Updates in College Admissions from SACAC 2016
Did you know that the national average ratio of students to college counselors is 470:1? That’s 1 college counselor working with 470 students! With numbers like that, is there any question why we do what we do? Successfully navigating the college application process today requires more personalized attention than many college counselors have time to give. That’s where we come in. International College Counselors holistic counseling process gives students and families the time and attention to details that are simply not possible in many other places.
How do we know this? This past week the ICC team attended the annual meeting of the Southern Association for College Admission Counseling (SACAC). It was an energizing three days where we learned much and where we were also validated for many of the things we already do!
The Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success
There’s a lot of change in the college admissions world right now. The Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success is a brand new alternative to the Common Application. Eighty colleges and universities are participating, including every Ivy League university, Stanford University and the University of Chicago; liberal arts colleges such as Amherst, Swarthmore and Williams Colleges; and leading public institutions such as the University of Michigan, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of Virginia. The Coalition aims to create a new way for students to apply, utilizing a portfolio (“the locker”) that students can start building as early as 9th grade. Right now there are still many questions about the operational abilities of the Coalition applications and exactly how students, counselors, and colleges will interact. We are staying abreast of the most current information so that we can share it with you.
The first scores from the redesigned SAT will be available on May 10. On May 9 the College Board is releasing a smartphone app for both iPhone and Android called “SAT Score Converter” that will help all of us better understand the news scores in context.
Time and again we heard that early testing is critical – something you’ve heard from us before if you’ve been working with us. This is true for athletes as well, which is a newer trend. Even coaches want student-athletes to have completed their testing by the end of junior year if possible. All students, including student-athletes, need test scores to know what schools they can target, and coaches need student-athletes’ test scores to know if they can consider them.
Learning DifferencesFor students with learning differences, another layer is added to the already complex admissions process. While applying to colleges is a team effort between the student, parent, and counselor, self-advocacy is essential to the student’s success not only from an admissions standpoint, but throughout his or her entire higher education journey. A student’s understanding of her or her own diagnosis, as well as the accommodations that have worked best for him or her in the past, will enable the student to make informed decisions when applying to best-fit colleges, as well as when seeking support independently at the college level.
Naviance is taking on more and more importance in the college application process. School counselors are using Naviance with much greater frequency to connect with students from 9th grade on. Colleges use Naviance to give applicants the information they need to set up college portals once students have submitted their applications. These communication tools are critical to success! Remember, all clients of International College Counselors have access to Naviance.
There are over 4,500 colleges and universities out there; that’s an incredible number of schools offering an exciting, broad range of opportunities. Our job is to help keep our students’ options as broad as possible. For example, there are schools that actually guarantee that students will graduate in four years and either get a job or get into graduate school within six months or the school will pay for a 5th year and a master’s degree! Oglethorpe University calls this The Petrol Promise, and it’s the kind of opportunity that we make sure our students and families know about.
So much of a successful college application process is about education. We are excited to continue educating ourselves so that we can better educate you, our families, as you strive for the best higher educational opportunities for yourselves.