Tag Archives: College Admission

That Facebook post may affect your college acceptance

11 Nov

Moi wrote in More prospective college students getting deferral letters: Many parents and students spend the junior and senior years of the child’s high school education preparing for the child’s entrance into hopefully, the college of their choice. Kristina Dell has a great article at the Daily Beast, 10 College Admission Trends http://www.zencollegelife.com/10-college-admission-trends-you-should-know/ about the difficulties students will encounter when applying to college. So, students and families applying to colleges will have to apply to more schools. College.Com has some great suggestions for a good campus tour http://www.gocollege.com/admissions/college-search/campus-tours/ For many families, the expense of a college tour is very difficult considering they are having a difficult time even affording college. Kiplinger has some good suggestions about how to keep costs in check in the article Make The Most of A Campus Tour http://www.kiplinger.com/article/college/T042-C000-S001-make-the-most-of-a-campus-tour.html Many families cannot afford the costs of going to college out of their area, so they will be considering community colleges and colleges close to their home. See, College Tour Checklist, What to Look For http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Parenting/college-tour-checklist/story?id=10119635

The College Board has a checklist for the college bound:

The Application
Narrow the List
• How Many College Applications?
• Tips for Finding Your College Match
• Student Search Service® (SSS®)
• What Selectivity Means for You
• Avoid Sending Too Many Applications
Get Organized
• College Application Calendar
• College Application Checklist
• Create a College List
• Your Counselor and the Application Process
Application Elements
• What to Include in Your College Application
• Is Part of Your College Application Really Missing? New!
• Preparing for Admission Tests
• Letters of Recommendation
• The College Interview
• Interview Checklist
• Practice Interviews
Admission Tips
• Early Decision and Early Action
• College Application FAQs
• Home-Schooled Students and College Admission
• What to Do About Senioritis
• College Application Fee Waivers
https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/get-in/applying-101/college-application-checklist

Parents and students can meet all the deadlines, complete all the forms, and provide all the supporting documentation required and still not be admitted to the college of their choice. Increasingly, students are being put on deferral lists. Add another item to the checklist, making sure your online reputation is appropriate.

Natasha Singer wrote in the New York Times article, In College Admissions, Social Media Can Be a Double-Edged Sword:

When I wrote my Technophoria column this weekend about how some college admissions officers have occasionally identified social media posts that negatively affected applicants’ chances of acceptance, I assumed the phenomenon would not come as news to the parents of high school students.
After all, I came up with the idea for the piece after learning from a friend that her child, a high school senior who is applying for early admission to college this week, had recently taken a pseudonym on Facebook — a common phenomenon at certain schools.
In fact, the column pointed out that colleges don’t vet applicants’ personal social networking pages as a routine practice; the admissions officials I interviewed said they typically scrutinized social media only if outside sources alerted them to extreme posts like hate speech.
But, on Facebook and Twitter, scores of principals, guidance counselors, teachers and parents took the piece as an opportunity to caution teenagers who bare and publicly share their heartstrings.
Or as an opportunity to educate their parents:
Certainly, the idea of admissions officers randomly vetting the online remarks of a few high school students raises legitimate concerns: colleges could arbitrarily discover seemingly troubled comments by a handful of applicants and deny them admission — without telling them why.
That notion sparked a conversation about what adults, and teenagers, may take for granted as being private or restricted.
Rather than restrict their online engagement during the admissions process, however, some students are beefing up their social media activities in an effort to distinguish themselves in an ocean of college hopefuls.
Take Bernie Zak, who last spring was placed on a wait list for acceptance by the University of California, Los Angeles, his top choice.
After he learned he was on the waiting list, Mr. Zak promptly overhauled his Twitter account, deleting any “moderately risqué Tweets or curses,” he told me last week. Then he started an online campaign publicly touting his virtues, often self-deprecatory, with the hashtag #AcceptBernieUCLA.
“I wanted to get the university’s attention,” Mr. Zak told me. “I was just another name, just another number. I wanted to be unique.”
Did Mr. Zak’s Twitter campaign succeed?
Last week, I emailed U.C.L.A. asking for general information about whether admissions officers there vetted applicants’ use of social media.
In an email, Gary A. Clark Jr., the school’s director of undergraduate admission, replied: “We neither seek nor utilize information related to an applicant’s social media use (Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) in the process of evaluating applications for admission to U.C.L.A.”
That said, Mr. Zak is now partway through his first semester at U.C.L.A. He is a majoring in economics and political science.
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/11/in-college-admissions-social-media-can-be-a-double-edged-sword/?ref=education&_r=0

Most people pay little attention to their online reputation.

Moi wrote in Scrubbing your online reputation: Yes, words can hurt: Back in the day, folks had to worry about their reputation in their local community. With the advent of social media, the community is now global and folks have to worry about their global reputation.
Because a person’s reputation is key to future opportunities of all types, a new business of helping people rid themselves of unwanted online information is developing. Lini S. Kadaba of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote in the article, Online Reputation Can Make or Break Opportunities http://seattletimes.com/html/living/2013502244_webweb29.html

Scholarships.com offers advice in the article Social Networking Sites and College Admissions: How to Stand Out from the Competition in a Good Way:

Think before you tweet or post. Mark Zuckerberg himself learned that what you post online lives on forever and probably wishes he thought a little more about some of the information he uploaded. The negative can come back to bite you, as can something you thought was funny at the time (if you saw “The Social Network,” you know it’s not advisable to drink and blog); other people are going to see what you publish so if you have even an inkling that what you’re about to post will make you look bad, don’t share it.
Adjust your privacy settings. Tweaking what others can see is easy with customizable privacy settings, which are available on both sites. On Twitter, you can choose to protect your tweets (meaning anyone who wants to access your 140-character musings will need your approval first) while Facebook allows its users to adjust their settings on a friend-by-friend basis. It’s a feature many students overlook in the short run but its long-term value is immeasurable.
Be more than a blip on the radar. Want your intended school to know you’re serious about wanting to attend? Show them not just by “liking” them on Facebook and following their Twitter feeds but by commenting on their posts with insight of your own. Tagging or @replying the school will ensure your response will be seen but if you prefer to just observe, incorporate the topics that appear with the highest frequency or elicit the most feedback into your application essays or interviews. This extra step won’t go unnoticed and could give you an advantage over another applicant.
http://www.scholarships.com/resources/college-prep/applying/social-networking-sites-and-college-admissions-how-to-stand-out-from-the-competition-in-a-good-way/

To quote Clint Eastwood in “Heartbreak Ridge,” “Shut your face, hippy.”

“How would your life be different if…You walked away from gossip and verbal defamation? Let today be the day…You speak only the good you know of other people and encourage others to do the same.”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

“Gossip is just a tool to distract people who have nothing better to do from feeling jealous of those few of us still remaining with noble hearts.”
Anna Godbersen, Splendor

“Rumor travels faster, but it don’t stay put as long as truth. ”
Will Rogers

“Allow enemies their space to hate; they will destroy themselves in the process.”
Lisa Du

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

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http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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According to SAT report many kids aren’t ready for college

