Now that colleges have released the bulk of their admissions decisions, and students are reconciling their application triumphs and defeats, it’s time to take a step back and assess the trends and surprises from this year’s admissions decisions. While not all of these findings are unique to the 2016 admissions cycle, they are noteworthy enough that all college bound students – especially those wrapping up their junior year – should pay careful attention. And if you count yourselves among the thousands of hapless seniors who didn’t earn a spot at your dream college, perhaps the rationales below will help explain why you were the recipient of a “thin envelope,” while your neighbor/best friend/classmate was not.
A recent report published by leading colleges and universities is calling for concrete changes to the college admissions process. Here, two of our expert educational consultants discuss their opinions and ideas about the report.
Ian Fisher: Last month, I wrote an opinion piece for our blog on Turning the Tide, a report compiled by the Harvard Graduate School of Education and endorsed by college admissions professionals nationwide. In the month or so since that report has been released, I’ve seen a mix of skepticism, usually from admissions professionals and school counselors, and optimism, usually from those on the outside of the field looking in. At the heart of this tension is a big question: is this something new? And will it change how colleges approach admissions? I’m interested in getting your (Elyse Krantz’s) take on those two questions, but I’m also interested in continuing the conversation for our readers.
My oldest child is in the 4th grade, and it is amazing how many parents at his K-8 school want to have coffee with me to discuss college admissions, even for children who have not yet hit middle school. But if I’m being honest with myself, even I think about how my son’s decisions today impact who he will be when he applies to college. But then one of my wise colleagues will set me straight and help me to remember that he’s still too young to be planning for college.
On the flip side, I’ve met plenty of parents of 12th graders who are still kicking the can down the road, sort of waiting for the process to happen to them. So when is the right time to “start?”