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June 26th, 2017

Dual Enrollment

Elaina Loveland

Dual Enrollment is fast becoming the norm. Moving the Needle: Dual Enrollment Dual Enrollment dual enrollment, The Journal of College Admission, Number 236, Summer 2017, benefit, cost, savings, classes, skip, college credit, jumpstart, college experience, risk, grades, partnership, statewide, Elaina Loveland Dual Enrollment is fast becoming the norm. Stephanie Mui completed her master’s degree in mathematics at George Mason University (VA) this May—before her high school graduation from Virginia’s Oakton High School in June.She is the youngest-ever master’s degree graduate from the university—and it was made possible by a dual enrollment program.It all began in fourth grade when Mui was told she could skip math class. In the summer of her fifth grade year, she enrolled in a dual enrollment program Northern Virginia Community College. Taking classes online and taking one or two classes a semester and two each summer, Mui finished her associate degree by age 13. She then transferred to George Mason University and earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics in the summer of 2016—before starting her senior year in high school. Her age never became an issue. She never told her classmates she was younger than they were—and she blended in just fine. “I really felt like a normal college student with a normal college experience,” said Mui, about having finished her college and graduate degrees so early. “And it feels pretty good.”BenefitsWhile Mui’s story is aspirational, dual enrollment programs offer a wide range of students many advantages. Many families would say cost savings is at the top of the list. “There is a huge cost savings to students and families, and students have the opportunity to experience college in high school and it shortens their path to their degree,” said Yvette LeMore, director of the Lewis and Clark Community College High School Partnership/Dual Enrollment Program in Illinois. And for specific student populations, dual enrollment can help with college preparation. “Students, particularly those who are preparing to be first-generation college students, gain a great deal of confidence by being successful in these courses, knowing that they can negotiate challenging texts and ideas and take more ownership over their own learning,” said Christina Parish, director of Syracuse University’s Project Advance.But the perhaps the most remarkable benefit of dual enrollment is that it cultivates a college-centric perspective—one rooted in success. “I think it’s important to recognize that as we increase the numbers of students going on to college, we also need to be focusing on college success and getting a few of these courses under your belt has a very significant impact on your academic momentum,” said Adam Lowe, executive director of the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships, the sole accrediting body for concurrent enrollment partnerships.Parish added that dual enrollment is “a great way to jumpstart one’s college career.” AACRAO’s Dual Enrollment in the Context of Strategic Enrollment Management shows that 63 percent of colleges say completing dual enrollment courses improves the likelihood of being accepted to college.And after they are accepted, these students have a better idea of what to expect and are therefore more successful.“Skills like syllabus navigation, advocating for yourself to your professor, understanding that in college there are typically fewer assignments and therefore the assignments that you do have a greater weight, and you need to put your 100 percent best effort into those assignments are essential understandings for any student going into college,” said Michael Dunn, director of college counseling at AIM Academy (PA).Managing Risk “Students participating in these programs do generate a college transcript, and so poor performance in a course can have some negative impact in the longer run,” said Lowe.Lowe advises school counselors to work and make sure students and families are aware that there is some risk to having a poor grade, but “at the same time show them the value of stretching themselves academically.”Many dual enrollment programs closely monitor their student’s academic performance to mitigate the risk of a student not performing well and earning a poor grade.To help make sure students on track academically, Dunn plays the role of a student support advocate in AIM Academy’s dual enrollment program with Cabrini College (PA). Twice a week, he hosts study hall sessions at Cabrini in the library for the students. “We talk about how things are going in classes, how their notes are going, what method they use to take notes and whether it’s effective, and how they are studying for their next test,” explained Dunn. If a student consistently performs poorly, Dunn pays close attention to the course withdrawal date so the student can withdraw from the course before the deadline. Kent Scheffel, vice president of enrollment at Lewis and Clark Community College (IL), said that the state allows the Lewis and Clark’s High School Partnership/Dual Credit Program to withdraw dual credit students from courses on a later date than typical college students. Having a later withdraw date can allow students who are doing poorly to avoid a low grade appearing on their transcript. “Parents and students need to realize early on that it really is a college course with the same rigor and standards and they need to take it seriously or it can have long-term implications,” said Scheffel.The University of Connecticut’s UConn Early College Experience program goes a step further to help mitigate risk. Students who earn a C or higher receive credit for their UConn courses. If a student earns a C- or below, the grade converts to an audit on their transcript. “This opens up the opportunity to take these courses with a little bit of a safety net,” explained Brian A. Boecherer, executive director of University of Connecticut’s Office of Early College Programs and UConn Early College Experience program. “This policy aligns with transfer credit policies—where classes with a C or higher would transfer to another university. The same principle is applied for our students for transferred courses.”An Option For All Lowe said that dual enrollment programs aren’t just for high-achieving students, like they were several decades ago.“We as an organization recently adopted a vision where we made very clear that we believe these courses and programs ought to be available to all high school students, rather than being available solely to the high-achieving students,” explained Lowe.Lowe also emphasizes that there are several models of postsecondary education that dual enrollment programs fit into. “‘College’ means any postsecondary education, and in this day in age, there are a lot of very high-value associate programs and high-value certificate programs that community and technical colleges offer that are often available through dual enrollment,” said Lowe.AIM Academy sees dual enrollment as such an advantage to students that 100 percent of its seniors participate in a dual enrollment program in partnership with nearby Cabrini College. The formal partnership between the school and Cabrini College began six years ago. The AIM Academy approached local universities directly to form a dual enrollment program because they wanted to prepare their students for the rigors of college coursework “without dropping them off in the deep end,” Lowe explained. “Part of our philosophy is that we view dual enrollment as experiential learning for how to be a successful college student,” said Dunn. “We want all of our graduating students to walk away with the most solid understanding of what they’re going to need to do during their early years at college to be successful in the classroom.”A growing number of high schools even host dual enrollment in the building. For example, Syracuse University’s Project Advance (SUPA) trains qualified high school teachers teach university courses during their regular high school day. Parish, Project Advance’s director, outlines how teachers train at a Summer Institute. “SUPA teachers spend the week working very closely with our SU faculty to become familiar with the courses, which benefits students’ college readiness. There is a constant dialogue and close collaboration between faculty across secondary and postsecondary institutions.”Lewis and Clark’s High School Partnership/Dual Credit Program has approximately 2,000 students participating each year. This state-funded program allows high school students to learn without leaving their building.Dual enrollment is also a great fit for homeschoolers. Melinda Stewart, an independent counselor in Littleton, Massachusetts, has worked with community colleges to help homeschool students achieve associate degrees before they graduate from high school. “It’s difficult to get an accredited [high school] diploma as a homeschooled student,” explained Stewart. Having the degree makes it much easier for these students to transfer.Some students fulfill the requirements for an associate degree but take the courses as high school courses rather than for college credit, so they can apply to universities as freshman. States Taking the LeadMinnesota launched the first statewide dual enrollment initiative in the 1980s. Three other states—Arkansas, Virginia, and Utah—were early to take dual enrollment programs statewide, and many more states have started programs since. Ohio launched a dual enrollment initiative College Credit Plus as in the 2015–2016 academic year. Twenty-three community colleges, 13 universities, and 35 private higher education institutions participated. The cost savings in just one year of the statewide program is considerable. The Ohio Department of Higher Education reported that in the 2015–16 academic year—the very first year of the program—more than 52,000 Ohio high school students took college classes earning college credit while meeting their high school graduation requirements, collectively saving more than $110 million on college tuition.Ohio knows this is worth the investment.“Advantages for Ohio include having citizens who have acquired education beyond high school, industry-recognized credentials, and degrees,” said Larisa Harper, director of College Credit Plus at the Ohio Department of Higher Education. “This program is one strategy to help Ohio move the needle on the attainment goal of having 65 percent of its citizens with a degree, certificate, or other postsecondary workforce credential of value in the workplace by 2025,” she said.Counselor Connection School counselors are the link to both developing and established dual enrollment programs. “School counselors play a huge role in terms of facilitating getting students in these classes,” said Lowe. “We see a number of places where school counselors are really the glue for our program, and are sometimes even called a site director for a concurrent enrollment program.”For school counselors who want to explore developing their own dual enrollment programs, Dunn said to look beyond the local community college. “There are lots of small liberal arts schools all around the country that would love to have high school students,” said Dunn. “We found that the liberal arts institutions in our area have been really supportive of our students, and offered much different opportunities for them than community colleges have offered.”Dunn also encourages school counselors to have the conversation about college preparation versus transfer of credits. “If the goal is to transfer credits, maybe the community college is a fine option, but if the goal is to prepare kids for college, then I would say a liberal arts school might be a better option.”No matter the formula, Mui, who will attend New York University to pursue a PhD in mathematics in the fall, said that balance is key for students who want to earn college credit in high school.“With dual enrollment, you need to learn how to keep a balance in your life,” advised Mui. She said when students choose true academic interests, time management will fall into place. Elaina Loveland is a freelance writer and the author of Creative Colleges: Finding the Best Programs for Aspiring Actors, Artists, Designers, Dancers, Musicians, Writers, and More. Dual Enrollment