26 Sep

Moi wrote in Remedial education in college:
Whether or not students choose college or vocational training at the end of their high school career, our goal as a society should be that children should be “college ready.” David T. Conley writes in the ASCD article, What Makes a Student College Ready?
T

he Big Four
A comprehensive college preparation program must address four distinct dimensions of college readiness: cognitive strategies, content knowledge, self-management skills, and knowledge about postsecondary education.
Key Cognitive Strategies
Colleges expect their students to think about what they learn. Students entering college are more likely to succeed if they can formulate, investigate, and propose solutions to nonroutine problems; understand and analyze conflicting explanations of phenomena or events; evaluate the credibility and utility of source material and then integrate sources into a paper or project appropriately; think analytically and logically, comparing and contrasting differing philosophies, methods, and positions to understand an issue or concept; and exercise precision and accuracy as they apply their methods and develop their products.
Key Content Knowledge
Several independently conducted research and development efforts help us identify the key knowledge and skills students should master to take full advantage of college. Standards for Success (Conley, 2003) systematically polled university faculty members and analyzed their course documents to determine what these teachers expected of students in entry-level courses. The American Diploma Project (2004) consulted representatives of the business community and postsecondary faculty to define standards in math and English. More recently, both ACT (2008) and the College Board (2006) have released college readiness standards in English and math. Finally, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (2008), under mandate of state law, developed one of the first and most comprehensive sets of state-level college readiness standards….
Key Self-Management Skills
In college, students must keep track of massive amounts of information and organize themselves to meet competing deadlines and priorities. They must plan their time carefully to complete these tasks. They must be able to study independently and in informal and formal study groups. They must know when to seek help from academic support services and when to cut their losses and drop a course. These tasks require self-management, a skill that individuals must develop over time, with considerable practice and trial-and-error.
Key Knowledge About Postsecondary Education
Choosing a college, applying, securing financial aid, and then adjusting to college life require a tremendous amount of specialized knowledge. This knowledge includes matching personal interests with college majors and programs; understanding federal and individual college financial aid programs and how and when to complete appropriate forms; registering for, preparing for, and taking required admissions exams; applying to college on time and submitting all necessary information; and, perhaps most important, understanding how the culture of college is different from that of high school….
Students who would be the first in their family to attend college, students from immigrant families, students who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups traditionally underrepresented in college, and students from low-income families are much more easily thrown off the path to college if they have deficiencies in any of the four dimensions.http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct08/vol66/num02/What-Makes-a-Student-College-Ready%C2%A2.aspx

The difficult question is whether current testing accurately measures whether students are prepared for college. https://drwilda.com/2012/03/04/remedial-education-in-college/

Joy Resmovits reported in the article, SAT Results For 2013 Show Low Rates Of College Preparedness:

Only 43 percent of test-takers in 2013 met the SAT’s definition of being prepared for college, a statistic that has remained stagnant since 2009.
The 1.6 million test-takers averaged 496 in reading, 514 on math and 488 on writing, according to a Thursday report released by the College Board, the company behind the notorious college entrance exams.
The College Board defines the college-ready benchmark as 1550 out of 2400, a score the organization says indicates a 65 percent likelihood of a student earning a first-year college GPA of a B-minus or above.
What, exactly, these numbers mean is up for debate. The college readiness statistics are just one more piece of the puzzle in assessing the state of America’s schools, and the release comes amid a national hand wringing about just how bad public education really is and what direction it should take. Most states are beginning to teach to a new set of national standards known as the Common Core, but many parents and politicians are either unaware or skeptical.
For its part, the College Board is interpreting high schoolers’ performance on its test as a call for improvement. To be truly prepared for college, the company maintained in a call with reporters, students need access to higher-level courses — such as the Advanced Placement program, another College Board offering.
“While some might see stagnant scores as no news, we at the College Board see this as a call to action,” College Board President David Coleman said during the call….http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/26/sat-results-2013_n_3991523.html?utm_hp_ref=@education123

Hally Z. writes at College Toolkit.com in the article SAT Vs. ACT: Which Test Should I Take?

Composition
The SAT is made up of 10 sections composed of three critical reading, three math and three writing sections, which are scored, and one experimental section, which is not scored. The ACT consists of four sections composed of English, math, reading and science. There is also an optional writing test included with both exams.
Scoring
The SAT has a total score range of 600 to 2400 based on the sum of the three subject scores, each of which range from 200 to 800. The writing essay receives a score of 0 to 12 and is computed into the SAT final score. The ACT has a composite score of 1 to 36 based on the average of the four test sections. Each section is also separately scored from 1 to 36. The optional writing test for the ACT is scored from 0 to 12, and its score is not included in the ACT composite score.
Wrong Answer Penalty
The SAT deducts ¼ of a point for every wrong answer, except for math grids. With the ACT, wrong answers are not penalized.
Score History
For both the SAT and ACT, you decide which scores are sent to the college or university.
Philosophy
The SAT assesses your critical thinking and test-taking skills. Problems are worded to be intentionally confusing. Your innate ability to dissect a problem and solve it is tested more than your knowledge of actual subject matters. In contrast, the ACT focuses more on assessing your knowledge of specific subject matters such as biology, chemistry and geometry.
Test Preparation
SAT study materials attempt to improve your critical thinking and test-taking skills. ACT study materials try to improve your breadth and depth of knowledge on specific school subjects.
Which Test Is Better for Me?
Based on the above information, you may be wondering which test is more difficult to take. The answer depends on your style of thinking and study. If you excel at accumulating information about classroom subjects, solving equations using set formulae and reading literature, then the ACT may be better for you. If you enjoy semantics and picking apart a problem, or analyzing mathematical or scientific principles, then the SAT would be better suited to you.
When deciding whether to take the SAT or ACT, first find out which test is demanded by the colleges or universities of your choice. Many schools prefer one exam over the other. Other schools accept either exam (e.g., Yale University). In some cases, even though a school states that it “accepts” a particular exam, this does not imply that it will take one exam in lieu of another — it means only that the school will take additional test scores into consideration. If you are unsure about a particular school’s exact test requirements, contact its admissions office.
If time and money permit, you could benefit from taking both exams. You will be able to choose from your higher scored exam should the school not have a preference about accepting the SAT or ACT standardized test.
Alternatively, you might consider taking a practice SAT and a practice ACT. You can see which one you score better on and then focus your test prep efforts on that standardized test.
http://colleges.collegetoolkit.com/guides/test_prep/ACT_vs_SAT_Which_Test_Should_I_Take.aspx

In Critical thinking is an essential trait of an educated person, moi said:
There is a great deal of dissatisfaction with the state of education in America. A lot of that dissatisfaction comes from the belief that the education system fails to actually educate children and to teach them critical thinking skills.
K-12 education must not only prepare students by teaching basic skills, but they must prepare students for training after high school, either college or vocational. There should not only be a solid education foundation established in K-12, but there must be more accurate evaluation of whether individual students are “college ready.” https://drwilda.com/2012/01/22/critical-thinking-is-an-essential-trait-of-an-educated-person/

Related:

What the ACT college readiness assessment means
https://drwilda.com/2012/08/25/what-the-act-college-readiness-assessment-means/

Study: What skills are needed for ’21st-century learning?’
https://drwilda.com/2012/07/11/study-what-skills-are-needed-for-21st-century-learning/

ACT to assess college readiness for 3rd-10th Grades
https://drwilda.com/2012/07/04/act-to-assess-college-readiness-for-3rd-10th-grades/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

The ‘Common College Application’ has issues

25 Sep

Moi wrote about the “Common Application” in Many U.S. colleges use the ‘Common Application’: Many students are preparing to apply to college and they will be using the “Common Application” which is used by over 450 universities including some international schools. According to the “Common Application” site:

