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The College Try

List of 10 news stories.

  • Education's Opiates: Prescribing Selective Colleges

    Parents, high schools and colleges are feeding an addiction of sorts— abetting an epidemic of perfectionism and expectation while promoting a “high” of status and prestige. After two decades of working with young people in college admission, it is increasingly apparent that driven by fear and uncertainty, we are “overprescribing” achievement and ambition while jeopardizing the health and wellness of our children. The parallels between selective college admission and the drug crisis are frightening and though not as immediate or severe, the impact of resume building—doing more and being more—is serious all the same....
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  • Parenting the College Applicant as an Admission Dean

    How do dentists feel when they are at the dentist? Is it as miserable as it is for the rest of us, or is it easier because they know the routine? I wonder about this phenomenon more generally, including my own profession, college admission counseling. What is it like to relinquish one’s role as the expert—comfortable, or will I squirm like every other parent? Is it enlightening to see one’s profession from another perspective or terrifying?...
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  • A College Admission Revolution

    Independence Day—it is a day on which we celebrate freedom from tyranny and oppression. It is an opportunity to commemorate a successful revolution and recall the importance of self-rule. It has also become a chance to take a mid-summer break and enjoy festive connection, appreciating good food and good friends. Unless of course, you are a rising high school senior, in which case, you now must confront the growing threat of college admission creep....
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  • College Admission Has the Cultural Capital to Drive Suicide Prevention

    I am dying—bit-by-bit, teardrop-by-teardrop, person-by-person, soul-by-soul.  An energetic teacher, a gentle high school student, a soft-spoken police officer, a hilarious counselor, a giving salesman, a conscientious young adult, and an invested coach—united in their pain and divided by their death. As a career educator, a father, a brother, a son, and a human, a part of me dies with every suicide. They are connections lost, friends missing and lives forsaken....
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  • College Summer Reading List

    Each summer, Brennan Barnard compiles a summer reading list of recommendations from college admissions counselors and deans for the Answer Sheet blog in The Washington Post. Here is his 2018 list of nearly 40 fiction and nonfiction books, with some titles that can appeal to just about everybody....
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  • The Royal 'We' In College Admission

    If there is one grammatical gaffe—perhaps a Freudian slip—that elicits the most consistent eye-rolling among college admission professionals, it is when students and parents use the royal "we” to refer to the child’s experience. "We are taking the SAT this weekend.”....
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  • Ask These Questions Before Starting The College Search

    “Do you want to go to college?” This is the first question I ask students beginning the college search and it is inevitably met with startled, suspicious looks. For many students, questioning the desire to attend college goes to the heart of unconscious assumptions and unspoken expectations, a hidden force field that encourages passivity and resignation. With the perfunctory “yes I want to go to college” out of the way, we can move to the more critical question that challenges most high school students, as they fumble for the “right” answers....
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  • College Admission Recruiting: Biased Or Broken?

    Are recruiting practices fundamentally biased? “Yes,” say higher education researchers Ozan Jaquette at the University of California Los Angeles and Karina Salazar at The University of Arizona. Unlike most other countries where college is almost entirely funded by taxpayers, in the United States schools rely on tuition dollars, or in a few cases healthy endowments—a fact that has a number of implications, including how colleges seek out and admit students....
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  • College Admissions Counselors: From Gatekeepers To Caseworkers

    College has long been touted as, “the best four years of your life!” Actually earning a college degree in four years, however, is something of an aberration—more the exception than the rule. Research from the National Center for Education Statistics finds that just over half of all students who begin at four-year colleges complete a degree in six years. This does not bode well for an endeavor that comes at great costs to students, their families and the institutions that seek to educate them....
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  • Senioritis: College Acceptances In Jeopardy

    May 1: The unofficial end of high school for many college-bound seniors. Otherwise known as the National Candidate Reply Date, the first of May is the deadline for students to submit an enrollment deposit confirming their college choice.  For students who have obsessed over being admitted to college for months (if not years), it feels like the finish line, a time to collapse with exhaustion from a race well run.  Not so quickly!  There are still important details to attend to—maintaining good grades, staying out of trouble and actually graduating....
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