June 26th, 2017

Toward a Better Letter

Jim Paterson

Letters or recommendation consume a lot of time and thought as they are solicited, written, and read, and, while many high school and college admission officials say that work pays off by providing a university with valuable and sometimes unique information about prospective students, most everyone also agrees they could be more effective. Toward a Better Letter Toward a Better Letter letters of recommendation, letter, rec, Jim Paterson, The Journal of College Admission, Number 236, Summer 2017, writer, reader, application, admission, enrollment, stories, insight, achievements, specific, Rebecca Sabky, Dartmouth Letters or recommendation consume a lot of time and thought as they are solicited, written, and read, and, while many high school and college admission officials say that work pays off by providing a university with valuable and sometimes unique information about prospective students, most everyone also agrees they could be more effective. Letters of recommendation don’t always measure up. How could they get better?At a local high school, a counselor and an AP teacher both are again staying late, staring into their computer screens at letters they’ve been meaning to write for several weeks but never seem to complete. And just up the highway, also behind schedule, a group of college admission counselors are working their way through stacks of similar letters.They all have something else in common. They aren’t certain about the value of the effort.Letters or recommendation consume a lot of time and thought as they are solicited, written, and read, and, while many high school and college admission officials say that work pays off by providing a university with valuable and sometimes unique information about prospective students, most everyone also agrees they could be more effective.“Sadly the goals of the letter writer and letter reader are sometimes at odds with each other,” said Nathan Kuncel, a professor at the University of Minnesota who has studied letters of recommendation. He said letter writers want students to get in the school of their choice while colleges want clear, accurate information that can help many students improve their status but might exclude others. Former Dartmouth Director of Admissions Rebecca Sabky was more critical of the process in a recent New York Times article, even as she celebrated one letter that had an impact on her (see sidebar).*****Letters that StickA recommendation letter played a key role in getting a student into Dartmouth College (NH) recently, not so much because of what it said but because of who it was from and what the relationship behind it said about the student.Writing in the New York Times, Rebecca Sabky, the former head of admission at Dartmouth, tells how the letter on behalf of an applicant from a school janitor convinced the Ivy League school to admit the student.The custodian wrote about the student’s thoughtfulness—the only person in the school who knew the names of every member of the janitorial staff. He turned off lights in empty rooms, consistently thanked the hallway monitor and picked up rooms even if nobody was watching. This student, the custodian wrote, “had a refreshing respect for every person at the school, regardless of position, popularity or clout.”“Over 15 years and 30,000 applications in my admissions career, I had never seen a recommendation from a school custodian,” Sabky said. “It gave us a window onto a student’s life in the moments when nothing ‘counted.’ That student was admitted by unanimous vote of the admissions committee.”*****“Letters of recommendation are typically superfluous, written by people who the applicant thinks will impress a school,” she wrote. “They generally fail to provide us with another angle on who the student is, or could be, as a member of our community.”Others, however, think they are useful but could be improved, especially if all three players do a better job of making sure the letters serve the purpose intended: helping the college and the student find the right fit. “A so-so letter can make a reader question an otherwise solid application,” said Suzanne McCray, director of admissions at the University of Arkansas. “But others find a way to lift the student off the page. Those can improve a good, but not great, application and make a committee interview or accept a student or award them a scholarship.” Beth Wiser, executive director of admissions at the University of Vermont, agreed. “The most memorable are those that tell a story about a student and bring it to life,” she said. “I want to get a sense of the student’s personality, or find the student has really made a connection with their high school and the community. That will often make an impact in the review process.”Where They Go WrongKuncel said the letters aren’t as effective as they could be for a few reasons.The writer typically is biased, he said. A student chooses a reference because they believe that person likes them or admires their work and is therefore a supporter. There also is pressure on letter writers, aware they might diminish the student’s chances at the school or that the student could see or hear about the letter. Generally, experts also say people are flattered to be asked and usually are positive in their comments. In fact, research shows fewer than 7 percent of applicants for schools or jobs receive average or below average assessments. “Given that most applicants select the people who will be their reference providers, we probably shouldn’t be surprised by the lenient ratings,” said Michael Aamodt, a psychology professor at Radford University in Virginia, who also researched the process.He said the writer’s personality plays a role: They may not think that a certain good or bad quality is important and downplay it—great social skills or introversion, for instance, or the student’s habit of planning poorly and turning in late work, especially if a similar trait afflicts them.Kuncel said admission officials and others reading letters of recommendations should be aware of bias on both sides and differing goals. However, he and other experts warn against colleges being too cynical about letters of recommendation, discounting or ignoring them and missing good data. “Even in their current form they actually capture some useful information and can add to admission applications if used correctly. Our research suggests that they give us the most information about a student’s motivation and drive, and can meaningfully improve our ability to predict whether they’ll finish the degree.”Aamodt said readers should still search for information of value even if letters seem excessively flattering.“Rather than using letters of recommendation as a separate evaluation tool, admission committees should use them to fill in missing pieces—things such as participating in class discussions or never missing class,” he said. “Those are things that are probably not in the application materials.”The Reader’s PerspectiveAamodt also said that because writers focus on issues important to them, colleges could get better information if they requested brief letters about specifics. “For example, they might want to know about writing skills, analytical skills, or the ability to work on team projects,” he said. In addition, he said individual schools should develop a rating system for their admission counselors that ranks letters on certain criteria “to indicate how strong the endorsement is” then factor that into other findings or include it in any statistically-driven selection system.Deniz Ones, the co-author of Kuncel’s study and a colleague at the University of Minnesota, said letters are more accurate when accompanied by a score, but she recommends a ranking provided by the writer using standardized criteria. And, she said they are more accurate when several writers contribute their thoughts.Ones also recommends colleges specifically look at characteristics that aren’t captured on other application material such as transcripts and standardized tests. “Discipline, curiosity, typical intellectual engagement, and interests have been shown to relate to academic success,” she said.To help letter writers, McCray believes it is important for colleges to offer written guidelines or information sessions for counselors and other educators, including AP teachers, who often write recommendation letters. Giving students specific directions also is important, said Candance Boeninger, director of admissions at Ohio University. “We encourage them to find recommenders who truly know them well and can specifically address whether and how the student is academically prepared to succeed in our environment.” She says they also tell students to think about what information will enhance their application, consider who can address it, and give the letter writer some guidance about what they hope the letter will address.Richard Nesbitt, director of admissions at Williams College in Williamston, Massachusetts, suggests colleges seek references from teachers since they work with a student every day. “An effective teacher reference provides a direct assessment of the student’s classroom performance, intellectual engagement, curiosity, creativity, and potential for academic growth,” he said. They know about their ability to read carefully and critically, understand and analyze complex ideas, write clearly and persuasively, engage in class discussion, and manage time and work load efficiently, he said.“If a student asks for a general recommendation letter,” said Boeninger, “too often that’s all they and the college will get.”For the WritersExperts say school counselors and others charged with writing letters of recommendation should provide applicable, specific insight.“The more detailed the letter, the more likely we are to use it in the review of a student file,” said Aundra Anderson, director of admissions at Washington College (MD). She said standardized forms and block letters are less likely to be used. “Examples are the best. Johnny is a leader? Great, can you give us an example of a time he showcased his leadership skills.”Nesbitt also believes letter writers should be encouraged to discuss any examples of character, interpersonal and collaborative skills, and resilience that a letter writer directly observed.“We look for compelling information,” said McCray, “something that goes beyond a list. We look for stories that give a face to the student, that take us beyond service hours, GPA, and scores. What makes the student tick? Is the student really engaged in some way? We know that engagement will transfer to other kinds of involvement as well.”Writing in Atlantic recently, teacher and writer Andrew Simmons put it this way: “My job is not to draw big neon circles around a student’s achievements so that an admissions officer will pay more attention to them. Instead of bragging on behalf of the student, I want to render human the person admissions officers may view as a collection of letters and numbers, to say what those grades and scores cannot.”He wrote that letter writers should think of themselves as a combination of detective and journalist, accurately investigating the student and reporting their findings.Related to that, McCray said she appreciates it when a counselor or other letter writer explains an issue that might come up elsewhere in the application. For instance, they might discuss the test anxiety of a student with lower than expected SAT scores, describe how an illness affected a student’s grades for a quarter, or even explain how a once unsuccessful student has developed new habits.“Is there a hardship that the student has overcome that connects to motivation? If the writer has a real abiding concern, what is it? Has the student learned from whatever the issue might be? Can the letter writer make the case for why it should not be an issue?”Kieron Miller, vice president for enrollment at Whittier College (CA), said recommendation letters should be a narrative more than a checklist.“The best letters tell stories that offer insight. Stories that reveal something not revealed elsewhere in the application. Stories that are memorable and effective with concrete examples to make a student come alive in a way that goes beyond a list of achievements, adding color to an application.” Jim Paterson is a writer and former school counselor living in Lewes, DE. Toward a Better Letter