GENERAL QUESTIONS
WHAT IS THE COMMON APPLICATION?
The Common Application is a not-for-profit organization that serves students and member institutions by providing an admission application – online and in print – that students may submit to any of our 456 members.
The Common App Online Demo for Students (Flash Movi
WHY USE IT?
Once completed online or in print, copies of the Application for Undergraduate Admission can be sent to any number of participating colleges. The same is true of the School Report, Optional Report, Midyear Report, Final Report and Teacher Evaluation forms. This allows you to spend less time on the busywork of applying for admission, and more time on what’s really important: college research, visits, essay writing, and senior year coursework.
IS IT WIDELY USED?
Absolutely! Millions of Common Applications are printed and accepted by our members each year. In addition, last year almost 2.5 million applications were submitted via the Common App Online.
IS IT TREATED FAIRLY?
YES! Our college and university members have worked together over the past 35 years to develop the application. All members fully support its use, and all give equal consideration to the Common Application and the college’s own form. Many of our members use the Common Application as their only undergraduate admission application.
CAN ALL COLLEGES PARTICIPATE?
Membership is limited to colleges and universities that evaluate students using a holistic selection process. A holistic process includes subjective as well as objective criteria, including at least one recommendation form, at least one untimed essay, and broader campus diversity considerations. The vast majority of colleges and universities in the US use only objective criteria – grades and test scores – and therefore are not eligible to join. If a college or university is not listed on this website, they are not members of the consortium. Sending the Common Application to non-members is prohibited.
WHAT IS THE COMMON APP ONLINE SCHOOL FORMS SYSTEM?
As part of the application process, schools require a variety of information to be provided by teachers and guidance counselors who have interacted with you in the high school environment. Until last year, those forms were only available as PDF files that could be printed, copied, and mailed to the appropriate colleges. Now each teacher and counselor will have the option to complete the forms online via the Common App Online School Forms system if they desire. There is no cost to you or high schools, and using the online system is completely optional for your teachers and counselor.
When you create an account on the Common App Online, you must first indicate what high school you attend. Once this information has been saved, you can access a ‘School Forms’ section of the Common App where teachers and counselors can be identified. By adding a teacher or counselor to the list of school officials, an email is triggered to the teacher or counselor with information about how to log into the Online School Forms system or how to opt for the “offline” or paper process. You are then able to track the progress of your various teachers and counselors via a screen within the Common App Online.
The Common App Online School Forms System Demo (Flash Movie)

WHAT IF I’M A TRANSFER STUDENT?
There’s a Common Application for Transfer Admission as well as First-Year Admission. The Transfer Application is available primarily for online submission; however, the form can be downloaded in PDF format from ourDownload Forms page.
https://www.commonapp.org/CommonApp/FAQ.aspx

In addition to U.S. colleges, colleges in England, France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland use the “Common Application.” For a good synopsis of the pros and cons of using the application, go to Should I Use The Common Application? http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/college-admissions-experts/2011/09/07/should-i-use-the-common-application

Jacques Steinberg reported about problems with the “Common Application” in 2010. http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2013744243_application23.html

Eric Hoover reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, Common Application’s Leaders Get an Earful:

For weeks, technical difficulties have prevented many institutions from processing the applications they have received through the Common Application. Further delays, some deans said, would keep their staffs from getting decisions back to applicants on time.
Some background: An overhauled Common Application, years in the making, went live on August 1. The new platform, built to handle an ever-increasing volume of applications from around the world, included various enhancements, many of which college counselors and admissions officers liked. Within the first 20 minutes, 1,000 students in a dozen countries had registered, and within six weeks, nearly 600,000 students had created profiles.
While applicants were typing away, however, an array of problems emerged. In short, some components of the new Common Application didn’t get up and running all at once. As of late August, some institutions, including the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, still did not have live supplements, which include additional questions and essay prompts. Without completing those supplements, an applicant can’t submit an application to a given college.
At Thursday’s session, admissions officers described another problem: The inability to import all the data they receive via the Common Application into their own information systems, so they can start reviewing applications. ”They’re coming in,” said one dean, “but we can’t get to them.” Another dean said his technology staff had offered a diagnosis: “It was a botched implementation.”
My understanding of the complex issue: The construction of the massive new platform got behind schedule, colleges had little or no time to test it before applications started rolling in, and larger-than-anticipated problems arose when colleges tried to get the Common Application’s system to “talk” to their own student-information templates. Solutions to those problems are still being hammered out….
Clark Brigger, senior associate director for undergraduate admissions at Michigan, used a vehicular metaphor. The new Common Application “purported to have a great engine, it looked good on the outside,” he said. “It rolled off the assembly line without the wheels, and didn’t even have the axles to put the wheels on.”
If nothing else, this saga reveals just how much colleges have come to depend on those wheels….http://chronicle.com/blogs/headcount/common-applications-leaders-get-an-earful/36589?cid=pm&utm_source=pm&utm_medium=en

Nancy Greisemer posts College Explorations great information about the “Common Application.”

In 5 things you should know about the new Common Application, Greisemer advises:

In the meantime, here are five things you might want to know about the new Common Application:

1. Registration
Before you begin the Common Application, you need to register. This isn’t complicated, but you will need to come up with a password that is between 8 and 16 characters, has at least one upper and one lower case alphabetic character, and at least one numeric (1,2,3, etc.) and one non-alpha-numeric (*, &, $, etc.) character. And you need to make sure you provide a working email address—preferably one you check regularly. This is also where you provide permission for the Common App to give your contact information to colleges. If you agree to the information-sharing, expect to receive mail from colleges on your list. Hint: This can be a form of “demonstrated interest.”

2. College Pages and Writing Supplements
According to the Common App, the launch of the new application revealed a “complex technical issue that did not appear in testing.” The problem prompted the technical staff to temporarily suspend the college pages (submitted with the application) and writing supplements (submitted separately). Although the issue has been resolved, these elements of the application are slowly being added and not all colleges have complete applications online (as of this writing). To help applicants sort through this issue, the CA Help Center now includes a list of colleges ready to accept complete applications and writing supplements. Bottom line: Be patient.

3. Testing
A couple of new and unexpected questions have appeared relative to standardized testing. If you decide to report SAT and/or ACT scores on the Common Application, you will need to tell how many times you took each test. This twist, which appears to run counter to what’s allowed under Score Choice, may make many students decide to not self-report scores—an optional part of the application. Note that whether you choose to fill out this section of the application or not, you will still need to have an official score report sent from a testing agency—the ACT or the College Board. Also be aware that the question about “leaving examinations” is meant only for international applicants. Skip it if it does not pertain.

4. Recommendations
The new Common App recommender system will eventually offer counselors, teachers and others a tool for tracking students and submitting school forms online. Students are now able to invite recommenders and those recommenders will be able to log in, view students, and complete a profile. Completion and submission of individual school forms, however, will be temporarily delayed and will roll out on August 19—or thereabouts. Bottom line: This really isn’t your problem and will sort itself out soon.

5. Print Preview
The new Common Application forces applicants to complete an application and begin the submission process before being offered the opportunity to Print Preview their work. Don’t let this hang you up. And don’t be confused by what appears in text boxes or on the “working version” of your application. Simply work through an application, paste in your personal statement and additional information (if appropriate), answer college-specific questions, and invite recommenders. Then begin the submission process. A .pdf will appear which you can save and/or print out. Continue to the next step and accept the offer to return to your dashboard. You may then edit your application. Note that once an application has actually been submitted you will have two opportunities to change your essay—only up to three separate versions are allowed by the new Common Application.

The Common App is using Facebook and Twitter, in addition to the Help Center and a growing Knowledgebase to answer questions and keep applicants, their families and advisors up-to-date on changes, revisions, and improvements to the application. Feel free to direct your questions to the Help Center, as it helps inform the technical staff of issues the average user encounters while completing the application.
And you may find your particular problem is easily resolved. http://collegeexplorations.blogspot.com/2013/08/5-things-you-should-know-about-new.html

You must check your work before submitting your application and if you have questions, contact the Help Center.

