Money Saving Tips for Buying and Selling Books
What is Your Hook
An Alternative Way To Pay For College
Parents Casting A Shadow Over College Applicants Campuses Try Student-Only Tours
Bob Turba’s Cyber Guidance Office
Promoting Involvement of Recent Immigrant Families in Their Children's Education
What Selectivity Means For You
Tips for Adjusting to Your New College Life
Time Management Skills for High School Students
Online Resources Improve Exceptional Student Services
Interest Quotient' and How Can You Use it to help Your Child Get
Admitted to their Colleges of Choice?
Value of an Ivy Degree
Promoting Involvement of Recent Immigrant Families in Their Children's Education
This is a somewhat academic article, but it provides a conceptual framework and a list of best practices for counselors who wish to strengthen parental involvement among Hispanic immigrant populations. A lot of what is put forth in the article is fairly basic if you are used to working with new arrivals from any country…and I must admit I am weary of everything that purports a “one-size-fits-all” model. However, it is helpful to see this very complex issue broken down into a few manageable steps (at least to use as a jumping off point…).
The issue is perhaps best stated by the article’s authors:
“Many researchers have found that parent involvement in schools is an effective strategy for promoting student achievement. Yet schools struggle with ways to recruit and involve parents, especially recent immigrant parents. The barriers that discourage immigrant parents from participating in schools are not insurmountable. This article presents specific practices that are effective at recruiting and working with typically hard-to-involve parents. Although the needs of immigrant parents are similar to those of U.S.-born parents (e.g., both desire information about school policies, school programs, and their children's academic and social progress, access to support services, and meaningful opportunities to participate in their children's education), the ways to meet these parents' needs effectively differ. The PIQE program offers a model for meeting some of the key needs of Hispanic immigrant parents, the fastest-growing community in the United States, according to the 2000 Census.”
In short, the article offers a training model for teachers and immigrant families, which was developed in partnership with the Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQUE). PIQUE is a community-based organization that increases parent knowledge and skills in an effort to support the academic achievement of their children. The authors state that low-income Hispanic immigrant families find the school system impersonal and nonresponsive, and that PIQE employs informal education techniques that promote social interaction and change. They use “dialogue to build community and social capital, situating educational activity in the lived experience of participants, and raising participants' consciousness about their situations and their own power to take informed action.”
The authors suggest the following: 1) address parents’ direct needs; 2) make personal connections; 3) raise awareness and concern around student achievement and the need for parent involvement; 4) establish a clear and common goal; 5) demystify how the school system works; 6) suggest concrete actions that parents can use to support their children's academic success; 7) use methods that have been proven to support learning and increase the likelihood that new behaviors will be adopted; and, 8) create a sense of community and a peer support network that will continue beyond the term of the class. Each item is expounded upon within the article and attached study.
Thacker hopes to get a different spin on polices to decrease the emphasis on standardized tests, to limit the percentage of a class admitted through early decision, and a commitment to admitting students regardless of their financial means—Hear Hear!
The following is a direct cut and paste. I thought it was worth your read.
In ''College Unranked: Affirming Educational Values in College Admissions," Lloyd Thacker offers advice for prospective college students. Among the actions and questions he urges students to consider are the following:
http://education.yahoo.com/college/essentials/articles/college/admissionshook.html Looking through the suggested articles, I was thrilled to come across this one. Semester grades were just posted this week and after weeks of lectures about college, the college admission process, choosing a college and college research came to head after I met with my class and discussed their college options by GPA, test scores and personal strengths. The article, “What is your Hook?” clarifies the idea that students need to work on putting together an application that presents their “best” personal self. The article breaks down what colleges are looking for into five categories: grades, standardized test scores, recommendations, application essays, and the college interview. But beyond the top five the article discusses the X factor: the hook.
The article suggested several possible hooks including: Personal Achievements, Special Talents, Geographic Diversity, Extra-curricular Activities, Ethnic Heritage and Socio- Economic Backgrounds, Leadership, Athletic Talent and Legacy
I thought this was a fabulous article and I will share this article with my students. I teach in a low-economically diverse population and I am always trying to convince my students how special they are and how much they bring to the “college table,” but I believe this article will hold more weight and credibility, not to mention many teenagers want proof of what I share with them on a regular basis.
This article has also brought to life reasons and clarity behind many of the success stories on our campus. Just this past week one of our AVID seniors was accepted to Cornell University with a 3.0 and less than 1000 on his SAT. This articles explains that this student had the “hook,” and he was able to use his situation, his story to win over the acceptance from one of the top universities in this country!
University Testing:"Test-Optional" Colleges
http://www.fairtest.org/univ/optional.htm As I browsed through the websites that we could take an article from to do this assignment, the link entitled, “Colleges Without SAT Requirements” caught my eye. I have been working with a student that has a hard time in writing and missed the deadline to take the old SAT. He is now deathly afraid of taking the new SAT because of the new writing module. I was anxious to go see what I could find out.
The link led me to a website with the title, “FairTest, University Testing:"Test-Optional" Colleges”. (http://www.fairtest.org/univ/optional.htm.) Noticing that it was an organization’s website helped to confirm that the information would be legitimate.
The article is fairly short, but the basics are that there are over 700 colleges and universities that do not use the SAT/ACT in their admission decisions. The premise is that they have been unable to prove that that this score can predict the success of the student in their college. Some schools require that it be submitted for counseling/placement purposes, but some colleges do not even require that it be submitted.
The article is then followed by a link to an alphabetical list of these 700 colleges. I took a look and was surprised at some of the schools on the list, yet excited for my student that I have been helping! What a relief it will be to the student to find this out (and by relieving the pressure, he may actually do well on the test)!
Other links lead to an updated listing, an article on the profile of these schools, and a few other items. Excellent information!
Extracurricular Activities - Life Outside the Classroom
www.collegeboard.com/article/0,3868,2-7-0-113,00.html I chose this article because I liked that it talked about the importance of extracurricular activities to the college admissions process. The article discussed the issue of colleges not only considering academics but looking at what a student does outside the classroom as well. It notes how extracurricular activities reveal a great deal about a student such as (1) How they’ve made a meaningful contribution to something (2) Whether they can maintain a long-term commitment (3) Whether they can manage their time and priorities (4) What their non-academic interests are.
I also like the way that the article stresses that colleges are not interested in seeing you “do it all.” Many of the students that I work with often feel that they have to be involved in every school activity so that they can put it on their applications. I always tell students that colleges want to see that they have been in one or two activities for an extended period of time rather than being involved in several different activities for shorter periods of time. It is never too early to begin getting involved! I tell my students that extracurricular activities are very important and often times will be a deciding factor in whether similar types of students get into a college over another. I also tell them that colleges are looking for what they will bring to the university that is unique and special.
I feel that the article should have put more of an emphasis on the importance of doing community service as an extracurricular activity. Overall the article offered some good tips on getting involved in outside activities.
College Search to the Web
I chose this article because I speak with several students daily who are just starting to think about the possibility of going to college, but have no idea where to start. I was interested in what this article had to say.
I found this article to be very general and simplistic. It first discussed search engines and how to utilize them to compile a list of colleges to consider, yet didn’t go into detail about how to conduct a specialized search and modify it to meet your needs. It then went briefly into college information sites and how they offer general information on college admission, financial aid and other issues related to the college search. Finally, the article addressed college web sites. I found this portion to be very easy to follow. It discussed what to look for when you enter a college’s home page.
Though simplistic, there were two things that I really liked about this article. First, it provided links throughout each section that could easily be accessed. Secondly, it provided a word of caution about websites and weaknesses, and how to not believe everything you read online unless you know where the information is coming from.
In working with a student population where the majority of graduates are the first ones to ever receive a high school diploma in their family, this website may be one I would recommend to those who never thought college could be a possibility.
*The World Wide Web made the college search easier for today’s students. You can use search engines like Yahoo or Alta Vista to find the right college. You can also use various specialized search engines provided by certain web sites. To start your search, write down what you are looking for in a college. Try different search engines for different results. In your search, visit college information sites for general information about admissions. Sometimes these web sites offer free search engines for colleges and scholarships. Your next step is to visit the college web site. Check the admission office from the college home page. You can also visit the home pages for the academic departments. Also check the college online catalogue and look for majors of your interest. College web sites can also include links to student organizations, student’s news papers. Read current students homepages and contact them for further information about the college. Not all the web sites are of the same quality. It is very important not to judge the college by the quality of the web sites. Always contact the admissions offices for information. Analyze the information you read on the Web. Information on certain web sites may be tailored to serve the sponsor companies, or it may introduce negative remarks on one student’s home page. Although the internet now is a fairly quick and easy way to do your research, no technology can ever take the place of a student’s feet on the campus.
Choosing the Right Course: College Prep, Career Tech or Both?
College preparatory education and career technical education (CTE) are often thought of as incompatible or as having different agendas. Nevertheless, a growing number of students, parents and educators are discovering a way to merge college prep and non-college prep courses. The University of California, California Department of Education (CDE), Regional Occupational Program (ROP) and other groups have been working together to promote increased academic rigor in CTE. "A recent CDE analysis showed that since 1983 UC has approved 3,335 career-technical courses that meet requirements in 890 public comprehensive high schools. These include many courses in agriculture (e.g., Agricultural Biology, Agriculture Economics and Veterinary Science) and visual arts/design (e.g., photo and film making), as well as a handful of courses in business economics, health/medical sciences and other areas."
Some career pathways, academies and magnet schools around California expect or require students to complete a career-technical sequence of courses in addition to their "a-g" course requirement. Students who do pursue CTE paths will enhance their admission prospects during the comprehensive review process. UC Berkeley's Acting Director of Admissions Mary Dubitzky encourages students to expand upon these learning experiences by discussing them in their personal statement when they apply.
"While integrating state academic standards into Career Technical Education curriculum is not only answer to helping reform our high schools, it is an important piece of the puzzle in helping students and schools perform at higher levels," says Ron Fox, administrator of CDE's Intersegmental Relations Office. I agree with his statement.
10 Things You
Should Consider When Choosing a College
When I meet with high school college bound students I tell them that it is not about finding the best school, but rather finding the best school for them. 10 Things You Should Consider When Choosing a College is an article that summarizes 10 factors a students should consider when looking at different universities. The first thing to consider is SIZE. Do you want a small school, medium size or large school? What would you as a student be most comfortable with? What size high school you went to can also affect what type of college you are looking for. The second factor is TYPE of school. What is it exactly you are looking for, is it a major you want to pursue? Or is it a specialized school, perhaps a single sex or religious affiliated college? There are many different types of colleges and universities. Think about what you may like or not like when picking a type of school. The third and fourth factors are both very important and go together; LOCATION and DISTANCE FROM HOME. There are two main location variables. Big city, small town and warm weather versus cold weather? Maybe a student wants top step out of the box and try to go to school in a place different from where they have lived their whole life. Perhaps they want to stay close to home. COST/SCHOLOARSHIPS and FINANCIAL AID play a large role in the decision about college. How much will the school cost, how much can my parents and/or I afford. Is there a possibility of financial aid? All of these factors play a role in picking there right school and the school you can afford. STUDENT POPUATION is the 6th factor that is important in the college selection process. What type of student body the campus has. What type of student population you want. Do you want a school with a large social atmosphere or one where students study all day long; all things to consider about students population. When students graduate from high school many know what they want to study in college, however many do not. MAJORS and REQUIREMENTS are something to think about when you apply to a college. If you want to be an art major, but there is no art school you may not want to apply to that school. Many liberal arts colleges have general education requirements you have no interest in taking, all good factors to consider. If you are a sports guru, you may need a college with SPORTS and EVENTS. Some of that social atmosphere may not be for some students. ACTIVITIES and SPECIAL PROGRAMS are another very important thing to think about when choosing a college. If you are interested in study overseas, that is one. Or perhaps you want to be a part of the university newspaper of television station. First you must make sure that the school you choose offers the program you are looking for. Last and definitely not least the article says and I always tell my students the same, follow YOUR GUT FEELING. GO visit the school you are interested see if you get a good vibe when you are on the campus. It is very important to see the school to know what it is like. I believe that all of these factors and variables in choosing a college are important. You just have to weigh out what is most important to you and then start the process; otherwise it can be very overwhelming. Just remember if college is the best four years of your life, you can choose how to make it that way.
*By highlighting 10 general areas to
consider, the article provides a framework for students to evaluate colleges on
more that academic reputations, first impression, or any other single
characteristic. While there is nothing surprising about the "10 things"
included, the way it is presented is a helpful way to frame research or a
conversation. I particularly liked that most of the descriptions provided
questions that help students apply the criteria to their thoughts and
Two things that were not noted and, in fairness, are probably beyond the scope of this brief article, but which I think need be said frequently are (1) there is no single "best match", and (2) don't use financial considerations in your first "filter'.
Still, I liked the list and the approach, and believe that the information in the article would be useful to any student, and could also be used well in a counseling situation.
