Native American students are often left out of the college access equation, a new report found.
“Invisibility is in essence the modern form of racism used against Native Americans,” the report said. “It is this invisibility that leads to a college access and completion crisis among Native American students. When a student is invisible, his or her academic and social needs are not met. This leads to students feeling alienated and alone, derailing their matriculation and the realization of their dreams and potential.”
Michelle Obama’s Becoming proved to be the perfect launching off point for a robust discussion of college access and completion, ways to support first-generation and marginalized students, and a counselor’s role in these goals.
In a #NACACreads Twitter chat Tuesday night, Eric Waldo, the executive director of Reach Higher, shared his insights on these subjects and more. Reach Higher was founded by Mrs. Obama and Waldo has traveled with the former first lady during her recent Becoming book tour.
Recruitment of rural and low-income students is often a goal of universities. But some schools don’t offer the support system to allow these students to succeed once they arrive on campus.
That was the case for writer Alison Stine.
Stine recently authored an essay recounting her experience as a student from a rural background at a private college.
“I wasn’t the first person in my family to go to college — I was the second generation, after my parents — and on teachers’ and guidance counselors’ advice, I had applied to several schools, including state universities,” she wrote. “But the private colleges were the ones that seemed to really want someone like me. They courted me. They offered me money, and I couldn’t say no to that. I couldn’t afford to.”
Equity and justice are important in all aspects of life, but absolutely vital in college admission.
NACAC members Ethan Sawyer, The College Essay Guy, and Marie Bigham, the founder of the ACCEPT: Admissions Community Cultivating Equity and Peace Today Facebook group, recently recorded a podcast episode on the ways school counselors and college admission professionals can work toward these goals.
A new report from the Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce finds that despite being funded by all taxpayers, selective public colleges do not serve all segments of their states’ populations.
NACAC believes school counselors have an important and often under-acknowledged role to play in moving toward the goal of equity in education.
One of NACAC’s core values is that our institutional and individual members strive to eliminate from the education system bias based on race, ethnicity, creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, political affiliation, national origin, or disability. We view this as fundamental to our responsibility as educators.
However, the stark reality is that inequities do exist, and are often strongly associated with race and ethnicity.
High student-to-counselor ratios School counselors in schools serving large numbers of racial and ethnic minority students face ratios well above the current national ratio of 464:1. According to the Education Trust, a high school counselor who serves predominantly students of color has to serve 34 more students every year than a school counselor who serves fewer students of color, and 27 states are shortchanging either their students of color, students from low-income families, or both. And since black students are more likely than their white peers to cite a school counselor’s involvement in changing their college-going perceptions, such shortages present steep barriers to students of color.
Inequitable access to education resources and college preparatory coursework Evidence of racial gaps in access to school resources is plentiful. Persistent racial and ethnic gaps exist in dual enrollment and college preparatory coursework (AP and IB), which is the foundation for NACAC’s policy priority in support of equitable funding for schools to ensure that all students have access to coursework that will prepare them for education beyond high school.
Implicit bias and cultural fluency There is a substantial and growing body of research documenting individual implicit bias across all industries and facets of American life. College admission counseling professionals, including school counselors, have identified implicit bias and other, more overt, forms of bias as a critical obstacle to serving all students well. As such, NACAC recently created a resource for practitioners wishing to learn more about cultural fluency and bias, and urges school leaders and policymakers to consider the effects of bias on the educational system.
Interaction with a school counselor has statistically significant, positive effects on college-going behavior and ensuring equitable access to school counseling and other critical resources—particularly for racial/ethnic minority students—is an immediate concern to be addressed by policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels.
David Hawkins is NACAC’s executive director for educational content and policy. You can reach him at email@example.com.
Daily updates on NACAC and the world of college admission counseling. For more information about NACAC, visit nacacnet.org.