National Association for College Admission Counseling President Phillip Trout issued an apology Friday after saying “all lives matter” at the organization’s opening general session the day before.
“As the NACAC president, I wish to offer my sincere apology for the words I used yesterday afternoon at our opening general session,” Trout said in a message distributed Friday afternoon. “I am sorry to know that I have offended and hurt so many people.
“What I did is not right,” Trout continued. “I have asked for the support of my colleagues on the NACAC board to allow us to spend additional time addressing issues of race and human relations.
“With your help and advice, we will work hard toward making our association a center of inclusion and personal dignity for all counseling and admission professionals,” Trout concluded.
Trout had asked for a moment of silence Thursday to show support and consideration of those suffering discrimination and hurt. The request came as NACAC opened its national conference in Columbus, Ohio, as a national debate on race, discrimination and police tactics plays out across the country and on college campuses.
The phrase “all lives matter" has drawn objection in the past from those who see it as an affront to or minimization of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Trout, a college counselor at Minnetonka High School in Minnesota, is set to complete his time as NACAC president Saturday with the annual conference’s end. Nancy Beane, a college counselor at the Westminster Schools in Georgia, will be taking over the role.
On Monday, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, a critic of standardized testing, released data showing that half the colleges on U.S. News & World Report’s top 100 liberal arts colleges list are test optional.
Also this week, ACT released a report questioning the rationale behind colleges going test optional. The report says that these policies are based on false assumptions and that test scores add to the information admissions officers need.
Brown University announced Monday that it will consider undocumented applicants -- those without the legal right to remain in the U.S. -- as domestic students. In the past they have been evaluated for admissions as international students. The shift is significant because Brown reviews all domestic applicants (but not international applicants) through a system that is need blind and in which the university pledges to meet 100 percent of demonstrated financial need. That's crucial for undocumented students, who generally have financial need but are not eligible for federal aid.
Bowdoin College announced Tuesday that it will no longer require application fees from those who are in the first generation of their family to go to college, or who are applying for financial aid. The standard application fee at Bowdoin is $65. While most colleges have provisions for applicants to seek waivers, many experts say that low-income applicants may be discouraged by having to apply for a waiver.
A new report provides guidance for colleges on how to comply with the recent Supreme Court decision affirming the right of colleges to consider race and ethnicity in admissions but also affirming certain limits on the practice. The guide is from the College Board and Education Counsel, strong supporters of affirmative action.
Key points in the guidance:
Goals for student body diversity "should be sufficiently precise, without resorting to numbers only, and based on evidence-centered academic judgment."
Colleges need "institution-specific evidence should support the necessity of using race-conscious methods for achieving these goals."
Individual reviews of applicants must reflect "flexible consideration of race through individualized evaluation and an institution’s unique mission."
Syracuse University has been criticized by some of its minority students for an increased emphasis on rankings and for scaling back involvement with the Posse Foundation, a highly regarded program to attract low-income students to colleges they might not otherwise select. New data from the university show that the percentage of minority students in the class enrolling this fall is 24 percent, down from 28 percent a year ago. The figure includes all minority groups, and those who identify with more than one racial and ethnic group. The university is pledging a series of steps to enroll more minority students. Among the steps:
Creating a team of four experienced recruiters focused specifically on diversity recruitment.
Charging all admissions staff members to prioritize recruiting a diverse student body.
Creating and enhancing incentive financial aid to encourage minority enrollment.
Kaplan Test Prep is announcing today that it will offer free online PSAT instruction, starting in October. Kaplan will offer eight one-hour sessions live, with recordings available for those who can't participate live. Kaplan's announcement noted that, for many students, the PSAT is "the first meaningful step on their path to college."
The move comes at a time that more testing services are offering free test prep. The College Board has been boasting about the free test prep it is offering for the SAT through the Khan Academy. (And the College Board notes that this program is open to those preparing for the PSAT as well.) In April, ACT and Kaplan Test Prep announced a collaboration to provide free online instruction, taught by teachers, for low-income students. That service will be available to all, but those who are not low income will have to pay a fee, estimated to be under $200.
Asked if the latest announcement was part of competition in the free test prep space, Lee Weiss, Kaplan Test Prep vice president of college admissions programs, said via email: "Not at all. Kaplan has been developing our live online instruction capabilities for years. We know that good live teaching makes a meaningful difference in student performance, and we’ve recognized that quality live instruction is not available at scale. As technology has evolved, we saw an opportunity to use technology and our respective expertise to create something that didn’t yet exist."