June 26th, 2017

Non-Scholarship Athletes

Brennan Barnard

A great deal of media attention is given to Division I athletics, with hype around early commitment, signing ceremonies, and full-ride scholarships. But what about the majority of college athletes—those who don’t anticipate huge scholarships and national attention? They need to “drink early and often” too. Guiding the 98%: Counseling Non-Scholarship Athletes Non-Scholarship Athletes drink early and often, The Journal of College Admission, Number 236, Summer 2017, National Collegiate Athletic Association, NCAA, sports, college, athletes, athletics, admission and counseling professionals, coaches, coach, ability, recruitment, non-scholarship, scholarship, scholarships, athletic conferences, student athlete, Brennan Barnard A great deal of media attention is given to Division I athletics, with hype around early commitment, signing ceremonies, and full-ride scholarships. But what about the majority of college athletes—those who don’t anticipate huge scholarships and national attention? They need to “drink early and often” too. There is a mantra in the long-distance running community—“drink early and often.” Marathon running requires equal parts stamina and strategy, ample foresight and planning.So does the athletic recruiting process. A great deal of media attention is given to Division I athletics, with hype around early commitment, signing ceremonies, and full-ride scholarships. But what about the majority of college athletes—those who don’t anticipate huge scholarships and national attention? They need to “drink early and often” too. Collegiate athletics can be extremely rewarding, allowing students to continue something they love, while also creating connection, camaraderie and opportunity, honing character through rigor and adversity. But all too often, it can also be misleading, complicated, and restrictive—forcing young people to narrow their college search. According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), colleges and universities offer over $2.7 billion in scholarships each year. However, only about 2 percent of all high school athletes can expect to be awarded any money to play sports in college. As admission and counseling professionals who work with the remaining 98 percent, it’s our job to help aspiring college athletes understand the ins and outs of applying to college as athletes. Passion or PatternAs with every aspect of the college search and application experience, students must start by articulating their reasons to pursue recruitment and competitive athletics in college. Pure love of the game? The camaraderie and connection of a team? Admission to a more selective college? If students aren’t clear about why they are pursuing this avenue, they risk losing ownership of their decisions and outcomes.Some students—immersed in a sport as long as they can remember—don’t know any different. They need to pause and make sure they don’t get swept up in the influences of recruitment. High school and club coaches have a vested interest in their athletes’ achievements, and college coaches and admission officers are concerned with fielding strong teams with quality applicants—after all, this is their livelihood. They may not pause either—unless the counselor or student asks for an honest assessment. Andy Strickler, dean of admission at Connecticut College, advises students to get an objective opinion. “Someone needs to be honest with the student about their ability level. Too many student-athletes have an inflated sense of athletic ability and when they realize they are not the star player they once thought, we may have a retention issue,” he said. In college admission counseling we explore what experiences a student hopes to have beyond high school. We take into account their abilities, then we help them build a list. Athletic recruitment is no different. Search SmartStudent athletes and their families always want to know when they should start the recruitment process. As with most guidance in college admission, the answer is “it depends.” While the NCAA has clear guidelines for coaches and athletes about when communication is permitted, there are certainly creative workarounds that enable recruitment to begin as early as ninth grade for some sports. Despite increasing resistance to this timeline for student athletes, the reality remains that they must maintain an earlier focus on college than the average student. A NCAA survey found that a quarter of all Division III college athletes were walk-ons. And another 9 percent report being recruited after enrolling. This means that almost two-thirds were recruited in high school. Conventional wisdom is that students should consider the beginning stages of this process as early as ninth grade. Athletes must be sure that they have their high school courses mapped out to meet eligibility requirements and have a plan to attend summer camps and athletic showcases to gain exposure to college coaches.As with other areas of college admission, there is no shortage of “experts”—websites and other outfits who are happy to take a family’s money with the promise of college recruitment. While some students find agencies useful in managing the process, there are a host of free resources for the college-bound athlete. The NCAA provides a variety of helpful tools to aid students as they navigate recruitment. Many sports organizations also offer recruiting information. Art McCann, dean of college counseling at Crossroads School (CA), said students can and should take ownership of this process. “Research athletic conferences. Conferences are made up of like-minded institutions. This helps you find more schools. Then research the rosters and the players. Ask: How big and tall are they? Google the athletes to learn what accolades they received in high school. Are you earning similar accolades? Weak win-loss records could indicate a better opportunity to make a roster and/or receive playing time, but how much school culture and or selectivity/prestige are you willing to sacrifice to make the roster?” McCann advised.Carey Thompson, vice president for enrollment and communications at Rhodes College (TN), said students need to get out there and investigate. He suggested, “Be proactive. Don’t wait to be recruited. Recruit yourself by reaching out to coaches early and often. Talk to the coach about the sport. Talk to admission about admission.” The most effective resources are coaches and counselors, and success is found when the lines of communication are fluid and consistent. Recruiting Realities According to the NCAA, out of the nearly 8 million high school athletes, only 6 percent (nearly half a million) will compete in NCAA sports in college. Of those collegiate athletes, it is predicted that 2 percent will go on to play professional sports.So for the typical student, college should mean more wins off the field than on it. Make sure students understand the realities of their path. Those distracted by the strength of a team or recruitment offers may neglect to conduct a comprehensive college search. Strickler warned, “Don’t let your college search get hijacked by a coach. Too many students end up looking at a particular college because they are being recruited to play a certain sport by a coach. A lot of times, that can steer an applicant to the wrong place athletically, geographically, financially, socially, or otherwise.” Students may not feel like they’ll ever change plans, but remind them that life is unpredictable, so it’s best to have a Plan B… and maybe Plans C and D.Rhody Davis, director of college counseling at Viewpoint School (CA), said getting students to consider other criteria is essential to their success. “Encourage students to have a host of options and to develop an alternate list that doesn’t take the sport into consideration,” he said.And sometimes, plans are changed for them.Mike Sexton, vice president for enrollment management at Santa Clara University (CA), said students need to consider the worst-case scenario. “Don’t forget the ‘what if you blow out a knee’ test. Is your college choice still the place you would want to wake up for four years if you couldn’t play anymore?” he asked.Recruited athletes often note that the most valuable resources are former teammates or classmates who have weathered the process. They recommend connecting with others online. Athletic participation can be an important part of a student’s college experience and the best guidance educators can offer scholar-athletes is that of managed expectations and setting clear and realistic goals. We are here to help young people courageously start, but dream smart. Summer reading for you and your student athletes:Understanding Athletic Recruiting by Jeffrey Durso-Finley and Lewis StivalThe Game of Life by James Shulman and William BowenReclaiming the Game by William Bowen and Sarah LevinGame On by Tom Farrey Playing the Game by Chris LincolnThe Winning Edge by Frances and James KillpatrickBrennan Barnard is director of college counseling at The Derryfield School (NH) and a NACAC member. Non-Scholarship Athletes

June 22nd, 2017

Blocking Bulldozers

Scott White

Helicopter parents prevent a child from dealing with things like loneliness, self-sufficiency, and taking risks. Bulldozer parents prevent children with dealing with obstacles and setbacks. Helicopter parents prevent kids from growing up. Bulldozer parents prevent them from developing character. Blocking Bulldozers Blocking Bulldozers helicopter, bulldozer, Velcro, Scott White, The Journal of College Admission, Summer 2017, Number 236, How to Raise and Adult, parent, parents, hover, hovering, blocking, student-led, college search, college application, college admission process Helicopter parents prevent a child from dealing with things like loneliness, self-sufficiency, and taking risks. Bulldozer parents prevent children with dealing with obstacles and setbacks. Helicopter parents prevent kids from growing up. Bulldozer parents prevent them from developing character. Balance is tough, especially when it comes to boundaries with our children. As a college counselor, I tried hard to minimize my involvement in my own daughter’s college process. Yes, I supported her by taking her on multiple overnight college tours. But ultimately, it was her search, her choice.One of my proudest moments as a parent was when she was being interviewed by our local paper about a scholarship she had won. She was asked, since her father was an experienced college counselor, whether I had helped her in the process. She remarked, “He left me alone.”As college admission counseling professionals, we know the ways that parents handle their children’s challenges pervade the life of the child and have particular relevance in the college admission process. Counselor Michael Thompson noted in Independent School that, for many parents, the college admission process “is the culmination of their child rearing, the end of the parental curriculum… the main testing ground of fears about incomplete or inadequate child rearing…” The frantic involvement of many parents in the process is an attempt to assuage parental anxiety. Did I do a good job? Did I do everything the child needed? Did I prepare the child? Will this child have a good and productive life? Additionally, we have a name brand problem in this country, where parents feel social pressure to get their kids into a recognized school. Said Thompson: “What comes closest to getting graded as parents: the status of the college to which the child is admitted.”It’s amazing to me that otherwise laissez-fare parents can become so controlling during the college search and application process. We are all familiar with the term “helicopter parent,” coined in 1990 by Jim Fay, a parenting and educational consultant, and Foster W. Cline, MD, a psychiatrist, in Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility. We all know those parents who hover over a child in a way that runs counter to the parent's responsibility to raise a child to independence. The term is so pervasive that we even hear parents refer to themselves this way!Author of How to Raise an Adult Julie Lythcott-Haims lists four cultural events or shifts which led to helicoptering behaviors: The 1981 abduction of Adam Walsh led to America’s Most Wanted and photos of missing children on milk boxes The 1983 publication of A Nation at Risk led to led to No Child Left Behind, and, most recently, Race to the Top, along with more publications and documentaries on the subjects of educational reform and global competition The self-esteem movement The parent-joined play date. There have been many articles showing that this level of parental involvement has intensified, finding its way into every environment, from preschool classrooms to college campuses. Anne Walker, one of the nation’s top golf coaches, noted on the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) Development Zone’sTM Resource Center that in the sports arena she’s witnessed a shift from helicopter parents, to Velcro parents, to bulldozer parents, who push problems out of the way for their children so they never experience discomfort, hardship, or failure. This is a whole new level of interference and much, much worse. Helicopter parents prevent a child from dealing with things like loneliness, self-sufficiency, and taking risks. Bulldozer parents prevent children with dealing with obstacles and setbacks. Helicopter parents prevent kids from growing up. Bulldozer parents prevent them from developing character.This has led to a rise in children who are fragile, not self-reliant, more fearful, and less independent. In the ‘80s, we saw students who were much less frequently alone/unsupervised and had fewer opportunities to take risks. During that era, renowned psychoanalyst Erik Erikson noted that this is also antithetical to the needs of a developing adolescent. Through this period of storm and stress, “If an adolescent fails to work on one’s own identity formation, it would result in role diffusion, alienation and a lasting sense of isolation and confusion,” said Erikson.James Marcia, a clinical and developmental psychologist, expanded on Erikson’s work, noting that students who don’t experience the traumas of identity development simply “foreclose” the crisis to a point in life where the consequences can be much greater. As we progress through the 2000s, we are seeing a chain reaction of those children having children—burgeoning adults who are less likely to take responsibility and more likely to seek others to blame for their shortcomings.Research has continued to prove that these intense parenting styles are harming our children. In a 2016 issue of the Journal of Child and Family Studies, Kayla Reed and other researchers noted that children with helicopter parents showed low levels of self-efficacy and the ability to handle some tougher life tasks and decisions. As a result, they had higher levels of anxiety and depression. The same journal also noted in an earlier article by Holly H. Schiffrin and other researchers that “parents are sending an unintentional message to their children that they are not competent.” The study lists three elements that must be present for people to be happy: feeling autonomous, competent, and connected to other people.We in the college admission community must do our best to make this process one that encourages student growth. Our job is to support students, not direct them. As counselors, we need to provide students the tools to make their own decisions rather than controlling the process. We know our role, but how do we work with parents who don’t know theirs? Rather than jumping out of the bulldozer’s path, we need to jump into it and give some frank and simple advice to parents. Tips adapted from a 2014 Huffington Post article by Michigan State University professor Karl Gude include: Don’t bully your children. If you are threatening to revoke something—money, love, etc.—you could be doing permanent damage to their development and your relationship. Don’t meddle too much in their lives while they’re in high school or after they graduate. Only give your 2 cents when they ask. This way they can learn independently and learn when to ask for help. Respect and trust your children. They are becoming adults. It helps them grow when you treat them as such. Support them when they fail… never say, “I told you so.” Sometimes children have to learn lessons for themselves. Failure is part of growth. Expect it and be there for them. There are also many things you can do in your daily work to curb bulldozing and support a student-led search and application process: Provide regular and thorough information to parents. Both high schools and colleges can provide “parent portals” about academic and financial issues. Having organized resources may alleviate some of their anxiety. (FERPA requires that students approve parent access on the college level.) Offer parent orientations and workshops to educate parents about their proper role in assisting students. Many colleges are now separating parents from students during orientation to focus on this vital issue. Provide dual enrollment opportunities with less parental involvement and access. (I started programs at two high schools where students attend community college full time for the second semester. I told parents I would answer questions, but all requests for action needed to be initiated by students.) Use organizational tools like Next Tier or Naviance to help keep students organized without parental input. When advising parents, suggest a single night each week to discuss any college issues as a family. Ask them not to discuss it outside these set times. Perhaps most important is to be firm, fair, and consistent in all interactions with students and parents. It may not be a quick fix, but being knowledgeable and patient models to parents how they should behave. Scott White is a retired college admission counselor who has worked on both sides of the desk at public and independent schools. He currently serves as interim guidance counselor at Morris County School of Technology (NJ). Blocking Bulldozers

