Tag Archives: College Application

University of Texas Austin study: Small words in college essay can predict college success

11 Feb

This is an absolutely jaw-dropping statistic. According the article, Opinion Brief: Detroit’s ‘shocking’ 47 percent illiteracy rate which was posted at The Week:

More than 200,000 Detroit residents — 47 percent of Motor City adults — are “functionally illiterate,” according to a new report released by the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund. That means they can’t fill out basic forms, read a prescription, or handle other tasks most Americans take for granted, according to the fund’s director, Karen Tyler-Ruiz, as quoted by CBS Detroit. Her organization’s study also found that the education and training aimed at overcoming these problems “is inadequate at best,” says Jackie Headapohl at Michigan Live. http://theweek.com/article/index/215055/detroits-shocking-47-percent-illiteracy-rate

Illiteracy is a global problem, with some geographic areas and populations suffering more from illiteracy than others.

Education Portal defines illiteracy in the article, Illiteracy: The Downfall of American Society.

Most people think of literacy as a simple question of being able to read. But while a young child who can work her way through a basic picture book is considered to have age-appropriate literacy levels, an adult who can only read at the most fundamental level is still functionally illiterate.

The world requires that adults not only be able to read and understand basic texts, but also be able to function in the workplace, pay bills, understand legal and financial documents and navigate technology – not to mention the advanced reading comprehension skills required to pursue postsecondary education and the opportunities that come with it.

As a result, when we talk about the effects of illiteracy on society, we’re talking primarily about what happens when you have a large number of adults whose literacy skills are too low to perform normal, day-to-day tasks. However, it is worth keeping in mind that childhood illiteracy is, of course, directly correlated to adult illiteracy.                                                                                                     http://education-portal.com/articles/Illiteracy_The_Downfall_of_American_Society.html

The key concept is the individual cannot adequately function in the society in which they live. That means that tasks necessary to provide a satisfactory life are difficult because they cannot read and/or comprehend what they read. Reading and literacy are important for writing and the ability for an individual to express their ideas.

Scott Jaschik wrote in the Inside Higher Education article, Analyzing Application Essays:

Admissions essays are thought of by many as less scientific than other parts of the college application process — a chance to share a personal story, to inject personality into the process, to become more than just a grade-point average or test score.

But it may be that statistical analysis can be applied to application essays — and that some words and some topics correlate with better performance in college. That’s the conclusion of a new study published in PLOS One that analyzes the words used in application essays with grades earned once enrolled.

The study found that the essays that predicted the most academic success demonstrated “categorical thinking,” which involves writing that categorizes things, and that connects concepts and ideas. Generally, writing with categorical thinking uses many articles such as “the” and prepositions such as “on” and “of.”

Essays that show “dynamic thinking,” in contrast, predict lower G.P.A.s in college. This writing tends to use pronouns such as “I” and “they” and to rely on personal narratives.

The authors of the paper — all at the University of Texas at Austin — are James Pennebaker, a psychology professor, David Beaver, professor in of linguistics; Gary Lavergne, program manager in the Office of Admissions; Cindy Chung, psychology postdoctoral fellow; and Joey Frazee, a linguistics graduate student.

The analysis is based on data from 50,000 essays from 25,975 applicants who, after being accepted, enrolled at “a large state university” from 2004 through 2007, and were then tracked for their grades. The study does not explicitly state that the students are at UT Austin, and the researchers declined to name the institution. But the size of the university seems to match UT, and the Institutional Review Board that reviewed the project was at that university….

