Find Out What Admissions Officials Really Think About You

Yes, that’s right, you can find out what files and notes admissions offices have on you.  This article in Forbes, let’s you know how:

In a stunning development in the mysterious world of college admissions, students at Stanford University were able to follow a “tried and tested” five-step process published by Fountain Hopper, an anonymous student-run website at Stanford, to legally obtain their college admissions records. Fountain Hopper’s simple five-step process (they even have a a pre-populated template to submit your request) is based on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which mandates that schools must provide students access to their educational records. This means that students can now find out what admissions committees wrote about them and their applications for admission, including numerical values placed on applicant personality rankings, evaluation of student academic records and more.

This development could have a profound impact on college admissions nationwide as students discover why they may or may not have gotten accepted for admission to a college or university, and somehow pass that information along to future college applicants seeking admissions at such Holy Grail colleges. Colleges’ admissions decisions have always been closely guarded secrets, particularly shrouded in mystery at elite colleges that often turn down 90% or more of their applicants. Who gets in and why are two big questions that parents and students have struggled with for years.




Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Free Community College for Everyone?

President Obama set a goal to make community college free and available to everyone, and colleges are responding.  USC held a conference dominated by this very topic, and this article by USC goes more in-depth on this topic and the future of admissions:

Higher education took top billing in this year’s State of the Union address, with President Barack Obama vowing to make community colleges as “free and universal as high school.”

Just days after that historic proposal, nearly 200 of the nation’s top higher education officials, federal policymakers and scholars came together at a conference hosted by the USC Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice, to forecast the future of college admissions.

The three-day conference also spanned the issues of increasing diversity among America’s future college-goers, and growing interest in American education from abroad.

It will take all sectors of education operating well together to ensure that education levels in the nation improve.

Jerry Lucido





Continue reading

Posted in College Admissions, Financial Aid / Tuition | Leave a comment

An Eye-Opening Look at Financial Aid

Admissions decisions at highly ranked schools are mystifying enough, but what may be more mystifying is allocation of merit scholarships and financial aid.   This Forbes article by  Maggie McGrath and Matt Schifrin provides an eye-opening look into the financial aid process:

Despite the windowless, bunker-like atmosphere inside the Erie conference room of the Sheraton in downtown Chicago, Galen Graber has to be impressed by his audience: a swath of the 1,500 top admissions and financial aid officials from 635 different schools who have gathered to set policies that determine which kids get into which college and how much money they’ll receive.

Cutting to the chase, Graber, a consultant, launches by taking a poll: “How many of you would say that the primary motivation for offering students merit scholarships is to reward academic achievement?”

Not a single person raises his or her hand.

That response goes a long way to explain college tuition rates that have risen 12% in the last decade while median household income has declined 6% over the same period. And why student debt levels have hit $1.2 trillion, a burden that surpasses even U.S. household credit card debt.

Elite universities like Harvard, Stanford and others on the top of the FORBES list exist in their own orbit–they admit students without factoring in need, their multibillion-dollar endowments providing generous grants for the middle-class and poor. (Get into any Ivy League school with a family income of less than $60,000 and you can pretty much expect a free ride.)




Continue reading

Posted in College Admissions, College Rankings, Financial Aid / Tuition, For Parents, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Welcome to the 2014-15 School Year!

Hope everyone is off to a great start! This is a great time to check-in with your school’s counselor. If you are thinking about college admissions, ask your counselor about that. However, this is a time to think about course selection. Make sure you are happy with your courses, and make sure they put you on track to satisfy all of your requirements.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2013-2014 College Football Bowl Games

For those looking to follow their future, current, or former school, here is this year’s Bowl schedule:

2013-14 College Football Bowl Schedule (ESPN.com):

