“What this means is that the American Dream for many low-income students has been deferred, perhaps permanently. Young people not born to well-off families will not surpass their parents in income and home ownership, they will not surge into promising careers, and they will not trust the American system to do right by them.”
Have you seen stories online and on the evening news about students who are dropping out of college already this year? It’s happening to unfortunate students. For example, we just read a story about a young woman who dropped out of her community college because she could not afford Internet service.
If you are short of funds and thinking about taking a gap year, you might consider changing your mind, because financial aid could be available to help you. Read more
We are going to start today’s post by asking you a question.
Can you identify the following college, based on the information we provide below? This college:
- Accepts more than 60% of all applicants
- Has seen a dramatic reduction in the number of foreign students it has enrolled
- Offers financial aid to more than 70% of the students it accepts
- Has a shrinking endowment
- Has a difficult time raising money from alumni
- Is continuing to build costly new buildings and campus facilities in the hope of attracting more students
As you have noticed, it is currently difficult to get reliable, up-to-date information on student loan programs. Congress is tied up in knots about making decisions – any decisions – that can help students and their families plan how to navigate the coming school year or pay for it. And our President is writing up confusing new executive orders that will probably never be put into action.
In any time of uncertainty, scammers seem to know just what to do, which is to try to defraud people. And right about now, those criminals seem to have decided that students and their families are good targets for loan-related scams. Read more
Don’t Throw Away Your Sharpened Pencils . . .
“The University of California Board of Regents today (May 21) unanimously approved the suspension of the standardized test requirement (ACT/SAT) for all California freshman applicants until fall 2024. The suspension will allow the University to create a new test that better aligns with the content the University expects students to have mastered for college readiness. However, if a new test does not meet specified criteria in time for fall 2025 admission, UC will eliminate the standardized testing requirement for California students.” Read more
New College Freshmen . . .
This is the time of year when high school seniors have traditionally made their final college selections, mailed in deposits, bought college apparel, contacted their future roommates, and gotten ready to make the exciting transition to college.
But now students, their families and colleges all seem to be in the same pickle, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Here are just a few of the issues that have risen to the surface.
Are you applying to college in the coming year? Are you a parent of a student who will be applying, or are you counseling students who will be?
If so, it is important to remember that 2019 saw some of the biggest changes ever in college admissions – changes that will exert a major impact on the way colleges are evaluating applicants this year.
Here are some changes that we believe we can all agree will happen. Read more
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.
We don’t know how many commencement speeches have been given in the history of higher education. Tens of thousands, we would guess. But of them all, the one that Robert F. Smith gave at Morehouse College last week will go down in history. In his speech, Mr. Smith declared that he would personally pay off the educational loans that had been taken by all the members of the class that sat there listening to him. According to news reports, it took a few moments for people to realize exactly what he had promised to do. But once the meaning of what he said had sunk in, cheering erupted. Please note that this historic event didn’t take place at Harvard, Princeton or Yale, institutions where hundreds of grads could probably step up and personally pay off a class’s indebtedness. It took place at famous little Morehouse, one of America’s historically black colleges and universities. What a source of pride. Read more
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