It’s a scenario counselors know well: A student proudly announces they’re applying to college and plans to study physics.
So far so good. But then comes the kicker. What does the student hope to do with their degree? Cure cancer.
But as many counselors know, a degree in biology or in the health sciences offers a more direct route to cancer research, said Nicole Murphy, director of college access and financial aid strategies with PUC Schools, a California nonprofit charter school organization serving students in Northeast Los Angeles and the Northeast San Fernando Valley.
So this spring, Murphy launched a new initiative aimed at helping teens make connections between their interests and the college search process. Thirty industry experts and college department heads shared their insights with students during PUC’s inaugural College Majors & Careers Event in March.
The event, which served 520 high school juniors, was supported by a $1,000 grant from NACAC’s Imagine Fund.
New York Times bestselling author Wes Moore launched BridgeEdU with one goal in mind: To increase college access and completion rates for low-income and first-generation students.
The program, which began in Baltimore in 2014, uses a high-tech, high-touch academic support model to help students transition during their first year of college. But as Moore and his staff quickly discovered, the complex process of applying for financial aid can create roadblocks for even the most motivated students.
Case in point? Although all members of the inaugural class of BridgeEdU scholars reported that they had applied for financial aid, the staff soon discovered that a whopping 75 percent hadn’t completed the FAFSA, and most of the students had not created accounts with Maryland’s state grant agency.
The experience inspired BridgeEdU staff to create YesU — a mobile app released in 2016 that offers customized step-by-step support to students across the nation as they apply for financial aid.
Colleges must do more to provide and improve accommodations for students with disabilities, grad student Valerie Piro wrote in a recent essay published by Inside Higher Ed.
Piro, who uses a wheelchair and is currently pursuing a master’s degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, highlighted the challenges she faced when touring colleges as a high school student.
At one university, she had to use a makeshift wooden ramp to navigate a short flight of stairs. At another school, her prospective residence hall was located at the bottom of a steep hill and the college’s dorm rooms were much too small to accommodate her physical therapy equipment.
“Physical space and a well-functioning infrastructure on a campus cannot be overlooked, especially when one has a disability,” wrote Piro, who is paralyzed from the chest down. “What better way to tell a wheelchair user that they don’t belong at a college or university than by strewing the campus with stairs, broken help buttons, and pitiful excuses for ramps?”
Is your college application essay about money, work, social class, or another related topic?
If so, The New York Times wants to hear from you.
“No topic is too weighty and no stunt too flighty or approach too light for our taste, as long as the essay has at least something to do with money,” the paper notes in its call for submissions. “In the past people have written about their own jobs or their parents’ work (or lack thereof), what it’s like to be poor, what it’s like to be rich and what it’s like to work at McDonald’s.”
Editor’s note: A version of this post originally appeared on Admitted in March 2016.
Spring break is just around the corner at high schools across the country and many juniors will use the time to check out college campuses.
For one dad, the season brings back fond memories. L. Jay Lemons recently shared tips for making the most out of campus visits.
Lemons, president of Susquehanna University (PA) — a NACAC member institution — knows of what he speaks. In addition to leading a liberal arts institution, in recent years he’s toured dozens of college campuses as a parent.
A new study confirms what many admission professionals already know —students are cost-conscious when selecting a college.
Nearly 19 percent of students who turned down the chance to attend their top-choice school in 2016 did so because of the cost of attendance, according to new data from Royall & Company, a firm that assists colleges with enrollment management and fundraising.
“I think enrollment leaders and the public in general have had a suspicion that cost factors were driving a lot of enrollment decisions,” Royall’s Managing Director Peter Farrell told Inside Higher Ed. “This verifies it in an empirical way.”