Common App Sees Increase in Early Applications

Through Dec. 1 (an application deadline for some institutions), the Common Application has received 1,077,900 applications for various early-decision programs. That covers all kinds of early decision -- including nonbinding. While it is hard to compare year-to-year interest because the Common Application accepts some new member colleges each year, that total is 17 percent higher than it was a year ago.

Officials of the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success and the Universal College Application -- two competitors of the Common Application -- declined to release figures.

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'Pay-for-Play' in U.S. Admissions Travel to China?

The latest in a series of Reuters articles about international admissions fraud examines what one critic describes as a “pay-for-play” arrangement through which Chinese education companies gain direct access to U.S. admissions officers for their student clients. The article explores how two American consultants for three major Chinese education companies have recruited dozens of U.S. admissions officers to come to China to meet with the companies’ student clients, with most of the travel costs being picked up by the companies. Two of the companies -- New Oriental Education & Technology Group and Dipont Education Management Group -- have been accused by former or current employees of engaging in college application fraud, accusations both companies deny.

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College Board's New Process for Accommodations

The College Board on Thursday announced a new process for people with disabilities to request test accommodations. Under the new system, most students who have been approved for test accommodations in high school will receive accommodations as long as their high school can answer two questions in the affirmative: “Is the requested accommodation(s) in the student’s plan?” and “Has the student used the accommodation(s) for school testing?”

Many advocates for students with disabilities have complained in the past that such students should not have to go through an entire process when they have already done so in high school (and in many cases before that). The changes announced are among those such advocates have sought.

The new policy applies to a number of College Board tests, including the SAT and Advanced Placement exams.

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Austin College Goes Test Optional in Admission

Austin College has announced that it is dropping its requirement that applicants submit SAT or ACT scores. The college will now accept, instead of test scores, an expository paper written for a high school course, with teacher comments and a final grade on the paper.

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Law School Gender Gaps

A new report documents unequal patterns involving gender in law school enrollments -- patterns that relate to employment prospects after law school. Among the findings:

  • While women earn more than 57 percent of undergraduate degrees, they make up only 51 percent of law school applicants.
  • About 3.4 percent of male college graduates apply to law school, while only 2.6 percent of women do so.
  • Male applicants to law school are more likely to be admitted than are female applicants, with admit rates of 79.5 percent for men and 75.8 percent for women. (While men, on average, have higher scores on the Law School Admission Test, women have better college grades.)
  • Law schools with the highest job placement rates tend to enroll smaller percentages of women than do law schools with poor job placement rates.

The report was prepared by Deborah Jones Merritt, a professor of law at Ohio State University, and Kyle McEntee, executive director of the group Law School Transparency, which has pushed law schools to reveal more information about job placement to prospective applicants. The full report may be found here.

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Mary Baldwin alumnae rebel against idea of undergraduate men living on campus

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Can a women’s college house undergraduate men on campus and still be a women’s college? Many Mary Baldwin alumnae answer no.

Idaho universities see enrollment rise after killing admissions application

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In an unprecedented move, the state of Idaho decided to automatically admit all high school graduates to its public universities. Enrollment rose.

International education a $20 billion industry for Australia

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International education experts believe the country may benefit even more from political and economic changes in Britain and the United States.

Post-Election, More Interest in Canada's Universities

Canadian universities are seeing a surge of interest from Americans since the election, The Globe and Mail reported. The University of Toronto's admissions website typically receives 1,000 visits a day from computers based in the United States. The day after the election, the site received 10,000 American visits. McGill University is reporting a surge of applications from Americans. The number of Google searches for "college Canada" and "university Canada" was twice as high the day after the election than any day in the last five years. Those figures would include non-Americans, suggesting interest not just from the United States, but elsewhere.

Above right, the University of Toronto.

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Yale, Citing Rankings in Part, Plans Science Push

Peter Salovey, president of Yale University, on Monday released a letter to the campus on the institution's priorities going forward -- and pledged a big push in science. In explaining the push, Salovey wrote, "Science can change -- and improve -- the world. The discoveries and new knowledge that emerge from our faculty members’ research will help solve some of the most pressing issues of our time. The physical sciences can help us learn to live sustainably. Advances in life science save lives. And technology allows us to pursue solutions we never would have dreamed possible even a decade ago." (Salovey pledged that the push in science would not come at the expense of other fields, and noted the importance of continued investments in the humanities, arts and social sciences.)

One unusual part of Salovey's letter was that he noted a concern about some rankings of the university. While many college and university leaders regularly talk about their rankings and their goals for rankings, such talk is rare among those who lead institutions -- such as Yale -- that have the type of rankings many other institutions can only dream about. Here's what Salovey wrote: " I want to touch very briefly on rankings, although I share your nervousness about being overly reliant on what are far-from-perfect indicators. With our unabashed emphasis on undergraduate education, strong teaching in Yale College and unsurpassed residential experience, Yale has long boasted one of the very highest-ranked colleges, perennially among the top three. In the ratings of world research universities, however, we tend to be somewhere between 10th and 15th. This discrepancy points to an opportunity, and that opportunity is science, as it is the sciences that most differentiate Yale from those above us on such lists." (In the recently released Times Higher Education world rankings of universities, Yale was No. 12, and seven American universities ranked higher.)

Salovey elaborated that "science is the key variable in bringing Yale to the level where it belongs: in order to remain a great research university on the world stage, we need to invest further in Yale science. This ambition is not a matter of bragging rights; it is fundamental to our mission of educating leaders and improving the world."

Photo above right is of Science Hill at Yale.

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