Category Archives: College Admission

Navigating the Tide of Stress this Fall

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Each August, I get hit by a tsunami of anxiety and stress. Though it happens year after year, I’m still startled when I look up and see it above me, overshadowing the peaceful laziness of summer that came before.

Call it a professional hazard: Students and parents cannot help but look toward college with apprehension, and their apprehension arrives in force (in my office) in August. Whether stemming from the unbelievable cost of college, or the incredible odds against getting into a dream school, these fears are grounded in the realities of today’s college admission world.

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Campus Differences Matter in the College Search

Courtesy of Barbara T. Conner

Editor’s note: A version of this post originally appeared on Admitted in June 2016. It’s being republished as part of NACAC’s Best of the Blog series.

After visiting a few college campuses, most people begin to think that they are all alike — and in some ways they are right. Most colleges offer students a variety of factors that seem similar: rigorous academics, varied social activities, and meaningful ways to connect with the community.

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4 Ways College Counselors Can Increase Access for Underrepresented Students

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Diversity on campus strengthens our colleges and our country.

Yet a large number of qualified students from low-income and minority populations are still underrepresented in American higher education due to inadequate access to college advising resources.

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College Coaches Use Social Media to Vet Recruits

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Editor’s note: A version of this post originally appeared on Admitted in June 2016. It’s being republished as part of NACAC’s Best of the Blog series.

Hoping to play sports in college? Make sure your social media accounts send the right message to recruiters.

“Right or wrong, most college coaches will assume that how you act on social media will be how you act on campus,” according to a recent USA Today column by Fred Bastie. “For that reason, your actions and behavior on social media in high school are critical if you expect to play in college.”

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Apply to 100 Colleges? What 1 Student Wishes She Had Known About the Admission Process

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A freshman college student in Tennessee isn’t experiencing buyer’s remorse over her college choice. But she has some issues with the way she was told to shop for one.

“I was also told by counselors to apply to 100 colleges. I was never told why that number was chosen, but my peers were told the same,” Anisah Karim, now a psychology student at the University of Memphis, wrote in Chalkbeat.

“We were often pulled out of class to complete these applications, which took away from instructional time — about an hour per day. My high school also ran on an infraction system, and not turning in college applications and other documents led to disciplinary actions.”

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Free ACT/SAT Exams Boost College Enrollment Rates

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College enrollment rates increase when high schools cover the cost of college entrance exams, new research suggests.

The finding — published by Education Finance and Policy — is based on a study of six classes of high school juniors who attended Michigan schools from 2003-04 to 2007-08. The state has required teens to take a college entrance exam since 2007.

“Overall, the policy increased the probability that students would enroll in college by about 2 percent,” according to an Education Week article about the new research. “Students at schools with higher poverty rates increased their college enrollment rates by 6 percent, and those students who had a low to middling probability of taking the ACT before the policy took effect saw their rates improve by 5 percent afterward.”

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Campus Visit Tips for Moms and Dads

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Prospective students should take the lead during campus visits, but if parents are tagging along they also have a role to play.

An extra set of eyes and ears can prove invaluable, W. Kent Barnds, executive vice president of Augustana College (IL), wrote in a recent Huffington Post column.

And perhaps more importantly, moms and dads can help prepare their student to make the most out of the visit.

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Lessons Learned: Reflections and Advice from a Regional Admission Counselor

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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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Achieving Balance: Tips to Help Students Navigate Their Freshman Year

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Editor’s note: A version of this post originally appeared on Admitted in September 2016. It’s being republished as part of NACAC’s Best of the Blog series.

To-do lists, reasonable goals, and regular exercise can help freshmen stay on track.

Those tips and more are included in a USA Today piece aimed at helping first-year students maintain their health and happiness.

“Achieving life balance is one of the largest challenges that college freshmen face,” the article notes. “After all, you must juggle a wide variety of activities — from your coursework to your social life to your extracurriculars — in addition to monitoring your mental and physical well-being.”

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For Many Families, College Search Now Includes Questions about Campus Politics

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It’s hard to avoid conversations about politics these days. This new reality has trickled down to the college admission process where counselors on both sides of the desk are now commonly asked to field tricky questions about political reputations and perceived leanings of a college campus.

Inside Higher Ed recently reported on a group of counselors at the annual meeting of the Higher Education Consultants Association who said that parents were rejecting their children’s college choices based on the schools’ politics.

But while parents might be hesitant about the political climate on campus, it seems to be something students want out of their college experience. UCLA’s 50th annual CIRP Freshman Survey, which surveyed 141,189 full-time, first-year students from around the US, found that student interest in political and civic activity had reached its highest level in the history of the survey.

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