On December 3, the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) convened education leaders from around the country to participate in a national summit focused on improving access to postsecondary education for 21st century students. Unveiled at the summit was a documentary profiling five students who are the face of higher education in the 21st century. Students included two immigrants to the U.S. who are the first in their family to attend college, one at a four-year and one at a two-year institution, a veteran, an adult learner, and a student attending postsecondary education online. The students participated in a plenary panel, as well as five break-out sessions to discuss challenges and successes they faced in the context of ongoing local, state and federal policy.
While issues such as financial aid and consumer information were discussed during the summit, improving access to counseling and providing more resources/training for counseling professionals assumed increased prominence as the discussion turned from policy frameworks to helping individual students make the transition into postsecondary education. NACAC and its members stand to play a pivotal role in this discussion, and can benefit from widely disseminating research and advocacy in support of college readiness counseling.
Affiliate ACACs and other organizations wishing to view the documentary and/or show it at conferences or meetings should contact NACAC for more information.
Every other week, the Journal of College Admission will highlight a current article or other Journal-related findings. In this post, we hear more from Jean Kelso Sandlin, the author of “The Blog Dress Rehearsal: College Identity, Anxiety and Compatibility” (Downloads: Member / Non-member). She focuses on prospective college students’ experiences of reading student-written blogs on admission websites. The findings explain how the students used the blogs to shape their identities, assuage anxieties about college and consider college compatibility.
What made you think of looking at blogs from a student success angle, rather than a recruitment angle?
I’m actually interested in both angles. While researching the recruitment angle, I came upon a study by Kelleher and Miller (2006) that piqued my interest. They compared perceptions of people who read corporate web pages and those who read corporate blogs. They found the blog readers perceived a more “human” voice than web page readers and that those perceptions impacted relational outcomes, such as trust and commitment. Trust and commitment can really change the nature of interactions. Since there’s a lot of evidence that identity development is impacted through social interactions, I thought it was important to ask if these recruitment blogs, with their ability to be perceived as more “human” than standard web pages, impacted student perceptions and their relational outcomes with educational institutions. The “human voice” that Kelleher and Miller referred to was similar to the role “authenticity” played in my study. If students perceived the blog as authentic, then they were more open to interact, and that social interaction had the potential to impact their identity development, reduce anxiety and inform their college choice.
Did any student comments surprise you?
Yes. I really expected much more skepticism on the part of the students when reading blogs in which the message of the blogger was very closely aligned to the institution’s admission messages. But the difference in how students perceived the message was more related to their perception of the blog as authentic and less related to its alignment with the institution’s messages.
Why can high school students identify so greatly with college student bloggers they've never met?
Remember, they didn’t identify with every blogger. Just as you and I are more open to interactions with people we view as “genuine” or “authentic,” these prospective college students opened up when they perceived the blogger to be authentic. Only those bloggers the students perceived as authentic led them to internalize the blog and have more meaningful interactions with it.
How can colleges find authentic/effective student bloggers?
It’s not so much about finding the right bloggers as it is about setting the right expectations for the bloggers. It’s important to share with the bloggers the importance of accurately depicting their campuses, so when prospective students “try on” the institution, they are forming realistic expectations. That’s key, and it’s also the key to ethical recruitment. Once the bloggers understand those expectations, then the signifiers of blog authenticity from the study can serve as a guide on how to present the information in their blog so prospective students will be more likely to perceive it as authentic. For example, some bloggers may think they have to use a more formal tone since they are working for admission, but prospective students expect college students to be informal and conversational. My best advice is to instruct your bloggers to share their stories about college life as if they were talking to a friend or family member.
Now, post-publication, is there anything you'd like to add?
Identity development is impacted through social interactions, so any time you change the nature of an interaction to make it more authentic, there’s potential to shape students’ identities. New social media tools that foster more authentic interactions are being created every day, and pose a great opportunity and a great responsibility for those who use them to recruit students. Although this study focused on interactions with blogs, interactions with other forms of social media may also impact identity development. It’s an area ripe for study.
Dr. Jean Kelso Sandlin, assistant professor of communication at California Lutheran University, teaches public relations and advertising. She has more than 20 years professional experience creating and directing campaigns in various sectors, including education, government and healthcare. Her research interests include authenticity, social media, digital storytelling, and pedagogy.
