Focus on the Future: An In-Depth Look at WICHE's Updated Knocking at the College Door Report
Brian Prescott, Director of Policy Research, Western Interstate Comission for Higher Education (CO)
In its recently released report, Knocking at the College Door (8th edition), the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) reports that while the number of public high school graduates will decline slightly before stabilizing in the next few years, graduating classes will be increasingly diverse. By 2019-20, 45 percent of graduates will be non-white—an increase from 38 percent in 2009. The country’s continued demographic shift represents challenges to our educational systems which to this point have not been able to effectively address the needs of students of color. The imperative to improve our practices at all educational levels has never been greater. This stimulating session will examine the state and regional growth models while highlighting ways in which counseling professionals can ensure that they are serving students and families with an eye toward the future.
Beyond Income Charts: Is College Worth It?
An uncertain economy punctuated by the fiscal cliff and extended tax cuts has left the average American more cost-minded and financially discriminating. Big ticket purchases historically seen as sound investments are being questioned, perhaps none more than higher education. As the cost to attend both private and public colleges continues to rise, federal aid becomes increasingly unable to cover a significant portion of the costs— causing many students stop or drop out at alarmingly high rates. In addition, an inordinate number of college graduates find themselves un- or underemployed— unable to make monthly student loan payments. Many families now wonder if the pursuit of a college education is worth it. Join deans and directors of admission for this provocative discussion on the return on investment and the varied paths to a college degree and learn ways in which you can address student and parent concerns related to this hot-button issue.
Breakout Sessions I
An Updated Look at the Use of Non-cognitive Assessments in College Admission
This session explores the use of non-cognitive assessment in the admission process at Oregon State University. The Insight Resume and similar tools are being adopted by schools nationwide. The session will cover why and how they were developed, how they are used to make admission and scholarship decisions and their impact on students and institutions nationwide.
Data: Friend or Foe?
As a follow-up to the keynote, this breakout will be a conversation that will focus on relevant college admission data, how we use it and why we can no longer ignore it. Additional topics will include data collection and analysis, and then using to eliminate and/or reduce achievement gaps. We will also discuss how to use data in curriculum implementation, program development and service delivery as part of your college admission counseling program.
Best Practices for Counseling the “C” Student
In national conversations about college admission, the discussion tends to veer almost exclusively toward students with the highest and lowest credentials. Little attention is devoted to ways in which counselors can help students with average qualifications navigate a path to college. This session will focus on the common challenges faced by the “C” student, while also highlighting effective strategies to engage this population in the college search process.
Step By Step: NACAC’S Hidden Gem
Navigating the increasingly complex college admission landscape requires that all stakeholders work together to help students and families make the best possible decisions regarding their postsecondary plans. NACAC’s free Step by Step curriculum offers clear and easy-to-implement resources to support the work of school, community-based organizations and college counselors. This session will provide an overview of the curriculum and highlight key elements that will assist
Breakout Sessions II
Effective Use of Social Media
NACAC research shows demonstrated interest has become an increasingly important factor in the college application process and more than ever before, students show interest without ever having to visit a college’s campus. With so many social media platforms at their disposal, prospective students can effectively gather information about colleges, market themselves, and signal to colleges that they have a keen interest in their institution. Receive helpful tips and ideas from an admission counselor who manages her institution’s social media channels during this interactive and engaging session.A Model of Commitment: Student Success in a Competitive World
The Arkansas Commitment program is a community-based organization that works with approximately 200 African-American students from more than 25 different high schools in central. Learn how this relatively small organization, in 2008, expanded to reach 9th - 12th graders, now boasts nine Gates Millennium Scholars and has had students matriculate to institutions across the nation, averaging between $900,000 and $1 million in scholarships, grants and financial aid awards per each cohort for each year of their college career. Also hear how Arkansas Commitment has developed a continuous pipeline of student success stories, the importance of relationships and partnerships, and the realistic competitive nature of admission.
The Oregon College Access Network is a statewide non-profit that helps Oregonians overcome barriers to training and education beyond high school. Founded in 2005, OrCAN has grown organically through the collaboration of members from different professional, personal and geographic backgrounds. We succeed by being the statewide hub for data and information; connecting people and organizations; sharing knowledge and resources; providing professional development and networking opportunities; and educating key leaders and policy makers about supporting preparation and persistence beyond high school. The Reality of College and Career Readiness
The Condition of College and Career Readiness report provided a snapshot of college and career readiness. After a short review of ACT’s latest research report, which looks at the progress of the graduating class of 2011 and 2012, a panel will discuss the practical ramifications of the findings.
