A MUST READ! If you like to read rankings and rely on them in any way, it's important to hear the perspective of institutions who have a very bittersweet relationship with them. This article is very important to read to gain another viewpoint you don't often hear.
The 6 Colleges had a counselor webinar in late February where many issues were addressed including the future of continuing their testing policies, upcoming changes to FAFSA, chat GPT, the anticipated Supreme Court ruling regarding race in college admission, how the work of Admissions is tied to the respective school's goals and mission, and much more. One of the key takeaways was "more is not better" citing the example of AP + IB courses taken simultaneously by students trying to shape a strong profile. Highly selective colleges understand the pressures this puts on students and they want to see applicants who can choose classes carefully based on their needs, abilities, and maturity.
This webinar also address the huge surge in STEM nationally no matter the size of the school. These institutions mentioned how they appreciate students wanting to participate in all classes and not just in their major.-related classes. Interdisciplinary studies and social studies are also growing, and humanities isn't going away, but is waning. All of these institutions are feeling the difficulties of hiring CS faculty, a national challenge. They did also mention how it is "exciting" to read apps where students want to study classics or other unusual areas.
They did mention that the application should showcase what motivates students, what excites them, and how students engage in their interests, and this can also be showcased in letters of recommendation.
Overall, admissions is being very thoughtful about many upcoming significant changes while remaining focused on their institutional missions and goals.
Shifting gears, as we feel prices rising just about everywhere due to inflation, we are expecting higher ed to increase tuition. An article recently published about Stanford raising tuition 7% is here. In previous years, Stanford has raised tuition 4% so this is a significant increase and other institutions are expected to follow suit. However, Stanford has also adjusted their financial aid threshold. Here is another interesting article on UC enrollment numbers in the context of surging demand.
A new calendar year brings new beginnings, large or small. Perhaps this is an opportune time for you to watch this video, one of the most highly viewed TED Talks, to re-think education and its future, and perhaps who you are and who your student is within this realm.
For our growth, ICC did some college visits to Cal State San Marcos, UC San Diego, University of San Diego, UNLV, College of Southern Nevada, and the Claremont Colleges. We also attended webinars for UPenn, Claremont Colleges, Yale, Rice, Tufts, and Johns Hopkins.
The Common App published trends through January 1 noting "rapid growth in applicant and application totals over the past 3 seasons...with underrepresented minorities and first-generation applicants increasing faster.... The majority of applicants continue to hail from the wealthiest zip codes. The number of applicants residing outside the USA increased at nearly triple the rate of applicants in the USA since 2019-20."
We firmly believe that every student we work with is amazing in their own right. Every student has strengths, talents, skills, abilities, traits, and more that are amazing, and our job is to help them understand their gifts and highlight them.
As parents we understand how it's hard to not get caught up in what we see around us, but we also work hard at recognizing how each student has their own journey on their own pathway.
Few newsworthy articles:
How the University of California Strike Could Reshape Higher Education
Law schools with LSAT rule change: In an unprecedented move, top law schools decide to move away from LSAT and also stop sharing data with US News for rankings. The move to drop LSAT requirement for admissions starting fall 2025 is a direct consequence of the American Bar Association's decision to stop requiring law schools to use this or any other standardized test when admitting students. The interesting question now is whether we will see a change in how undergraduate colleges view US News rankings. So far, only one undergraduate institution, Reed College shunned rankings.
Some of the most common corrections we make in essays:
November's annual NACAC Fair in Seattle is a great way to start the month! College and universities make a big effort to come to Seattle and we're always thankful for the time they spend here with students and families.
Seniors have been doing the final push with their applications and finishing up all their essays. We're so proud of them submitting so many apps in November and queuing up the remaining ones for December and January deadlines. As of today, we have reviewed 1,504 essays that accompany applications! This does not include resumes or other essays that we do for summer programs, juniors, or others.
While most of our reading this month was essays, beyond that we especially appreciated this article by Jeffrey Selingo: What Does an SAT Score Mean Anymore? The mass pivot to a test-optional approach reshuffled college admissions. MIT Decided it was done. We encourage you to take some time to read it. The switch to digital SAT testing outlined by the College Board is on track. For international students, the digital format is only a few months away as the Dec 2022 is marked as the final paper test. For domestic (US) students, the migration to the digital platform takes place in March 2024.
