To Be Successful, Do Your Students Need to Attend an Ivy League Institution

To Be Successful, Do Your Students Need to Attend an Ivy League Institution?

There are many definitions of success, and that is a good thing. And today, more people are defining success in their own ways.

But for the purposes of this post, let’s define success in a once-common way, even though a growing number of people might no longer see it as valid . . . Read more

student satisfaction - Student Research Foundation

How Satisfied Are Students with Their College Choices?

As educators, we place a lot of emphasis on helping high school students gain admission to their top-choice colleges. But once that work is done and our students head off to college, do we know how happy they are? Read more

Why the SAT and ACT Tests Are Not Going to Go Away Soon - Student Research Foundation

College Aptitude Tests: New Ways to Think about the SAT and ACT

“The Truth about the SAT and ACT,” an article that Nathan Kuncel and Paul Sackett published in The Wall Street Journal on March 8, 2018, provides a wealth of new insights into standardized tests.

We all thought we understood those tests, correct? Most of us conceptualized them in this way: Read more

Are Alternative Colleges a Solution for All Students who Don’t Quite Fit the Mold - Student Research Foundation

Are Alternative Colleges a Solution for All Students who Don’t Quite Fit the Mold?

If you’re a high school college guidance counselor, chances are you are thinking that a certain number of your counselees should apply to non-traditional, alternative colleges. You might already be an expert on those colleges and what they offer. If you are not, you are probably thinking that when you have the time, you will investigate non-traditional colleges and make some recommendations about where your students should apply. Read more

If Your Kid is about to Start College, You Should Buy these Two Books Now - Student Research Foundation

You Should Buy these Two Books Now

If Your Kid is about to Start College, You Should Buy these Two Books Now

If your son or daughter is getting ready for freshman year of college, we have two book recommendations for you. One is for your kid, the other is for you – because both first-year college students and their parents have a lot of adjusting to do. Read more

We explore the topic of College Admissions Discrimination and what can be done about it - Student Research Foundation

Life Lesson: Colleges and Universities Can Accept or Reject Whomever They Choose

Harvard University made the news recently because it first accepted a student named Kyle Kashuv, and then canceled his acceptance offer after it was discovered that he had posted scathingly racist comments online two years ago, when he was 16.

While Kashuv was a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, he survived the school shootings there by hiding. Apparently, he posted his racist comments online before the shootings at his school had occurred. Read more

The Critical Gap Between Students’ First and Second-Choice Colleges - Student Research Foundation

The Critical Gap Between Students’ First and Second-Choice Colleges

When students have been accepted to colleges and have selected the college they will attend, they are focused entirely on their top pick – the college they are committed to and hope to call their home for four years.

The thing is, there is a number-two choice too. It is the college that didn’t quite make the cut. The thinking that differentiated the number-one from the number-two is interesting. While those top two colleges are adjacent on the student’s final list of desirable colleges, there is a vast difference between them. A binary decision has been made; the student will attend just the first choice, and not the second. So in a very real sense, the fact that a school made it into second place on a student’s list has no meaning at all. Because the student will not be going there, that school might just as well have not made the student’s list at all.

Differentiators between Students’ First and Second Choice Colleges

In 2017, Eduventures conducted a survey of more than 90,000 American students. Among other things, the survey explored how students view the differences between their number-one and number-two college choices.

The differences are fascinating.

  • Regarding the quality of core academics, 95% of students rated their number-one college choice as good or excellent; only 78% of those students rated their number-two choice as good or excellent in this area.
  • Regarding the quality of career preparation, 93% of students rated their number-one college choice as good or excellent; only 80% rated their number-two choice as good or excellent in this area.
  • Regarding the quality of the school’s social environment, 90% of students rated their number-one college choice as good or excellent; only 75% rated their number-two choice as good or excellent in this area.
  • Regarding the quality of the school’s physical environment, 89% of students rated their number-one college choice as good or excellent; only 72% rated their number-two choice as good or excellent in this area.
  • Regarding affordability, 61% of students rated their number-one college choice as good or excellent; only 50% rated their number-two choice as good or excellent in this area.

What these Findings Mean for College Counselors

The findings imply that students overrate the virtues of their first-choice colleges and underrate the virtues of their second choices. Perhaps that is a natural thing for students to do. After all, they tend to frame their decision as the better choice between two colleges that were, in all likelihood, competitive in many ways.

But since your job as a college counselor is to help students make the wisest college choice they can, it could be helpful to ask students whether they have made a fair and realistic comparison of their first and second-choice colleges in the areas that the Eduventures survey exposed. How do their top two choices really compare in academic quality, career preparation, social and physical environments, and cost?  Given those considerations, are your counselees certain they have made the wisest choice between the two?

And what about cost? The survey indicates that students generally see both their first and second-choice schools as expensive. That shows that in the area of cost, students and their families are being realistic. It also explains why many college picks are made after students learn about the financial aid they will receive.

To Learn More about How Students Pick Colleges

We invite all students to explore their career options by participating in our career and college studies. Students who complete the free career test for high school students will receive information on college and career opportunities which match their interests.

Summer Activities that Provide the Highest Value for High School Students - ideas from the Student Research Foundation

Summer Activities that Provide the Highest Value for High School Students

With the last day of school coming up soon for high school students, there are still some out there who are wondering, “What can I do this summer that will improve my chances of getting into college?” Read more

Talk to Your High School Students about Completing College - Student Research Foundation

Talk to Your High School Students about Completing College

. . . Not Only about Getting In

What is the purpose of attending high school?

There are many possible answers to that question. People go to high school to learn, to define their interests and career paths, to take part in sports and extracurricular activities . . . and even to spend four years having fun, making friends, and building memories.

Yes, students attend high school for those reasons. But in recent years, one reason for attending high school has begun to outweigh all the others . . . Read more

How Guidance Counselors’ Ethical Decisions Could Hurt Students - Student Research Foundation

How Guidance Counselors’ Ethical Decisions Could Hurt Students

As we are writing this post, the college admissions scandal took a new turn. You can read about it in “Students Receive `Target Letters’ in College Admissions Scandal, Lawyer Says,” an article by Jennifer Medina and Anemonia Hartocollos that was published in The New York Times on April 16, 2019. It reports that children whose parents paid bribes to get them into college could now be charged in criminal cases. Read more