Monthly Archives: May 2011


In Defense of Independent Admissions Consultants

In a guest post today, Joan K. Rynearson, president of Higher Education Consultants Association, takes on some popular perceptions of her profession:

Independent educational consultants have long been criticized by journalists, authors, and even some within the college community. This fast-growing profession attracts people from a variety of backgrounds, from high school counselors and teachers, to attorneys, to business executives to college admission officials. However, we all share a common c…


Legislators Ask Testing Companies How They Use Student Data

Two U.S. congressmen who seek enhanced online privacy protections for teenagers have asked ACT Inc. and the College Board to disclose how they collect and use test takers’ personal information, Bloomberg first reported.

In letters sent to the testing companies today, Rep. Edward J. Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and Rep. Joseph L. Barton, a Republican from Texas, asked several questions regarding the collection, storage, and sale of students’ personal information. One question asks: “How…


Shakespeare Responds to ‘Slight’ From Georgetown Scholar

As you’ve surely read by now, not all bachelor’s degrees are created equal, at least in terms of the financial payoff, according to a new report from the Georgetown University Center for Education and the Workforce. One article about the findings, from The Washington Post, stuck in my head, maybe because it trotted out this dead horse of a joke about the question English majors like me supposedly end up asking in life (“would you like fries with that?”). Or maybe it was this quote from Antho…


Gaming the Rankings? Not on Our Campus!

The punching bag of college admissions keeps taking hits. According to survey results released Thursday by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, or NACAC, a majority of admissions professionals believe that U.S. News & World Report‘s annual ranking of colleges relies on flawed methodology, bears an inaccurate title (“Best Colleges”), and confuses students and parents.

Although such findings aren’t surprising, the survey reveals the complexity of the rankings debate. Most res…


The Travails of a Freshman Admissions Counselor

In a guest post today, Laura Boboth, an admissions counselor at Pacific University, in Forest Grove, Ore., describes life as a young member of the enrollment profession:

Everyone has a dream job. Doctor, aerospace scientist, garbage man. As a senior in college, I decided that my dream job was to be an admissions counselor. Lofty aspirations, right? As a double major in marketing management and human-resource management, I figured that admissions would be the best of both worlds: the marketing of…


Why Odalis Polanco’s SAT Score Didn’t Matter

(In 2007, I interviewed Odalis Polanco, then a sophomore at Northeastern University, in Boston, for an article about the institution’s Torch Scholars Program, created to enroll and retain first-generation, low-income students. Recently, I caught up with Mr. Polanco, who graduated last week along with the 10 other members of the program’s inaugural class.)

Courtesy Northeastern U.

If not for the Torch program, Odalis Polanco says, he wouldn’t have graduated from Northeastern University. Not thi…


When a Student’s First-Choice College Is Out of Financial Reach

This spring Natasha van Doren, the mother of a prospective Southern New Hampshire University student, wrote an e-mail to Paul LeBlanc, its president. Her daughter, Mariah Mann, had fallen in love with the campus, she wrote, but there was a problem: Money was tight, and if Ms. van Doren sent in the needed $500 deposit, she would have only enough left over to pay half of her monthly rent. Ms. van Doren and Mr. LeBlanc traded several e-mails.

The correspondence was one of a dozen or so personal ple…


‘Leave the Closet Door Unlocked’

If you haven’t read my colleague Sara Lipka’s excellent article about how colleges are recruiting gay students, you should take a break and do so right now.

Meanwhile, I’d like to welcome Jake Christensen, a senior admissions counselor at the University of Iowa, who shares his perspective on this issue in a guest post:

When I interact with prospective students and their families, I usually try to start the conversation by asking, “What do you know about the University of Iowa?” More often than …


Social Media, With Light Sabers

Capital University’s not the most famous institution in Columbus, Ohio. That distinction belongs to Ohio State University, which has 50,000 undergraduates and a football team adored by people on seven planets. “We’re in a huge shadow,” says Kevin W. Sayers, Capital’s vice president for planning and strategy.

Still, after nearly 200 years, Capital has plenty of stories to tell, and it’s embraced social media to help tell them. This spring, the university created an online campaign called Mascot M…