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National Reply Date Has Passed. So What's in Store for 2023-24?

A parent emails that his son is excited to wear his college's sweatshirt to school. I'm thrilled that the student's very hard work has paid off and that he is excited about the future. Now that seniors have made their choices, it's time to focus on high school students who will be applying over the next few years. What issues await them - and what should they do?


Having a Netflix Moment? Just Record Your (Livestreamed) Event! A few weeks ago, a technical glitch prevented Netflix from livestreaming a popular reality show as planned. Fans forget the glitch and went on to discuss the action-packed finale. Last week when I was to be presenting Getting Into College 2023-24: Charting Your Applicant's Journey, a technical issue also occured. The solution: record the livestream and post it as soon as the presentation ends. After all, there are so many issues to discuss! In our event, Anna Gazumyan-Silverman addressed issues affecting test-takers in 2023-24, including a new, adaptive PSAT in October and a full national rollout in 2024. While Anna doesn't anticipate changes to the ACT, she expects that more students will see the test on screens rather than in a test booklet. Be sure to check out the recording (of the livestream) to get the scoop on admissions and testing! Last year, MIT, Georgetown and some Southern universities including Georgia, Georgia Tech and Florida went back to testing. In 2023-24, what will colleges do? In an announcement, Vassar's Sonya Smith, Dean of Admission and Student Financial Services, shared that the college is now permanently test-optional.

"Our students are more than a test score,” she said. “Our community values thinkers and creativity. Our students enjoy grappling with ideas, engaging with one another, and coming up with innovative solutions. Standardized tests can’t measure that.” - Vassar Admissions


How to Grow - In Unexpected Ways . . . Last week, Insider shared a post by a young woman who attended community college before moving on to complete her degree at Georgetown. At community college, she admired the students who were there to learn, filling classes with enriched discussions about subjects that mattered. In contrast, the student found that Georgetown was "a preprofessional waiting room for consulting gigs and law school" in which "success was measured not by pursuing meaningful studies and projects, but by landing competitive internships and jobs." Georgetown is an incredible institution that produces scholars, researchers and leaders. Yet I've also counseled students who have taken classes at community colleges for a variety of reasons, including a January start date, a break after a college didn't work out, or the need to learn beyond the high school curriculum. They reported gaining knowledge and perspective for their bachelor's experience.


. . . But How to Save? In a study, Insider looked at room and board at 10 favorite public research institutions and found double-digit growth in nine of them over a 10-year period! What's behind the increase? States are capping tuition increases, leading universities to bump up housing costs. At UVA, for example, room and board rose 37 percent, while those costs at Wisconsin went up 35 percent. Unfortunately, educational advocates are concerned that housing expenses will force some students off campus and into the workplace prior to completing their degrees.

On, Wisconsin! Just keep costs in check.

Institutional Priorities: A Journey into the Unknown?

". . . Attracting students who think outside of the box is exactly what Emory wants.” That's what we hear from Kelley Lips, Emory's assistant vice provost and dean of enrollment, in her description of the Class of 2027. Yet it's often difficult to know an institution's priorities. In her announcement, for example, Lips noted that the new class "exhibited inclination toward humanitarian efforts.” That's great, but what if your student has a different set of interests? Importantly, the release underscores that a student doesn't need a long resume of stacked, research-based activities. Instead, they need to do what they love and connect those interests to innovative activities.

"When composing the class, in addition to grades, test scores and teacher recommendations, admissions staff look at what students are inspired by to see how varying interests and experiences will fit together." -Emory


Innovations are for All, Not Just Business Students! Let's go back to Emory and see why it will continue to attract top applicants. Last week, the university announced a Center for Artificial Intelligence Learning "for those interested in AI’s application to their area of interest, and to make AI learning ubiquitous on campus for all of Emory, no matter their area of study or status as a student, staff, alum or faculty member." It will focus on skill-building, support services, experiential learning and community building, starting with practicums this summer and continuing with courses and workshops. Yesterday, I went up to Brown to attend a class and meet with Danny Warshay, Professor of the Practice. As an undergraduate, Danny, a history major, teamed with other Brunonians to start a software business they later sold to Apple. In addition to investing and teaching, Danny directs Brown's Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship, founded on the notion that any student can be an entrepreneur if they can See, Solve, Scale.


How to Choose a Major

Parents often ask whether their student should major in X rather than Y "because it's easier for admissions." Check out Pick a Practical Major, Like French, published recently in Using pharmacy studies, petrochemical engineering and coding as examples, author Freddie deBoer argues that the "most basic problem with the notion of the practical major is that practicality is not a static, timeless quality." In the article, deBoer writes: "The problem is that business is by far the most popular major in American higher education; each year, we graduate something like 350,000 students with bachelor’s degrees in the field. That means that, if you’re one of those students, you’re graduating into a labor market where you have an immense amount of competition.”

Salary-related information based on data from the Burning Glass Institute recently appeared in the Wall Street Journal. Finance professionals who attended private institutions like MIT, Harvard and Princeton continue to show the highest earnings. Get this: Middlebury, a liberal arts college known for language immersion, made the Top 10! UVA, Michigan and NY State's Binghamton led the list of public colleges. Again: These are finance professionals, not necessarily finance majors!

Middlebury accepted under 6 percent of applicants this year.


Sometimes, events don't work out as planned. When that happens, we pivot and make the most of our opportunity. So take some uncertainty out of the college process, and set up a meeting if you have questions about your student's future candidacy. It's all about charting the journey!


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