The 10 Things are: Size, Type, Location, Distance from Home, Cost / Scholarship and Financial Aid, Student Population, Majors and Requirements, Athletics and Events, Activities and Special Programs, Your Gut Feeling
*The simple things I liked about the
a) It is like an outline and is numbered. Therefore it is easy to read and scan. A fact I find most students would be willing to read and remember than if it was in a long article.
b) The language presented is very simple. So, I could share it with students - teenagers, and their parents.
c) The article brings us to the basic needs of a student on a campus- or basic life for example majors, events, etc... Size, Type, Location -distance from home, Cost, Student Population, Activities, etc.
d) The article does not hint to Ivy schools, or to Popular schools- As a matter of fact, the article ends the 10th thing to consider is "gut feeling" , it tells the student not think of who else is going there or who is pushing the student to that school.
This final point is close to my heart- as I see that many of the parents at my school choose the college for their child and do not guide or open the doors for the student to consider other factors.
*is the most useful one I found for
students beginning the college search process. The college search sites all have
a list of variables they ask to be able to hone in on a list of colleges for a
particular student. The problem is that many times a student hasn't taken
sufficient time to actually consider the important factors and how they relate
to their individual situation and choices. This article helps students take the
time to actually consider those factors which include 1) size 2) type 3)
location 4) distance from home 5) cost/scholarship & financial aid 6) student
population 7) majors and requirements 8) athletics and events 9) activities and
special programs 10) your gut feeling.
This article has a very student friendly way of getting them to identify what they really want in a college experience. The questions the article asks leads students into an evaluation of their personal likes and dislikes, expectations and needs. It encourages them to trust their instincts which is something I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere but is very valid. We can do research for a new car using reports from Consumer Guide but when it comes to buying one, it is our gut that tells us whether we'll be happy with our choice.
This article is also a very strong advocate for a student driven college search. It empowers students to think independently, despite parents an an occasional college counselor breathing down their necks. It sees the process from a student's point of view and really helps them fine tune it.
college applications? Finalizing your college list
http://collegeboard.com/article/0,1120,5-25-0-102,00.html?orig=sub The College Board article on finalizing your college list makes some excellent general points. I am a proponent of narrowing down your applications to a manageable number and the College Board gives good reasons for this. The time and cost involved with applications should definitely be considered along with the probability of your getting in. In addition, the College Board makes a good point about taking someone else’s spot if you apply to too many schools especially if you have no intention of ever going to many of them.
In regard to the concept of safety, good match and reach schools, I think that the College Board may have over-simplified the process. After the student researches various schools and identifies the ‘best fit’ schools, he/she should use this concept of safety, good bet and reach schools if the student’s ideal school(s) is a reach school. However, if the student’s list of desired schools only includes safety and/or good match schools, I do not see a need for the student to apply to the reach schools. Moreover, if the student’s good match schools have rolling admission, the student may want to apply to these schools first and wait for an answer as long as the answer comes before the deadline to apply to safety schools. In addition, sometimes students apply to schools just to have the satisfaction of saying “I got accepted” without ever having any intention of going; this ends up producing a lot of unnecessary work for those involved in the admissions process. I understand that having college options gives the student the liberty of changing his/her mind but sometimes people abuse the process.
*This article provides a
general guideline for students and parents regarding the number of colleges a
student should apply to. The three categories that students should be
considering are safety, target and reach schools. The article suggests that
students look at submitting applications to a range of five to eight schools.
The article breaks down how those five to eight schools should fit into each of
the three categories listed above. The article then summarizes three reasons for
limited the number of college applications: 1) cost, 2) time and effort required
to fill out applications, and 3) potentially taking a spot away from another
otherwise qualified student.
I generally agree with the view of this article. The college application process can be daunting for some so limited the number of colleges can significantly reduce the level of stress for students and parents. However, doing so requires focused research and developed decision-making skills.
There are a couple of points that I disagree with. First, the number of schools. Eight years ago, I would have agreed that 5-8 schools might be sufficient but with the increase in competitiveness, the lines separating reach, target and safety have become harder to predict. I might recommend that students apply to a few more colleges (perhaps 7-10). Second, in my experience, students are not necessarily concerned about taking a spot away from another student. College admissions is a very competitive business, so students are often looking out for #1. As far as the cost of applications, it is a concern for some but not a concern for others. Compared to the cost of attending a school, a $40-$70 application fee is small potatoes.
Overall, this article gives valuable advice for helping to simplify the college application process but provides reasons that may or may not apply to students.
Choosing the College Right for You
The article starts off with the college search experience of a girl. She chose Stanford University because it was located somewhere where it was sunny and had a strong economics department. She found a college that made her happy by figuring out exactly what she needed.
The article states that in order “to find the college that will meet your needs, interests, and goals, you have to take charge of your college search.” Students should concentrate on where they would be happy at by finding out more about themselves instead of figuring out what brand name college they can get into.
The first step to the college process is to know yourself. Some of the questions students should ask themselves are:
1. What are my interests?
2. How independent am I?
3. How far will I go?
4. Am I serious about athletics?
5. What are my career plans?
6. How will this compare to high school?
7. How do I learn best?
8. How smart am I, really?
Students should then find a school that fits their needs.
1. Public or Private?
2. Small or Large?
3. Urban, Rural, or Suburban?
4. Mix or Match?
5. Two-Year or Four-Year?
6. Is Liberal Arts for you?
From Foster Care
to College Life by Julee Newberger
The organization site can be accessed at connectforkids.org.
This article can be viewed as a primer for those of us that may have been unaware of the challenges that foster children face in their pursuit of college, much less their lack of consideration of that pathway.
The article speaks to the major difficulties that foster students face with respect to their preparation for high school, financial aid challenges, lack of effective mentors and significant challenges in the college setting.
It has been my experience to this point that a condensed and authoritative guide to foster kids that seek a college education does not exist, and programs and agencies are not effective in addressing the problems in this area.
The article raises the important questions and highlights various measures that have been initiated to address needs in this area.
A Hot New Twist on the Old
liked the whole idea of this website simply b/c it allows people w/ similar interests to communicate w/ each other from all over the nation. Also b/c it involves young entrepreneur's who have revolutionized communication.
Young people from the colleges listed are allowed to "chat" w/ one another in addition to posting their websites allowing others to see what they are interested in.
The facebook.com began as a way for Harvard students to learn about one another and no allows over 190,000 members.
Also linked to this article is the popular friendster.com - that I had learned about from a friend of mine who is a Harvard graduate. Another example of how internet based conversations have changed the way we all have come to know one another.
As in this class - people from different parts of the country can communicate w/ one another as if they were in the next room. Of course, it doesn't necessarily give us any more insight to the college search process - but it's interesting none-the-less.
Chicana College Aspirations and the Role of Parents: Developing Educational
Iread a study in the Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, Vol. 3, No. 4, 338-362 (2004) entitled Chicana College Aspirations and the Role of Parents: Developing Educational Resiliency by Miguel Ceja. “The study provides a Chicana student’s perspective of the role of parents in the development of college aspirations. Qualitative interviews with Chicana high school seniors shed light on the different ways these students perceive and come to understand the manner by which their parents influence and shape their educational goals and aspirations The findings of this study point to the pertinent role of parents in the development of educational aspirations” ( Vol. 3, No 4, 338-362). This study reaffirmed my belief of the important role that parents play in their children educational aspiration especially among the Latino community. In my opinion, articles like this will only help us in our profession find better methods to address the needs of the Latino high school student. As well as find creative ways to get the parents involved.
Six Benefits of Community Colleges
As a transfer student myself, I chose this article on community colleges for its outline of reasons students may pursue community college after high school. The article is written very concisely for high school students and keys in on how each of the six major reasons can benefit them. The article defines the function of the community college for its range beyond the transferring process, including preparing students for entry-level careers and for adults who want to learn a new skill or technology that has developed since their entry into their careers.
Finances, uncertainty about college, exploration of majors, low high school GPA/skills building, pursuing a career-oriented degree, and requiring a flexible schedule are described as reasons students opt for community college. Although the community college has the transferring component, and many of the six reasons point towards this direction, the article points out the benefits of a two-year, career-oriented Associate degree many four-year institutions do not offer.
Throughout the article, there are “notable alumni” that are highlighted. These individuals all started their education and career at a community college and have gone on to be exceptional professionals, including Thomas Golisano, Chairman, President & CEO, Paychex, Inc. and Bonnie J. Campbell, Former Director, Violence Against Women Office, Department of Justice.
On a side note, the link “Transferring from a Community College”
( http://www.collegeboard.com/article/0,3868,4-21-0-36,00.html )
is a good supplement to this article for students who are planning on pursuing a four-year degree.
“Independent Counsel,” by Nicholas Confessore is about private college consultants and their often high price tags. The article comments on the irony of the individuals employing consultants as being the least likely candidates to need them. Generally, these students already have high grade point averages, have had childhoods filled with enrichment programs and come from financially advantaged families.
College admission officers report that in regards to talented kids, extra college counseling is “superfluous.”
There has been a lot of controversy over one mentioned consultant, Katherine Cohen, the founder of the consulting firm, IvyWise. Ms. Cohen’s top rate for her services is $32,995 for her “junior/senior platinum package.” According to Ms. Cohen, this is for over 100 hours of work. She also reports that one third of her clients are pro bono. Confessore cites, "In Cohen's hands, applying to college looks a little like deploying a brigade to Iraq."
Howard Greene, an independent consultant and former associate dean of admissions at Princeton focuses on the attention that can be provided to students. "We enjoy the luxury of being able to spend 24/7 focused on this very complex process of educational planning. It's what high school counselors would like to do for families if they had the ideal environment."
Confessore reports that families are coming to see consultants primarily to help their children increase their performance on "soft measures," such as teacher recommendations, extracurricular activities and the college essay. According to Confessore, grade inflation and the recentering of the SAT, (fixing the curve to increase average scores)enabled students to look better on the "hard" portions of their applications, thus the emphasis now on the "soft" stuff.
Universities Look to Boost Economic Diversity
This NPR report focuses on a troubling trend in American higher education – few graduates from the top colleges and universities come from low income families. Specifically, less than 5 percent of students from the top American colleges and universities come from the nation’s poorest families. As a result, some schools are beginning to embrace “economic affirmative action.”
The University of Virginia is highlighted as one of the elite American universities. According to Jack Blackburn, Dean of Admissions at UVA, there are fewer low-income students applying to the school and even fewer are being admitted. Of the more than 15,000 applicants for the 2004 academic year, only eight percent of the accepted students qualified for Pell Grants. He goes on to make a comparison from 15 years ago, when 33% of the applicants qualified for need-based aid, to now when less than 25% do. Blackburn says, “It’s becoming very homogeneous and we don’t like that word. I think it’s a failure that we haven’t done the job that we should in trying to reach those students.
Richard Kahlenberg of the Century Foundation looked at 140 of America’s most selective universities and found that almost 75% come from the country’s wealthiest families while just 3% come from the bottom quarter of the economic scale. Kahlenberg says, “We’ve made some good progress on racial diversity but the dirty secret of higher education is that there has been very, very little progress made on economic diversity.”
From his study of nineteen elite schools, William Bowen, former President of Princeton University, found that economically-privileged students are six times more likely to end up in the pool of applicants than underprivileged students. “The root problem is the advantages associated with coming from a well-situated family accumulate over time. It’s just very hard for poor families to invest enough in children young enough to offset all of that.”
Many universities are creating programs to bridge this economic gap among students. Access UVA, a 16-million dollar annual program, will replace all loans to all low-income students with full scholarships. This new program follows the vision of the school’s founder, Thomas Jefferson, who viewed diversity not to just include gender and race, but also the rich and the poor. The school is also implementing a policy to increase aid so that no student graduates with more debt than the cost of an in-state student education for one year ($14,500). Harvard, Princeton, the University of Maryland and several other schools will also increase grant aid to attract low-income students.
Bowen argues that although these programs are important signals to schools about the need for economic diversity, they may not be enough. He believes that these financial perks for accepted students won’t necessarily increase the admission rates of high-performing and resilient low-income students. Bowen’s study showed that when financially poor students who have overcome many obstacles are compared to wealthy students at the same level of SAT scores, their chances of acceptance are no better than the rich students. Bowen advocates class-based affirmative action. Bowen’s research suggests that if admissions departments gave low-income applicants the same credit based on their economic status as they do to the children of alumni, the percentage of disadvantaged students at elite schools would rise from 11 percent to 17 percent.
Greg Foster, a researcher at the Manhattan Institute, disagrees and believes that there are not enough college-ready high school students to improve these numbers. He places the blame directly on the nation’s K-12 school system for failing to prepare most low-income students for college. His study shows that “we have tapped out the population of people who have the minimum qualifications even to apply to a four-year college.”
UVA administrators are hopeful that their program will increase the number of low-income students by simply encouraging more to apply. In this way, the mainstream can be broadened so that “all students can swim.”
Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society
This website provides recent data (2004) on the differences that college education can, actually does, make in a person's life, and similarly, the the society.
It is statistically based, which means, of course, there are exceptions, but if you want to know whether
the earnings, lifestyles, and behavior patterns that correspond to the different levels of education are meaningful, this report has the answers. Some results are predictable and well known, such as the correlation between income and education, but others may not be as readily understood, such as the relationship between education and community service, smoking, and elementary school readiness.
The information is from a very reliable source, and has major implications for the public policies at the federal, state, and local levels. It is also the key to reducing, if not eliminating the "haves" and "have-not" gap in society. For me, as a College Counselor, it underscores the value in my pursuit of this career, because it can make a difference.
