No, it’s not “the end of going to college”

According to data from National Student Clearinghouse, undergraduate enrollment declined by nearly 3 percent this spring, following a similar drop last fall. These statistics have inspired dire headlines such as “Higher Ed in Crisis” and even “The End of the University,” but the truth is more nuanced. While college admissions may be down at most universities overall, graduate school enrollments are up significantly. 

It makes sense that, in a time when medical professionals are very much in the limelight, there has been greater demand for healthcare and nursing education. However, even in a time of deep concern about undergraduate enrollments, many providers have also seen increases for SAT and ACT products.

This says to me that, despite the disruptions of the past year, motivated students are still taking an active role in their own education and looking to differentiate themselves. …Read More

Kaplan Test Prep launches free live PSAT prep

For many high school students, the PSAT/NMSQT® is more than practice for the SAT® or ACT® — it’s the first meaningful step on their path to college, as a high PSAT score can attract notice from colleges and open the door to scholarship opportunities.

Kaplan Test Prep is launching a free, live PSAT preparation program beginning October 1, with lessons that cover every section of the exam. Free for all students, Kaplan’s PSAT Prep Live will give the 3.8 million students who take the PSAT annually groundbreaking access to live interactive instruction online, taught by master teachers who can answer their questions in real time.

“The PSAT is the kickoff to the college admissions process, and a great score can get students on the college radar for recruitment and scholarship money,” said Lee Weiss, vice president of college admissions programs, Kaplan Test Prep. “With $180 million in National Merit scholarships awarded to top-scoring PSAT takers, we want to help students achieve their best possible PSAT scores, which is why we decided to make our best teachers available for free. We’re excited to provide all students with engaging, motivating content delivered live from dynamic, expert teachers, which will give them the ability to ask and have their questions answered in real time — within a community of other motivated PSAT preppers.”…Read More

3 steps for choosing the right high school classes

Success in the college admissions process is rarely a factor of raw talent. There can be little doubt about the pool of talent from which colleges draw their entering classes. Most students who apply to colleges–including the most highly selective–possess the talent to compete at least minimally in the classrooms at those colleges. Finding success as an applicant, however, rests more on what you do with the talents you possess than the fact that you have them, reports U.S. News & World Report. In other words, “How do you choose to apply yourself?”

This question is particularly relevant for high school students as they make course selections…

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Harvard, Princeton reinstate early admissions

Harvard and Princeton say they are restoring their undergraduate early admissions programs, the Associated Press reports. Harvard dropped its early admissions program four years ago, saying it wasn’t easy for disadvantaged students to access and contributed to high school student anxiety. Princeton followed suit, hoping other schools would join in, but the idea didn’t catch on. The two schools announced Thursday that they will restore their respective programs. Both also say students accepted early will have until the regular spring deadline to decide whether to attend…

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Early applicants more likely to gain college admission

High school seniors who apply to college early–through “Early Decision” or “Early Action” programs with fall deadlines–are more likely to receive admission letters than those who apply using the regular deadlines and processes at more than 80 percent of the colleges that report such statistics, according to U.S News & World Report. And the admissions advantage is big, according to the publication’s analysis of the 233 colleges that report separate rates for their early admission programs. In 2009, the last year for which complete data is available, the typical college’s early acceptance rate was 15 percentage points higher than its rate for those who sent their applications in by the standard deadlines, which are usually in December or January. In some cases, however, such as the University of Arkansas and SUNY’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry, more than 80 percent of early applicants gained admission, compared to less than a third of the regular applicants. Of course, many colleges insist that the early admission rates only appear higher because better students apply early, and that those students would win admissions if they applied in the regular pool. But some colleges say they do give preferences to early applicants. And the disparities in admissions rates may be key reasons that Dartmouth College, Duke University, MIT, and many other colleges reported record numbers of early applications this year. The differences in the admission rates will also likely continue to fuel a debate over whether early admissions programs are good for students. In 2006, Harvard University stopped its early admissions program after a 2003 book by some of its faculty showed that wealthy and privileged students benefited the most from early admissions programs. A research team led by Christopher Avery, a professor at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, found that, for example, students who applied early got less financial aid…

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Are video games the answer to college counseling shortage?

Recent high school graduate Edwin Brito plays the pilot version of USC's Pathfinder game.
Recent high school graduate Edwin Brito plays the pilot version of USC’s Pathfinder game.

A simple online search will turn up hundreds of web sites packed with advice for high school students applying to college. But few internet resources offer step-by-step guidance, and with college counseling dwindling in public schools, University of Southern California researchers have created a video game that lets student simulate the application process in all its complexity.

The online game, called Pathfinder, has been piloted among more than 100 Los Angeles-area high school students this year and could be available to school districts free of charge if USC’s Game Innovation Lab secures $1 million in grants and funding, said Zoe Corwin, a research associate in the university’s Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis.…Read More