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NACACNet > Collaboration & Networking > Blogs and Communities > Admitted Blog
April 24
On-Campus Collaboration Improves Recruitment, Speaker Says
eapphoto2.jpgStrengthening relationships among college departments is a crucial step in bolstering student recruitment efforts, according to the University of Maryland’s Shannon Gundy.
 
Gundy, who oversees undergraduate admissions at the institution’s flagship College Park campus, offered that advice during a Friday presentation at the Prince George’s County National College Fair in Maryland.
 
Her hour-long talk —which focused on enrollment management models — was offered through NACAC’s Emerging Admission Professionals program.
 
The work of admission personnel “cannot happen in a vacuum,” Gundy told those gathered.
 
Young professionals who take time to learn about the roles of other college departments, such as financial aid and housing, are better able to serve students.
 
They are also more likely to advance in the field, she said.
 
“When I have good relationships with folks across campus, it makes my life a whole lot easier,” said Gundy, whose university serves roughly 27,000 undergraduate students.
 
NACAC’s Emerging Admission Professionals program is aimed at college admission staff who have three years of experience or less in the field. In the 2014-15 academic year, NACAC hosted EAP training and networking events at National College Fairs in Pittsburgh, Columbus, Charlotte and Dallas/Fort Worth.
EAPPhoto1.jpg
Event attendee Alexandra Sutton, assistant director of admissions at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Pittsburgh, said her institution depends on collaboration across departments to host open houses, graduations and orientations.
 
The relationships developed through those events have improved recruiting efforts, Sutton said following the Gundy’s presentation.
 
“If a student asks a question and we don’t have an answer, we know who will,” she said.
 
For more information about EAP follow @NACACedu and #NACACEAP on Twitter.
 

Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes comments and story ideas at mstegmeir@nacacnet.org.

April 23
China, Neighboring Countries Investing More in International Education
Eddie WestThe landscape of international education is changing — and changing fast.

That’s the assessment NACAC’s Eddie West formed after attending last month’s Asia-Pacific Association for International Education conference in Beijing.

“More and more countries are vying to host international students, and the competition for those students is intensifying, said West, director of international initiatives. “China, in particular, wants to expand its role as a host country.

Roughly 1,500 people from across the globe attended the four-day conference, hosted by the prestigious Peking University. And from the lecture hall to the exhibition area, the energy driving the continent’s plans for higher education expansion was palpable, West said.

Increased investments in higher education, robust recruiting initiatives and a growing call for admission reforms are all evidence of Asia’s growing clout in the world of higher education, he noted.

Here are four observations from West's fact-finding trip:

 

The sleeping giant has awoken

Asian countries are on pace to exert more influence on international education.
 
China — already the third-leading host country for international students — has spent the last 10 years growing its education capacity by building more universities and improving the quality of its existing institutions, West said.
 
Other Asian nations, including Singapore, Japan and South Korea, have made similar investments in international education. Australia, a Pacific Rim country, recently released a draft strategy to increase the number of international students enrolled in its universities.

Shifting demographics could affect U.S. colleges

Although the number of international students studying in the U.S. continues to grow annually, the share of international students who choose U.S. colleges has actually declined in recent years, according to data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

And while China currently exports more of its students to the U.S. than any other country, increased competition paired with low Chinese fertility rates could affect long-term enrollment patterns at U.S. universities, West said.

A 2012 report by a researcher with the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institute found that current population trends could lead to significant decreases in China’s college-going population. In 2010, there were 116 million Chinese people aged 20 to 24. If China’s population continues to stagnate, the country’s population of young adults will total 67 million in 2030, projections show.

Support services more important than ever before

As competition increases, U.S. colleges and universities must invest in support services for international students, West said.

That means offering resources to help students succeed in the classroom, become involved on campus and gain real world experiences, he said.

One example? Offer clear pathways for international students to participate in Optional Practical Training and Curricular Practical Training. These unique immigration benefits provide international students with employment opportunities connected to their field of study.

“Savvy, smart schools are proactive in helping their students take advantage of those benefits,” West said.

Hunger for admission reforms growing in China

The Chinese Ministry of Education is granting more schools greater flexibility in how they determine their admission decisions, West said.

University assignments in China are traditionally based on a student’s score on the country’s national college placement test, called the gaokao.

“I think there’s a growing recognition in China that basing everything on that exam … is just not healthy for the long-term development of their society,” West said.

Data compiled for NACAC’s State of College Admission reports, as well as the association’s Statement of Principles and Good Practices, could serve as resources for those universities seeking to revamp their admission criteria, he said.

“We have decades upon decades of experience on how students’ interests can be protected in a very flexible admission environment,” West said.

Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes comments and story ideas at mstegmeir@nacacnet.org.
April 23
Study Offers Tips For Counselors Serving Hispanic Students

excelcover.jpgLatino students account for nearly a quarter of all K-12 students in the U.S., but are less likely than their white peers to apply to four-year colleges or universities.
 
A study released today by NACAC and Excelencia in Education offers recommendations to boost participation in higher education among Hispanics and other minority groups.

The publication — College Counseling for Latino and Underrepresented Students” — includes findings from a national survey, as well information gathered through visits to six U.S. high schools.

Study data shows that students are more likely to enroll in four-year colleges when high schools prioritize postsecondary admission advising and offer individualized counseling to students and their families.

The strategies, valuable for all demographic groups, were particularly effective in increasing enrollment rates among students at majority non-white schools, according to the report.

Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes comments and story ideas at mstegmeir@nacacnet.org.

April 22
Help Your Students Prepare for National College Fairs

college_fair500.jpgAll hail the humble highlighter.

Neon markers are a vital part of Dana Lambert’s efforts to help students make the most of their National College Fair experience.

“I make them come in with a plan,” said Lambert, a counselor at West Milford Township High School in New Jersey. “Once the big book (of fair exhibitors) comes out, we have them sit down and highlight the schools and the tables that they want to stop at.”

The strategy gives students “a sense of ownership” in the college research process, said Lambert, who also serves as a coordinator of the New Jersey National College Fair.

She offers these helpful hints for counselors preparing their students for National College Fairs:

Schedule student meetings: At Lambert’s school, each junior — highlighter in hand — talks with a counselor prior to the fair. “It helps get them in the right mindset, and we use it as a way to make sure they are prepared to make the most out of the fair,” Lambert said.

Promote workshops, counseling center: National College Fairs include workshop on various topics, including financial aid and student athlete eligibility. Each fair also includes a counseling center, oftentimes an invaluable resource for students with specialized majors, such as genetics or French horn performance. “There are resources available and there are people available who can help answer very individualized questions about the college search process,” Lambert said.

Involve parents: At West Milford, a parent group offers free busing to the fair’s evening session for parents and students. “Picking out and applying to colleges is really a family process,” Lambert said. “Attending a National College Fair is a very easy way for families to see a whole bunch of schools in a very small environment.”

For more information about NACAC’s National College Fair program, visit nationalcollegefairs.org and follow @nacacfairs on Twitter.

Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes comments and story ideas at mstegmeir@nacacnet.org.

April 10
Department of Education Releases Names of 500+ Colleges Under Heightened Financial Scrutiny

At the end of March, the Department of Education released a list of over 500 colleges and universities that are being monitored by the Office of Federal Student Aid under a policy known as “Heightened Cash Monitoring,” or HCM. The colleges on the list come from the public, private non-profit, and private for-profit sectors, though for-profit colleges account for over half of the institutions. In a blog post announcing the release, Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell writes that, “Heightened Cash Monitoring is not necessarily a red flag to students and taxpayers, but it can serve as a caution light. It means we are watching these institutions more closely to ensure that institutions are using federal student aid in a way that is accountable to both students and taxpayers.” Some institutions may come under HCM for fairly benign reasons, while others have demonstrated behaviors that warrant a higher degree of scrutiny.

 
There are two levels of Heightened Cash Monitoring. Both require institutions to make student aid disbursements from their own funds before drawing down federal funds to cover these costs. Most of the institutions monitored by the Department are placed under HCM 1, a lower level of monitoring which allows the institutions to easily access federal funds to cover these disbursements. A small percentage of institutions are being monitored under HCM 2, which requires institutions to submit a detailed request for reimbursement. To read more about Heightened Cash Monitoring and download a list of the institutions being monitored, as of March 1, 2015, visit the Office of Federal Student Aid’s website​.
March 26
Common Core Update
A couple of updates-

 

This month, several colleges became “PARCC Pioneers,” as they made announcements in support of the PARCC assessments as a placement tool to exempt students from remedial courses. Here’s the list of colleges, universities, and systems that have joined so far in the past month: 

 

  • ​Adams State University, CO

  • Aims Community College, CO

  • Illinois Council of Community College Presidents

  • Massachusetts Department of Education, the University of Massachusetts, and Massachusetts state universities and community colleges. 

  • New Jersey Council of County Colleges 

Still at issue, however, is how student scores will be transmitted to colleges and universities. Read more​.

 

​------------------------------------------------------------------------------   ​

 

Teach Plus and the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) administered a survey in 2013 to gain insight into teachers’ perspectives of the Common Core state standards. About 3,000 Massachusetts teachers participated. Here’s a brief summary of recommendations on how best to support teachers in the rollout of the new standards based on the survey results: 
 
  • ​Provide more formal training on the implementation of the Common Core State Standards to both administrators and teachers.