Bowl Location/Tickets Date/Time Network
Gildan New Mexico
Washington State vs. Colorado State
Albuquerque, N.M.
University Stadium
Dec. 21
2 p.m.
ESPN
Royal Purple Las Vegas
Fresno State vs. USC
Las Vegas
Sam Boyd Stadium
Dec. 21
3:30 p.m.
ABC
Famous Idaho Potato
Buffalo vs. San Diego State
Boise, Idaho
Bronco Stadium
Dec. 21
5:30 p.m.
ESPN
R+L Carriers New Orleans
Tulane vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
New Orleans
Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Dec. 21
9 p.m.
ESPN
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg
East Carolina vs. Ohio
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Tropicana Field
Dec. 23
2 p.m.
ESPN
Sheraton Hawaii
Boise State vs. Oregon State
Honolulu
Aloha Stadium
Dec. 24
8 p.m.
ESPN
Little Caesars Pizza
Pittsburgh vs. Bowling Green
Detroit
Ford Field
Dec. 26
6 p.m.
ESPN
S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia
Utah State vs. Northern Illinois
San Diego
Qualcomm Stadium
Dec. 26
9:30 p.m.
ESPN
Military Bowl Presented By Northrop Grumman
Marshall vs. Maryland
Annapolis, Md.
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
Dec. 27
2:30 p.m.
ESPN
Texas
Syracuse vs. Minnesota
Houston
Reliant Stadium
Dec. 27
6 p.m.
ESPN
Fight Hunger
BYU vs. Washington
San Francisco
AT&T Park
Dec. 27
9:30 p.m.
ESPN
New Era Pinstripe
Rutgers vs. Notre Dame
Bronx, N.Y.
Yankee Stadium
Dec. 28
Noon
ESPN
Belk
Cincinnati vs. North Carolina
Charlotte, N.C.
Bank of America Stadium
Dec. 28
3:20 p.m.
ESPN
Russell Athletic
Miami vs. Louisville
Orlando, Fla.
Florida Citrus Bowl
Dec. 28
6:45 p.m.
ESPN
Buffalo Wild Wings
Michigan vs. Kansas State
Tempe, Ariz.
Sun Devil Stadium
Dec. 28
10:15 p.m.
ESPN
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces
Middle Tennessee vs. Navy
Fort Worth, Texas
Amon G. Carter Stadium
Dec. 30
11:45 a.m.
ESPN
Franklin American Mortgage Music City
Ole Miss vs. Georgia Tech
Nashville, Tenn.
LP Field
Dec. 30
3:15 p.m.
ESPN
Valero Alamo
Oregon vs. Texas
San Antonio
Alamodome
Dec. 30
6:45 p.m.
ESPN
National University Holiday
Arizona State vs. Texas Tech
San Diego
Qualcomm Stadium
Dec. 30
10:15 p.m.
ESPN
AdvoCare V100
Arizona vs. Boston College
Shreveport, La.
Independence Stadium
Dec. 31
12:30 p.m.
ESPN
Hyundai Sun
Virginia Tech vs. UCLA
El Paso, Texas
Sun Bowl
Dec. 31
2 p.m.
CBS
AutoZone Liberty
Rice vs. Mississippi State
Memphis, Tenn.
Liberty Bowl
Dec. 31
4 p.m.
ESPN
Chick-fil-A
Duke vs. Texas A&M
Atlanta
Georgia Dome
Dec. 31
8 p.m.
ESPN
TaxSlayer.com Gator
Nebraska vs. Georgia
Jacksonville, Fla.
Everbank Field
Jan. 1
Noon
ESPN2
Heart of Dallas
UNLV vs. North Texas
Dallas
Cotton Bowl
Jan. 1
Noon
ESPNU
Capital One
Wisconsin vs. South Carolina
Orlando, Fla.
Florida Citrus Bowl
Jan. 1
1 p.m.
ABC
Outback
Iowa vs. LSU
Tampa, Fla.
Raymond James Stadium
Jan. 1
1 p.m.
ESPN
Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO
Stanford vs. Michigan State
Pasadena, Calif.
Rose Bowl
Jan. 1
5 p.m.
ESPN
Tostitos Fiesta
UCF vs. Baylor
Glendale, Ariz.
U. of Phoenix Stadium
Jan. 1
8:30 p.m.
ESPN
Allstate Sugar
Oklahoma vs. Alabama
New Orleans
Louisiana Superdome
Jan. 2
8:30 p.m.
ESPN
Discover Orange
Clemson vs. Ohio State
Miami
Sun Life Stadium
Jan. 3
8:30 p.m.
ESPN
AT&T Cotton
Oklahoma State vs. Missouri
Arlington, Texas
AT&T Stadium
Jan. 3
7:30 p.m.
FOX
BBVA Compass
Vanderbilt vs. Houston
Birmingham, Ala.
Legion Field
Jan. 4
1 p.m.
ESPN
GoDaddy
Arkansas State vs. Ball State
Mobile, Ala.
Ladd-Peebles Stadium
Jan. 5
9 p.m.
ESPN
VIZIO BCS National Championship
No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 2 Auburn
Pasadena, Calif.
Rose Bowl
Jan. 6
8:30 p.m.
ESPN