March 29th, 2017

How IECs Fit into the Counseling Puzzle

Andy Brown

To work better together, professionals need to reset by taking the wide view of the college admission counseling puzzle… especially when sitting on the same side of the desk. How IECs Fit into the Counseling Puzzle How IECs Fit into the Counseling Puzzle independent educational consultant, IEC, IECA, HECA, American School Counselor Association, Jeff Pilchiek, Jane Kolber, Mark Sklarow, Maureen Casey, Current Counseling Climate, Providing an Extra Perspective, Ed Graf, Paula McKinnon, Francine Block, Kristina Dooley, counseling puzzle, hire, weekends, summer, the journal of college admission, number 235, spring 2017 To work better together, professionals need to reset by taking the wide view of the college admission counseling puzzle… especially when sitting on the same side of the desk. There is undeniable tension woven throughout the college search and admission process. Students, families, and counselors—school and independent—have expectations of the process and of each other. When those expectations aren’t fully met, the strain amplifies.As professionals, and particularly as NACAC members, it’s your job to support and even lead students through the process while maintaining not just high ethical standards, but the collegial spirit that allows you to put students first as they search for the right fit.Sometimes this spirit barely gets you through the day. The pressures faced by the profession—from budget cuts, to staffing concerns, to over-demanding families or bosses—can drain your empathy for each other’s daily work to dangerously low levels. When this happens, professionals can start to be critical of each other and each other’s intentions. Compound that with one or two bad interpersonal experiences, and resentment can set in.To work better together, professionals need to reset by taking the wide view of the college admission counseling puzzle… especially when sitting on the same side of the desk. How many counselors one student needs can be a touchy subject. After all, no school counselor wants to feel their job has been outsourced. And 20 years ago, independent educational consultants (IECs) worked largely for affluent clientele and were more likely to focus on boarding schools than colleges. Current Counseling ClimateThings have changed—and there are two big reasons the need for, and therefore the number of, IECs is growing. The Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) estimates that five years ago there were fewer than 2,500 full-time IECs nationwide. Today they estimate there are 7,500–8,000.“The average student hiring a consultant today is from a middle-class family,” said Mark Sklarow, CEO of IECA. The demands on school counselors are increasing at a drastic rate, particularly in the public sector where budget cuts have reduced the size of counseling staff. “As the number of (school) counselors decreases and the expectations put on them increases, IECs fill an area that needs support.” American School Counselor Association member and member of the IECA Board of Directors member Belinda Wilkerson, a retired school counselor who founded the independent consultancy Steps to the Future, knows firsthand the limitations faced by public schools. “It’s not about bashing your school counselor. We know what they go through. I had 355 kids on my caseload,” she said. “With school budgets being cut right and left, they don’t have time.”Additionally, although the cost of going to college has risen sharply in recent years, the cost of hiring a consultant hasn’t gone up nearly so quickly. “Families began to see consulting as something affordable, as a small piece of the total cost of college,” said Sklarow. Working Together: IEC PerspectiveIECs are fast becoming a regular part of the process, not only as paid consultants but through pro bono work with community-based organizations that focus on underprivileged and underrepresented communities. So how do school and independent counselors know who does what? And who can do what? NACAC member Jeff Pilchiek of The Comprehensive College Check is a retired school counselor turned independent who makes clear to his clients that both sides have to work together. “There’s a misconception that we can do it all. We can’t,” said Pilchiek, who is also a member of The Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA). “We can’t write recommendation letters. We can’t send transcripts. And it’s not a competition. It’s about the student and giving them the best preparation through the process.”Generally, parents guide how much they want their hired consultant to share with the school counselor, but students are better off when information is allowed to flow freely.Jane Kolber, NACAC and IECA member, and long-time IEC, said that while client confidentiality is important, families need to realize school counselors are an integral part of the process. It takes both perspectives to find the right fit. “We overlap, but we really have differing knowledge,” said Kolber. “I may think a student is a great match for a private school, but the school counselor knows this student is in the top 20 at his high school. As good as the student looks to me on paper, I don’t know that there are 15 students above her in the class applying to those schools. A private school won’t take everybody from a school that applies, even if they’re all qualified. Once I know this, I know we need to add a few more schools to the student’s list.” Kolber always makes it clear to families that school counselors are essential. “What I have said to families from the beginning is we need to have your school counselor be a part of the process. IECs shouldn’t be hidden away. Families should use all resources and not get nervous about it.” Francine Block, proprietor of American College Admissions Consultants, NACAC member, and member of HECA’s National Board (one of their goals is professionalism and working with counselors appropriately), said, “It’s always the parents’ discretion about whether a counselor knows or not.” But client confidentiality doesn’t trump her professional relationships. “The exception is if the counselor is a friend of mine. Then, unless you’re willing to let me share information, I won’t work with you as a family. My relationships and friendships are more important than having another family as a client.” There are many reasons a family may hire an IEC. Some have a specialization and can help student with disabilities, athletics, or extra attention over weekends and the summer. “I can do things differently as an independent, because I’m not on bus duty or lunch duty anymore,” said Wilkerson. That includes being available to students and parents on evenings and weekends. On any given Saturday, Wilkerson might have students practicing standardized tests in her home office.When IECA and NACAC member Kristina Dooley founded Estrela Consulting, she didn’t know that some school counselors regarded IECs negatively. “I was actually pretty unaware that there was an implied ‘divide’ between IECs and school-based counselors,” she said. She began working with a local counselor whose caseload was particularly high. “I would work on the list development after meeting with the student and administering a personality/interest inventory, happily adding any schools the school counselor suggested based on her longer-term experience with the students,” said Dooley. “She handled the recommendations and transcripts while I worked with the student on their testing timeline and strategy and essay development.”When families had questions or needed help, they knew that either the school counselor or Dooley were available. ”The main difference was that the students and parents had my cell phone number and knew they could reach me after school hours and on the weekends.” *****Providing an Extra PerspectiveStudents sometimes need an extra push in the right direction… and so do their parents, especially if the family is unfamiliar with the process.”Independents can take what the high school has presented and ask, where can I expand your understanding of this? What is the question you didn’t get to ask because you weren’t thinking of it at the time,” said NACAC and HECA member Maureen Casey of Casey Educational Consulting (and retired director of counseling at Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose, California). “High schools do a good job of creating resources for families, but parents may learn a different way or just need to come back to it, especially if they haven’t been through the process before.” IECs can also ease tensions between parents and students. Casey recalls working with one student who had a track record of procrastinating. His parents, constantly checking in and asking questions, unwittingly became antagonists. The school counselor referred them to Casey. “Sometimes just in terms of nudging students or asking them what a parent would ask, you get a different reaction. I’m a surrogate for that,” she said. Casey helped the student organize his process and compile a list of to-do items. She also held him accountable if he started to slide. “He just had a hard time keeping his appointments with the counselor and getting things done,” said Casey.If the student procrastinated, Casey would call him on it. “This way, the conversations with his parents could focus on what he talked about with me instead of arguing about the process,” she said. “It lets them also become a consultant, a trusted person, while letting someone else keep the structure and timeline together.” *****Working Together: School Counselor PerspectiveThe quality of communication between school and paid counselors determines whether they’ll work together productively. “The most common problem when a student is working with both an IEC and a school counselor is that there is an additional person in the communications loop,” said Ed Graf, director of college counseling at Isidore Newman School in Louisiana. “The student has to communicate with parents as well, so the additional person in the loop makes it important that the IEC and the school counselor communicate regularly.”By keeping in touch and talking directly to each other instead of through parents or the student, IECs and school counselors can prevent a duplication of efforts and, more importantly, ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. Graf identifies four areas where IECs and school counselors can mutually agree to divide responsibility: Developing the college list Creating a testing schedule Helping with essays Reviewing the application before submission “It makes it confusing and more difficult for the student if he or she has to work with both the IEC and the school counselor on these items,” said Graf. That’s not to say that stark lines exist when it comes to who does what. What matters is that one person is designated the primary support for the student. “I like to work together as opposed to ‘delineate responsibilities,’ said Paula McKinnon, a school counselor at Brooklyn Technical High School. “I think that if you know and trust the IEC, this happens organically and it is a joint effort as opposed to ‘you do this, I do that.’”Because McKinnon works in a large, public high school with graduating classes of more than 1,300 students, she and the other counselors can only give so much of their time to each student. “Sometimes, a student using an IEC will not even share their essay with me, and since I tend to work with IECs who I personally know, I trust the IEC in regards to the essay,” she said. “I usually work on the original list with the student and the IEC gives his/her opinion as to additions and deletions. A discussion usually occurs on my end and I offer my thoughts on the revised list.”When IECs and school counselors collaborate, students get the best of both worlds. When they don’t, a student can wind up at a school that’s the wrong fit. “I once had a family work with an IEC who didn’t communicate with me at all. She suggested a university for my student, which I couldn’t understand at all in terms of fit. The student went there. She hated it,” said McKinnon. “I think by working together and getting two different lenses, we can see what we see in common about the student and then also see the student from another viewpoint, which then can expand the possibilities for the student in terms of selection.”Recommending an Ethical IECIECs still encounter misperceptions about what they do, including the idea that they can get a student into any school. This isn’t possible and no ethical IEC would do it. They do their best to dispel this myth. “Consultants have to earn their reputation and authority on a daily basis,” said Sklarow.Members of NACAC and other organizations representing IECs, such as IECA or HECA, must also follow ethical guidelines.If helping a student select an IEC, tell families to look for someone who belongs to at least one of these organizations, and someone who has lots of experience, including having been a school counselor.Additionally, IECs can be certified by the American Institute of Certified Educational Planners. It awards the CEP credential to professionals, working independently or in schools, who have achieved the highest level of competence in educational planning—including holding a master’s degree in education, a written assessment, and professional references. And you have to be re-certified very five years. Said Block: “This is not just something you sign up for.” IECs build relationships with college admission officers, just as school counselors do. The addition of the IEC’s knowledge to the foundation of the school counselor’s knowledge is an advantage when searching for a good college fit. “We are a cohort of professionals who can help with the recruitment funnel. We don’t receive any type of commission from institutions but we still work hard to understand what type of students would be the best fit,” said Dooley.Kolber echoed that fit is key, “You’re hiring somebody who’s going to help your student find school that’s an academic fit. It’s not to game the system.”IECs who are members of ethical professional organizations must adhere to a stringent code of ethics that keep the student’s best interest—a good college fit—at the core. “Consultants who are not attentive to ethical issues don’t last very long,” said Sklarow.Andy Brown is a freelance writer in Alexandria, VA and owner of Methodical Writing. How IECs Fit into the Counseling Puzzle