Risk, Resilience and Futurists: Changing the Lives of Our Children
This article is not exactly tied to college counseling, but I took the opportunity to once again do a little multi-tasking and dig around for some info on Dr. Robert Brooks. Dr. Brooks was a key note speaker at last year’s IECA (Independent Educational Consultants Association) conference in Boston. He is a favorite guest lecturer in local New England school districts. I was so drawn into his presentation (he’s a very dynamic speaker) that I retold his lecture to several of my friends in the weeks that followed. I had meant to follow up and find his book…or better, his website. And voila! There is one!
The article that I picked, “Risk, Resilience and Futurists: Changing the Lives of our Children” is similar to the lecture outline that he followed—it’s basically a preview of his book. While I think his comments are generally geared to the parents of younger children as is this article, the applications Dr. Brooks’ parenting principles to the college search and admissions process are nonetheless valid (afterall, I heard him speaking to a room full of college counselors).
Feel free to skip to the section “Resilience and the ‘Resilient Mindset’ .” Here Dr. Brooks outlines his five strategies for helping to raise more resilient children. I think these are great tips to consider for middle-schoolers as well as freshmen and sophomore children (perhaps a bit late to lay on a parent of a junior or senior). I particularly like the advice regarding decision-making and problem solving. This would support the premise that the college search process really belongs to the student. As parents and counselors we also need to find ways to prepare a student for rejection and the consequences of past mistakes (whether they be in the classroom or otherwise), and the final strategy speaks to this.
College-Bound, 8 Heed
Their Inner MapQuests
|This recently written article
from the New York Times Education section discusses the college search and
application process through the eyes of eight high school students.
According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, more
students applied than ever before, with the number expected to increase
until 2015. The reason behind this is because the children of the Baby
Boomers are now coming of age to attend college. Difficulty to get into
selected universities is prevalent because of fierce competition.
The majority of this article centers on the life of eight different high school seniors and juniors. Each comes with varying SAT scores, extra curricular activities, and choices for colleges. A couple will be the first members of their family to ever attend a university. The determination of which college to attend depends on the individual needs of the applicant. One is waiting for the college that offers her the most scholarship money. Another looks for physical appearance of the campus and safety. Many are applying for early action or decision. Some students rely on parents for assistance with the application process, while others must look to themselves or school counselors for help. The majority are realistic in their choices, while a few aim high hoping to improve SAT scores.
This article was enlightening and informative about today’s students. They appear to be very educated and knowledgeable about the college search process. Many know exactly what they want and what’s needed to get there.
The Road to College
The Most Important Factors in College Admission Decisions” by Howard and Matthew
Howard and Matthew Greene discuss the importance of grades, testing, and extracurricular involvement in their article “The Most Important factors in College Admissions Decisions. According to the article, which sites a survey of NACAC members, the two most important factors in admissions decisions are grades and test scores. The second most important factors are academic rigor of a student’s classes and class rank. Least important, are counselor recommendations, essays and extracurricular activities; however the article states that these factors do help influence the decision when a student is a borderline admit. The article goes on to state that although things like counselor recommendations, essays and extracurricular activities are of relatively little importance at larger selective state-run institutions, the opposite is true of the smaller more selective colleges and universities and therefore, students who apply to these schools should pay special attention to these "extras" when completing their application. The article concludes by saying that a student who has done well but not perfectly, in challenging curriculum, has scored well on the standardized tests and participated in a variety of extracurricular activities will have a very good chance of acceptance at a selective school.
Who Needs Harvard by Gregg
Eastbrook, Atlantic Monthly, October 2004
Gregg Eastbrook explores the subject of our national obsession of trying to get kids into name colleges. He writes about the “25 Gotta-Get-Ins” and how parents and students become crazed about seeking admission to these elite schools. He gives the following reasons for this increase in anxiety: a rise in population, a rise in affluence and a rise in the awareness of the value of education. He lists many other schools that are considered to be “slightly less good” than these 25 and speaks to why they can be just a good of a choice as the elite ones.
Eastbrook writes about research that “drops a bomb on the notion of elite-college attendance as essential to success later in life” and that these colleges are “no longer the exclusive gatekeepers to graduate school.” Many other schools have improved the quality of their education in recent years by increasing the amount of qualified professors (this being a result of the GI Bill drawing more talented people into academia). Many schools other than the elite 25 have seen their endowments grow as our country has become more generous to a wider variety of schools.
The article discusses how the old “WASP insider system is out”. This system was based in the reasoning that if you were an Ivy grad then it was assumed that you had an upper middle class, Protestant background. Now going to an Ivy reveals nothing about your background and favoritism is on the decline.
Eastbrook notes the irony in the fact that as there is less reason to be obsessed with admission to these elite schools the hysteria is increasing. Is there any reason that a diploma from one of the 25 Gott-Get-In’s is still an advantage? These schools still do offer excellent networking opportunities, students from them do make high salaries as compared to some other schools and there is a pool of high achieving students who attend that increase the quality of the academic experience. Also, students from disadvantaged backgrounds do tend to profit from exposure to the socialization they learn in elite schools, when they are around kids from well off families.
Colleges and Universities
The article speaks briefly about different aspects of HBCUs that make these schools different from other colleges and universities, and not just on the racial level. There are 117 HBCUs in the US, all with the mission to educate black men and women. These schools range from all levels of competitiveness.
There has recently been a resurgence of applicants to HBCUs and these students are looking more to find others like them to share their cultural heritage rather than their choices being based solely on the racial aspect. Many students feel a stronger bond with professors and staff at these schools and oftentimes, families build legacies around a certain school also encouraging students from these families to apply.
The bottom line of the article, however, is that students must not forget to truly evaluate the HBCUs they are applying to. Many times, students get caught up with the racial and cultural implications of the school, but forgets to check other factors such as if the school has their major or what its reputation is among employers. I thought this was a great point to wrap up with because although HBCUs are unique, they are still institutions of higher education that need to be compared to the other colleges and universities that are not part of the HBCU.
My site has been a favorite for me
for some time, http://www.union.edu/Admissions/Applying/deans_promise.php.
An Admissions Dean's Promise:
Follow this advice and I guarantee you'll get into your best college by Dan
I appreciate that I can direct parents and students to a site that is written by someone sitting on the other side that is calm, honest and focused on keeping some sanity in the admissions process for the entire family. While many of the links are specific to Union, so many more are just good, common sense articles designed to put families at ease, especially for parents coming back to the process for the first time since they went through it 20 plus years and many changes ago.
Schools Should Work to Involve Parents in Educational Planning Process
This article, which is a synopsis of a report by ACT, Inc and which includes a link to that report, supports the findings that parents, and especially “at risk” students’ parents, should be aggressively involved in planning for college and the future. The report and supporting article document that involving parents in the postsecondary planning process beginning in middle school, shows the success that schools have had in sending typically at-risk students to college. In addition, the report incorporates several postsecondary planning information resources including NACAC’s Parents and Counselors Together Program (PACT) and a number of postsecondary planning practices at two urban high schools based on an ACT study.
The report and supporting article concentrates on four key areas where schools should be vigorously involving parents, and especially parents who have not gone to college themselves, early into the process
1. Academic Preparation – including program and course selection
2. Understanding and using assessment information
3. Formulating postsecondary plans
4. Learning about and obtaining Financial Aid
Richard J. Noeth, director of ACT’s Office of Policy Research and co-author of the report, states that “ It’s important to start this planning process early, as many decisions that students make in middle school can have implications on what options they will have later on.”
This report and synopsis is very informative and shows how we, in the College Counseling field, need to work as much, if not more, with parents in order for them to be supportive and reliable in helping their students in the major decisions that will affect the rest of their lives.
Road to College for Latinas by CBS News
Correspondent Sandra Hughes
Living and working as a counselor in a community very similar to the one described in the article “Tough Road To College for Latinas”
http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/home/main100.shtml, I found myself both identifying and agreeing with the author; ‘FACT: Although Latinos are currently the nation’s largest minority population, they are the least educated, trailing all other groups in college degrees and leading the country in high school dropouts.’
This article focuses on a small private college, Mount St. Mary’s, located in Los Angeles. Quoted in the article are Latina (Mount St. Mary’s is an all female school) students, along with faculty members. The students describe the obstacles that Latinas have before them on the road to high education; which include family, Latino culture, and finance. One student shares how her parents hold the belief that women are expected to live at home (and contribute financially) until marriage.
The president of Mount St. Mary’s speaks on the high (90%) percentage of women attending the college who receive some form of financial aide. The college currently has a second campus in the heart of Los Angeles, and ‘has shifted its focus to the changing population of the city it serves’.
I plan on sharing this article with my staff and my Latino students (my school has a high Latino student population). Many of my Latino middle school students move on only to become high school dropouts. Mount Saint Mary’s College mission to afford the opportunity to pursue a college education to capable students, regardless of their academic or social background, will hopefully give some incentive and hope.
Days: A To-Do List for Soon to be Seniors
This article provides helpful information for students who are interested in getting a jump start on their college search. The common theme throughout the entire article is to remind seniors that they should not waste the three months of summer vacation. They could use this time to make the beginning of the school year less stresful and more enjoyable. This article just begins to show the students how many activities there really are in a college search. Yet, the tone of the article does not make the students panic, it just provides a realistic view of how intense the next few months of their lives are going to be.
Common sense tips such as reminding students to use the internet, take campus visits, talk with your friends who are coming home from college, start writing college essays, and adding a meaningful activity like volunteering or taking enrichment classes to their summer plans. Under each helpful tip, there are additional articles that students can access to get even more information about what colleges are looking for in applicants, how to write an admission essay, how to start researching schools on the internet, SAT test prep, and financial aid advice.
This is a good article that is written in a way that students will find interesting and benificial. It will not bore them, or make them feel like they are being lectured or nagged. I think that this would be a helpful article to print out and give to the students as they head home for summer break.
An Internet Road Map for the College-Bound Student
I liked it because it was written to the student. So many times articles are written to the counselor then we have to relay the information to the student. We can use this article as a spring board to talk to our students about the process of an internet search then give them a copy of this article to use as a guide. The writer layed out very simple steps for the process of doing a internet search of colleges. She gave good links in the major search areas. A major key in this article was the paragraph on reliability. Too many times a young audience forgets that what they see in print may not always be the truth. I have already put this in my favorites.
The Gentle Art of Separation
I chose to summarize an article I
found on the gocollege.com website. This is a website that several classmates
have recommended and I wanted to investigate. I found the article in the
“goxpert” section. Because of distracting blinking ads, I sized my window to
contain just the article.
http://www.gocollege.com/articles/articles_home.shtml (sorry, I couldn't get this to be a live link...don't know why)
The Gentle Art of Separation
By Tommy Thomas
Director of College Counseling
The Lawrenceville School
The author, Tommy Thomas, is an experienced school college counselor, as well as a father of four (two have gone through the college process). The article is written in a casual, heart-felt manner. He writes from the point of view of the college process being a family ritual that masks the more important process of separation: children developing identities with far less emphasis on family. It is an emotional transition for all.
He discusses how important family values are in making decisions, as well as resiliency, respect, listening skills and caring about the process- not just the result. Choosing a college is not about a good education (that can be had almost anywhere), but going for “fit.”
The quality of the relationship and support given during the process counts. If it is good, then kids will trust parents with their vulnerabilities in the future. The transition to college is inherently stressful; concentrate on what a student most wants and needs after high school, not on strategizing. Encourage independence and self-confidence, even if it means making mistakes or failures for the student.
Colleges look for quality and substance first: good grades and challenging courses in high school. Then colleges look at the writing portions of applications. Above all be yourself, that's what each student does best. All kids want to finish high school with a flourish. As parents and counselors, be prepared to accept that gift, whatever it may be.
This article is geared towards parents, but is also appropriate for counselors and students. It is short, easily readable and I would suggest giving to every student to read and then pass on to his/her parents. It also reinforces priorities for college counselors.
for Finding College Match
This article doesn't contain any earth shattering information or controversial ideas, but it is great in that it identifies the key criteria that most sites recommend students consider when starting a college search. Its almost glossary-like in its explanations of each of the fields that collegeboard uses in its search engine (ie. size, location, academic programs, campus life, cost, diversity, retention and graduation rates) It describes the WHY of each of the categories which I think would be helpful to students as often they haven't considered such factors before when thinking about colleges. (Up until this point I find that kids are more worried about whether the college would accept them as opposed to whether or not they would be happy going there.) I bookmarked this page and will use it as an intro to the internet college search activities in our college prep classes.
I found a great article on finding
your college match. The article is at http://collegeboard.com/article/0,3868,5-25-0-52,00.00.html
If you can't find it under that just go to www.collegeboard.com and look for the
title of the article under "articles". Title "Tips for Finding
Your College Match-characteristics you should consider".
I liked this article because it was written for the student, not the counselor or the parent. The article points out 7 key areas a student should consider when choosing a college. The key areas are, size, location, academic programs, campus life, cost, diversity, retention and graduation rates.
A few key things that jumped out at me were, in the section "size" the writer asks the student to look beyond the raw number of students attending when considering size. The department he or she is considering may meet the size requirements. I thought that was a good thing to point out becuase many times that is overlooked.
Under "academic programs" the writer made a great suggestion to research the reputation og the program you are interested in.
Another key point he made was to consider the retention and graduation rate of the school, the higher the retention and graduation rate of the school chances are the school is meeting the needs of a greater number of students.
