Some Colleges Are Flexible in Light of ACT Delays

With ACT scores delayed beyond some early action application deadlines, some colleges are announcing that they will allow applicants to send screenshots of the portion of ACT scores that are available. ACT has told test takers that the writing scoring is delayed but other scores are available, unofficially, on the ACT website. Some colleges are saying they will accept these scores for consideration. Among them are Loyola Marymount University and the University of Chicago (links are to their announcements).

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Major Delay in Obtaining ACT Scores

Students and colleges are being told by ACT that test scores from September are delayed because of high volume of test takers and because of longer scoring time for a new writing test. Students and colleges are frustrated and some fear missing some early decision deadlines.

Steve Kappler, vice president of brand experience for ACT, wrote to members of the National Association for College Admission Counseling to explain the situation, but his answer has not satisfied many ACT test takers or colleges.

"We understand that some students may be facing important application deadlines. Students who took the ACT with writing may view their multiple-choice scores -- their ACT composite score, subject test scores (English, mathematics, reading and science), and subscores -- on the ACT student website. Official score reports, however, cannot be sent to students, high schools or colleges until the writing test scoring is complete," he wrote.

"Because of the unique nature of this situation, ACT urges colleges to consider accepting screenshots of the student’s September multiple-choice scores from their official ACT student account as a provisional measure, if application deadlines are nearing, until official scores are sent. We will encourage students facing deadlines to send a copy of the email they receive from ACT, along with a screenshot of their ACT multiple-choice test scores, to any applicable colleges to verify that they are among the students impacted by this situation."

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U of California Plans to Admit More In-State Students

Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California system, said Wednesday that she will soon release a plan to significantly increase the number of California residents admitted to UC campuses, The Los Angeles Times reported. Legislators have been urging her to move in that direction and even have offered financial incentives to the system to do so. While Napolitano did not offer details of her plan, she stressed that it would have an impact on all system campuses, including those at Berkeley and Los Angeles, which are particularly challenging for applicants.

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Biden, opting out of 2016 run, backs four years of free public college

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Announcing his decision not to enter the 2016 presidential race, Biden endorses four years of free public higher education, proposals that his would-be Democratic contenders have been championing.

LinkedIn Study on Prospective Grad Students

LinkedIn, the career-focused networking site, this week released new research on the decision-making process of prospective master's and M.B.A. students. The study, which was based on survey responses from 1,627 LinkedIn members, found that respondents had an average short list of only three institutions. About three-quarters of prospective students developed their short list before reaching out to a representative at those institutions. And 93 percent ended up enrolling in a college on the list.

Peer groups and professional networks are significant influencers on prospective students' decision about where to enroll, the study found, second only to an institution's website.

Jesuit high school counselors urge new coalition on college admissions to reconsider plans

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More than 100 college counselors at Jesuit high schools urge group seeking to reform admissions process to rethink its plans and push back scheduled start for new system.

The Questions Asked of Oxford Applicants

The University of Oxford has released a list of sample interview questions prospective students could face in advance of the Oct. 15 application deadline, Times Higher Education reported. Oxford’s director of admissions and outreach, Samina Khan, said the university released the sample questions to dispel “myths” surrounding the interview process: “We want to underscore that every question asked by our tutors has a purpose, and that purpose is to assess how students think about their subject and respond to new information or unfamiliar ideas,” Khan said.

The Times Higher Education article includes explanations from Oxford professors of the reasoning behind the sample questions. The questions include: “Why is income per head between 50 and 100 times larger in the United States than in countries such as Burundi and Malawi?” (for philosophy, politics and economics applicants), “Do bankers deserve the pay they receive? And should government do something to limit how much they get?” (for economics and management applicants), “Why is sugar in your urine a good indicator that you might have diabetes?” (for biomedical sciences applicants), “Place a 30-centimeter ruler on top of one finger from each hand. What happens when you bring your fingers together?” (for engineering applicants), and “Can archaeology ‘prove’ or ‘disprove’ the Bible?” (for Oriental studies applicants).

UMass Lowell Drops SAT/ACT Requirement

The University of Massachusetts at Lowell is ending a requirement that applicants submit SAT or ACT scores. An email to high school counselors said that "we feel this more inclusive approach is fairer to students and will help more of them find a right fit at UMass Lowell."

The new program, a pilot, is only an option and students who wish may continue to submit test scores.

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Admissions Coalition Delays Start of Key Feature

The Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success -- a group of more than 80 colleges planning a new application platform -- was announced last week and quickly ran into considerable criticism. On Wednesday, in response to some of that criticism, the coalition sent a letter to high school counselors announcing that the launch of a key feature was being pushed back from January to April. The reason for the shift, the letter said, was "to allow for more time to engage and answer questions and for counselors to be closer to finishing their work with the current senior class." That feature was originally called a portfolio, a name that was dropped in favor of "virtual college locker." The locker will be a tool for high school students, starting in ninth grade, to save work they have done in any medium, as well as records of meaningful experiences they have. Many high school counselors have complained that the new locker will be complicated to produce and thus will favor wealthier students, who will receive more help.

Further, the letter reiterated and elaborated on past statements pledging to work with counselors as the new system is developed, and to make sure the new system helps low-income students.

Several critics of the new system said via email Wednesday night that they were pleased with the move to push back the launch of the locker, and with the promises to continue to consult with others, but that their larger concerns were unchanged.

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Study explores preparation and outcomes of 2- and 4-year college students

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Study finds significant variation in academic preparation of traditional-age students at different community colleges, and seeks to explain graduation rate gap between 2- and 4-year colleges.


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