Posted in For Parents, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

LinkedIn: Your New College Admissions Tool

Sure, you can get a job with LinkedIn, but can it get you into college with it?  Well, LinkedIn certainly hopes so.  See how it might be helpful in this article in CNET:

 

If it’s been awhile since you applied to college, here’s a bit of news to make you feel your age: it’s not just about SAT scores, transcripts, and personal essays these days.

Social networking plays a role, too.

Starting this college admissions season, teens can use the professional networking site LinkedIn in two ways: to research universities and to create profiles highlighting accomplishments that would otherwise be hard to include in a traditional application. LinkedIn made these features possible by lowering the age requirement for users to 14 in the United States and by launching what it calls university pages.

University pages offer basic stats about a college, but also leverage the power of a user’s LinkedIn network. When you a view a page you can instantly see how you’re connected to the university. Perhaps you know alumni who graduated in a subject in which you’re also interested. “People have said I want to be an astronaut when I grow up and there was never a way to see that footprint or that pathway to get into becoming an astronaut,” said John Hill, LinkedIn’s higher education evangelist. “We give you that through data and that becomes aspirational.”

Students may not see the value in creating a profile if they’ve only worked at a local frozen yogurt shop, but there are ways to beef up your profile. “It’s totally fine to have work experience that may not relate to what you want to be when you grow up,” Hill said. He also urges students to “connect to groups, connect to companies that you’re interested in learning more [about to] make your network a little bit more robust.”

Continue reading

Posted in College Admissions, For Parents, The Application | Leave a comment

An Interview with Lacy Crawford, Author of Early Decision…



At this point in the summer, most high school juniors are already acquainted with the horrible agony that is the college admissions process. They’ve taken the expensive SAT prep courses, visited at least a dozen campuses, and spent weeks agonizing over their personal essays.

Wavebreak Media Ltd./Corbis

Indeed, the personal essay in particular causes students and parents to tear their hair out, knowing it could make or break their application. For 15 years, Lacy Crawford worked with high school students to hone these essays, a torturous but rewarding experience that she chronicles in her forthcoming book, Early Decision.

The book tells the story of Anne, a 27-year-old application guru who coaches five high school seniors through the harrowing application process. From the privileged daughter of a Duke University trustee to the inner-city kid who taught herself about immigration reform, their admissions journeys take them through endless rewrites of Common App essays, counseling sessions at their sprawling suburban homes, and after-hours phone conversations with sniveling mothers and passive aggressive fathers desperate to secure their children slots at Ivy League schools.

We talked to Crawford about dealing with overbearing parents, how the admissions process has changed over the years—and how to get into the school of your choice without getting trampled in the college rat race. 

When did you decide to chronicle this part of your life?

My work with students tapered off dramatically in 2010, after I had my first child. And then friends told me I was already too late to apply for preschool for my son and needed to hurry up and get on the list. So I panicked and called some schools and sent over applications. I remember one morning I was working on an application that had essay questions about my son. I looked over and he was lying on the carpet on his back and I thought, “Oh my god, this is how it happens. This is how it begins.” I’d been secretly judging these parents for ten years but there I was, ready to step on the same moving walkway, and I thought, “I know how this ends.” This ends with me hiring someone like me to get my kid into college. So I started writing the book as a private investigation.