March 29th, 2017

New Ideas About Paying for College

Mary Stegmeir

The Next Wave list, curated annually, recognized 10 individuals for their contributions to education in 2016. Three of those honorees—including NACAC Board Director Zakiya Smith—have focused their attention on college affordability. The issue, they say, is central to preserving equality of opportunity. Paying for College Paying for College Next Wave, LinkedIn, Zakiya Smith, NACAC, Lumina Foundation, college affordability, equality, opportunity, access, Francis Larson, Leif, Christopher Gray, Scholly, the journal of college admission, number 235, spring 2017 The Next Wave list, curated annually, recognized 10 individuals for their contributions to education in 2016. Three of those honorees—including NACAC Board Director Zakiya Smith—have focused their attention on college affordability. The issue, they say, is central to preserving equality of opportunity. LinkedIn Honorees Offer New Ideas for a New AgeThe 120 movers and shakers included on LinkedIn’s 2016 list of Next Wave honorees hail from a variety of industries but share a common goal. Their objective? To tackle some of the globe’s most critical issues by rethinking business-as-usual. Professionals selected for the list are dedicated to transforming the way people live, learn, and even play. Just as important, they have cultivated the strong professional networks they’ll need to support their innovations. The Next Wave list, curated annually, recognized 10 individuals for their contributions to education in 2016. Three of those honorees—including NACAC Board Director Zakiya Smith—have focused their attention on college affordability. The issue, they say, is central to preserving equality of opportunity. “To have a middle class life, more and more you need some type of postsecondary credential,” Smith said. “People are realizing that, but it’s paired with a frustration because in many cases they feel like (higher education) is out of their reach financially.” Here’s a look at what Smith and her fellow Next Wave honorees are doing to make college more affordable for the next generation of students. Christopher GrayFounder and CEO, Scholly | Philadelphia As a high school student, Christopher Gray often waited an hour or more to search for scholarship opportunities using a computer at his local public library in Birmingham, Alabama. The process was frustratingly slow. The branch had only a handful of desktop computers and doled out internet access in 30-minute time slots. Aiming to become the first person in his family to attend college, Gray spent seven months combing the web for ways to finance his education.Ultimately, his efforts paid off. Gray, now 25, received a whopping $1.3 million in scholarships. The awards financed his education at Philadelphia’s Drexel University, and inspired him to create Scholly—a $2.99 app that matches students with a personalized list of scholarships. “It turns months of looking for scholarships into minutes,” said Gray, who launched the app while still in college. “Our goal is to help as many students as possible go to the college of their dreams and reduce their debt.”Scholly uses eight parameters—including GPA, academic interests, and race—to instantly offer students a comprehensive list of scholarships for which they qualify. Need-based and merit-based awards are both included in the directory. And because the app is mobile, students don’t have to have a computer at home to research their options. To date, Scholly has helped students secure more than $50 million in college scholarships. “A lot of students work hard, but don’t have the resources to either pay for college or get into college,” said Gray, who was raised by a single mother. “…For me, it feels good to know that I’m helping create opportunities for other people who are coming from nothing.”Scholly has garnered plenty of attention since it launched 2.5 years ago. In 2015, Gray was featured on ABC’s Shark Tank—a reality show where entrepreneurs seek support from investors. Through the appearance, he secured $40,000 in capital and a big bump in brand recognition. A growing number of entities—including the city of Memphis, New York University, and Missouri State University—now partner with Scholly to provide free access to the app for their residents, students, and prospective applicants. In the coming years, Gray hopes to address other barriers to postsecondary education, including the high cost of textbooks. College is a necessity, but it’s priced like a luxury good, he said. “There’s an income inequality gap in America,” Gray said. “A college education is the first step in bridging that gap.”Francis LarsonFounder, Leif | New York CityAs Francis Larson sees it, two major hurdles stand in the way to universal college access. No. 1: Costs are too high. And, No. 2: The students who stand to benefit the most from higher education often invest the least. Larson’s nonprofit, called Leif (short for Long-term Education Investment Fund), seeks to address those obstacles. Institutions that partner with Leif commit to cover tuition and living expenses for their students. In exchange, graduates agree to return a portion of their post-graduate income to their alma mater. “Our goal is to encourage students to make an investment in themselves,” said Larson, 28. “By removing a lot of the risk associated with borrowing, we’re allowing students to breathe easy and take a long-term view of their lives.”The government offers a similar income-based repayment plan for student borrowers, and Larson encourages those who qualify to take advantage. But caps are placed on the total amount students can borrow from the feds. Private loans, meanwhile, don’t offer income-based payment plans. And government loans are not accepted at all educational institutions, including many short-term vocational programs.Larson strives to fill that gap, while simultaneously building in pressure points to curb the spiraling cost of college. Through Leif, schools worried about their bottom line are incentivized to control costs and pay close attention to student outcomes.“We’re making it so that everyone’s interests align,” said Larson, a University of California, Irving grad who went on to earn a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science. “Schools absolutely need to be invested in the welfare of their students in order to see a return on their investment. And because schools are paying their students’ tuition (and) paying for their living expenses, they have a bigger incentive to drive down costs.”Sollers, a New Jersey institution offering specialized training in clinical research, drug safety, and medication monitoring, was the first school to sign on with Leif in February. Larson expects more institutions to adopt the platform over the next year. Each school has the freedom to set its own terms, including the length of the loan and the percentage of income students are asked to pay. “When a student is able to improve their life, there is a positive return on the investment,” Larson said. Zakiya SmithStrategy Director for Finance and Federal Policy, Lumina Foundation | Washington, DCThe year 2025 looms large in Zakiya Smith’s mind. By that time, the Lumina Foundation has committed to growing the proportion of Americans with a postsecondary credential to 60 percent. And as one of the foundation’s strategy directors, Smith is tasked with thinking big when it comes to using finance and federal policy to tackle that challenge. Currently, roughly 45 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 and 64 have a postsecondary credential. “Every single day we’re looking at ways to ensure more students have the financial resources and wherewithal to be able to attend college,” said Smith, who joined Lumina in 2013 after serving as a senior education advisor with the Obama administration. “We look at the systemic barriers, we look at the process and the policies, and we look at ways to improve the information students have available to them.”Within Lumina, a private foundation based in Indianapolis, Smith fills a unique role. Working from the nonprofit’s DC office, Smith uses the latest data and research to propel change within the system. She also looks outward, taking inspiration from the work of Lumina’s grant recipients who are testing promising practices to increase the number of Americans with high-quality, postsecondary credentials. Just as importantly, Smith and her colleagues at Lumina are committed to creating a common understanding among institutions, states, policymakers, and students about what college affordability truly means. “When you talk about affordable housing, whether it’s renting or buying a house, there’s a standard telling you how much of your income should be going to that expense,” said Smith, a NACAC board director. “There’s not a similar standard with colleges.”Clear guidelines defining affordability would make it easier for families to plan for college, said Smith, 32. As a teen, Smith was perplexed to learn that several students at her suburban Atlanta high school had no plans to pursue postsecondary education. The reason? “Most of the time they had parents who didn’t go to college; they didn’t know the process, and they didn’t have the information,” she explained. Smith herself went on to attend Nashville’s Vanderbilt University. She later earned a master’s degree in education policy and management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and holds a doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania.But she remains mindful that systemic barriers prevent many others from accessing the opportunities of higher education. “I felt like there was so much potential in my classmates… they were just as smart as I was,” Smith said. “…I wake up every morning and think about how we can make postsecondary education more attainable for more people.” Mary Stegmeir is NACAC’s assistant director for content and marketing. New Ideas About Paying for College