One last key point made spoke right to the student. It was in the link on location. "Bottomline- Ultimately you determine what experience you have at college...."
Right to the point, wouldn't you say?
Overall I think the writer pointed out some key issues for the students to consider. The article was well organized and it gave a links to other brief articles that pertained to the information in the article.
I appreciated the article very much.
I liked it's simplicity and basic explanations. It is an article that could be
easily read by both students and parents to help prepare for the college search.
I would recommend it for Juniors who are prepared for the college search and for
Seniors in the panic mode.
The article lists 7 criteria's for students to consider when deciding what type of college to look for. These areas are Size of student body, Location, Academic Programs, Campus Life, Cost, Diversity, Retention and Graduation Rates.
It breaks down the 7 criteria's into simple paragraphs and allows for extended reading/discussion for topics if the reader is interested.
I recommend this article for counselors to give students at the initial meeting. It is a great way for the student to begin taking a part in the college search process.
Colleges Not Necessarily Best Ticket
This article was written by a Princeton University Economist. The primary finding in the article is that “a school's selectivity, as measured by matriculants' average SAT scores (in 1976), does not correlate with students' later income (in 1995).” In other words, going to a highly selective school (think Harvard, Stanford, Yale or Princeton) does not mean that one’s future income will be higher than someone else who attended a less selective school (such as the University of Texas, Cal State Northridge or Michigan State University). The underlying assumption the author makes is that the best measure of a school’s selectivity is a matriculant’s SAT score. The authors did find that there was a correlation between matriculants’ SAT scores and future earnings when the matriculant came from a financially disadvantaged background. The author says this indicates that “colleges that provide more tuition assistance to children from lower income families are pursuing the right path” because the impact upon these students future earning power is significant.
I am not convinced that the methodology used by the author is the best, especially when one subscribes to the view that the SAT is really just another form of an intelligence test. Few would argue that intelligence (as measured by a standardized IQ test) is the best predictor of future income. Other measures of school selectivity that could have been used would be cumulative high schools GPA or the percentage of applicants admitted by the school. Moreover, the ACT results of matriculants were not considered in the research, so that students opting not to take the SAT were eliminated from the data set. I would like to see similar analysis performed on a group of students based on GPA and then based on the schools percentage of applicants accepted. The author tracks income nearly 20 years after college entrance, or about 16 years after college graduation. It is impossible to analyze or even to keep track of variables across the group over such a long period of time.
In sum, this is a good article and one which should be shared with Ivy-crazed families who may think that enrolling at any college that isn’t an Ivy will result in a tarnished resume. The findings here can also be used to support schools deploying scholarship dollars to financially disadvantaged students since the benefit there seems to have proven to be strong.
First in the Family
"First in the Family: A college preparation guide for parents who did not attend college" by Margaret Jennings, Ed.D.
Since 70% of my students will be the first in their families to go to college, I wanted to research information on working with these students and their families regarding college searches. As I've written in previous postings, it can be very frustrating to see bright, capable students who don't even apply or who turn down acceptances to out-of-area colleges that are far superior to our state college because of family concerns, esp. for females, or fear that the financial aid package will not be matched in subsequent years. As I read several articles on the topic of first generation college students, I was dismayed by the statistics and more determined that intervention is needed. Though I know many of my classmates will be going into independent practices which generally serve higher socioeconomic clients, many of you have expressed interest in doing pro bono work and the first generation students are certainly well-deserving candidates!
This article is a very simply worded, reader friendly introduction to college for parents who did not attend college. In working at a community college years ago with low-income single parents who were in a type of welfare-to-work, I quickly learned that people who come from homes where there has been no college-going tradition don't even know the questions to ask because they don't know what they don't know! Dr. Jennings addresses the importance of parent support to students going on to college; the differences between four- and two-year colleges; the differences between commuting to a college and living in campus housing; timelines for the college search process; how to decode college brochures and information (using the yes, maybe, and no, or wastebasket, bins similar to what other websites recommend); financial aid; what parents can do to support their child's decision to attend college; and common concerns and fears that parents face when they send their child away to college.
I was especially struck, and saddened, by statistics she shares which indicate that only 36% of first generation students hope to earn a bachelor's degree or higher as compared to 78% of students who have at least one parent who has a degree. Other statistics show that only 45% of first generation students take the SAT or ACT, compared with 82% of students with a college-educated parent. Finally, only 26% of first generation students apply to a four-year institution as compared with 71% of students from college-educated families. Jennings then discusses the advantages of a four-year degree, including a census statistic that college grads earn about $900,000 more over a lifetime, are less likely to be unemployed, report being happier and more satisfied with their lives, have longer working lives and career mobility, and are more likely to vote, take leadership positions in their communities, and are less likely to commit crimes. What parent wouldn't want their student to earn a four-year degree?!
Jennings also addresses the advantages of living on campus, a concept that is often not warmly received by immigrant parents. Among the reasons Jennings notes is a great sense of involvement and belonging to the college; the presence of learning communities which have a positive effect on student learning; higher graduation rates; more informal contact with faculty; and great gains in self-concept, autonomy, and self-sufficiency. Jennings also touches on practical aspects such as reduced commuting costs, bundled costs such as free internet connections, cable TV, furnished rooms, etc., and the ease of mealtimes, free of the need to shop, cook, and clean up!
Jennings also gives a basic but broad overview of financial aid, encouraging parents to forget the "sticker price" since few students pay this amount.
Finally, she gives parents ways to decode college marketing materials and help their child select colleges that will be a good fit for them. She encourages parents and their students to
sort incoming college "search pieces" into what amounts to "yes", "no", and "maybe" boxes, and encourages them to classify colleges by any number of measures (size, location, cost, diversity, reputation, etc.) and by reach schools, safe bets, and good possibilities.
For a parent who has no history of college themselves, Jennings article is encouraging, comforting, and gives a broad overview or starting point. I hope to start a workshop/support group for such parents and am especially interested in using her statistics. In another article I read, I learned that those who begin at community colleges, especially first generation students, tend to fit school around other priorities (work, relationships, etc.), whereas those who begin at four-year colleges tend to build their lives around school. So I believe it is critical that we encourage capable first generation college-goers to begin at a four-year college if at all possible.
Top Ten Ways to ‘Test Drive’ a College
“Top Ten Ways to ‘Test Drive’ a College” is an article posted on the IECA website. It is one of several IECA articles that college counselors, students and their parents will find easy to read, and one that provides current, practical information on just what a student should focus on during an onsite college visit. Although not an artful or graphically designed web page, the format is straight-forward and right to the point. The writer breaks down each sub-topic into segments, and gives many examples throughout the article.
The information in the article was based on an actual survey of IECA member-consultants, and offers some creative recommendations for exploring college campuses. However, the article does manage to squeeze in a few plugs for the IECA organization, but it is done in a fairly pleasant manner. I have made copies of this article and distributed it to my students, who seemed to enjoy reading it and commented on its relevance.
While you are on the IECA website, check out another intrresting and relevant article, entitled, “Top 10 Things Colleges Look For in a Student”.
I have selected this site from commonapp. org because I feel it is so very useful. This obviously is not a subjective or instructive site, nor does it pretend to be. It is useful for students, parents, and professionals who want to go directly to a school to get more admissions information. If a student accesses this site, they can then easily navigate to all of the colleges and universities who accept the Common Application.
There are seven columns of information from which to choose: College, Web Site, Email, Supplement, Accepts Common App Online, Early Decision, Early Action and Telephone.
By “clicking” on the title of any one of 225 colleges in the “College” column, the user is has immediate information about specific application information about that particular institution. For instance, if the user clicked on American University, a box pops open listing the college address, phone number, fax number, web address, school type description, deadline information, application fee data, listing of required tests, listing of required Common App forms, and supplementary materials information.
By “clicking” on a specific line of the “Web Site” column next to the name of a college/university, the user is instantly sent to the school Homepage. At that point, the users can directly their search to either a specific or general area of interest.
By “clicking” on a specific line of the “Email” column next to the name of a college/university, an automatic email box to the school link appears and the user can then send a message directly to the institution’s admissions office.
By “clicking” on a specific line of the “Supplement” column next to the name of a college/university, a copy of the Common App supplement appears. The user needs to have a copy of Adobe installed to read this information. Not all colleges require a supplement to the Common App. In those instances, the line is blank. Some supplements can be filled in online and either electronically submitted or printed/mailed. Some blank supplements have to be printed, filled in by hand, and mailed directly to the university admissions office.
The “Accepts CA Online” column next to the name of a college/university uses a “check” to indicate whether or not the institution accepts electronic submission of the Common Application. Most institutions prefer that. Only a handful of colleges and universities prefer the Common App to be submitted via “snail mail.”
The “Early Decision” column next to the name of a college/university shows a “check” to show the user whether or not the institution offers the Early Decision option to applicants.
The “Early Action” column next to the name of a college/university, shows a “check” to indicate whether or not the institution offers the Early Action option to applicants.
The “Phone” column next to the name of a college/university posts the institution’s admission telephone number. Most numbers are toll free, with a few exceptions. The user can access this information to call various admissions offices concerning questions, campus visitation, and contacting admissions officers.
I recommend the Common App to all my students. I can’t think of one student in recent memory who did not use this mode of application submission. This particular arm of the Common Application website wraps up a lot of information in a succinct and useful chart form.
The 70% Solution: Meeting
the Need for High Skills
In an article published in 2000, Kenneth Hoyt and James Maxy reported some rather grim statistics concerning the need to educate high school students on the idea of possibly considering enrolling in post-secondary sub-baccalaureate, career-oriented education, as opposed to 4-year colleges. They claim that approximately 70% of high school graduates enter college each fall, but only 30% will eventually obtain a four-year degree and those who do graduate will create an annual over-supply of about 300,000 college graduates who will have to find employment which does not demand a four-year degree. Jobs which require only one or two years of post-secondary education had the fastest growth rate. I found those statistics to be very disquieting--unfortunately I doubt those numbers have improved any since the study was done or the report published.
Using a "customer satisfaction" approach to data collection, Hoyt collected information from schools and currently enrolled and former students, which would help prospective students make better decisions re: postsecondary choices. Some of the more interesting findings about students who enroll in postsecondary, sub-baccalaureate, career oriented programs were:
(1)53% of students under 25 were male, 58% of students over 25 were female.
(2)Most said they made their educational decisions based on info they got from friends (1 in 3), as opposed to counselors (1 in 10).
(3) 2/3 were employed part-time or full-time while enrolled.
(4) Motivation to learn was not a problem.
(5) Eighty percent rated their institution as outstanding or good and said that they would chose the same institution again if they had it to do over again.
(6) 2/3 said the first job they got after leaving the institution was better than the last job they had prior to entering the institution.
This was a fascinating article with a bottomline conclusion that high schools do students a disservice if they don't:
(1) Advise students that the concept of "excellence" is applicable to all kinds and levels of education.
(2) Provide all secondary school leavers with a set of general employability-adaptability-promotability skills necessary in the information society.
(3) Emphasize the variety of career opportunities available with high quality postsecondary sub-baccalaurate career-oriented education, without devaluing the benefits of four-year colleges.
(4) Help the 300,000+ four-year college graduates prepare for and obtain employment which does not require a four-year college degree.
(5) Make high quality career development assistance to all high school students, but especially women, minorities, and disabled persons.
This is something we as counselors really need to bear in mind when we're counseling students. Not all students are candidates for a four-year university degree and all students should receive career counseling and be made aware of the educational requirements for entering careers of particular interest to them.
to College: Essay Skills
An excellent resource to support students in writing their essays is "Apply to College: Essay Skills," on collegeboard.com. It presents the essay as "...a chance to explain yourself, to open your personality, charm, talents, vision, and spirit to the admission committee."
This material is based on information found in The College Application Essay, by Sarah Myers McGinty. It has three sections: "Before You Write," "Writing the Essay," and "Sample Essays".
In "Before You Write," a focused free-write is presented as a way to help identify a topic. Sample essay questions from various schools are provided in three categories: the "you" questions, the "why us" questions, and the "creative" questions.
In "Writing the Essay," the article outlines the three-step process commonly used in classrooms: prewrite, draft, and finally, edit. This section suggest a number of engaging ideas that can stimulate brainstorming. Three basic essay styles are presented: the standard essay, the less is more essay, and the narrative essay.
"Sample Essays" presents two essays with critiques. This section is particularly valuable, as it shows in great detail what distinguishes a lively, vivid essay from a plodding, dull one.
Of all the essay sites I've looked at, this is the best.
This extensive article on "The Campus Visit" was provided by Peterson's.com, author not listed.
The article urged students visiting the college campus to take the initiative in gathering information on that all important visit. This was perhaps the most detailed instructional article I have found on the topic, but one I will share with my students.
The writer suggests to start observing right in the admissions office with how friendly and attentive the staff is. Some very detailed suggestions are offered like looking for the same students appearing repeatedly in activities,a Greek dominated situation, and are there any community related activities highlighted. The newspaper could reveal the level of activism encouraged by the school, censorship issues, students'interests, and the amount of cultural options available.
Students can assess the true character of a college student body by looking around on the tour at the bulletin board postings in the dorms for activities, student concerns, what is available in the surrounding community. Walking through the buildings on the tour one could see condition of the facility, and outdated or up to date equipment and technology. Checking out the dorms for crowding, noise level, and security tips was extensively covered.