How are the Graduating Classes of 2011 & 2012 performing in college? Using the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks and ACT® test scores, the Condition of College and Career Readiness reports provided a snapshot of college readiness at time of college enrollment. Now, we will take a look at these cohorts and examine their academic trajectory. The Reality of College and Career Readiness report analyzes what these cohorts are doing after their first year in college in the areas of first year to second year retention based on their demographics, college plans, high school academic performance and their expressed interests/needs. Following a review of the research, participants will discuss policies and practices that will help to increase both student readiness and success in postsecondary education.A Closer Look at the Controversy Surrounding Merit Scholarships
Recent studies show an increase in the number of colleges awarding merit scholarships. Critics claim that these dollars are going to students whose families can afford to pay the full cost of tuition and, in many cases, colleges are simply trying to improve their academic profile (i.e., ranking) by luring these students. Proponents of merit aid suggest it is a valuable financial program that allows colleges to compete with their peer institutions and diversify their student body. This revealing session will examine the basis for merit aid and provide attendees with knowledge and language they can share with their students and families.
Breakout Sessions III
Engaging High School Alumni to Support College Counseling Practices
The responsibilities and goals of effective college counseling are seemingly endless. Counselors are constantly working to help students and families make thoughtful and good decisions during the college search, application, and selection process. Think of this session as a break from the norm. This presentation will focus on ways to track and utilize the experiences and successes of alumni college counseling. If you strategically engage your graduates, you can develop a strong, meaningful alumni community that can share real-life insights and reflections, while also serving as pivotal advocates and mentors for your students throughout the college access and success process.
The Essay: Ways to Help Students Tell Their Stories
For many students, writing the college essay is the great challenge of the college application process. Fraught with questions of identity (“Who am I? What really matters to me?”) and voice (“How do the colleges want me to speak? Who is my audience? Do I sound smart enough?”), the college essay can often stall a student’s application process.
This session will describe what makes an effective, compelling college essay, exploring the key elements of the essay such as content, voice, tone, and length. This session will also provide various methods for helping students identify and develop topics, including some self-discovery exercises that encourage students to contemplate and connect key moments and elements in their lives.
Hot Topics in Admission
Panelists will participate in a discussion about the current trends in the college admission process.
Multicultural Students: Do they Understand the Admission Game?
Some students are playing Monopoly when they should be playing Uno. Different rules for different games. The importance of follow-up on applications or demonstrated interest - are these concepts first-generation students understand about the admission process? Do they understand that colleges expect prospective students to participate in tours, campus visits or respond to emails or phone calls from the admission office. Could they lose the game because they do not understand the rules? This session will make you aware of the practices some institutions use when considering applicants for admission. Help your student play the game and win.
Breakout Sessions IVA Closer Look at the New Common Application
The Common Application is being completely redesigned for the 2013-14 admission cycle. This session will detail changes and new features that students and counselors will see when the new system–CA4–launches in August 2013. An overview of training resources to familiarize users with CA4 will also be provided.
Engaging Parents in the College Admission Process
Many colleges, schools, counselors and social scientists talk about the dangers of the over-involved parent (helicopter parent, bulldozer parent, volcano parent). They cite the ways in which parental pressures can cause stresses in students, stresses which, in turn, cause students to underperform, act out, withdraw, or engage in other self-defeating behavior.
Much less has been said about the under-involved parents who, for a variety of reasons (socio-economic, educational, emotional) cannot or will not participate in their child’s college process. This lack of involvement can also have a significant, negative effect on a student’s ability to conduct an effective and satisfying college process.
This session will review techniques and programs to bring parents – over-involved or under-involved – productively into the process. These ideas will range from personal, one-on-one interactions to school-wide initiatives. Participants will be invited to share success stories from their own communities.
Intermediate-Level Strategies to Assist Students With Learning Disabilities
For students who have a diagnosed learning disability, counselor advocacy and input becomes increasingly important during the college application process. This session will educate counselors about the “do’s and don’ts” of the college application process for students with a diagnosed learning disability, as well as describe what counselors need to know (e.g., legal parameters, student rights, etc.) and how counselors can effectively communicate with colleges on behalf of these students.
