Track FAFSA Completion Rates by School, District

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Looking for a better way to chart FAFSA trends in your community?

Check out the US Department of Education’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid Completion Tool.

The searchable database provides weekly updates for every high school where five or more students have filed a FAFSA. The form is completed annually by current and prospective college students to determine their eligibility for financial assistance.

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Researcher: US High Schools Must Invest in College Counselors

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Editor’s Note: A version of this post originally appeared on Admitted in December 2015.

US high schools must devote more time to college counseling if they want to “see the fruit of other investments,” according to one education researcher.

In a 2015 column, New America staffer Abigail Swisher makes the case that students need both rigorous curriculum and personalized guidance to achieve their postsecondary plans.

“If we want to recreate the American high school as a place where all students have the resources for success in college and career, we need to reinvent the role of counselors,” Swisher writes, citing data from NACAC and other education associations. “This could mean reducing the caseload or number of responsibilities each counselor has, or it might mean moving to an entirely different model of support.”

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Parents of College-Bound Students Share Their Hopes and Fears

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Everyone knows that the college application process can be emotional for students.

But what about their parents? What hopes and fears do they have for their children?

NACAC member Brennan Barnard, director of college counseling at the Derryfield School (NH), recently asked moms and dads to share their outlook.

He published the answers in a recent Washington Post column.

Continue reading Parents of College-Bound Students Share Their Hopes and Fears

Michelle Obama Cites NACAC Data in White House Remarks

First Lady Michelle Obama used NACAC data Friday to help shine a spotlight on the importance of school counselors.

The comments were woven into Obama’s remarks honoring 2017 School Counselor of the Year Terri Tchorzynski.

“A recent study showed that students who met with a school counselor to talk about financial aid or college were three times more likely to attend college and they were nearly seven times more likely to apply for financial aid,” Obama said, referencing a NACAC report released last month. “Our school counselors are truly among the heroes of the Reach Higher story.”

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Report: Colleges Must Do More to Prepare Grads for Workplace

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Colleges must revamp the career services they offer students, according to a new Gallup study produced in conjunction with Purdue University.

Although more than half of college graduates surveyed reported visiting their school’s career services office at least once, only 16 percent said the trip was helpful.

Continue reading Report: Colleges Must Do More to Prepare Grads for Workplace

Member View: Personal Reflection is Key in College Search

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NACAC member Ann McDermott wants students to put their best foot forward in the application process.

During a recent NPR broadcast, McDermott — director of admissions at the College of the Holy Cross (MA) — offered three simple tips for applicants: engage, reflect, and make your essay count.

Visiting campus and crafting a thoughtful personal statement show college officials that students are seriously considering their school.

But before teens begin submitting applications, they should make time for personal reflection, McDermott said.

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Debate Continues Over Extracurriculars and College Admission

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How much sway should a student’s extracurricular activities have on college admission?

It’s a question that has been posed with increasing frequency over the last few years, and one that will likely continue to prompt discussions among families and admission professionals in the months ahead.

In a recent profile of Richard Weissbourd published by The Atlantic, the Harvard University psychologist lays out his case for reimagining the admission process. Weissbourd helped write the Turning the Tide report published last year and has been a longtime proponent of educational and parenting practices that emphasize the importance of nurturing compassionate children.

Continue reading Debate Continues Over Extracurriculars and College Admission

Daily updates on NACAC and the world of college admission counseling. For more information about NACAC, visit nacacnet.org.