Generally, those applicants who, compared to the average applicant, used greater numbers of long words (6 letters or more) than others, used more complicated sentences, and wrote longer essays all ended up with slightly higher GPAs than did other admitted students…. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/01/08/new-study-links-certain-application-essays-and-college-success

Citation:

Article Source: When Small Words Foretell Academic Success: The Case of College Admissions Essays

Pennebaker JW, Chung CK, Frazee J, Lavergne GM, Beaver DI (2014) When Small Words Foretell Academic Success: The Case of College Admissions Essays. PLoS ONE 9(12): e115844. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0115844

Abstract

The smallest and most commonly used words in English are pronouns, articles, and other function words. Almost invisible to the reader or writer, function words can reveal ways people think and approach topics. A computerized text analysis of over 50,000 college admissions essays from more than 25,000 entering students found a coherent dimension of language use based on eight standard function word categories. The dimension, which reflected the degree students used categorical versus dynamic language, was analyzed to track college grades over students’ four years of college. Higher grades were associated with greater article and preposition use, indicating categorical language (i.e., references to complexly organized objects and concepts). Lower grades were associated with greater use of auxiliary verbs, pronouns, adverbs, conjunctions, and negations, indicating more dynamic language (i.e., personal narratives). The links between the categorical-dynamic index (CDI) and academic performance hint at the cognitive styles rewarded by higher education institutions.

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0115844

Here is the press release from the University of Texas:

Short Words Predict Academic Success

Jan. 7, 2015

AUSTIN, Texas — The smallest, most forgettable words in admissions essays can tell us in advance how students will perform in college, a new study by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin reveals.

Common sense suggests that academic potential is shown by use of long complicated words. The new research shows, on the contrary, that common, easily overlooked words — such as the, a, to, I and they — matter. These short words provide a better yardstick than long words for measuring a person’s potential.

The new study used 50,000 admissions essays written by prospective college students, enabling the researchers to connect language use to later college performance. It turned out that how students use small words is related to subsequent GPA. For example, students who heavily use the word I tend to do worse in class, and students who heavily use the words the and a do better.

“Function words allow us to assess how people are thinking more than what they are thinking about,” said James Pennebaker, a psychology professor at The University of Texas at Austin and co-author of the paper. “In the growing age of big data, we can now begin to identify the potential thinking patterns of individuals, groups and perhaps even cultures for whom there exist language records.”

The UT Austin team used computerized text analysis to show that college performance is tied to a new measure that they call the Categorical Dynamic Index (CDI). This measure is calculated from a simple combination of the frequencies of common words. Categorical thinking involves categorizing things into kinds and connecting objects and concepts in a sophisticated way. Categorical thinking is reflected by use of articles such as the and prepositions such as on and of.

The new research shows that people who think categorically do better in college than those who don’t. On the other hand, dynamic thinkers see the world in terms of narratives, typically personal and subjective. Dynamic thinkers use more pronouns such as I and they and more auxiliary verbs such as will and had, and these applicants ended up, on average, with lower GPAs in the study.

The paper, titled “When Small Words Foretell Academic Success,” appeared in the Dec. 31 online edition of the journal PLOS ONE. In addition to Pennebaker, the interdisciplinary team of researchers includes David Beaver, professor in the Department of Linguistics; Gary Lavergne, program manager in the Office of Admissions; Cindy Chung, psychology postdoctoral fellow; and Joey Frazee, a linguistics graduate student.

The surprising finding that small words are tied to academic success could, of course, be used by admissions officers. But the researchers caution against the simple use of word counts in admissions decisions.

“The results could be interpreted not as a failure of dynamic thinkers to do well in college,” said Beaver, “but as a failure of college to help students add categorical thinking to their arsenal.”

For more information, contact: David Ochsner, College of Liberal Arts, 512 626 0788;  David Beaver, Department of Linguistics, College of Liberal Arts, ;  James Pennebaker, Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts, 512-232-2781.

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.”

