Category Archives: College Admission

Tool Catalogs Admission-Related Services Offered by Secondary Schools

A new tool from NACAC provides a look at admission-related services offered by secondary schools in the US and around the globe amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With so many schools closed or otherwise disrupted, it’s a challenge for counselors to help students finalize their college plans. NACAC’s new tool shows how different schools and counselors are responding to questions surrounding final course grades, requests for transcripts, and other college admission queries.

The crowdsourced resource is the second of two tools designed by NACAC.

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New NACAC Tool Helps Students Navigate College Admission Process Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

As a service to students and families, NACAC has created a new resource cataloging campus-specific changes in college admission events, deposit dates, and more as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The purpose of the tool—which features information from postsecondary institutions—is to make it easier for students and others to navigate the admission process during this unprecedented time of upheaval. So far, more than 460 colleges and universities from around the world have submitted their information.

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Survey: Colleges Consider Student Character Traits in Admission Decisions


Character counts when it comes to college admission, according to new data from the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and the Character Collaborative.

In a recent national survey, 70 percent of admission officers said a student’s character attributes were either “considerably” or “moderately” important in the selection process at their respective institutions.

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Global Recruitment: Looking Beyond ‘Gain or Drain’


Every year, popular destination countries welcome a new cohort of international students coming ashore to study. And with the new year starting, the recruitment cycle begins again — with university admission officers frequently tasked to visit the same high schools to recruit students.

Competition is an undeniable factor in our chosen profession. But this cycle, I want to bring attention to another facet that ties our work together: the joy of guiding students in their journey to higher education and global exploration.

Yes, we compete for applicants; but isn’t it more about providing a wide platform that enables students to make the most suitable choices for their academic and personal growth?

Here are some ways I believe secondary schools and admission professionals can work together to ensure student interests remain the top consideration in global recruitment.

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‘If not us, then who?’


Editor’s note: A version of this column was first published on Holistic College Mentor in April 2016. The author’s sister is currently in her senior year at Utica College (NY) and is on track to earn a master’s degree in health and physical education next year.

Never did I think that it would be somewhat difficult to usher my sister through the college application process. Her life had been far more complicated than mine, but she was determined to succeed. I was the first in our family to graduate from high school and college. She was inspired by that. Most of the same folks who were against my decision to go away for college supported her choice.

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NACAC Urges Flexibility in Wake of Coronavirus


NACAC is one of several education organizations encouraging their members to be mindful of the impacts of the Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak on students, families, staff, and colleagues.

In a statement issued yesterday, the association urged flexibility for students, families, and counselors in the affected areas and encouraged its members to take action where necessary.

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After Brexit: What’s Changing and What Will Stay the Same


Editor’s Note: Elisabeth K. Marksteiner serves on International ACAC’s Advocacy and Outreach Committee, where her special interest is Brexit.

Fact: On Friday, Jan. 31, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union.

Fiction: The UK doesn’t want international students.

Fact: International enrollment numbers are at a record high. In fact, the recent introduction of a two-year post-graduation visa makes it an opportune time for students to consider a degree in the UK.

For the majority of students seeking degrees, nothing will change. Degrees remain largely three years in length and specialized. If your students are thinking “out-of-state,” you may also want to encourage them to think “out of country.” The UK will continue to offer high-quality, internationally recognized degrees.

Why then all the trepidation?

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We Need To Talk About March

I know, I know — we’re fresh off winter break, most high school counselors are breathing easier with senior applications submitted, and many college admission officers are cozy on their couches reading applications. Why am I fast-forwarding to March?

For context, before serving as a high school college counselor I worked for almost two decades in college admission. On the college side, March meant wrapping up admission committees, making final decisions, and having a singular focus on our individual release date — hopefully in advance of our competitors. We then were engaged with yielding students until early summer. The end.

But on the secondary school side, March is experienced much differently. Regular decisions start rolling out with the new year, but eventually come full force every single day in March. And if you reside anywhere other than Eastern Standard Time, decisions will land at all hours. Students are raw nerves for an entire month, because tiny bombs are constantly going off around them. Four weeks of instructional time are consistently interrupted by emotional college news. For 31 straight days, college counselors are required to give out round-the-clock high-fives, Kleenex, and their best resilience advice, often all at once (self-awareness is hard for teenagers — one student may be weeping in our office while another is simultaneously crowing about their success). It’s a roller coaster. It’s exhausting. And it feels so unnecessary.

I’m not naïve. I understand that colleges have a class to yield — especially in our new ethical landscape — and they don’t want to feel beholden to any other institution’s timeline. Everyone has their own enrollment goals to meet, and this steady creep to release earlier and earlier is perceived as giving some kind of advantage. Maybe some students will deposit before hearing from a competitor! But my college advising elders tell me that it wasn’t always this way, and I can’t help but believe we can do better — both for our kids and for our colleagues.

Imagine a world in which at least systems released on the same day. As a California resident, for example, I wonder why the nine University of California campuses and the California State University system share an application and a deadline, but not a release day? What if there was one, uniform release day for the Claremont Colleges, the Five College Consortium, and/or the Colleges That Change Lives schools? The Ivy League institutions have managed to make a coordinated release time happen, so this is not without precedent.

I know that enrollment pressures are driving this behavior. But the more our profession runs like a business, the more the social/emotional wellness of our students takes a back seat. And I know that many colleges and universities find their counseling and wellness services stretched as increasing numbers of students seek out assistance with their mental health. So I would challenge my college-side colleagues to consider the long view: Even some minor changes to the decision release system might bring healthier, better educated, and more intact human beings to your campus in the fall. And then don’t we all win?


NACAC member Lauren Cook is dean of college and gap-year advising at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay (CA).