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Labor Day Work for Your College Applicant

Carry over as little as possible into the academic year!

On Labor Day, families typically get together and enjoy the feeling of summer before going back to work (maybe in an office) and school. For many college applicants - and their counselors - it's a long weekend during which we work hard. Our goal: to carry over as little as possible into the academic year.

Public Research Universities: A Big Attraction

Since the pandemic, large public research universities are welcoming record numbers to campus. A recent Forbes article mentions the University of South Carolina* and the University of Georgia, popular with more unCommon students every year. Why such interest in these large universities? Their leaders cite the return of in-person learning, need for socialization, in-demand programming and improvements to the physical plant on campus. As noted in the article, "It’s much too early to know if these freshmen enrollment numbers are exceptions or a harbinger of an overall national increase in entering students."

*Note: Apparently, there's trouble brewing at the original USC. Without its comb, this new gamecock, the school's mascot, looks more like a chicken! That's not sitting well with some constituents.

California a Bust?

There's more news from the West Coast - and it's not good for those of us located on the other side of the country. The University of California's 2030 Capacity Plan means more CA residents at the expense of fewer out-of-staters. A news release explains, "Around one-quarter of the anticipated California enrollment growth at UC Berkeley, UCLA and UC San Diego over the next eight years will be achieved by swapping out-of-state students with Californians."

UC: "swapping out-of-state students with Californians”

As reported in the LA Times, "the system’s nine undergraduate campuses accepted a record number of California first-year students for fall 2022, while significantly narrowing entry to out-of-state and international applicants amid widespread demands to preserve coveted seats for state residents." While offers of admission to UC Irvine declined by 1.6 percent for CA residents, they dropped some 39 percent for out-of-state students. As for the two most popular, out-of-state admit rates dropped last year from 14.1 percent to 8.6 percent at UC Berkeley and from 13.9 percent to 8.8 percent at UCLA.

U-M: It's Sustainable This college counselor is always following curricular innovation. The Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning has one of the newest undergraduate degrees at the University of Michigan: a Bachelor of Science in Urban Technology. Billed as "Made at Michigan. Designed for the world,” the program "combines urbanism, technology, and design to help you build the know-how and determined humility to shape future cities." Take a look! Texas: Hooking 'Em on Taylor “@swiftieprof is our very own Prof Liz Scala.” Those who don't follow Twitter feeds of English departments are missing out on the latest from University of Texas at Austin. According to UT, the course is "an introduction to literary studies and research methods that uses the songwriting of @taylorswift as the basis for teaching a wide range of skills.” Skeptics may recall that NYU, which honored Taylor at its 2022 graduation, also had a course last winter that featured her songs. Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that UT may be passing Harvard as "the richest in US higher education" as a result of managing the country's richest oil field. The explanation: "College endowments are typically fueled by investment gains and donations. In the unusual case of the UT system, oil revenue could help its endowment surpass Harvard’s."

Everything's bigger in Texas, including the endowment.

Dining Matters

Wondering about food choices for your prospective college student? Campus dining is among the focal points of Princeton Review's recent survey. So who won big? That would be the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, the largest in the Five College Consortium, followed by Bowdoin College, Washington University in St. Louis, Cornell, Pitzer College and Vanderbilt. May all eat and study well in this new semester.

Supplements Rule!

At this time of year, I'm pushing students to nail their supplemental essays. Recently, my piece "How to Enhance Your Profile in a Test-Optional Climate" appeared in College Confidential. Then the other night, I listened to an Expert Admissions webinar featuring speakers from Cornell and Middlebury. Here's what Marina Fried, Cornell's Associate Director of Admissions, had to say: "[While] we value a well written piece [Personal Essay] . . I do believe that the supplement does hold greater weight within Cornell. We want to see students that have done their research and write about that.”

Cornell: "We never made an admissions decision solely based on a test score.”

The Gridiron: Work or Play this Labor Day? While many of us are focused on essays, others can't wait for an opening kickoff. This weekend. fans will pack Ohio State's Horseshoe to see the Buckeyes welcome Notre Dame and its new coach, Marcus Freeman. OSU's chief rival, the Alabama Crimson Tide, welcome Utah State Saturday evening. And what about the college athletes, who can now cash in on their name, image and likeness (i.e., NIL) as per new NCAA rules? They're already winning.

Enjoy the holiday weekend, and be patient with your local applicants. Remember to get in touch if you need to address your student's path to college and career.


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