Category Archives: College Admission

High School Performance Matters Most in College Admission Decisions

New survey data from NACAC shows that a student’s high school record remains the primary consideration of colleges when reviewing applications.

The finding, included in the association’s recently released 2019 State of College Admission report, has been consistent over the past three decades.

Specifically, the top four factors in freshmen college admission decisions are: (1) grades in all high school courses; (2) grades in college prep courses; (3) strength of a student’s high school curriculum; and (4) admission test scores (ACT/SAT). Meanwhile, only 1 percent of colleges indicated that a student’s alumni connections or ability to pay had considerable influence during the application review process.

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Chronic Illness and the College Search

Applying to schools and preparing for the college transition can be tough for any student. But for students dealing with a chronic illness, the process has added challenges.

The key to tackling those challenges? Planning ahead.

Teen Vogue recently published a list of advice to help students dealing with chronic illness clear those hurdles before heading off to college.

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New Maps Show Student-to-Counselor Ratios by District

National discussions about school counselors and college access often focus on state-level trends, but new data compiled by NACAC  illustrates how that approach can mask significant equity gaps within states.

A new series of maps, which draw on data from the 2015-16 academic year,  examines how student-to-counselor ratios differ by school district.

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#NACAC19: Beyond Operation Varsity Blues

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Operation Varsity Blues uncovered a complex bribing and cheating scandal within the world of selective college admission.

Although no admission professionals were implicated in the wrongdoing, the scandal’s visibility prompted many discussions among those in the field—conversations that continued last week at NACAC’s 75th National Conference in Louisville.

A panel of nine NACAC members explored the long-term implications for the admission profession and responded to some of the big questions raised in the wake of scandal. The wide-reaching discussion was featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education and was one of the conference’s most well-attended sessions.

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#NACAC19: Goal-Setting Can Help Counter Stress for College-Bound Students

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Gen Z students from across the globe are increasingly internalizing the same harmful messages when it comes to college admission, school counselor Dominie Wilhite told attendees Friday at NACAC’s 75th National Conference in Louisville.

To an even greater extent than past generations, today’s young people believe grades, test scores, and application materials must be perfect to achieve their college dreams, noted Wilhite, who serves students at Ghidotti Early College High School (CA).

“There can be a sense that it’s really hard to succeed,” Wilhite said during a panel discussion focused on mental health and wellness in the college admission process.

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Admission Survey: Debt Concerns Are Keeping Potential Applicants Away

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The majority of admission leaders believe their institutions are losing potential applicants due to concerns about student debt, according to a recent Inside Higher Ed report.

For the third consecutive year, more than 80 percent of admission directors believe a fear of debt is preventing students from applying to their respective institutions, survey results show. The concern is greatest among officials at private universities, with 91 percent of respondents citing debt worries as a barrier in the application process.

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Admission Officers Pen Open Letter to Students, Parents

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A group of 24 college admission professionals published an open letter this week in Inside Higher Ed.

Their audience: Students and parents.

Their message: A pledge to provide each student “with the opportunity to realize the very best in themselves, in others, and in the world they will help shape” amid a college admission process that can seem overwhelming.

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#NACACreads: Colleges Must Change to Better Serve Low-Income Students

In his book, The Privileged Poor, author Tony Jack shares a surprising statistic.

At highly selective colleges, one half of black students and one third of lower income Latino students are the alumni of boarding, day, and preparatory high schools.

Offering admission to such students is “easy” and “a safer bet” for universities, Jack noted Tuesday during a #NACACreads Twitter chat. After all, students who attend college prep high schools generally arrive on campus already having developed the skills and social capital needed to navigate the “hidden curriculum” of higher education.

But Jack challenged chat participants to diversify their recruitment strategies and invest in on-campus efforts that ensure all students have the knowledge and support needed to make the most of their college years.

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A College Visit to Remember

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

We’d like to know a little bit about you for our files;

We’d like to help you learn to help yourself;

Look around you, all you see are sympathetic eyes;

Stroll around the grounds until you feel at home.

Simon and Garfunkel’s lyrics mirror the facts and feelings of visiting prospective colleges these days.

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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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