"The Chronicle of Education" was sited as a source for checking on any crimes committed on a campus since it's not likely the tour guide is going to share that information.
The article suggested the student visit the activities center, health and student services, the gymnasium or field house, and the library with suggestions for what to look for in each area.
Having lunch covers two bases: 1. the food, quantity, quality, variety, healthy or not, and 2. visit with other students and strike up a conversation about the courses, profs, workload, social life, etc.
On the way out of town, check out the surrounding area for places to shop, dine, work, and hang out. Is it going to be necessary to have a car to get around town? This article is chocked full of excellent tips to make the most of the visit.
What Is Your Ideal College?
This article, entitled "What Is Your Ideal College?" helps students think about the factors that they consider most important in their college experience. It encourages the student to first think about his own values and how he will measure success in college. The article then lays out several categories of college experience and suggests specific questions the student should ask in each category. Categories include Academics and Reputation, Student Life, Affordability, and Housing.
I think this article can really help students ask themselves the right questions as they begin to consider which schools to look at more carefully. These are the kinds of considerations that can help a student recognize what is really important to her, so she may not be so likely to go along with parents' or friends' ideas about the best college for her.
By the way, the site where I found this article is new to me, and I think it has a lot to offer students. There are many articles about many aspects of college searching, applying, and financing. A student can even enter a profile (including things like GPA, SAT or ACT scores, and number of hours spent in extracurricular activities), then specify a college, and the College Chances feature "calculates" the chances of being admitted. (The possibilities are Reach, Maybe, and Good Bet.)
NACAC site: Surviving
Your College Search: The Adventure Begins
By Jennifer Gross
This article is both philosophical and practical. It is written for a student audience and addresses the beginning steps to the college search. It starts by asking the student to reflect on what he/she likes, how he/she envisions the “perfect” or “ideal” campus experience might be, moves on to helpful tips on maintaining boxes of collegiate literature and ends with how to formulate a preliminary list of 20 or so college picks. The tone of this piece is non-threatening and encouraging, and I can see how a student might accept the advice offered without feeling intimidated.
On the philosophical side, the article asks the student to self -examine as to likes and dislikes for his/her future college experience. Furthermore, it asks the student to accept his/her peers who know from birth that they want to be brain surgeons or lawyers and to say “OK, so I am not sure what I what to do with the rest of my life….” Once likes and dislikes are determined, the student can collect college material and divide it into piles for future use as he/she sees fit.
The notion of having three boxes, “Yes”, “No” and “?”, makes a lot of sense to me. The Dean of Columbia University spoke at my daughter’s school last spring and promoted this very idea. He said he used this system when his own child applied to college. Now, Ms. Gross has a great idea of what to do with the “No” literature…..Recycle these pamphlets and brochures to the guidance counselor so someone else might benefit.
Finally, Gross addresses the notion of “going fishing” –checking out those 15 -20 targeted schools on a preliminary basis. She asks the student to maintain a realistic approach here. (Balance schools out so less competitive schools are in the mix). She ends by saying that the voyage could be a lot of fun – something a nervous junior or senior just might just want to hear.
Tips for Finding Your College
The article from the College Board on Tips for Finding Your College Match is clearly written and has several good points that students and parents should be asking when evaluating schools. First, it points out that the student must create a criteria that meets their needs and desires, ie. size, location, and school's culture. Once the student has an idea of what they want, they then need to evaluate potential schools with the following questions in mind:1) Size of student body=range of majors offered, size of classes, access to professors,#of books in the library, as well as the library hours.2)Location=in a large community or small town;does the community accept and embrace the students? 3)Campus Life=the extracurricular activities=lots to choose from? Close to outdoor activities; is there ethnic or religious activities to participate in? Does the school have fraternities/sororitie-do they influence campus life? Are their houses on campus? How many students participate? What about housing? Guaranteed for all 4 years, or just for freshman? Do the freshman have to live on campus? Can they have cars? What does parking costs? How are dorms assigned?-Freshman year and after the freshman year? 4)Costs of the school=be sure to look beyond the tuition, room&board etc. Find out about the endowment...how generous is the school with scholarships, grants and other aid...is the aid for merit or need based? Sometimes private schools can be cheaper that the state schools because of the monies available.5) Diversity=is that important to you? What are the percentages of caucasions,African Americans, Asians, and international students. Is there socioeconomic diversity? 6) What is the retention rate of students returning each year? What is the graduation rate=4 years to graduate, or longer? These are all questions that students and their parents need to ask the schools they are interested in possibly applying. Hopefully the student and parent will be able to ask in person when they are touring schools. I found this article easy to read and understand, and one the student can easily absorb.
The college search process is a daunting task for any student. For a student with disabilities, it can be overwhelming. This article, written by Judy Simon, LSW, provides a summary of the steps she took to find an appropriate college program for her son, who has Tourette's Syndrome, Obsesssive-Compulsive Disorder, and ADD. The family worried that, although their son was very intelligent, his lack of social skills, emotional control, and organizational skills would prevent him from ever making it to college at all.
The article provides a clear summary of the family's college search process. One website that Judy found to be very helpful was using the USNEWS website. They were able to find a tremendous amount of information on the USNews site and on each college's own website. On the USNews website, if you click on "education," then on "colleges," look at the rankings and click on any individual college, then click on "disability" you can find much specific information.
Judy cautions that some schools focus more on physical disabilities as oppposed to learning issues. For them, the best schools were those colleges which listed the specific supports they offer. You can figure out from the accommodations whether they are more geared toward students with physical than neurobiological disabilities.
For families considering colleges for a student with learning differences, this articlel offers practical tips, including books, websites, and colleges.
http://www.petersons.com/ugchannel/articles/evaluate.asp “How Colleges Evaluate your Applications”, I found humorous and informative. Ms. Thomas guides the reader through the relevant parts of the application. Admissions’ officers’ are quoted adding some weight to the discussion. Nothing is clear cut, but there is a better feel for the process. Most importantly, the article reminds students that their value as a human being is not rejected, solely the information disclosed on the paper application.
http://www.petersons.com/ugchannel/articles/earlydecision.asp “Early Decision”, also written by Charlotte Thomas is a good summary. This takes the reader through the pros and cons of selecting Early Decision. Not in great detail, Ms. Thomas captures the readers attention and alerts them to the pertinent issues.
A brand new web site on my horizon is u101. This has some
wonderful articles for parents and students.
“The Stress of the College Quest: A Parent and Student
Primer” is excellent for rising seniors. I hope to pass this along to my
juniors. This article alerts the students to what is coming up for them during
their senior year. The stress involved for both “sides”, which is sometimes
ignored by the other party. Easy to read and short. Perfect for a teenager’s
http://u101.com/articles/get-accepted/admission-essay.shtml “Before Writing Your College Admission Essay, Know Who You Are.”
This is a light-hearted discussion introducing the student to what is expected of an admission essay. The time has come to do some soul-searching. However, it makes the student feel that the task is not insurmountable. I found that it relays what I try to tell my students very effectively,. Probably more so than I am able to do.
http://u101.com/articles/get-accepted/planning.shtml “Timeline for Getting Ready to Go to College” This is another short article reinforcing the same information in another format. Reinforcement never hurts.
Black Colleges and Universities
http://education.yahoo.com/college/essentials/articles/college/historically_black_colleges.html Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) account for 117 of the institutes of higher education in the United States, and are becoming an increasingly more popular option for many African American students. An all Black college/university provides a unique and inviting experience for many Black students looking to surround themselves with motivated and successful people of the same culture and traditions. Many students attribute their interest in HBCU’s to this sense of community that cannot be experienced at a traditionally white campus. Others emphasized the pleasure in being able to relate to professors and other staff and faculty; a relationship [they say] that creates a feeling of closeness. This powerful community of Blacks presents students with plethora of role models, many whom inspire a large percentage of them to continue with postgraduate studies. Many students are excited to continue a long family tradition, noting the feeling of pride associated with their connection to the history and development of the institution. The experience can be very emotional.
Visit To-Do List: Visiting Schools Post-Acceptance and Making Final Decisions
There are thousands of articles about how to find the right college or how to write a favorable college essay, but there are fewer articles that help students make the final college decision. This article addresses what students can do after they know which schools accepted, wait-listed, and rejected them. The article suggests:
1. Make a list of pros and cons
2. Call the admission office to help answer questions
3. Go on a college overnight visit
4. Attend some classes as part of the visit
5. Go with your gut
This brief article provides students with useful ideas and relevant links. I was happy to read that the article stressed seeing the campus again. For many students, it has been months since they last visited a campus and a second visit will either confirm their original ideas about the campus or raise some new questions. Also, many students visit campuses during the summer when there are not many students on campus. Sometimes students get a very different feeling on campus when school is in session. I enjoyed this article and would use it with students who are struggling to make that final decision about where to send the deposit.
Second Tier, Not
This is also a good article. It discusses the importance of looking beyond the ivy league, which is sometimes difficult for exceptional students. There any hundreds of extremely competitive schools all throughout the United States where students can get wonderful liberal arts educations similar to that of an ivy league school, the problem is that many people are not aware of them. The article goes on to site information and statistics regarding earning potential and financial success and how it is not necessarily correlated with attending ivy league schools. I found this to be a problem that I did not know how to address when I started working as a counselor last year. Many of my top students would only be happy if they were accepted to what they considered to be the "best" or most well known schools. It is important to assist them in broadening their view and this article would help to do just that.
2 Year College
Increasingly, the choice
of attending a two-year college as the first step towards graduation from a
four-year college is being acknowledged as a bona fide option. There are several
excellent reasons why a student who is planning to ultimately graduate from a
four-year institution would begin their college careers at a two-year school.
For many graduating high school students, starting at a two-year college is an
excellent choice for several reasons. Some are: reducing the high cost of
college for the first two years; for those students who need to raise their
grades, community college offers a “second chance”; and for those students
who are still looking to “find themselves” two-year programs help to save
thousands of dollars during their search.
Counselors who are advising students who plan to attend a two-year institution before matriculating at a four-year college, should be sure to point out the need to plan course work that will fulfill requirements needed for general and major requirements. It is best if the four-year college’s transfer requirements have been researched by the students as soon as possible.
The article is brief and gives a little hint of the repetitiveness
of the job (assembling 3000 pastries or cutting greens for salads) but also the
diversity within the field - chef, sales in catering, administration in food and
beverage management. There was also a brief mention of the two major
Perhaps the most important/helpful to me was the listing of degree's one can get within the field. I know that Johnson and Wales offers many specialty areas, I didn't know the extent of the listing.
Again, the article is not long, but allowed me to grasp an insight into the culinary world.
Campus Next Step Magazine
This article is a great reminder of the simple but necessary
elements of the college visit. A great approach for students.When all is said
and done and read in regards to the college search nothing can replace an actual
visit to the college. Spending time on the campus talking to students and
teachers, eating in the dining halls, etc is the only way to get a true sense of
a college. Often students are making decisions based on trends, rumors and
guidebook generalities. The visit is a crucial part of the process.
The only way to truly assess a school is to spend time there. It is better to go on a day when students are in class. Avoid the summers and holidays as they don't accurately reflect the atmosphere.
Another important aspect of the college tour is also taking a tour of the region. Finding out about the community a college is in, is as important as the college itself, after all 60% of learning takes place outside the classroom. Also limit your visits to two schools a day, otherwise they all run together and become one dark hole of information.
Crucial to visiting is also to keep an open mind. There are many factors that might influence your visit. A bad tour guide or a rainy day shouldn't cloud your judgement. Spend as much time as it takes to become familiar. One hour isn't enough time.
Basic Tips for touring
1. Call Ahead-make an appointment
2. Ask Questions of students, faculty
3. Don't visit more than 2 schools a day.
4. Visit with an open mind
Tips for Finding A College Match - Characteristics Your Child Should Consider http://www.collegeboard.com/parents/article/0,3708,706-708-0-21174,00.html
This is a good basic article for parents of high schoolers to read when their child is starting their college search. The article suggests that students identify their priorities, research characteristics of schools and then develop a list of schools based on this information. The article defines the following areas as those the student should be attentive to in developing their list of schools - size of student body (including range of academic majors, extracurricular possibilities, amount of personal attention, number of books in the library), location (including distance from family home; urban, suburban, rural), academic programs, campus life (including what the balance is between academics, activities and social life; housing) cost, diversity (including the mix of students based on geographic, ethnic, racial, religious factors) retention and graduation rates.
article aids a student in narrowing down their college search. The article helps
students with a list of criteria by which to measure the colleges they wish to pursue.
The criteria include Size, Location, Academic Programs, Campus Life, Cost,
Diversity and Graduation Rates (as a measure of quality). Each topic is
discussed in general terms to help the student better understand that particular
aspect of the decision process. The two topics, Location and Academic Programs,
each have a link that discusses the topic in a little more detail. The article
is a valuable introduction to the college search process. I am planning on
having my students read the article at the beginning of next year.
Planning for Students with Learning disabilities
This article outlined the importance a detailed college planning for students with learning disabilities, which I feel is an often overlooked aspect of college counseling. Appropriate and accurate Individualized Education Plans should be up to date and play a prominent role in the college selection process. The article also covers special skills the student may need to have, potential interpersonal problems that may arise, strength of learning disabilities programs, and questions that should be asked before making the final decision. I found that the list of questions was the best part of this article and I plan on using this list when assisting my learning disabled students throughout their college selection process. All of these factors must be considered by students with learning disabilities and their families before selecting a post secondary institution. It is a very good article.