Related:

Helping community college students to graduate                                          https://drwilda.com/2012/02/08/helping-community-college-students-to-graduate/

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

College readiness: What are ‘soft skills’                                                                       https://drwilda.com/2012/11/14/college-readiness-what-are-soft-skills/

Colleges rethinking who may need remedial education                                       https://drwilda.com/2012/10/24/colleges-rethinking-who-may-need-remedial-education/

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The ‘Common Application’ evolves

13 May

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. 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

It has been a year of challenges for the Common Application. Kimberly Hefling, AP Education Writer reported in the article, Common Application Makes Changes After Tough Year:

“Given the year we just had, we can’t be complacent about any of this,” Eric Furda, the dean of admissions at the University of Pennsylvania, said during a media briefing. Furda is president-elect of the board of the not-for-profit Common Application membership organization.
The most common problems experienced by students were related to essay formatting, difficulty submitting an application and the inability to determine if they had paid application fees, Furda said. Higher education institutions complained about not being able to pull up documents that had been submitted.
Because of the problems, many colleges and universities extended application deadlines, and some began accepting applications from competing programs.
Furda said most of the problems were corrected by the end of 2013, but challenges persisted.
A review conducted by an outside firm determined that the technology had been rolled out without first being properly tested…http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/common-application-makes-tough-year-23658956

See, Fixing the Common App http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/04/11/common-application-releases-consultant-report-technical-problems#sthash.9yHgRCsc.dpbs
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 http://chronicle.com/blogs/headcount/common-applications-leaders-get-an-earful/36589?cid=pm&utm_source=pm&utm_medium=en
In addition to technical problems, the application is facing a law suit.

Eric Hoover reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, Has Common App Turned Admissions Into a ‘Straitjacketed Ward of Uniformity’?

Anyone in the mood for colorful renderings of the big business built around the college-admissions process should read the lawsuit filed last week against the Common Application in a federal court in Oregon. The nonprofit group behind the ever-growing online application, a competitor asserts, “has orchestrated a sea change in the student-application process, turning a once vibrant, diverse, and highly competitive market into a straitjacketed ward of uniformity.”
The complaint was brought by CollegeNet Inc., a technology company in Portland, Ore., that builds customized application-processing systems for colleges. CollegeNet argues that the Common Application, which has more than 500 member colleges, has violated federal antitrust laws.
“As colleges are increasingly compelled to join the Common Application,” the lawsuit says, it “is poised to eliminate competition in the broader market within a few short years.”
Over the last decade or so, CollegeNet has lost many customers to the Common Application, whose fee structure rewards member colleges that use its application exclusively. While reporting on the Common App’s growth last year, I talked to Jim Wolfston, CollegeNet’s chief executive, who described his concerns about his competitor….
The Common Application’s leaders have long asserted that increased applications are a side effect of membership—not the organization’s raison d’être. That question aside, the Common App has great influence over the application process at most of the nation’s high-profile colleges.
Whether or not CollegeNet’s legal arguments have merit, some passages in the complaint reflect concerns that admissions officials share. Namely, that the Common App has become too—pick your word—big, dominant, powerful within the realm of selective admissions. (Read all about that here.)
Although the Common App is the biggest fish in the pond, it’s worth noting that plenty of its member colleges use at least one other application, too. Last week, for instance, six colleges announced that they would also accept the Universal College Application, joining 12 institutions that have signed on since last fall. Following months of technical problems with the Common App, some colleges that had used it exclusively have decided not to keep all their eggs in one basket.
After a tumultuous fall, the Common Application’s leaders are doing some soul-searching. Recently, the group’s Board of Directors commissioned an independent review of the organization. One finding was that the Common App’s pricing structure “may be at odds with the mission…. http://chronicle.com/blogs/headcount/has-common-app-turned-admissions-into-a-straitjacketed-ward-of-uniformity/38299?cid=pm&utm_source=pm&utm_medium=en

Applying to a college is just the first step. Students and families also have to consider the cost of particular college options.

Beckie Supiano and Elyse Ashburn wrote the article, With New Lists, Federal Government Moves to Help Consumers and Prod Colleges to Limit Price Increases in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the Department of Education’s new site about college costs.

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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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

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

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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/

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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.