Periodically, a member
of NACAC's Current Trends and Future Issues Committee will share data from
NACAC's annual surveys on the Admitted Blog. This post comes from committee member Elise Rodriguez, Director of
College Guidance at The Chapin School (NY).
November 1st has come and gone, and this year, so
has November 8th. And now,
for many of us on the high school side, so begins the wait. After the initial
elation that our students feel after successfully hitting the “submit” button,
the uncertainty and self-doubt creep in.
For these next weeks, and for some students, months, it is our job to
reassure students, and families, that they have done all that they can do. They
must keep breathing and trust in our friends and colleagues on the college
Trust, and the belief that our counterparts in offices of
admissions across the country are thoughtful professionals, seems to be a truth
that many students just cannot believe. The fact is, there is little mystery in
what we do. Yet, for reasons that are rooted in a loss of control, students
often speak of feeling that once they have hit “submit,” what happens to their
applications, and in their minds, their lives, is a process shrouded in ambiguity.
The reality is this: our students are applying to be
students again, and with this in mind, certain criteria must be assessed. These are the facts of admission. In order to
be a qualified applicant, you must meet the standards set by individual
colleges and universities. This means demonstrating, through your high school
performance, that you are capable of achieving the academic markers that each
college has set forth. Again, there is little mystery in what this academic
marker is. According to NACAC’s 2012 Admission Trends Survey, a student’s
grades in college preparatory courses and strength of curriculum were
considered by colleges to be the top factors in the admission decision, followed
closely by grades in all courses. In fact, about 83 percent of all colleges and
universities rated grades in college prep courses as “considerably important,”
followed by 65 percent for strength of curriculum. Colleges and universities
publish, in some form, their average admitted GPA. Therefore, our students know
whether or not they fall within this range.
For a great many schools the next factor of assessing a
qualified applicant will be his or her standardized test scores. About 56
percent of colleges and universities surveyed rated test scores as
“considerably important” in the admission decision. Again, for those
institutions using scores, they typically publish a middle 50% that helps to
inform student whether or not they are within the average range of admitted
It is after those two factors that the veil of uncertainty
begins to fall for students. This is where the subjective takes over and
students are no longer able to quantify whether or not they are a “qualified”
applicant. Did they play the “right”
sports? Musical instrument? Did they have the most impressive internships and
enrichment experiences available to them? What does it really mean to be a
legacy? Is their special talent really special enough?
The answer to all of these questions, and all the others
that are posed in the weeks of waiting, is, “It depends.”
It depends upon whether or not the school you applied to is
in need of an oboist, a harpist or a power forward. Did they yield a student
from a Dakota last year? What about the Classics department, are there enough
students? All of these examples, and many others, fall into the catch-all
category of “institutional priorities.” And the thing about institutional
priorities is that they are individual to each college or university, and they
are not typically published. They are also the school’s prerogative.
It is surrounding these unknowns of admissions that students
begin to fall down the rabbit hole. And it is here that we as professionals,
must do what we can to pull our students back from the brink and give them
context. Yes, after you click “submit” the decision regarding whether or not
you are accepted is firmly in someone else’s hands. But it was always going to be in someone
else’s hands. Students often see the college application process as being one
in which they are choosing a college.
For many, this is the first adult decision where they are fully vested in the
outcome, and after a long road, some feel as if they deserve to choose where
they attend. Unfortunately, this sentiment does not take into account the
finite number of beds at each particular institution. The reality is, it is the student’s choice
where they apply, but not where they
are ultimately granted admission.
The best thing we can do prior to the long wait of winter,
is help our students and communities understand that admissions, while not a
mystery, is complex. And when students are admitted to schools, we celebrate
and congratulate them. And when they are not, and they are grasping at straws
to figure out “why,” we sit with them, allowing them to feel; and then we
encourage them to move on and recognize that they have wonderful options from
which to choose. And that part of the decision is theirs
alone to make.
Craig Dodson, associate director of college counseling at Breck School (MN), shares his advice on offering professional development opportunities to emerging admission professionals.
Is your staff interested in professional development and networking opportunities? Encourage your colleagues to join NACAC’s Emerging Admission Professionals
. For more information about NACAC’s Emerging Admission Professionals, contact Rachel Adner
. How long have you been working in the college admission field? How has your career path led you to your current work as associate director of college counseling at Breck School (MN)?