The New SAT
This articles main points are as follows:
-The new SAT will be introduced in March, 2005.
-Changes in the Verbal section include name change, elimination of the analogy section in favor of critical reading questions.
Addition of paragraph-length critical reasoning questions.
-Changes in the Math section to include: Algebra II, elimination of the comparison questions.
-Introduction of a third component: Writing. Includes a 25 minute essay which will be scored like the current SAT II Writing essay and a multiple choice of gramar and usage questions.
-The highest possible score on the new test will be 2400.
give high marks to residential liberal arts education
A comparative alumni
survey from the classes of 1970-1995 was conducted by an independent research
firm commissioned by a consortium of the nation's leading liberal arts colleges.
It found that the undergraduate experience students encounter at small,
residential liberal arts colleges is more effective in producing meaningful and
lasting benefits than at other types of colleges. These alumni reported the
*Closer interaction with professors, greater involvement in extra curriculars, a greater emphasis on values and ethics, and a sense of community.
*They are more likely to hold a graduate degree and have graduated in four years or less.
*They report a higher level of satisfaction with their education.
*They have strong personal values and place importance on giving back to their communities.
How to Beat Test Stress
I was drawn to this article because I think it is a major issue
for almost every student facing "test day". Understanding where the physical and emotional symptoms of stress come from and how best to deal with the fear associated with it is often critical to top performance on these tests. This article offered some insight into practical ways to deal with the thoughts that produce stress. Basically it offered tips for students to use stress in a productive way by:
1) shifting thoughts to be positive rather than negative ( I never do well on standardized tests to I'm well prepared for this test.)
2) preparing for the test with a test prep class focusing on your weakest areas. This preparation is a "stress rehearsal".
3 by reviewing what you have already studied days before the test rather than trying to learn new material
4) having everything ready to go the night before the test - pencils, admissions card, calculator, test center location
5) getting a good nights sleep the night before and eating a healthy breakfast the day of the test
6) keeping the test in perspective - your life will go on regardless of how you do on the test
7) replacing negative thoughts with positive self-talk during the test
8) skipping difficult questions and returning to them after answering all of the easy questions
9) taking deep breaths during the test to help your mind remain clear
10) planning something fun to look forward to after the test
The Princeton Review
I have never really spent time and fully explored the Princeton Review website. I find that many of these sites that you have to register with are extremely time consuming and I get distracted and have trouble staying on task. Nevertheless I spent the time to register and read some of their interesting articles.
What I found most interesting is bits of advice on the process of applying to colleges. I feel many of my students, but more importantly the parents, are overwhelmed by the process. In addition to the list of schools it is an enormous organizational nightmare that most families don't know where to begin. The site talked about the organization process but the advice that I most valued was when it described the recommendation process.
It advised the student to schedule an initial meeting with the teacher he or she would like to write the recommendation. If the teacher agrees then schedule another meeting with the specific information compiled in a packet with a cover letter explaining which schools you'll be applying to and their applications deadlines. Also include the letters of recommendation forms, stamped and addressed envelopes, and a resume of your activities or other writings to help enhance your recommendation. In addition the student should always waive their right to read the letter of recommendation. Schools feel the writer will give more accurate indication of your strengths and weaknesses if they know they won't be seeing it.
I thought this was great advise and I will use this site and another articles as a resource.
Makes A College Good? By Nicholas Confessore. The Atlantic Monthly. November
This article summarizes the criticism of "U.S. News &
World Report" and other college rankings with regard to their ability to
accurately measure how well colleges are doing educating their students. It
discusses a new survey called the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE).
George Kuh, head of Indiana University’s Center for Postsecondary Planning and
Research, launched this survey in 2000.
Student engagement measures how effectively students use the resources at their disposal. Research has shown that “engagement” can be reliably measured by surveying students themselves. Based on these facts, NSSE is administered to students rather than college presidents, provosts, and admissions offices.
Critics allege that U.S. News-style data are not “widely accepted indicators of excellence” but rather identify “America’s Most Advantaged Colleges.” More specifically, the data measure “an institution’s wealth in resources—from smart students, to accomplished faculty members to large endowments.” As explained in the article:
“university administrators are devoting increasing amounts of time and money to improving the things that build prestige, whether or not those things improve the educational experience of the undergraduates the institution is meant to serve.”
In contrast, NSSE asks questions that directly relate to the level of the engagement of students. Sample questions include:
How often do students perform certain tasks (writing papers, frequency and length of papers)?
How often do students talk with faculty members, inside and outside of the classroom (grades? assignments? career plans?)
What kinds of experiences have students participated in as an undergraduate (internship, study abroad, work on research project with a professor)?
How do students divide their week among different tasks (preparing for class, working on campus, extracurricular activities, commuting, caring for dependents, etc.)?
How do students apply the knowledge they have learned (integration)?
In the first year NSSE was administered, 276 institutions participated in the survey. Today more than 730 schools, representing 58% of undergraduate enrollment at four-year institutions in the United States are in the NSSE database. A major drawback is that NSSE does not make its results available to the public. Institutions were unwilling to participate in the survey unless they alone could decide whether to reveal their results. It currently serves as a self-improvement tool for institutions.
The article stated that applicants and parents could ascertain similar information collected on NSSE by asking admissions offices and campus tour guides the same kinds of questions asked on NSSE.
How much contact do students have with professors?
How often do they write papers?
How do students receive help selecting classes?
What do students like about the campus?
How many undergraduates study abroad?
The article contains a link to a “pocket-guide checklist” of questions to ask while visiting campuses.
Choosing Colleges Based on Aid
This article talks about
the impact the economy is having on college choice. Students who have done their
research, visited the schools and prioritized their choices are changing their
minds once they see what type of merit awards are being offered from schools
that were not their first choice. Second and third tier schools are attracting
top students because they are offering very enticing monetary awards. One
student says he knows the school he chose isn't ranked as high as his other
options, but his first choice offered no money and the school he is attending is
giving him a free ride.
Ranks: U.S. News' college rankings measure everything but what matters. And most
universities do not seem to mind
By Amy Graham and Nicholas Thompson
This article discusses
the obligations of colleges to measure and report how much students are learning
and holding them accountable to those standards. It suggests that data should be
available to parents and students so that they can make informed decisions about
Very few schools offer information about graduation rates past six years or on important factors like student satisfaction with teaching. The article claims that students don’t have solid information about what they will learn and the quality of this factor. Students must make choices based on shiny marketing brochures and fancy websites.
Addressed are several reasons why this type of information is not available. Firstly, it is hard to measure college education because students take such different paths. Second, academia has eagerly offered precise and quantitative evaluations of everything but itself. This suggests that administrators scorn outside accountability and standards and prefer making decisions in more social situations. Third, many schools would be embarrassed to admit how little attention they actually pay to their students and what actually happens on their campuses.
The author holds rankings and guide books such as US World and News Report accountable for paying little attention to measures of learning or good educational practices, even though it ranks colleges in long lists of the sort that Americans love.
If publications would request colleges to pay more attention they may help the problem rather than add to it. Other issues in US News lead to misrepresentations such as stating average faculty salary has a negative correlation with student satisfaction and learning and the more that a school emphasizes publishing papers, or searching out patentable technology, the less it emphasizes access and commitment to students.
US News has many arguments regarding the ways in which they currently measure schools and state that: "would, indeed, like to have more indicators that measure the actual educational experiences of students and the post-graduate outcomes of their experience. We have been concerned about this for years." U.S. News also claims that making a real effort to measure learning would be prohibitively expensive.
In 1998 the National Survey on Student Engagement (NSSE) conducted a study that basically assessed “The more a student puts into her education, the more she learns, provided she's working on the right tasks”. There were issues with this study including research institutions not wanting to put the time in to answer the questions and other schools that were hesitant to have the results of the studies publicized.
This article concludes by suggesting that US News take the time to revamp their ratings and include some of the NSSE results in them.
This web site is designed for international students who plan to study in the US for their undergraduate, postgraduate or professional degrees as well as international students who are already studying in the US. The site began as a part of Mark Kantrowitz’ website www.finaid.com and expanded to become a site on its own in 1998 due to heavy demand from international students. The contact and owner information on the site is very clear, thus making the viewer feel it is a reliable site. Taking into account the fact that the user’s native languages are not English, the site avoids colloquial expressions, and the language used is clear and net.
The content is comprehensive, covering the advantages of a US education and stating the percentage of the 580.000 international students by country. It includes a very useful ESL component, as well as an ESL Cafe with interactive grammar and vocabulary exercises. Resources for Teachers of English are also included. Useful information for foreign students on the site consist of general admission requirements of colleges, testing information, application calendar, financial aid search, differentiating between grants and loans, calculating college costs, passport and visa requirements, and traveling tips. Cultural differences is explained extensively, making the reader familiar with the US culture and giving tips ranging
from personal space to dining.
The links provide invaluable information on housing, moving in, having a phone installed and so forth. The existence of student exchange programs and credential evaluation services are underlined. There is also academic information for prospective postgraduate students, disclosing the fact that Medical, Law, Dental and Veterinary degrees require an undergraduate degree, which is not the case in other countries. Quicklinks also include access to a dictionary, exchange rates, weather conditions and so forth. Perhaps, the most important component on this website is the “Ask the Advisor”section where the students can consult the web page owner, asking their own questions on topics that are not covered.
This site is the most useful resource an international student planning to study in the US can have. The glossary for beginners which covers every aspect of an American education is a very valuable tool. Students are informed about every single part of living in the US as well as choosing a college and choosing a major. Moreover, information on the site is updated regularly, making it up to date and reliable for its users.
Visiting Your Guidance
Counselor by The Princeton Review
This article is one of many available on The Princeton Review’s website. While very brief, the article is concise in its advice and provides very useful links to related articles and next steps. This article provides advice to the 12th grade student regarding how to maximize the effectiveness of a visit to a guidance counselor. It provides students with ideas of how to prepare for the meeting, as well as sixteen questions to consider asking the counselor. If every student came to his/her counselor this well prepared, the meetings would truly be effective.
*This is a great article for students to read before making an appointment with their guidance counselor. The article gives the student realistic scenarios of how a counselors schedule can be and that the counselor is not there to micromanage your progress. The article stresses that it is important that a student does wait last minute and expect the counselor to be able to put on top of the list to be seen.
The article also gives excellent advice for preparing the student before they come to their counseling session. The article also provides links for the student to practice free full-length practice SAT which I think is an excellent tool. I will be incorporating some of this article into the briefings that I give to newly enlisted personnel. I think the advice that is given is good way to let them know that doing pre-investigating will help them to have a more satisfying counseling session that would be very productive.
Our First Annual
College-Admissions by The Atlantic Monthly
Discusses our current college admission system and how parents and students have somehow come to the conclusion that "going ivy" is a win, while being in a safety school is a loss. It discusses that the mystery in college admissions is how one factor in selecting a desirable college by simply being hard to get into ever became the factor for influential Americans. It goes on to compare the real admissions system vs. the trophy admissions system and gives many great examples of what we should be looking for in a school rather than what "social status" thinks we should consider.
Tips for finding your
college match: Characteristics you should consider from Collegeboard
Over the last year, I have consistently found that the College Board has a wonderful array of articles. Whether it be on a college search, test prep, or financial aid, I can always find a useful article. The thrust of this article on college search is that students "need to identify priorities" and to research "overall" characteristics that every school has in common. These characteristics are: size of student body, location, academic programs, campus life, cost and diversity.
How to Beat Test
Stress from Yahoo College by Peterson's
The article, “How to Beat Test Stress,” on the Yahoo! College site caught my eye as anxiety and tests seem to go hand in hand. This is directly applicable to the college counseling world as many of our students will more likely than not be stressed about the college entrance exams, and we will want to do everything possible to help eliminate this stress.
In summary, this piece mentions that positive thinking and preparation are the most important factors in fighting test stress. The article is cleverly broken down into three sections: get ready, get set, and go.
“Get ready”…Learn to manage stress by shifting negative thoughts into positive thoughts. Prior to and during the test, it is essential to remain positive. Take a proactive approach by preparing for the test itself (i.e. take a prep course, get a test prep book, etc.). Take practice exams as this will help the student grow accustomed to their anxious feelings.
“Get set”…Review the material prior to the test (don’t cram new material). Prepare for the test date (have detailed directions to the test site). Be well rested and have essentials ready to go (admission card, pencils, calculator, snacks).
“Go”…Keep in mind all the preparation that has been carried out for the test. Stick to the plan. Stay positive.
This article was compiled by Peterson’s, and even though there are several links and advertisements to Peterson’s website, the information is unbiased and constructive. Some might feel that “staying positive” during stressful events is easier said than done, but this piece does provide some helpful ways to help manage test stress.
How Many Applications?
The issue of how many schools to apply to comes up every year with our seniors. Some are only at looking at schools in state. In Maine, that clearly simplifies the search and application process. Many will only apply to reasonable and safety schools. Others have their hopes set on one of the more prestigious schools. The most schools I've ever had a student apply to was 12. My colleague had a student last year who applied to over 25 schools! So my interest was piqued by the title of this article.