“The gift that I could give to these students who had terrible writer’s block was telling them: ‘We need 11 essays and we’re going to do 10 drafts of each of them.’”

You were so entrenched in these kids’ lives—more life coach than college essay counselor.

That may be a mark of how young and naïve I was when I started. I didn’t have a degree in education or counseling or anything, but I had grown up an overachiever in a family and a community that put a lot of pressure on the same type of thing. I felt like I could relate to the experiences these kids were having. I wanted to help shift the frame a little bit away from their parents and under them so they could take control of the process. So yes, I was deeply involved. And the anxiety these mothers face during this process—there are few people they can vent to. I think some of them hired me quite simply so the mothers would have someone to call when they were freaking out after their glass of wine at dinner.

The wealthier families and micromanaging parents really stick out in the book.

There were billionaires who flew me all over the place. That was eye-opening and foreign to me. But there were also plenty of normal parents whose kids were in public high schools and who felt overwhelmed because their college counselors had 100 kids and they had no idea where to begin. I also had students that I took on pro bono from underserved schools who were the first in their family to go to college. We talk about the college application crisis. But the crisis has nothing to do with rich kids not getting in; it has everything to do with everyone else not even knowing where to begin.

Early Decision: Based on a True Frenzy By Lacy Crawford 304 pages. William Morrow. $25.99

Is most of Early Decision based on your first few years working with these kids?

When I first started doing this work I had 15 or 20 students a year, and I focused much more on helping them with the nuts and bolts, helping them to establish deadlines, that sort of thing. As I got older, and I did this more and more, I started to feel that if the student couldn’t work out the deadlines on his own, he didn’t deserve to go to that school and I wasn’t going to do the work for him. What I did instead was help him figure out what it was he loved to study and what he might wish to pursue. I got more involved in their lives as the years went on.

Posted in College Admissions, For Parents, The Application, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

College Admissions: Parents Gone Wild…

It is just amazing what steps some applicants will take to get admitted to college, but perhaps not as amazing as the steps some parents will take.  Lucy Crawford in a New York Post article describes her first-hand accounts as an admissions adviser and reveals some stories of parents who took it to far:

Here the frenzy is amplified by money and power as it only can be in New York; college admissions are the culmination of a scramble that begins with nursery school. Here, too, the opportunities for obsessive parents to break a student’s heart seem sharper than anywhere else.

My abiding memory of tutoring New Yorkers is of sitting with one girl as night fell late in October. Tears coursed down her cheeks and onto the hem of the distinctive skirt of her elite private school. She was too upset to sip from the mug of hot chocolate her housekeeper had brought up. Her parents were working late, as they always did, and other than the staff, we were alone in the house. Spread on a table before us were college essay drafts.

“It’s hopeless,” she sobbed. “I’ve got nothing.”

From her bedroom window, where we sat, an unobstructed view of Central Park stretched north to the autumn sky.

How does a young woman with so much come to feel she’s got nothing? My students were almost all thoughtful and diligent, but their parents had fallen into a terrible trap, having raised their children to reach for the stars without teaching them how to so much as stretch out an arm.

For many of the children of the most ambitious, wealthiest parents in the city, the college-admissions process begins when a child is 2, with the hiring of a consultant to deliver nursery-school acceptances.

Once in school, if the child is slow in any subject, parents hire tutors. If the tutors fail, the parents will knock on doors until they find a learning specialist who agrees to identify a trumped-up deficit in a student’s capabilities — in other words, to label the child in some way learning-disabled — after which the parents will force their excellent school to exempt the child from certain obligations, so she no longer has to take four years of math, say, or timed tests.

The college list will be drawn up no later than sophomore spring, and it will include only trophy schools — the Ivy League, Duke, Stanford — selected not for fit but according to where the parents have influence. If a parent went to a college, it’s a “legacy school,” and it goes at the top of the list. If they know a trustee, that’s in Position No. 2. And so on down the line.

