Siena Heights U Goes Test Optional on Admissions

Siena Heights University, in Michigan, announced last week that it will no longer require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. “The test-optional policy should strengthen and diversify an already outstanding applicant pool and will broaden access for those high-achieving students who have historically been underrepresented at selective colleges and universities, including students of color, first-generation students and students from low-income households,” said a statement from George Wolf, vice president of enrollment management.

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The SAT, the Blizzard and Security Concerns

Many students who planned to take the SAT Saturday are being forced to change plans. A blizzard hitting the East Coast has already led numerous test centers to shut down and call off testing planned for Saturday. This webpage notes the rescheduling of the SAT at those testing centers.

The College Board also announced Thursday it was calling off Saturday administrations of the SAT at some Asian test centers. "This decision is based on evidence that some students have been exposed to test materials intended for this administration. We have done our best to limit the number of centers canceled and the impact to students," said an email the College Board sent to admissions officials.

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A New Call for Reform of Admissions

It's time for competitive college admissions to undergo significant changes, according to a report, “Turning the Tide,” issued Wednesday by the Making Caring Common program at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. The reforms called for include: going test optional on admissions or assuring students that standardized tests aren't the crucial part of applications, discouraging students from trying to take the maximum number of Advanced Placement courses possible and encouraging high school students to focus on the quality rather than quantity of extracurricular activities. Generally, admissions experts and many admissions administrators have long called for many of these reforms, as have some past reports and books.

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Report on Graduate School Admissions

A new report by the Council of Graduate Schools finds that admissions leaders in graduate programs view "holistic" review -- in which applicants are evaluated individually, without a simple grid to determine decisions -- as effective generally and as a tool to increase diversity of student bodies. But the report notes that time constraints limit the use of holistic review. Further, the report notes that many admissions leaders want more information on how to link admissions criteria and student success.

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Admissions Officers Check Applicants on Social Media

About 40 percent of admissions officers say they research applicants on social media, according to a survey released Wednesday by Kaplan Test Prep. That's quadruple the percentage from a 2008 Kaplan survey. At the same time, the survey found that most admissions officers who do check social media don't use it often -- of those who use social media to check on applicants, 89 percent said they did so "rarely." Some of the reasons people check are potentially positive, such as investigating applicants' abilities and interests. But Kaplan officials have heard anecdotal reports of "admissions sabotage" in which some people send tips to admissions officers that other applicants have images on Facebook or elsewhere that might give an admissions panel doubt about offering a spot.

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NCAA punishes Louisiana-Lafayette over test fraud, and university sues ACT

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NCAA punishes U of Louisiana-Lafayette over egregious case of test fraud -- and the university in turn sues ACT over its role.

Federal Reserve economists say recent college grads are doing better than many believe

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Federal Reserve economists say while recent college graduates struggled during the economic downturn, they did better than most believe.

Some Counselors Unable to Access PSAT Scores

Many high school students will learn today how they did on the PSAT, and their high school counselors were in theory supposed to get information Wednesday on the scores of their students, as well as new information the College Board is providing on how high schools can keep PSAT takers on track to prepare for college. But on Wednesday, many high school counselors reported that the system wasn't working and they couldn't get to the information about their students. Zach Goldberg, a College Board spokesman, acknowledged "confusion" among counselors and said they were sent more detailed instructions after many reported difficulties. Goldberg said the issue should have no impact on students getting their scores today.

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States cry foul over U.S. plan to curtail access to FAFSA student data

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States worry that a Department of Education plan to curtail their access to data from the federal student aid form will cause headaches for state aid awards.

Reports of Indian students being turned away at border cast spotlight on two little-known California institutions

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Reports of Indian students being turned away by customs officials and prevented from boarding U.S.-bound flights cast spotlight on two little-known California institutions with 90 percent-plus international enrollment.


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