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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/

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 digital divide affects the college application process

8 Dec

Moi wrote in The digital divide in classrooms:

One of the major contributors to poverty in third world nations is limited access to education opportunities. The Asian Development Bank has the best concise synopsis of the link between Education and Poverty For a good article about education and poverty which has agood bibliography, go toPoverty and Education, Overview As technology becomes more prevalent in society and increasingly is used in schools, there is talk of a “digital divide” between the haves and have-nots. Laurence Wolff and Soledad MacKinnon define the “digital divide” in their article, What is the Digital Divide?

The “digital divide,” inequalities in access to and utilization of information and communication technologies (ICT), is immense. http://info.worldbank.org/etools/docs/library/57449/digitaldivide.pdf

Access to information technology varies within societies and it varies between countries. The focus of this article is the digital divide in education. https://drwilda.com/2012/01/25/the-digital-divide-in-classrooms/

Nora Fleming has written the provocative Education Week article, Digital Divide Hits College-Admissions Process: Some students lack hardware, savvy:

But while technology is changing the face of college admissions, not all students are reaping the benefits of this virtual access to resources and information. For disadvantaged students lacking awareness or the digital-connection capabilities, entry into college may become harder to obtain than ever before.

“Our first-generation college students, even if they have computers with high-speed Internet, still struggle through the college-application process because they do not have the same frame of reference and knowledge base when it comes to things like college-search websites,” said Darrell Sampson, a guidance counselor with the 182,000-student Fairfax County school district in Virginia.

“If you do not know what it is you are supposed to be looking for, or how the process is supposed to work,” he said, “you are probably not going to be accessing the wealth of information available through technology meant to assist you.”

Online Growth

Those same challenges to accessing college admissions—such as seeking out digital resources and determining credibility of information—follow students when they enter college, educators say, where digital resources, and the expectation to use them, abound.

In 1998, the Common Application, a standard admissions application accepted at colleges and universities in place of their own, was made available online for the first time.

Today, the application, supported by a nonprofit organization of the same name, is accepted by more than 488 higher education institutions, and similar application sites, like XAP and the Universal College Application, have also emerged, dramatically changing the college-admissions process. The Common Application received 2.78 million applications last year from 663,000 students, as a student can now fill out one form and submit it to many colleges at once.

The National Association for College Admission Counseling, based in Arlington, Va., reports that the proportion of virtual applications increased from 56.5 percent in 2004 to 85 percent in 2011 of all those received at four-year institutions. Given the ease of applying, the applications in total at each institution have also substantially increased, while the acceptance rate has declined, stiffening competition.

Virtual portals also enable students to track the status of their applications.

But the application is not the only facet of college admissions that has become virtual. Students can now use a whole host of websites, such as Naviance, Cappex, Zinch, and College Confidential to search for and get matched with potential schools, receive step-by-step guidance on admissions, take virtual tours, and practice for the SAT and the ACT.

Bob Patterson, the director of college outreach at Zinch, a website where students create a profile to get matched with colleges and scholarship money, says such sites help reach students through familiar, digital communication tools. That reduces stress in the admissions process, he said, particularly in high schools where the student-to-counselor ratio is very high.

According to NACAC, the national average is 421-to-1.

“The idea of instant feedback, online searches, and connecting with students in real time is the way higher education institutions will need to engage with the student of the future,” said Mr. Patterson, who worked as an admissions counselor for 15 years at Stanford University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, among other universities, before going to Zinch.

Web-Based Help

Cappex: Provides college reviews, admissions games, searchable information on colleges including video, and college and scholarship matching. www.cappex.com

College Board: Provides SAT registration with free sample questions, study guides, and information on local courses; guidance on how to find colleges, pay for them, and plan academic work to make student applications stronger. www.collegeboard.com

College Connection: Helps students find schools based on career goals, courses offered, and location; includes online degrees. www.collegeconnection.com

Common Application: Allows students to fill out a standard application and submit it electronically to as many member institutions (of 488) as desired; includes charts detailing deadlines and additional requirements of each member school. www.commonapp.org

Naviance: Helps students, their families, and their school counselors organize the admissions process through goal-setting and application management; also provides long-range-planning advice for students’ careers based on self-designed profiles and assessments. www.naviance.com

