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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.

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

Benefits of Attending an Elite Institution - Student Research Foundation

Are there Benefits to Attending an Elite Institution?

Since news broke about the college admissions cheating scandal, I have been reading a lot of articles about it, and watching a lot of news programs. It has been encouraging to see that most people are truly indignant about all the harm that has been done by parents who have attempted to get their children into elite colleges through bribery and lying. Those parents have done untold harm to their own children and to students who have been denied admission to top-tier colleges. How will those students ever recover from this scandal in the years ahead? Read more

Trip to UC Berkeley to help students picture their College Futures - Student Research Foundation

How a Trip to UC Berkeley Helps Students Picture Their College Futures

Ms. Place’s Ninth-Grade Students Visit UC Berkeley to Picture their College Futures

Only three years ago, students at Mt Diablo High School in Concord, CA had only a vague idea of what they wanted to achieve in their lives. When asked, many simply replied that they wanted to make their parents proud. Read more

A study of Online Colleges Quality and Value - Student Research Foundation

Are Online Colleges Approaching Regular Colleges in Quality and Value?

Are online colleges improving the quality of education they provide? Are more of their students completing four years of study and graduating? And are online colleges becoming fully viable options for students who, due to factors such as having children or being employed, want to complete all their coursework online? Read more

Canadian Universities - Student Research Foundation

Are You Advising Students to Consider Canadian Universities?

Are you a teacher, a parent or a guidance counselor who is helping American students select colleges?

If so, how much do you know about Canadian colleges and universities? If you are not sure, please take a moment to answer a few questions. Read more

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

Why the SAT and ACT Tests Are Not Going to Go Away Soon

Back in 1985, a group of educators founded fairtest.org, an organization dedicated to the idea that standardized tests like the SAT and ACT should no longer be used to evaluate college applicants.  In the years since, the “test optional” movement has picked up speed. On the fairtest.org website today, you can find a list of more than 1,000 colleges and universities that do not require either the SAT or the ACT. Read more

Student Research

New Research Findings: What American Colleges Are Doing to Attract Students

How are 120 American colleges remaining competitive and relevant today in athletics, community relationships, curriculum reform, and other areas they need to succeed? You can find out in “Innovation and the Independent College: Examples from the Sector,” a report that The Council of Independent Colleges published last March. Read more

Career Testing - Student Research Foundation

Questions to Ask Before Recommending Online Career or Aptitude Tests

If you are a high school or college career or guidance counselor, chances are you are on the lookout for good career and aptitude tests that your counselees can take online. And with good reason. Online tests are instantly available for your students to take, anywhere. Many tests are free (but not all). All the scoring is done for you, so you don’t need to spend time evaluating the tests your counselees have taken. And if a test has been ethically and intelligently constructed, it could just deliver some helpful advice and findings. Read more