Resources:

College Preparation Checklist Brochure
http://studentaid.ed.gov/sites/default/files/college-prep-checklist.pdf

Federal Student Aid At A Glance
http://www.emory.edu/FINANCIAL_AID/docs/Federal%20Aid%20at%20a%20Glance.pdf

Related:

The digital divide affects the college application process
https://drwilda.com/2012/12/08/the-digital-divide-affects-the-college-application-process/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

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http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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More kids taking both ACT and SAT

10 Aug

Moi has written about both the SAT and ACT college entrance tests. In College Board to redesign SAT test, moi wrote:

Whether or not students choose college or vocational training at the end of their high school career, our goal as a society should be that children should be “college ready.” David T. Conley writes in the ASCD article, What Makes a Student College Ready?http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct08/vol66/num02/What-Makes-a-Student-College-Ready%C2%A2.aspx https://drwilda.com/2012/10/06/many-not-ready-for-higher-education/
https://drwilda.com/2012/11/14/college-readiness-what-are-soft-skills/

There are two primary tests which access student preparedness for college, the ACT and the SAT. The SAT is owned by the College Board which has announced they will be redesigning the test. The ACT has overtaken the ACT as the primary test assessment. https://drwilda.com/2013/03/03/college-board-to-redesign-sat-test/
See, College Board Announces Sweeping SAT Redesign http://www.educationnews.org/higher-education/college-board-announces-sweeping-sat-redesign/
Apparently, more students are taking both the ACT and SAT.

Tamar Lewin reported in the New York Times article, Testing More Students Are Taking Both the ACT and SAT:

Admissions officers worry that test prep has become the main junior-year extracurricular activity. Preparing for both tests, they say, may be overkill. They point to parents as the ones cranking up the testing pressure.
“I think the dramatic increase over the last five years in the number of ACT scores we receive comes in conjunction with the increased selectivity,” said Eric J. Furda, dean of admissions at the University of Pennsylvania. “More and more parents think they can’t just stick with the regular road map for getting into college but need to consider every option that might help them show their child in the best possible light.”
At Shaker Heights High School in Ohio, Eileen Blattner, chairwoman of the guidance department, said that all but seven of the top 10 percent of the graduating class took both the ACT and SAT, and then took their better test once or twice more.
“I say, all the time, ‘Don’t go crazy,’ but particularly for parents who use it as a ring on their finger if their kids get into a high-status school, they’re going to have their kids take and take and take the tests.”
If it were up to Robert Schaeffer, public education director of FairTest, an advocacy group critical of standardized testing, neither test would be required. (His organization compiles a list of hundreds of colleges that are test-optional.) But he does see one positive aspect in the rise of the ACT as a state-mandated test.
“In 2013, there were proposals in a number of states to integrate a college admissions test into the state system, and as states come out of the recession, we may see more,” Mr. Schaeffer said. “Using a college admissions test as the state’s high school test cuts out one test, which responds to growing pressure from teachers that enough is enough.”
Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming require students to take the test, and Arkansas pays for the ACT if districts want to offer it. The SAT has only Delaware, Idaho and Maine.
There are clear differences between the tests. The ACT has four long sections, the SAT 10 shorter ones. The ACT has a science section and covers more advanced math, including trigonometry.
“A third of SAT reading is vocabulary, so for students with limited vocabulary, the ACT is better,” said Sasha DeWind, director at Tutor Associates, based in New York. “The questions are passage-based, and if you understand the passage, you’ll probably get the answer right. And even though the ACT covers harder math, it’s more similar to what students have done in school. The SAT is about getting the students to understand what they’re being asked.”
Speed is more of an issue on the ACT, she said, with many students finding that they do not have enough time to work through all the questions (the ACT allows only 45 minutes for 75 English questions and 35 minutes for 40 reading questions, while the SAT gives 70 minutes for 67 reading questions and 35 minutes for 49 writing questions).
“Students with learning disabilities who qualify for extra time usually do better taking the ACT, where the extra time really matters,” she said. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/04/education/edlife/more-students-are-taking-both-the-act-and-sat.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0

There are pros and cons of both the SAT and ACT.

According to Allen Grove who wrote the article, SAT Score Choice at About.com:

1. SAT Score Choice Can Reduce Exam Time Stress
At most colleges, the SAT (or ACT) is an important part of the application. A lot rides on the exam, so it’s easy to start panicking during the test if you don’t think it’s going well. With SAT Score Choice, at least you have the comfort of knowing that you can take the exam again and not report a set a bad scores (but see #5 for exceptions).
2. Score Choice Allows for Freshman and Sophomore Year Trial Runs
While I don’t encourage high school freshman and sophomores to take the SAT, Score Choice makes doing so carry fewer consequences. With the new policy, if students who are in their first years of high school want to take a trial run at the exam, they can do so with less worry that a low score will undermine their applications. Getting a set of scores early on can let students know how much test preparation might be necessary to get into their top choice colleges.
3. SAT Score Choice Can Cost You Money
Obviously if you take the SAT multiple times, you will need to pay for the exam each time. You will also find that the cost of reporting scores to colleges and scholarship programs goes up. When you take the SAT, you have nine days to select four recipients who will receive score reports at no cost to you. However, scores aren’t released until about 2 1/2 weeks after the exam. Thus, if you are going to hold back scores to take advantage of the SAT Score Choice option, you will lose your four free score reports.
4. At Some Colleges, SAT Score Choice Will Weaken Your Application
SAT Score Choice allows you to send all the scores from a single exam sitting. Let’s say you take the SAT twice with these results:
• May: 570 Reading; 620 Math; 550 Writing (for 1740 combined)
• Oct: 540 Reading; 650 Math; 580 Writing (for 1770 combined)
With Score Choice, you would send the October scores to colleges since they are 30 points higher than May. You would have a 1770 SAT score.
Many colleges, however, don’t look at your best test day, but your best individual scores. In the example above, the best scores span both exams: 570 Reading (May), 650 Math (October) and 580 Writing (October). A school that counts just your highest individual scores would give you a 1800 SAT score. Your application is stronger without Score Choice.
5. Some Colleges Require All Scores Despite Score Choice
Many selective colleges and universities aren’t fond of SAT Score Choice. They don’t want to see a scenario in which students who can afford to do so take the SAT a dozen times. Thus, many top colleges and universities are requiring students to report scores from all test sittings even with the new SAT Score Choice option.
6. SAT Score Choice Disadvantages Low-Income Students
The cost of the SAT exam isn’t extravagant ($45 in 2009), but for many students from families with modest incomes, the cost is a barrier to taking the exam multiple times. The SAT and ACT have always worked to the advantage of students who can afford tutoring and test prep courses, and SAT Score Choice is likely to widen the financial divide. (Low income students should note, however, that fee waivers may be available through their schools. Fee waivers will cover two exam sittings.)
7. SAT Score Choice Complicates the Common Application
The beauty of the Common Application is that you can prepare a single application for multiple colleges. SAT Score Choice complicates the process. Three schools could have three different policies: one might respect Score Choice, one might be test-optional, and one might require you to report all scores. Thus, you might need to create three separate Common Applications to have the strongest application at each school. This can be done, but it opens the door for mistakes, especially if your high school is submitting records and recommendations electronically through The Common Application. http://collegeapps.about.com/od/sat/tp/sat-score-choice.htm

Hally Z. writes at College Toolkit.com in the article SAT Vs. ACT: Which Test Should I Take?