I have been working in the college admission field for 13 years. I began as an admission counselor with my alma mater, the University of St. Thomas (MN), where I worked for four wonderful years. I then relocated to Philadelphia due, in large part, on my desire to pursue my rowing career, a sport I was involved with both in college and afterwards. However, given there is no funding for "professional rowers," I continued to work while in Philadelphia. I spent two years with the Community College of Philadelphia and another four and a half years with La Salle University, both amazing experiences. I made a shift when I returned to Minnesota in 2010 when I began my position at Breck School, moving to "the other side of the desk."
This move was driven by two factors: first, I had been seriously considering exploring the high school counseling side out of my desire to form stronger connections with students and work with them at a more impactful and developmental state in their lives, and second, Breck was the better fit for me personally and financially when I weighed my options in the position I would take. I assumed when in my position at La Salle, that my natural path would lead me to be a director of admission, when and where only time would tell. However, what I have learned about college enrollment, application, financial aid, and simply, the multitude of multifaceted and unique colleges in the US and abroad throughout my time as a college counselor cannot be measured. You became involved with professional development early in your career. Tell us about your experience. How have these opportunities strengthened your professional network and skills?
When I first began in admission in 2000, I was blessed to be in a place at St. Thomas where professional development and involvement in Minnesota Association for College Admission Counseling (MACAC) was mandatory. However, it was instilled within us that both great personal and professional benefit and fulfillment would come from this involvement. This culture was due in large part to my mentor and dear friend, Kris Roach. One day Roach approached me with the idea of serving on a MACAC committee. Given my political science background, the Government Relations Committee (GRC) seemed a logical place to start. Shortly thereafter, I attended my first meeting and walked into a room to meet none other than Frank Sachs and Phil Trout, two individuals who have had both significant professional involvement as well as influence in MACAC, NACAC and our field in general. I walked into a situation to have these two gentlemen as new mentors. And mentor, encourage and support me they did. After a year and a half on the committee, I was asked to co-chair—a position I held for my last two years in Minnesota. As I transitioned to Pennsylvania, I was immediately tapped for service in PACAC's GRC as well as their board and eventually this service led to serving on the same committee for NACAC. Upon my return to Minnesota, I naturally desired to continue to serve, and became involved once again with a number of MACAC committees, completing the treasurer's cycle and now sitting in the president-elect position.
I have been incredibly fortunate for all of my ACAC-related opportunities. First and foremost, my positions as I transitioned to Philadelphia and then back to Minnesota resulted from initial contacts I had to these institutions that began through networking in ACAC endeavors. I've built a tremendous network of individuals I consider both colleagues and friends from coast-to-coast, and on both the secondary and post-secondary sides. I simply cannot list all of the skills I have gained as a result of my ACAC work, but most importantly, I can effectively communication with anyone. My ability to lead is due in large part to opportunities and influential individuals I've been exposed to. We hear the phrase “you’re in for three, or for 30” describing the number of years spent in an admission office. Do you believe this statement holds weight? How do we keep emerging professionals in the industry for the long haul?
I absolutely agree. I admit I didn't know what to expect when I took my first admission job. Perhaps this is because few people grow up thinking "I want to be a college admission officer. Nonetheless, my longevity in the field mirrors what I suspect of most others who have dedicated their careers to the high school to college transition. For me, this comes down to three aspects. First, I believe in the work I do. Education is still the great equalizer, and is the one commodity you can attain that will only appreciate over time. Second, I have worked for great individuals at great institutions. These are people of principle who taught me about the field and even more about myself. Finally, I have been exposed to so much with regard to professional development opportunity and professional organization involvement. I've learned tremendously from my colleagues and have been put in a position to teach others, both of which aggregate in a sense of fulfillment and lifelong learning.
In order to keep emerging professionals in our field, we need to offer the same opportunities I have been given. However, we also need to continue to support and develop individuals who are at mid- and later points in their career, as these people are often those who will mentor the next generation. If they are not fulfilled, they will not as effectively mentor emerging professionals. If we challenge emerging professionals to move out of their comfort zones and learn as much as possible, while simultaneously offering them opportunities to develop personally and professionally, and have fun along the way, we will be in good shape in our profession for years to come. You’ve worked on both sides of the desk—college admission and high school counseling. What advice do you have for emerging professionals who know they want to help students but are unsure where they want to be?
