The College Transition: Tips for Students with Disabilities

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Preparation is key for all college-bound students, but thinking through what you’ll need to be successful is especially important for students with disabilities.

Here are some ideas and insights to help you settle into college.

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Reframing the ‘Lost’ College Visit

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Editor’s note: A version of this column was first published by the Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools.

As we find ourselves in pandemic spring 2.0, college visiting is not possible for the majority of juniors just beginning their college journeys and seniors finalizing enrollment plans. When my mother was alive she would say, “If you can’t fix it, feature it.”  Her sound advice reminds me to invert the problem of canceled college tours. Instead of wringing hands over the lost college road trip, we can emphasize the opportunity facing institutions and students. Covid is inviting us to reinvent college discovery and student engagement.

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Poll: US Families Want More Postsecondary Options

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Although most American parents want their children to complete a bachelor’s degree, a significant number of families would like other options for their students, according to a new national survey.

The opinion poll, which was released last week by Gallup and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, found that 46 percent of respondents preferred an alternate postsecondary path for their child, such as community college, skill training, military service, or paid employment.

In addition, although 84 percent of parents of current middle and high school students said they were satisfied with the four-year college, two-year college, and/or technical training programs currently available, 45 percent wished more alternatives were offered.

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Nominate Your Students for CollegePoint

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It’s a persistent problem: Talented lower-income students are less likely than their peers to enroll at selective colleges.

And amid the pandemic, many students—particularly those from low- to moderate-income families—face even greater obstacles on the journey to higher ed.

For those reasons, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ CollegePoint has expanded its eligibility criteria and is calling on counselors, teachers, and others to nominate talented teens in the class of 2022 who would benefit from its free advising program.

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Is it Time to Re-Evaluate Our Questions?

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Traditionally, the Common App has required students to list their extracurricular activities; often, as a supplement, colleges ask them to pick the one that is most important and expound upon it. What we have all (hopefully) realized in the last 12 months is that what was once required of students, what was once a part of their daily routines, has changed, perhaps forever. We are asking students to define themselves by a past they didn’t have, at the very moment we require them to identify a future where they can thrive. Encouraging students to define themselves by rules and frameworks that are no longer compatible with the world in which they live is not only a disservice to the students, but to the institutions with which they wish to engage.

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Enhanced Loan Counseling Now Available to Student Borrowers

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New features unveiled this week on StudentAid.gov are designed to help students better understand the process of borrowing for college and choose a repayment plan that’s right for them.

Both the website and myStudentAid mobile app are now equipped with enhanced entrance and exit counseling modules.

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FAFSA Resources for Students and Professionals

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Last week, the Department of Education wrapped up its four-day virtual Federal Student Aid (FSA) Training Conference. The conference mainly serves as an annual training for financial aid professionals who disburse federal aid to students on campus.

COVID-19 has created a great deal of uncertainty among students and families, as well as admission and financial aid professionals. Foremost among these uncertainties is the fact that there has been a 15 percent decline in FAFSA submissions from high school seniors nationwide compared with the same time last year.

Now, more than ever, students and families need information and support to complete the financial aid process.

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A New Perspective

Photo courtesy of Tara Miller

I always opt for the window seat. Where else do you get the chance to expand your view of the world, only as the roads, trees, and buildings become smaller? When I fly, that time looking out the window is often when I reflect. It’s also when a song on my playlist might make me cry. Seems to happen more often miles above the earth. Not sure if it’s the cabin air, or the fact that this vantage point allows me time to really listen and hear. These moments of reflection often bring about new ideas.

This pandemic has been a time to reflect as well. It has been hard, and at first, I found myself struggling to manage it all. The emails tripled, the online meetings quadrupled, and the workday seemed longer. Work-life balance was, well…out of balance. I have since found a rhythm and cadence to my days. The space and time allowed me to see the work from a different perspective.

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