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Through our very own editors and guest writers, this blog will discuss the INSIDE scoop on the admissions process of various schools and programs. If you wish to ask a specific question, please write to us, and we will make every attempt to address your questions in our future blog discussions.
Monday, April 24, 2017
Another Obstacle for Low-Income Students in College Admissions
Diversity may be a fashionable term in modern-day college admissions, but opponents need not shiver at the mention of its name. The reality is that the vast majority of American students at four-year universities are white and middle to upper-middle class.

College is often regarded as the ticket to middle class, but if most of its students are already on that train, how can the working class every hope to ascend?

All too often, discussions about "diversity" in higher education are reduced to partisan squabbles over the merits or faults with affirmative action policies. An emerging reality is that socioeconomic status has an even larger impact than race in terms of collegiate success. The fact that the two factors often exist on parallel tracks makes the discussion even more complex.

A recent study by the Center for the Study of Higher and Post-Secondary Education (CSHPE) at the University of Michigan, found that many students from lower income backgrounds faced an unexpected obstacle: information about the quality of their high schools.

Admissions officers receive data about the high schools of nearly all of their applicants. Some of the more valuable metrics evaluated include 1) quantity of AP courses offered, 2) number of students with limited English proficiency, and 3) average standardized test scores. Since lower income students are more likely to go to underserved high schools, they are also more likely to be regarded less favorably than high-income peers who graduated from more competitive (or better serviced) schools.

In its study, CSHPE found that admissions officers were 13% more likely to admit low-income students from underserved high schools, if they were simply provided more information about the quality of the school. Put another way, students from these schools weren't getting declined simply because they attended a lower-performing school, but because admissions committees simply didn't know enough about their schools.

The study is promising in the sense that it gives universities and high schools a somewhat easier goal to reach for in terms of buoying students from lower-income communities. Socioeconomic equality is a much tougher fix, but airing out these deficiencies in the college admissions process? That's a good baby step in the right direction.

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Monday, April 17, 2017
Quadruplets Take Top Colleges by Storm
Taking sibling rivalry to the best possible level, four brothers from Ohio have all been accepted to Harvard and Yale. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. One brother got into Stanford and another was waitlisted there. The list of top colleges goes on and on: UC Berkeley, Vanderbilt, Brown and more.

Like many multiples, Zach, Aaron, Nigel and Nick share relationships that are both synergetic and independent. While all four of them boast outstanding credentials, their interests are varied from music to chemical engineering to foreign diplomacy. One thing is certain-these young men have worked hard, and the payoff has come.

The brothers considered drafting a single, jointly created admission essay, but took a more creative pivot by creating four stand-alone essays which-when read together-formed a complete puzzle. Each wrote of their respective experience as a quad, but told a unique story.

In an interview with the New York Times, the brothers said that they had not yet made decisions about which offers to accept, but that Yale was currently offering the largest financial aid packet-something crucial for a family attempting to put four kids through college simultaneously.

Though the brothers are clearly credentialed, their interests are varied, from music to chemical engineering to foreign diplomacy. For the first time in life, their geographic paths may diverge, but the future is looking bright for this talented unit.

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Sunday, April 9, 2017
Five Ways Parents Can Help With College Admissions
With everything tied up in college admissions these days, the lead up to the process can be one of the most trying times in the parent-child relationship. Parents understand the economic and social benefits of college. They also know that this may be one of the last big decisions in their child's life that they will be an integral part of. How to release some of this tension? Here's a helpful (but not exhaustive) list:

1) Start Early. Every kid is different. Some will be more receptive to parental advice than others. The best lead up to the college craziness is to have it be an organic, stress-free part of everyday conversation before deadlines start to heat up. This gives both parent and child time to wrap their heads around it.

2) Try not to "Project". This is a big deal, and you don't want to kick them out of the nest without first teaching them how to fly. But it's their big deal, not yours. Whether parents mean to or not, they tend to expect their children to share the same values and goals that they do. Your kid is an individual, and the best you can do is steer them, not reshape them.

3) Help them develop a plan. Most people do best when following a path they've created for themselves. "Should" can be a toxic word that induces guilt and resentment. Don't draw the blueprint for them.

4) Be Supportive. This is obvious, but see points 1-3 above. The kids need love and encouragement here, not cracking of the whip.

5) Be Available. It may be that the thing they need most is a friendly ear. The more you push, the more they're likely to back away. Take a stab at treating them as an adult. They might just surprise you.

Most parents will agree that one of the toughest parts of being a parent is watching your kid fail. A strong second? Backing off and letting your kid skin her knees anyways.

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Sunday, April 2, 2017
Starbucks Goes One Step Further in Supporting College for Employees
In 2014, Starbucks partnered up with Arizona State University (ASU) to create a program offering full tuition coverage to all of their employees. The program, called the College Achievement Plan, was made available to both part-time and full-time Starbucks employees.

Tuition is fully reimbursable by Starbucks, and in turn, ASU provides mentoring and tutorial support across a range of more than 60 undergraduate degrees. The assistance and coursework are available on-line, meaning that geography isn't a barrier to access.

The program is available to Starbucks' more than 15,000 employees, but has turned out to be challenging for students who are not otherwise eligible for college admission. A number of student hopefuls hadn't taken the SAT, didn't have a high enough GPA, or lacked requisite freshman coursework.

Last week, Starbucks and ASU announced an enhanced program, Pathways to Admission, which seeks to help employees overcome ineligibility issues. Under the new program ASU will offer additional tutoring and counseling in order to help employees complete freshman-level courses, as many times as is necessary. Starbucks will foot the bill.

Starbucks' stated goal is to have 25,000 college graduates by 2025. CEO Howard Schultz announced the new program at a recent shareholders' meeting, where he spoke of the company's moral commitment to strive to do more than simply reap profits. Educating its workforce is good for both the company, and the economy.

This is one in a long-line of progressive, employee-centered policies by Starbucks. The company is already renowned for its exemplary management-training program, benefits for part-time employees, as well as a stated commitment to hiring at-risk youth, veterans, refugees and people with disabilities.

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