The best advice I have is to ask as many questions as possible and to be open-minded so that when new opportunities present themselves, you can honestly and deeply consider them. I encourage people not to be afraid to take a leap of faith. An example in my own career was moving from a four-year, private college to a two-year, public institution. What I learned in my two years at the Community College of Philadelphia with regard to access, equity, transfer admission, serving the public, and complexity of our education system had a huge impact on my professional growth. Considering I also went from an institution of then 5,500 students and for all intents and purposes, a suburban location, to a place with nearly 45,000 students in an urban and diverse setting, was a leap some folks would be hesitant to make. The move was worth its weight in gold. What role do you believe senior managers play in developing their staff? How can senior managers encourage their staff to become involved in professional development opportunities?
I believe senior managers need to approach their positions as if their primary duty is to mentor and develop younger staff members. You cannot underestimate the impact our front line employees have on the education futures of our students, especially in representing to these students the opportunities that exist for them in higher education. Providing access to professional development opportunities adds personal and professional fulfillment via new and exciting work and access to other like-minded professionals. These experiences will result in a staff who WANTS to work in education. If they want to be where they are, and buy in to the purpose and importance of their work, then they will be more apt to give 110 percent to their jobs. In terms of how to encourage involvement in these opportunities, it simply comes down to awareness of what is available and finding fit with their employees.Can you offer any advice or resources for emerging professionals who are interested in pursuing leadership opportunities?
First and foremost, emerging professionals should be proactive and make sure their supervisors know of their desire to develop as leaders in the field. You have to be willing to take on more responsibility and willing to do the work, if you want to grow personally and professionally. I have had conversations with younger employees in the past who feel as if they hadn't been presented with opportunities to develop, and my first question is always, "Have you asked your supervisor about opportunities at your institution?" More often than not, the answer is "no." Any good supervisor will love to hear of an employee's desire to grow as a leader, and will work to find opportunities within their institution where an employee can learn new skills and offer professional development opportunities beyond the institution. Additionally, there are many professional development events and programs beyond just the affiliate and NACAC conference, such as NACAC's Guiding the Way to Inclusion
, Critical Components
, etc., and programs similar to our own Leadership Development Program in Minnesota ACAC, a year-long mentoring and growth program designed for emerging professionals to prepare for leadership both in their institutions and in the affiliate. Is there anything else you would like to add?
You never know where opportunity exists. Share what you do with the people you sit next to on the airplane or choose to sit next to someone new when you attend a counselor luncheon or ACAC meeting. That person may just be your next boss. Finally, choose to form deeper connections with professionals in the field—this will always be more rewarding than more surface level contacts.
Each month, a member of NACAC's Current Trends and Future Issues committee will share data from NACAC's annual surveys. This post comes from the committee chair, Chris Reeves, Counselor at Beechwood High School (KY).
Please allow me to begin with a story. 17 year old male. 13 Composite ACT. Maybe a 2.0 GPA. Free lunch.
First generation high school graduate.
Cognitively can handle the regular curriculum, but not without
effort. Maturity beginning to finally
kick in, but still having a hard time with life pressures and adolescence. Counselors working hard to get him thinking
about a realistic postsecondary option.
Perhaps remedial coursework or an apprenticeship of some kind. Receives an invitation and application from a
small, liberal arts university in our state. Their freshmen averaged 22-27 on
the ACT. Average GPA 3.5. Fifty-two percent acceptance rate. The kid is elated. He wants to throw his community college
application out the window. Here I am in
my own twisted ‘Choose your own Adventure’ book. Do we break it to him now? Do we send it in and not say a word, letting
the school send a denial letter in two weeks?
We sat him down. Chaos.
As I write this piece I have the same application on my desk
four years later for someone just as unlikely to attend this school. My question is, “Why on Earth would you send
a kid who isn’t even admissible to your university an application? Are you blindly trying to increase
applications? Are you trying to appear
more selective? What criteria did you
use? You realize he can’t get in,
right? Do you have any idea the
conversation that ensued? Do you realize
he refused to apply anywhere else since this was so much better than a
community college [in his eyes]? Why did
you do that?” These are all questions
that came rushing to my mind.
Fast forward to now. “Snap
Apps” are not going away. When the
president of the university sits down with the director of admissions and wants
more applications, it’s admission consultants to the rescue. I will not even
pretend to understand the inner workings of a university, but as a public
school counselor, I do know how it affects kids.