Composition
The SAT is made up of 10 sections composed of three critical reading, three math and three writing sections, which are scored, and one experimental section, which is not scored. The ACT consists of four sections composed of English, math, reading and science. There is also an optional writing test included with both exams.
Scoring
The SAT has a total score range of 600 to 2400 based on the sum of the three subject scores, each of which range from 200 to 800. The writing essay receives a score of 0 to 12 and is computed into the SAT final score. The ACT has a composite score of 1 to 36 based on the average of the four test sections. Each section is also separately scored from 1 to 36. The optional writing test for the ACT is scored from 0 to 12, and its score is not included in the ACT composite score.
Wrong Answer Penalty
The SAT deducts ¼ of a point for every wrong answer, except for math grids. With the ACT, wrong answers are not penalized.
Score History
For both the SAT and ACT, you decide which scores are sent to the college or university.
Philosophy
The SAT assesses your critical thinking and test-taking skills. Problems are worded to be intentionally confusing. Your innate ability to dissect a problem and solve it is tested more than your knowledge of actual subject matters. In contrast, the ACT focuses more on assessing your knowledge of specific subject matters such as biology, chemistry and geometry.
Test Preparation
SAT study materials attempt to improve your critical thinking and test-taking skills. ACT study materials try to improve your breadth and depth of knowledge on specific school subjects.
Which Test Is Better for Me?
Based on the above information, you may be wondering which test is more difficult to take. The answer depends on your style of thinking and study. If you excel at accumulating information about classroom subjects, solving equations using set formulae and reading literature, then the ACT may be better for you. If you enjoy semantics and picking apart a problem, or analyzing mathematical or scientific principles, then the SAT would be better suited to you.
When deciding whether to take the SAT or ACT, first find out which test is demanded by the colleges or universities of your choice. Many schools prefer one exam over the other. Other schools accept either exam (e.g., Yale University). In some cases, even though a school states that it “accepts” a particular exam, this does not imply that it will take one exam in lieu of another — it means only that the school will take additional test scores into consideration. If you are unsure about a particular school’s exact test requirements, contact its admissions office.
If time and money permit, you could benefit from taking both exams. You will be able to choose from your higher scored exam should the school not have a preference about accepting the SAT or ACT standardized test.
Alternatively, you might consider taking a practice SAT and a practice ACT. You can see which one you score better on and then focus your test prep efforts on that standardized test.
http://colleges.collegetoolkit.com/guides/test_prep/ACT_vs_SAT_Which_Test_Should_I_Take.aspx

In Critical thinking is an essential trait of an educated person, moi said:
There is a great deal of dissatisfaction with the state of education in America. A lot of that dissatisfaction comes from the belief that the education system fails to actually educate children and to teach them critical thinking skills. The University of Maine at Augusta defines an educated person:

An educated person exhibits knowledge and wisdom; recognizes and respects the diversity of nature and society; demonstrates problem solving skills; engages in planning and managing practices; navigates the on-line world; writes and speaks well; acts with integrity; and appreciates the traditions of art, culture, and ideas. Developing these abilities is a life-long process. http://www.uma.edu/educatedperson.html

Essential to this definition is the development of critical thinking skills.

The Critical Thinking Community has several great articles about critical thinking at their site. In the section, Defining Critical Thinking:

A Definition
Critical thinking is that mode of thinking – about any subject, content, or problem – in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them.
The Result
A well cultivated critical thinker:
o raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and
precisely;
o gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to
interpret it effectively comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;
o thinks openmindedly within alternative systems of thought,
recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and
o communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems.
Critical thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem solving abilities and a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism. (Taken from Richard Paul and Linda Elder, The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools, Foundation for Critical Thinking Press, 2008).http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/defining-critical-thinking/766

The question is how to teach critical thinking skills. David Carnes wrote the excellent Livestrong article, How to Build Critical Thinking Skills in Children.http://www.livestrong.com/article/167563-how-to-build-critical-thinking-skills-in-children/#ixzz1kB28AgFS

Related:

What , if anything, do education tests mean?
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/what-if-anything-do-education-tests-mean/

Complete College America report: The failure of remediation
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/complete-college-america-report-the-failure-of-remediation/

What the ACT college readiness assessment means
https://drwilda.com/2012/08/25/what-the-act-college-readiness-assessment-means/

The importance of the National Assessment of Educational Progress
https://drwilda.com/2012/09/12/the-importance-of-the-national-assessment-of-educational-progress/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com
Dr. Wilda says this about that ©
Blogs by Dr. Wilda:
COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/
Dr. Wilda Reviews © http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/
Dr. Wilda © https://drwilda.com/

National Center on Education and the Economy report: High schools are not preparing students for community college

14 May

Moi wrote in Many NOT ready for higher education:

Whether or not students choose college or vocational training at the end of their high school career, our goal as a society should be that children should be “college ready.” David T. Conley writes in the ASCD article, What Makes a Student College Ready?

The Big Four

A comprehensive college preparation program must address four distinct dimensions of college readiness: cognitive strategies, content knowledge, self-management skills, and knowledge about postsecondary education.

Key Cognitive Strategies

Colleges expect their students to think about what they learn. Students entering college are more likely to succeed if they can formulate, investigate, and propose solutions to nonroutine problems; understand and analyze conflicting explanations of phenomena or events; evaluate the credibility and utility of source material and then integrate sources into a paper or project appropriately; think analytically and logically, comparing and contrasting differing philosophies, methods, and positions to understand an issue or concept; and exercise precision and accuracy as they apply their methods and develop their products.

Key Content Knowledge

Several independently conducted research and development efforts help us identify the key knowledge and skills students should master to take full advantage of college. Standards for Success (Conley, 2003) systematically polled university faculty members and analyzed their course documents to determine what these teachers expected of students in entry-level courses. The American Diploma Project (2004) consulted representatives of the business community and postsecondary faculty to define standards in math and English. More recently, both ACT (2008) and the College Board (2006) have released college readiness standards in English and math. Finally, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (2008), under mandate of state law, developed one of the first and most comprehensive sets of state-level college readiness standards….

Key Self-Management Skills

In college, students must keep track of massive amounts of information and organize themselves to meet competing deadlines and priorities. They must plan their time carefully to complete these tasks. They must be able to study independently and in informal and formal study groups. They must know when to seek help from academic support services and when to cut their losses and drop a course. These tasks require self-management, a skill that individuals must develop over time, with considerable practice and trial-and-error.

Key Knowledge About Postsecondary Education

Choosing a college, applying, securing financial aid, and then adjusting to college life require a tremendous amount of specialized knowledge. This knowledge includes matching personal interests with college majors and programs; understanding federal and individual college financial aid programs and how and when to complete appropriate forms; registering for, preparing for, and taking required admissions exams; applying to college on time and submitting all necessary information; and, perhaps most important, understanding how the culture of college is different from that of high school….

Students who would be the first in their family to attend college, students from immigrant families, students who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups traditionally underrepresented in college, and students from low-income families are much more easily thrown off the path to college if they have deficiencies in any of the four dimensions. http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct08/vol66/num02/What-Makes-a-Student-College-Ready%C2%A2.aspx

The difficult question is whether current testing accurately measures whether students are prepared for college. https://drwilda.com/2012/10/06/many-not-ready-for-higher-education/

Katherine Mangan reports in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, High Schools Set Up Community-College Students to Fail, Report Says:

Community colleges’ academic expectations are “shockingly low,” but students still struggle to meet them, in part because high-school graduation standards are too lax in English and too rigid in mathematics, according to a study released on Tuesday by the National Center on Education and the Economy.

Students entering community colleges have poor reading and writing skills and a shaky grasp of advanced math concepts that most of them will never need, the study found…. http://chronicle.com/article/High-Schools-Set-Up/139105/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

Here is the press report from the National Center on Education and the Economy:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Emily Kingsland

May 7, 2013

(202) 379 -1800

ekingsland@ncee.org

High Schools Fail to Teach What Graduates Need to Succeed in Community Colleges, Instead Teaching What They Don’t Need

New report from the National Center on Education and the Economy is first to look at the literacy levels actually required for success in nation’s community colleges

WASHINGTON, DC — Students are failing to learn the basic math and English skills and concepts needed for success in community colleges, according to a new report from the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) entitled, What Does It Really Mean to Be College and Work Ready: The English and Mathematics Required by First Year Community College Students That’s the surprising and discouragingcentral conclusion of a groundbreaking two year study, which examined the skills and knowledge in mathematics and English literacy that high school graduates need to succeed in the first year of their community college programs.

We were surprised how little math is used in first year community college courses, and what is used is mostly middle school math,” said Phil Daro, co-chair of the study’s Mathematics Panel and co-director in the development of the Common Core State Standards for mathematics. “Our system makes no sense for these students: even though so many students have a shaky understanding of the middle school mathematics they really need, high school courses spend most of these students’ time on topics not needed for their college programs.”