Princeton Review: Offers SAT, ACT, and PSAT preparation guidelines including free practice tests and free events, along with registration for paid courses; includes other college-search advice and general guidance. www.princetonreview.com

Zinch: Students create a profile and are matched with colleges, graduate schools, and scholarship money; students can connect with other students going through the admissions process for advice. www.zinch.com

SOURCE: Education Week

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/12/05/13digital.h32.html?tkn=XRPFs4cKjuDxKn8Oi8b07%2Bbadpo3TxPX9Sek&cmp=clp-edweek

See, Schools Must Bridge the Digital Divide http://www.abpc21.org/digitaldivide.html

Moi wrote about college access in College Board’s ‘Big Future’: Helping low-income kids apply to college:

The College Board announce the “Big Future” program:

College Board Introduces BigFuture.org, a Free Comprehensive College Planning Resource

See, Admissions 101: Will new tool help low-income students tackle admissions?
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/class-struggle/post/admissions-101-will-new-tool-help-low-income-students-tackle-admissions/2012/04/18/gIQAVGl8QT_blog.html

Education Week had this take on “Big Future” in the article, College Board Launches New Web Resource for Students by Caralee Adams:

The material was developed in collaboration with an advisory group of educators and Education Conservancy, a nonprofit based in Portland, Ore., focused on improving the admissions process.

This idea was to create an interactive, user-friendly resource in response to concerns that the college-admissions process is becoming increasingly complex and access to expert counseling is unequal. “All students deserve access to good guidance information and top-notch online information,” says Ben-Yoseph. “The goal to make the college process more accessible, simple, and easier to navigate.”

Students can get to much of the information on BigFuture without signing up, but to create a plan or save your work, users do need to create an account. Those with College Board accounts can use their existing user names and passwords. (College Board’s privacy policy states that it does not sell student names or their related information, except through the optional Student Search Service program.)

Rather than being static and listing 10 things to do each year in high school, BigFuture starts the process by asking the user some questions and tailoring the action to the individual’s interests.

When searching for colleges that match a student’s interest on BigFuture, the user can sort by filters such as location, majors, sports, diversity, and cost and give each a weight of importance on a sliding scale. College-profile information of nearly 4,000 institutions is collected by the College Board in its Annual Survey of Colleges. Note: The price includes tuition and fees, but not room and board.

Information throughout the site is provided in nugget-sized tips and one-minute videos with student stories such as how they decided about going to school in a city, what role extracurricular activities played in deciding a major, and putting together a financial-aid plan for college. There are also videos from experts addressing topics of college planning.

College Board envisions the audience for BigFuture to be as young as 8th graders. The content can be applicable for students of any age interested in higher education, said Ben-Yoseph. The hope is that the tool will be engaging enough that it is used across a student’s entire high school career and by school guidance counselors. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/college_bound/2012/03/college_board_launches_new_web_resource_for_students.html

The best way to eliminate poverty is job creation, job growth, and job retention. The Asian Development Bank has the best concise synopsis of the link between Education and Poverty For a good article about education and poverty which has a good bibliography, go to Poverty and Education, Overview  There will not be a good quality of life for most citizens without a strong education system. One of the major contributors to poverty in third world nations is limited access to education opportunities. Without continued sustained investment in education, we are the next third world country. https://drwilda.com/2012/04/19/college-boards-big-future-helping-low-income-kids-apply-to-college/

Resources:

College Preparation Checklist

College Preparation Checklist Brochure

Funding Education Beyond High School

Related:

Translating digital learning into K-12 education               https://drwilda.com/2012/11/18/translating-digital-learning-into-k-12-education/

Rural schools and the digital divide                                       https://drwilda.com/2012/06/21/rural-schools-and-the-digital-divide/

Many U.S. colleges use the ‘Common Application’                    https://drwilda.com/2012/05/15/many-u-s-colleges-use-the-common-application/

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