Here are some notes, by the numbers:
these types of applications are not going away.
Anyone on the college side reading this blog, I have a plea for
you: PLEASE be respectful and
responsible. It is simple. Don’t send them to those who probably would
not be admitted. Don’t offer a
scholarship before they apply; it reeks of desperation anyway. Don’t mislead students by offering a free
application when it’s already free. The
college application process is overwhelming and confusing enough; more
confusion only widens the gap between the haves and have nots. I understand you have your goals and
directives, but again, I plead to you, be respectful and responsible.
- 79 percent of high school counselors surveyed reported that they were
aware that some colleges send students “priority” applications. These are institutionally-branded
forms sent by mail or email that often, but not always, contain pre-populated
fields and may waive certain elements of the regular application (e.g. fee,
- Private high school counselors were more likely to be aware of priority
applications (95 percent versus 72 percent of public counselors).
41 percent of counselors said their students receive priority applications
“frequently.” Another 39 percent reported students “occasionally” receive
from schools with larger proportions of students eligible for free or reduced
price lunch (FRPL) were less aware and reported less frequent encounters with priority
opinions about priority applications was somewhat mixed. About 38 percent of
counselors rated the effect of priority applications as negative, 26 percent as
positive, and 36 percent as neutral.
from private schools and schools with lower FRPL eligibility were more likely
to report a negative rating.
Data from NACAC’s 2012 Counseling Trends Survey
Every other week, the Journal of College Admission will highlight a current article or other Journal-related findings. In this post, we hear more from Christina S. Chin-Newman and Stacy T. Shaw, the authors of “The Anxiety of Change: How New Transfer Students Overcome Challenges” (Downloads: Member / Non-member). They focus on obstacles commonly faced by transfer students before and after transition to a four-year university, and how transfer students can be helped in the transition from community college to four-year university by both institutions.
What motivated you to conduct this research?
Christina Chin-Newman: I am currently a faculty member at California State University, East Bay, a regional public four-year university at which many incoming students are transfer students. Before taking this position, I taught full-time in community college. Knowing firsthand about the obstacles faced by many community college students who intend to transfer, I was especially curious to learn more about how successful transfer students navigated their transition from community college to the four-year university. I had previously researched how social support helps teenagers who are highly accomplished in the arts; now I wanted to study how social support can help college students, and more specifically how transfer students can be supported during their transition to a four-year institution.
Stacy Shaw: My interest in the experience of transfer students dates back to when I was a transfer student myself. Now working as an education analyst, I am able to view this process both from personal and a research lens. However, it has become apparent that much of the research being conducted on transfer students, although quite useful, is centered around the academic outcomes of these students. Conversely, relatively little literature is dedicated to examining non-academic factors that might affect these outcomes, such as social support and learning online platforms. This “hole” in the literature has sparked my interest, and this study was designed to help narrow this gap in understanding just a little bit more!
After talking with these focus groups, what one piece of advice would you share with community college counselors?
Shaw: Be consistent, be accurate, be aware of the challenges students have had to overcome to even get to community college. Not only can students seriously doubt their ability to succeed, but they can lose motivation or hope of completing school upon discovering that they took the wrong classes and have to spend extra time at community college.
Chin-Newman: It would be excellent if community college counselors could teach students how to tell the difference between a class that is transferable as elective units, and a class that fulfills a specific transfer requirement for the four-year university (such as quantitative reasoning).
With four-year admission counselors?
Shaw: Whatever counselors could do to speed up the process of transfer unit evaluation would immensely reduce the anxiety transfer students face!
Chin-Newman: Before transferring, potential students would appreciate greater accessibility to four-year admission counselors, such as by having their questions answered online. Some students, such as those with disabilities, would additionally benefit from receiving specialized pre-admission services.
Were you surprised at anything the students said?
Shaw: I was surprised that students, who attended community college for a variety of reasons, felt that their work would not be good enough at the fout-year level. Some of the students who agreed that they faced this stigma went to community college because of the financial cost, not because of previous poor grades.
Chin-Newman: I was not surprised at what the students said, but I was surprised that they did not highlight financial obstacles to transferring. Perhaps this was because we did not specifically ask them about financial aid or financial challenges.