March 29th, 2017

Committed to Diversity

Jamaal Abdul-Alim

Experts say now—amid the spirited discussions and debates about race, privilege, and inequality on campus—is a good time for admission and enrollment professionals to collaborate to develop new ways to engage students around issues of diversity and inclusion. Committed to Diversity Committed to Diversity diversity, campus, race, privilege, inequality, college, admission, counseling, access, inclusion, Ka’rin Thornburg, UT Austin, Fisher, Ashley Pallie, Jennifer Desjarlais, Quinton McArthur, enrollment. the journal of college admission, number 235, spring 2017 Experts say now—amid the spirited discussions and debates about race, privilege, and inequality on campus—is a good time for admission and enrollment professionals to collaborate to develop new ways to engage students around issues of diversity and inclusion. Back in the fall of 2016—with the nation in the throes of one of the most contentious elections in history and student protests roiling campuses nationwide—admission leaders at the University of Texas at Austin gave prospective students and their families a unique look at the kind of spirited discussions students were likely to have on campus if they enrolled.Working with Dr. Leonard Moore, history professor and associate vice president of Academic Diversity Initiatives in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, admission leaders arranged for families to visit Moore’s class, “Race in the Age of Obama.”“This particular course is not only one of, if not the most popular undergraduate courses on campus, but it also has one of the most diverse enrollments, including students from non-minority groups with varying political beliefs,” explained Ka’rin Thornburg, associate director of admissions at UT Austin and chair of the NACAC’s Inclusion, Access, and Success Committee.“Given the election this fall, as one could imagine, class discussions were quite passionate,” Thornburg said.She explained that one particular visit to Moore’s class followed a “campus climate issue surrounding a student organization’s characterization of admission affirmative action policies.”“Dr. Moore incorporated this incident into his discussion,” Thornburg said. “Our prospective students and families visiting the class that day told the admission counselors how much they appreciated the visit—that it was a ‘lively’ but healthy discussion and that is was reassuring to know this kind of discourse was encouraged and facilitated.”The course visit at UT Austin is remarkable for a number of reasons—not the least of which the school happens to be ground zero in the nation’s debate about the merits of using race-conscious affirmative action in admission because of the Fisher v. University of Texas US Supreme Court case.But the class visit is also the type of thing that experts say colleges and universities should do more of to give prospective students a more authentic experience as opposed to just presenting them with brochures filled with pictures of happy-looking students.Experts also say now—amid the spirited discussions and debates about race, privilege, and inequality on campus—is a good time for admission and enrollment professionals to collaborate to develop new ways to engage students around issues of diversity and inclusion.“These are certainly shifting and volatile times on campus, with issues regarding diversity and inclusion front and center,” said Jennifer Desjarlais, a consultant in the education practice of the executive search firm Witt/Kieffer, as well as a co-leader of the firm’s enrollment practice.“However, change can spell opportunity,” Desjarlais said. “For admission and enrollment professionals and leaders, it is a chance to review and reconsider standard approaches, practices, and policies—in discussion with the president, colleagues in leadership roles across different departments, campus representatives, and especially students—then realign them according to institutional priorities.“Institutions are looking for leaders and staff who embrace current challenges,” Desjarlais said.At Pomona College, an admission administrator said the admission office has begun to focus on giving students a clearer sense of what campus life entails.“We’ve actually shifted our program significantly to: How do we make sure that students get an accurate portrayal of what this college is going to be like when they come so they don’t feel like we lied to them about the experience,” explained Ashley Pallie, associate dean of admissions at Pomona College.“That’s an active conversation,” Pallie said. “We have to talk to our current students and say, ‘Hey, you can’t be protesting the night before and then show up on a panel and say everything is good because you want to make sure there’s representation of you on this campus.”Instead, current students should be encouraged to tell prospective students “what it’s like to be here.”“Tell them in a hopeful way, like you would still want to be at this place, but it takes work,” Pallie said.It is also important for admission officers to be deliberate about making sure that incoming classes are diverse and reflective of the local population.While diversity should be a focal point of a university’s mission, the admission office must take on an active role to help execute that mission, Pallie said.“We have a very, very diverse class, and that is incredibly intentional,” Pallie said, citing figures that show 50 percent of the student population are domestic students of color, up from 42 percent in recent times. “We don’t believe students are going to show up in our pool unless we put the resources and strong effort and energy into that.“So that’s where we put our time and energy, going into schools sometimes where students may not know about us, or pursuing avenues where we can go and see a student and their family where they are,” Pallie said. “That’s really important. That might mean going to more public schools, more rural schools, and when we go out and make these grand speeches about why students should go to college, we tailor those speeches to the students we are working with.”Pallie said it’s important for admission officers to help make sure the diversity found within the surrounding population is “evident on our campus.”“If Pomona is located in southern California, Pomona should also look like southern California in so many ways,” Pallie said.At the same time, Pallie said it’s important to support students once they are enrolled on campus, not just focus on getting them to enroll.With regard to such, Pallie pointed to a “cohort” program in which students from underrepresented groups and who are studying math and science enter the college as a group.The cohorts share a faculty mentor and take the same courses together during the first year.“And that’s been particularly powerful,” Pallie said. “It’s not a program where we say like, ‘Oh, these student need additional help.’ It’s not like there’s something wrong with them.“It’s like, ‘No, there’s something about being able to be around people who are like you who you feel comfortable with.’”The idea of having a faculty mentor for the cohorts is to make students in the cohorts more comfortable with faculty instead of being intimidated.“This is not a faculty person who’s a scary person but this is someone who cares about me and wants me to be academically successful,” Pallie explained.If there are no cohort programs or similar initiatives on campus for students from underrepresented backgrounds, admission officers should not shy away from creating one.That’s what Quinton McArthur, associate director of admissions and director of Diversity and Targeted Outreach at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, did several years ago when he helped develop √mathroots—a two-week mathematical “talent accelerator” summer program for “high-potential” high school students from underrepresented backgrounds. Some but not all of the program participants have gone on to MIT.“Essentially it’s an opportunity to introduce high-achieving black and Latino students to competition math because one of the areas that there is significant underrepresentation at the high school level is in this competition math community,” McArthur said. “There’s a pipeline of students here in America who are plugged into this opportunity and taking advantage of it, and the vast majority of those students are our Caucasian and Asian young brothers and sisters, and that’s great, that’s fantastic that they’re involved,” he said of competition math in general. “But we’re just trying to open up the doors and trying to identify more black and Latino students who would enjoy and benefit from this experience.“We’ve had a lot of success and we’re really hopeful that a lot of these students will major in mathematics in particular, definitely STEM more broadly, but mathematics in particular, and then go on to hopefully graduate school and future careers in mathematics,” McArthur said.McArthur said he developed the program on his own time after work.“The work that I’ve done on the √mathroots program was completely outside my job as an admission officer,” McArthur said. “I worked on it at night for months, building it slowly until it got to a point where others could help advance the idea.”McArthur said although he doesn’t have a background in STEM, he saw the need for such a program based on his experience as an admission officer.“One of the things I recognized coming to MIT initially is that opportunities, even at the highest level, are still very segregated,” McArthur said. “There are places where these opportunities are readily available and there are other places that nobody has any idea about these opportunities.“As admission officers, we have a unique viewpoint on the educational pipeline because we see so many different schools, so many difference resources and lack thereof, that we have an insight into communities that sometimes they don’t recognize and others don’t recognize,” McArthur continued. “If you’ve been in college admission, particularly selective college admission, you’ve seen patterns emerge from different schools and different places, and I think personally that we do have a responsibility to provide guidance and intervention in order to improve the state of affairs.“If you care about people, you should do something,” McArthur said. “It’s that simple for me.”McArthur said it’s also important for admission officers to have the backing of the institution where they work.“I just happen to be in a space where I’m in a good place for innovation and they’re always supportive of good ideas here at MIT, and I have supportive supervisors who let me work on this type of thing when I wasn’t reading a million applications, and so I just made it happen,” McArthur said.Desjarlais echoed McArthur’s thoughts on the unique role that admission officers can play in having an impact on issues of diversity and inclusion on campus.“Enrollment management and admission officers have a unique perspective on many facets of an institution and are working more directly with their presidents, heads of student affairs, chief financial officers, and many others,” Desjarlais said. “They also have a clear picture of what’s happening off campus as well.“They are students of and experts on changing demographics and diversifying communities, and can help their institutions change with society,” Desjarlais said. “Admission and enrollment leaders help their institutions to see beyond themselves.” Jamaal Abdul-Alim is a senior staff writer at Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. Committed to Diversity