This is a short and concise article on the college board website. It describes the reach, reasonable and safety categories as they apply to colleges, and recommends that students compile a list of five to eight schools that cover all three categories. It also recommends that students do their homework upfront, saving both time and money in the application process.
Colleges Without SAT
While I believe this is a great source, valuable site and generates all sorts of discussion, I feel the need to share their “mission” and statement offered at the homepage. It states: the National Center for Fair and Open Testing is an advocacy organization working to end the abuses, misuses and flaws of standardized testing and ensure that evaluation of students and workers is fair, open, and educational sound.
They provide a list either alphabetically or by states of colleges that don’t use the SAT or ACT for admitting. You can go directly to this list at:
This is a very comprehensive site that profiles four different universities that Fair Test used in a 70 page report on Test Scores Do Not Equal Merit.
Bates College, Muhlenberg College, California State University System, and the Texas Public University System were the four schools profiled. Each one has their own link.
Basically, it is argued that test scores are not a great predictor of academic success and the result of “test score optional” often leads to the university to have a class with greater diversity, more academically capable students, and that the tests don’t offer anything more significant to what admissions already know about the student.
The big concern is the over reliance on the test and “scores from a three hour exam add little of value to an applicant’s portfolio.” Also, since the U. S. Supreme Court endorsed the concept of “holistic admissions”, relying less on these test scores that emphasis ethnicity, income and age is one way to comply with the courts.
There is also a link to the 24 page UC Regents Report on Facts and Fantasies about UC Berkeley Admissions: A Critical Evaluation of Regent John Moores’ Report.
Somewhat wordy and academic but I agree with most of what I could understand and think SAT scores can be misleading and should not be the ticket of entry to higher education.
That site: http://www.fairtest.org/pr/UC_Regents_Report.html
A Parents Guide to the
find this article to be very calming for parents. It is straightforward and lays out what a parent should be doing to help their child through this process. I also appreciate the "let them take the lead" sentiment.
Dan Lundquist is a wonderful writer. His article, Two Modest Proposals (also available on the website) is the most well thoughout and sane take on the Early Decision controversy and its effect on the state of college admissions that I have heard. I also like the article Inside the Black Box which gives students and parents a good idea of what the admissions decision entails.
Taking The College
Search To The WEB
This article provides information about how to conduct a college search using the Web. The article differentiates between search engines, college information sites and college websites and discusses the way in which each may be used effectively in the college search process.
This author of this article states that search engines and college information sites are excellent vehicles for finding general college information and compiling a list of colleges to consider. The real research about specific colleges, contends the author, begins with specific college web sites.
The article outlines specific areas to explore on a college website, including: admissions, academic departments, faculty pages, links to student organizations, homepages of current students, etc.
Finally, the author provides caveats about using the Web in the college search process and reminds the reader that, while the Web is an excellent vehicle for conducting a college search, there is no substitute for actually visiting a college in person.
The article, as well as the sidebars, presents links to other sites with information relevant to the college search (e.g. financial aid, college testing, college essays, etc.). Sponsored links are distinguished from others.
Articles about writing
the college essay
I chose three articles that provided information about writing the college essay. Since this seems for many students to be one of the most difficult parts of the college application process, I thought each one of these articles was helpful in focusing the student and getting them started. Consecutively, each of these articles seemed to expand on the information previously provided.
The first article gave suggestions for "finding your hook." Finding a unique characteristic to write about makes a good starting point for an essay about yourself.
The second article on writing a winning essay gives some specific do's and don't's for writing about yourself. I thought these few simple rules such as the importance of proofreading were key to remember.
The third article on "Making Your Essay Stand Out" gave a list of ten tips. Once again I found these suggestions helpful for the student just starting their dreaded first draft of their application essay.
10 Things You Should
Consider When Choosing a College is an article from Yahoo Education
The article was very helpful for students who are just starting to think about college and where they may want to go. It discusses the different sizes, the different types of colleges (single sex, co-ed, public and private). The different locations where colleges can be found, big cities, small towns, on different coasts, etc. It also talks about how far from home the student may want to be and cost (which is the main consideration for many). The different types of student population, ethnic, commuter, Greek, etc. And lastly is covers majors, athletics (should you choose a school with or without, activities/programs and the students gut feeling about the particular school.
The article was great for beginners and gives students 10 criteria on which to base their decisions.
Deciding what college to apply to is a very stressful and confusing process for
most H.S. seniors. I found this article to be informative, helpful, easy to read
and not overwhelming. It outlines for a student all the issues they should
consider when deciding which colleges to apply to. It encourages a student to
consider what is the best "fit" for them not just what is considered the "best"
school. I liked the simplicity and to the point format of this article.
Making Your Decision
I liked this article because just like the first it is to the point, not overwhelming and very helpful in its suggestion. Again the student must consider all the issues that came up when they first choose their list of schools.
Elite Colleges Not
Necessarily Best Ticket to High Earnings
This title interested me because this is the reasoning parents and students always use when I try to steer them to match colleges. I am always told, sometimes quite forcefully, that the name of the college influences the pay they will receive later.
The article discusses this myth and virtually denies that it is true. Several studies are quoted that seem to support this statement for the most part. However, one study suggested that a truer picture would be painted by looking at the colleges that students applied to. In other words, the student who was truly ambitious probably applied to the more prestigious colleges and even though they weren't accepted, they were higher earners later in life. (Ambition obviously counts here).
The subset of students who did not follow the norm were students from low income families. It appears that if they attend a more prestigious college, their earning power did increase.
I found the article very interesting and assume that it has some validity given the nature and status of the colleges and foundations that supported the research.
*Where a students applies to college is a more powerful predictor of future earnings than where a student attends. In other words, a student’s ambition is a better predictor of earning potential.
- There is a substantial payoff to attending schools with a higher tuition.
- Students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds benefit most from attending a high selective college.
*I chose to read the article “Elite Colleges Not Necessarily Best Ticket to High Earnings” because I work in a community that firmly believes that a person’s future is completely determined by the college the person attends. This article is an abstract from a larger paper, Estimating the Payoff to Attending a More Selective College by Stacy Berg Dale and Alan Krueger.
The article references a study that looked at a college’s selectivity and students’ later income, finding that there is no correlation between the two with students from a financially disadvantaged background being the exception. The research also seemed to show that a larger predictor of future earnings was the entire list of colleges to which the student applied. This information seems to say something about the student’s ambition, which would naturally affect their future experiences and earning potential.
As I mentioned above, I spend a great deal of time talking with parents and students who have a high level of anxiety over getting into a “good” college. They honestly believe that if they do not get into a “good” college (often one more selective than is reasonable) that their future negatively impacted to the greatest of extremes. What’s even worse is that they define a “good” college as one who’s name is recognized and respected by the community or appears on some nationally published list. They often forget that fit is an important factor in determining the quality of the educational experience.
*This is an interesting article, because it contradicts previous findings that students who attend a prestigious college will have higher earnings than students who attend a less selective one. However, the study upon which the article is based did find that students who were economically disadvantaged did earn more by attending more selective colleges. One thing that I found very interesting is that the researchers “found that where a student applies is a more powerful predictor of future earnings success than where he or she attends.” The researchers call this occurrence the “Steven Spielberg Effect,” because the movie mogul was rejected by the film schools at USC and UCLA, but still went on to be very successful. The 50-page working paper upon which this article is based is also available at the above link. This article would be something good to share with students.
Colleges That Change
Lives by Loren Pope
I got lost looking at so many sights and eating up all of the information…I feel like a glutton! The more I read, the more similarities I saw, however I feel I have so much to learn and do! I fell in love with the Loren Pope sight, 40 colleges that change lives.
These are not always your glitzy colleges; these are Liberal Arts colleges that synthesize classroom and real life learning. I want to go back again and again. The website is http://www.ctclonline.com/change_lives.html. There is an explanation of why the colleges were selected and then you con go on tours (a weakness of mine. I love to see the different campuses and learn what makes them unique).
The links lead you on a trail of wonderful sites and valuable information for both students and parents..
Freshman Fears- The
The article "Freshman Fears" from The Princeton Review is well-written, packed with words of advice from college students as well as suggestions that every first year student should know. It offers insights into the world of college life to calm the fears of those who are worried about their first year away from home.
Real life situations are profiled such as "How do I pick a major and what if I can't handle the work?" Suggestions such as using the support systems on campus, as well as approaching peers and professors provide information in a way that is both informative and useful. The article combines practical advice with humor to relieve some of the stress from the elusive first year of college.
I would recommend all first year students and high school seniors planning to attend college to read this article. It successfully blends wisdom and humor along with real life quotes from other students to answer many questions that students may have but are too afraid to ask. All and all, a great article to pass on to all those interested.
I read this series of
articles in the Atlantic Monthly a few weeks ago and found all of the articles
interesting. In the first article, the author contends that the college
admissions system is designed to be a "matchmaking system," but, in reality, is
currently "a battlefield in a brutal competition for prestige."
The New College Chaos
The second article, "The New College Chaos,” discusses the college admissions system as becoming more chaotic and unpredictable and more corporate and “marketized.” Topics such as merit aid, “expressed interest,” and applicant stress are also discussed. I found this article informative in its historical perspective on college admissions and the current, “national hysteria about college admissions.” Some interesting quotes from this article include: “eighty percent of the [extra] applications are going to twenty percent of the schools;” “With highly selective institutions there is no way to predict with confidence whether a student will get in” “…the level of stress on young people as a serious national health issue,” “…the clear message from the admissions establishment to parents is, Please back off” and “The changed, more businesslike landscape means advantages for the well-informed, connected students, and disadvantages for everyone else.”
The other articles in this issue of the Atlantic Monthly, “The Late-Decision Program,” “What Makes a College Good?” “The Selectivity Illusion, and “The Bias Question,” are also informative and interesting. The college admissions section of the November Atlantic Monthly is a “must read” for counselors and parents of prospective college students.
This site provides a list of colleges, in alphabetical order, for the state that the student selects. From the list of colleges, the student can click on the link for the college he/she is interested in, and the link takes them to that college's web site. I think this site is useful, in that it means that students don't have to know or look up the address for a college that he/she wants to explore. Also, looking at a list of colleges for a particular state might spark a student's interest in colleges he/she might not otherwise have thought of. Although this site is more of a directory than an article, I still think it would be helpful.
The College Search for the
ADHD Student By Nina Tenny LCPC, NCC
The college search process for the ADHD student is longer and requires more planning than the typical student. Almost all colleges have some type of support program that varies from subject tutoring (open to all students) to full comprehensive support services. Acquiring the proper support at the college level requires a current psycho educational evaluation and a child who is willing and able to self-advocate. The college search itself should involve a professional that is familiar with learning disability programs at the college level. Peterson’s Colleges with Programs for Students with Learning Disabilities is recommended as a resource book for starting the process. College success is based upon high school success. A child who is mainstreamed and able to focus will probably be more successful in college. However, problems will be exacerbated at the college level because of the freedom and less structure. Easy and proper planning are key components to success in college.
College Issues for Students
This article gives information on selecting the right college for a student with AD/HD. It includes a list of screening questions to determine the level of services available at the schools they are considering. It also outlines for the students how to obtain help at the college level and gives additional information on resources. The article is on the website for the National Resource Center on AD/HD.
Atlantic Monthly, November 2003
1. Our First Annual College-Admissions Survey (general exploration of the American college-admissions system)
2. What Makes A College Good? (behind the scenes on college rankings and do they measure how well a college educates?)
3. The New College Chaos (too many applications and too little reliable information to use for college admissions officers)http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/2003/11/fallows.htm
4. The Selectivity Illusion (are selective schools really offering quality?)
5. The Bias Question (one researcher is arguing that blacks do better than matched ability whites on the harder questions of the SAT)
6. The Late Decision Program (the safety at the end)
Each year between MAY and AUGUST, NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling) maintains a space-availability survey" which is continually updated for schools seeking students. This is a wonderful and profound resource for the student who didn't get into his/her applied schools. It offers them a second chance to research schools whose admissions requirements weren't met and includes many state schools and small or new private institutions. With the huge increase in applications and in numbers of applications from individual students, it is getting harder to define the "safety" school for discriminating students. The idea that schools still solicit after the April push and welcome late enrollers is a definite plus for those who started too late or those whose mailboxes have produced only "thin envelops".
One hitch, often all scholarships have been offered by April, so there is little available financing support for those who apply after the deadline.
Work Hard, Stay Sane, Get In
It contains so much of the information we try to get across to our juniors as we begin the college application process. In fact, it will serve to reinforce the concepts that we continually try to "drive home" to our students, but because it comes from a well-respected source (US News and World Report), it lends its credibility to the topics we try to cover as counselors. These topics include: how to build a strong transcript; when and why to take honors and AP or IB courses; the truth about extracurricular activities (the commitment to a few rather than an long list of many is more highly valued); what student athletes need to do in order to maximize their options for admissions; standardized testing; making connections at prospective schools through visits and interviews; and building a relationship with your guidance counselor (a very important piece, but I have yet to read an article that covers the topic as well as well as this one). There are numerous other wonderful articles linked from the same page as this article, but many of them focus on one particular topic while this article covers many topics at once. I also like that there is a focus throughout on "staying sane," reminding students and their families that this can be a very stressful time, and caution needs to be exercised when approaching the college application process. This paragraph really drove the point home for me:
"For many ambitious kids...high-stress high school routine may seem like an unpleasant but unavoidable strategy for landing a slot at a selective college. Driven by anxiety and mistaken ideas about what admissions officers expect, too many teenagers treat high school as an endurance test, taking on more tough courses and activities than they can handle and leaving little time for friends or sleep. This single-minded focus often means "the battle is lost in terms of a healthy high school education," says Scott White, a guidance counselor at Montclair (N.J.) High School, who sees more students than ever suffering from anxiety, depression, anorexia, and panic attacks."