You reported that students weren't so sure about the value of orientation (and had trouble with the "college routine," including online systems, navigating classes/faculty, etc.). If you had to narrow it down to three areas, what should four-year colleges be sure to tell transfers during orientation?
- How the transfer unit evaluation process works
- How to enroll in classes/ navigate through online platforms
- Where to get questions answered in the future
What can we do to reduce the stigma that community college is the "minor league," rather than a smart, alternative path toward a degree?
Shaw: I believe there are three main things we can do to help reduce this stigma. First, to recognize that there is a stigma community college students face, and to be aware of this issue. Second, community college instructors can point out that the work the students are doing is comparable in rigor to the work that students at a four-year university are doing. Lastly, counselors can explain to students that many of those who transfer initially doubted their abilities, but were able to adapt well and succeed at the four-year level.
Chin-Newman: I would love to see a marketing campaign using famous alumni of community colleges as role models!
Now, post-publication, is there anything you'd like to add?
In the meantime, we have conducted follow-up interviews with these participants during their second term at the four-year university. We have found that although all of the participants had adjusted well to the new university, students who exclusively took classes online did not feel as immersed in the university because they lacked access to the same services and activities that other students had. We suggest not only increasing access to online counseling and orientation services, but also creating new programs, such as online peer mentors, online study groups and online clubs or social organizations.
Christina Chin-Newman is an associate professor of human development at California State University, East Bay. She began her career teaching in community college and that experience has motivated her to study transfer students.
Stacy Shaw is an education analyst at a non-profit research organization. As a previous transfer student herself, she has a special research interest in studying how psychosocial factors affect academic experiences of college transfer students.
Every other week, the Journal of College Admission will highlight a current article or other Journal-related findings. In this post, we hear more from OiYan Poon, one of the authors of “Beyond Tiger Mom Anxiety: Ethnic, Gender and Generational Differences in Asian American College Access and Choices” (Downloads: Member /Non-member). They focus on anxiety related to the Tiger parenting phenomenon, contending that it is important to understand the diversity of experiences among Asian Americans in college admission.
What was your initial reaction to the "Tiger Mom" phenomenon and what made you want to explore it further?
My initial reaction was, "Oh boy, here's another pundit getting tons of attention as some sort of expert on Asian Americans and educational attainment with no grounding in research evidence." I was pretty upset by how easily duped the public can be and how much money Chua was going to make from passing off her very privileged personal experiences as a universal representation of Asian American experiences. Ultimately, I was really upset by how racial stereotypes can pass as valid information. Asian American experiences are very diverse and this was being ignored and covered over by a pretty hackneyed racial stereotype. Chua has stated that the book was a personal memoir, but the way she wrote it and the way it was received by the mainstream suggests that it is being understood as an inside glimpse into the experiences of most Asian American families. Chua's portrayal of Asian American families, which the public was eating up as truth, did not reflect many of my former and current American American students' experiences. Her memoir of experiences was also very counter to my own experiences of being the daughter of Chinese immigrants. The contradiction between Chua's presentation, my personal and professional experiences, and extant research on Asian Americans and college choice and admission experiences presented me with an important research opportunity. Chua's book just doesn't tell much in the way of understanding the experiences of immigrant Asian American families.
What can we do to combat the mass-media-driven stereotype that Asian American students are driven overachievers with overbearing parents?
First, let's recognize that stereotypes, "positive" or negative, serve to dehumanize people. They make us think we know someone when we don't know much at all about their experiences. Research has shown that all parents, whether they be Asian American, Pacific Islander, African American, Latino, American Indian, Middle Eastern, white, etc., hold high value for education and high regard for college attainment. In fact, some research has shown that African American and Latino parents have the highest value for education, even though they are often stereotyped as having lower values for the education of their children. While all parents have been shown to highly value education, there may be a diversity of factors that motivate their drive.
Listen to students and their families, and approach conversations with students and their families in a way that allows them to tell you their stories. For example, when I was a child my father was always encouraging me to pursue studies in the STEM fields, even though my academic abilities were clearly in the social sciences. This parental guidance may seem rather stereotypical for an Asian immigrant parent. It would be easy from the outside to assume that my father was just "culturally" motivated to encourage his children to pursue STEM career paths. That is, until you had an honest conversation with him about what motivated him to act the way he did. As an adult, I've asked him why it seemed so important for him that my brothers and I pursued STEM studies and careers. Very bluntly, he told me that he experienced and recognized racism in the US, and believed that the higher numbers of Asian Americans in STEM fields might provide a buffer against racism for me and my brothers in our professional lives. In an honest and open conversation with my father, and surely with other immigrant parents, one might come to understand that parental motivations for high educational attainment among the second generation may vary and may be quite logically driven by personal experiences and recognitions of social inequalities faced by racial minorities, including Asian Americans, in the US.
