Category Archives: College Readiness

Occupational Outlook Handbook Helps Students Explore Careers

iStock photo
iStock photo

Editor’s note: A version of this post was originally published on Admitted in December 2015. It’s being republished as part of NACAC’s Best of the Blog series.

For Gail Grand’s students, the college search process is about more than just picking a campus.

Teens complete an aptitude and interest test and explore careers before ever submitting applications. The strategy is a smart one.

Fewer than four in 10 college students graduate in four years, federal data show. And as tuition rates continue to grow, extra years in school can often mean additional debt.

Tapping into resources like the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) helps teens make wise college choices, said Grand, an independent college counselor based in California’s Westlake Village. It also increases students’ likelihood of graduating on time, she noted.

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First-Gen Students Less Likely to Access Rigorous Coursework in High School


The challenges faced by first-generation college students are well-documented, and according to new data, some of those hurdles begin to crop up in high school.

A research brief from the National Center for Education Statistics found that students whose parents did not go to college were less likely to enroll in challenging high school courses than their peers.

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Stop the Spread of Math Anxiety


Educators have long-known that math anxiety can affect student performance, but the underlying source of that apprehension may surprise you.

“Math anxiety can develop in the very early grades, often because of the negative messages about math that children pick up from the adults in their lives,” according to Karyn Lewis, a senior researcher at Education Northwest. “…Research shows that teachers unintentionally transmit their own attitudes about math to their students. This means teachers who have math anxiety can pass it on to their students, which can impact students’ math performance.”

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Video: The Forgotten College-Ready Students

A new video from Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce highlights a vexing problem.

Every year, 500,000 students who graduated in the top half of their high school class fail to complete a college degree.

“Most of these students go to college, but drop out,” the video narrator explains. “So they get all the debt and none of the benefits a degree confers.”

The short animated film highlights the consequences for both students and the American economy.

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Study: Perfectionism Rising Among College Students

A blessing? A curse?

No matter how you view perfectionism, a new study shows that today’s college students are more likely to exhibit its traits than past generations.

Survey data collected from more than 41,000 students who attended college in the US, Canada, and UK between 1989 and 2016 shows that three key types of perfectionism have become more common in recent years.

“Our findings suggest that self-oriented perfectionism, socially prescribed perfectionism, and other-oriented perfectionism have increased over the last 27 years,” researchers conclude in a study published last month by the American Psychological Association (APA). “We speculate that this may be because, generally, American, Canadian, and British cultures have become more individualistic, materialistic, and socially antagonistic over this period, with young people now facing more competitive environments, more unrealistic expectations, and more anxious and controlling parents than generations before.”

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Member View: Foster Acceptance in the New Year


A brand new year, a brand new you?

Across the country, millions of Americans are setting resolutions — vowing to build good habits and break bad ones over the next 12 months.

Hit the gym? Eat right? Unplug? All valid goals, says NACAC member Brennan Barnard.

But for college-bound students, he’d like to add one more to the list.

“In 2018, I am resolving to foster acceptance, and will encourage my students to do the same,” Barnard, who works at The Derryfield School (NH), wrote in a recent column published by The Huffington Post.

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3 Ways to Make the Most out of College


Feeling stressed about the college application process? Take heart.

“There are plenty of great schools in this country, and what matters much more than how they are ranked is how you make use of their resources,” Michael S. Roth, president of Wesleyan University (CT), writes in a recent column published by The Washington Post.

He continues: “When I talk to seniors and recent graduates from schools of all kinds and in various parts of the country, I find that it matters little how difficult it was to get admitted to that school and that it matters a great deal how hard they worked while attending it.”

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#NACACreads: College Prep and the Price of Perfection

College-bound kids from across the globe are increasingly internalizing the same harmful message: Only excellence will do when it comes to grades, test scores, extracurricular activities, and college admission.

But expecting across-the-board greatness is a “set-up,” clinical psychologist David Gleason told counselors and admission professionals on Tuesday.

“Trying to conform to these expectations, kids become depleted, feeling scared about their futures, and disillusioned by their inability to do it all,” Gleason tweeted during a #NACACreads discussion of his book, At What Cost? Defending Adolescent Development in Fiercely Competitive Schools.

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