National Group Issues Guidelines for Improving Access to College By BETHANY
The result of a report recently released by the group, Pathways to College Network, details almost 100 suggestions to make college within reach for the underprivileged in our society. It focuses on standard curriculum, financial aid, support programs as well as economic and racial statistics.
Our federal constitution nowhere empowers the federal government to take any role in education; it is the state laws that govern school attendance. As prescribed in the California Education Code, section 48200, in California, there is a compulsory education law that requires children between 6 and 18 to attend school. Therefore, we all have a right to educational opportunities to prepare us well for unlimited opportunities and access to higher education; consequently, it’s a privilege to get there.
However, there are gaps in access and achievement. If we had educational equity, all would have access to a good education to prepare for higher education and through schools get support to help students to achieve higher goals.
I believe it is the responsibility of any and all educators to offer those in the lower economic strata, with the desire to achieve, without the available resources, the information necessary to pursue to any and all roads leading to economic opportunities previously unknown to them. Professor Linda Darling-Hammond of Stanford University, “values every student in the U.S. Every single one has a right to high quality education from grades K through 12. Then they should have access to higher education as a right.” Ergo, the Master Plan.
Post-Secondary Planning Survey Analysis:
An In-Depth Look at Current Trends and Preferences Among College-Bound Students"
by the National Research Center for College & University Admissions (NRCCUA)
Joseph D. Rei, Ph.D., Executive Director
The NRCCUA's annual post-secondary planning survey gathers data from 24,000 high schools and over 1.6 million students in the class of 2004. In all states except for North Dakota, females outnumbered male participants. The statistics compiled included preferences in: career choice, specialized colleges, religious denomination, social campus environments, types of colleges and extra-curricular activities participation.
Stress of the College Quest: A Parent and Student Primer
This was a very simple, basic article designed to help both parents and teens recognize each other's emotions in the college planning process. It encourages students to accept responsibility for their education and take control of the college process. It encouraged parents to take a supporting role in the process and to recognize how college has changed since they may have gone.
There were helpful links to other articles on financial aid and essay writing that were particularly helpful. I thought the information was accurate, timely, and not overwhelming to the audience.
My Career? I Don’t Know
by Whitney DuPree
ACT’s website has a student section that posts “Student Stories”. Both high school and college students share the things that they have learned during the college application process and their journey towards higher education. Students keep a journal of their process and you can link to their different entries, which include experiences with testing, career exploration and choosing a college. I think that this is a good resource for the students that we work with because it will help to show them that they are not alone in the process. I looked at an entry from Whitney who is currently a senior at Kenwood Academy in Chicago, IL. Whitney’s entry on career planning demonstrates the uncertainty that many students have in regards to the future. She discusses career assessments and conversations with her counselor as tools to help her figure out a path. Her suggestion to students, “Remember college attendance will prepare you for your future and that test information merely points you toward a possible direction,” is good advice for students who rely too much on test results. I will definitely suggest that my students check out the different journals.
The Admit Maze
The article talked about how students are being turned down from their first choice college even though the number of students accepted has increased. For example, a student named Elizabeth Stender was rejected from all of her top choice college even though she had put in an amazing amount of work. It was very disturbing to see that after all she had done, she was still rejected from most of the schools she had applied to.
The article was great in that it gave out several insiders tricks on how to increase one’s chance of getting into a college. The article pointed out in detailed how applying early decision can double or even triple one’s chance. The article also wrote about the problems surrounding early decision as well.
Another part of the article was about the holistic admissions process. It is a comprehensive way a reviewing a student, instead of just looking at his or her score and GPA. Of course the article pointed out that some people agreed with the policy and some did not.
Very informative information regarding the waitlist was included in the article. I was very surprised to learn that most of the people on the waitlist do not get in. The schools seem to just give a false hope to many students who do not realize this fact.
The article also recommends the students to show their high interest in the school they really wish to attend. Also it recommends that the students write well in order to increase their chance of getting in. Finally the article points out the dangers of senioritis.
All in all, the article writes much information regarding the college admissions. The article emphasizes that just having high scores is not enough these days.
Solution: Meeting the Need for High Skills
This article is full of information some of which I find to be extremely interesting and very helpful other information I couldn’t understand a use for a college counselor.
There are some eye-opening (at least for me) statistics such as the job rate for certain jobs demanding a graduate degree are growing faster than others. Sounds like a plug for graduate school. I found the article to be difficult to read – a sort of legalese style that required a few rereads such as “What kinds of persons enroll in postsecondary sub-baccalaureate career-oriented educational institutions and programs?” Now maybe it’s just me... but that should be at least 3 separate sentences! There was also information that didn’t seem to belong. There is a useful section called “A Recommended Course of Action” and a “Conclusions” section that ties the information
All in all I think this is a helpful albeit difficult to read article. But worth the effort.
*The Educational Resources Information Center published this article based on
research performed by Kansas State University. The premise of the article is
that “70% of high school graduates enter college each Fall, only 30% of them
are predicted to eventually obtain a four-year college degree.” A grant was
donated to Kansas State University to develop a project called “Counseling for
High Skills.” The purpose of this project was to develop tools for high school
guidance counselors to help them guide students to consider a post-secondary
The study collected data from high school students based on surveys. This data was to be used to help students decide on a good course of continuing education and to make better informed decisions. Results of the study showed that school counselors need to expand their role in advising students on alternate, career-goal educational opportunities that might not require a 4 year college degree. Conclusions showed that school counselors are anxious to meet the needs of their students in helping them realize their potential in the workplace.
*This article details how the Counseling For High Skills (CHS) project went about collecting data from current students so that counselors might be better able to help and inform high school students as to what form of post-secondary education might be best for them. It was surprising to learn how few jobs actually require a four-year degree, but the article also stressed the importance of more technical/work based learning programs. Using a customer satisfaction type survey, CHS polled current college students and obtained data detailing their satisfaction with numerous aspects of their education and chosen school. This information, in turn was used to create recommendations to high school counselors on how best to handle the needs of their students.
article suggested that 70% of high school graduates that enter college each
Fall, only 30% of them are predicted to eventually obtain a four-year college
degree. It is this notion that the author utilizes to introduce the Counseling
for High Skill Program.
The mission for the Counseling for High Skills (CHS) project (headed by Dr. Hoyt), sought to increase the knowledge, expertise, and commitment of school counselors in helping almost all high school students consider enrollment in some kind of post-secondary career-oriented education. This articles purpose was to report the major activities carried out and the major findings produced from the Counseling For High Skills Project that led to its goals. One of these activities that Hoyt suggested was to use a "customer satisfaction" method for data collection. According to Hoyt, the findings of the article reported that counselors demonstrated that the usefulness of career development information did indeed contribute toward the helping students in making more informed and reasoned decisions regarding post-secondary education
The article was well written and easy to follow along in its procedures and studies. Assisting counselors with data and information that magnifies their efficiency to a higher skill level, in turn, significantly correlates toward higher levels of students decision making skills regarding their post-secondary knowledge and plans.
How about Divorce and
http://www.wacac.org Fall 2003 Newsletter
The author attributes finding a college to that of looking for romance. The applicant starts the initial search, starts to restrict the field after finding characteristics he/she likes or dislikes, the relationship is more intimate, the decision is closer--wham! the student is in college. O'Brien describes the young "wide-eyed" high school student who is caught up in a whirlwind of wonderful college facts, brochures, etc. coming from each and every school. The author feels that at best the "college choice" is such a marriage, at worst a crap shoot. What to do when the college is not as wonderful as the brochure--the article goes on to tell along with clearly stating that the student need not feel like a failure.
I feel that this is a wonderful article to have copies of to hand out to students as they go off-I am presently dealing with this issue at home right now, and kids need to know that "freedom" of a choice made at 17 or 18 can be a very liberating thing.
Elite Colleges Not Necessarily the Best Ticket to High Earnings
A summary of a research paper by Princeton University economist Alan Krueger and Stacy Berg Dale of the Andrew Mellon Foundation published in the National Bureau of Economic Research which found that attending an academically elite college “does not boost your earnings potential compared to a less elite college.” However, students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds were the exception. For them attending an academically elite, i.e., more selective college, resulted in higher income. The researchers call their findings the “Steven Spielberg Effect”, referring to the film director who was rejected at USC and UCLA as an example that personal characteristics other than SAT scores influence measurable success. Of course Harmon neglects to mention the college Spielberg actually attended, Long Beach State, dismissing it as a “a less prestigious program” as if the college were nameless and had nothing to do with Spielberg’s success and therefore not worth mentioning.
Harmon fails to mention that the actual Krueger-Berg Dale study also found that attending a college that charges a high tuition does in fact correlate to higher income in an individual’s working lifetime. In the preface to the Krueger-Berg Dale study the researchers state: “However, the average tuition charged by the school is significantly related to the students’ subsequent earnings. Indeed, we find a substantial internal rate of return from attending a more costly college.” What must we conclude from their conclusion? Don’t highly selective colleges charge the highest tuition?
This is incomplete reporting at best, lazy at worst, exacerbated by sloppy analysis of the original paper Harmon is summarizing.
In a 2003 presentation of his research study at the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Post Secondary Education Forum on The Abuse of College Rankings Professor Ronald Ehrenberg cites: “With one exception, virtually all studies by economists suggest that attending higher quality colleges, as measured by the average SAT scores of entering students at the institution, is associated with higher post-college earnings and higher probabilities of enrolling in top graduate programs.” The one exception noted in Ehrenberg’s footnote is the Kreuger-Berg Dale study .
I chose this article because I have seen several parents that are caught up in the competition to get their children into the “right college” in order to guarantee their future. This article more or less disputes this fact, in that the researchers believe that it is “ambition” that will prove to be successful, not necessarily the college. Apparently, they found that the schools the students chose to “apply” to were more telling about the student’s ambition in regards to the quality of school they chose, rather than actually attending that particular school.
They also found that students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds, did do better financially when attending a more academically elite college.
Behind the Counselor-0-Matic
It seems really easy and effective -- you plug in
your preferences and you get a list based on different levels of selectivity.
This article is really geared to students, and uses language to appeal to young folk. It almost sound too good to be true. First, they explain how Counselor-O-Matic uses a point system to evaluate your own preferences in what you're looking for in a college, and then gives a percentage rating of the fit of a college for you. I actually like the way they do this: If you say you want a coed college, but Wellesley fits all your other criteria, they will still recommend Wellesley as a 90% fit. In other words, Counselor-O-Matic will challenge your requirements, almost, as it seems as if in a dialogue with you, and get you to expand your original notions of what it is that you want. It gets you to expand your ideas, and it also gives a range of approximate matches, exploring options and expanding preconceived notions. This is very seductive. I was compelled to try it myself, and since I'm not a gullible person, this meant that it was pretty convincing to me.
This is what Counselor-O-Matic cutely calls "the
Fuzzy search", and they admit that that occasionally leads to terrible fits.
The second part of what Counselor-O-Matic does is that is figures out what the selectivity index is of the schools that you think would be a good match for you. Based on "the numbers" (although it admits it can be a bit off on special interests like art, the military, etc.) it assigns a selectivity index based on three factors: your high school record (a bit less than 50%), your standardized test scores (about 20% -- low, if you ask me) and extracurriculars the rest.
How easy it is to figure out these complete unknowns. This is so seemingly accurate and irresistable -- but if only that were always the case!!! Still, pretty hard to resist.
I’ve chosen to review an article about Princeton Review’s Counselor-O-Matic online college search tool, and I also spent some time using the counselor o matic myself! The article does a good job of describing the main features of Counselor-O-Matic, namely that it includes both a “fuzzy” element and a “selectivity” element. The “fuzzy” element refers to the qualities you’re looking for in a school – the things that will make you happy – and may include such things as size, location, and composition of the student body. The “selectivity” element obviously asks for your test scores, GPA, extracurricular activities, and the rigor of your coursework to determine where you would have a good chance of being accepted. The counselor-o-matic then combines your answers to these different parts of the online questionnaire to formulate a list of schools to which you might consider applying. The article does a great job of describing what I think is a pretty solid online tool for formulating an initial list of colleges. I will add, though, that I found one of the counselor-o-matic’s questions particularly interesting – it was a YES/NO question: “One or both of my parents is a celebrity, a famous mogul, or an infamous tabloid regular feature.” Sort of interesting – not sure how they factor this in!
Pay for College
The article stresses 4 steps to paying for college. Each step has other articles linked to it. It also has links to other websites such as FAFSA. I thought that it was a very good simple approach to explaining the financial aid process which sometimes proves to be overwhelming to most parents. It goes over items from tax-savvy tips to scholarship searches. Paying for college is the biggest emotional and financial decisions of people's lives. We are talking about their two most precious assets - their kids and their money. I think this article provides valuable information about this perplexing process.