March 29th, 2017

You're Biased

Jim Paterson

Like it or not, research shows time and again that despite our best intentions, we make assumptions about others. We can grow to understand and combat them with some work, which is important when we’re making judgments about young people and their futures every day. You're Biased You're Biased bias, implicit, explicit, students, college, admission, counseling, you're biased, the journal of college admission, number 235, spring 2017, check-in, prejudice, stereotype, Rakin Hall, Marie Bigham, Lisa Sohmer, The Nature of Implicit Bias, Trey Moore, Ari Worthman, Deb Shaver Like it or not, research shows time and again that despite our best intentions, we make assumptions about others. We can grow to understand and combat them with some work, which is important when we’re making judgments about young people and their futures every day. But that’s okay. Everyone is, and you might be able to jettison some of it.Like it or not, research shows time and again that despite our best intentions, we make assumptions about others—judgments based on sweeping cultural or racial stereotypes, preconceptions our parents quietly fostered, or even someone’s clothing style or resemblance to a middle school bully.And to make matters worse, we often don’t even know we’re doing it.Researchers, however, also are finding that while it’s hard to identify and dismiss all these assumptions, we can grow to understand and combat them with some work, which is important when we’re making judgments about young people and their futures every day.“We are imperfect and have preconceived ideas about people,” said Lisa Sohmer, director of college counseling at Garden School in New York City, and a former NACAC board member and college consultant who has been involved in the issue of equity. “So it’s important for us to be honest and to be clear about the assumptions we make.”Experts say counselors in most cases can likely temper intentional, visible “explicit” bias, but subtler “implicit” bias, which occurs in a different part of the brain entirely, is much harder to avoid. “It’s not something we ‘live’ with, but it is something that is ‘triggered’ within us from time-to-time,” said Rakin Hall, associate director of admissions at the University of Southern California, who has studied the issue. Implicit bias involves “quick brain thinking” and likely comes from personal experience, he said.For example, one counselor might explicitly determine at some point that students from Nebraska just don’t as a group have the ability to do college-level work and judge them that way. Another might be magnanimous toward Nebraskans, but have been threatened by a gang of Nebraska students or been raised in an environment where they were disliked—and therefore implicitly assess them all unfairly without even knowing it.*****A Check-in for YouIn an effort to find a solution to implicit bias, researchers found “people must be aware of their biases and concerned about the consequences before they will exert effort to eliminate them.” They also reported they should understand when they are likely to occur and ways they can replace them. Here are some potential solutions: Lighten up. Tight deadlines, stress, or high emotions tend to cause us to show bias along with a lack of focus. Recognize your emotions and take notes or summarize and make sure you clearly understand the things a student says are important to them. Look inward. Think about your bias. Become aware of feelings you have about a student without reason. Think about what it felt like when you were once pre-judged. Think about the conditions or environment when it occurs. Some experts recommend “counter imaging”—intentionally developing an entirely different thought or image of an opposite assessment than your first impulse suggests. Get info. Not having good information about specific student or the criteria under which you should be assessing them can cause your biases to have more power. Getting to know more about cultures, races, or other groups of people is a good way to diminish your preconceived notions. Have genuine interaction with others who you might not normally. Ask questions. Change up the geographical and socioeconomic places or types of students you work with if you can. Check on yourself. Often we are aware of our bias to some degree, and by talking about them and asking others we can understand them better. Researchers found making mistakes and showing a bias—then correcting—helps us become more aware. Be upfront. If you know something about yourself, consider telling the student or family you are working with when appropriate, reassuring them that you can objectively help. Look back. Think about your history, personal circumstances, or the situation you are in and how they affect your perceptions—a bad day, a threatening environment, a student late for an appointment, or a group of students who acts casually when you are used to more order. *****In the exhaustive report The Nature of Implicit Bias, psychology professors Curtis Hardin of City University of New York and Mahzarin Banaji at Harvard say the distinction is important. “The common view of prejudice is incomplete, even dangerously so,” they say. “Prejudice and stereotyping in social judgment and behavior does not require personal animus, hostility or even awareness. In fact, prejudice is often… unwitting, unintentional, and uncontrollable—even among the most well-intentioned people.” They found, in fact, that an overemphasis on very conspicuous explicit bias causes us to ignore subtler assumptions. Other research shows that implicit bias may be even stronger and more stubborn.But the two researchers say while this tendency “remains stubbornly immune to individual efforts to wish it away,” they are optimistic that we can change (see sidebar above).     It HappensMarie Bigham, a former NACAC board member and college counselor, and now director of college counseling at the Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, has seen various types of bias, including gender assumptions at a student recognition activity where girls were uniformly praised for soft skills such as their “willingness to ask questions,” while boys were recognized for being competitive, aggressive, and determined.She notes that she often received contrary guidance about career choice as a half Irish/Scottish and half Vietnamese woman. “There were two very different conflicting messages: As an Asian you must be good in math or you are lazy. As a girl, you can’t really be good in math. It was very confusing, and later made me think hard about this and how I’m judging students,” she said.She believes that beyond big issues of gender or race, a simple negative interaction with a certain type of person can influence us, especially during formative adolescent years.“If a woman had a bad experience with a guy on the lacrosse team, she might view lacrosse players differently. I was a glass blower in college. In college admission, if a glass blower came into the room, I’d recommend him. I know it.”Sohmer said we might assume that students who are from a “bad neighborhood” will lack certain skills or preparedness, or that first-generation parents who don’t communicate with counselors or attend their events won’t support their child, when they simply may be busy at two jobs or embarrassed about their language skills. She said counselors also may expect an average student can’t do better, or that an athlete isn’t smart or that a studious-looking high school senior will enjoy rigorous STEM classes, while a student with blue hair and tattoos should be in art. Meanwhile, Trey Moore, associate director of diversity and enrichment programs at the University of Oklahoma and formerly an admission officer who has worked a wide range of socioeconomic regions, is concerned about assuming that a student from an affluent suburb doesn’t need financial aid or enrollment processing support. “There are many ways we assume things. It is very hard to keep an open mind,” he said. “We all have very different perspectives and life experiences.”Researchers at the University of California, Berkley spotted bias among college admission staffs who automatically assumed that a high GPA meant a student was well qualified, despite evidence to the contrary, calling it “correspondence bias.” Hall noted counselors may be affected by several other types of bias, including confirmation bias (trying to confirm a belief), in-group bias (following the beliefs of a group you’re in) and status quo bias (trying to maintain the current situation).Perhaps even more importantly, research has shown when we display such implicit bias—even more than explicit bias—it often leads others to behave in the manner we assume, according to Hardin and Banaji. We can change. Somewhat.David Amodio, a psychology professor and neuroscientist at New York University who has studied implicit bias, explains that our natural “fight or flight” responses develop in a small interior part of the brain called the amygdala and trigger the automatic alarm or distrust behind implicit bias. Evolution has also expanded our brain to let us override those reactions in the way a basketball player racing down court can adjust motion to direct the ball to the hoop at the last minute, he writes, but it takes patience and practice.“We have to let the amygdala do its job, and then train ourselves to help the neocortex do its job. We really don’t have a choice—so many other aspects of life depend on our quick reactions and snap judgments, and it is a system that is designed to be relatively tamper-proof,” Amodio writes.Certain circumstances make such work harder. A study done to help the courts reduce bias among judges and jurors found that we are less likely to be objective when we are emotional, distracted, pressured, ill-informed, or lazy.“I think using big data, mission, and departmental goals and having regular conversations regarding admission decision trends helps,” said Hall.Bigham said she believes it is important to confront a bias when you spot it and think about where it came from and how new experience has dispelled it. She even tells a student or parent about her potential bias to make them feel she is being honest and forthcoming and to reinforce it with herself.And Ari Worthman, director of college counseling at the Lakeside School in Seattle, said he also likes to talk to a student or a colleague about a bias (especially if they’re from a group about which he feels it) to see if they can help him better understand. He also talks to students more thoroughly when he detects a bias to get an even better understanding of them personally and develop more empathy.But, he warned, it is easy to feel you’ve been objective when the work is more authentic—like a one-on-one meeting—than symbolic. “Intentions don’t mean impact,” he said.*****A Check-In for Your DepartmentOn opposite coasts, two university admission offices are facing potential bias in the admission process head on.Deb Shaver, dean of admissions at Smith College in Massachusetts, said her staff annually meets with an official responsible for equity on the campus to hear new thinking about such issues, and then before reading applications she holds a “lens” exercise where they self-reflect then informally chat about their implicit bias.“You always have to be thinking about it and working on it. It is so important in our jobs. As we read applications, we just have to be as fair, generous, and unbiased as possible.”She admitted that as a struggling, low-income, nerdy girl who regrets having dropped out of Girl Scouts to be cooler, she has to avoid favoring studious, serious girls—and those who she admires for sticking with Girl Scouts. Others on her staff have expressed a wide range of familiar and not-so familiar assumptions, including two staff members who have precisely opposite views about athletes and their seriousness about school.    “It forces us to confront our biases—and when we know everyone else’s lens we can call them out about it. It changes our thinking and creates a conversation about this.”Rakin Hall, associate director of admissions at the University of Southern California, said admission counselors at USC are told to “keep university goals in mind and to discuss personal and department stereotype biases openly.” They also use data to compare the applicant pool to other demographic information, stick to rubrics to assess applications, and look at “decision patterns” in application readers.It is important, he said, for everyone to know that having a bias is normal and confronting them is important.*****Jim Paterson is a writer and former school counselor living in Lewes, DE. You're Biased

