Category Archives: College Readiness

Equity and AP

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Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from a Washington Monthly article examining AP courses and college racial inequities.

By Anne Kim

In a year when the coronavirus pandemic threw college admissions into chaos, 18-year-old Chloe Pressley of Prince William County, Virginia, succeeded beyond her wildest expectations. She got into multiple prestigious colleges, including Caltech, the University of Virginia, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The University of Richmond (VA) offered her a full ride. This fall, she’s headed to Yale.

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Supportive School Communities Promote College Readiness: Reflections from a Public School Educator

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School year 2021-22 will be a watershed return to the classroom for all school communities. For a sense of context, think back to your own college application journey. Compare that to what high school students will experience this fall.

In spring of 1985, I’d failed the on-the-road driver’s license test for the second time and was homebound. Madonna and Tears for Fears played in a loop on MTV, and my older sister terrorized and hazed me at every opportunity. I was a junior in high school who needed to interview a family member for an assignment about potential careers.

I opened the door to my father’s den. “Dad, I need to interview a family member for homework.” “Ok,” he said sitting at his desk. “What career do you think would be good for me?” I asked. He thought about it and resolutely said, “Shopping. Something with shopping.”  I winced. As a bookish A and B student with a small circle of artsy, awkward friends my dad’s response confirmed he was clueless. “Why do you say that?” I followed up. Encircled by bookshelves and work-league baseball and bowling trophies, my dad smiled and responded: “You’re good at it.”

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Walking the Virtual Quad: How to Build a Thriving Enrollment Community

By Katy Kappler, Co-Founder and CEO, InScribe, and Dr. Jonathan Huck, Research Scientist, WGU Labs

The decision to apply to college, even for older students, can be a lonely, high-stakes journey. Price tags are often shrouded in mystery. Outcomes for graduates can be vague. And confusing terms (registrar, bursar, oh my!) appear at every turn.

These challenges, however, are often mitigated at traditional universities, where students can find answers and build a sense of connection with an institution by walking its grounds, smelling its flowers, and taking lively tours. Unfortunately, these advantages are absent in the online learning space.

How, then, to foster a sense of belonging among applicants who may never set foot on a physical campus? We met this challenge through a recent pilot at Western Governors University (WGU), where we created a virtual community for prospective students to connect with peers, staff, and alumni before deciding to enroll.

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The College Transition: Tips for Students with Disabilities

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Preparation is key for all college-bound students, but thinking through what you’ll need to be successful is especially important for students with disabilities.

Here are some ideas and insights to help you settle into college.

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Thinking about a Gap Year? Consider the Research!

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With the coronavirus pandemic raising doubts about the feasibility of in-person classes next year, a growing number of high school grads are considering taking a gap year.

But what should families know about this option? Education reporter Elissa Nadworny recently shared some important insights with National Public Radio listeners.

“Research has shown that those who do a gap year—so that’s (a) specific time away with a clear enrollment plan—they do really well when they get to college. They tend to be whiter and wealthier and have highly educated parents,” Nadworny said in a segment that aired earlier this month. “At the same time, we know that for many students, when they simply delay enrollment or they put off college to work to save money, the longer they wait, the harder it is to get a degree. And that’s especially true for low-income students.”

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Study: Students Exposed to Police Violence are Less Likely to Graduate from High School, Enroll in College

New research confirms what many school counselors have witnessed firsthand: Black and Hispanic students who live near police killings experience significant negative impacts to their educational and emotional well-being.

Those findings are included in a working paper published this week by Desmond Ang, an assistant professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School (MA).

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Study: High School Grades Best Predictors of College Completion

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What is the best predictor of student success? According to a new study, it’s high school grade point averages.

The study, published recently in Educational Researcher, found that a student’s high school grade point average is five times stronger than their ACT scores at predicting college graduation.

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The College Counselor Who Left His Own Children Alone

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Editor’s note:  This post was originally published on Admitted in March 2019. It’s being republished as part of NACAC’s Best of the Blog series.

When it comes to dealing with the key moments of my daughter’s life, I’ve always had my hands full. The first one came when she was not even two years old. She decided it was time to climb up on the playscape all by herself, just like she’d seen her older brother do. It didn’t matter that her legs were about half as long, and the diaper she was wearing significantly limited her mobility. It was time, and that was that.

As she eyed the situation, I was about 20 feet away, clearing some brush, and holding a chainsaw, of all things. There was no way I could drop the chainsaw without her noticing it, and not even the slowest gait towards her would do anything but convince her I didn’t think this was a good idea. All I could do was stand there and watch, poised on the balls of my feet to spring the 20 feet in the event I needed to catch her. She didn’t exactly look like Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief, but she made it up, in her own way, safe and sound.

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