Category Archives: College Readiness

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

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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

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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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#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.”

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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.

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#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.

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Required Reading: More Colleges Assign Books Over Summer Break

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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.

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Achieving Balance: Tips to Help Students Navigate Their Freshman Year

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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.”

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