Were you surprised by any part of your survey's outcome or by any individual student answers?
I was very surprised by the ways some of the male students just did not recognize the ways others had a hand at influencing their college-going pathways and choices, even though it contradicted some of the narratives they shared with me. As someone who is often focused in my work on race and racism, I had not anticipated such differences between the ways men and women may perceive their social experiences. Some past research and common perceptions present Asian American children of immigrants, both men and women, as having a strong sense of filial piety. However, my study showed that these familial ties and influences may not be as strong for Asian American men. It says a lot about how men and women are socialized in US society and reminded me about the importance of understanding peoples' identities in intersectional ways.
Now, post-publication, is there anything you'd like to add?
I'm hoping in the future to focus some of my research on immigrant Asian American parents' perspectives on the college access process. Because so many of them are often working long hours and some speak little English, I've often found it challenging to focus research on this population. The best way to evaluate Chua's characterizations of Asian American parenting related to educational attainments is to conduct a study that privileges this population's experiences, perspectives and voices. The worst part of the Tiger Mom stereotype is that it silences an already marginalized immigrant population, allowing educators and others to assume we know what their experiences and stories are.
Ultimately, I hope that this research can help to inform the ways educators like those affiliated with NACAC approach their work with diverse students and families. I look forward to receiving feedback on this particular article. I'm also very open to working with practitioners in collaborating on future research.
OiYan Poon is an assistant professor of higher education at Loyola University Chicago (IL). Her research interests include college access and admission policies, college student activism and community-based research methods. She earned her PhD in race and ethnic studies in education with a certificate in Asian American studies from University of California–Los Angeles (UCLA).
Ajani Byrd is a second-year PhD student in the higher education program at Loyola University Chicago (IL). He is currently a graduate assistant within the Office of the Vice President for Student Development. His research interests focus on students of color and their transition from two-year to four-year institutions.
In 2010, the Center on Education Policy (CEP) started studying state's ongoing implementation efforts around the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), which will be fully implemented by the 2014-15 school year. CEP's latest survey, "Year 3 of Implementing the Common Core State Standards," conducted this past spring, included 40 states that have adopted the CCSS (39 in math and 40 in ELA out of 45 states and the District of Columbia). Based on the survey results, CEP has released six reports
so far this year, which offer a glimpse into the challenges and achievements state education leaders are experiencing as they get closer to full implementation of the standards. Among some of the key findings are:
- All of the states participating in the survey, agree that the CCSS are more rigorous than their previous standards and will improve students' skills in these subjects.
- At the time of the CEP survey, most responding state education agency officials did not perceive opposition to the standards as being strong enough to derail state adoption of the CCSS in the near future. Among the vast majority (37 out of 40) of the CCSS-adopting states participating in the survey, officials considered it unlikely that their state would reverse, limit or change its decision to adopt the standards in 2013-14.
Note: The miscperception that the federal government developed the CCSS has fueled opposition to the standards in some states by some conservative opponents, including Tea Party members. These efforts have been unsuccessful for the most part and the situation remains fluid. NACAC has put together a blog post on the most frequently cited inaccuracies.
- Assessments: A majority (27) of the states surveyed have already taken steps to start assessing students’ mastery of the Common Core or will do so before the consortia-developed assessments are ready in school year 2014-15.
- Technology Challenges: A majority (34) of survey states report facing challenges with various aspects of preparing to administer the CCSS-aligned assessments. These challenges include ensuring schools have adequate Internet access and bandwidth (22 states said this was a major problem, 9 states said it was a minor problem) and sufficient numbers of computers to administer the online assessments (19 states said this was a major problem, 10 states said it was a minor problem). 27 states also cited as a major (15) or minor (12) challenge, providing expertise at the state, district, and school level to address technology problems that may arise during test administration.
- Other challenges: The majority of survey states reported challenges in providing CCSS-related professional development; 27 states said it was a major challenge (26 states) or minor challenge (11) to provide professional development and other supports for teachers in sufficient quantity and quality.