By junior spring, the “early decision” school is chosen, meaning a single application will be made by Nov. 1 with the promise that the student will attend if admitted. Statistically, this is the best chance a student has of acceptance at top schools, and it’s not a problem to apply so early for students who have had years to tour their choices and who don’t have to fill out financial-aid forms.

Continue reading

Posted in College Admissions, For Parents, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

One Perfect College Essay…To Go, Please…

Perhaps there is no greater agony in the college application process than coming up with that perfect essay…which can now be 150 words longer.  Lacy Crawford in the Wall Street Journal, give a little taste of some of the successful and less successful approaches in this article:

This spring, with little fanfare, the folks behind the Common Application—the main application form for almost 500 of the nation’s top colleges and universities—announced a big change: the personal statement, the form’s core essay, has been extended from 500 to 650 words long.

I thought: That’ll be $13,000.

[image]

*Ben Wiseman

Several years ago, on a high floor in a midtown Manhattan office, a father offered me $10,000 to write his son’s personal statement. Apparently he had misunderstood what was meant by “independent college applications adviser.” The publishing industry may be in a tailspin, but in some places, writers can still earn $20 a word. Thanks to the Common Application’s changes (and not including inflation), that’s $13,000 a kid.

Though I had other “day jobs,” for 15 years I worked discreetly as a college-applications adviser in cities from Los Angeles to London. I never wrote a student’s essay, but I was practicing a dark art: such tutoring privileges the elite whose parents can afford it and profits from a miserable process.

The grim statistics of the college admissions race (last year Harvard reported a 5.79% acceptance rate), fueled by an obsession with trophy schools, have warped what might be a powerful threshold for adolescents. At the very moment when teenagers are invited to offer what they’ve learned and who they’ve become, their voices are hijacked by well-meaning adults who think kids can’t possibly be allowed to risk answering these questions on their own.

Continue reading

Posted in College Admissions, For Parents, The Application, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

President Obama Proposes New College Ranking System

Lookout US News & World Report, you have some competition.  President Obama announced a new universal ranking system for college and universities. The Guardian reported the details in their article today:

Barack Obama in Buffalo, student debt

Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

Barack Obama took aim at the spiralling cost of higher education on Thursday, threatening US universities with a new official ranking system he claimed would help students identify whether they were getting value for money.

As crippling student loans are increasingly seen as a impediment to social mobility and a check on US consumer confidence, the president used the latest of his economic speeches to propose a series of limited reforms to encourage lower fees.

“We have got a crisis in terms of college affordability and student debt,” Obama told students in Buffalo, New York. “The soaring cost of higher education has become a barrier and a burden on too many middle-class families.”

Over the last three decades, fees at public universities have risen 250%, compared with a 16% rise in average family incomes. The average student who borrows for college now graduates owing $26,000.

Yet the cost of not completing college is even higher. Incomes for those with only high school diplomas are half those of college graduates, who are also a third less likely to be unemployed.

The president said the $1tn of outstanding student loan debt in the US was creating problems of social mobility that would last for generations.

“We can’t price the middle class out of a college education,” he said. “They have got this crushing debt that is crippling their sense of self-reliance – and their dreams. It becomes harder to start a family or start a business if you are serving $1,000 worth of debt every month.”

However, the highly fragmented US higher education sector offers relatively few ways for the federal government to intervene.

Besides the new ratings system, Obama’s proposals amounted to a call on state legislatures to stop cutting subsidies, universities to stop putting up fees, and Congress to pass laws limiting loan repayments.

There are also plenty of existing league tables that rate colleges, but Obama criticised private-sector rankings such US News & World Report for “sometimes rewarding universities for raising costs”.

“We need to rate colleges on best value so students and taxpayers get a bigger bang for their buck,” he said.

White House officials claimed the rankings would challenge the education industry and encourage more competition on cost.

“The ratings are not going to be popular with everyone, especially those who benefit from from the status quo,” said one senior administration official speaking on background before the speech.

“We need ratings not rankings to give students some guidance about which colleges are producing value,” she added.


Posted in College Admissions, College Rankings, Financial Aid / Tuition, For Parents, The Application, Uncategorized | Leave a comment