The reading skills of our high school graduates are so low that most community college instructors do not expect their students to be able to read at the level of their textbooks,” said Catherine Snow, co-chair of the study’s English Panel and Patricia Albjerg Graham Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. “Their writing skills are so low that instructors rarely ask their students to write very much outside of their English composition classes, and, when they do, the writing they are asked to do is not very demanding.”

These are just a few of the key findings from the first study ever done that actually examines the level of mathematics and English literacy needed to succeed in the first year of study at our nation’s community colleges.

Roughly 45 percent of our nation’s undergraduates are attending community colleges, according to the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). About half of those students are training to go directly into the workforce and enter popular fields such as nursing, law enforcement, auto mechanics or education, while others are working to complete the first two years of a four year degree program. The report concludes that students who cannot succeed in the first year of a community college program are surely not ready for success in college or the workplace.

Most studies of course requirements in our colleges simply ask instructors what students need to know to be successful in their institutions, but that method is notoriously unreliable, because instructors typically respond to such surveys by telling the interviewer what they would like students to know, not what they actually need to know.

This study was conducted by NCEE in collaboration with a team of leading scholars and community college leaders. It analyzed the textbooks, papers and projects students are assigned; the tests they are given; and the grades they get on both. These materials were gathered from a set of nine popular and diverse career oriented programs in randomly selected community colleges across seven diverse states.

AACC urged educators at the secondary and post -secondary levels to read carefully the specific findings of the report and reevaluate their courses and materials to ensure they are meeting students’ needs at every stage of their educational paths. “This study emphasizes the critical importance of better aligning the entire pipeline to ensure all students are adequately prepared for college and careers in the 21st century,” said Walter Bumphus, president and CEO of AACC. Achieve President Michael Cohen pointed out that this report’s findings constitute a powerful argument for implementing the new Common Core State Standards for literacy in mathematics and English. “This very important report underscores the urgent need for states to implement the Common Core State Standards. If the CCSS were properly implemented, students would have the kind of mastery of middle school mathematics skills identified in this report as the most important math skills needed in the first year of community college. Similarly, the report makes it crystal clear why the CCSS English literacy standards stressed the need for great improvements in students’ ability to do non-fiction reading and writing.”

The reports’ authors concentrate their recommendations on the steps schools must take to enable more of their graduates to succeed in our community colleges, but also touch on what community colleges can do. Among the recommendations are the following:

! Make Algebra II a key course on just one of several mathematics paths to a high school diploma, eliminatingthe mandatory status it has in some states.

! Have most students spend more time on middle school mathematics rather than rushing toward Algebra I.

! Reconceive community college placement tests to align them with the mathematics students actually need to succeed in their first credit-bearing programmatic courses.

! Increase writing assignments across all high school courses, especially those that require the presentation of a logical argument and evidence to support claims.

! Have high school students read texts of greater complexity.

Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy said, “This report shows that our community colleges have shockingly low expectations of the students entering their institutions, because many perhaps most of our future nurses, EMT’s and auto mechanics haven’t mastered middle school mathematics and cannot read much of the material in their first year college textbooks even though they are only written at the 11th and 12th grade levels and a large fraction of our future four year college students have a very hard time

Citation:

NCEE has just released What Does It Really Mean to Be College and Work Ready?, a study of the English Literacy and Mathematics required for success in the first year of community college. On May 7th, during a day-long meeting, key education and policy leaders joined NCEE to discuss the results of the study and its implications for community college reform, school reform, teacher education, the common core state standards, and vocational education and the workplace.

Click here to watch the video of the event.

Helpful Links:

Download the Executive Summary

Download the Math Report

Download the English Report

Agenda

Speaker Biographies

Q&As

Summary of Findings

InCritical thinking is an essential trait of an educated person, moi said:

There is a great deal of dissatisfaction with the state of education in America. A lot of that dissatisfaction comes from the belief that the education system fails to actually educate children and to teach them critical thinking skills. The University of Maine at Augusta defines an educated person:

An educated person exhibits knowledge and wisdom; recognizes and respects the diversity of nature and society; demonstrates problem solving skills; engages in planning and managing practices; navigates the on-line world; writes and speaks well; acts with integrity; and appreciates the traditions of art, culture, and ideas. Developing these abilities is a life-long process. http://www.uma.edu/educatedperson.html

Essential to this definition is the development of critical thinking skills.

The Critical Thinking Community has several great articles about critical thinking at their site. In the section, Defining Critical Thinking:

A Definition
Critical thinking is that mode of thinking – about any subject, content, or problem – in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them.

The Result

A well cultivated critical thinker:

  • raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and
    precisely;

  • gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to
    interpret it effectively comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;

  • thinks open mindedly within alternative systems of thought,
    recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and

  • communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems.

Critical thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem solving abilities and a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism.  (Taken from Richard Paul and Linda Elder, The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools, Foundation for Critical Thinking Press, 2008). http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/defining-critical-thinking/766

The question is how to teach critical thinking skills. David Carnes wrote the excellent Livestrong article, How to Build Critical Thinking Skills in Children. http://www.livestrong.com/article/167563-how-to-build-critical-thinking-skills-in-children/#ixzz1kB28AgFS

Related:

What the ACT college readiness assessment means                                            https://drwilda.com/2012/08/25/what-the-act-college-readiness-assessment-means/

Study: What skills are needed for ’21st-century learning?’                                      https://drwilda.com/2012/07/11/study-what-skills-are-needed-for-21st-century-learning/

ACT to assess college readiness for 3rd-10th Grades                                        https://drwilda.com/2012/07/04/act-to-assess-college-readiness-for-3rd-10th-grades/

Where information leads to Hope. ©                                 Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©                      http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                             http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©     

Study: Prior criminal behavior does not necessarily predict behavior on campus

27 Apr

As colleges seek to make campuses safer, they are beginning to look at the criminal records of applicants. Kelly Sennott writes in the New Hampshire article, One in 29 college students has a criminal record:

Everyone makes mistakes in high school and college. Some make bigger mistakes than others, potentially affecting their chances of getting accepted into school, getting an internship, or finding a job. This difficulty is not an uncommon problem for college students, as one out of 29 has a criminal record.

 MyBackgroundCheck.com, a supplier of criminal background checks for students and faculty members, recently revealed a study that showed that one out of every 29 college students have some type of criminal record. In the study, which didn’t include juvenile records, 13,859 college students at 125 universities, career colleges, nursing schools, and other educational institutions were surveyed through a website,

 The names of the schools involved in the study were not revealed, but the percentages of convictions were; Driving violations topped the charts at a whopping 60 percent, followed by disorderly conduct (9.5 percent), theft (8.8 percent), drug possession (7.4 percent), sexual abuse (5.2 percent), assault (4 percent), fraud (2.7 percent), and child molestation (2.4 percent)…. http://www.tnhonline.com/one-in-29-college-students-has-a-criminal-record-1.1115304

Colleges debate whether students with criminal backgrounds should be admitted.

Libby Sandler is reporting in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, Students’ Prior Criminal Histories Don’t Predict Future Misconduct, Research Finds:

As colleges seek ways to make their campuses safer, many have opted to examine the criminal histories of students before they’re admitted. New research, however, reveals that criminal-background checks and pre-admission screening do not accurately predict whether an incoming student will pose a threat or disruption in college.

Based on an analysis of nearly 7,000 seniors at a large Southern university, a report says that only 3 percent of students who engaged in misconduct on the campus during their college years had reported criminal histories during the admissions process. Of the students who did report a criminal record, meanwhile, just under 9 percent were accused of misconduct during college.

The report, published in the journal Injury Prevention in February, was written by Carol W. Runyan, an epidemiologist at the Colorado School of Public Health, and three other researchers.