  • Make teachers the leaders of professional development learning opportunities on the Common Core State Standards.

  • Provide more Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exemplars in order to ensure a successful rollout of the new exams. 

  • Provide more student-centered technology and resources to help students best master the new standards.  

  • See the report for more detailed suggestions.

      

    For more information about the Common Core State Standards, visit NACAC’s webpage.​ 

      

    March 13
    Meet the #Essentials15 Presenter: Jennifer Schoen

    jennifer-northeastern.jpgJennifer Schoen
    Director of Opportunity Scholarships and Outreach Programs
    Northeastern University (MA)

    How has your career path led you to become involved in college access?

    Accidentally—at first, anyway! When I look back at my first job, I worked at a university that served first-generation students, only we weren't really talking about that population the way we are now. Since 2001, my role has been both in college access and success through the scholarship programs I have been privileged to direct. At the University of Washington, I coordinated both the admission process and retention efforts for about 100 new students per year, all of them first-generation students and from low-income backgrounds. Currently at Northeastern, I direct the selection and retention of about 30 new students per year from that same background. I enjoy helping students work through the admission process to present their best selves in the application, and then seeing their development as they grow during their college career. I only hope the students I've served over the last 14 years have learned as much from me as I have from them.

    What makes the Essentials program unique?

    It is a day of professional development designed for those in schools who can make a huge impact on the aspirations and readiness of students to get into and through college. As a presenter, I have the opportunity to share what I know, listen to the questions and challenges, and form a partnership to create solutions. As a participant, I will be listening to other presenters and the tips and strategies they offer to those of us interested in improving access and success. 

    Why is building college access and success partnerships important?

    Because education is a pathway. When there are barriers in any section that prevent college readiness, access is blocked. More importantly, our students don't gain the knowledge and the skills they need to create the future they dream of. There is no other way to build than to share knowledge and experience and create together. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. (Ghanian proverb)

    What steps can college counseling professionals take to continue to support college access and success?

    Celebrate small wins with your students—the effort to improve a grade, asking for help, using school resources, bouncing back from a setback, setting a goal, reaching a goal, reading about one college of interest, visiting one local college, drafting a personal statement, submitting an application, starting the FAFSA, getting admitted anywhere.

    What is your Twitter handle? (If you’re active on Twitter)

    @Zinjenzo

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The scholarship program at Northeastern is called the Torch Scholarship. It pays tuition, room and board, books, and fees for a six-week Summer Immersion Program and eight semesters of study at the university. Students also receive wrap-around support services and join a community of scholars. Students who are first-generation, Pell grant eligible and US citizens and permanent residents can apply during their senior year. 
     

    March 12
    Meet the #Essentials15 Presenter: Dr. Anna L. Green

    anna-green.jpgHow has your career path led you to become involved in college access?

    I have always wanted to be a teacher and crafted my path in college to prepare to be a college professor and earn a Ph.D. in educational psychology. I have enjoyed working with college students as a psychology professor for over 12 years and decided to leave academia to work with high school students. The path of college readiness for middle and high school students began for me in the Atlanta Public Schools District as a coordinator for College Readiness Programs for middle and high school students. This was exactly what I wanted to do and felt confident in bringing my higher education background to these grade levels.

    What makes the Essentials program unique?

    The Essentials program has invited scholars at various levels of expertise within their career paths and as practitioners we can share our best practices, toolkits and programming experiences with an audience that works with students first hand in the preparation process for college admission, matriculation and graduation. The title of Essentials leads me to believe that we will be equipped with the essential tools needed to be even more successful in this valued work. 

    Why is building college access and success partnerships important?

    They are beyond important—they are a package deal to ensure success for families! First thing is to understand what college access means, then explain it to a family of a first-generation college student and then surround this family with the combined support from school, community, and colleges and universities. We are in an age where college access only begins after years of exposure and awareness that must begin in middle school.

    What steps can college counseling professionals take to continue to support college access and success?

    The first step is to form relationships with the students and their families so information is shared, nurtured, supported, and reiterated from all and to all.  Second, giving students and families options of college and career choices that best fits them. This can only be done from a beneficial relationship that is created, cultivated and celebrated.  Last, professionals (teachers, counselors, administrators) can form support clusters amongst themselves for professional development support, sharing of knowledge and creating a college-career going mindset for their students, families and schools.

    What is your Twitter handle? 

    @ProjectGRADATL

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I offer advice to my colleagues and myself to not lose sight of what our work means to students and their families and how we can best serve them through learning more and doing more. 