March 20th, 2017

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Go Green with NACAC! Opt Out of Receiving a Paper JournalYou don’t need paper to enjoy The Journal of College Admission!  Electronic versions are available online and you can access back issues through NACAC’s online store. Each issue of the Journal = 5,285lbs. of paper. With your help, we can get that number down. Convinced? Here’s what to do:Opt out via the Community Hub, under “Edit My Profile.”You can opt back in to receive the printed version anytime by unchecking the box. Thank you for helping NACAC reduce waste!Need help using the Community Hub? Contact NACAC’s Customer Service Team.Opinions on Journal delivery formats? We’d love to hear them. Contact the editor. Opt Out

January 13th, 2017

Class of 2017

Jim Paterson

Class of 2017 Class of 2017 FOMO, fear of missing out, WICHE, high school student, graduation, graduating, 2017, class of 2017, SAT, ACT, Snapchat, financial aid, Gen Z, Generation Z, Pew, change the world, The Journal of College Admission, Jim Paterson The kids graduating this spring are an interesting, sometimes frustrating, mix who want to go to college but may need extra help getting there. Just outside New York City, school counselors at Hunterdon Central Regional High School (NJ) were at lunch discussing the students who would graduate from their sprawling suburban school this spring. Their thoughts echoed those from a variety of people who have worked with these seniors.The 2017 graduates are confident, but need one-on-one support—“they need hand-holding,” is the way one counselor put it. They’ve been given more responsibility by parents, but still feel entitled and struggle sometimes with basic life skills. They’re anxious and stressed and very distracted. And repeatedly the counselors mentioned they are talented with technology, but suffer from “extreme FOMO,” as one counselor put it—a “fear of missing out.” It drives them to a near addiction to the internet.“Phones are a lifeline and without them they are lost,” said Dana Kurilew, head of the Hunterdon counseling department.And when it comes to college exploration, they’re perhaps more interested than past years, but that enthusiasm may not be matched by a willingness to thoroughly explore options and diligently apply.“We’re seeing the hot potato syndrome—especially in the application process,” Kurilew said. “They’re interested, but they rush through the application to get it done instead of taking the time to do it well.”Katherine Pastor, 2016 national School Counselor of the Year, also sees interest in college among her students at Flagstaff (AZ) High School, but a similar lack of effort. “This fall, an overwhelming number had not completed an official college search and were not really sure what they were going to do,” she said.Regardless, these counselors and others working with students in the class of 2017 say the students are also resilient, resourceful, creative, and positive, and want to change a frighteningly complex and troubled world. Interest in a shifting college application environment, flooding them along with tons of other data on their screens each day, may just get submerged. But it also may resurface.“They may even be intentionally slowing things down,” said Carolyn Mulligan, an educational consultant in the Boston area, noting they may be avoiding what has been a growing use of the early decision process. She and other experts note such re-thinking could be evident in the growing number choosing gap years and colleges like Harvard recommending them.By the NumbersThis class will be smaller. The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) just released its latest report, estimating that while the number of graduates grew 30 percent from 1995 to 2013, the rate will level off over the next seven years, and decline this year by 2.3 percent. WICHE experts note that states in the south and west are likely to see future increases, while many states in the northeast and Midwest will see fewer grads. The US Education Department recently documented a 22 percent increase in the number of high school grads in the decade ending in 2012, and projected the following decade will see a leveling, a small dip then a slow 3 percent rise.“I think the best indicator of students on the traditional college path is the number of high school graduates, which has leveled off after decades of dramatic growth,” said Melissa Clinedinst, associate director of research for NACAC. “High school graduation trends and the stabilization of yield rates might signal the beginning of the end to the frenzy of more students and more applications.” Lately, senior classes are more diverse, and that trend will grow. WICHE projects that five more states will become majority-minority by 2020. Speeding Things UpAn earlier October opening date for the FAFSA filing seemed to accelerate the application process this year, according to Cory Notestine, a counselor supervisor in Colorado. And Pastor, too, felt the process sped up—though several think overall it should be easier.“Colleges and universities have done a phenomenal job at simplifying applications,” said Dana Karas, head of counseling at Franklin High School (NJ), noting, however, that students may not easily follow instructions or be patient. “In a span of five years, helicopter parents heard our message and are less involved, allowing students to complete their own applications. That, however, requires a new level of support,” she said. “These Gen Zs are living in the Snapchat era,” ZeeMee co-founder Adam Metcalf said. “They share over 1 billion photos and videos every day on Snapchat. Sharing elements of their life is natural. The college application process can seem stale and antiquated to them.”While they may or may not struggle with applying, students in the class of 2017 want to attend, according to Notestine, who sees an uptick in interest.According to ACT, 86 percent of test-takers aspire to attend college, though, they often are confused about a career choice or major. ACT reports that while 40 percent of high school graduates chose a career, only about one third chose carefully, which can lead to higher drop-out rates. “I wish there was some better avenue to help them figure out what they are good at, what they want to do and what type of education they need to get there,” Pastor said. She said more students appear to be interested in business than in the past, and ACT data suggests that about half of the students taking the test intend to pursue STEM careers and more are paying attention to college value. “Students are more concerned about job prospects than ever before,” said educational consultant Nancy Federspiel. “They are asking more questions about internships and the reputation of the college than about the fit and feel.”Eileen Antalek, associate director of Educational Directions, an educational consulting firm in Rhode Island, worries that such a practical way of thinking might sound promising, but may also devalue the experience.A Test Rest?Federspiel said changes in standardized testing didn’t seem to phase her students and ACT and SAT officials report it didn’t decrease their numbers.ACT reported a nearly 9 percent increase in the number of tested high school students to over 2 million. The College Board likewise reported its new SAT was favorably reviewed by test-takers, with 80 percent saying they liked it better than the old version. SAT reported that from March to June 2016, about 180,000 more students took the new test compared to the number taking the old test in the same period in 2015. ACT reports that the number of minority students taking its test dramatically increased, with 44 percent more Hispanics and 23 percent more African American students participating. ACT and the College Board reported, however, that test scores and college readiness levels were down slightly, blaming the broadening pool of test takers.“PSAT-related assessments indicate that there are still far too many students not on target to be college ready,” said Cyndie Schmeiser, chief of assessment for the College Board. “We have much work to do.” Meanwhile, Antalek, said she believes this group of students is deemphasizing college admission tests.“In some ways they are more savvy, and not preparing for these exams as much, learning that it’s just one more part of the admission game. Frankly, this is one thing I’m happy about.”        Getting AidWhile Notestine and Pastor worried about the early window for FAFSA, early reports show submissions were up 21 percent, according to the National College Access Network (NCAN), though it also reported recently that overall only 44 percent of grads apply.“More FAFSAs completed during that first four weeks is evidence that the goal of the recent change (an earlier submission date) will be achieved: Students are finding out earlier what they’ll be eligible for,” said Carrie Warick, director of policy and advocacy for NCAN. “If the trend continues then the goal of increasing the number of students who complete the form will also be met.”She said, however, that increasingly complex verification rules can hinder participation, citing a TICAS report that shows “the tremendous hoops low-income students are asked to jump through to prove once again that they are poor.” “There is still a lot of work to be done on that front,” Notestine said.Antalek, said students in this class ask more often about financial aid and are considering other options. “Not necessarily just community college, but public institutions over private colleges, or one near home to commute, or a Canadian college, or using their gap year to work and save money. These graduating students have to be more creative than ever about financing an American college education.”Technology Is ItWhile everyone seems exceedingly aware of the internet’s influence, those working with high school students still sound surprised and frustrated by its power, and the resulting short attention span and limited patience.The Pew Research Center reports more than 90 percent of teen go online daily, and 24 percent say they are online “almost constantly.”Therapists have begun talking seriously about internet addiction. When LINK International Center for Media and the Public Agenda researchers asked 200 students to avoid electronics for one day, the comments were telling: “I clearly am addicted and the dependency is sickening,” said one. “…that I was not able to communicate with anyone via technology was almost unbearable,” another said.Facebook about a year ago was the most prevalent platform (71 percent of all teens) while half use Instagram and 40 percent use Snapchat, Pew reported.    Kurilew said her counselors find it all leads to students having “no down time; no depth of thought,” affecting college applications and performance.Researchers working at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence have developed a variety of studies about young people today, and Julia Moeller, a researcher at the center, said colleges should understand that 75 percent use negative language about school.  She suggested that college officials “combine motivation interventions that teach them how to deal with adversity with wellness interventions that focus on sleep, relaxation techniques, and stress management” when talking to students.The Bright SideHigh school officials note that despite concerns, these students perhaps are more inquisitive and resourceful than previous graduates. They have a unique perspective, are more accepting of diversity, and not as concerned about the impression they make.And, perhaps most notably, they are more concerned about their community and their world than any class in some time.“They are very much interested in having an impact in their community, more than in any prior years, and that is good to see,” said Notestine. “They want to change things.” Jim Paterson is a writer and former school counselor living in Lewes, DE. Other Features Seamless Transfers Community colleges frequently get a bad rap as feeder schools that offer watered-down curricula… and students who are less knowledgeable, less prepared, and less capable of earning a bachelor’s degree. But the facts say otherwise. Instant Generation Generation Z students have replaced millennials on college campuses. Here’s what you need to know about this new generation of students. Breaking the Silence College-age women are the demographic most likely to be victims of sexual violence, yet 80 percent of college students don’t report these incidents. What are colleges doing to address this issue, and what role does campus safety play in admission? Class of 2017