For years, colleges and legal experts have wrestled with the question of whether—and how—institutions should attempt to identify incoming students who might present a threat to public safety. The quandary is what to do with any information collected: how to evaluate it fairly and consistently while avoiding discrimination against some students but also protecting against any future incident.

‘Likely Troublemakers’

According to a national survey in 2010, more than 60 percent of colleges consider applicants’ criminal histories in admissions decisions, but only half of those colleges have formal policies on how to do so, and only 38 percent of admissions staffs receive training on interpreting criminal records.

The new research sought to examine if students who were likely to engage in misconduct could be effectively screened during the application process. It also explored whether students with a criminal background upon entering college were more likely to commit crimes while enrolled than were students who started with clean records.

Researchers reviewed students’ responses to application questions about their criminal history, which asked them to say whether they’d been convicted, taken responsibility for a crime, or had charges pending against them at that time. A “yes” to any of those questions meant the students were considered to have criminal histories.

To evaluate students’ behavior in college, the researchers looked at the university’s disciplinary records and kept track of nonacademic misconduct violations, focusing on offenses like assault, robbery, property crimes, driving under the influence, marijuana use, and other drug-related charges. They also included cases that the institution’s honor court had dismissed but that were prosecuted successfully in local court. (The report states that the research was approved by the institutional review board at the University of North Carolina.)

The findings reveal that students who were guilty of misconduct in college were more likely than their classmates to have had pre-college criminal records. But the screening questions often did not identify which students would go on to commit crimes, and most students who did have records before enrolling in college didn’t cause any trouble once there.

In the report, Ms. Runyan points out that the research “raises as many questions as it answers.” Many questions, she says, are practical and ethical: If colleges are going to make smart decisions about pre-admission screening, she writes, they’ll need to think about how past behavior influences future actions. And even if the screening does accurately identify “likely troublemakers,” colleges must decide in which cases to admit them.                                                                                      http://chronicle.com/article/Students-Prior-Criminal/138641/?cid=pm&utm_source=pm&utm_medium=en

Citation:

Can student-perpetrated college crime be predicted based on precollege misconduct?

  1. 1.    Carol W Runyan1,2,
  2. 2.    Matthew W Pierce3,
  3. 3.    Viswanathan Shankar4,
  4. 4.    Shrikant I Bangdiwala5,6,7

+ Author Affiliations

  1. 1.     1Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado-Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado, USA
  2. 2.     2Pediatric Injury Prevention, Education and Research Program, Colorado School of Public Health and University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado, USA
  3. 3.     3School of Law, American University Washington College of Law, Washington, DC, USA
  4. 4.     4Division of Biostatistics, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, USA
  5. 5.     5Department of Biostatistics, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  6. 6.     6Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Institute for Social and Health Sciences, University of South Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa
  7. 7.     7University of North Carolina Injury Prevention Research Center, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  8. Correspondence to Dr Carol W Runyan, Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, Paediatric Injury Prevention, Education and Research (PIPER) Program, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, 13001 E. 17th Place, Mail Stop B119, Aurora, CO 80045, USA; carol.runyan@ucdenver.edu

     Received 23 September 2012

     Revised 2 January 2013

     Accepted 16 January 2013

     Published Online First 23 February 2013

Abstract

Objectives Many colleges assess criminal histories during the admissions process, in part, to address violence on campus. This study sought to examine the utility of screening as a means of reducing violence.

Methods Using cohort and case-control analyses, we identified college misconduct through college records and self-reports on a confidential survey of graduating seniors, and examined precollege behaviour as indicated on admissions records, a survey and criminal background checks.

Results One hundred and twenty students met our case definition of college misconduct, with an estimated OR of 5.28 (95% CI 1.92 to 14.48) associated with precollege misconduct revealed on the college application. However, only 3.3% (95% CI 1.0% to 8.0%) of college seniors engaging in college misconduct had reported precollege criminal behaviours on their applications and 8.5% (95% CI 2.4% to 20.4%) of applicants with a criminal history engaged in misconduct during college.

Discussion Though precollege behaviour is a risk factor for college misconduct, screening questions on the application are not adequate to detect which students will engage in college misconduct. This pilot work would benefit from replication to determine the utility of criminal background investigations as part of admissions.

See, College Admission Questions Rarely Identify Criminal Behavior    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130416085433.htm

A 2010 Chronicle of Higher Education article, Experts Debate Fairness of Criminal-Background Checks on Students by Sara Lipka reported that some administrators urge a pragmatic approach:

She recommended not simply considering students’ criminal histories, but establishing policies to evaluate them fairly and consistently. Such policies should specify how to handle sealed juvenile records, news reports of arrests or convictions, and other tricky circumstances like reduced charges; how to disclose admissions decisions to applicants; and how to control access to students’ criminal records, to limit accusations of discrimination and defamation.

Institutions should also consider updating their information with repeated checks, Ms. Dickerson advised. And legal and mental-health experts must regularly train the administrators who make decisions on which students to let in versus keep out, she said. “Just putting background checks in place I’m not really sure is going to do much for campus safety.”                   http://chronicle.com/article/Experts-Debate-Fairness-of/66107/

Unfortunately, this is an issue where colleges will be damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

Where information leads to Hope. ©                               Dr. Wilda.com

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More colleges are putting college applicants on mid-year acceptance for enrollment

24 Apr

Moi wrote about the trend of colleges deferring decisions about acceptance of prospective students in More prospective college students getting deferral letters:

Parents and students can meet all the deadlines, complete all the forms, and provide all the supporting documentation required and still not be admitted to the college of their choice. Increasingly, students are being put on deferral lists.

Eli Clarke, Associate Director of counseling, private high school, Washington DC wrote the article, What Does it Mean to be Waitlisted or Deferred?

Being deferred can mean a wide variety of things. In most cases, the college has not completed its review of your file and is “deferring” their decision to a later date. Deferrals typically fall into two categories:

  • You applied under the Early Action or Early Decision plan and have been pushed back into the regular pool. This may be frustrating, but also has an advantage.  If you are accepted into the college/university under regular decision, you are not obligated to attend as you would have been if you were accepted under an Early Decision plan (Early Action is non-binding to begin with). You may feel free to consider offers from other schools.

  • You have applied under a regular decision or rolling admission and the college/university would like to have more information in order to make a decision about your application. In almost every case, a college or university would like to see more grades from the senior year or new test scores. If a school receives the information they want, they could admit you earlier.

Being waitlisted is unlike being deferred; the college has finished reviewing your file and made a decision to put you on a waiting list for admission.

  • Being on a waitlist typically means that you are placed within a “holding pattern” of sorts. The admissions committee may or may not admit students from the waitlist. And unlike a deferral situation, new information does not usually change a waitlist decision.

  • If you are placed on a waitlist, you can usually find out if the school has gone to their wait list in the past and if so, how many students they admitted from the waitlist. In some cases, your chances of eventually getting in are very good; at other colleges, waitlisted applicants are almost never admitted.

  • It is always wise to deposit to another institution and ensure that you have a place somewhere. Do not pin your hopes on a waitlisted college; this is the time to make plans with one of your backup schools.

Whether you are deferred or waitlisted, avoid the temptation to begin a flood of recommendation letters and phone calls to the admissions department. In almost every case, this can have an adverse affect on your chances for admission. Some institutions even state in the letters that they do not take any additional letters of recommendation or phone calls on the student’s behalf.  If the admissions office does need more materials, they are generally interested in concrete information (test scores, grades, etc.) rather than personal testimony or recommendations.

http://www.collegesofdistinction.com/component/k2/item/158-what-does-it-mean-to-be-waitlisted-or-deferred?.html

A deferral letter is not a “no” and it may provide the opportunity to look at other options for college. In Like Me.Com has excellent advice which was posted in the article, How to Handle a College Admissions Deferral http://www.inlikeme.com/advice/how-handle-college-admissions-deferral.html

https://drwilda.com/2012/02/25/more-prospective-college-students-getting-deferral-letters/

Now, there is a new type of deferred action which a prospective student is admitted to a college, BUT for either fall or winter.