     
    March 11
    President Obama Announces Student Aid Bill of Rights

    Speaking Tuesday at Georgia Tech, President Barack Obama announced the next step in his Administration’s college access agenda: a Student Aid Bill of Rights. The  “bill” not actually legislation, but rather a Presidential Memorandum directing several federal agencies, including the Department of Education, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Office of Management of Budget, to implement a series of actions to improve the student loan borrower experience.

    A prominent theme throughout the memorandum is interagency coordination. As students and former students are all too well aware, it can be difficult to determine what agency handles which portions of financial aid, oversees institutions or loan servicers, or is otherwise has responsibility for some portion of related oversight. The President's proposal calls for routine communication between agencies to share information and improve customer service. Some highlights of the memorandum include:

    Enhanced complaint filing system and database: ​The Department of Education will create a single location for borrowers to file complaints pertaining to federal financial aid, loan servicing (including private loan servicers and collection agencies), and colleges or universities. The system will also allow those who have filed a complaint to follow its progress as the Department processes and resolves the issue. This is due to be in place by July 1, 2016.

    Centralized federal student loan repayment portal: The Department of Education will create a central portal for borrowers to repay their federal student loans, regardless of which specific servicer has been assigned to their account. This will be completed as quickly as possible, though no particular date is given.

    Improved disclosures​ and consumer protections: In addition to studying and addressing gaps in statutory/regulatory provisions that could be preventing the Department of Education from implementing stronger consumer protections, the President has directed the Department to take some steps already within its authority. By January 1, 2016, the Department will require federal student loan servicers to issue more disclosures to borrowers, including information on transferring loans between servicers, notifications when a loan becomes delinquent, and alerting them to incomplete applications to switch repayment plans. Additionally, servicers will also be directed to apply prepayments (i.e., amounts paid above the monthly minimum) to those loans with the highest interest rate.

    Easier use of Income Based Repayment: The Department of Education will work with the Treasury to study the possibility of allowing borrowers to authorize the IRS to release pertinent income information for several years in order to qualify for and determine monthly payment amounts using income based repayment. The two agencies will have their recommendations to the President by October 1, 2105.

    A theme of interagency coordination permeates the memorandum, which emphasizes the importance of creating a simplified process of communication with borrowers to reduce confusion about repayment, and, ultimately drive down default rates. Among the measures the President has instructed the agencies to take are establishing a centralized portal for borrower complaints, streamlining the Income Based Repayment certification process, and enhancing consumer disclosures and protections. To learn more about the President’s proposals, consult the White House blog and fact sheet.​

     

    March 10
    Improving The Process of Transfer for Students (Continued)

    ​This post will continue highlighting recent discussion by transfer champion award recipients, exploring transfer issues. Below are some additional insights for working with transfer students, as shared by the panelists at the 2015 conference of the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students:

    What advice would you give to students who are transferring? 

    • ​I think one of the lies that transfer students tell themselves is, “I’ve got time,” “I can go explore.” And really the truth of it is, students should start planning their transfer the first semester at community college. 
    • Plan. Review the college’s website and see what they say about transfer students, about the transfer process, about the curriculum, etc. Visit the campus. Get as much information about the new institution as possible. 
    • To get involved and to get involved quickly. Find ways to take ownership of their experience and take advantage of the resources and opportunities that are there. 

     

    What’s the biggest mistake you see- either a college preparing students for transfer or an institution that accepts transfer students- in terms of facilitating student transfer?

     

    • ​Ignoring transfer students or viewing them as “second class citizens” (because they aren’t counted in the graduation rate metrics and other reasons). 
    • Making assumptions- whether it’s the students making them when they come in (the ‘been there, done that’ concept) or the institutions making assumptions about transfer students.
    • Not reviewing their policies, programs, and procedures. 
    • Losing sense of what it means to be student-centered. Institutions need to look beyond assumptions and stereotypes that often affect how we understand where students are and how we treat them, accordingly. I think too often I see practitioners and institutional leaders using false assumptions to drive their practice and policies. 
    • Leaving students out of the solution. Some of the best programs that I’ve seen are efforts where students have a voice and have some say in what these programs are, what they should be, and how they could respond to specific problems or challenges. And to the same point, I think empowering faculty and staff to have a role in the decision making process is also very important. 
    • Not getting to student’s soon enough and not getting students connected to the information when they’re most likely to hear it. 

    Visit NACAC’s Transfer Knowledge Hub​ for more ideas on how to support transfer students.

    The 2014-2015 Awardees of the NISTS' Bonita C. Jacobs Transfer Champion Award are:

     

    • ​Thomas J. Grites, Assistant Provost at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
    • Rebecca McKay, Director of Technology at AZTransfer, Arizona’s transfer articulation system.
    • Robert T. Teranishi, Professor of Social Science and Comparative Education, Co-Director of the Institute for Immigration, Globalization, and Education, UCLA. 
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