The Role of the Common Core Standards to Ensure Career and College Readiness for All K-12 Students
The implementation of the Common Core Standards by nearly every state is arguably the most significant reform to impact K-12 education in decades. But how do school/college counselors fit into this development? This session will discuss the role that school/college counselors have in Common Core implementation and just how important they are in ensuring career and college readiness skills for all K-12 students.
Breakout Sessions VOn the Verge: Showcasing the Use of Innovative and Disruptive Technology
Over the course of the last decade, the college search and application processes have been inundated with technological resources to assist students. Tasks that were once burdensome for school counselors and college admission professionals are now handled in seconds. This session will not only examine the ways in which technology is presently utilized in the college search, but it will also look toward the future in an effort to contextualize the latest Ed/Tech boom.
Counseling Students for Transfer
Whether it is for fit, cost or academic preparedness, many students will transfer at least once over the course of their undergraduate study. Counseling students about ways to best utilize a community college, or to have well-strategized reasons for moving from an initially chosen school – to one that better suits their needs – is often overlooked. And what’s more, continually evolving policies and goals at both the local and national level pertaining to readiness and degree completion – including both technical and transfer-oriented associate’s degrees – makes the community college sector more vital than ever in meeting large-scale college success goals. This panel will present perspectives from a two-year institution as well as state-level leaders dedicated to redefining and supporting readiness through system-level planning.
Understanding the Landscape of For-profic Higher Education
From cable television to municipal buses to highway billboards, the presence of for-profit colleges in today’s higher education landscape is ubiquitous. For decades, state and federal governments have wrestled with this unusual combination of profit and education. Between 2000 and the present, for-profit colleges have exponentially expanded student enrollments, at potentially great cost to both students and taxpayers. How are we to counsel students in this environment? What do we make of for-profit overtures to school counselors? This session will explore answers to these questions, offer resources for learning more about for-profit colleges, and provide a historical perspective on for-profit higher education.
More Than a Fad: Making Sense of Gap Year Growth
Once considered taboo, the notion of taking a year between high school and college has seen a large boost in momentum—especially in the last five years. But what really constitutes a gap year? How are they viewed by colleges? Can participating in a gap year program hurt a student’s chance for admission? This session will outline the ways in which gap year programs are viewed in the college admission process—emphasizing the distinct differences between formal initiatives and DIY activities.
Breakout Sessions VIRural Area Recruitment: The College Perspective
Not every office defines a diverse student as one being from a "rural" area. However, from finances to manpower to personal attention, it takes an extraordinary amount of work and resources to recruit and retain students from rural areas. Or does it? This session will look at one university’s statistical data of recruiting students from rural areas and how those students fare once enrolled. Evaluating both the students and the university, this session will disclose the factors students chose in enrolling at one particular institution and their outcomes. Financial Aid- Practical Tools to Help Families Navigate the Financial Aid Process
Each year, students and families are faced with intimidating headlines and sometimes confusing messaging about the process of applying for financial aid, yet many counselors have never received the financial aid training they need to be comfortable assisting families through this process. In this session, you will learn about practical tools to de-mystify financial aid and to assist families through the process of applying for financial aid and making informed college choices. This hands-on session will cover tools to help with filing the FAFSA, evaluating financial aid awards, determining what college will cost, and considering responsible borrowing. Your confidence will allow you to work with the diverse families that make up our communities today, and enhance your school’s value to your students.An Updated Look at the Disclosure of Student Information
The disclosure of student disciplinary information continues to be one of the hottest topics in college admission counseling. Between Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), state laws, college and university application procedures, and high school policies, counselors can be left in a no-man’s-land of questions about whether to release student disciplinary information and how much to disclose. This session will explore NACAC standards for the release of student disciplinary information, provide background on relevant FERPA regulations, and offer an opportunity to share information with colleagues.Building Better Consumers: Helping Students Choose the Right Path After High School
Today’s high school graduates can choose from several postsecondary paths that could lead to a fulfilling career. Helping students choose the right one is a complicated process. Today’s counseling professionals are uniquely positioned to influence the way students and families are approaching this process. This provocative session will challenge attendees to re-examine their messaging and provide strategies to ensure that students are making more informed decisions and positioning themselves for success after high school.