Ariel Kaminer writes in the New York Times article, More College Applicants Aren’t Welcome Till Winter:

Exact numbers are not available, but according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, over the last few years more and more colleges have been sending out a new kind of acceptance letter, inviting some applicants to wait until the new year before showing up.

Back in 2001, when U.S.C. started doing it, Timothy Brunold, the director of admissions, said he assumed the university was a pioneer. Now the list includes, among others, Skidmore College, Hamilton College, Brandeis University, the University of Miami, Northeastern University, Elon University in North Carolina and Middlebury College (which actually beat U.S.C. to the punch by a few decades).

They all have their own variation on the theme. Some, like Middlebury, in Vermont, allow students to request second-semester admissions; some make the decision for the students. Hamilton, in Clinton, N.Y., does not enroll students until they arrive on campus in the spring; Skidmore, in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and Northeastern, in Boston, enroll them right away but direct them to spend their fall semester at a designated program abroad.

But all are motivated by the same basic arithmetic: between freshman-year attrition and junior-year abroad programs, campus populations drop off after the first few months of college each year. “With the economy the way it is, they need to be doing what they can to get tuition income,” said Scott G. Chrysler Jr., a college counselor in Louisiana who is active in the national group’s admissions practices committee. “An empty seat is not generating any income.”

The arrangement may not be profitable for everyone, warns Tom Weede, chairman of the committee. “Often the letter says, ‘We encourage you to enroll in another school and take core-related classes,’ ” he said. “Well, at the other school, if you want financial aid you have to be a full-time student. The school that takes you doesn’t know you’re just going to be there for a semester. So it creates a built-in retention problem at a moment we’re calling for more accountability and more numbers about outcomes like retention.”

As fast as the practice may be growing, it is still unknown to most college applicants, and even to many guidance counselors. At Brandeis University, which now enrolls 100 or so students for midyear arrival, the dean of admissions, Mark Spencer, said some applicants were so rattled by the offer that they begged to be placed on the fall waiting list instead. “I say, ‘Wait, you want me to un-admit you?’ ” Mr. Spencer said.

To address students’ concerns, many of these colleges set up special midyear open houses, or enlist former midyear arrivals to call their potential successors and talk about how it all works. And when that spring semester rolls around, these colleges generally offer midyear orientations, modeled on the welcome-to-campus events that greet most first-year students. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/17/education/more-college-applicants-dont-get-in-until-winter.html?ref=education&_r=0

It is difficult for parents and prospective students to decide whether to wait or choose another college. See, Is a ‘gap year’ a good option for some students? https://drwilda.com/2012/10/08/is-a-gap-year-a-good-option-for-some-students/

College Parents of America posted the article, Students May Be Accepted To College, But For Spring Admission at their site about what prospective college students can do while waiting to enroll in their top school:

Your student may have several things to consider if he is a spring admit.  It may be difficult for him to think about staying at home while his friends head off to college in the fall.  It is frustrating if he is ready to begin.  However, he may want to consider several options. 

  • He might get a job and have an opportunity to save up some money before beginning college – either to have a head start on tuition or so that he won’t need to work during the school year. 

  • He may take some courses at a local community college so that he will not lose a semester but will be on a par with his classmates when he begins in January. 

  • This may provide your student with a welcome break from academics for a semester – but with the assurance of a place in January.  He may return to the classroom with renewed energy. 

  • If the college is close enough, he might be able to take some classes through an extension division or continuing education evening division and not lose any time.

  • Although he may not have chosen it at first, this might provide your student with an interesting gap semester during which he might travel or gain experience through an internship or community service endeavor.

One advantage, for some students, of beginning their college career in January is that they can avoid all of the confusion that surrounds the arrival of many first-year students in the fall.  By the time that your student arrives on campus, life will have settled down.  However, for some students, this may be a danger.  Although there will also be other new arrivals in January, less attention may be paid to helping these students get oriented, some friendships will already have been made, key positions in clubs or on teams may have been filled, and housing choices may be more limited.  All of these are factors that your student will need to weigh.

Beginning college mid-year will not be the right choice for every student.  However, for some students it can provide a welcome break – and the assurance that they have been accepted by their first choice college.  As a college parent, you can help your student consider the pros and cons of the situation and make an informed choice with which she is comfortable. http://www.collegeparents.org/members/resources/articles/students-may-be-accepted-college-spring-admission

Students and parents should research schools before applying.

Moi wrote in Choosing the right college for you:

Danielle Moss Lee, president and chief executive officer of the Harlem Educational Activities Fund offers some great advice in the Washington Post article, Top 5 factors to weigh when picking a college (by May 1st deadline):

Here are the top five factors students across the country should be considering when making this critical decision:

1. Size. When it comes to choosing a college, it isn’t one-size-fits-all. There are significant differences between large and small colleges, and students need to decide what matters to them. Factors to consider include class size, teacher-to-student ratio, name recognition and what options are available on campus – research centers, sporting events, internship opportunities, clubs and organizations, course choices, faculty members and more.

2. Location. Part of the value of college is learning to live on your own, away from your family, and in a city you choose. Students should push themselves to learn how to be successful in a new environment but also still need a support system. Students should consider how far away they can be and still feel comfortable – for some it’s a short car or bus ride, for others it can be a cross-country flight.

3. Finances. Students and their families need to think carefully about the financial impact of their choices. With student loan debt above $1 trillion (surpassing credit card and auto-loan debt) students — especially those from low-income families like many students at the Harlem Educational Activities Fund — need to figure out what the numbers really mean. How much is need-based grant aid and how much is loan-based aid? What will it cost to travel to campus? What incidentals will be required? Will my mother or father need a second job? How many hours will I be allowed to work on campus?

4. Academic focus. Not every student knows what they “want to be when they grow up” and you don’t need to pick a major to pick a college. However, students should consider the variety of courses, curriculum and majors available.

5. ‘Expert’ opinion. Get some insight. Use your family and friends as a resource. Talk to the people you admire personally and professionally, as well as recent graduates who you might know, to find out what they consider the most important aspect of the college experience. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/top-5-factors-to-weigh-when-picking-a-college-by-may-1st-deadline/2012/04/13/gIQAOAH4FT_blog.html

https://drwilda.com/2012/04/15/choosing-the-right-college-for-you/

The best advice to parents and students is to develop a Plan “B” and even Plan “C” as part of the college application process.

Resources:

Colleges deferring more students                           http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/story/2012-02-21/college-university-defer-more-students/53193738/1#.T0iIuEB39Bo.email

You Got Deferred. Now What?                               http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/09/defer/?emc=eta1

Harvard, Princeton return to early admission by Daniel de Vise http://voices.washingtonpost.com/college-inc/2011/02/harvard_returns_to_early_actio.html

The College Board’s Early Decision & Early Action The benefits and drawbacks of applying early http://professionals.collegeboard.com/portal/site/Professionals/menuitem.b6b1a9bc0c5615493883234011a161ca/?vgnextoid=eb6ccf9a10494110vcm-02000000aaa514acRCRD&vgnextchannel=7c72247eb2814110VgnVCM200000121a16acRCRD&vgnextfmt=print

Debating Legacy Admissions at Yale, and Elsewhere by Jenny Anderson                                                             http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/29/legacy-2/

Related:

More prospective college students getting deferral letters https://drwilda.com/2012/02/25/more-prospective-college-students-getting-deferral-letters/

Many U.S. colleges use the ‘Common Application’                  https://drwilda.com/tag/college-cost/

Is a woman’s college the right college for you?                         https://drwilda.com/2012/08/20/is-a-womans-college-the-right-college-for-you/

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