college were three times more likely to attend college and they were nearly seven times more likely to apply for financial aid,” Obama said, referencing a NACAC report released last month. “Our school counselors are truly among the heroes of the Reach Higher story.”

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States Bolster School Counseling Programs

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A growing number of states are using government and philanthropic funds to bring more counselors into public schools.

The trend is outlined in a recent Education Week article by reporter Catherine Gewertz.

“The counseling initiatives are far from the biggest-ticket items in states’ budgets,” she writes. “But they’re a significant sign of a renewed commitment to school counseling, which took particularly heavy hits in layoffs driven by the Great Recession eight years ago.”

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College Board Streamlines Requests for Testing Accommodations

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A new process will make it easier for students to receive accommodations on College Board exams.

Starting Jan. 1, students who are approved for testing accommodations through an Individualized Education Program or 504 Plan will automatically be cleared to have those same accommodations on College Board tests, including the SAT and Advanced Placement exams.

Officials say the move will reduce approval time and help students receive the support they need to do their best on the tests.

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Panel Discussion Explores Future of Community Colleges

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How has the community college sector evolved in recent years? What are the challenges such institutions will face in the future? These were just some of the questions addressed during a recent Urban Institute panel discussion — “Community Colleges since the Great Recession.”

The panel, comprised of Urban Institute researchers as well as various community college stakeholders, discussed a number of issues including college financing and Pell grants, indicators for measuring institutional success, and efforts to increase ties between colleges and employers.

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New Alliance Formed to Address College Access

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A group of 30 selective colleges has launched a new alliance aimed at expanding access to postsecondary education.

The American Talent Initiative (ATI) — whose founding members include several Ivy League and public flagship universities — seeks to bring a total of 50,000 low- and moderate-income students to universities with graduation rates of least 70 percent by 2025.

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Report: Counselors Positively Impact College Access

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Students who meet one-on-one with a school counselor are significantly more likely to attend college and apply for federal financial aid, according to a new study released today by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC).

The findings, culled from nationally representative data, are the first to demonstrate that school counselors have a positive impact on student outcomes that is both quantifiable and statistically significant.

NACAC’s latest research report — How Can High School Counseling Shape Students’ Postsecondary Attendance? — shows that 12th graders who talked about their future plans with a school counselor were:

  • 6.8 times more likely to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • 3.2 times more likely to attend college.
  • Two times more likely to attend a bachelor’s degree program.

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Report: Demographic Changes Ahead for Higher Ed

wicheAfter steady growth over the last three decades, the overall number of US high school graduates is leveling off.

However, trends vary by geographic region, according to a new report from the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). States in the South and West are poised for growth, while those in the Midwest and Northeast continue to see declines.

In addition, the racial and ethnic makeup of students is becoming more diverse, data show.

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NACAC at ASHE: College Promise Programs

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Earlier this month, NACAC research associate Tara Nicola attended the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) to present NACAC work as well as stay abreast of the latest research in the field. This is the first in a series of posts highlighting exciting research relevant to admission and high school counseling professionals.

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School Districts Can Help Students Adopt New Attitudes About Admission Process

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School districts may be able to boost college-going rates by changing the way they introduce students to the application process, according to a recent piece published by the Harvard Business Review.

Too often, the conversation is focused on ensuring students submit an application to at least one college, writes researcher Lindsay Page. But when teens apply to a range of institutions “they are more likely to get accepted to an institution that is a good fit,” she notes.

Continue reading School Districts Can Help Students Adopt New Attitudes About Admission Process