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Are test-optional colleges more diverse?

May 14th, 2018

As more colleges eliminate standardized tests from their admission requirements, the long-standing debate about whether test-optional schools provide more diversity on campus is still going strong.  Studies have documented a correlation between family income and test performance.  The higher the income, the more opportunities for test prep classes, which in turn increase scores.  This typically leaves low income families, including many minority students, at a disadvantage.  

Our experience shows that test scores do not always reflect a student’s strengths and abilities and we have a great appreciation for colleges that are test-optional, interested in understanding all facets of an applicant.

One significant question remains to be answered: does a test-optional admission policy really diversify a college campus?  In today’s article from Inside Higher Ed, writer Scott Jaschik lays out all the evidence.  After reviewing this article, what are your thoughts? 

For a full list of schools that have a test-optional or flexible test policy, please visit www.fairtest.org.

Article referenced below published April 27, 2018 by Inside HigherEd

Each year, more colleges announce that they are ending requirements that applicants submit SAT and ACT scores — joining hundreds of others in the “test-optional” camp. Just this week, Augsburg University in Minnesota made such a shift. The university’s announcement said that the policy had strong faculty support and was seen as likely to boost the diversity of the student body. High school grades in college preparatory courses are the key to good admissions decisions, said officials there, just as their peers have said at many other institutions.

Read more at Inside HigherEd >>

Social media is fair game

April 30th, 2018

In this digital age we live in, many high school students document much of their lives through social media.  And with increasing competition amongst college applicants, many admissions officers are using social media as an additional tool for screening candidates.  This approach is a fast, easy and anonymous way to gain insight into students’ lives.  But will it weigh in your favor?

Keep in mind that your social media presence can add value to your application; it could be used as a way to highlight talents and experiences and leave a positive impression.  If you’re not careful, though, it could have the opposite effect.

While admissions officers are continuing to place greatest emphasis on traditional components of the application such as transcript, test scores and extracurricular accomplishments, there is a chance that they may look to your social media accounts as another means of evaluation.  This trend has increased over the past several years and will probably continue to move in that direction.  

In the article we share with you today from Kaplan Test Prep, you can learn more about why many admissions officers are choosing this form of assessment.

Article referenced below from Kaplan Test Prep

Published on April 17, 2018

More than two-thirds of colleges (68 percent) say that it’s “fair game” for them to visit applicants’ social media profiles like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to help them decide who gets in — despite the fact that less than a third actually engage in the practice, according to Kaplan Test Prep’s annual survey of admissions officers*. Notably, students agree: a separate Kaplan survey of over 900 high school students finds that 70 percent consider social media profiles “fair game” for admissions officers evaluating applicants — an increase from 58 percent in 2014**.

Read more at Kaplan Test Prep >>

The psychology behind senioritis

April 16th, 2018

Not many weeks remain before the end of school and graduation for the class of 2018.  Yet while we may be thinking happily of all things summer, senioritis may be rearing its ugly head.  Shrop Ed seniors, don’t let it happen to you!  There are many reasons to remain focused through the remainder of the school year.

Students who maintain their work ethic transition easily to college expectations.  For those who slack off, college-level work feels like an enormous leap.  And don’t forget that contingency clause in the admission letter:  every offer of admission is contingent on continued success.  

It may seem impossible to stay focused while envisioning the amazing future that lies ahead, but remember that you have been working hard throughout your entire high school career to get to this point.  Challenge yourself to finish with a flourish.

So what is senioritis and why does it impact so many?  In the article linked below, University of Notre Dame psychology professor Darcia Narvaez discusses the psychology behind senioritis.  Surprisingly, it doesn’t only affect senior students.  It can happen to anyone going through a major transition in life.  We think students and parents alike will find today’s article interesting.

Article referenced below from Boston’s NPR news station, WBUR

Published May 27, 2017

The affliction known as senioritis isn’t just about slacking off — and it isn’t just for high schoolers ready to head off to college.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young speaks with University of Notre Dame psychology professor Darcia Narvaez about what causes us to slack off as a major life project is ending, and how we can handle it better.

Read more at WBUR >>

Admitted, denied or waitlisted

April 2nd, 2018

Did you hear a giant exhale last week?  The waiting game is over as most seniors received their remaining admission decisions; we’ve loved hearing from students about results.  Readers may be surprised to know that nearly all seniors saw each of these three words:  admitted, denied and wait-listed.  And that is as it should be.

The green light, yellow light, red light and lottery admission estimate system we have in place at Shrop Ed helps instill confidence that there will be good news as those decisions roll in.  As the number of applicants continues to rise, the number of rejections from colleges and universities increases as well.  This puts an extreme amount of pressure on students, and we hope that younger students and their parents understand the importance of creating an application list that includes plenty of green and yellow light options that feel like a fit.  Our seniors vouch for it.

Back to those three big words – here is some advice pertaining to each:

Admitted

Congratulations!  You can finally take a deep breath and enjoy the moment.  You now have until May 1st to notify the college of your choice that you will enroll.  Explore carefully between now and then to make sure you’re fully comfortable with your decision. 

Did you know that every admission offer is contingent on continued success?  Be certain to maintain your efforts in school, finishing strongly.  This not only insures a smooth transition to college in the fall, but keeps you on the right side of your admission offer.

Wait-listed

If this college remains your top choice, accept the offer and make clear that you are still interested by doing more.  Update your file, if the college allows, with your most recent grades, latest test scores (if not already on record), new accomplishments and distinctions, etc.  Remain proactive, reaching out to your admission counselor and demonstrating authentic interest.  If you would definitely enroll if admitted, state this unequivocally.

Denied

This is hard news to swallow, but it is a competitive world and the admission landscape has grown more challenging with each passing year.  Keep your head up and focus on the schools you were admitted to.  You are the same person today as you were before receiving the news; your strengths and potential to succeed are fully intact.

Not being accepted is difficult to handle, especially after putting your heart and soul into the college application process.    In the article we share with you today, writer Deirdre Fernandes from the Boston Globe digs a little deeper into the reality of disappointments surrounding U.S. colleges and universities.  

Article referenced below from Boston Globe

Published March 27, 2018

You’ve seen the viral videos: high school seniors leaping around the room, overjoyed at discovering that their top-choice college has welcomed them into the ranks of the incoming freshman class.

But for every victorious online posting, there are multiple high school seniors simultaneously being rejected from those very same schools.

Getting into the country’s most selective colleges is more fiercely competitive than ever, with many schools reporting a record number of applicants, boosted by an easier application process and more aggressive recruiting. Twenty years ago, for example, Tufts University admitted 33 percent of the students who applied; last year Tufts made offers to just 15 percent of the pool. Northeastern University extended offers to nearly four out of five applicants in 1998, but only one out of five this year. Williams College’s admissions rate has shrunk from 26 percent to 12 percent over two decades.

Read more at Boston Globe >>

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