Category Archives: College Admission

Department of Education Simplifies FAFSA Verification Process

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The Department of Education recently announced changes to FAFSA verification aimed to help make the process less burdensome.

In lieu of IRS tax return transcripts and verification of non-filing forms, the guidance allows institutions to accept copies of signed income tax returns and written statements of non-filing from students who are selected for FAFSA verification. The changes are effective immediately and apply to both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 cycles.

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Building a Better College Admission Process

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Busting college admission myths is an important part of any counselor’s job, but do the subtle messages sent by some high schools and colleges undermine efforts to get young people to embrace a more balanced approach during application season?

Last summer, NACAC member Lisa Micele shared tips for all those involved in the process with NPR’s Here & Now.  Her goal? To help students build a college list of no more than 10 schools, all of which they would be happy and proud to attend.

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Reflections on a College Tour

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Editor’s note: A version of post was first published on Counselors’ Corner.

I had a first in my college counseling career last week when I went on an organized multi-college tour. When you’re the only person in your office—as I was for so long—getting away to see colleges is, at best, a one-day commitment, so the idea of taking an entire week away from the office to see nine college campuses was new to me. It also left me wondering if I could follow the advice I offer my students—to write down your impressions the minute the tour is over, so you don’t confuse the qualities of one campus with the features of another.

It turns out I didn’t have too much to worry about in that department. This tour has been going on for ages and those in charge leave no detail to chance. We were greeted with an itinerary that would have made any logistics expert shed a tear of joy, including a booklet that included a summary of the essential statistics and vital qualities of each school. I was free to add my own notes in the ample notes section in the back, but even if I didn’t, there was no way I was going home with nine schools jumbled in my head.

Overall, the experience taught or reminded me of three things about this profession, all lessons that were timely.

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Survey: Admission Professionals Sound Off About Social Media Checks

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“You know, colleges can see that. You really should watch what you post.”

It’s a common refrain from parents and teachers throughout the college admission process, but are admission officers actually checking social media?

A new survey by Kaplan Test Prep found that just 25 percent of college admission officers check the social media accounts of prospective students, down from a high of 40 percent in 2015.

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Lessons Learned: Reflections and Advice from a Regional Admission Counselor

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Editor’s note:  This post was originally published on Admitted in July 2017. It’s being republished as part of NACAC’s Best of the Blog series

After 14 years working in the admission office for my alma mater, I had it good. I coordinated the campus visit team, supervised tour guides, worked with transfer students, and held many “other duties as assigned.” In short, I knew what I was doing.

Then two years ago, I was offered an exciting new role that turned my career on its head: I became Gettysburg College’s first West Coast regional counselor.

In the past 24 months I have learned about the challenges of a three-hour time difference, work-life balance, and the importance of communication with the office. I’ve also reflected on how counselors — and campus-based leaders — can work together to make the most out of regional positions.

Here are my tips for counselors and admission leaders who are considering making the jump.

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Parents: Before You Yell at Your Child’s School Counselor

Editor’s note: A version of post was first published on Counselors’ Corner.

You’ve worked so hard to schedule, prepare, and nudge your high school senior to apply to college on time. You shared that small thrill when they hit “submit” with time to spare, and you thought you were all set.

Until they got the e-mail.

“Our records indicate your application is incomplete. Unless we receive a copy of your high school transcript in the next five days, we will be unable to process your application.”

At this point, you’ve decided this is personal, so even though it’s 7 at night, you pick up the phone and leave The Mother of All Voice Mails for your school counselor.

Boy, did you just blow it. Here’s why:

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Students: Take the Pledge to Apply to College

Pledging to apply to college now comes with a bigger perk than simply reaching your higher education goals.

November is National College Application Month and Better Make Room wants students to pledge to get those applications turned in.

In exchange, they’ve arranged for a wide range of celebrities to do laundry for those who pledge.

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ICYMI: NACAC Releases Annual State of College Admission Report

How do colleges build a freshman class? NACAC’s  annual State of College Admission report — released on Thursday — offers students, parents, and others a peek at the various factors weighed when reviewing applications.

Now in its 15th year, the report continues to emphasize the importance of academic performance in the admission process. Altogether, colleges on average accept nearly two-thirds of first-time freshmen, with students’ grades and the academic rigor of their course loads weighing more heavily in decisions to admit than standardized test scores, high school class rank, or demonstrated interest in attending.

But other factors also play a role. For example, 22 percent of colleges rated the high school a student attended as at least moderately important in admission decisions for first-time freshmen. And roughly half of all colleges attributed some level of influence to alumni relations when accessing the applications of such students.

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