My Blog

College Admissions

Truth, Lies, and… College Admissions

If the name Mackenzie Fierceton rings a bell, you probably read an article about her titled something like “Student Loses Rhodes Scholarship After Lying…” But, as the saying goes: “The plot thickens.” I’m going to do a post that uses her story to discuss some aspects of the college application process that are typically not talked about. After college when I started helping students get into college, I was very surprised to hear from a well-respected independent college counselor that “college essays are not autobiographies; they belong to the genre of memoirs.” As Vivian Gornick, the acclaimed memoirist writes in Truth

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College Admissions

Hiding Inequality

When I met Bob Schaeffer, the Executive Director of FairTest, at a National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) conference in October of 2012, I thought he was misguided. In our roughly 20-minute conversation, he decried that the SAT and ACT were tests that could be prepared for and explained that he wanted them to be abolished. Why did I think him misguided? Because of course the SAT and ACT can be prepared for. Can you think of any test that you can’t prepare for? Especially at over 30,000 feet in the air, I want my pilot to have prepared

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College Admissions

Broken Dreams: College Access and Outcomes

There has been an increasing focus on opening up access to a college education. In principle, I completely agree with and support this focus: a college degree is a dynamo for individual, generational, and societal advancement. Many college admissions counselors have taken up this worthy cause. For example, the updated mission statement of NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling) states that they are “driven by a fundamental belief that expanding opportunity and removing barriers to postsecondary education advances equity and benefits everyone.”[i] But, there’s a problem. Good intentions do not always lead to good outcomes. Unfortunately, many very well-intentioned

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College Admissions

Test optional. Confusion mandatory.

“Garbage in; garbage out” is a popular phrase to describe the effect of bad information on outcomes. Think of your local weather service: “Today it will be sunny. No chance of showers.” And you end up drenched from a downpour – bad info led to a bad outcome for you. When given bad info, it’s actually those who do not trust that info and pack an umbrella anyway who end up dry. So believing bad information tends to lead to bad decisions, which more often lead to bad outcomes. The same is true with colleges’ test optional admission policies: misinformation

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College Admissions

Selectively Test Optional

Most colleges prefer applicants to submit standardized test scores. This post was published by Summit Prep and shared here with permission.

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College Admissions

How Standardized Testing is Essential to Promoting Equity

Educational inequity is a crisis in the United States, and standardized tests are among the best available tools for understanding disparities in achievement and opportunity. We can only fix what we can measure. This post is authored and published by the National Test Prep Association and shared here with permission.

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College Admissions

How Standardized Testing Benefits Individuals

Standardized testing evaluates test takers’ understanding of meaningful academic skills that are necessary for their success as students, professionals, and citizens. This post is authored and published by the National Test Prep Association and shared here with permission. Photos by Kelly Sikkema and John Arano on Unsplash

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College Admissions

The Value of Test Preparation

In addition to higher test scores, test preparation has many additional benefits. This post is authored and published by the National Test Prep Association and shared here with permission.

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College Admissions

How Standardized Testing Benefits Society

Standardized tests remain among the most efficient and effective tools for measuring student knowledge, ability, and achievement. This post is authored and published by the National Test Prep Association and shared here with permission.

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