Category Archives: College Admission

Member View: Easing the College Transition for First-Gen Students

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Editor’s note:  This post was originally published on Admitted in August 2018. It’s being republished as part of NACAC’s Best of the Blog series.

Heading off to college can be an anxiety-ridden process for all teens, but first-generation and low-income students experience “a whole different level of stress,” NACAC member Andrew Moe wrote in a op-ed for the Hechinger Report.

As a result, such students are far more likely than their peers to “melt” — a term used to describe the phenomenon of students who enroll in college but fail to show up in the fall.

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Windows of Opportunity: The Fine Arts Advantage

You may recall the story about a class of kindergartners who are asked to raise their hands if they are artists. All hands fly up amid peals of delight. Then, a class of ninth graders is asked the same question. Few or no hands appear. What happened to still those creative hands? Unfortunately, as they grow older students are often led to believe that delving deeply into the fine arts will result in an unreliable and unprofitable future. Students are steered to more “practical” endeavors like science, engineering, or business—as if knowledge were deposited like grain into sealed silos.

As college counselors, let us ventilate those silos with windows of opportunity. Each fine artist is imbued with imagination, curiosity, and creativity, and through these windows light pours into every corner of the mind. Albert Einstein declared: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” Einstein is in the good company of Leonardo da Vinci, who, had he been practical and followed his father’s profession, would have become a clerk. Imagine the loss, not only to art.

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College T-Shirt Beach Etiquette

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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

Like many college counselors, the only T-shirts I own are college T-shirts. Last week, I wore lots of them during a beach vacation. Since the only time I usually wear them is at the gym at 5 a.m., I don’t usually get many reactions. However, at the beach, people would respond to the college on the shirt, and it became challenging to know how to respond:

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Guide Helps Ensure Access, Success, and Visibility for Native Students

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The needs of Native American students are too often overlooked in all phases of higher education— including the admission process, according to a recent research project from the American Indian College Fund.

“(I)nvisibility is in essence the modern form of racism used against Native Americans…when a student is invisible, his or her academic needs are not met,” according to a recent executive brief produced by the College Fund, the largest US charity supporting Native student access to higher education.

As a result, many Native students are dissuaded from considering postsecondary education. And when American Indian students do try to access higher ed, they often are left feeling unwelcome and alone. Sometimes, they are even the target of hostility, as was the case in May 2018 when two brothers from the Mohawk Nation were removed from a Colorado State University campus tour after a mother on the tour became suspicious of their motives.

Inspired to create change in response to that traumatic event, the College Fund crafted a Declaration of Native Purpose in Higher Education.

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Now Available: New Episode of ‘College Admissions Decoded’

A new episode of NACAC’s College Admissions Decoded podcast is now available.

“Counseling Applicants and Families Amidst a Scandal” explores the messages unintentionally sent by the Varsity Blues bribery scandal. It also looks at ways to assuage the worries students have about getting into college.

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College Counselor Compiles Summer Reading List

Looking for summer reading suggestions for yourself or the students you serve?

NACAC member Brennan Barnard has released his annual compilation of book recommendations.

The full list — featuring titles suggested by college admission deans and counselors — appears on The Washington Post website. Some selections are related to education, while other titles are simply good reads.

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The Six Words About College That Disappoint Parents Most

Editor’s note: This essay was first published on Counselors’ Corner.

I had a chance to discuss the bigger world of college admission with some local counselors at a recent college breakfast, where admission officers from five colleges gave us brief updates on life at their campuses.  They opened up their presentation to questions at the end, and it’s my habit to ask them about advice for parents—if colleges could give one recommendation to the parents who have to watch their children apply to college, what would it be?

I’ve asked this question of many college admission officers over the years, and the response is always the same: Let the child drive the bus.

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