Category Archives: College Readiness

#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.

Continue reading #NACACreads: College Prep and the Price of Perfection

#NACACreads: Discuss Student Mental Health on Tuesday

How much pressure is too much for college-bound students?

Join us Tuesday for a #NACACreads discussion of At What Cost? Defending Adolescent Development in Fiercely Competitive Schools.

The hour-long Twitter chat, featuring author David L. Gleason, will kick off at 9 p.m. ET.

“Pressure to succeed, in and of itself, is not necessarily unhealthy,” Gleason notes in his book. “However, too much pressure — for anyone — but especially for still-developing children and adolescents — can be dangerous.”

Continue reading #NACACreads: Discuss Student Mental Health on Tuesday

Study: Are Today’s Teens Afraid to Grow Up?

Dating and obtaining a driver’s license have long been American rites of passage, but a new study suggests that today’s teens seem less interested in meeting those milestones than prior generations.

A study published this week in the journal Child Development showed a sharp decline over the past decade in the percentage of adolescents who date or drive. The share of teens who have tried alcohol or held a paying job has also decreased.

And while some of the data may suggest that teens are making healthier choices, the overall trend of delaying adulthood may speak to the increased pressures today’s kids face, according to a Washington Post article examining the new findings.

Continue reading Study: Are Today’s Teens Afraid to Grow Up?

#NACACreads: Upcoming Book Discussion Will Explore Student Mental Health

Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions are on the rise among youth at many competitive schools in the US and abroad.

Yet when kids struggle academically or emotionally, we often put the onus on them to change.

Join us Oct. 24 to explore the adjustments educators can make to help students prepare for college in more healthy and balanced ways. An hour-long #NACACreads discussion of At What Cost? Defending Adolescent Development in Fiercely Competitive Schools will kick off on Twitter at 9 p.m. (ET) featuring special guest and author David L. Gleason.

Continue reading #NACACreads: Upcoming Book Discussion Will Explore Student Mental Health

Required Reading: More Colleges Assign Books Over Summer Break

iStock

A growing number of colleges are using summer reading assignments to introduce incoming freshmen to the new ideas and topics they’ll encounter in their undergraduate courses, according to reports from The New York Times and Inside Higher Ed.

About 40 percent of college orientations include discussion of a common reading assignment,  the Times reported last month.

“The books are almost always tied to current events and often make strong statements on issues like immigration, race, and the perils of technology,” the article noted.

Two popular choices this summer include Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson’s memoir about prison reform, and Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ exploration of race in America, according to the Times.

J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy — an autobiographical look a rural poverty — is another popular read in a field dominated by titles that address racial or social issues.

Continue reading Required Reading: More Colleges Assign Books Over Summer Break

Achieving Balance: Tips to Help Students Navigate Their Freshman Year

iStock

Editor’s note: A version of this post originally appeared on Admitted in September 2016. It’s being republished as part of NACAC’s Best of the Blog series.

To-do lists, reasonable goals, and regular exercise can help freshmen stay on track.

Those tips and more are included in a USA Today piece aimed at helping first-year students maintain their health and happiness.

“Achieving life balance is one of the largest challenges that college freshmen face,” the article notes. “After all, you must juggle a wide variety of activities — from your coursework to your social life to your extracurriculars — in addition to monitoring your mental and physical well-being.”

Continue reading Achieving Balance: Tips to Help Students Navigate Their Freshman Year

Study: Implementation of Individualized Learning Plans Varies Across US High Schools

iStock
iStock

About 72 percent of public high school students are required to have a graduation, career, or education plan, according to findings released this month by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This figure supports data collected by NACAC as part of its 2015 study of individualized learning plans (ILPs), which indicated that all 50 states had in place at least one initiative for promoting college and career planning among high school students.

In fact, 29 states plus the District of Columbia mandate the development of ILPs in secondary schools, but the ways in which these plans are implemented vary greatly.

Continue reading Study: Implementation of Individualized Learning Plans Varies Across US High Schools

Imagine Grant Helps California Students Explore College Majors and Careers

iStock
iStock

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.

Continue reading Imagine Grant Helps California Students Explore College Majors and Careers

Study: Having a Black Teacher Can Help Keep Black Kids in School

iStock
iStock

Low-income black students who have at least one black teacher in elementary school are more likely to graduate from high school and consider attending college, according to a new working paper published by the Institute of Labor Economics.

Being assigned to a classroom led by a black teacher in in third, fourth, or fifth grade reduced a student’s probability of dropping out of school by 29 percent, the study found.

And the positive effects were even greater among low-income black boys, whose likelihood of dropping out fell by 39 percent.

Continue reading Study: Having a Black Teacher Can Help Keep Black Kids in School

Teens Produce Textbook Aimed at Teaching Racial Literacy

Courtesy of GoFundMe
Courtesy of GoFundMe

After discovering that their classmates did not have a real understanding of racial injustice, then-tenth graders Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi set out in 2014 to start a conversation and initiate change.

Today Guo and Vulchi are co-founders and co-presidents of Choose, an online community where people can share their stories of inequality, and the creators of the textbook Princeton Choose: The Classroom Index.

The textbook is now on its third edition and has been sold to about 500 schools and individuals across 15 states. Now seniors at Princeton High School in New Jersey, the girls are looking at their next steps for the textbook and the online community.

Their goal? Ensure K-12 students in schools nationwide “develop the historical and sociological toolkit for racial literacy” — a knowledge base they hope will ultimately help young people recognize racial justice and inspire them to create a better world.

Guo and Vulchi recently sat down with Teen Vogue to discuss the project and their goals for the future. Here’s an excerpt of their chat:

Continue reading Teens Produce Textbook Aimed at Teaching Racial Literacy