Category Archives: College Admission

US College Admission and “Crazy Rich” Chinese

In reading NACAC’s spring Journal article, “History of Chinese Student Mobility and Today’s Trends,” I was struck by some of the differences in my experiences and observations working with Chinese families, who by law are not permitted to attend international schools.

Working on the ground in China gave me a lot of insight about why Chinese families choose the US for their child’s education. In 2009, when I was first working in China, it quickly became clear that many Chinese love Americans and everything American—food, music, clothes, education….

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Walking the Virtual Quad: How to Build a Thriving Enrollment Community

By Katy Kappler, Co-Founder and CEO, InScribe, and Dr. Jonathan Huck, Research Scientist, WGU Labs

The decision to apply to college, even for older students, can be a lonely, high-stakes journey. Price tags are often shrouded in mystery. Outcomes for graduates can be vague. And confusing terms (registrar, bursar, oh my!) appear at every turn.

These challenges, however, are often mitigated at traditional universities, where students can find answers and build a sense of connection with an institution by walking its grounds, smelling its flowers, and taking lively tours. Unfortunately, these advantages are absent in the online learning space.

How, then, to foster a sense of belonging among applicants who may never set foot on a physical campus? We met this challenge through a recent pilot at Western Governors University (WGU), where we created a virtual community for prospective students to connect with peers, staff, and alumni before deciding to enroll.

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Rethinking the Admission Process 

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We’ve just passed the point in the higher education admission cycle where, traditionally, college applicants receive a flurry of decisions all at once—an increasingly stressful time for students that often coincides with spring break. It caused me to think about how we do business and I was encouraged to learn that, in conjunction with the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), NACAC has launched a commission “to reimagine financial aid and college admission in the pursuit of racial equity in postsecondary education.” It is intended to rethink everything.
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Reframing the ‘Lost’ College Visit

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Editor’s note: A version of this column was first published by the Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools.

As we find ourselves in pandemic spring 2.0, college visiting is not possible for the majority of juniors just beginning their college journeys and seniors finalizing enrollment plans. When my mother was alive she would say, “If you can’t fix it, feature it.”  Her sound advice reminds me to invert the problem of canceled college tours. Instead of wringing hands over the lost college road trip, we can emphasize the opportunity facing institutions and students. Covid is inviting us to reinvent college discovery and student engagement.

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Nominate Your Students for CollegePoint

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It’s a persistent problem: Talented lower-income students are less likely than their peers to enroll at selective colleges.

And amid the pandemic, many students—particularly those from low- to moderate-income families—face even greater obstacles on the journey to higher ed.

For those reasons, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ CollegePoint has expanded its eligibility criteria and is calling on counselors, teachers, and others to nominate talented teens in the class of 2022 who would benefit from its free advising program.

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Is it Time to Re-Evaluate Our Questions?

Traditionally, the Common App has required students to list their extracurricular activities; often, as a supplement, colleges ask them to pick the one that is most important and expound upon it. What we have all (hopefully) realized in the last 12 months is that what was once required of students, what was once a part of their daily routines, has changed, perhaps forever. We are asking students to define themselves by a past they didn’t have, at the very moment we require them to identify a future where they can thrive. Encouraging students to define themselves by rules and frameworks that are no longer compatible with the world in which they live is not only a disservice to the students, but to the institutions with which they wish to engage.

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Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Racism and College Admission

By: Lawrence Q. Alexander II

Nov. 1…For some, it’s just another day, but for those of us in college admission, it marks the anniversary of our “first date”—the day when Early Decision and Early Action applications have typically been due and that our work with seniors coalesces.

We recall preaching to them during the spring of their junior year about the importance of starting early and working on their college applications throughout the summer. We replay the melodious songs we sang to our faculty and colleagues about the impact of their letters of recommendation. We also experience pardonable pride as we lead our school community to a date on the calendar that at one time seemed so very far away. We think about the students and families we’ve counseled, the admission colleagues we’ve conversed with, and the floorboards we’ve confessed our frustrations to. And historically, we feel a range of emotions, from excitement to fear to anxiety to relief to sheer exhaustion.

Yet this year, with a global pandemic and the demand for racial equity and justice looming over our anniversary celebration, many of my colleagues and I experienced another emotion on Nov. 1—rage. And as COVID-19 and Racism 2020 tear through our world, they also pervade our profession, prompting a cascading list of uncomfortable yet unavoidable questions.

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