The majority of state education agencies (SEA) responding to the survey reported that they have forged formal partnerships with postsecondary education officials to implement the CCSS. However, a large majority (35) of the SEAs surveyed said that working with higher education institutions in their state to transition to the CCSS is a major (16 states) or minor (19 states) challenge (i.e. aligning college and university teacher preparation programs with the Common Core).
Read the full reports
To find out more about the Common Core State Standards visit NACAC's briefing room
As states get closer to implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in the 2014-2015 school year, families are hearing more about the standards through a variety of sources. Unfortunately, some opponents to the CCSS, including tea party members, are spreading inaccuracies about the standards in an attempt to derail the effort. Many states and other organizations have developed FAQ guides on the standards to combat these sources of misinformation. This blog post will highlight the most frequently cited myths, and in turn, the real facts about aspects of the Common Core State Standards.
Did the federal government create the Common Core State Standards?
No. The federal government had no role in the development of the CCSS and will not have a role in their implementation. The CCSS is a state-led effort coordinated by National Governor's Association Center for Best Practices (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The standards were developed in collaboration with a variety of stakeholders including, teachers, school administrators and education experts.
Is it mandatory for states to adopt the CCSS?
No. Adoption of the CCSS is in no way mandatory. Each state chooses whether to adopt the standards or not. Currently, 45 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the standards.
Are the standards a national curriculum?
No. The standards provide clear goals for student learning while, teachers, schools and local districts determine the methods and materials used to deliver instruction related to the standards.
The College Board recently released their latest "trends" report series that provides information on student financial aid, college tuition and other fees in the most recent year, as well as over time. The latest series includes the following reports:
Below is a brief look at some of the reports' main findings. On a cautionary note, it's important to remember that there's significant variation within each of the reports' reported averages; tuition prices vary dramatically across states and types of institutions, degree programs, family income, and many other factors. NACAC encourages you to read the full reports for more detailed information.
Income inequality has been increasing in the last three decades. Specifically when looking at the last decade, we find that even though no one was better off, the poor lost the most.
"Although average incomes for families in the middle quintile and above increased between 2011 and 2012, incomes remained lower (after adjusting for inflation) at all levels of the income distribution than they were in 2002. Declines ranged from 13 percent over the decade for the bottom quintile to less than 0.5% for the top quintile" (Trends in College Pricing, p.30).
Price increases at public four-year in-state institutions in the most recent year (2013-14) are moderate by historical standards. College remains expensive, but the latest data tell us that price increases have slowed down compared to recent years.
- Sticker prices: The 2.9% increase in tuition and fees for in-state students at public four-year colleges and universities in 2013-14 followed increases of 4.5% in 2012-13 and 8.5% in 2011-12 (before adjusting for inflation). When adjusting for inflation, tuition and fees increased 0.9% in the most recent year.
- Net prices (What students actually pay): Because of increases in grant aid and tax benefits, the average net price paid by full-time in-state students enrolled in public four-year colleges and universities was $650 lower (in 2013 dollars) in 2009-10 than it had been two years earlier. However, between 2009-10 and 2013-14, the average net price increased from $1,940 (in 2013 dollars) to an estimated $3,120.
State Funding: Over the past decade, (after adjusting for inflation) total state appropriations declined by nine percent. However, this figure is even more daunting if you look at state appropriations per full time equivalent (FTE) student (a decrease of 24 percent in the last decade) because enrollment has gone up over the same time period. This figure differs dramatically across states.
With the portion of state resources going to support higher education declining steadily in recent decades, the cost burden has continued to shift to students and families.
Total Pell expenditures skyrocketed in 2009-10 with a combination of policy changes, growth in enrollment, and economic conditions that increased unemployment and reduced family and student financial capacity. Pell expenditures decreased a little from '10-'14 as a result of lower grant averages and fewer recipients.
Total Pell Grant expenditures increased from $14.8 billion in 2002-03 to a peak of $37.5 billion in 2010-11, and declined to $32.3 billion by 2012-13.
When presenting the report series' latest findings, one of the reports' authors, Sandy Baum, concluded with the following recommendations:
- Appropriately targeted student aid
- Adequate public funding
- Better guidance for students; we have to help them decide if, when, where, what, and how to pay, and repay their loans.