While our blogs are mostly good news and industry updates, we do want to extend our heartfelt wishes for the students who were personally impacted by unnecessary gun violence this month. We hold space for you.
September & October 2022
Whew! As soon as summer came, it left. The return of school also brings in the return of a get-it-done mindset. Every time this year, we in the thick of helping seniors with essays, shaping their college lists, applications, managing letters of recommendation, and visiting with college and university reps who are once again out travelling.
Fall is the busiest "travel season" for all the admissions officers; their goals are simple: recruit and get great applicants to apply. Take advantage of all the visits and online events the admissions staff are doing!
WalletHub published a great, searchable rankings that determines the top-performing schools at the lowest possible costs to undergraduates while also analyzing post-attendance metrics. (Hint: check out Whitman vs Univ. of Washington)
A few other recommended reads are:
Since travel started up again this summer, ICC took advantage of that and visited many colleges and universities both in the US and abroad.
We always try to keep up with current trends and a few articles that we recommend:
Colleges Weigh New Admission Strategies
The Status of Federal Student Aid Programs
Kids' Mental Health Is a 'National Emergency.' Therapists Are in Short Supply.
July has kept us busy as we motivate students to maximize their summer to work on their applications! Our biggest push has been towards finalizing college lists and fine tuning it with a balanced spread to craft a stronger application. This is hard work. It means helping students and their families break out of a mindset of known names and comfortable spaces. It means being open to new and untried options and requires us to be flexible, empathetic and knowledgable in the process.
This goal fuels our professional growth with campus visits and webinars. Anu visited several campuses in Texas that included both public and private institutions - Baylor University in Waco, UT Dallas, UT Arlington, Midwestern State University, University of North Texas, Austin College, Texas Christian University, and Southern Methodist University. The notes from these visits are in the software and available to ICC clients.
The big news for WA students was the announcement of UW Seattle joining the Common App for freshmen applicants for fall quarter 2023. An interesting read we came across: College Financial Aid,
CONGRATULATIONS SENIORS! You have all graduated and we are so proud of each one of you!
A MUST READ: this article, "CodeSignal Publishes Second Annual University Ranking Report Based on Technical Skills." This "is the only skills-based ranking of the top universities and colleges for software engineering nationwide." Which ranking are you going to value more?
The College Board announced the launch of a new AP Pre-calculus in fall 2023, to help students succeed in college level math. Read more about this announcement.
We learned more about these liberal arts colleges throughout the country: Claremont McKenna College, Colorado College, Connecticut College, Grinnell College, Haverford College, Kenyon College, Macalester College, and Sarah Lawrence College. In-person college visits this month include Reed College, Portland and University of Hawaii, Hilo campus.
One of the best articles was this one about UW Seattle. College sports enthusiasts may be interested in this news about USC and UCLA.
CONGRATULATIONS to all our seniors on selecting their schools!!! The first of May is such a special day for our seniors and their families, and we're proud of how they've all come to their decisions with grace, thoughtfulness, and excitement!
UPenn released an article describing their incoming class which ultimately reflects how they are offering admission to students who are engaged. They are engaged in research, they are taking action, they are making a positive impact on a variety of levels, they care about the environment, they are working to help their families, and all this regardless of the pandemics. Ultimately, they are engaged in intellectual discovery and innovation. Engagement comes at all different levels and we always try to encourage our students to engage in whatever interests them. Showing up and checking in is what matters.
May is also a very busy month with AP tests. These exams are demanding for students so we try to lay off a little during this time.
Additionally, spring always brings recruitment sessions and we've encouraged our students to attend several in-person and virtual fairs and presentations. With the pandemic, the outreach footprint of colleges through virtual platforms increased dramatically and their social media (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube. etc) presence is a great way for students to explore and get information about campuses.
Other tidbits from May are this article on plunging admit rates, and we have been learning more about universities through many webinars.
We learned more about universities like Rice, Emory and U Mich through webinars.